Most people may think that to tow their vehicle behind their RV all they have to do is put their car in neutral and release the brake. That is a natural and simple way of doing things. However, the driveshaft is still connected and can overheat if you pursue that idea.
Instead of disconnecting and removing your driveshaft, which is the old way to do things, you can install a driveshaft disconnect and save time and energy. These devices allow you to shift to drive or to tow in seconds. They are always ready to go.
To learn more about this topic and adaption to towing, just continue to read our article. It has the information you want to know about so you can make a great towing decision for your RV situation. This option is more convenient.
If you have a front-wheel drive, then it was not necessary to disconnect the driveshaft or remove it. The only time you had to do this step was when you owned a 4-wheel drive or a rear wheel drive vehicle.
Now you could put the car in neutral but the drive is still connected to the shaft and that meant that it kept turning as you drove. Without any fluid flowing through the system, the shaft can overheat and cause you a lot of problems.
Some people went as far as removing the original driveshaft from their older vehicles to enable better towing. However, that created a problem where you needed to plug the transmission so the fluid would not escape.
In general, the answer is yes, you would have to remove the driveshaft if you were going to tow with a 4-wheel drive vehicle or a rear wheel drive one. At the time that was the only option unless you put the car on a small trailer.
With the invention of the new driveshaft disconnect device, this is no longer the case. If you tow, you just install this kit and you can simply tow the vehicle, then shift to drive. No more hard work or worrying about leaking transmission fluid.
Technology has made towing your vehicle a lot simpler and easier to do if you can afford the cost of the kit and installation.
For those people who already tow their vehicle and do not own the disconnect driveshaft, they already know how to do this. The following information is for those who do not know how or do not have friends who know how do not have the disconnect driveshaft installed and do not have the money for either.
Step one: You need to mark the driveshaft- prior to removing it, you need to mark its positioning so that you can put it back in the same position when you re-install it.
Step two: Loosen the bolts- this is where it gets tough as these bolts can strip if you use the wrong wrench or socket. They are also on very tight so make sure to use the right tools to get those bolts loosened. Not all driveshaft bolts are the same size so be careful and prepared.
Step three: Remove the driveshaft flange- you need a plastic hammer so you do not damage this part. You tap the rear yoke to loosen the driveshaft but be careful as you may need to hold it as you work.
If your vehicle comes with a center support, you need to remove that and this part is held in place with about 2 bolts. For older vehicles, you will need to use some electrical tape to hold the U-cup in place. If you don’t you could lose those much-needed needle bearings.
Step four: disconnect the driveshaft and you will need something to catch the transmission fluid. This disconnect is done by sliding it away from the transmission.
Step five: When you are at your destination, reverse the process to get the driveshaft re-installed. Make sure to check the U-joints to make sure they are operating correctly. Also, align the driveshaft according to your markings.
Now that you understand the old way and how time-consuming it is. It is time to learn about the new technology that will save this hassle. The disconnect can be done from your driver’s seat. There is no need to get under the car, get your hands dirty and then work with a heavy part.
The driveshaft disconnect is supposed to be installed between the drive shaft and the differential. You do not have to do this work but get a mechanic to do it for you.
All it does is disconnect the regular driveshaft from the differential so that the rear axle can turn freely and the driveshaft as well as the transmission are not being turned. Hence the name disconnect.
The driveshaft is only connected to the transmission and not the differential. But with a pull of the cable, you reconnect the driveshaft and you can use your car like normal within seconds.
What this upgrade does is take all the work out of towing your rear wheel or 4-wheel drive vehicle. Plus, it keeps them ready for around town use no matter if you are at your first, third, or final destination.
This is a bit of technology that seems to have been around for over 20 years. At least that is what some owners have reported.
The process is simple. Once it is installed, all you had to do was push a button, or pull a cable and the driveshaft disconnect either disconnected the driveshaft or reconnected it.
This is a little part that attaches to the rear of your driveshaft and operates via a cable. The cable runs to near your driver seat and all you have to do is reach down and push or pull one way to disengage the driveshaft or push or pull another way to reconnect it.
This technology is all cable operated and you do not have to get out of your vehicle and struggle with getting underneath it to do all the heavy work described earlier. Just manipulate the cable and you are good to go.
The good thing about this part, in most cases, is that it fits almost all rear wheel cars, trucks, vans, and so on. It is one installation and then you never have to worry about crawling under your car unless it is for some other repair.
One thing to be aware of is that your driveshaft is already balanced as is. When you add the driveshaft disconnect, you should have the system re-balanced. If you don’t you could develop a vibration and this would need to be done by a credible mechanic.
So far we have only come across one brand name for this technology. It is Remco by Superior and it seems to have had a long history. It may have first come out in 2000 and those early models may not have been perfect.
Some mechanics complained about them and warned people not to install this part. But over the years those bugs seem to have been worked out and most owners who have them installed have used the same one on multiple vehicles with no problems.
What we should point out is that you may not hear about this technology that much. One of the reasons for this is that many modern vehicles are already front-wheel drive. That means that you do not need to install this device on your vehicle if you have one of those models.
Another reason you do not hear about this device very much is that many of the newer 4-wheel drives and rear wheel drive vehicles already have something similar pre-installed at the manufacturers.
You do not need to go out and buy one if this is your situation. You should be told by the dealer where you bought your new car or truck if there is one already installed.
There seems to be only one model of this device made these days. It is the Remco by Superior brand and they seem to be doing good business as their product is being sold by a variety of vendors across the country.
One of the best parts about this device, and why it is so expensive, is that it is installed once and it works for 20+ years without any problem. Its flexibility makes it popular as it will fit on almost any rear wheel drive vehicle made in the past 80 years+.
If you change vehicles, you can uninstall it quickly, and install it on the new vehicle just as quickly. This makes flat towing for those 4-wheel drive and rear wheel drive owners simple and easy.
In fact, once it is installed, you can lat tow without a problem. That is because, at a push of a button or flick of a lever, your driveshaft is disconnected and ready to go. There are no extra parts to buy to make flat towing a possibility.
The only drawback that has been reported is that it may be a little noisy when you drive. But that is a minor inconvenience.
About the worst report or review we saw came in 2012 by a mechanic who had installed several of these devices over the years at the shop he worked at. He felt that the routing of the cable and the extra noise was not worth the trouble of putting this device in your vehicle.
That review was quickly rebutted by the many owners who have used their Remco driveshaft disconnect for over 10 years with no problem. Those are the basic reviews that we have come across. The majority of owners who have this device would not get rid of it.
Some have had it in their vehicle for 20 years and never looked back and did not have a bad thing to say about this part. The other drawback is more user error. Some people have forgotten to put the driveshaft back in the connected position and then forgot to put their car or truck in park or applied the emergency brake.
In those situations, your vehicle will roll and if you are careful, it can go down a hill and cause a lot of damage. This has happened to several people with one losing their van over the mess it made.
Overall, the reviews are positive and people have used their devices for decades and enjoyed every minute of it.
It seems that most of the problems with this device come from bad installation and not manufacturing or design. There are stories about people who have installed it wrong and created a lot of problems for the owners.
Another source of one problem is when you put grease, any version, on the disconnect mechanism. Remco flatly and directly states that no grease can be used on this device. It attracts dirt which will interfere with the operation of the device.
The recommended treatment was spraying it wit WD-40 every couple of months and the device should keep working as it should. Then another problem we talked about earlier is when you park your vehicle.
Unless you re-engage the driveshaft, do not park the vehicle on a hill. YOu have no ‘park’ gear and if you do not set the hand brake, it can roll down the incline.
This is a problem if the driveshaft does not engage completely. That is one problem with this system you have to be careful about. Cables do not always work right and even though you think you re-engaged the driveshaft, it may not have gone all the way.
The damage done by the rolling out of control van was immense. The damage done was- “the van rolled down the hill, jumped a 30-foot embankment, knocked over a huge propane tank, and then crashed through the wall of the RV park office game room.”
But the owners still put the Remco driveshaft disconnect on their new van. In other words, it is still a great product to have installed.
This will depend on where you buy it and have it installed. Of course, you can save some money and just buy it straight from Superior and install it yourself. That is a great option if you are young enough and mechanically inclined.
One company we found, Torklift Central asks you to contact them for a quote but they seem to be only selling the device and not doing the installation. The company Just for Towing is saying that their prices start at just over $1000 and can go up to over $1400. Their average price is just under $1200.
This company will balance if you make an appointment but they may not be near you. Finally, we found Hitch Source which sells the same product. Their prices start at $1500 approx., and go over $2500 approx.
Or you can go to the Superior Driveline website and use their dealer locator and talk to them about the cost of this device. That website web page is at this link. The best thing to do is talk to those companies that sell this device and are located near you.
If you use the link we provided in the last section, you will find many dealers you can contact. There are only a few in Canada with the majority located in the Vancouver BC area. There are 2 in Alberta and one in Quebec.
Also, the dealers seem to be fairly sparse in the midwest area. The majority seems to be on the west coast and in Florida. The companies we mentioned earlier are probably on that dealer list.
You can try the different RV discussion forums to see if anyone is selling them for whatever reason they may have. Used are still good and they have been proven to work for decades.
We heard that Camping World sold and installed this device as well. Which one we do not know and it may not be a chain-wide product. If you still can’t find any, join the RV discussion forums and ask the owners where they got theirs.
This driveshaft disconnect device seems to have been around for about 20+ years. It is a tried and true product that most owners are very happy with. It may be something to consider to help relieve yourself of all the extra work involved in towing your 4-wheel drive or rear wheel drive vehicle.
The installation should go smoothly if you get someone who knows what they are doing. The biggest problem is fitting it into your budget. But it is a one-time installation so it may be worth it.