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Old 03-06-2013, 02:54 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post
When I was shopping for a new daily driver that would double as a toad, I considered a Chevy Sonic. But ended up getting a Honda Fit instead. I believe I made the right call.

Yes I have looked at the Honda Fit also. Good looking car. In the 2013 towing guide from FMCA this is the only comment for towing 4 wheels down for the Honda Fit.

1

Special procedure required for every 8 hours of towing to avoid severe transmission damage. Refer to owners manual for details.



What special procedure is required.
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Old 03-06-2013, 03:57 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by adonh View Post
Yes I have looked at the Honda Fit also. Good looking car. In the 2013 towing guide from FMCA this is the only comment for towing 4 wheels down for the Honda Fit.

1

Special procedure required for every 8 hours of towing to avoid severe transmission damage. Refer to owners manual for details.



What special procedure is required.
For automatic transmissions (which mine is):
Start the engine.
Cycle through all of the gears.
Shift from DRIVE to Neutral (not from reverse to neutral!).
While in neutral, let it idle for 3 minutes.
Shut off the engine, leaving the key in the Accessory position to ensure the steering wheel does not lock.
Repeat every 500 miles.
Max towing speed 65 mph.

Since my Interstate won't even go 500 miles on a full tank, for me it's easy to remember, just repeat at every fuel stop.

The manual also says to pull the radio fuse, but since my Roadmaster Invisibrake includes a battery trickle charger, there's no need to unplug a fuse to prevent battery drain.

What I generally do is take care of the shifting (first few steps above) before hooking up the towbar, then hook up everything but the electrical connection while it's idling in neutral. After shutting off the engine, that's when I take off the parking brake, hook up the umbilical to the 7-pin connector, check that the lights and supplemental brakes are working, and I'm good to go.
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Old 03-06-2013, 06:45 PM   #17
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We have started looking for a Honda Element-standard tranny...flat tow is fine for them, and no procedural stuff other than key in ignition, neutral, parking brake off...will probably use the magnetic lights...they sit roomy, have a sunroof-on-steroids, can actually be a mini camper with the custom top, and have...gulp...lots of storage...
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Old 03-07-2013, 06:10 AM   #18
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We have started looking for a Honda Element-standard tranny...flat tow is fine for them, and no procedural stuff other than key in ignition, neutral, parking brake off...will probably use the magnetic lights...they sit roomy, have a sunroof-on-steroids, can actually be a mini camper with the custom top, and have...gulp...lots of storage...
It's generally accepted that most standard-transmission vehicles are flat-towable, but if that's your intent, then by all means insist upon a look at the owner's manual before you buy (the manual is almost never in the vehicle when you do a test drive). The owner's manual should have specific things to say about flat-towing. If the manual says "No flat-towing" then don't buy it as a toad. The baseplate installation will be obvious to any mechanic, and will be a "void your warranty" flag when you take it in for any routine maintenance or warranty repairs.

Also, check with Blue Ox, Roadmaster, and other towbar baseplate manufacturers, and see if they even offer a baseplate kit for an Element. If they don't, you're looking at spending large for a custom fabrication.

As an aside, the issue of why Honda doesn't allow you to flat-tow an Element anymore is apparently a perennial topic on the Element Owner's Club Forums (Element Owners Club | Honda Element Owners Club - Home).

I checked out Fit Freak, the Honda Fit forum, while I was still shopping for a toad, to read up on what other people said about converting their Fits for flat-towing. Just like Air Forums, car owners forums are a wealth of information about specific makes and models, and are well worth checking out before you purchase a car.
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Old 03-07-2013, 07:09 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Protagonist

It's generally accepted that most standard-transmission vehicles are flat-towable, but if that's your intent, then by all means insist upon a look at the owner's manual before you buy (the manual is almost never in the vehicle when you do a test drive). The owner's manual should have specific things to say about flat-towing. If the manual says "No flat-towing" then don't buy it as a toad. ..
I agree 200%. Not all stick shifts are towable. I had a Suzuki Samurai and during an outing behind my class A MH, the Suzuki transmission welded itself into 3rd gear. It was in neutral but the gear seized to the output shaft. It was a mess having to remove the driveshaft on the side of I-10 in Houston rush hour traffic. (I bet that little 4 cyl engine revved to 7000 rpm as it slowed down my 35' MH!)

Why did mine fail? It was 2wd. A 4wd was ok to tow because the transfer case would self lube in neutral, the manual tranny didn't.
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Old 03-07-2013, 10:09 AM   #20
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I have a 1993 Miata standard shift as a second toad. Light enough I don't need to use the easy brake with it. Under 2000 pounds, fun to drive, paid for, good on gas, I can fix anything on it. Rescued it from a junk yard for pocket change. Did I say it 's paid for?
If I go on a trip w/o the wife, she gets to keep her Suzuki auto/4wd. Which tow good, but it weighs close to 3000 pounds and really needs the easy break to help stop everything.

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Old 03-07-2013, 09:33 PM   #21
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Don: I have been here in FL at a state park for a few weeks and taking note of every toad that comes in. I spoke with a fellow from Ontario last week that has the Sonic and loves it. He was pulling it with a Class C motorhome. It looked interesting and he also confirmed that he only has to pull one fuse to tow 4 down. Good luck, Jim
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