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RV Tech Savvy: Can I Tow My Pickup with My Motorhome?

Originally Published in MotorHome Magazine

I own a 2019 Chevrolet Colorado pickup. It is 2WD with a six-speed manual transmission. The owner’s manual is not very clear on how to tow this vehicle behind an RV. Most of the information supplied seems to refer to a vehicle with an automatic transmission. I have compared the information of the 2019 owner’s manual and a 2018 owner’s manual, and neither one really addresses the procedures for towing a truck with a manual transmission. Even the procedure for towing is not the same from one owner’s manual to the other. Could you please explain the proper way to tow my vehicle behind my motorhome?
Dennis Sager | Bellefonte, Pennsylvania

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your truck is not factory approved for flat (four wheels on pavement) towing. Only 4WD models with an N and 4WD Low setting are flat towable. Refer to page 18 of the 2019 Good Sam Guide to Dinghy Towing. The easiest way to modify your truck for flat towing is to install a driveshaft disconnect kit (Superior Driveline, 855-447-3626). Otherwise, you will need to tow the truck on a trailer.

Flipper Won’t Start
Our 1991 National RV Dolphin is built on a Ford Super Duty chassis with a gas engine. I had it stored for the winter. I started it up and ran it for 20 minutes once in late December. Then in mid-March (Northern Wisconsin), I tried it again. It cranked for about 30 seconds and did not run. I charged up the battery — same results. I replaced the battery, which was only one year and two months old, with a charged-up new one. Same results: it cranked with no start. I am getting spark at the distributor and at least at one plug. A buddy who knows big farm tractors helped me with the ignition test. However, neither of us knows much about the vacuum system for a Ford. We were wondering about the fuel injectors and where to test the Schrader valve. Having found a vacuum manifold on the engine, we were unable to feel suction on the plug/cap. Is this an issue? We hear the fuel pump operate with the key turned partway. There is at least a half-tank of gas. We checked the ground strap from the battery to the frame, scraped around the mounting bolt and put it back on. Same crank with no start. All this time, we barely get 30 seconds of crank before the voltage drops from 14 to about eight. No local Ford dealer will send a mechanic to make house calls. Please help us get Flipper back to life.
Keith Reinemann | Green Bay, Wisconsin

The fuel may have gone stale. Smell the fuel. If it smells like old paint, the tank needs to be drained. Try giving the engine a small spray of starting ether in the air intake when you begin cranking. If the engine tries to start, there is a fuel problem. After cranking, remove a spark plug and see if it’s wet on the tip from fuel. You can measure fuel pressure at the Schrader valve, but you need a tester designed to fit it. The engine should be able to start in less than 30 seconds of cranking. Crank the engine for shorter periods, 15 seconds or less, followed by a minute or so for the starter to cool. There can be other reasons for a no-start condition, including a plugged fuel-pump pickup due to rust in the fuel tank, a plugged fuel filter, etc.

Waxing Vinyl Graphics
I have been researching products/wax to protect the vinyl graphics on my Winnebago Vista, but Winnebago says car waxes actually damage the vinyl because they contain petroleum distillates. Is there a product you can recommend besides a wash and wax?
Phil Longo | Morrison, Colorado

Sharpline makes the graphics for Winnebago. I spoke directly with the gentleman who wrote the information from Winnebago regarding the use of car waxes. He said that waxes containing a high concentration of petroleum distillates could cause deterioration of the graphics. He recommends a number of products, including Meguiar’s D-156 X-Press synthetic spray wax, Rejex and 303 Aerospace Protectant. Camping World RV & Outdoors carries a number of these products.

More RV Tech Savvy Discussion

Ken Freund has been a contributor to MotorHome magazine since 1988, and has written Coach & Powertrain and its predecessor, Powertrain Q & A, for two decades. He has been an RV, camping and travel enthusiast since he was a child.

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