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Author Topic: Removing drive shaft before coach towing  (Read 491 times)

Lonne Mays

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Removing drive shaft before coach towing
« on: January 07, 2020, 05:55:08 PM »
I like to be prepared, knowledge-wise, for all possible situations when traveling.  Any recommended tools and procedures/tips/advice for removing the driveshaft to prepare the coach for towing?  Seems like something one should be familiar with before needing to call roadside assistance.  I have been under my '99 Contessa and looked at the driveshaft, and it appeared like the task would require removing the nuts/bolts on the U-joint, then sliding the shaft out.  Would not have been a big deal twenty years ago, but none of us is as strong or flexible in our senior years as we were in our youth. 

And does removing the driveshaft disable the parking brake?  (I can't remember whether the brake is on the input our output side of the driveshaft...  I guess I could crawl back under the coach to check.) 
Lonne Mays
1999 Contessa Naples 40'
Cat 3126 330hp
Allison MD3060 WTECIII Transmission

Steve Huber Co-Admin

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Re: Removing drive shaft before coach towing
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2020, 07:48:39 PM »
Lonne,
If you need to be towed, the tow driver will normally remove the driveshaft for you and the repair shop will reinstall it. Just be sure to have the tow driver mark the shaft and mounting so that it is re-installed in the same position as it is balanced. As to parking brake, I would release it in any case.
Steve
Steve
2015-          07 Contessa Bayshore C9,  400 hp
2013-2015: 00 Marquis Tourmaline, C12, 425 hp
2005-2013: 01 Contessa Naples, 3126B, 330 hp
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Gerald Farris

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Re: Removing drive shaft before coach towing
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2020, 02:35:56 PM »
Lonne,
Removing the drive shaft does not disable the parking brake. You will have to use a separate procedure to disable the parking brake before towing.

Gerald
2002 Solitaire (2017 -  )
2000 Marquis, C12 (2004 - 2017)
1993 Patriot  (2000-2004)

Mike Shumack

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Re: Removing drive shaft before coach towing
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2020, 02:47:45 PM »
There is usually no need to separate the drive shaft half (pulling slip joint apart). For towing just disconnect the driveshaft at the differential yoke then swing it out of the way so it cant hit the pinion yoke, and tie it the frame. Most tow truck operators carry short ratchet straps for this purpose.

If removing the driveshaft is very difficult (i.e. cant get access to it with coach aired down, or have the bearing cap style like my coach which requires a press-tool to get the bearing caps out, then you can remove one axle shaft. However if you remove an axle, you need a "block off" plate to prevent the oil in the axle housing from running out and making a mess.
The block off plate looks like this (you could easily make one and store in coach, if you don't trust that the toe truck guy will have these). https://www.myteeproducts.com/axle-caps-axle-covers-22-pc-set.html?fee=36&fep=4768&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI4MWoxOT75gIVCL7ACh216AJqEAQYASABEgIevvD_BwE

BTW, for nostalgia, here's the Towing Procedures for the 1984 -1987 Beaver Marquis (pretty clever):
- Mike

'05 Beaver Patriot Thunder 525, Vicksburg, CAT C13, Allison 4000MH, HydraLift
Orlando, FL

Bill Lampkin

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Re: Removing drive shaft before coach towing
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2020, 02:53:30 PM »
I've read that tag axle coaches are not to be towed, but must be loaded onto a lowboy trailer. Have to be a long low boy for our 40' rig, and how do you load the motorhome onto the low boy without high centering on the low boy trailer axle humps??
2005 Patriot Thunder Lexington, 3 slides
40' tag axle (short wheelbase)
525 hp C13

Mike Shumack

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Re: Removing drive shaft before coach towing
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2020, 03:14:07 PM »
You can't tow/lift from the rear as that would put too much weight on the front axle/tires.

A lowboy is preferred but it is acceptable to tow from the front - following the manufacturer's procedures.

- Mike

'05 Beaver Patriot Thunder 525, Vicksburg, CAT C13, Allison 4000MH, HydraLift
Orlando, FL

Bill Lampkin

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Re: Removing drive shaft before coach towing
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2020, 03:32:41 PM »
Should one lift the tag and secure w/chains when towing? My rig scrapes the beaver tail on almost any grade or bump, how high would the front be lifted? I think my rig would tear out the rear cap if I had to tow by lifting from the front. How about support the rear axle with tow dollys? That would raise the rear out of harm's way?
2005 Patriot Thunder Lexington, 3 slides
40' tag axle (short wheelbase)
525 hp C13

Steve Huber Co-Admin

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Re: Removing drive shaft before coach towing
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2020, 05:05:11 PM »
I've been towed 4 times in 4 states, once in tag and 3 times with a non tag coach. The non-tag instances were with tow companies  provided by AAA Premier RV Roadside Assist and the tag tow was supplied by Nationwide Ins. In all instances I provided the coach particulars (length height, axle weight, etc.) to the service provider on my initial call. I also requested a low boy but height restrictions prevented that option. In all cases the tow operators were professional and knew exactly how to hook up the rig, disconnect and mark the driveshaft, disable the brakes, etc. The biggest issues were to insure that no front end damage would occur due to the lift (Magnum chassis coaches were more susceptible to this than Roadmaster in my experience) and ensuring that the rear mudflap was removed or secured so it would not drag. Also had to be sure the front end "lift" was not so high as to result in rear drag (allow for bumps, etc). I got the tow driver's cell # and followed the coach in our toad so I could alert him if I saw any problems.
Based on my experience I have a lot of respect for the tow drivers. The ones I worked with knew their stuff and were very professional. Just make sure you verify that the tow outfit has large RV tow experience. This is not a task for amateurs or do-it yourselfers.
Steve
Steve
2015-          07 Contessa Bayshore C9,  400 hp
2013-2015: 00 Marquis Tourmaline, C12, 425 hp
2005-2013: 01 Contessa Naples, 3126B, 330 hp
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Mike Shumack

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Re: Removing drive shaft before coach towing
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2020, 06:06:41 PM »
The biggest issues were to insure that no front end damage would occur due to the lift (Magnum chassis coaches were more susceptible to this than Roadmaster in my experience) and ensuring that the rear mudflap was removed or secured so it would not drag.
[/quote]

What is the problem or concern when towing a Magnum chassis? What is the difference between towing the Roadmaster or Magnum chassis in this regard?
- Mike

'05 Beaver Patriot Thunder 525, Vicksburg, CAT C13, Allison 4000MH, HydraLift
Orlando, FL

Lee Welbanks

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Re: Removing drive shaft before coach towing
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2020, 09:27:05 PM »
Don't tow, haul unless a lowbed is not available within range. These coaches do not tow well, for sure something will get torn up.
Lee & Judy
Minnie the MiniDoodle
06 Beaver Patriot Thunder
Wilmington IV 40
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Steve Huber Co-Admin

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Re: Removing drive shaft before coach towing
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2020, 09:51:34 PM »
Mike,
It's the placement of the axle and resultant overhang of the cap. If I remember correctly the 01 Contessa was worse in this regard than the 00 Marquis. The "tow-bar" has adjustable saddles that can compensate for this to some extent.
Steve
Steve
2015-          07 Contessa Bayshore C9,  400 hp
2013-2015: 00 Marquis Tourmaline, C12, 425 hp
2005-2013: 01 Contessa Naples, 3126B, 330 hp