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Thread: Flat toing a z3

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    Pacolet, S.C.
    Posts
    1
    My Cars
    1996 z3 / 1997 328ic

    Flat toing a z3

    Anyone have any experience flat towing a z3 ?? Do I need a drive line disconnect ?? If so where do I find one ??

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    1,693
    My Cars
    99 M3
    You mean with a dolly w/two tires/wheels on road surface? Auto or manual? ‘Flat tow’ on a flatbed truck? With a strap w/ALL wheels/tires on road? Auto or manual?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Murrieta, CA
    Posts
    7,788
    My Cars
    1994 325iC
    If you have the rear wheels on the ground, you need to disconnect the drive shaft. TIP mark the yoke where the shaft connects to the differential so you can connect the drive shaft in the same orientation as when you took it off. Home Depot and Lowe's and your local Mom & Pop hardware store have Appliance Touch up Paint that comes in a small bottle like the paint for a model car/airplane, the appliance paint has a brush. Alternatively, you can buy some model car/airplane paint at the hobby shop. Get white so you can see it easily. Disconnect the drive shaft and suspend it with rope or bungie cord, or whatever so it does not hang down.

    Where do you find one? Find one what? Crawl under the car and take the bolts out that hold the shaft to the diff.

    I'm getting a bad feeling here.

    You are not going to flat tow your BMW. The front bumper, or the rear bumper for that matter, will not tolerate a tow bar. You are going to get a tow dolly and put the front or the rear of the car onto the dolly and leave the other end on the ground. If the front tires are on the ground, then you do not need to worry about the drive shaft connection to the differential, but you do need a scheme to keep the front tires pointed the right direction. Technically they could be pointed in any direction, but the direction must not change while towing. You really should be getting a car hauler trailer and dragging it with a pick up truck, a full size 1/2-ton to larger. Do not drag your your car on a trailer with a truck such as a Tacoma, you need the full size.

    I'm getting a bad feeling here.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    switzerland
    Posts
    613
    My Cars
    BMW e36 328i Coupe
    why do you advise him to disconnect the driveshaft when its not clear if he has auto or manual

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Murrieta, CA
    Posts
    7,788
    My Cars
    1994 325iC
    Doesn't matter. Well, it could matter, I suppose. But the insurance of not destroying the trans is worth the effort of taking four screws out.

    I had a Jeep that I flat towed, and with the trans in N and the failure of putting the t-case into N also resulted in the trans overheating and taking out some syncros. Turns out that the oil is not mixed well unless the input shaft of the trans is turning.
    But, you ask a good question. What kind of trans does the car have?

    My E36 manual says to not flat tow and not to leave the back tires on the ground with the front tires in a dolly.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    switzerland
    Posts
    613
    My Cars
    BMW e36 328i Coupe
    you can flat tow it (whatever that is) if you have a manual without disconnecting the driveshaft. that the oil wont be circulated correctly is not possible. all the gearwheels are turning as they would be when the engine was running and a gear was engaged. only autos need that driveshaft disconnecting. and some manufacturers say you can tow it 20 miles if you stay under 25mph. or something in that range. but not all manufacturers say that. most say you have to disconnect it. and "just take 4 bolts out"... ever did it? not that easy, and when you disconnected it, what then? leave the driveshaft hanging there ? you know how much space most cars have there? how do you want to make sure the driveshaft flange won't rub on the differentials flange? and maybe all that out in the cold in the darkness ? before doing all that i'd try to do something where you don't have to disconnect it. but not enough infos from OP at this point anyway.
    Last edited by samy01; 01-14-2018 at 06:11 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Owings, Md
    Posts
    113
    My Cars
    1996 328i
    I have towed mine with the rear wheels on a dolly and while the steering column was locked, it wandered and got squirelly around 60 mph. This was behind a 1/2 truck with a long wheelbase.
    The RV community would be a good source of info regarding flat towing. I am regularly suprised by things they flat tow, they have a good knowledge base of what works and what doesn't. As old as these cars are I would expect it to be settled (regardless of what BMW recommends). I am not assuming BMW is wrong but I don't take their word as gospel (see lifetime ATF).
    Last edited by gdavid; 01-14-2018 at 07:36 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Murrieta, CA
    Posts
    7,788
    My Cars
    1994 325iC
    QUOTING FROM THE OWNER'S MANUAL FOR 1994
    Towing vehicle equipped with automatic tranmsision
    If the vehicle must be towed with the rear wheels on the ground, towing speed should not exceed 30 mph and the distance should be limited to 25-30 miles. (if a 320, then 43 mph and 93 miles)


    Personally, if one is renting a tow dolly, spend a few more dollars and get the trailer and avoid the pitfalls that will just make you miserable in the end.

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