Towing a Jeep

I need to reposition my 1946 Willys CJ2A by about 140 miles. Obviously, the best way would be to load it up on a flatbed. But it’s equipped with a tobar and towing lights. Will it hurt to tow it 140 miles with the transmission and transfer case in neutral, but leaving the drive shafts on? (I can’t remove the drive shafts since I have no idea what I’m doing.)

FWIW, the previous owner towed it when he went gold prospecting. I have no idea if he left the shafts on or not.

Isn’t it only automatic vehicles that have problems with towing?

Don’t count on this, coz I don’t know what I’m talking about either, but I’d guess the Willys would be fine to tow.

Keep in mind that a 46’ Willys wasn’t designed to go much more than 55 mph under its own power. I think the main problems that develop from towing are wear on the steering assembly and heat damage to the differentials. That said, the relatively short distance you have to travel shouldn’t be too much of a problem if you keep the speed down.

Taking the drive shafts off may not be as hard as it seems; there’s usually four bolts connecting the shaft to the rear differential. Once those are removed, the rear part of the shaft can be lowered away from the differential and the front of the shaft will slide out of the x-fer case. - That’s for the rear shaft anyway.

Some automatic transmission vehices like Jeep Cherokees, and Chevy Blazers can be towed with all four wheels on the ground. You just have to position the x-fer case to neutral.

If you put the transfer case in neutral, it should be okay. The shafts shouldn’t be too hard to remove; there are 4 bolts on each end on little yokes that go over the u-joints.

Remember, though, that you can’t back up while flat towing it (it can break the steering components). Choose your parking spaces carefully!

The top speed is ostensibly 60 mph. But that’s really flogging the engine. I don’t drive mine faster than 45, nor tow it faster than 55.

So it sounds as if I’ll be fine flat towing it to San Diego.


You need to post this question out on

Every vehicle is different. Sometime you leave the transmission out of gear, but the transfer case in gear. Its wierd.

Please check that website out to be sure you don’t mess anything up on that Jeep!!

Good Luck -

Jill Stearnes

jillsjeeps: It’s been a long time since I’ve posted there, and the “forgot password” link isn’t working for me. I sent them an e-mail.




I forgot my spamblocker is on the high setting, and that I need to get new e-mails from the webpage. I got logged on.

This page (on which I’m not registered) says:

So let me get this straight…

With the transmission in gear, the wheels are turning. The front wheels are not driving the shafts because they are unlocked. The rear wheels are driving the shafts, which turn the differential, which turns the drive shaft, which turns the transmission gears. But the transmission gears are not turning the engine because the transfer case is in neutral. So the transmission is being lubricated by the oil that is in it, and the turning keeps everything lubricated.

Thus: Front hubs unlocked, T-case in neutral, transmission in 3rd.