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1989 Geo Tracker Convertible,built in Japan, 1.6 8V, 4wd, 5spd
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife and I have been doing some RVing lately, enjoying the travel and time together. We have a 36' Class A Motorhome with two slides and we tow our 1989 Tracker 4wd behind, (we bought it specifically to be a toad vehicle and already had been used for this for approximately the last ten years). It was already set up with all the hardware and wiring and it is sooo easy to tow, we stop every two hundred miles to make sure we run it and get some lubricant moving in the 5spd trans (gives us a chance to stretch our legs and walk our dogs and fill up with gas if needed).
So many compliments and thumbs up from people where ever we are-seems everyone has a Tracker/Sidekick story to share (it is the same when driving my 65 Mustang). Anyone others out there that use a Tracker or Si
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dekick as an Rv Toad vehicle??
 

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1991 Hardtop 3-door Tracker 1.6L 4WD 5-Speed No A/C
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I use my Tracker to tow my RV. I save a lot on gas.
 

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1991 Hardtop 3-door Tracker 1.6L 4WD 5-Speed No A/C
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574 Posts
Hey!!! I know that guy!!! He's the fella that gave me the idea!!!
 

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We do not use ours exclusively as a Toad, but it does that job sometimes! In fact, it did it this weekend. I had to travel almost 400 miles to a family reunion, and the wife could not leave when I did with the kids and fifth wheel, so she came later in the 'Kick brought the towing accessories. Yesterday morning we hooked it up behind the fifth wheel, and away we headed home! We also drug it behind the pickup when we went to New Mexico on vacation last month. We were staying in a cabin, so no 5er that trip, but it was handy having a second vehicle out there, and a lot of fun hitting the trails with it while we were there.
 

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We also use ours as a toad. We have a jeep Rubicon too but this tows so much easier that we use it unless the outing is specifically for keeping. I bought it to tow but it's my favorite around town car now... I love this little thing!


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[1996 Geo Tracker, 16v, 4x4, 4 door, manual]
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I also just got my 1996 Tracker, 4 door to be used mainly as a TOAD. I've not hooked it up yet, just been going through and fixing a decade of neglect. It's bouncing back pretty well. One thing I have noticed is the bearings in the manual transmission are worn out. It still shifts fine, but there is a whirling sound with the clutch out. I changed the trany oil and the drain plug had metal on it. It was a TOAD previously also, came with the base plate I needed already attached.

I don't know if it's a coincident that flat towing causing the trany bearings to go out prematurely or not. Someone else on here also mentioned their Tracker was a TOAD and had bearing failure.
 

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1989 Geo Tracker Convertible,built in Japan, 1.6 8V, 4wd, 5spd
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131 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ifister, you are probably right that your Tracker might have tran bearing failure as a toad due to not stopping the Motorhome every two hundred miles to allow the Tracker to run in second gear with the clutch engaged for a short time in order to splash lubricant on the trans bearings, failure to do this will almost certainly produce trans failure.
Fivestar
 

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[1996 Geo Tracker, 16v, 4x4, 4 door, manual]
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I wonder if engaging the clutch is necessary or the correct way to lube the internals.
It's my understanding that with the engine running and trany in neutral and clutch out, the input shaft and counter shaft are spinning and should be lubing the internals. Then with the clutch engaged does that not stop the counter shaft from spinning so there is actually no lubrication taking place? I'm not saying this because I know this for sure, just putting it out there in hope of someone else clarifying.
Thanks.
 

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[1996 Geo Tracker, 16v, 4x4, 4 door, manual]
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Since I'll be towing my Tracker also, I decided to look into the lubing issue. Here's a quick video showing what I had mentioned above. I'll also start doing the periodic stop to run the Tracker.

How a clutch works. (3D Animation). - YouTube
 

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1989 Geo Tracker Convertible,built in Japan, 1.6 8V, 4wd, 5spd
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131 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Lfister, I picked up the info from fixkick. On his site he does go into detail and actually gave a diagram that I keep in my Tracker. Fritz out at Trackerranch told me the very same thing. attaching a pic and n the fixkick site there are different examples depending on which vehicle and how you are towing
 

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[1996 Geo Tracker, 16v, 4x4, 4 door, manual]
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Fivestar, That is also what is written in the owners manual for this vehicle, with 4x4. I think there's confusion over the "clutch engaged" terminology. I'm not clear on what they mean by "clutch engaged". Does this mean the clutch disk is engaged, meaning pressing against the flywheel which would allow the countershaft to turn and allow for lubrication, which happens with the clutch pedal out.
Or does it mean the clutch pedal engaged (depressed) which would disconnect the countershaft and there would be no rotation and no lubrication? (As I see it)
Owners manual also says to run periodically with clutch engaged, but does not specify clutch pedal, or the clutch disk, which would result in two very different outcomes.
I apologize for high jacking your thread, but this lack of clarity is driving me nuts.o_O

Thanks.
 

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1989 Geo Tracker Convertible,built in Japan, 1.6 8V, 4wd, 5spd
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
lfister,
Seems to me that the tracker will still be hooked to the RV when you stop at a two hundred mile point. Sooo it also seems that when I would start my Tracker that I would have my foot on the clutch/down to the floor and the trans in 2nd gear while I rev (clutch engaged).
 

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Reading "between the lines" - when recreational towing with all four wheels down, the transfer case is in Neutral, if it's an automatic, the transmission is in Park; if it's a manual, the transmission is in second gear - the idea is therefore to NOT have the transmission rotating, so that the transfer case is where the rotation occurs - clutch should therefore be engaged or pedal up.

My manual says to stop every 200 miles, and with the transfer case still in neutral, to start the engine, if it's an automatic, select drive and rev the engine for about one minute to circulate oil in the transfer case, if it's a manual transmission, it stays in second gear, and again you rev the engine for about one minute.
 

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1989 Geo Tracker Convertible,built in Japan, 1.6 8V, 4wd, 5spd
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Got it. Learning everyday. Thank you! fordem!
 

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95 Tracker Soft Top 1.6L L4 SOHC 16V 2wd 5sp
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Several years ago I was having reservation's about towing my 95, manual, 2WD Tracker with all 4 down. I read every post on this forum at one time or another. While mowing my acre of lawn one day I decided to start the Tracker and let it idle while I ran a mower. I checked frequently on engine temps while it continued to idle. I live in south GA so outside temps were in mid 90s. After several hours and engine not over heating, my mind was made up. I headed to California, towing 4 down and engine idling. We normally stop around 200 miles to stretch and snack so I checked on my toad too. We were on the road 6 weeks with no problem doing this and no problem using this method for trans lube. I suggest you doing your own trial before attempting this. I did use marine gas for the tracker because it burns cleaner with less chance of fouling plugs. Now I just hookup, start the Tracker, and go!
 

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My personal experience keeps me from placing the transfer case in N. When you do this, the front and rear driveshafts are locked together, but disengaged from the output of the transmission. The problem there is when flat towing, you are driving the front driveshaft, as well as the front diff and thus spinning the front axleshafts...basically defeating the purpose of unlocking the front hubs. I learned this the hard way when I burned up a CV joint flat towing my rig with the case in N. I understand that is the way all the manuals say to do it, as well as the general knowledge, but I have personally had damage to my rig following the instructions. I know flat tow my rig with the case in 2HI and trans in N. I stop occasionally and place the case in N and start the engine. I then pick a gear and let it run in gear while we take our bathroom break. So far it is working well for me. If I am feeling froggy I go ahead and just pull the rear driveshaft, and then there are no worries. Just my experience, your mileage may vary!

My eventual fix/solution is to install a twin stick transfer case shifter. With it, you can put the input/output of the transfer case and unlock the front and rear outputs from each other, true Neutral.
 
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