Made A Flat Tow Mistake


New Member
Jan 24, 2021
Seattle, WA
My transfer case blew up while I was out wheeling at Walker Valley in WA. I'm pretty sure it skipped a tooth due to 4low not fully being engaged. Sounds like a box of marbles with every rotation. I couldn't shift it into anything besides 4low and neutral.

Literally at the same time, my slave cylinder hose cracked and I lost my clutch because I lost all fluid and pressure.

So I had to get flat towed about 25 miles on forest service roads. We went slow, 15-20mph.

I ASSUMED, manual trans in neutral, tcase in neutral. I had no service, I couldn't google it. I see now that is wrong, due to lubrication issues.

Is my NV3550 going to be toast after that short of a distance? It was making zero noise when I coasted it onto the trailer yesterday- no trans bearing noises, so nothing seems to be blown or angry. Thoughts?

I just trailered it home, going to rebuild the Tcase/think about an Atlas.
Last edited:


Jun 9, 2021
Arizona, Louisiana, Florida
I think you will be fine. I flat tow behind my motorhome and accidentally knocked the trans out of gear (with t-case in neutral) one day before setting off for about 4 hours at highway speeds. Mine has the super weak AX-5 and while I'm sure I may have added some wear and tear it still works perfectly with no signs of damage.

Steel City 06

TJ Expert
Supporting Member
Mar 12, 2019
Pittsburgh, PA
I don't foresee any issues with the transmission. If the transmission did spin, it already had some lubrication from being driven around before, so the bearings were not dry. In addition, at those low speeds, you're unlikely to generate the kind of heat that could cook the oil out of the bearings.

Now if you pulled it cross country at 80 mph we might see an issue.