I have towed my 2000 XJ behind my motorhome in the past with 4 wheels down without issue. A few years ago, after breaking the front spider gears and an axle shaft while snowplowing (Boy do I wish I was retired then!!!), I added an Aussie lunchbox locker in the front Dana 30 axle. The only thing that typically wears out now is a front axle shaft u-joint, because of the stress of plowing.
I noticied if I now tow the XJ, even for about 100 miles, something seems to break in the front end (typically axle u-joints or hub bearings). I'm at the point where I don't want to tow the XJ anymore. My best guess is the extreme stress on the front end while towing is being worsened by the Aussie possibly locking up and not releasing (probably from the tires scrubbing while turning). The wheel speed differential may be binding the u-joints or wearing the hub bearings on dry pavement.
My Jeep's Owner's Manual states: "Internal damage to the transfer case (I have a NP231) will occur if a front or rear wheel lift is used when recreational towing.", which means I can't tow the XJ on a dolly (which I really don't want to do!!). In this mode, I'm thinking the damage comes from the rear driveshaft turning, but the front driveshaft can't turn because the front wheels are locked down on a dolly.
Is this a correct assumption?
If I were to remove the front axle shafts (and possibly the front driveshaft) and tow 4 down, effectively making my XJ a 2WD, will the transfer case still get damaged? Of course I would remount the outer stub shaft so the bearing hub doesn't come apart!
In a few days, I will be towing the XJ about 1,500 miles to Florida and don't want to have ANY issues with the XJ. I won't need 4WD in FL, so I can live without it for a few months until I get back North in the Spring.
So what do you LJ, TJ, XJ, transfer case experts out there think?
Can I remove the front axle shafts and tow the XJ 4 down, without destroying the transfer case?
PS, I thought about unbolting both DS, but disconnecting the rear DS may not be a viable option. I'll need to fill up my 75 gallon gas tank every 400 miles in strange gas stations along the way. If I get into odd situations, I won't be able to back up. You guys know the drill!!! I don't think people waiting to get gas would appreciate it when I'm under the XJ reconnecting the rear DS!!!