Stop Pulling Fuses to Flat Tow Your Vehicle

Do you have to pull ignition fuses from your vehicle every time you flat tow your car? Our RV neighbors Jay & Linda Clark drive a 2008 Saturn Vue and they did too. One day a fuse broke off in the fuse panel leaving them stranded and Jay had finally had enough. Jay & Erik got to work on fixing the Saturn and after getting things fixed, they decides to build a permanent solution to end the full pulling nightmare.

Today we are going to show everyone how we built a fuse relocation and switch box assembly designed to bypass the ignition fuse for towing. This switch box ends the need to pull the fuse, simulating what happens when you pull the fuse manually.

Before we get started, EVERY vehicle is different. Please consult the manual that came with your vehicle and the manufacture on the specific procedure you must follow to flat tow your vehicle. Not all vehicles can be flat towed and this article is not designed to help anyone flat tow a vehicle that was not designed to be towed by the manufacturer. You assume all responsibility by following these instructions. Now let’s get on to building! First, this project is for the do-it-yourselfer. If you are not comfortable with wiring, soldering and a basic understanding of 12 volt electrical systems then please get help from a friend who knows their way around an electrical system before proceeding. Ok let’s get started with a materials and tool list.

Materials List:

Tools Needed:

Our video above goes into great detail on the actual assembly of the fuse relocation and switch assembly. Please watch this video and follow the instructions included to build your own assembly. Here is a basic diagram of what you are building.

switch_diagram

If you have any questions about the specific switch we built or how you can build your own please comment in the section below and we will reply to help you out!


Erik McCauley

Comments

  1. tom hedrick Says: February 7, 2017 at 10:41 am

    What does pulling the ignition fuse on a 2008 Saturn vue effect? I know the car wont start. But what else does it effect?

    • Hi Tom,

      I dont own a Saturn Vue but in doing some quick research it appears removing the fuse has the primary function of ensuring the battery isnt drained/damaged by leaving the car’s ignition in the “accessory position” for extended periods. Here is a full write up/response on the Tow Procedure from Saturn. I cannot verify this information is 100% accurate since I don’t have this setup so be sure to check with the manufacturer before trying this yourself. Here is the procedure:

      Dinghy Towing Procedure
      Notice: If you tow your vehicle without performing each of the steps listed under
      “Dinghy Towing,” you could damage the automatic transmission. Be sure to follow all steps of the dinghy towing procedure prior to and after
      towing your vehicle.
      Notice: Don’t tow a vehicle with the front drive wheels on the ground if one of the front tires is a compact spare tire. Towing with two
      different tire sizes on the front of the vehicle can cause severe damage to the transmission.
      1. Position the vehicle to tow and then secure it.
      2. Shift the transmission to Park (P) and turn the ignition to OFF.
      3. Set the parking brake.
      4. Turn the ignition to ACCESSORY.
      5. Shift your transmission to NEUTRAL (N).
      6. To prevent your battery from draining while the vehicle is being towed, remove the 2 amp ignition switch fuse from the I/P fuse block and
      store in a safe location.
      7. Release the parking brake. Once you have reached your destination, do the following steps:
      1. Set the parking brake.
      2. Reinstall the ignition switch fuse.
      3. Shift the transmission to Park (P), turn the ignition key to OFF and remove the key from the ignition.
      4. Release the parking brake.
      Disabled Towing Information
      To avoid vehicle damage, a platform or flatbed trailer (carrier) should be used to
      transport this vehicle. Consult a Saturn retailer or professional towing service for more information regarding disabled towing.

      The fuse box is located on the passenger side on the center console.

    • Tom Hedrick Says: February 7, 2017 at 11:05 am

      I built the fuse bypass for my 2008 Saturn Vue. I know it wont start but what else does it shut off. I don’t understand what it does It was very easy to assemble. Thanks for the video

  2. Your inline fuse splice was a bit dicey. I would recommend using this technique for both mechanical and electrical reasons. Other than that I like your posts I have watched.
    http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Do-a-Western-Union-Splice/

    • thanks Scott, appreciate the feedback and I’ll check out the technique. I’ve been soldering for so long I’ve definitely gotten a bit lazy but also cant remember the last time I had a failure. That said I’m definitely leaning towards speed rather than durability in this video. Thanks so much for checking in!

  3. Wm Laybourne Says: August 20, 2016 at 2:47 am

    A hidden switch would also act as a theft deterrent. Thank you for your patient, easy to follow information.

  4. Food for thought:
    If the system fails (faulty switch or connection)or the switch is bumped off (by a purse or foot) during vehicle operation you would lose not only ignition but power steering, brakes, and airbags. Sounds a lot like Chevys ignition recall and loss of life lawsuit.
    If your followers are going to build one they should be very competent soldiering and use a high quality safety switch and fuse holder.

    • Thanks David, good suggestions. Loosing brakes, power steering, and airbags due to a fuse does sound like a recall worthy event and is quite unlikely if not impossible in most cars these days but I think it’s a great idea to add a section telling folks to kick the switch to off when the motor is running to simulate a fuse blow to verify what if any systems are affected in their vehicle. In the end this switch being in the off position would simulate a fuse blowing and in many cars this would not affect one or all critical safety systems but nonetheless a good thing to check. Thanks for the feedback!

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