Today's award goes to the proud (?) owner(s) of a 2021 Jeep Rubicon that they've just utterly destroyed, mechanically speaking.
Last month, we asked you about your absolute worst towing experiences. Many of you had some great stories to share, but I think I've finally found one that takes the cake, and it involves destroying a new 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon by flat-towing it improperly.
. . .
Tuten told The Drive that when the techs began diagnosing the vehicle, they noticed it had been left in "4-Low," which is what you'd want when traversing rough terrain at low speeds, or if stuck in a rut—but most definitely not while being towed at highway speeds. For reference, the JL Wrangler manual explicitly states not to exceed 25 miles per hour with 4-Low engaged.
What's even more damaging is that the vehicle was also left in first gear, meaning that as the wheels of the Wrangler turned, so did the driveshaft, transmission, and the rotating assembly of the engine. Tuten did a bit of napkin math and figured that at 55 mph, the engine was spinning somewhere around 50,000 rpm, well above the factory redline of 6,600 rpm.
The engine revved so high that the crankshaft sheared off, sending the two rear-most pistons and rods through the block. The clutch and flywheel also went flying through the transmission's bell housing and lopped off its input shaft.
As you might expect, this job quickly turned into a rather expensive fix. Tuten said that the final bill of replacement parts is close to cresting $30,000, and that doesn't include labor.
There's more at the link, including photographs and a video of the damage. (Language alert on the video - several F-bombs, etc.)
I know that the Jeep Wrangler (and presumably its derivative pickup, the Jeep Gladiator) is designed to be towed safely on its own wheels, rather than a trailer, provided one uses the correct drivetrain and gearbox settings. I hadn't expected using the wrong settings to be so catastrophic! I doubt their auto insurance company is going to be willing to pay for that . . .