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Technical Flat Tow

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by PhredH, Jun 7, 2021.

  1. PhredH
    Joined: Feb 28, 2015
    Posts: 90


    I would normally drive my banger the 400 miles to an event, but I am concerned that if there is some breakage at the event i'm kind of "up the creek" for a quick/uneventful return home. My banger tub (see avatar) has a '34 transmission and a quickchange differential. I was thinking of pulling one or both of the spur gears out of the QC and towing the car on a tow dolly. My small SUV should be able to handle the weight of the the car and dolly, flat trailer or car hauler probably not.
    Is this sound logic?
    Thanks in advance for input.
  2. F-ONE
    Joined: Mar 27, 2008
    Posts: 2,761

    from Alabama

    If it cant handle a flat trailer, it can't handle a flat tow.
    There is a lot of drivability issues with flat towing. Yes I know that's how they towed cars to the track or the next show in 1960, but it's not 1960.
    There are lighter weight trailers for the larger ATVs like Rangers/Gators/Razors. Some of these ATVs can be quite heavy for what they are, well in the weight range of a Model A. This may be an option. If so, you may want to look into into a smaller trailer like this with trailer brakes.
    Truckdoctor Andy and tractorguy like this.
  3. jaracer
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 996


    I've towed thousands of miles with a tow dolly; they work very well. Mine has surge brakes, it's an Acme and doesn't have any kind of swivel built in. As long as the front wheels are able to turn (steering wheel not locked) it tracks fine.

    Pulling out one or both of the quick change gears would keep the drive train from turning so the transmission wouldn't have any lubrication issues. You might want to rent a tow dolly and make a 5 or 10 mile test run before towing to the event.
  4. Gearhead Graphics
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 3,812

    Gearhead Graphics
    from Denver Co

    Seems if it cant tow it on a dolly/trailer it wouldnt be able to tow it period. AND youve got to make a tow bar for the tub. Why not rent a dolly and just try towing it around town first?
    j3harleys likes this.

  5. 19Fordy
    Joined: May 17, 2003
    Posts: 7,189


    Is flat towing legal in most states?
  6. abe lugo
    Joined: Nov 8, 2002
    Posts: 2,460

    abe lugo

    If you are renting a dolly, borrow a truck or something. Your braking on your Suv does not compensate for the weight of an extra car behind it, unless the dolly has brakes also??

    Also note if your going on the highway vs locally the speeds are much faster.

    This thread title should be Dolly Towing with small SUV. Flat towing is a whole other thing.
  7. nosford
    Joined: Feb 7, 2011
    Posts: 419


    Don't know about most states but people flat tow jeeps here all the time. Legal as long as the vehicle is licensed for the road, couldn't tow a dune buggy that wasn't licensed legally.
  8. sloppy jalopies
    Joined: Jun 29, 2015
    Posts: 4,714

    sloppy jalopies

    many a cool hotrod/racecar was totaled by flat towing...
    with todays drivers they would try and make their turn between your cars...
    anothercarguy, blowby and tractorguy like this.
  9. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 29,058


    They flat tows "dinghies" behind motor homes all the time, up to and including H-2 Hummers and 3/4 ton 4x4 trucks past my house every day.

    I've flat towed rigs a bunch over the past 50 years including two 3/4 ton Dodge vans that I towed 160 and 200 miles respectively. The only flat tow Issue I have had is a couple of rigs that didn't want to follow the tow rig coming around tight turns. that took tying the steering wheel down with a bungie cord. I know young guys hear horror stories and are paranoid about flat towing but done right there aren't any issues except if the trans gets lubed if the driveshaft is turning.

    Still the real issue here is if the tow rig will handle towing the A at all. Phred's first step has to be to research the towing capacity of the suv before he even considers the second step. Uhaul won't rent tow dolly or trailer to you if your tow rig doesn't meet their specs most of the time.
    kevinrevin and Truckdoctor Andy like this.
  10. pirate
    Joined: Jun 29, 2006
    Posts: 639

    from Alabama

    I live in Alabama along the Interstate 10 corridor and often see trains of one car flat towing two other cars in groups of three of these setups all headed for Mexico. Many of the cars are damaged in one way or another I assume to be fixed and resold.
  11. Paul
    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 15,340


    The biggest benefit of using a trailer is you can back up, not so with flat towing or a dolly
    F-ONE and blowby like this.
  12. PhredH
    Joined: Feb 28, 2015
    Posts: 90


    Thanks to all,
    JARACER confirmed my thoughts that pulling the spur gears out of the QC keeps the driveshaft and also any parts of the transmission from turning.
  13. Mimilan
    Joined: Jun 13, 2019
    Posts: 842


    The biggest benefit from trailers is you can have Trailer Brakes :D [backing up is a secondary benefit]

    Personally if @PhredH is considering a tow dolly, [even building one] a very simple single axle trailer would almost be easier to build.
    The trailer would be easier to re-sell later. [so the cost is a false economy]

    I know this personally from selling race-cars. The buyer nearly always wants to buy the trailer as well
    Robert J. Palmer likes this.
  14. Paul
    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 15,340


    I stand corrected! safety first, always
  15. Beanscoot
    Joined: May 14, 2008
    Posts: 1,978


    It makes a big difference if the drive is all flat, or has big / steep hills on it.
  16. gene-koning
    Joined: Oct 28, 2016
    Posts: 2,373


    I've flat towed with a tow bar, I've used a tow dolly, and I've hauled with a car trailer. Every level up adds another level of security, but all are pretty safe to do, IF the guy doing the pulling understands what precautions go with every level, and IF the vehicle doing the towing is up to the task involved.

    That all said, if I was in the position of PhredH, I think I would go with the tow dolly (one with brakes is a huge +) to tow his model A 400 miles with a small SUV, assuming the small SUV is up to the task. The dolly brakes will help keep things under control with a panic stopping salutation and relieve some stress from the SUV. With no brakes on the dolly, a panic stop, especially on a wet road surface, could be a real white knuckle experience. Pull the spur gears and enjoy the trip. Gene
    firstinsteele and Hnstray like this.
  17. When I was younger, like 17, my Buddy at the time bought a 1950 Chevrolet 3600 and we tried to tow it 60 miles to his house with a small Ford Ranger. I would not recommend this. Ah, to be young and foolish again.
    LOST ANGEL likes this.
  18. chevy57dude
    Joined: Dec 10, 2007
    Posts: 6,307


    U-Haul refused to rent me a tow dolly because I showed up with a Ford Ranger. The guy asked what car I was hauling. Told him what it was, import sedan. Said no, I needed a bigger truck. Had to get pops Chevy 2500 or he wasn't gonna rent it to me!
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  19. Illustrious Hector
    Joined: Jun 15, 2020
    Posts: 147

    Illustrious Hector
    from Alberta

    British Colombia is one such jurisdiction where you cannot flat tow
  20. It won't hurt your '34 tranny to spin. Its not an automatic and it does not have a pump to circulate the oil.
  21. Beanscoot
    Joined: May 14, 2008
    Posts: 1,978


    Odd, I flat towed the wife's car back home a couple years ago with the old pickup so looked carefully into the Motor Vehicle act, and couldn't find any prohibitions. The only restrictions I found were that the towed vehicle needed valid registration and insurance, and no one was allowed in the towed vehicle.
    When you are towing with a strap, the last rule makes things tricky.

    I guess there could be some rule against it, but I couldn't find it.
  22. Grant Clemens
    Joined: Jan 31, 2020
    Posts: 21

    Grant Clemens

    I've been involved with model A's and other old cars as a hobby for 50 years. Buy a car hauling trailer you will never regret it. It is a tool you will use over and over again. The only safe way to go.
    clem likes this.

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