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Technical Flat towing an early Ford?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Russco, May 29, 2019.

  1. Russco
    Joined: Nov 27, 2005
    Posts: 4,132

    Russco
    Member
    from Central IL

    Can you flat tow an early Ford with a torque tube without damaging the transmission? ( 350 miles )
     
  2. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 11,549

    Tim
    Member
    from Raytown Mo

    Good question. I’ve seen people mention tying the shifter to hold it in neutral.

    I’d love to hear some real world advice past “they did it back in the day”
     
  3. swifty
    Joined: Dec 25, 2005
    Posts: 1,702

    swifty
    Member

    Back in the early 60's we had an A bar and that was what we used to tow all the "barn finds" home. From my experience with early Ford trans Tim's idea of tying the shifter in neutral is essential.
    Also how do you think all those Fords got to the speedway, trailers were not that common back then.
     
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  4. Russco
    Joined: Nov 27, 2005
    Posts: 4,132

    Russco
    Member
    from Central IL

    This is column shift so I don’t think falling into gear would be an issue. I’m mainly concerned about transmission lubrication while towing. I flat towed my old A coupe long distance many times but it had a quick change and I could just pull a spur gear.
     

  5. yngrodder
    Joined: Dec 1, 2002
    Posts: 1,506

    yngrodder
    Member

    Just use my trailer.
     
  6. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 11,549

    Tim
    Member
    from Raytown Mo

    I’d think you’d be more likely to have a columbshift drop down into a gear than a floor shift seeing as the shifter and the car will be moving up and down.

    Probably easier to tie off the underhood linkage in that situation I’d think.

    A lot of us don’t own a trailer, I’ve looked at flat towing because my daily could pull a light model A and be well with in the pulling limits. Add a trailer that weights just as much if not more than the model A and I’m probably pushing it as far as being safe.

    The trans shouldn’t be having any lube issues I wouldn’t think. It’s flat on the ground like normal and it’s getting lube by shit spinning around like normal?

    Good idea on pulling a spur gear in a quick change, I’d never thought of/heard of that
     
  7. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 11,549

    Tim
    Member
    from Raytown Mo

    I’ve mainly wondered about this because I’d like to pull a model A hotrod with my 46 ford Tudor.
     
  8. Russco
    Joined: Nov 27, 2005
    Posts: 4,132

    Russco
    Member
    from Central IL

    Don’t think my pussy truck can pull it
     
  9. Petejoe
    Joined: Nov 27, 2002
    Posts: 10,573

    Petejoe
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Zoar, Ohio

    Yes, I flat towed this ford 530 miles. No problems. Been using the same drivetrain for 20 years.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Petejoe
    Joined: Nov 27, 2002
    Posts: 10,573

    Petejoe
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Zoar, Ohio

    I’d think if you have a locking steering column you could load it back wards.
     
    Tim likes this.
  11. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 6,146

    anthony myrick
    Member

    cant damage a manual from towing
    if the linkage is a worry, put in neutral and disconnect the rods
     
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  12. 19Fordy
    Joined: May 17, 2003
    Posts: 6,921

    19Fordy
    Member

    Yes you can. I flat towed my 40 coupe 400 miles from Poughkeepsie NY to Wellfleet, MA in 1967.
    Put the car in neutral, unlock the steering column and your good to go. The car tracked easily behind my heavier 57 Pontiac that had a spare flatty in the trunk. I did not disconnect the torque tube or anything else. BE CAREFUL as you don't want to get yourself in a situation where you have to back up.
    Things may have changed since back then. I was lucky as I was never stopped for having no brakes lights or a tag on the 40. Just a paper plate that said CAR IN TOW.
    Also, flat towing may not be legal in all states.
     
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  13. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 11,549

    Tim
    Member
    from Raytown Mo

    Could use those magnetic trailer lights that they often use on towed cars. If it’s something you plan on doing regularly I’m sure you could put a plug on the front of the car to plug into the tow vehicle like a trailer plug would?
     
  14. jimgoetz
    Joined: Sep 6, 2013
    Posts: 401

    jimgoetz
    Member

    Almost nobody had a trailer in the 50's and those old Fords were towed all the time.
     
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  15. Terrible80
    Joined: Oct 1, 2010
    Posts: 778

    Terrible80
    Member

  16. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 6,146

    anthony myrick
    Member

    Every thing was towed.
    Slings on a wrecker or a piece of pipe with a chain thru it
     
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  17. the-rodster
    Joined: Jul 2, 2003
    Posts: 6,664

    the-rodster
    Member

    I've never had a problem...

    IMG_7119.jpg
     
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  18. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 11,549

    Tim
    Member
    from Raytown Mo

    Anything you do to tow or things you would recommend? Since you have first hand knowledge

    Like ways to hold in neutral, lights etc.
     
  19. Russco
    Joined: Nov 27, 2005
    Posts: 4,132

    Russco
    Member
    from Central IL

    Thanks fellas, I was just worried about the trans not getting lubed. I’ve flat towed my stuff several times. On my old truck with a Muncie trans I disconnect at the rear differential and tie the shaft to the safety hoop. And my Model A I just pulled a spur gear. Both pulled nicely behind my little GMC Canyon.
     
  20. Boneyard51
    Joined: Dec 10, 2017
    Posts: 4,330

    Boneyard51
    Member

    Flat towing most manual transmission long distance can cause problems. Most transmissions get oil from the cluster gear spinning. When towing the cluster gear does not spin. The pocket bearing and other top bearing will run dry. How far do you need to go before damage? Not sure.
    One way to prevent possible transmission failure or damage, is to stop on the trip and start the engine with the transmission in neutral to lube the upper bearings.

    Some latter transmissions and transfer cases have provisions for splash lubercation from the output shaft and can be towed indefinitely.





    Bones
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2019
  21. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 6,146

    anthony myrick
    Member

    depends on where the fill location is in regards to the output shaft
    and of course, the amount of lubricant is important
     
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  22. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 11,549

    Tim
    Member
    from Raytown Mo

    Ok for sake of conversation let’s say it’s a 34 to 48 ish ford three speed. He mentioned early ford and torque tube so that seems a fair assumption
     
  23. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 6,146

    anthony myrick
    Member

  24. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 11,549

    Tim
    Member
    from Raytown Mo

    Ok maybe I wasn’t clear. I ment how would it effect this transmission. Is the oil fill being close to the output shaft better or worse.... you were kinda vague in what was better or worse or why
     
  25. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 6,146

    anthony myrick
    Member

    The higher the fill the closer to the main shaft the less likely for any damage
    If that trans has the correct amount of fluid, towing should be fine.
     
    Tim likes this.
  26. manyolcars
    Joined: Mar 30, 2001
    Posts: 8,367

    manyolcars

    I towed my 1937 Ford 57 miles by wrapping chain around the back bumper of my 1947 Mercury to the front bumper of the Ford
     
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  27. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,291

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    Make sure the trans and rear axle are full of lube, trans in neutral and you are good to go. Nobody worried about this until automatic transmissions came along. Most only have a front pump, if the engine is not running they get no lubrication. Manual transmissions lubricate themselves, they don't need a pump.
     
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  28. olscrounger
    Joined: Feb 23, 2008
    Posts: 3,976

    olscrounger
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Should be no problem-never though a thing about it in the 50's 60's-towed as lot of old fords.-some out of the mountains on windy roads too but did no go very fast. never had a problem.
     
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  29. blackrat40
    Joined: Apr 19, 2006
    Posts: 1,167

    blackrat40
    Member

    I almost seized up a '39 Ford top shift box towing it 30 miles!
    The rear bearing had no lube and transferred some metal from overheating.
    Topping off the lubricant(to top of box) would have probably saved it.
     
  30. ...don't you have a buddy with a truck and trailer?...be a whole lot easier than doin some of this stuff suggested...lots of stuff can go wrong flat towing, it ain't worth the hassle.
    ...good luck gettin it home.
     
    Truckdoctor Andy likes this.

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