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Flat Towing

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Bib Overalls, Feb 7, 2008.

    Joined: Aug 3, 2009
    Posts: 435


    holy crap!
  2. I've only had one incident where flat-towing proved to be a bad idea. I was towing an old, inop Dodge D100 pickup from Denver to OKC. Everything was going just friggin' peachy. I had to stop to pee, so I checked the tires and hubs on the D100 while I was stopped. The right rear was a little warm compared to the other three, but not abnormally so. On I went. About 60 miles later, I felt a thud, looked in the mirrors and saw the Dodge sitting very low in the right rear...that's right, the axle, brake assembly and wheel/tire shot out the side of the truck at about 70 mph! There was no way to fix it, since the bearing was melted! Luckily, there was nearly no traffic and it was the right side, since the whole assembly shot out the side and landed nearly 150 feet off the Interstate! I was too far from home to get my trailer, and a U-Haul trailer was out of the question, where I was at. So, I left it there, after pulling a few hard-to-get pieces from the pickup!

    I'll flat-tow locally, but for any meaningful distance, I'll use the trailer.
  3. RJP
    Joined: Oct 5, 2005
    Posts: 1,799

    from PNW

    towing hubs, a good towbar, and a heavier tow car than whats being towed. Suburbans, station wagons are great for towing.
    Back in the late 70's, early 80's, I made at least 8 to 10 trips a year from Nevada to Wisconsin. Never had a problem. Kept the towing hubs well greased, the towing tires in good condition, and the tow bar was a U-Haul unit I bought used.
    Found out later that U-Haul never sold their tow
    Tail lights had magnet bases. Custom "Car in tow" sign for the rear. Of course, back then you had metal on cars, so the magnets worked.
    Only problem was backing up, kinda like backing up a hay wagon.
  4. metalshapes
    Joined: Nov 18, 2002
    Posts: 10,706

    Tech Editor


    If I'd only known....:D :D

    Zagato 136.jpg

    Zagato 138.jpg
  5. HMS57
    Joined: Sep 1, 2009
    Posts: 5


    We towed our '57 Corette with our '59 El Camino...Both were painted Roman Red and ran 10" wide Blue Streak Racing Tires on both...
    What a head turner going down the road to the SCCA races on the east coast...
    Back in the Day...

  6. Unibodyguy
    Joined: Dec 23, 2007
    Posts: 403


    Well in 2002, I flat towed my 89 F150 behind my 61 F250 Uni with a towbar from Las Vegas to Raliegh NC, with both trucks loaded with all my stuff. Didn't have no problems along the way. Just had to watch the braking and not getting into some palce you couldn't back up. It was 2300 miles and did it in 3 1/2 days by myself. I used to tow cars/trucks back to Wisconsin from Texas 2-3 times a years in the 80's and never had any problems.

  7. With a stick trans your turning the rear outpuit shaft it turns the second speed gear on a three speed. That gear turns the cluster gear and will slop the fluid around. Probably those" documented" cases where caused by low gear oil. Any time you tow any distance you need to check the trans and rearend lube. Flat towing is like lots of other things If you dont know what your doing you shouldnt do it. Even a trailer is dangerious ! Lots of folks have wrecks pulling a trailer. Many times the rental places will refuse to rent you a car trailer if your pull vehicle dont meet certain specs.The unit doing the pulling needs to be a considerable amount heavier than what your are dragging behind. You need to have common sense and not drive faster than you can control your load. I drive a 80,000 lb semi . I have to make allowances for longer stopping distances ect. You have to do the same when flat towing using a tow dolly or a trailer. In my opinion they are all potentially dangerious and one is not necessiarly safer than the other. Also with anti lock brakes on newer tow vehicles the trailer brakes will lock completely up and then release then lock up and release repeatedly in a panic stop situation.I agree some folks should not flat tow those same folks most likely shouldnt pull a trailer or tow dolly also. :rolleyes:Randall
  8. I really don't think that's right, however, I never heard of anyone having a problem with towing a stickshift car.
  9. Diavolo
    Joined: Apr 1, 2009
    Posts: 815


    I had an old ford truck that had been flat towed. Internals were galled. Later I read that overfilling the transmission kept it wet enough to prevent that. Easier to pull the shaft.
  10. NMCarNut
    Joined: Nov 28, 2009
    Posts: 631


    I have a trailer with brakes at all wheels to carry all the derelict vehicles I seem to find so I just use it for everything. Plus the idea of trying to make a panic stop with something heavy pushing on the rear through a ball, especially in a curve, sends shivers through my spine.
  11. Von Rigg Fink
    Joined: Jun 11, 2007
    Posts: 13,426

    Von Rigg Fink
    from Garage

    Real bitch to back up, That and no brakes..I aint doing it.
    Flat towed a Toyota Land cruiser behind another one going up north...Never again.

    Trailer is the only way to fly IMO.
    your results may vary

    Maybe short hauls
    Last edited: May 11, 2011
  12. denis4x4
    Joined: Apr 23, 2005
    Posts: 3,709

    from Colorado

    This is a Reese adjustable tow bar I use for my Zipper and a Jeep. the brackets are bolted to the axle with 1/2" grade 8 bolts. Once in a while, I'll use it to tow the car to a show, but most of the time it's handy for dropping off one of my cars for service. Means my wife doesn't need to follow me to the dealership. I've flat towed a lot of Jeeps from California to Colorado without any problems. The owner's manual suggests that the transfer case and transmission both be in neutral and that you run the engine for five minutes every 200 miles.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: May 11, 2011
  13. kornbinder
    Joined: Oct 19, 2005
    Posts: 514

    from Sonora, CA

    I do it all the time but the braking issue is a problem. Hmm just noticed this is kind of an old post:eek:

  14. Ive just returned home from another successful Flat Towing adventure. Monday I went to a auction. I needed another tow vehiclre because my OT 83 chev 3/4 wrecher has bad rod bearings. I drove to Rover Mo(about 60 miles in a 70 1/2 ton short bed . I bought a 71 3/4 that has a 402 big block turbo 400 trans power and air. It had a professionally built steel flat bed. I was planning on installing my winch& sling on it. Any way I hooked my tow bar to the 70 and towed it 60 miles back home that big engine pulled all the hills easily. yesterday saturday I went to a auction at Rose Bud Ar. I drove a 83 4 cyl ford ranger. I was intersted in a WWII bomb trailer. I bought the trailer. Then I noticed this 78 chev PK that has a big block engine. The truck cane with a 454 has a factory tachometer in the dash. I bought it too. I pulled the army trailer home with the little ranger. Well those 1945 army tires 900-20,s they started shedding tread along about searcy Ar. Very Bouncy untill all the tread flys off:eek:. We met several cops went right past one sitting at the stop light at Bradford Ar! nobody even noticed or didnt want the paper work hassle. The ranger wouldnt pull the trailer in 4th gear so 3 gear 40 MPH for 150 miles no hassles made it home with a few plys left! Today we went and got the 78 Pk. Hooked up and left out We went down Lookout MTN. on 37 between Rosebud & Searcy no problem. Got to Bradford and the same city cop who wasnt interested in the junky Ranger& trailer with tread flapping pulls me over:confused:. My paper work was all good. He wanted to write a ticket because I didnt have lights on the towed vwhicle. I have highly visible lights on the headache rack so we argued he dropped that. Then He was worried about the valid Missouri license on the 71. He said that was a ficticious tag. However I didnt get the title A lost title has been applied for. So the auctioneer had me write the check to him. Said to drive on the missouri tags until the title was sent to me. He isnt going to cash my check until he gets the title. The truck is double insured the seller has insurance and I have insurance. We aruged again and he dropped the ficticious tag bull. Then he seen on the bill of sale what I paid for the 71 and tried to buy it!. Nothing else of note happened we made it home safe. I spent $100 on gas going 300 miles. Man I miss the 1960,s gas& prices:mad: OldWolf

    Attached Files:

  15. Roger Walling
    Joined: Sep 26, 2010
    Posts: 1,149

    Roger Walling

    About 5 years ago, I towed a AA/Dragster a few miles using a tow dolly behing my 32 roadster to a car show.

    To say that it turned heads is putting it mildly! (a bonas was that it got me in with only one entry fee)

    When pepple on the road saw the roadster they turned their heads, when they saw the dragster on the back, they almost broke their necks looking again.
  16. HOTFR8
    Joined: Nov 30, 2010
    Posts: 2,075


    I recall an article about a flat towed Chassis in Rodders Journal a few issues ago.
  17. I finally fabricated the tow bar and used it last month to get my roadster to the Roundup. A total of 1,300 miles down and back without a hitch (groan).

    I made permanent frame mounts out of 1/4" stainless steel. I also used 40,000# rated rod ends for the pivots.

    What Is It by Bib Overalls, on Flickr

    The brackets are bolted on with ARP stainless hardware.

    What Is It 3 by Bib Overalls, on Flickr

    The bar is made out of 1.5" square mild steel tubing with a wall thickness of .120". The rod ends thread into blocks of 1.25" bar stock drilled and tapped 3/4" fine. The blocks are welded into the tubing on all four sides and also plug welded.

    What Is It 5 by Bib Overalls, on Flickr

    There is a wire conduit on the top of the left rail. I permanently wired the roadster for towing with a flat four wire trailer connector just behind the radiator and flat connectors in the trunk. Under tow the roadsters tail and tag lights and the turn signals all work.

    What Is It 4 by Bib Overalls, on Flickr

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