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Tow bars made from Ford wishbones.

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Bugsy, Jul 22, 2013.

  1. Bugsy
    Joined: Dec 27, 2008
    Posts: 1,285

    Bugsy
    Member
    from Kansas

    So, I'm wanting to build a tow bar for my roadster. I know that fabricating them from Ford wishbones used to be a pretty common practice back in the day. I'm not having a lot of luck finding any pictures of one though. I'm just curious as to how they generally connected to the vehicle (the axle or frame horns) and any other details of them. Anyone have any pics of one of these??
     
  2. Seems almost like a crime to use a good set of un-split bones,there just not as common as they once were. HRP
     
  3. Xtrom
    Joined: Mar 23, 2010
    Posts: 1,017

    Xtrom
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Forman, ND

    I have one. No pics off hand. The vehicle mine towed had a pair or brackets welded to the front bumper with holes in them. Pivoted on 5/8" or so pins/bolts there.
     
  4. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,792

    tfeverfred
    Member

    I saw a '32 insert and grill shell used on a BBQ grill, at a car gathering. The owner did NOT get the acclaim he was after. I'm thinking something stronger and readily available could be used.
     

  5. NortonG
    Joined: Dec 26, 2003
    Posts: 2,117

    NortonG
    Member Emeritus

  6. Pete1
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 1,969

    Pete1
    Member
    from Wa.

    Today I wouldn't use one because it is so easy to just fabricate from tubing and maybe cheaper unless you have one.
    Back in the "olden dayz", I used to make them up from any Ford wishbone for $20.
    Most of the ones I made attached to the frame horns. Some attached to the spreader bar with old connecting rods.
     
  7. BootleggerMatt
    Joined: Aug 17, 2011
    Posts: 258

    BootleggerMatt
    Member

    I used the twin i-beams off a 70's F-100 for something like that. No pics, but something to think about that isn't so rare.
     
  8. zibo
    Joined: Mar 17, 2002
    Posts: 2,346

    zibo
    Member
    from dago ca

    Hey Bugsy,
    don't want to hijack but I'm gonna ask a flat towing related question.

    I've had good luck towing some times,
    but not so good luck with others.
    In the old VW days,
    the tow bar pinned around the bottom tube of the torsion bar.
    The connection was a little loose.
    Anyway I remember towing a baja bug and a vw bug around no problem.

    The past couple years I've towed our chopped 40 and also the orange C&C roadster.
    This was done using a V tow bar,
    and the connections bolted on to either the frame horns or welded tabs.
    Sometimes there would be an almost violent front wheel shake,
    usually coming out of turns,
    but I'd pull over, straighten out the wheel,
    and get it going fine.

    My last time I tried pulling the green 40.
    I had modified some brackets on the bumper,
    and holey chit even on the straight aways the car would not follow.
    It actually ended up tweaking the bumper brackets.
    After that I sketched out on the flat tow,
    as that last one was such a hassle.

    I've had the best luck when the connection was tight,
    only allowing rotational movement,
    but like I said theres sometimes some crazy shimmeeing going on.

    Any tips or ideas?

    Thanks!

    TP
     
  9. I've used the VW tow bar myself and redesigned the ends to use a rod through the holes I drilled in the tow bar and through the bumper brace holes on the Model A I was flat towing. HRP
     
  10. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,695

    56sedandelivery
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Maybe I should't say this, but I once found a "pair" someone had thrown into the recycling can at a machine shop. They were from the rear judging by the brackets, but the front ends had already been split, cut, and shortened (unequally at that). I hung onto them for a few years, no one seemed to want them, even for free, so i eventually used them as fence posts for a section of chain link fencing I installed. That's been about 20 years now; at least I put them to use, and they did't wind up being exported as scrap to some Asian country. I thought about using them as traction bars, but the fence job won out. I know how it just does't seem right to use something this old, and getting hard to find, in this way; I have the same regard for Tri-Five Chevrolets, and have a friend who regularly cuts them up after selling everything he can off of parts cars he gets. Butch/56sedandelivery.
     
  11. Cars will flat tow a lot better with an engine in them and the geometry correct. There needs to be some weight so the caster will work and straighten the wheels out after a turn. Picture the neck of a bicycle frame and the way the front wheel will want to point forward with weight.
     
  12. No shortage of them in this area..........
     
  13. BobF
    Joined: Dec 30, 2004
    Posts: 230

    BobF
    Member
    from Poway, CA

    I towed our Model A from St.Paul to O'side CA with a tow bar with no problems, just try not to get in a position where you need to back up stopping for gas or lunch break.
    Kiwi Kev is correct, I had no engine (early Olds) in the car so I had to drop the split radius rods down (more positive caster) and bolt a piece of plywood across the frame rails where the engine lived, with two sand bags strapped on top. Followed along nicely.
     
  14. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,588

    Atwater Mike
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    As much as one has to 'massage' an existing wishbone to a designed tow bar parameter, best use tubing and go straightaway to the new plan. Fresh fit to the coupler, too.
     
  15. Bugsy
    Joined: Dec 27, 2008
    Posts: 1,285

    Bugsy
    Member
    from Kansas

    Well...I agree with what some have said about using an original part that could be used elsewhere as it was intended but I also know that there are several of them out there that will never find their way back under a vehicle again in any configuration.

    I guess I kind of wanted one for the "period" look that would fit the car but that's kind of stupid when it's being towed by a 2003 F-150 and it's not something that would stay on the car.

    Using new materials and starting from scratch probably makes more sense for a lot of reasons. I'd still like to see a picture of one though.
     
  16. fortynut
    Joined: Jul 16, 2008
    Posts: 1,038

    fortynut
    Member

    This one was just like reading a short story. The character develops a conscience, and changes his way of thinking. Listening to advice, and being able to adopt optional methods of doing things makes a man walk taller, (if he gets a better pair of boots). Old stuff will never be new again. What we have left is all there is, or ever will be; saving it means more parts will be used on old cars. Ain't we all a little gladder?
     
  17. Rex Schimmer
    Joined: Nov 17, 2006
    Posts: 743

    Rex Schimmer
    Member
    from Fulton, CA

    If you are set on making a tow bar from an old set of Ford radius rods be sure to use the front set as the rears are damn thin, fronts are much stronger.

    Rex
     
  18. kb cookout
    Joined: Dec 17, 2004
    Posts: 4,187

    kb cookout
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    HI; This one used to tow a 1939 ford custom truck from Alabama to Ca and back in the 50's/60's

    K-boy has the truck now and is restoring it

    later kb

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  19. paul55
    Joined: Dec 1, 2010
    Posts: 3,416

    paul55
    Member
    from michigan

    I've got one dad built back in the mid-60s to tow his 34 3w to the track. It's now setup to use on my 55. I'll post some pics tomorrow.
     
  20. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,792

    tfeverfred
    Member

    No dog in this fight, but in the past, didn't guys use 32's for demolition derby because they were so easy to find? Well, we know how that ended. Once something's gone, it's gone forever. But I guess the repro guys have to make a living.
     
  21. Bugsy
    Joined: Dec 27, 2008
    Posts: 1,285

    Bugsy
    Member
    from Kansas

    KB Cookout....thank you for the pics, that's what I've been looking for. I wouldn't sacrifice a usable wishbone for this project but I do have one from a Model A that is broken where the perch goes through at the top. No longer good for a driver but would be perfect for this or for splitting anyway. Or....maybe I'll find an old one that someone already made into a bar, years ago.
     

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