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Old 07-10-2019, 06:52 PM   #1
MGG
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Default Towing a big truck

I have two Ford big trucks a 1934 and a 1940, both with floating rear axles. If I want to tow them on the ground (like to a parade), do I need to pull out the rear axles or merely put the transmission in neutral and go? Safely, of course.

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Old 07-10-2019, 07:00 PM   #2
alanwoodieman
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Default Re: Towing a big truck

what are you towing with and what is the distance?? then we can give you some answers
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Old 07-10-2019, 09:05 PM   #3
MGG
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Default Re: Towing a big truck

I would use a 3/4 ton pickup, (minimum), and about a 20 mile range (maximum) without hauling it. I would install brakes for the rear truck axle which I can control from my pickup.
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Old 07-10-2019, 09:21 PM   #4
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Default Re: Towing a big truck

20 miles? why not drive it?
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Old 07-10-2019, 09:22 PM   #5
alanwoodieman
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Default Re: Towing a big truck

do they run? you can drive them if they do. I am assuming we are talking about 1 1/2 ton trucks? if so they are quite heavy and if you flat tow they will nearly be impossible to track/steer, if you use a tow dolly, it will work, you will need to make sure that the tow truck is loaded on the rear quite heavy, if not the towed truck will just pick up rear of tow truck and go where it wants to
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Old 07-10-2019, 09:46 PM   #6
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Default Re: Towing a big truck

Lots of work to go 20 miles! I think you could put all that effort into driving it the 20 miles.
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Old 07-10-2019, 09:52 PM   #7
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Default Re: Towing a big truck

Yes, they are both 1 1/2 ton and both run, but, for now, road worthy tires are not in the budget so I want to stick to parades. I have two ways I could tow it: 1. I have a 3 point hitch bar which would allow all four points of the truck to be on the ground and, 2. I can put the weight of the front end of the towed truck on the rear axle of the towing vehicle by using another kind of hitch bar which goes under and lifts up the front of the towed truck. Using method 1, I am pretty sure the front of the towed truck would track but I would test it first before going far. My father built and used both methods but I do not remember what, if anything, he did with the rear axles, which was the reason for my original question.
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Old 07-10-2019, 09:54 PM   #8
J Franklin
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Default Re: Towing a big truck

If you tow it flat the tires are getting the same use!
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Old 07-10-2019, 10:55 PM   #9
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Default Re: Towing a big truck

I agree, what is the difference between towing and driving tire wise?
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Old 07-10-2019, 11:18 PM   #10
MGG
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Default Re: Towing a big truck

My preference until I prove the engine some. Anyone know about the axles?
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Old 07-11-2019, 12:06 AM   #11
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Default Re: Towing a big truck

I never heard about pulling axles to tow 20 miles. What is your concern?
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Old 07-11-2019, 12:08 AM   #12
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Default Re: Towing a big truck

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Originally Posted by MGG View Post
My preference until I prove the engine some. Anyone know about the axles?
Do they have open driveshafts? If so, just drop the rear u-joints and tie the driveshafts up, hook up the tow vehicle and go!
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Old 07-11-2019, 01:01 AM   #13
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Default Re: Towing a big truck

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Originally Posted by MGG View Post
I have two Ford big trucks a 1934 and a 1940, both with floating rear axles. If I want to tow them on the ground (like to a parade), do I need to pull out the rear axles or merely put the transmission in neutral and go? Safely, of course.

Thanks
With the axles installed the gears and bearings in the differential are being lubricated whether driven or towed. The same should be true of the trans. The only advantage that I see for pulling the axles is that there would be less rolling resistance with them out, but you’re only going 20 miles. We flat towed a manual trans pickup behind our RV with no issues whatsoever.
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Old 07-11-2019, 04:08 AM   #14
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Default Re: Towing a big truck

If you really want to flat tow, prop the clutch pedal down. With the trans in neutral, the natural drag in the box will turn the gears inside and stir up the oil. If the clutch is up, (engaged) the gears cant turn and the gears spinning on the shafts get no lubrication.

The above is for a synchro box, the truck boxes might not be so fussy, but it can't hurt to prop the clutch pedal down either way.

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Old 07-11-2019, 05:25 AM   #15
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Default Re: Towing a big truck

My father had F8 dump trucks 49 & 51 when I was a kid, we never pulled a rear axle to tow just transmission in neutral. The tandem axle units the rear axle was pulled because of power divider. I would not worry especially in a parade where you are going slow.
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Old 07-11-2019, 05:35 AM   #16
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Default Re: Towing a big truck

i had a Buddy tow a old 3 ton once. the transmission was low of oïl and the old truck probably never passed 45 mph. but he towed it at 60 65 mph. transmission seized and he cracked the bell housing. on big rigs when you tow them they remove drive shaft. i seen on tendems where you removed axles to make it home,because of a broken differencial.
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Old 07-11-2019, 07:35 AM   #17
deuce5wndw
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Default Re: Towing a big truck

Years ago at the local Ford dealer the new big trucks were delivered piggyback and they would pull the rear axles because the rear wheels were on the ground. That would only have the rear wheel bearings turning. They had plates that bolted on in place of the axle ends and the axles were strapped to the frame.
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Old 07-11-2019, 08:46 AM   #18
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Default Re: Towing a big truck

With the clutch engaged and the transmission in neutral, only the output shaft turns. As long as there is oil in the gearbox and rear axle, no harm will come to the drive train on a short run. U-joints should be in good shape and lubed too. Long runs may not supply enough oiling to the transmission output bearing or the bearing inside the input shaft.

My concern about this is that tires are one of the most important factors for road safety. Bad tires can cause problems whether driven or towed but it may be multiplied under tow. If no one is in the truck during the tow, it would be a disaster. If someone is in the truck, they better know what to do if a tire blows. A rear dual set up may save the day unless both go at once but a front tire directly affects steering capability. I don't know if a tow dolly is rated for that kind of weight. A person should check.

Taking a substandard vehicle to a parade may not be the best idea. Trailering there would be better since parades are usually very slow any way but it would be embarrassing to hold up a parade if a tire let go. Brakes are also a concern not to be taken lightly.
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Old 07-11-2019, 09:02 AM   #19
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Default Re: Towing a big truck

It is very common to see new trucks, sometimes as many as two, being towed piggy-back, rear wheels on the ground, on a large truck. From my experience tow truck drivers generally disconnect the drive-shaft from the pinion.
My suggestion to tow a heavy 1.5/2. ton truck would be to do it with a goose neck/fifth-wheel tandum axle trailer. A HD F250/350 truck would do the job, the rig would have the proper brakes and lights.
I think the laws of most states require brakes on any towed vehicle weighing over 3,000#.
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Old 07-11-2019, 09:32 AM   #20
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Default Re: Towing a big truck

If the brakes and tires are not good enough for a little 20 mile drive, they are NOT good enough for a parade! What if a sidewall lets go? The noise will probably have the cops shooting at you!!
Some parade entrants like to throw candy for the kids. What if a kid after candy runs right in front of you and you only have the emergency brake to try to stop??

Last edited by 40 Deluxe; 07-12-2019 at 05:26 PM.
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