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Old 12-27-2015, 03:29 PM   #1
Houdini
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Default My tow bar bracket setup on bumper

I'm new to the forum and just started posting. I posted a picture of my 31 Slant Windshield Fordor and one of the members noticed my tow bracket setup. So I thought I would start a thread on this subject, so anyone looking for a solution might be able to find this more easily.

My thought in doing this, was to have an easy way to tow the car, 4 flat on the ground, in case of a breakdown or if I wanted to transport the car some distance to get to the start of a tour. I already had a Blue OX Aventi II tow bar and bought just the loose brackets that they made.

After looking for a simple way to attach them, I came up with my solution. I didn't really want to modify the A, nor did I trust attaching directly to the bumper, so I fabricated a piece of heavy 2 x 2 steel and had tabs welded onto them. The welder only had 1/4 or 1/2 inch thick sheet steel, so we went with the 1/2 inch, as I felt 1/4 might bend. 3/8 would have been ideal in my opinion.

The tabs are about 4 x 5 inches, so the bar could be welded low enough for the brackets to be bolted so they protruded just below the bumper and wide enough so I could drill two sets of holes in each bracket, one in place of the bumper bracket holes and another hole just to the outside, so the bumper could be re-mounted to the new bracket. This way, I'm pulling the car directly by the original bumper supports and not the bumper itself.

The bolt holes for the bumper are 9/16, so all those holes are that size. the tow brackets came with 1/2 holes. All bolts are grade 8.

Unfortunately, for me, when I tested it, my A didn't start off and track, but the wheels turned sideways. I did this in the driveway and watched as my wife slowly started to pull the car. I straightened the wheels and she did a turn in our circular drive and then when she turned into the street, the wheels turned sideways again (opposite direction than the first time). so I didn't trust it to track and not turn sideways. I got in the car and monitored the steering wheel and we went around the block, but at this point, I can't trust the car to track. This is a separate subject and my only intent for this tread, was to show how I attached the brackets for others that might be interested in doing this.

I have work to do on my steering and after that is done, I might try it again, but probably won't feel comfortable towing it unattended this way. It can still work in an emergency to get the car to a safe place, by sitting inside and holding the steering wheel while being towed in that case. And it is easy to just take the setup off and return the car to its original bumper mount.

Hope this can be helpful to someone.
Attached Images
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File Type: jpg bumper hitch 2.jpg (83.8 KB, 193 views)
File Type: jpg bumper hitch 3.jpg (72.0 KB, 179 views)
File Type: jpg bumper hitch 4.jpg (81.8 KB, 179 views)
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Old 12-27-2015, 06:33 PM   #2
Bob C
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Default Re: My tow bar bracket setup on bumper

My dad tried towing our A back in the 60's and had the same problem, go around a corner and it wouldn't straighten up.

Bob
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Old 12-27-2015, 06:44 PM   #3
BILL WILLIAMSON
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Default Re: My tow bar bracket setup on bumper

Harry,
Looks REALLY like a good setup. Kinda' SPOOKY how it reacts. Wonder if anyone else has experienced this or if anyone else has towed successfully?
The ONLY time we towed a long distance, Chief wrapped the Model A bumper, tight to his '36 Pontiac bumper, with 1/2" Hemp Rope & I rode in the '29 P.U, for "safety"!
Bill W.
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Old 12-27-2015, 07:31 PM   #4
BILL WILLIAMSON
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Default Re: My tow bar bracket setup on bumper

I once saw a BIG Motor Home towing a Toyota P.U. & even going straight, the Toyota did a BAD shimmy! He then tied the steering wheel, TIGHT to the wind wing post, with a rope! I always wondered what happened on the first turn???
Bill W.
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Old 12-27-2015, 07:33 PM   #5
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Default Re: My tow bar bracket setup on bumper

The model A front frame horns are not the strongest thing and can bend or twist very easily. The front fenders, apron etc are dependent on good alignment from the frame horns. Personally I would refrain from towing it that way as I feel you may wack something out of shape. there is a lot of pressure on the car when going around corners. . I have seen loops welded onto the front axle beam that a tow bar would attach to which would be more stable... Personally I would get AAA if your worried about breakdowns or at the minimum a wheel dolly to move it. The Dolly's can be had relatively cheap.
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Old 12-27-2015, 07:34 PM   #6
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Default Re: My tow bar bracket setup on bumper

I've put thousands of miles on towing Studebakers and Corvairs, and the only problem with turning corners was if I turned too sharp or was on a gravel road, then I'd have to walk back and turn the steering wheel to follow the tow car.
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Old 12-27-2015, 07:47 PM   #7
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Default Re: My tow bar bracket setup on bumper

Mitch, I'm leaning to the tow dolly. After what I experienced in my little driveway test, I don't have confidence in the tow bar setup. I might leave the bar on for a while till I develop more confidence in the cars reliability. But I think the dolly will end up being what I get. I dout I will use it very much, but as you said, they can be had for not too much.

A trailer is not what I want, even though you can get a decent one for a reasonable amount. There are then issues of storage both at home as well as when you use it on a tour. A dolly is much more compact and I understand in most states, they don't require their own license plate.

Our towing experience was with our motorhome when we were full timing and use the tow bar to pull our Mazda. Never a problem and it always tracked just fine and lots of motohome folks use them, so I thought that was the best way to go until my test. Dolly's are next in popularlity with motorhoming, but less convenient than a tow bar.
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Old 12-27-2015, 07:47 PM   #8
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Default Re: My tow bar bracket setup on bumper

I've never personally towed a Model A flat down, but the excellent Model A mechanic who worked on my car in the 1960's and 1970's always picked it up and delivered it by flat towing. His tow bar connected to the front bumper arms. He always disconnected the drag link so the A would track.

Another local man bought a 400A about 200 miles away. He flat towed it home. It wouldn't track, so his wife rode in the A all the way home to steer!

W. Michael
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Old 12-27-2015, 07:52 PM   #9
Mitch//pa
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Default Re: My tow bar bracket setup on bumper

Quote:
Originally Posted by Houdini View Post
Mitch, I'm leaning to the tow dolly. After what I experienced in my little driveway test, I don't have confidence in the tow bar setup. I might leave the bar on for a while till I develop more confidence in the cars reliability. But I think the dolly will end up being what I get. I dout I will use it very much, but as you said, they can be had for not too much.

A trailer is not what I want, even though you can get a decent one for a reasonable amount. There are then issues of storage both at home as well as when you use it on a tour. A dolly is much more compact and I understand in most states, they don't require their own license plate.

Our towing experience was with our motorhome when we were full timing and use the tow bar to pull our Mazda. Never a problem and it always tracked just fine and lots of motohome folks use them, so I thought that was the best way to go until my test. Dolly's are next in popularlity with motorhoming, but less convenient than a tow bar.
My main concern is most cars have a rigid frame or unitized structure that the bumpers attach to.. The A's are very weak. Just a shot to the bumper will bend a horn on them.
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Old 12-27-2015, 07:54 PM   #10
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Default Re: My tow bar bracket setup on bumper

It has been my experience, to successfully tow the Model A with all four wheels on the ground, that one must disconnect the drag link from the front left spindle. Only then was I able to have the front wheels of the Model A follow the direction of the tow vehicle.

Gar Williams
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Old 12-27-2015, 08:50 PM   #11
Big hammer
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Default Re: My tow bar bracket setup on bumper

I made a tow bar that attached to the axle near the spring ends. With out body on, going
forward was good, backing up no way. Turning a corner I could watch the steering wheel
turning. After installing body it would not track, I had to lubricate the front end. It was
good to go after that.
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Old 12-27-2015, 09:06 PM   #12
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Default Re: My tow bar bracket setup on bumper

In 1978, I flat towed my 30 Coupe from NW Indiana to Ohio where I live now about 200 miles give or take .I had a universal tow bar that I got from JC Whitney and modified it to fit the front bumper support bars(w/ bumper removed). I did disconnect the steering drag link rod at the front yoke and wired it down for the trip. I never had a bit of trouble - wheels tracked true and no troubles at turns - drove about 45 mph on back roads.
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Old 12-27-2015, 09:21 PM   #13
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Default Re: My tow bar bracket setup on bumper

I tie off my steering wheel with bungee cords with equal tension right and left. This provides tension to return the wheels to the straight position. Also never tow by the bumper brackets without the bumper in place or with a substitute cross member.
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Old 12-27-2015, 09:21 PM   #14
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Default Re: My tow bar bracket setup on bumper

I put brackets on the axle and use a Reese adjustable tow bar for the A's and a CJ 8. Never tied down the steering wheel or removed the drag link in 30 plus years of flat towing. Sometimes people over think a simple task.
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Old 12-27-2015, 09:45 PM   #15
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Default Re: My tow bar bracket setup on bumper

I bought a 29 model A back in 78 that someone towed about 200 miles with a tow bar. The frame horns and the bumper irons were all ruined. Had a time fixing and finding all the parts back then.
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Old 12-27-2015, 11:59 PM   #16
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Default Re: My tow bar bracket setup on bumper

Quote:
Originally Posted by denis4x4 View Post
I put brackets on the axle and use a Reese adjustable tow bar for the A's and a CJ 8. Never tied down the steering wheel or removed the drag link in 30 plus years of flat towing. Sometimes people over think a simple task.
I think it's the VW tow bar that fits onto the front axle that can be used for the A without making brackets.
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Old 12-28-2015, 12:40 AM   #17
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Default Re: My tow bar bracket setup on bumper

Hi Houdini,
I am not sure how the two cars are attached, you must use a A frame as in post #11. When going around a corner the second car will turn the other way for a few second before following the leader. Remember, when you turn the lead car, say left., the front wheels start moving left, the rear wheels will follow BUT the tail end of the car will move slightly to the right. The more the overhang the more the tow ball will move the opposite way, therefor when turning, the rear car will turn slightly to the right before following the leader to the left. The second car will follow in the tracks of the front car. It will not cut the corner like a two wheel trailer. The longer the over hang and the longer the tow bar, the greater the initial opposite reaction of the rear car. Therefor dont make you A frame to long.
Things to note with A frame towing, the rear car's caster and toe in must be correct, the rear car will follow your track( not perfectly but much closer than you think) and you cannot, must not, shall not, will not revers because of the caster, the rear car steering could be damaged. If the rig is in a straight line and you must revers, push back slowly with a helper keeping the steering straight and the rig in a straight line.
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Old 12-28-2015, 12:57 AM   #18
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Default Re: My tow bar bracket setup on bumper

Quote:
Originally Posted by w.michael View Post
...Another local man bought a 400A about 200 miles away. He flat towed it home. It wouldn't track, so his wife rode in the A all the way home to steer!

W. Michael
Hehe! Or that's what he told HER!
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Old 12-28-2015, 01:14 AM   #19
Mike V. Florida
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Default Re: My tow bar bracket setup on bumper

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gold Digger View Post
I bought a 29 model A back in 78 that someone towed about 200 miles with a tow bar. The frame horns and the bumper irons were all ruined. Had a time fixing and finding all the parts back then.
I remove the drag link.
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Old 12-28-2015, 02:14 AM   #20
Chuck Sea/Tac
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Default Re: My tow bar bracket setup on bumper

Isn't there a problem with lack of oiling in the transmission with the rear wheels on the ground? Except for shorter distances.
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