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Author Topic: Towing a bus without a tow truck/landoll  (Read 4881 times)
Tenor
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« on: July 25, 2009, 06:25:07 PM »

So here's the story.  I may have found a good parts bus (mci 7) that may have a bad tranny.  It's about 50 miles from where I live, and there are 2 lane blacktop routes that would connect with minimal traffic.  Assuming I have air for brakes/suspension and have pulled the axles, is there any reason not to tow it with another truck/ bus?  Has anyone done this and have good advice?  Obviously, I'm trying to save money here but safety is number one.  Thanks!

Glenn
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Glenn Williams
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luvrbus
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« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2009, 06:32:26 PM »

I don't see a problem as a Eagle owner they came from the factory with a tow bar bracket on the front and a place to air the system up to tow 3 axles down Trailways did for years   good luck
« Last Edit: July 25, 2009, 06:35:15 PM by luvrbus » Logged

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jackhartjr
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« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2009, 06:32:51 PM »

Glenn, I would advise against it.
You have to have a real good connection between the two vehicles.
You are talking a lot of weight here to stop fast if something goes wrong.
And what happens IF all of a sudden the brakes lose air and lock up!
Shop around; a handful of hundred dollar bills beats the risks involved.
Jack
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bobofthenorth
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« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2009, 06:46:09 PM »

I don't see a problem as long as you can supply air to the towed.  Stay off the main roads and travel at off peak hours.  I don't know about your country but where I come from an "F" (farm) plate means you can tow anything that isn't nailed down at both ends and tow it whenever and wherever you want to.  Got any farmer friends?
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« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2009, 08:18:44 PM »

I have done similar.  My technique is to let the "towed: vehicle stop both rigs.  At stops for any reason and for modest down hills use only the big guy's brakes.  That procedure keeps the chain taunt so there isn't any crash bang for starts and stopping stuff.  A handy talkie link between the two drivers or agreed to hand signals are a must.

You Can Do It!!!!! Wink Grin Grin Grin

HTH,

John
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« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2009, 10:53:39 PM »

Depends a bunch on who is towing and who is being towed and how well they understand what needs to happen, and when.  Good communication is a must.

Never tried it with anything this big but a much easier way to tow is with a chain run through a pipe.  Take out all the slack and bolt the chain on.  No jerks, no slack chain, the tow rig can stop the towed.  Otherwise known as a redneck tow bar.

Take it easy and slow.

Good luck
Don 4107
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Don 4107 Eastern Washington
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« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2009, 02:38:02 AM »

I don't see why not. If you have good brakes and drive real slow, even if it takes a couple of hours, it should work. I'm not sure about using a chain though, you might try a real heavy duty two strap. I have one, haven't used it yet though. It was donated to me, sure hope I don't have to try it out!

You wouldn't believe what I see being towed here in the great state of Texas. Of course it's wide open anywhere you drive for hundreds of miles in any direction! Grin

Paul
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Tenor
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« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2009, 05:34:16 AM »

If I were to do this, I'd enlist the help of a good friend who I have towed with before.  For air, I'd either use the towing bus' air or a genset/compressor or perhaps the bus itself depending on it's condition.  I can tell it's been parked for a while, but I have not spoken to anyone yet to know more about it.  Communication is definitely a must between two vehicles of this size, so I'd us CB or some walkie talkies.  Thanks for the info everyone!

Glenn
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Glenn Williams
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« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2009, 06:12:51 AM »

Tenor;  I have pulled a lot of heavy equipment on the road by using chains and piping.  hook two chains on the bus and put the pipe on them, and form like a V to the "tower" even if you go around the hitch and back to the coach and then secure them in place.  This act like a trailer hitch if you catch what I mean?  Make sure you have enough slack between so you can see what he is doing LOL.

Gomer
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JackConrad
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« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2009, 06:17:17 AM »

Glen,
   I would use a nylon 40,000# rated "snatch stap". They are much more forgiving than chains. If no snatch strap is available, my second choice would be a heavy cable. Jack
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« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2009, 08:25:24 AM »

I'm with Jack and the elastic strap. I have towed buses with them before and the strap absorbs all the misdirected energy for a real smooth tow. Just don't hook around any sharp edges.
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« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2009, 09:08:55 AM »

Jack, NJT,
My buddy has a tow strap, but I forget the rating.  I'll find out.  If it's too small, I'll but the 40k model, since I need one anyway.  They are the way to go.  Thanks for the reminder about sharp edges!

Glenn
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Glenn Williams
Lansing, MI
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1968 MCI 7 Ser. No. 7476 Unit No. 10056
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Runcutter
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« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2009, 09:14:43 AM »

To reinforce what was stated above, it takes 2 drivers - one in each vehicle.  Each should know what he/she is doing.  Long chain/strap, not a short one (or two).  

The pipe to keep the chain fairly taught is a good idea, but if you use a strap, be sure it doesn't cause the strap to fray or cut.  

The towing vehicle provides the force, the towed vehicle provides the braking.

The way I read the original post, the transmission is bad, which implies the engine runs.  If this is true, the towed vehicle could supply its own air.  Communication is key - in addition to the walkie/talkies (not cellphones), agree on an emergency horn communication - including a "stop immediately".

However, remember the slogan used in many transportation industries .... "If you can't do it safely, don't do it."

When I was a young and new bus driver, I lost a blower driveshaft in the middle of the busiest intersection in town (fortunately, a small city) - on my last trip.  The guy who came out to get me was known as a wildman, and he towed me in on a short chain from a pickup truck - about 8 miles.  Of course, I ran out of air pretty soon, and had to bring it in on the handbrake (TDH-4512).  Not a fun trip, but it gave me something I use today when I teach scheduling courses... "the only time I was ever late on my last trip was when I broke down".  

Arthur  
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« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2009, 09:46:53 AM »

>>It's about 50 miles from where I live, and there are 2 lane blacktop routes that would connect with minimal traffic.<<

Not on my dime or life. I did this kind of thing with U-Haul for short moves of less than 20 miles or so. My buddies did longer trips pullling the little Toyota trucks behind the big ones, and one got caught. He got let off, so that only emboldened us more. Of course, now that I'm 41,  I guess I'm not into pulling stunts like this. Fifty miles?? It may be done safely, but then again...even if so.. Aren't you talking something like over 50,000 pounds combine weight with two drivers on a narrow road? This isn't a rig set up as a proven unit controlled by one operator, with no delay in communication, IE trailer with trailer brakes. (Small trailers or 4 down toads excepted..I don't even like tow dollies). Suppose one of you drops the walkie talkie while steering or braking?

And just suppose... everything was going perfectly(Quite probable just to show you I'm not completely close minded here..it may be flat and straight enough), and some do-gooder gets stuck behind you for a mile, 2-3 minutes, gets fed up (Very good chance) and has a cell phone?

What are you going to tell the police? Your boss made you do it? Worst case? What about the chance of a breakdown on the part of the towing rig, or collision? Well, at least the parts bus is there. What's the cost of an emergency roadside tow vs something planned?

I'd probably be tempted to do it for a short 2-10 mile tow, but every mile increases the risk of failure,  IMNSHO. Good luck.

Doug
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« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2009, 10:47:17 AM »

I have pushed an Eagle bus with a 1/2 ton chevy pu. I would recomend a 3/4 ton if I had a choice. Communications is nice, but not necessary. The man in front does all the steering and stopping. When the pusher sees stop lights he quits pushing. I HAVE DONE THIS FOR AT LEAST 5 MILES.
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