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Author Topic: Can't Tow 4 Wheels Down...  (Read 3226 times)
El-Sonador
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« on: April 20, 2006, 05:50:34 AM »

I tow a 1985 VW Van Camper behind my MCI-9...

I installed a tow-bar and found it [the VW] to be very, VERY unstable... oscillating widely from side to side at even the slowest of speeds. I have been using a tow-dolly but I would like to be able to tow the VW 4 wheels down.

The VW is like a bus, in that it has a rear wheel drive, rear engine and a cab that is ahead of the steering axel making it very light in the front end when no one is inside. It also has"top-heavy" characteristics and gets "pushed" from side to side in a cross wind.

My question is... Can this be fixed to "Safely" tow 4 wheels down or am I doomed to a tow-dolly because of some sort of inherent characteristics within the VW that causes it to be just un-towable 4 wheels down...?

Any request for more detailed info about this problem, comments or suggestions would be welcomed.

Thanks

Steve



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DrivingMissLazy
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« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2006, 06:08:29 AM »

I tow a 1985 VW Van Camper behind my MCI-9...

I installed a tow-bar and found it [the VW] to be very, VERY unstable... oscillating widely from side to side at even the slowest of speeds. I have been using a tow-dolly but I would like to be able to tow the VW 4 wheels down.

The VW is like a bus, in that it has a rear wheel drive, rear engine and a cab that is ahead of the steering axel making it very light in the front end when no one is inside. It also has"top-heavy" characteristics and gets "pushed" from side to side in a cross wind.

My question is... Can this be fixed to "Safely" tow 4 wheels down or am I doomed to a tow-dolly because of some sort of inherent characteristics within the VW that causes it to be just un-towable 4 wheels down...?

Any request for more detailed info about this problem, comments or suggestions would be welcomed.

Thanks

Steve

I would have the alignment of the front end checked. Maybe needs a little more toe in.

I pulled a VW bug for many years without any problem except for the front wheels cocking all the way to the stop when making a very sharp turn coming out of a driveway. I solved that by putting a bungee cord on the steering wheel to keep it in the straight ahead position.  Never any other problem.
Richard

BTW, that is an excellent heading on the post to identify exactly the type of help you are needing as Craig suggested in another post.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2006, 06:10:47 AM by DrivingMissLazy » Logged

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body. But rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, a good Reisling in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming:  WOO HOO, what a ride
Paso One
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« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2006, 07:04:25 AM »

Hi Steve
I also plan to pull  4 down a 79 VW Van  I agree a little more toe in may help.  But you can add an old Damper that the VW bug used  (as stock) the damper was enough to take out the shimmy.

I have a small collection  Smiley  of VW products and they all have that problem when towed 4 down.

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Dallas
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« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2006, 07:10:38 AM »

Like Richard said, Have the front end checked thouroghly. Another suggestion is to ask what kind of tow bar you are using. Back in the '70's I had to tow my friends VW Transporter from Billings, Mt. to Salem, Or. The first 50 miles sucked, because the tow bar we had hooked to the front bumper attachment horns. The thing was so unstable that we had to stop and change our undies every 5 or 6 miles.
I finally stopped at this little place in Columbus, Mt. and talked to a guy that had a bunch of VW's. he told me the best way to tow it was using the old style towbar (like they tow Dune Buggies with), that hooks to the axle, then comes up in front of the bumper and meets the trailer hitch. He also recommended I change to a drop hitch so the front end of the VW wasn't always being lifted.
I ended up buying a towbar and drop hitch from him for $25 and he helped install it. It worked like a charm. The rest of the trip was like I wasn't towing at all.
Good Luck, I hope this helped,
Dallas
http://www.busconversionstuff.com/eventpage.html


I tow a 1985 VW Van Camper behind my MCI-9...

I installed a tow-bar and found it [the VW] to be very, VERY unstable... oscillating widely from side to side at even the slowest of speeds. I have been using a tow-dolly but I would like to be able to tow the VW 4 wheels down.

The VW is like a bus, in that it has a rear wheel drive, rear engine and a cab that is ahead of the steering axel making it very light in the front end when no one is inside. It also has"top-heavy" characteristics and gets "pushed" from side to side in a cross wind.

My question is... Can this be fixed to "Safely" tow 4 wheels down or am I doomed to a tow-dolly because of some sort of inherent characteristics within the VW that causes it to be just un-towable 4 wheels down...?

Any request for more detailed info about this problem, comments or suggestions would be welcomed.

Thanks

Steve




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bigtim44
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« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2006, 07:18:34 AM »

I used to mess around with aircooled volkswagens and the more toe in we added to the front wheels the twitchier the steering became and the car would be more prone to fishtailing.same goes for our land speed car ,the more toe in ,more swaying from side to side, we set up the toe in at 0 or slightly toe'd out and it'll fly straight.
   Or is everything opposite when it's getting towed Grin
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Basalt Colorado
1986 TMC 102A3,6V92,Auto 740,conversion in progress.
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El-Sonador
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« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2006, 07:45:39 AM »

ADDITIONAL INFO UP-DATE

* Tow Bar is a Stow Master [used, but not old]
* The tow bar is welded on the frame not the bumper.
* Attachment point is well ahead or forward of the steering axel [Just back from the bumper - I think that may be an issue]
* No visible signs of alignment issues [ie tire wear etc]
* Had the front end checked for play in steering and bearings etc. [everything is ok there]
* Have not done an alignment.
* VW runs and handles ok when driving it [other than wind push - but it is a van!!!]
* Tried a bungee cord and just the strength of the bungee cord prevented the steering from turning nearly pulled the tires of the rim]
* Not sure about any steering dampers [Steering [not power] does not feel either loose or tight when driving the VW]

Steve

PS - Tow dollies may have their place, but hopefully not behind my bus...  Grin


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DrivingMissLazy
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« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2006, 08:30:10 AM »

The tow bar I had clipped onto the front axle as I recall. They were made specifically for the VW and only fit a VW.

U shapped devices on each side of the bar on aproximately 2" tubing that came out from under the bumper and then up 6-8 inches and then forward to the hitch. 

I would recommend you try and find one of these.
Richard
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Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body. But rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, a good Reisling in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming:  WOO HOO, what a ride
El-Sonador
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« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2006, 10:32:14 AM »

The tow bar I had clipped onto the front axle as I recall. They were made specifically for the VW and only fit a VW.
U shapped devices on each side of the bar on aproximately 2" tubing that came out from under the bumper and then up 6-8 inches and then forward to the hitch. 
I would recommend you try and find one of these.
Richard

...THANKS TO ALL...

Sounds to me that the problem is the location of the attachment point of the tow-bar.

The way it is right now, I seem to be "pulling" the VW's nose from side to side in hopes of turning the steering when I should be turning its steering pivot point instead.

I'll try your suggestion, it sounds right to me.

Hopefully I'll have a tow-dolly for sale when you get your new Buy/Sell forum up and running.

Thanks for your help...

Steve
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tomhamrick
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« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2006, 10:01:26 AM »

I did not see it mentioned here, but be sure that your tow bar is level from the hitch to the towed vehicle. If the bar slopes upward to the hitch on the bus, you are trying to lift the tires off the ground. If the hitch slopes down to the hitch then you are trying to pull the front of the vehicle toward the ground. I had to add a 6 inch rise to the hitch in the bus to level the tow bar to my Honda Pilot.
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Tom Hamrick
1991 Prevost H3-40 VIP
1981 Eagle 10
Forest City, NC
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