Let's assume we're talking about a very well running TT with a stock engine, an under/direct/over/reverse auxiliary transmission, Ruckstell rear end running high speed ring/worm gears, and Rocky Mountain brakes. Let's further assume it has a ball hitch receiver well installed firm to the chassis. I don't think the cab/bed type would be important but it would have either a flatbed or pickup box for incidentals.
Given the above what do you think would be reasonable assumptions as to maximum hitch weight and maximum trailer weight? Also, would surge trailer brakes be adequate? If not, what would you recommend?
Thanks in advance for your opinions!!!!
I would guess that in all states it would be against the law to even tow with a TT on public roads and there is no insurance company that would even think about processing a claim if something happened.
With all respect, why not? I don't imagine houses should be moved with a TT, but they should be capable of pulling loads up to a reasonable size. After all, they were even used to pull 5th wheel logging rigs in the day.
The is sort of ot but, last summer I built a TT rolling chassis for a neighbor. All TT with the exception of high compression pistons and wood bands. Made a huge difference in power and speed.
I have seem old photo's of T tractor/trailer combo's but the "tractor" part was a standard car/pickup chassis. With trailer brakes applied with a hand lever.
I cant see why there would be any problems law wise towing with a TT unless there is a weight limit on a antique tag or whatever.
Henry, I am not sure this answers your question but I pull started our old 2Ton Caterpillar tractor one time with my TT (over/under aux box in low- under)... We pulled it with an old well rig rope which allowed me to stay on the concrete driveway for traction while the tractor was on the dirt. Until the tractor engine broke loose, each time my dad dumped the clutch on the 2Ton, the TT's front end would lift off the ground and drag the tractors tracks along the dirt till I backed off the low pedal!
My TT was a '25 closed cab flat bed with the rope looped and tied around the rear cross member, so if you installed a good hitch and were in no big hurry to get anywhere it might work. I would be nervous with surge brakes as the trailer might tend to lift the rear of the truck before the trailer brakes could apply, creating a very dangerous herky jerky motion. (no front brakes to compensate for brake loss with the lifted rear wheels).
I think the legality would depend on the kind of tags you have. My 16 is licensed as a regular passenger car by CA DMV so technically I can pull a trailer legally.
I'm not doubting the pulling power of a TT. I've seen some unbelievable loads being pulled by them. But, using the TT for its intended purpose in today's world on public roads is a whole different story. Here is how it is in PA: A Model T can not be licensed as a regular vehicle because it will not pass the state safety inspection. They have to be licensed as an antique. Antique vehicles have a lot of restrictions. In particular, a truck is not allowed to be used as a truck (including towing), an antique bus is not allowed to haul passengers, etc. Now some state laws may not have these restrictions so you may be able to get away with it. The next problem is insurance. My guess is that most, if not all of us who have a T or TT has classic insurance such as Hagerty, Grundy,nor some type of classic/antique coverage under you regular auto insurance policy. These insurance companies will positively deny any claim where an antique truck is being used to haul anything. If you doubt that, just ask your agent if you are covered when doing such things. Also, if you have a claim involving the use of a truck for other than defined covered usage with one of these companies they will drop your policy on that vehicle, without a claim settlement, faster than you can wink. It all comes down to minimizing risk and asking a 90+ year old vehicle to perform as a work vehicle in a public setting has a lot of risk that states and insurance companies aren't willing to take. I mean absolutely no disrespect to you or anyone else, this is just what I believe to be the facts of the matter.
My TT is licensed in California and has the exact same "commercial" plates as any modern truck in this state. I can haul and/or tow pretty much whatever I please as long as it's not "overloaded". As to insurance, I'll cross that bridge if and when it get to it.
So, back to the original question. What would be reasonable assumptions as to maximum hitch weight and maximum trailer weight?
John S, I used a model T speedster once to pull an old flatbed truck out of a back yard. It had sat for years and sunk well into now dried mud. There was a slight ground elevation difference which I was able to use to my advantage. I used Ford low, Muncie under, and Ruckstell. I won the bet.
This brings up a trick to remember. When pulling something really heavy (or otherwise difficult). Traction is as important as gearing. How you tie a rope or attach a chain makes a big difference. The rig that you are pulling, you should tie or otherwise attach to as low and forward as reasonable. On the vehicle you are going to pull with. Attach higher, preferably slightly higher than the rear axle, and slightly forward of the rear axle. You want the "pull" to pull the towing vehicle down (using the angle of the rope/chain), hence why it must be attached higher than the vehicle being pulled. Attaching forward of the rear axle reduces the tendency to lift the front end. Ideally, the rope should pass just barely under the rear axle.
With the proper angle of the rope/chain, when power is applied, the angle will attempt to lift the vehicle being pulled (making it resist less and therefore easier to pull) and pull down on the rear end of the pulling vehicle thereby giving better traction.
Funny, the things you can pick up through the years.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
I think the safe trailer weight would be inversely proportional the the speed traveled. At 5 mph maybe an 8,000 lb trailer would be ok, like this one:
This one has about a 4,000 lb trailer and my be ok up to about 10 mph:
With the Ford recommended TT top speed of 15 mph, then a ton trailer and/or load should be ok.
With faster speeds/gearing the load should be reduced to no added load.
2008 when we went to Alaska we weighed in at 3740 pounds. That was a 10500 mile trip.
Henry, thats how I read it. My insurance policy does state that I cannot use my car for hire... but nothing about a trailer...or groceries for that matter.
Wayne, I must of had the angles right 'cause the weight of that old tractor pulling on the rope allowed no wheel spin on the truck!
Not knowing any more than I know, I would guess that towing 2000 lbs would be an acceptable load on the drive train, assuming there was not also a 2000 lb load on the truck. I also read once where trailer tongue weight should be 10% of total trailer weight. At 2000 lbs, that would be 200 lbs. I have no desire to modify mine to add a hitch. However, I certainly would not be AFRAID to do so, it's just not something I desire to do.
My TT, as well as my wife's Touring, are registered as regular vehicles. They carry YOM plates, but by GA law, the 'Real' license plate is also carried in the vehicle. They both are insured through State Farm, like our other vehicles (except the A). I can, will, and do, haul anything I damn well please in the TT. Some of the horror stories I hear about the laws in other states make me want to stay firmly planted in GA. I'm glad your law enforcement officers have nothing better to do than harass antique car owners for such minor infractions as driving their car somewhere other than a parade or hauling a few 2x4's in the bed of their truck.
I was pointedly asked by Hagerty Ins if I had a trailer and ever towed it with my T or A. I have a woods trailer which I do use with my neighbor's pu truck but not either of my antiques. They made it very clear that towing a trailer would invalidate my insurance.
Jeff Cordes pulls a long flatbed trailer behind his TT all the time.
I remember My father telling me that with the proper gearing a washing machine motor could pull a freight train...Just don't get in a hurry! That said I doubt you would be pulling more than say a ton (short) and that would be good for a parade float and within reason for a TT good luck and have fun.
From the legality standpoint, the laws vary by state. My T has antique plates and as such is restricted in it's use in Massachusetts. I probably could tow a small trailer of the same vintage as the T to a show, but not to haul junk to the dump. A friend has a '24 with a regular registration, and can do anything legal (including towing a trailer) with it. What his insurance will cover is another matter.
As to trailer brakes - I'm not sure that surge brakes would work all that well in view of the Ts rather inadequate factory braking system. Hooking up electric brakes would be possible, but challenging. My view is that if the trailer is heavy enough to need brakes, it is too heavy for the T to tow.
Jeff Cordes has what is arguably a period correct semi trailer. People run restored semi trailers and also insure them. The problem comes when it gets loaded. Anyone of you can say that nobody is going to tell you what you can and can't do with your TT, and that is true, but it is all calculated risk. If you load the vehicle and get into an accident, you will be on your own. It doesn't matter if you have State Farm, Allstate, Hagerty, Grundy, Safe Auto, or whatever. The first thing that an insurance adjustor will do on a vehicle with a classic coverage policy will do is look at the situation. If the vehicle is being used for utility or work...claim denied. If you somehow put your antique vehicle on a regular policy, the first thing they will look at is the gross vehicle rating plate on the truck. That doesn't exist on a TT...claim denied. Depending on what is involved (vehicle, personal injury, second party injury) in the accident you could be in big financial trouble. This isn't about what you can and can't do, it has to do with safety, period. So, to get back to the origninal post, my opinion for the acceptable weight of a trailer on a TT is 0 lbs.
Jeff also added electric trailer brakes to his semi trailer.
What if I pulled the GVW sticker off of your F-150/Chevy 1500/whatever while you weren't looking? Are you all of a sudden "On your own" if you have a wreck with a 2x4 in the bed? Gimme a break.
Use this as an indicator as to how an insurance company will work: Take your TT with a trailer hitch to U Haul and try to rent something. Now...take the F150 that you tore the weight rating tag off of. You will drive out with whatever the system says the truck will safely handle for one of them. You guess which one it will be. Modern vehicles have documented ratings that are used by these companies. An insurance company will use a weight rating reference if a tag is missing.
I'm not trying to get into a urination festival here I'm just pointing out the need to think ahead before making a questionable decision with an antique vehicle. I'm sure there are tons of stories by members on here that have been burned by what seems to be a "technicality" from an insurance company.
Sorry, but I believe there is a difference in U-Haul covering their butt and what my insurance company would do if I had a wreck in my TT with a 2x4 in the back. Yeah, if I had the thing really loaded down and rear ended someone at a stop light, it might catch the attention of the cop writing up the report and he might question it or write it up as a contributing factor and I would have to find some data in a book listing the payload capacity of a TT truck. But say I have a few 2x4's in the bed and pull out in front of someone and get hit in the side. Is State Farm going to deny the claim because I was hauling something? I find it hard to believe. As a matter of fact, I DON'T believe it. I doubt they would ever know. It wouldn't be on the accident report. The cop doesn't care that I had a few 2x4's. It wouldn't cross his mind. It wasn't a contributing factor.
I agree with you 100% on limited loading. Is there a risk hauling a few 2x4's in a TT? Nope, not in my opinion. I'm really talking about loading them up or putting on a trailer and taking them out on a maintained public road. But, even with the couple of pieces of wood in an incident, you'll have to get lucky and hope it isn't noticed. Insurance companies will do whatever they can to avoid paying a claim. That one or two 2x4's could help them do that if they are noticed or documented in a report (which they very well may not). After going through a very similar situation with Hagerty and two pieces of rough cut lumber in a 1965 Dodge 3/4 ton I learned that what they say goes regardless of how stupid and irrational it is. After that, I researched a lot about coverage of antique / classic vehicles and started to really think about how I was using them. Again, I'm not trying to beat a dead horse but people need to really think about the risks and learn what is and isn't covered by insurance before something happens.
California issued me Comm plates for my TT. I have pulled trailers and heavy loads on my TT since I put it together. Never an issue with CHP. Scott
No doubt you are correct with specialized insurance such as Hagerty, JC Taylor, etc. That is why I insured mine with State Farm right along with all my modern stuff. I don't have any of the restrictions normally associated with the antique vehicle insurance companies.
For what it is worth. It has been a couple years since I hauled anything to the dump around here. But the last time I went, I noticed a sign on the approach to the weigh/charge station stating that any vehicles hauling a load into the "transfer station" with any type of historic plates would be reported to the authorities and fined. Gotta love Califunny. The people in charge cannot manage the monies or balance a budget, so even the garbage collector has been turned into a "revenuer".
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Asking for opinions usually gets great results here. So here's mine. A TT will haul a lot more than it will safely stop. A common sense approach is not to overtax your brakes. I have towed a cement mixer with my dump truck and 2500 lbs of concrete mix in the bed. Tounge weight was minimal. The most I am comfortable with on the road. With enough weight in the bed for traction and all the trannies in low, ol' dumpy on level ground can pull a max legal weight 18 wheeler from a standing start up to about 1 MPH. Goose the throttle and the front wheels leave the ground. Would I try to stop it? Not a chance.
The insurance thing maybe I should think about. I have regular plates but collector vehicle insurance. It may be wise to add it to my regular policy as some of the stuff I do with it is well beyond hobby related.
Forgive me but this is confusing.
A TT is a 1 ton truck. That is it's designation,weight rating and so forth. It does not have the "sticker" on the door per-say, but it is on the title, registration and every book ever printed in regards to T's. So it should be able to haul a ton of weight without legal issues as it is very clearly stated for all to read.
Here in NC a normal plate issued for a modern 1/2 ton truck is 5000 pounds weight limit. So if a T pickup or TT is allowed by the state to bare a normal truck plate, then 5000 pounds should be it's legal allowed weight. From what I understand a fat woman, bottle of beer and a full tank of gas puts the average 1/2 ton truck overweight in the laws eyes.6000 pounds can be had for 10 more bucks a year. That is what I run on my 1/2 tons.
Another thing. From what I can tell, as of YET, there is no weight limit on cars. Being most cars nowadays are cracker box front wheel drive things it is a mute point. But older full size cars are capable of towing quite a bit of weight. But if a T car is allowed to bare the same tag as a more modern car, then the same rules should apply.
For example, I have owned and driven a 77 chevy wagon since 1988 and have towed all kinds of stuff.Suddenly when it became a "classic" a few years ago, did anything change about the tag or weight limit or whatever? No. So it has got to be different in every state.
It has really been a good read on this thread. Like Hal, makes me glad I don't live in some of these other states.
It really comes down to two things: 1. How the vehicle is licensed, and 2. How the vehicle is insured.
Classic or Antique licensing will impose certain restrictions depending on the state. Apparently some states are more laxed than others. It also comes down to what mood a police officer is in that day.
Classic or Antique insurance coverage will generally be the most restrictive on usage. Even the standard insureres like State Farm, Allstate, etc. now offer antique and classic coverage which most likely has similar restrictions like Hagerty, Grundy, and all the other specialty insurance companies. It may be worth taking a look at your policy to make sure of what you have on your T, TT, or other old vehicles.
But, as has been noted, if you are licensed and insured under standard policies with no restrictions then you are good to go. The only problem is that under a normal policy you may have a hard time recovering the value of your vehicle in the event of an accident unless you pay huge premiums for some kind of full coverage. That is the reason for the rise of the antique & classic insurance companies. They can offer full coverage at a reasonable price because the use of the vehicle is very limited and the risk of damage is low...unless it is used for work, hauling trailers, daily use, etc. But I digress.
Well, the discussion this thread produced is not exactly what I expected but it is a good one and it does contain the opinions I was looking for. Thanks to all for your comments!!!
I tend to think the speed/load comments are valid. When I was a kid my grandfather would often load the old truck with 80 or more 40 pound fruit boxes, over a 3,000 pound load. He'd use Muncie low/Ford low, so the top speed was only a couple of MPH and the terrain was flat and level so brakes were never a problem. I suppose it boils down to using some good sense!
Henry, can you please upload a photo of your TT hitch attachment to the chassis?
Towing capacity is based mostly on the braking system of the vehicle. The hitch weight is based on the strength of the hitch and the mounting. Theoretically if you could mount a fifth wheel type hitch right over the rear axle the TT should hold close to its rating of 1 Ton.
I know this is not a TT but its a great picture of a big load.
My truck does not have a hitch, at least not yet. The whole point of my question was to see if I should just forget the idea or if perhaps it might be a reasonable thing to spend some time and money on.
My truck has an 8' long flat bed. It extends approximately 3' 8" behind the axle center line. I imagine any good hitch assembly will require either shortening the bed or replacing it with a shorter one so the hitch weight is not carried so far back, but all that is still in the thinking stage.
Maybe the hitch length and the tongue weight are the more important factors than the payload weight?
Hitch length and tongue weight are probably the " more important factors" than payload weight as far as pulling the trailer. However, as mentioned by others, brakes and your ability to stop are critical and largely influenced by payload weight.