Where should I attach the towbar mounts? Front axle seems like an easy solution, but is it strong enough?
If you are thinking of flat towing a Model T that is not a good idea.
Let us know what you are intending to do.
Beside the strength of the axle, you have no neutral in the transmission, only a multiple disk clutch which has a drag. For any long distance you should leave the car in high gear and remove the spark plugs. Otherwise the clutch will overheat.
Best way to tow is on a trailer.
Flat towing a T won't work (as Chris has pointed out) unless you have a way to make the rear wheels free turning. I do this with free wheeling hubs that I bolt in place of the wire wheels. I then attach a tow bar to the front axle.
A Warford would make towing feasible!
I don't have the pictures or the thread that show Ralph Ricks towing his Model T with a tow bar. He did it and it can be done.
Damn I miss his comments.
I also don't like the idea of pulling on the front wishbone. It is designed to be pushed.
Here is a thread on flat-towing a T. Despite what Norman says, I think free-wheeled flat-towing is the best way to tow a T. Even when I towed with my 4 cylinder Olds, It towed it easily.
Really bad idea. Great way to wreck your Model T.
With a Planetor Auxiliary transmission you get a true neutral and can easily tow a T. I would not want to do it for a great distance or at high speed but in a pinch it works pretty well.
Ralph Ricks towed his yellow speedster thousands of miles on all four. He attached directly to the front of the frame with an angle bracket.
He did have an aux tranny. We certainly miss his comments and knowledge.
I saw Tom's setup in Whitefish.
Ralph Ricks wrecked the T towing it, and then blamed the wreck on the (yes they were bad) oak spokes. Idiotic.
Harold and others,
Before towing a Model T with an auxiliary transmission in neutral, check the lubrication method in that transmission. Most are lubed by the input gear turning and raising lube up to the gears. A Warford will not lube the small ( tapered race) bearing between the input and output shafts and the output shaft bearing when towing without the T engine output turning.
I would hate to put that pressure on the front end. I would also worry about the distance I had to tow it. Tim
Two different items in these comments:
1. Don't tow by the front axle. It will bend. Tow by connecting to the frame above the spring mount. If you look at how the Model T works, the rear axle pushes on the radius rods, which push on the U-joint and Transmission / Engine. The Wish-bone, connected to the front of the Pan, then pushes on the Front Axle. If you pull on the axle, you are likely to bend the axle and also pull the ball end of the Wish-bone out of its socket.
2. However you are towing the Model T, unless you can get a true neutral where none of the transmission parts are moving, you are going to cause trouble with the drums and potentially with the crankshaft. There is a lot of drag between the 25 clutch disks, even in "Model T neutral."
I towed my T speedster hundreds of miles with the Warford in neutral.
My tow bar connects to the frame.
If the tow bar is not level you will get a lot of jerking.
Ralph had that problem and he credited me for solving the problem. He raised the ball on the Jag sedan up to the height of the T's frame. Cured the jerking problem.
If you tow off the front axle you will need the the tow car's ball hitch down that low too. I tried it once, I towed my '26 chassis to the car wash about two miles. It jerked every time I hit a bump.
I don't recommend towing on all fours for anyone but me. You can all do it the hard way as far as I'm concerned. But, there is just a whole lot of hogwash on this thread. Towing on all fours in not a bad idea. It works great. I have seen way more bad stuff happen when towing with a trailer than when towing on all fours. I and several other local folks have towed our T's thousand and thousands of miles successfully with this method. My radius rod/axle/frame/any thing else you want to mention, is not bent/tweeked/distorted/anything else you want to mention. The hitch does not jerk. The T tows so smoothly that you literally can hardly tell that it is behind you. The only potential problem, and it has never caused me a problem, is that you can't back up.
Thank You all! I only want to pull it a mile to tinker with the carb away from my storage unit where work is prohibited. The speed limit is 20. I only have a stock transmission and will pull the plugs & squirt light oil into the cylinders first.
For what its worth, it used to be that you'd see most motorhomes towing a "dinghy" car with the front wheels up on a two-wheel dolly built especially for that purpose. I believe it is noteworthy that you almost never see those two-wheel dolly rigs anymore. I would venture to say that 9 out of 10 "dinghy" vehicles are being towed by motorhomes with all four of the towed vehicles wheels on the ground. Obviously, it works! Again,....FWIW,.......harold
Chris, if you can find a towbar made to tow VW beetles you will find that it will hook up to a model T front axle like it was made for it. I bet you could find one on eBay or Craigslist. I have used one for very short distances.
I've never used a towbar, but I have pulled my car with a piece of rope and a lawnmower before.
I had a day off with nothing pressing to do, so I decided to tinker with my car. On days when I'm tinkering I try not to go far from home, just in case something bad happens. I later found the sediment bowl was plugged, so she wasn't getting enough fuel to keep running. Luckily I was only about a quarter mile from home when she decided to starve. I walked home and grabbed our new-to-us John Deere 425 All-Wheel Steer and a piece of 3/4" manilla rope. I tied onto the front axle between the spindle and the perch, put the other end onto the tractor with a clevis, and slowly dragged her home. The upside with the All-Wheel Steer is I could very quickly move the tractor in any direction I needed if the car started to get away. That way the tractor was always as close to right in front of the car as possible. If the car drifted too far one way or the other I would just hop off the tractor, adjust the steering a little bit, and keep towing. Long ride by myself, but I got everything home in one piece.
That's my towing story. Probably would have been easier with somebody else, but when you're the only one home you do what you gotta do. I've wondered about some sort of towbar setup for emergencies, but the rope works and it's easier to stash in the toolbox or under the seat.
Erik, I think the towbar I have is for a Beetle. Thx for the vote of confidence.
Thank You all for the insight and funny stories. I hope my towing experiences not eventful. Haha
Royce is right!! Nuff said!! Bud.
Royce don't know beans.
Bad stuff I've seen happen with a trailer:
T falling off of ramps when loading
Car overshooting the trailer
Wheel bearings on the trailer seizing
Wheels coming off the trailer and going into traffic
Trailer swaying on down hill to the point where the lug nuts nearly pulled through the wheels
Trailer tongue coming off and running into the back of the tow rig
Trailers getting stolen
Poor towing gas mileage
Ruined radiator on the T from vibration caused by riding on a poorly sprung trailer
Bent axles from being tied down to the trailer
Must find storage for the trailer when T is in use on tour
Must find storage for the trailer at home
Ruined tow rig from excessive pulling strain - often expensive transmission coolers must be installed
All anyone had to do was look at the pictures to see what the end result was!! You hook a model T with a very short tow bar mounted very high so the heavy car was holding it down and wreck the model T wheels then go on a war about oak spokes!! Most of us spend several thousand dollars on a trailer because we care for our cars!! I think this anti trailer rant is the same one RD used! If you have a stock model T your going to tell that T bearings are better than modern?? I waited many years to have a nice model T so i'm going to haul substandard and destory it?? Nuff said!! Bud.
All of the trailers (out of old Model T frames) we have here were fitted with towbars. How else?
Right on the axle.
Oh! Cars..... :-) I know Chris wants to tow his car.
Yup I am no authority on beans.
Black beans cooked with lots of pepper, and a tad of molasses in a cast iron skillet over an open fire...Yummy, but very dangerous!
Never have I seen a group of folks who can start an argument over just about any subject.
Jack, i think a world, or in this case a forum without different opinions would be so boring no one would bother coming here. celebrate opposing views as it does nothing but make us think for ourselves, and in the long run, make the forum even stronger.
True,but we can only hope we're understood by the new people and not scaring them off.It would be a lot better IMHO if we all posted using our real names so we know to whom we are talking to.Many of posters are not even MTFCA members.They are welcome,but the are riding on a free nickel. Those folks need to pony up and join to help keep the forum healthy.
It is possible to lock a Ruckstell into neutral if it has the later style shifter. Apparently you can make a piece that slips into the shifter and locks it in the central position. I have not personally done this but I have heard of it being done by a reliable source
Jack, everyone contributes in their own way if they can, regardless if they are an MTFCA member or not. Why would someone join the club when they are ridiculed for having an opposing opinion? BTW i use my full name and am not a member yet,... bill me for the nickel.
Les, maybe, but they are not supposed to have a neutral. I think there is some severe ware in the Ruckstell if they go into neutral. Glen Chaffin is our authority on them
If you lock a Ruckstell in neutral, the ring gear will not turn and lift oil up onto the internal parts. You will soon burn down the planetary unit. With Warfords or other such auxiliary trannies, if the cluster gear is not turning, no oil gets to the main shaft bearings. For anything but short distances a trailer is best.
It's only a one mile tow at 20 mph so I can work on my carb and hopefully drive it back. I will also change the oil before starting it for the first time. Fingers crossed!!
Thought you'd all like this. Here is a group leaving Spokane, WA on their way to Dillon,Mt. 4 cars being towed by the front axle. 370 miles
Post more pics of that awesome journey!
Here's mine today. Oops, file was too big. (Wtf) ha
To reduce the image size I took a screenshot of the original picture and that seemed to work.
I wonder what the speed limit is for a towbar setup like that in the US.
It is like a trailer with no brakes. Here in Scandinavia that would be approximately 37 mph.
I took it up to 35 mph for about a half mile, but mostly crawled along at 20 mph. No issues this time. Planning to replace carburetor so it can drive onto a trailer under it's own power from now on.
To tow a Model T, remove the spark plugs, put the car in high gear, and use a VW tow bar. No clutch issues, no lubrication issues. Keep it under 30 mph, and it is fine for a few miles.
Done it before. Works well. You might need to grind out some of the part that goes around the axle for a better fit.
: ^ )
I towed my T 25 miles using the front axle, I had the engine running throughout the trip for assured lube. For any tight turning it helps to have somebody at the helm as the wheels don't like tight turns. It would negotiate wide turns on the pavement but you have to watch the steering wheel to see if it is turning or not. I think it is legal to have somebody in the towed vehicle provided it has more than three wheels.
I don't get it. Do you have some arrangement to make the front wheels ( on the model t) turn with the tow vehicle? If not you probably at least have to lock the steering to prevent accidentally full turn of the wheels if you hit a pothole for instance. That last solution would be hard on the front wheel rubber I think. Pleas explain .
Rolf, the front wheels follows very nicely all by them self - as long as you pull forwards. Backing up doesn't work when flat towing.
Tom's setup where he exchanges his demountable rear wire wheels with a modern bearing / hub and modern smaller diameter wheels increases the caster angle of the front axle so the pulled T gets even more stable going forwards. http://antiqueautoranch.com/montana500/may2004/index.html
Thanks Roger. That make sense.
Just have to avoid potholes, huh. If they can knock the steering wheel out of your hand while driving , I imagine that can happen when towing also.
Only when cornering tight corners like when entering a parking lot, Rolf. The four wheels on both the towing and the towed car in combination with the triangular tow bar makes it impossible for the front end of the towed car to jump sideways, so the hazard from potholes etc would be when speed is low in combination with unusually large steering wheel movements - the mishap discussed above where the front wheels were dragged sideways on Ralph Ricks car happened in low speed after a tight U turn. He later found a possible reason for why the wheels didn't track right after the turn - the front spring wasn't centered in the crossmember. But A-frame towing isn't any option for us anyway - the method isn't recognized by our governments over here, so max speed would be 18 mph like for a tractor with unregistered wagons behind.
Roger i think blaming the damage on the front spring is like a bird causing a train wreck!! There is good reason for your govt for putting a speed limit on this substandard towing!! Bud.
Yes. I will stick to my open trailer. Thanks Roger
We just got back from the Montana 500. Another combined 3000 miles of flat-towing and not one single ruined T!
Definition of snob from Free Dictionary.com:
a person who believes himself or herself to have superior tastes and is condescending toward those with different tastes:
In my opinion, most of this anti-towbar stuff is pure snobbery. You can't really prove that there is anything fundamentally wrong with flat-towing, but it ain't the way you do it so it must be "sub-standard". You may be able to cite one example of someone doing something stupid and causing a problem, but ignore the ten examples that you have probably seen with your own eyes with the other way of doing it. I can't count the number of "wanged" hubcaps I've seen from running into the trailer fender, for example.
I have a really nice car-hauling trailer. I have used both car-hauling trailers and flat-towing. Sure, there are disadvantages and problems that can arise, but all things considered, I have decided that flat-towing is a significantly superior way to tow a T - at least for me. You are welcome to do it the way that you like. I really don't care. I also don't care for snobbery and spreading bad information.
Any pictures of how a towbar was attached to the front will be appreciated.
I literally just wrapped small chains around the brackets because it was such a short a I literally just wrapped small chains around the brackets because it was such a short haul distance and I'm not sure I will need to Flat tow it again.
Tom - That's why I mentioned a week ago on this thread, nowadays, you seldom see motorhomes ever towing their "dinghy" vehicle on one of those two-wheel towing dollies that used to be so prevalent! Nearly all motorhomes "flat-tow" their "dinghy vehicles" nowadays, so, another reason to believe that as you say,....it works just fine. Only problem with flat-towing is that the modern day automatic transmission must be considered pretty much the same way a Model "T" planetary transmission must be considered,.....FWIW,......harold
P.S. For a short distance slow speed flat tow like you wanted to do Chris, instead of pulling the plugs and oiling the cylinders (which I'm sure worked fine in your case) I would have just let the Model "T" engine idle for those few minutes. That would take care of sufficient transmission lubrication.
Now that I added a new carburetor yesterday I will be able to let it idle in the future if I need to flat tow it.