Another towing disaster

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2017: Another towing disaster
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Erik Barrett in Auburn Ca. on Thursday, March 09, 2017 - 11:39 am:

Just got a T engine into the shop. Almost none of it is going back home. Car was towed on a dolly for some distance. The clutch welded itself together and spun the engine at high rpm until rods exited the block via holes in the side. There are almost no salvageable moving parts and little else. Too bad, looks like it was a nice engine. Stipe cam, McEachern gears, counterbalanced crank, etc. Probably a $5K lesson on moving a model T. Please moves yours on a flatbed if you are going farther than you could throw all the broken pieces.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Henry Petrino in Modesto, CA on Thursday, March 09, 2017 - 11:43 am:

Dang Erik. I get what happened, but not exactly how. If it was on a dolly didn't that take the wheels off the pavement?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By G.R.Cheshire on Thursday, March 09, 2017 - 11:44 am:

Erik any pictures? All 4 wheels of the ground for towing


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Philip thompson on Thursday, March 09, 2017 - 11:47 am:

i think he means the fronts were on the tow dolly.
philip


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Thursday, March 09, 2017 - 11:48 am:

I don't know what the red line is for a T engine, but if the towing was at freeway speed I imagine that engine was spinning close to double the top end.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Gregush Portland Oregon on Thursday, March 09, 2017 - 11:56 am:

Tow dollies only take 2 wheels off the ground, in most cases the front. (Try driving your T in reverse at any speed faster then a crawl) That means the rear wheels were turning the engine over at a much greater rate then it should have when the lack of oil caused the clutch disks to lock up. With the engine not running, there is no oil flow because the flywheels is not turning. With no oil flow, the spinning clutch disk are making a lot of heat. By time the disk locked up, the damaged was done and no amount of spinning flywheel moving oil would undo it.
If you need to tow your T any distance more then just moving it, do so at a slow (I mean SLOW) speeds with it in high and plugs out so the engine spins the flywheels and it gets the same lube as driving.
Better yet, trailer or flat bed it.

(Message edited by redmodelt on March 09, 2017)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Donnie Brown North Central Arkansas on Thursday, March 09, 2017 - 01:11 pm:

This is what happened to a very nice TT Truck when a person I know did aprox the same thing.

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Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth W DeLong on Thursday, March 09, 2017 - 01:33 pm:

It might have been better to have spent the $5,000 on a enclosed trailer?? Bud.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dallas landers on Thursday, March 09, 2017 - 02:08 pm:

I dont think JB weld is gonna fix that!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dan Haynes, Lodi, CA on Thursday, March 09, 2017 - 02:23 pm:

@ Donnie Brown;

Holy cow.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By john kuehn on Thursday, March 09, 2017 - 02:34 pm:

Makes me remember when my father and uncle drug home my Grandfathers 24 Coupe from town in 1960.

They put the car in neutral and pulled it home. It was a 12 mile trip. I remember they were going pretty slow. I can remember my uncle telling my Father to make sure the car was in neutral.

They made it home OK I guess but do remember my father telling my uncle it smelled a little hot!

It didnt do any damage to the engine.
A few weeks later they got it running for me and gave me a ride. I was 12 years old at the time.

Maybe we just got lucky but knowing what I have learned about T's over the years I wouldn't do it now!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bill Harper - Keene, NH on Thursday, March 09, 2017 - 02:42 pm:

The School of Hard Knocks teaches very important lessons, but the tuition is often quite expensive.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Thomas Mullin on Thursday, March 09, 2017 - 02:42 pm:

If they put the rear wheels on the dolly and towed it backwards, I understand the front wheel bearings would likely seize up because they aren't meant to go backwards very much. Flat bed is the only way to get a two.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Les Schubert on Thursday, March 09, 2017 - 02:48 pm:

Bill
The expression I'm familiar with is;
Experience is a dear school, and a fool learns by no other!!
OR
You won't live long enough to make all the mistakes yourself!!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Wayne Sheldon, Grass Valley, CA on Thursday, March 09, 2017 - 03:12 pm:

Yikes! Lubrication, or lack thereof, is of course the problem. Many people don't understand that many modern automatic transmissions have the same issue. I see them being towed almost every day. More than a few, over the years, I have seen (or smelled) smoke coming out of them. One time, I saw a modern car on a tow dolly sitting on the side of the road with flames under the car. Two people were throwing dirt at the flames (I was on the other side of a divided highway). Modern front wheel drive cars mostly eliminate the trouble of being towed. But all wheel drives and rear wheel drives can still do something similar to what our model Ts can when being towed improperly.

Donnie B, What a mess! Erik B, Is the one you are dealing with THAT bad?
Thank you both for sharing.

Hi Dan H !!!
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Don Allen - Conroe, TX on Thursday, March 09, 2017 - 04:22 pm:

Wow....it's sort of beautiful...in an awful, terrible, awe-inspiring way.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Erik Barrett in Auburn Ca. on Thursday, March 09, 2017 - 05:38 pm:

The car was towed front wheels on the dolly, rear on the ground. The tranny didn't scatter like Donnie's pics, it is still in one piece but nonetheless destroyed. You can just imagine with the deep reduction in a TT rear end what kind of revs that engine was turning when it let go.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Erik Johnson on Thursday, March 09, 2017 - 06:03 pm:

A little drift:

It's not a good idea to tow any Model T, Model A or Ford V8 backwards with the rear end off the ground (whether its via a tow truck or wheel dollies) and the front wheels on the ground.

Has nothing to do with the front wheels locking up in reverse.

The front end is designed to go forward at slow, moderate and high speeds - this has everything to do with camber, caster and toe-in which are set up for forward motion when the frame is horizontal to the ground. It is designed to go in reverse only at slow speeds.

If you tow a Model T, Model A or Ford V8 backwards with the rear end up in the air and the front wheels on the ground, you can get what some folks call the death wobble and the car will start dangerously zig-zagging all over the place.

My neighbors recently inherited a '36 Ford V8 that has been in the family since 1942. The current owners/custodians have zero mechanical ability. A bolt got hung up in the clutch and they weren't able to turn over motor. They hired a regular tow truck to take it to a mechanic. I watched as the tow truck driver hoisted the rear end off the ground and towed it reverse. I told him that it was not a good idea at all even if it was at only 30 MPH on residential streets. He was the "expert" and told me I shouldn't worry.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Henry Petrino in Modesto, CA on Thursday, March 09, 2017 - 07:15 pm:

Erik,

It's hard for me to imagine that anyone with a TT would not realize that there's a problem when towing a TT as you describe. Even someone not familiar with T's or TT's but able to tow anything should know better as soon as they started moving it.

Well, as we have said here so often, I guess common sense isn't so common. I'm glad to know you're now involved so whatever can be saved will be saved.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth W DeLong on Thursday, March 09, 2017 - 07:33 pm:

When you watch 80% of drivers either talking,texting,reading the paper while 5' behind the car in front at 80MPH you expect them to know anything?? Very often over the years we see people who should know better wreck cars/trucks towing substandard!Bud.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mike Garrison - Rice, Minnesota on Thursday, March 09, 2017 - 08:15 pm:

Yup, it's the whole Darwin thing.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By bob middleton on Thursday, March 09, 2017 - 09:51 pm:

Erik I just worked on one that was hauled the same way but luckily not as fast nor damage
She up running find after some tlc and new bands
Not sure if there was clutch damage as it has good neutral so I left it


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Patrick in Florida on Thursday, March 09, 2017 - 10:17 pm:

I was told many years ago (in the 70's), that, when towing a car, any car on the rear wheels, the universal should be disconnected from the engine first and the drive shaft should be hung from the chassis supports to spin freely, separate from the engine. When I towed my 1974 Camaro from Georgia to Florida, I disconnected the universal based on this advice. Jim Patrick


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Aaron Griffey, Hayward Ca. on Thursday, March 09, 2017 - 10:59 pm:

A guy in our club told of towing a '32 model B Ford with a tow bar.
He had gone quite a ways and when he finally got there the B was dripping oil from everywhere.
He said he had thrown a full duffel bag in the front seat of the B and when he made a quick/panic stop the duffel bag had pushed the shift lever into second gear.
Even though he had towed it at speeds up to 60 miles per hour the engine was undamaged and he drove the car several years without doing repairs to the engine.

Spell check no like duffle or duffel.?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Wayne Sheldon, Grass Valley, CA on Friday, March 10, 2017 - 12:02 am:

Something else that few people understand (even in this hobby), is that even towing most standard transmission type cars is risky. Even with most common standard transmissions placed in neutral, and being towed with the rear wheels (on rear wheel drive cars) on the ground. The back half of the upper shafts in the transmission turn, but the front half, along with the lower and cluster gears DO NOT turn. With the lower gears not turning, gear oil is not being thrown around and continuing to lubricate the upper parts of the transmission. With the output bearings, and shafts turning, they slowly work out the gear oil. The output bearing, bushings, pilot shafts and bearings all run the risk of running dry and getting very hot.
As Jim P mentioned, disconnecting the U-joint is one way to help avoid trouble (even that may not save the front drive shaft bearing depending upon its type and source of lubrication (many are designed to not require regular maintenance).
Another option sometimes is to over-fill the transmission with gear oil so that the output shaft is partially covered (done that a few times myself). That would not have helped Aaron G's friend, however.

Gear oil is fairly heavy, and works out slowly provided things are well lubricated in the first place. Generally speaking, it probably would be safe to tow a recently driven and maintained vehicle for fifty to a hundred (maybe even hundreds) miles with a standard shift transmission put into neutral. Speed does matter here, a lot. The faster you go? The shorter the distance before things start getting hot. And once they start to get hot? They start getting hot fast! The distance between starting to get hot, and minor damage? Is only a couple or a few miles. The distance between minor damage, and major damage? About ONE mile, maybe less. If you see smoke in the rear-view mirror (coming from the towed vehicle)? You are well into that last mile.
How far almost any car can be towed safely with any wheels on the ground is pure speculation, based upon limited facts, and experience. Assume you can go farther? Well, you know how to spell "assume".
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Robert A Weitzel on Friday, March 10, 2017 - 12:07 am:

Eric looks like more parts to weld to the barbecue /Turlock swap meet heater (Washer drum ) put the pictures up


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Erik Barrett in Auburn Ca. on Friday, March 10, 2017 - 12:11 am:

Just looked at the transmission. The low drum is blue and cracked. The brake drum is cracked across the band surface which I have not seen before. All the oil is cooked way from everything except the outer diameter of the flywheel. I don't know if I will be able to get this thing apart. Probably we will scrap the whole thing and start with another core unit. What a waste.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Stroud on Friday, March 10, 2017 - 04:27 am:

Jim P., no disrespect intended here, but why would you disconnect the driveshaft from the engine and leave it to spin freely? That doesn't make any sense. Did you mean to disconnect the driveshaft so the rearend could spin freely? Dave


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Harold Schwendeman - Sumner,WA on Friday, March 10, 2017 - 03:03 pm:

David S. - Glad you asked that question, because I was a it confused about what Jim P. said too. If I was going to disconnect anything from the driveline for towing (and I'm not sure I would), I'd disconnect the REAR universal from the differential, and hang the then "non-spinning" rear end of the driveshaft from something on the chassis. Think about what you said Jim,.... "the driveshaft should be hung from the chassis supports to spin freely, separate from the engine." How would you hang a spinning driveshaft from the chassis supports,..... ???

No, I'd separate the driveshaft from the differential if I was going to disconnect the driveline at all, and then the driveshaft would NOT be spinning at all. I really gotta' believe that that's what you meant Jim,..... FWIW,...... harold


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By William Dizer on Friday, March 10, 2017 - 09:19 pm:

In 1959 my dad and mom flat towed our 1925 coupe from southern Indiana to central New York behind a 1958 Plymouth. The u joint was removed, and the drive shaft then bolted back up to the transmission to hold the rear axle in place. My dad and uncle made the tow bar and it attached to the front axle and the wishbone and was hinged just in front of the axle so the tow bar could go up and down. The only problem we had was at the end of the first day, the front wheel bearings had to be repacked. We had our dog riding in the model t, and tried to teach him to put his paws on the steering wheel! We towed the t that way for over 750 miles with no other problem than the wheel bearings! Oddly enough, the t went from NY to VA., the Dayton Ohio and now back to south west Indiana about 80 miles from where it started fifty eight years ago! It came back on trailers! I do still have the tow bar set up!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Dewey, N. California on Saturday, March 11, 2017 - 01:52 pm:

Back in '76 I dodged a bullet going to my wedding (no, it wasn't a shotgun wedding!). We were going to take my Model A to drive from the wedding to the reception. Grass Valley is almost a 4 hour drive from Dunsmuir (back then) and we built a tow bar to tow Ma Green behind the family car. Well, the tow bar bent right in the driveway, so we gave up on that idea and put her back in the garage. I hate to think of what might have happened to poor old Ma Green if we had towed her; would have at the very least lost the transmission!
Even worse, it was only in reading this thread that I realized that!!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Lester in Floyd, VA on Saturday, March 11, 2017 - 03:57 pm:

Reminds me of a scene from one of the Clint Eastwood movies, where Ma Boggs, played by Ruth Gordon, jumps in a tow truck and takes off on an urgent mission, neglecting to notice a VW hooked up behind the truck. Pedal to the metal, the VW's rear tires soon disintegrate, and after a several hundred mile shower of sparks, the VW is reduced to pure entropy, never to be seen again.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tim Lloid on Saturday, March 11, 2017 - 04:18 pm:

Wow. I am afraid to tow on a dolly. I have one of the electric steer dolly that my dad used behind his motor home when him and mom used to travel. I only use a open trailer for 10 -20 mph mile slow trips. I tore up the visor on a nice r restored 27 coupe. Sorry about the bad luck. Tim


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mack Cole ---- Earth on Saturday, March 11, 2017 - 06:20 pm:

my dad told me once, "If you think education is expensive,try stupid"
Man I hate to see so many exspensive parts be torn up like that. A TT towed at Hwy speeds?! SHEESH.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dan Haynes, Lodi, CA on Monday, March 13, 2017 - 10:03 am:

Education is what you get when you expected something else.

I keep coming back to these pics and I see something new in them each time.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Arnold on Friday, April 07, 2017 - 02:05 pm:

The point of the original post has been side tracked. We all know towing a model t will result in damage because of the model t splash lubrication system.

The point was if you over/over fill the engine and trans how can you possibly damage parts that are encased in a bath of oil?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Darel J. Leipold on Friday, April 07, 2017 - 03:47 pm:

It is not the amount of oil, it is the temperature of the oil. It is the hot oil that leads to damage. When you tow a Mode T the transmission is turning, even when the T is in neutral. That heats up the oil. The bands will tend to "burn up".


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dan Treace, North FL on Friday, April 07, 2017 - 03:55 pm:

Damage may occur regardless of lubrication, as the T isn't designed to have the transmission and a dead engine driven by the rear wheels.


Ford Service Bulletin warned of towing a TT on all fours, as the worm gear axle isn't made to do that.



Similar reasons not to tow a Model T on all fours, lots of excess strain on tires, and rear axle being tasked to turn the transmission, flywheel and crank, rods, cam, valves and pistons.

Sure you can relieve compression force by removing the spark plugs, but towing a T on all fours has to be a last resort. And such tow should be at very low speed, 10mph and only very short distance, IMO.

Carry your AAA card, all the tow trucks today are rollbacks, and can pull your Ford up on the deck and carry it home safely at highway speeds!


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