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Old 06-09-2014, 03:04 PM
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Default S13 Tow Bar Build

Long story short, my car was in storage in ME but I live in CO now. Buying a car trailer was too expensive, so was renting one from U-Haul. Buying a dolly was an option, but whats the point when you can flat-tow?!?! Flat towing also eliminates trailer weight/tongue weight so you get the best gas mileage hauling. Car has to be registered and insured, but besides that it's 100% legal.

I started by buying a nice RV tow bar off craigslist. Paid $100, but this one was like $600+ new. The design idea was to remove the front bumper cover and core, fabricate brackets that would mount where the bumper core did, and weld on the tow bar. Well it worked out even better than that in the end!

I made the brackets with some 3/8" plate steel, and made them extra long sticking out the front of the car. When the plates were bolted to the car, and I went to line up the tow bar, they were EXACTLY the same width! I made some 45*'s, got some grade 10 bolts and nuts, and had my friend weld the brackets rock solid. Since this tow bar is meant to fold up and stay on car, I checked clearance on the bumper cover, and with a little trim to the turn signal housing, the cover mounts right back on the car and hides the tow bar!

So I hauled the car 2300 miles from ME, NH, MA... PA, WV, KY, MO, KS... No issues! 1000+lbs in the bed of my Tacoma, (5.3L Vortec swap, a ski lift chair, 100' of steel tube) and I still got 15-17mph with the cruise set at 70mph. Car tracked dead straight, no sway. Ignition on, trans in neutral, driveshaft still in, welded rear diff.
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  #2  
Old 06-09-2014, 03:06 PM
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Default Re: S13 Tow Bar Build




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"Who needs a radio when there's a symphony under the hood?"
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Old 06-12-2014, 12:08 PM
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Default Re: S13 Tow Bar Build

pretty sure a u-haul drive on trailer is 100 for the day.
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Old 06-12-2014, 03:22 PM
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Default Re: S13 Tow Bar Build

It was almost $1000 to take one 2300 miles from ME to CO. So ya, $100 for a day, but $1000 to go cross country.
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Old 06-12-2014, 08:10 PM
hartig hartig is offline
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Default Re: S13 Tow Bar Build

no concerns about leaving the driveshaft attached? how did you keep the steering wheel straight in the s13?
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Old 06-14-2014, 01:55 PM
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Default Re: S13 Tow Bar Build

I left the driveshaft in and everything seems fine after a 2300 mile haul. I have a welded diff too.

The wheels stay straight on their own, pulls like a trailer. Backing up though, that can't be done alone. The wheels turn against you and it kinda jackknifes itself. I assume if I had someone in the car holding the wheel straight I could have backed up, but I road tripped alone.

Also, the miles don't record on the odometer. When flat towing. Not sure why, I assumed with the key on and the wheels turing that they would show up.
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~~~~2012 Tacoma TRD Sport ~~~
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Old 06-14-2014, 02:20 PM
crrid03 crrid03 is offline
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Default Re: S13 Tow Bar Build

If i understand it correctly, you cant flat tow an automatic car with the driveshaft in. The front pump is turned by the engine and lubricates the trans. If the driveshaft is in, it still spins shafts in the trans. Even in neutral. Without the engine running, there is no lubrication to most of the internal parts. With a M/T car the trans. Is just a case with gear oil that splashes around just like a differential. So driveshaft in or out doesnt matter.


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Old 06-15-2014, 11:07 AM
BigLouKAT BigLouKAT is offline
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Default Re: S13 Tow Bar Build

Nice, glad the trip was good. Were you able to do most of the fabricating before you left for the east coast? Hopefully those rough measurements didn't throw you off at all, as I said I was working around the bumper/support and installed FMIC when I took those
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  #9  
Old 06-16-2014, 12:47 AM
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Default Re: S13 Tow Bar Build

I ended up building it all in ME. Made more sense to do it with all the parts and the car together.
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~~~~1992 240sx Worked Chassis/Stock KA~~~~
~~~~2012 Tacoma TRD Sport ~~~
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