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Old 09-04-2016, 07:12 PM   #1
Bus Nut
onenationundergoat's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Statesville, North Carolina
Posts: 401
Year: 1993
Chassis: Thomas
Engine: International Navistar DT360
Rated Cap: 60
Towing 4 down

I'm looking to tow my AWD Honda Element. I know according to Honda it's supposed to be towed with all four wheels on the ground. Who on here has experience with this? I've read a handful of older threads. Since a tow bar and base plate are ~$700-$800 or more, I'm trying to get my dad to build me one. He is a mechanical engineer and also built the 3.5' long deck that bolts onto the frame behind the bus. (Read: he is capable and knows what he's doing as far as safety.) I really need to be able to tow while also keeping the deck, since our huge generator resides there.

Has anyone ever had a large distance between the tow point on the bus and the front of the car? 6' or so I'd imagine. If you tow four down, how badly do your tires fare in turns? Has anyone made their own tow bar? What are your experiences?
My build thread:
A gal, a guy, three cats, two dogs, one rabbit, and one goat, traveling the country together.
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Old 09-04-2016, 10:23 PM   #2
Bus Nut
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Salt Lake City Utah
Posts: 914
Year: 2000
Chassis: Blue Bird
Engine: ISC 8.3
I'm no towing engineer, but once I stayed in... nevermind.

I built a tow bar for a Suzuki Samurai once. I used 1x2 rectangle tube.. don't remember whether it was .090 or .120 wall. I had built the bumper on that vehicle too, so I welded on two pairs of tabs to the front and used a large bolt as the connection between the A-frame tow bar and the bumper. In retrospect a bolt probably wasn't a good choice for that shear application.. oh well.

There was some conversation here "a while ago" ... maybe in the last year ... about flat towing behind a front-engine bus. IIRC there was some concern about the difference in length of the long overhang from the rear axle to the rear bumper vs the length of the tow bar from the coupler to the toad's front axle. Maybe you could search for posts by nat_ster; I think he was involved in that conversation. I'm trying to visualize in my head what might happen when the bus turns. Going right for example, the tail of the bus swings left. The towed car would go left too, then, but fairly soon the bus will be moving to the right even as the tail swings left. Maybe this results in dragging the front of the car sideways to the right..? Perhaps if the tow bar were extra long it would mitigate the problem.
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Old 09-05-2016, 10:34 AM   #3
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Medford, OR
Posts: 21
If you watch a school bus made a sharp turn, the hitch location doesn't move to the opposite direction very much at all. It essentially continues straight while rotsting until it dives into the turn.
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Old 09-05-2016, 02:14 PM   #4
Bus Crazy
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Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: 3800 International
Engine: T444E
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I would go to a rv forum Toads and Motorhome Related Towing - iRV2 Forums there is plenty of about towing 4 down lots to learn about tow bars, and brake set ups
my bus build viewtopic.php?f=9&t=5931
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