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Old 04-01-2015, 03:29 PM   #11
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Good memory, SassyLass. I did do a long-ish flat tow, used a regular load binding/towing chain (maybe 3/8" link?), towed with a dual-rear pickup. Actually I've towed it a little with my single-rear Ram 2500 as well, but that was a little sketchy because of reduced drive wheel traction and because its cooling system (trans or engine, I'm not sure which) isn't what it used to be.

IIRC we did in excess of 40 MPH at times, but the brakes on the bus were fully functional, working on relatively straight and flat terrain with good visibility, and we literally did do some of the towing after midnight so there was minimal if any traffic.

I'd be uncomfortable about flat towing a bus without its own brakes at least mostly working. Based on my towing of 10-15k pound trailers with my pickup, it'll get the load going much faster than it'll stop the load because the truck's tires lock up and skid easily. My knowledge of 1940s era vehicles is zero but you mention the brakes are hydraulic. Do they have vacuum boost? If so you might use a portable vacuum pump and an air compressor tank, or the Harbor Freight 11 gallon air tank, as a way to build up a reserve of vacuum analogous to the periodic re-pressurizing I did with my air brake system. Either way I think it'd be time well spent to bring its brakes into functional even if not "road worthy" condition.

Once you get off road.... wow. Good luck. I tried to tug my bus (20k pounds) up a very very slight slope with a skid loader. It's slight enough that the bus won't roll down the slope without being pushed. The ground was fairly smooth, and the loader was working on a few inches of 2 inch minus gravel. It dug down through the gravel to the soil below and then just spun. It is 4WD like your NH, however its tires are only about 12x30 inches outside dimensions and the tread is shallow, maybe just 1/2". Your NH with its much larger tires may get much better traction than my skid loader did. I guess you could disconnect the drive shaft from the differential and get under there with a bar and socket to manually propel the bus!

The solid tow bar sounds nice so far as keeping the two vehicles from colliding. However, if the towing truck doesn't have enough rear end traction during a slow/stop, the bus pushing on a rigid tow bar might cause that rear end to break its traction and jack-knife.

If the hill isn't too steep, simple rolling friction might be enough to keep the speed manageable. You could try coasting the pickup truck down the hill on its own and see what speed it reaches.

With the front bumper potentially not being a robust tow point, what about the spring hangers for the front axle? You probably wouldn't want the chain(s) sweeping side to side under the front overhang of the bus though; maybe it could be secured near the front end of the frame rail to prevent lateral movement. Another piece of chain wound around the frame rail and towing chain, for example..?

As always, don't forget weights like a blanket, spare chain, etc draped over the towing chain/strap to dampen its recoil in case it snaps, particularly on the off-road climb where towing forces will be higher.

Taskswap's suggestion to take it 2 MPH sounds extreme, but if your patience can bear it, spending an hour actually doing the tow really wouldn't be so bad. At just 2 MPH it probably wouldn't coast far before coming to a stop on its own.
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Old 04-01-2015, 03:44 PM   #12
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If using a tractor, push, don't pull. You will get far better traction, and no chance of getting run over.

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Old 04-01-2015, 10:26 PM   #13
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More Pictures

Here are some pictures I was able to get of the rear of the bus this afternoon. The rear bumper is made out of metal slightly thinner than 1/8" it looks like so it's not really made to withstand a lot of force. I would need to find some way to cushion the rear before pushing on it. If some sort of frame could be welded to the existing frame and brought back beyond the rear to push on, I suppose would be one way to do it.

Anyway, I'm not an expert on moving these large heavy things very far--especially when the engine doesn't run, the hydraulic brakes don't work and when you need to go down a hill. Without any good solid thing to pull on like a solid bar in the front for the down side of hills and with the problem of pushing which sounds good but I don't want to dent the bus, I will wait and see what your suggestions are!

Thanks for your suggestions.
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Old 04-01-2015, 10:44 PM   #14
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Just curious, are you cash-tight? Because 2 miles... between the tow straps, welding something to something, wondering about the brakes, and whatever else... hiring a legit wrecker to move it would probably only cost a couple of hundred bucks in the right mood and you'd have no angst or effort to worry about... Unless you're way out of the way...
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Old 04-01-2015, 10:58 PM   #15
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Remove the rear bumper so you can push more directly on the frame rails? Maybe replace the bumper with wood somewhere between a 4x4 and a railroad tie and push on that instead of direct to the rails? The bumper has to come off anyway so you can send it out for chrome plating, right? I bet you're excited to work on that bus; it could look really awesome after you restore/convert it.
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Originally Posted by taskswap View Post
Just curious, are you cash-tight? Because 2 miles... between the tow straps, welding something to something, wondering about the brakes, and whatever else... hiring a legit wrecker to move it would probably only cost a couple of hundred bucks in the right mood and you'd have no angst or effort to worry about... Unless you're way out of the way...
That's a really good point. For reference, when my bus had its breakdown two years ago just out of the Salt Lake City metro area, I was quoted $150 call-out plus $5 per mile. I think they were going to count mileage from their door and back again so my 60 mile tow would have been at least 150+2*60*5=$750. But if there's a wrecker based near the 2 mile route, or if they don't charge for mileage to and from the job, it might be quite a reasonable thing to do.
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Old 04-01-2015, 11:17 PM   #16
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If you can't make a tow bar Nat is right .Just push it with the tractor.
Pictures!!
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Old 04-01-2015, 11:21 PM   #17
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I operated a 25 ton wrecker for a lot of years. Guess I'll stop right there.....
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Old 04-03-2015, 05:25 AM   #18
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I don't want to get all preachy but this has train wreck written all over it. I would seriously consider having it towed.
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Old 04-03-2015, 12:56 PM   #19
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i don't want to get all preachy but this has bus wreck written all over it. I would seriously consider having it towed.
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Old 04-03-2015, 02:33 PM   #20
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Get the tractor on it, go real slow, and make sure someone has a camera!

That's what I'd do... Sometimes I can be a bit redneck, but you can do it safely! It's only 2 miles.

One time this janky bus company I used to drive for had a coach bus break down in downtown Denver. The owner of the company (a straight up redneck bus mechanic from Kansas who used his inheritance to start a bus company) came down in an old School Bus with the 7.4 V8 international diesel in it and we hooked up a 30' rope, ran an airline from the skoolie's tanks to the coach's, and he towed me about 8 miles back to the yard in mid-deay traffic down colorado boulevard.

Turning a coach in the city without power steering is HARD.

Was it safe? Maybe--at least I had brakes.
Was it fun? Only after we got back.
Would I do it again? As long as it's not my bus!

Moral of the story? That would be a much better tale if I had pics, so make sure you bring a camera ;)
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