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Old 04-01-2015, 04:39 AM   #1
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How to flat tow a 40's passenger bus

I need to tow an old 40's passenger bus approximately two miles that doesn't run. How could I flat tow it? A friend has a maybe one ton diesel service truck and we were thinking about taking it very slow.

I would appreciate suggestions on how to do it the least expensive way and still be safe. Would some sort of V or towing bar work?

Thanks.
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Old 04-01-2015, 08:00 AM   #2
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Two miles? I've towed weirder things longer distances without expensive rigging. I'd do it at 1am with a couple of towing chains and a big block of foam rubber on the tow vehicle's bumper just-in-case. Go 2 miles an hour and it's hard to get in trouble. Do the brakes work on the vehicle to be towed?

FYI, UHaul box trucks can tow 8k lbs or more depending on what you rent, and they're cheap if you only need them for a day. Check out the ratings on that service truck - you might do better with alternatives.

I have $5 says nat_ster has some stories about what to do here...
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Old 04-01-2015, 08:20 AM   #3
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saw a guy tow a mobile home with a dual wheeled truck. but he had a hitch. i would go the rented truck route, if ya break your buddys truck, he might whack ya around a bit.
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Old 04-01-2015, 08:57 AM   #4
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thefamilywagon has a post about how they pulled theirs (40 miles?) with a one ton P/U. They had air brakes and stopped frequently to recharge them.
The details start at comment #13
http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f11/th...tml#post105253
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Old 04-01-2015, 09:06 AM   #5
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Old 04-01-2015, 10:14 AM   #6
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Yes Tankswap, I worked in recovery running a 3 ton wrecker for a bit.

Like has been said, pick a time with little traffic.

If it don't run, figure out how to release the brakes. Air and juice are different.

I use a 2 inch wide tow strap, 18,000 pound vs a chain. It will absorb the shock and add a bit of bounce.

Don't go to fast. The bus can weigh 20,000 pounds.

Use a one ton truck or bigger to tow it. Add weight to the truck for traction. At least 3000 pounds of weight. This will keep the bus from sliding the tires on the truck when you stop.

If the buses brakes are not working, have one more truck attached with a strap to the rear of the bus. This is the truck will be to slow the bus from behind using it's brakes.

If you have any hills, be more carefull.

Post pics!!

Nat
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Old 04-01-2015, 02:33 PM   #7
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Thanks for your responses. I wouldn't rely on the buses' hydraulic brakes but it does have a parking brake on the drive line that will do a little braking.

I attached some pictures which shows that there is a front bumper support issue complication. In one picture, one of the curved supports was broken off on the left side. (The bumper which is not a real heavy duty one for the weight of the bus is bent on the top and bottom.)

Because my move requires going down a small hill that's not too steep though, the bus is going to push against the towing vehicle and tend to mash the left side into the front of the bus, of course even if we use some old tires as a cushion. All there is directly behind the bumper is thin sheet metal basically so I need to resolve this issue somehow.

Also, in order to get it into a field, it's going to be sort of tight quarters to maneuver it which will help make the move challenging to miss things . Another thing is connecting the towing vehicle to the bus in order to have some slack to turn but not too much. Yes, I suppose a tow strap would work good if we can figure out how to connect it up but with some slack but then again, the bus bumper support is an issue.

Another concern of mine is pulling it up a small not very steep (luckily) grade that has natural vegetation on it after we get it off the road and the 3/4 or 1 ton 4WD truck's wheels might spin. (The bus has, I suppose a ton of stuff inside which won't help.) I do have a 45 HP 4WD tractor--a NH TC45D with a loader (adds weight) but the bus easily out weighs it. I see that it was suggested to add some weight to the towing vehicle which is a good idea and to take it real slow.

Hope to hear some more from you as for suggestions.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Bus Bumper 3-28-15-1.jpg (394.9 KB, 5 views)
File Type: jpg Bus Bumper 3-28-15-2.jpg (315.1 KB, 6 views)
File Type: jpg Bus Bumper 3-28-15-3.jpg (312.4 KB, 5 views)
File Type: jpg Bus Bumper 3-31-15-2.jpg (300.9 KB, 6 views)
File Type: jpg Bus Bumper 3-31-15-10.jpg (338.5 KB, 5 views)
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Old 04-01-2015, 03:16 PM   #8
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I would forget about using the trucks to move it, and turn right to the tractor.

If your 45 hp tractor is anything like my friends 45 hp kubota, it will be all you need.

I would use the tractor to push it from behind. Still attach the bus to the tractor with a 18,000 pound tow strap, leaving about 4 feet of slack. If the bus takes off, the tractor will stop it far better than a truck.

With the tractor behind the bus, you can lift on the rear of the bus to put more weight on the tractors tires for more traction if needed when pushing the bus up the hill. You can also use a truck to pull from the front if needed to get up the hill.

I would not worry about attaching a strap around that front bumper. Just attach the strap in the center, between the supports that go back to the frame.

Or use a short chain to reach under the front of the bus and attach it to the frame of the bus. Then attach your strap to the chain. This will keep you from cutting your strap.

The tractor is the way to go. It will prevent you from going too fast, and losing control of the bus. Pushing is better than pulling.

You will need someone to steer the bus. VHF radios or cell phones to communicate will be a must.

Please post pics of the buses rear bumper.

I love stuff like this. I wish I could come help.

Nat
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Old 04-01-2015, 03:27 PM   #9
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Am I early?
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Old 04-01-2015, 03:28 PM   #10
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bus in motion type


OH BIG SAFETY POINT

DO NOT stand inbetween the and tractor or etc, you do not want the chance to get crushed......


Hurry up now, we need some pictures
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