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Old 01-13-2022, 04:55 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2022
Location: Indiana
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Rated Cap: 6BTA5.9/ISB
Can I flat-tow my Jeep with this platform?

Hello everyone!

We just bought this skoolie - complete with a platform to house a motorcycle for scouting boondock locations. However, given we travel with 3 dogs and are getting older, we aren't comfortable boondocking in remote areas (our dream!) without a toad available in case of a human or dog emergency.

However, we don't know if we can flat-tow my Jeep without removing the platform. So we're thinking I'll just have to drive the Jeep behind the bus. But we aren't thrilled about that idea for obvious reasons (additional fuel cost, additional wear-and-tear on the Jeep, no togetherness on travel days, etc.)

Any and all opinions and suggestions would be welcome!

Thank you for your consideration!
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Old 01-13-2022, 07:25 PM   #2
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Location: Southern Oregon
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You're best bet is to take it to a custom fabrication shop and ask them. They'll be able to put eyeballs on how the existing platform was built and what it would take to get a hitch to the rear.
You might want to consider just dropping the two wheeler and removing the platform, moving the bumper back to original location, and installing a HD hitch to the original frame.
Having a commercial shop do it also takes a lot of liability off of you should something go wrong.
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Old 01-14-2022, 08:16 AM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2022
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Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: 24v Cummins
Rated Cap: 6BTA5.9/ISB
Thank you so much - I really appreciate the advice!

We've had trouble trying to figure out who can (and is willing) to do what when it comes to skoolie work/maintenance. We think we have a good mechanic now, but that's about all we've got in our support arsenal.
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Old 01-14-2022, 07:53 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tina Best View Post
Thank you so much - I really appreciate the advice!

We've had trouble trying to figure out who can (and is willing) to do what when it comes to skoolie work/maintenance. We think we have a good mechanic now, but that's about all we've got in our support arsenal.

Call up a couple of heavy diesel shops, particularly one that specializes in your make of bus if you can find that and ask them for recommendations for a fabrication shop.
You might also try custom auto shops that do their own or can recommend an outside fabricator.
And of course keep your eyes open in this forum, maybe even post a new topic, looking for skoolies from your area that may be able to point you in the right direction (for more than just fab shops too).
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ONLY YOU can ensure your safety! . . . . . We've done so much, for so long, with so little, we now do the impossible, overnight, with nothing. US Marines -- 6531, 3521. . . .Ret ASE brakes & elect. Ret (auto/aviation). Extra Class HAM, NAUI/PADI OpenWater diver
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Old 01-15-2022, 05:09 AM   #5
Bus Nut
 
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Not sure where in Indiana you're located but in the Indianapolis/Central Indiana area:

Truck Service-Indianapolis Spring, 3140 W. Morris St, Indy

EDCO Welding Truck and Trailer Repair, 861 W. Troy Ave, Indy

JBK Truck, Trailer and Bus Repair, 8669 S. State Rd 67, Camby

Walls Truck and Trailer, 7192 S 75 E, Warren (not sure if they'll touch a homemade rig but can't hurt to ask)

I'm guessing the way the rear deck was engineered and installed it's designed to support a top-load but adding a hitch to flat-tow adds both lateral and longitudinal stresses as well. The towed will perpetually resist as it is pulled and want to tug side to side which over thousands of miles could weaken and literally rip the welds/mounts that hold on the deck. Some lateral reinforcement may be all that's required to make this safe for flat towing but if you think you'll ever get into trailering with any tongue weight I'd be sure to have that evaluated as well. Adding tongue weight definitely could push it over original design spec and add a potentially unsafe handling factor to driving as the trailer bounce will counter the steering axle using the drive axle as a fulcrum point.
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Old 01-15-2022, 08:30 AM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Thank you again - particularly for the idea to post about local shops that will work on buses. I will be posting a new topic on local resources!
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Old 01-15-2022, 08:34 AM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Engine: 24v Cummins
Rated Cap: 6BTA5.9/ISB
EXCELLENT - thank you so much! We were actually very worried about the additional strain on the structural integrity of the bus, and after reading your post, along with considering the expense of modifying the bus at a custom fab shop - we've decided to try our virgin voyage without towing. I will just follow the bus in my Jeep, and see how that works. This will give us an idea whether I'm up for it on longer journies, and will help us determine how much we actually use our tow vehicle while boondocking. My friends think we don't need a tow vehicle, but I'd rather be safe than sorry, at least on this first trek out!

And THANK YOU for the local resources - yes, we're in Indy!! Have you personally used any of these shops for your own skoolie?
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Old 01-15-2022, 10:02 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tina Best View Post
Have you personally used any of these shops for your own skoolie?
No personal experience but I've been compiling a list in Google maps of RV and skoolie resources. I've had as many wild ideas as anyone! And I get an idea so I look up where such ideas could be handled.
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Old 01-15-2022, 09:43 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2022
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Chassis: TC2000
Engine: 24v Cummins
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That sounds like an amazing resource list for the Indy area! Do you have any place on your list that might work on our solar system, by chance?
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Old 01-15-2022, 11:03 PM   #10
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I'd be concerned about lateral forces. Flat towing a 50000# vehicle, no tongue weight to worry about...but say you have to swerve, with the hitch so far behind the rear axle, that lateral force could cause an accident. I googled "lateral forces when towing", but didn't understand the conversation/math...way above my pay grade.
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Old 01-16-2022, 07:45 AM   #11
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Lebanon, Indiana
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Chassis: Ford F53
Engine: Ford Triton V-10
Rated Cap: currently 2
Sorry, no resources on my list relating to solar.
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Old 01-16-2022, 07:54 AM   #12
Bus Nut
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BarnYardCamp View Post
I'd be concerned about lateral forces. Flat towing a 50000# vehicle, no tongue weight to worry about...but say you have to swerve, with the hitch so far behind the rear axle, that lateral force could cause an accident. I googled "lateral forces when towing", but didn't understand the conversation/math...way above my pay grade.
Hopefully you mean 5,000# towed vehicle but yes one of the problems with any skoolie towing setup is the leverage the towed has on the towing rig. We're asking the rig to do something it wasn't designed to do and is basically ill-suited to the task of towing in the first place but we cast our die that intelligent engineering, abundance of caution and just plain luck will keep us safe.

As with the OP's setup, it's not so much the prospect of an aggressive evasive maneuver that worries me as much as the likely imperceptible persistent lateral wear that'll weaken that additional structure until it fails catastrophically, leaving the towed vehicle freewheeling in following traffic.
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Old 01-16-2022, 12:58 PM   #13
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Could you put a mount on the jeep for the 2 wheeler and ditch the platform? My nephew had one on his jeep (still in my garage) to haul his around.
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Old 01-16-2022, 03:23 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spaznaut View Post
Could you put a mount on the jeep for the 2 wheeler and ditch the platform? My nephew had one on his jeep (still in my garage) to haul his around.

Or use a trailer though now you're getting more and more gear to need room for where you park.
__________________
ONLY YOU can ensure your safety! . . . . . We've done so much, for so long, with so little, we now do the impossible, overnight, with nothing. US Marines -- 6531, 3521. . . .Ret ASE brakes & elect. Ret (auto/aviation). Extra Class HAM, NAUI/PADI OpenWater diver
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Old 01-16-2022, 04:08 PM   #15
Bus Nut
 
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yes, I meant 5,000# not 50k.
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Old 01-16-2022, 06:47 PM   #16
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Year: 1999
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: 24v Cummins
Rated Cap: 6BTA5.9/ISB
Given all this fantastic advice, we've decided to just drive the Jeep behind the bus for the maiden voyage. We're not going to bring the two-wheeler (since we'll have the Jeep) - so we'll just evaluate how I feel about all the driving after we return.

Then, if after our first trip we decide we want to flat-tow the Jeep moving forward, we have decided we would remove the platform to alleviate many of the concerns you all have expressed here.

Many thanks for all your advice! For now, I am designing a custom extra tire cover for the Jeep - yay another fun accessory! (I think Jeeps might be the gateway drugs for skoolies, now that I think of it lol)
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