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Old 06-03-2021, 03:06 PM   #1
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Exclamation Towing a car

Greetings and Salutations.

Pardon my complete lack of knowledge about this subject matter. I have done as much general internet searching as I can before asking. I also have the manual for my ISC 8.3 and that didn't really help.

Can my bus can tow a car after I have finished building it out. I don't understand how I might calculate if it can or not? What do I need to know? Are there general rules about this? Do i need to do things like add additional transmission coolers etc... Hit me with whatever you got, also totally happy to do the learning on my own if you have good websites that will tell me this stuff.

Basically, I don't know what I need to know to figure this out.

Thanks so much in advance.

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Old 06-03-2021, 04:08 PM   #2
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Buses were not intended to tow anything due to safety concerns. That does not mean you can’t tow a car though. If you go to the Allison web site it will give you the combined weight rating of your transmission. But I can assure you it will be more than adequate. Same with the engine. Rear engine school buses are short on cooling and this is where you will have to direct your attention. This system also cools your Allison in the process. I would recommend that you have good gauges to monitor temperatures of the engine and transmission. You may or may not need a transmission cooler.
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Old 06-03-2021, 04:41 PM   #3
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It's also advisable with rear engine buses to get some experienced installation with the hitch because the engine cradle sub-assembly is only designed to carry the weight of the engine, not the drag and lateral stresses associated with a tow hitch mounted towable (car, trailer, whatever). I think usually it's just a matter of fabrication that carries that load back up to the primary I-beam frame without too adversely impeding access to the sides of the engine. Just something to keep in mind.
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Old 06-04-2021, 04:01 PM   #4
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From the car's point of view, make sure the car itself can be towed. AWD can't be towed, except on a trailer. Some need a car dolly for the front wheels, others can be towed as long as you can disengage the drive train (Jeeps do this really well).

As already mentioned, the weight of the item you're towing matters.
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Old 06-04-2021, 04:06 PM   #5
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Looking for a toad requires a lot of research. If you want 4wd it makes it a lot easier. The transfer cases become the most important part of the puzzle. We have about 5 we can flat tow here at the compound. Our 1996 Nissan 4wd 5 speed pickup is limited to 55mph as per the owners manual. Why ? Heck if I know. If it had been an automatic it would have been a no go. The 2002 Jeep liberty with the NP-241 transfer case has no restrictions. The car has plenty of electronics and you can not connect into the wiring of the car for the lights while towing. We have used it the most. My 1990 FJ-62 has very little electronics and is the best off road. It is heavy and gets left behind most of the time. The Jeep CJ-5 is the simple Simon and rides to harsh for the wife. So it only goes if I go by myself. The NP 241 transfer case is also used in some GM and Dodge excuse me RAM trucks. RAM= Recycled American Motors. I don’t know about Ford products. Toyota claims that none of theirs are tow-able, the last time I checked. I like the Toyota’s, so I wish they were.
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Old 06-04-2021, 05:14 PM   #6
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Toyota claims that none of theirs are tow-able, the last time I checked. I like the Toyota’s, so I wish they were.
I think that's a cover their ass thing because I've flat towed my 2000 Tacoma thousands of miles. Manual transmission of course, and 4wd. I unlock the steering wheel, put the transmission in neutral, and the transfer case in 4 high. Never had a problem.

You mention tying into the vehicles light system. How do you go about that, and do you think I could do that with mine? I have always just used add on lights, but it's kind of a pain.
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Old 06-04-2021, 07:24 PM   #7
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I made a light bar out of 2x2 light gauge square tube that plugs into the hitch reciever of the toad. It is wired to the bus. I ran the wiring through the Jeep to a plug on the front and rear of the Jeep. Amber turn lights red stop and tail and red side markers, all LED.
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Old 06-04-2021, 07:25 PM   #8
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Older cars are okay to tie into. Some new cars it can cause problems. The 2002 Jeep is one.
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Old 06-04-2021, 08:01 PM   #9
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Old 06-05-2021, 05:09 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Gyrkin View Post
I think that's a cover their ass thing because I've flat towed my 2000 Tacoma thousands of miles. Manual transmission of course, and 4wd. I unlock the steering wheel, put the transmission in neutral, and the transfer case in 4 high. Never had a problem.

You mention tying into the vehicles light system. How do you go about that, and do you think I could do that with mine? I have always just used add on lights, but it's kind of a pain.
put a trailer plug on your toad and then plug it into a opposite trailer plug on your bus
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Old 06-05-2021, 08:40 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Gyrkin View Post
I think that's a cover their ass thing because I've flat towed my 2000 Tacoma thousands of miles. Manual transmission of course, and 4wd. I unlock the steering wheel, put the transmission in neutral, and the transfer case in 4 high. Never had a problem.

You mention tying into the vehicles light system. How do you go about that, and do you think I could do that with mine? I have always just used add on lights, but it's kind of a pain.
Toyota CYA? Yep. I made a light bar for my toad to keep from taping into the toads light wiring. I was advised by a friend that was working at the Jeep stealership to not tap into the wiring. His take on the stock wiring in the Jeep was just enough to barely work. It is made of 2” light gauge square tubing and plugs into the trailer hitch receiver and has a wiring pigtail that plugs into a plug I installed on the back of the Jeep, that is connected with 6 wire trailer cable that goes to a plug on the front of the Jeep that I installed. No electrons in the Jeep are disturbed. On my 1998 Durango I just taped into the wiring at the front of the car and used a turn signal adapter (3 wire to 4 wire) that worked twice and failed. More Chinese junk. It will be converted to be the same system as the Jeep. I just finished converting the tow dolly to a 4 wire system. I have used the magnetic lights and found them to be a pain in the butt.
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Old 06-05-2021, 08:57 AM   #12
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We use a Brake Buddy Vantage remote braking system and it's been a reliable unit. It applies proportional braking to the towed vehicle's brakes...and that sensitivity is adjustable from within the towing vehicle by remote control. We've found it to be reliable. Because it actually presses on the brake pedal in the towed vehicle, the brake lights in the TOAD come on. That doesn't give you turn signals, but we have magnetic lights for that. I consider the brake lights an added bonus.

One big advantage of this is that it provides breakaway braking of the towed vehicle. If the TOAD were to separate from the tow vehicle, the brakes will come on. I haven't verified all these, but here's a list of the requirements in each state. In AZ, the requirement is that a breakaway system be present and functional on towed vehicles and trailers with a GVW of 3000 pounds or more. I see, on this list, that some states have a weight as low as 1500 pounds. https://rvibrake.com/pages/flat-towing-law
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Old 06-05-2021, 09:04 AM   #13
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We use a Brake Buddy Vantage remote braking system and it's been a reliable unit. It applies proportional braking to the towed vehicle's brakes...and that sensitivity is adjustable from within the towing vehicle by remote control. We've found it to be reliable. Because it actually presses on the brake pedal in the towed vehicle, the brake lights in the TOAD come on. That doesn't give you turn signals, but we have magnetic lights for that. I consider the brake lights an added bonus.

One big advantage of this is that it provides breakaway braking of the towed vehicle. If the TOAD were to separate from the tow vehicle, the brakes will come on. I haven't verified all these, but here's a list of the requirements in each state. In AZ, the requirement is that a breakaway system be present and functional on towed vehicles and trailers with a GVW of 3000 pounds or more. I see, on this list, that some states have a weight as low as 1500 pounds. https://rvibrake.com/pages/flat-towing-law
What do you use when you tow a bus with air brakes?
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Old 06-05-2021, 09:35 AM   #14
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What do you use when you tow a bus with air brakes?
I use the same system, but with some changes.

When we tow a vehicle (an old Tundra 4x4) with a bus, the Brake Buddy works just as designed. It's made to grab onto the brake pedal with a claw-like thing on the end of the piston. In the Tundra, and most cars, the brake pedal is a horizontal rectangle on a pivot arm suspended from the top.

In buses, the brake pedals are vertical rectangles with a hinge on the floor. So we modify the attachment a bit and that involves drilling a bolt hole in the brake pedal to keep the attachment from riding up the pedal as it tilts forward.

When we're towing a bus with our Freightliner, we run an air line back from the Freightliner to the bus and tie in somewhere. This air line is connected to a fitting on the Freightliner's pressure-protected aux tank. Where we tie in to the towed bus' system depends upon the bus. Some have quick connect fittings behind the bumper, which makes it easy. But the older buses we tend towards don't usually have that...so I carry a variety of threaded bushings and couplers which allow me to connect a 1/4-inch air line to 1/4, 3/8, or 1/2 inch places. Because air compressors are (in every I've seen) connected to the hard lines with a couple feet of flexible hose, my preference is to remove that hose where it is attached to the compressor and tie in there. That give us the check valve protection and also pressurizes the air bag suspension on the bus, too.
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Old 06-05-2021, 10:52 AM   #15
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One of my future projects is to set up my f-800 Ford diesel to be a recovery vehicle. Just in case. Never know.
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Old 06-05-2021, 10:53 AM   #16
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I use a Blue Ox toad brake which is almost exactly the same as the Brake Buddy Ros talks about. Each of these units has a small air pump and air tank built into it to power the actuator that presses the pedal and provides pressure for the brake away system. When the little pump failed and was found to be unavailable I hooked the Blue Ox up to the bus's air line with line rupture and one way protection valves. Easy fix.

As far as stop and turn signal lamps go, a few 5 pin relays make eliminating a light bar and using the toad's lamps a simple fix--even with the most convoluted of multiplex wiring schemes.

I installed a wireless indicator lamp in the bus that lights up when the toad's brakes are applied. This was necessary because my bus has enough power to drag the toad 4 down with the brakes locked. I also removed the "cock and lock" slug from the steering column so I don't have to leave the key in the toad when I tow it.
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Old 06-05-2021, 02:42 PM   #17
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Older cars are okay to tie into. Some new cars it can cause problems. The 2002 Jeep is one.

What would you define as older? I’d like to tow my 2006 Honda CRV
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Old 06-05-2021, 03:17 PM   #18
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Google university says this:

https://www.google.com/search?q=can+...hrome&ie=UTF-8.

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Old 06-05-2021, 03:46 PM   #19
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Lol thanks. That answer didn’t help because I don’t have a 4x4 but I scrolled down and found my answer so thanks again!
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Old 06-10-2021, 09:55 AM   #20
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What would you define as older? I’d like to tow my 2006 Honda CRV
I'd avoid wiring into the vehicles electrical system just because it can cause strange things to happen. In my opinion the best way to do it is to drill a hole for a single stop turn and tail bulb into both the existing vehicle tail lights then run wires up to the front for easy connection to the tow vehicle. It's like a set of trailer lights put into the toad and this way it's completely it's own system and won't mess with anything.

I made my own with parts from the auto wrecker but you can buy one from blue ox which would be easier but cost slightly more.

https://www.blueox.com/towing-accessories/bx8869/

Honda CRV is a pretty good car to tow with 4 wheels down, it's one of the few that's actually approved by the manufacturer for that towing. Last year I towed a 06 Honda Pilot and found it was a little heavier than I'd like for my 260 Hp engine. The Pilot got written off by insurance for hail damage so I set up my 2000 Jeep Cherokee to tow and it's so much nicer I hardly notice it. The CRV and Cherokee weigh close to the same.
(as a side note to anyone considering towing a car with 4 wheels down, make sure you do thorough research on the specific year/make/model/transmission if you can do it without damaging the transmission. Some will need a transmission pump, some won't and most you simply can't tow 4 on the ground. Some you can tow even though the manufacturer says no)
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