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Old 05-09-2017, 02:30 PM   #1
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Towing Both Ways

Hello All,

I have a F350 Superduty. I'm looking for ways to:
-Tow the bus with the F350, short distances if needed, four-down.
-Tow the F350 with the bus, four down.

Theoretical 37'-40' bus, 1999 International.

Is it possible? I imagine it would need remote brake control on both vehicles.
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Old 05-09-2017, 02:54 PM   #2
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I would lean towards towing the f350, not sure what Ford recommends as far as 4 down. My bus empty from the school was around 26000 lbs. 40ft bus.

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Old 05-09-2017, 02:57 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by nwarner2010 View Post
I would lean towards towing the f350, not sure what Ford recommends as far as 4 down. My bus empty from the school was around 26000 lbs. 40ft bus.

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Yeah, I'm not saying "one or the other", I'm saying both. If I need to tow the bus for any reason- breakdown, etc, I'd like to be able to move it reliably.

During long trips, both vehicles will run, unless towing the 350 is trivial.
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Old 05-09-2017, 03:00 PM   #4
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Ah ok gotcha, that makes sense. Haven't really looked into towing the bus but I'd imagine if the bus had air brakes it might complicate things, not sure how that would work.

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Old 05-09-2017, 03:25 PM   #5
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The factory manual for my 2002 GMC 30'-ish bus says for towing with all four on the ground:

"Your vehicle may be towed on all wheels provided the steering is working. Remember that the power brakes and power steering will not have power assist. Vehicles with air brakes will not have brakes. There must be a tow bar installed between the towing vehicle and the disabled vehicle.

Before Towing
Block the wheels of the disabled vehicle. On vehicles with air brakes, release the emergency brake system by compressing the brake chamber springs as outlined in this section.

On vehicles with hydraulic brakes, release the parking brake fully by moving the lever to the fully-released position.

If there is damage or suspected damage to the axle(s), remove the axle shafts. Cover the hub openings to prevent loss of lubricant or entry of dirt or foreign objects.

After Towing
Block the rear wheels and install the axle and propshafts.
Check for proper phasing of universal joints. Apply the parking brake system before disconnecting from the towing vehicle. Check and fill rear axle with oil as required."

Mostly common sense but maybe it helps.
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Old 05-09-2017, 04:41 PM   #6
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if you have air brakes caging the brakes is sometimes a PITA.. at the very least you are crawling on the ground to do it.. releasing the brakes that is keeping the bus from running over you.... plus unlike a trailer youll have no brakes.. so your F350 brakes have to handle all the weight of the bus...

-Christopher
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Old 05-09-2017, 05:23 PM   #7
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Even if you put considerable weight in the back of the F-350, that bus with no brakes is going to push your truck like a little toy. I'm pretty sure you'd be negligent if you towed that weight with a truck that is 20% the weight of the bus and had any kind of an accident.
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Old 05-09-2017, 07:20 PM   #8
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I've flat towed my bus on a chain with an early 2000's Chevy 3500 (dual rear wheel) and with a 1998 Dodge 2500. The bus is a 38 ft transit/type D/flat nose rear engine and weighed about 23000 pounds. We stopped periodically to refill the air system with a generator and air compressor. The bus drive shaft was removed so that the transmission input wasn't turning while it rolled along.

It hasn't been stated but I assume you're thinking of using some kind of draw bar to couple the two vehicles so that there's no driver in the towed vehicle. It also wasn't stated whether the theoretical bus is conventional or forward controls -- how far back the front axle sits behind the bumper, and thus the effective length of the lever between the truck's ball and the steer axle, is what I'm thinking about. Especially for the forward control style bus, as I try to envision navigating through a tight right-hand turn, it doesn't look pretty. Seems like one would have to sweep the turn across several lanes in order to avoid pulling the bus over a curb and hitting street signs etc.

Braking that weight with a pickup alone is a flat out no-go. I can't imagine its brakes will be able to handle the heat of stopping ~30,000 pounds (pickup and bus combined) more than a couple times before brake fade will become an issue. Remote braking, together with a reliable air supply and a way of monitoring the bus air pressure to avoid a nasty surprise if the air pressure should drop for some reason, would be a must.
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Old 05-09-2017, 07:40 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by family wagon View Post
Braking that weight with a pickup alone is a flat out no-go. I can't imagine its brakes will be able to handle the heat of stopping ~30,000 pounds (pickup and bus combined) more than a couple times before brake fade will become an issue. Remote braking, together with a reliable air supply and a way of monitoring the bus air pressure to avoid a nasty surprise if the air pressure should drop for some reason, would be a must.
Yeah, you're on to what I'm thinking. And yeah, I wouldn't try to tow the bus without remote braking... I'd probably install a compressor in the truck (one of the 100% duty air horn compressors) and then run an air hose back to an inlet on the bus- with a pressure dial in the truck cabin.

What I'm looking for, is the connection mechanism between the bus and the truck.
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Old 05-09-2017, 08:52 PM   #10
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You better go look up the gross trailer weight towing capacity on your F350.
Which I believe is somewhere around 15k max.
Regular cops might ignore you but the DOT cops will not let you proceed when caught.
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Old 05-09-2017, 09:04 PM   #11
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Towing a bus with the truck sounds sketchy AF. Pull a bus from a ditch? I'd try it but no way tow one. Truck is probably @ or over max capacity. God forbid something happens. It would be a bad day for you in court.
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Old 05-09-2017, 09:47 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by DoubleO7 View Post
You better go look up the gross trailer weight towing capacity on your F350.
Which I believe is somewhere around 15k max.
Regular cops might ignore you but the DOT cops will not let you proceed when caught.

And it won't take long for that to happen.

A bus being towed by a pickup is going to be like a flashing neon sign asking for the DOT to pull you over.
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Old 05-09-2017, 10:15 PM   #13
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IMG_20161027_181507_1.jpg

IMG_20161027_181523_1.jpg

IMG_20161027_181542_1.jpg


It can be done. Sorta.
Towing a complete bus with a pickup would not be a good idea.
Towing the pickup with the bus, no problem. Done it many times.
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Old 05-09-2017, 10:56 PM   #14
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I'd tow that with a shorty, but not a pickup. You don't have enough rubber on the ground to control that much weight.

That's the new type of FE bus, huh?
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Old 05-10-2017, 09:30 PM   #15
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It's a storage shed and a hay wagon.
Some disassembly required.
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Old 05-10-2017, 11:41 PM   #16
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I like that. I've got several running storage containers full of stuff. You ought to get yourself an old army truck to tow "storage containers" with, if that's a regular thing.
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Old 05-30-2017, 09:14 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan N View Post
Towing the pickup with the bus, no problem. Done it many times.
Do you need remote brakes on the pickup?
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Old 05-30-2017, 09:39 PM   #18
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Most likely. Depends on what you are towing and with what and where.
The law would say yes if your toad is over a certain weight.
If you are unsure then most definitely you need some form of supplemental braking system.
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