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Hey, smart people!

I'm always grateful for the deep well of knowledge here, so maybe you can help a dumb guy out.

I no longer own the Dodge Durango with which I towed my Speedster to the 2019 West Coast Cruise.

I've blithely drifted along, assuming I could once again drag it to California from Phoenix on a Uhaul trailer behind one of our Honda CR-Vs, but realized over the weekend that the combined weight of car and trailer FAR exceeds the CR-V's capabilities.

Sooooooo...

The only way I'm going to get to this year's West Coast Cruise is with a tow bar.

Here's where I need your help, friends.

I know the bar will have to be modified -- nothing's easy, of course.

I have a Beck.

I'm looking for two things:

1) recommendation on which tow bar might be most-easily modified

2) recommendation on the type of shop that might be able to do such work in a hot hurry

I don't have much time before all the West Coast Cruise fun commences!  Any help will be appreciated!

"We've come this far -- let's not ruin it by thinking."  – Clint Eastwood 

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@IaM-Ray posted:

Link 1   this is the discussion presently that I believe would be all you need Cory and there is another link within the posts that has even more info by Musbjim who did light too.  I don't know what your front looks like being Beck but others will surely chime in.  You will need to get yourself a full bra to save the front of your Car..  @MusbJim  @Cory McCloskey

Thanks, @IaM-Ray!

Appreciate the re-direct!

I had done a search for a tow bar discussion, but that one didn’t pop up...

I’ll follow along there.

Is the Beck tube frame open on the bottom to accept the tow bar? That's the first question you need answered. The other question is distance between the frame tubes. You probably will need a narrowed bar and possibly a lengthened one as well.

I personally wouldn't flat tow with any vehicle that has a tow rating of less than 2500 pounds. You need really adequate brakes when you flat tow.

I had a local fab shop weld mine up from a VW bar. It was narrowed, lengthened, and lowered. They make certified cages for race cars, so quality is there. It was built safe and sturdy.

I flat-towed my 1500 pound Spyder THOUSANDS of miles with a Legacy GT wagon, a Passat 4-motion wagon and a V8 Allroad. I towed to and from Carlisle, a 500 mile round trip. I flat-towed all the way to Maggie Valley and back in 2018, a 1500 mile round trip.

@DannyP posted:

Is the Beck tube frame open on the bottom to accept the tow bar? That's the first question you need answered. The other question is distance between the frame tubes. You probably will need a narrowed bar and possibly a lengthened one as well.

I personally wouldn't flat tow with any vehicle that has a tow rating of less than 2500 pounds. You need really adequate brakes when you flat tow.

I had a local fab shop weld mine up from a VW bar. It was narrowed, lengthened, and lowered. They make certified cages for race cars, so quality is there. It was built safe and sturdy.

I flat-towed my 1500 pound Spyder THOUSANDS of miles with a Legacy GT wagon, a Passat 4-motion wagon and a V8 Allroad. I towed to and from Carlisle, a 500 mile round trip. I flat-towed all the way to Maggie Valley and back in 2018, a 1500 mile round trip.

Short answer is no. I’m sure it could be modified to accept some sort of tow bar attachment, but it would involve welding something  to the beam tubes and/or cutting a hole in the access panel below it.

I had a standard cheapo VW tow bar but I gave it to the guy who bought my Manx. It would have been unusable on my Spyder. It was so low that it would have dragged in the ground.

Last edited by dlearl476

@DannyP, with great wisdom, wrote: "I personally wouldn't flat tow with any vehicle that has a tow rating of less than 2500 pounds. You need really adequate brakes when you flat tow."

I absolutely concur.  Not to mention that if you have CVT transmissions in those CR-Vs you won't be doing your transaxles any favors hauling that much weight around.  Inside, it is basically a metal fan belt doing the pulling.

As an example, I have hauled Pearl on a trailer behind a Ford F-150.  I know that's a lot more weight than you'll be hauling, but at about 3,500 pounds all in back there, it was about all the F-150 could handle.  Drop the weight back there to 2,000 pounds for the Speedster/tow bar and put that behind a CR-V and not only will you have to give up passing anything else for the entire trip, but you have to start setting up for an off-ramp about a mile before you get there because the brakes aren't made for towing and absolutely forget about anything resembling a "panic stop" - You'll just keep on going.

U-Haul trailers are marvels of forethought.  They've anticipated just about everything and provided for it in their design, but that makes a slightly heavy trailer, even though mostly made of aluminum (they're expensive, too, but U-Haul never sells them after they're depreciated).  They recommend AT LEAST a 5,000# tow rated vehicle (F-150s are rated between 5K and 11.5K towing pounds) that has a gross weight of over 3,800#s to off-set the weight of the trailer/car.  It should also have a "towing package" with a hitch AND facilities for trailer brakes (U-Haul has trailers that have integrated trailer brake actuation without need for a trailer brake controller in the tow vehicle, and it works really well - it's called a "Surge brake").

I know......   A lot to take in.  So the options are (1.) find a suitable tow bar, borrow or rent an Explorer or pickup as a tow vehicle or (2.) rent a car hauler trailer and F-150/F-250 pickup to haul it safely.

after reading these stories about tow bars...i thought i'd say what is probably obvious to those in the know...and since there is no silly question if you don't know the answer....question: can a SUBARU powered speedster be towed with said tow bar?...answer: HELL NO!....the point is MOOT....not with a A/C condenser/radiator/electric cooling fan living in front of the VW beam....hope this saves the question being asked...have to tow?....get a trailer20200731_105646

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1999 F-150, 5.7 litre gas, so-called "trailering" package which was basically a hitch receiver and a trailer electrical socket but retained the stock frame and brakes.  

I later graduated to a 6-litre diesel with a real trailering package (beefier frame, substantial hitch frame, bigger brakes, better cooling, stouter transmission with trailer mode, etc) which was a totally different truck and you wouldn't even know the trailer (loaded or empty) was back there.

My 2009 Dodge doesn't seem to have a problem. It has a hitch and a brake controller. The previous owner installed Bilstein shocks and drilled/vented HD brakes. It has a 5.7 liter 400 hp motor and a measly 5 speed trans. It has 118k on the clock.

I added airbags inside the coil springs(first year NOT leaf springs), which greatly helps level the truck when loaded.

I know the trailer is back there, empty or full, but it's no big deal. I am hauling a huge sail though, 2800 pounds empty, 4300 with the Spyder inside. An open trailer would feel a lot lighter I'm sure.

1999 F-150, 5.7 litre gas, so-called "trailering" package which was basically a hitch receiver and a trailer electrical socket but retained the stock frame and brakes.  

I later graduated to a 6-litre diesel with a real trailering package (beefier frame, substantial hitch frame, bigger brakes, better cooling, stouter transmission with trailer mode, etc) which was a totally different truck and you wouldn't even know the trailer (loaded or empty) was back there.

That seems like plenty of truck for 3500lbs.  I pulled vw drag cars all over the east coast with a 1993 Ford Ranger with a 3.0l 6 cylinder on a twin axle trailer without issue.

Obviously, a bigger truck with more power makes it more comfortable.

Reminder: you don't need a monster truck to flat tow a Speedster.

I flat-towed Bridget the Midget all over hell and creation with my 2002 Nissan Frontier truck: 2.4l L-4, 2 wheel drive, automatic, hitch bolted through the bumper. The MG weighs about 1750 pounds empty but then that one time I stopped at @Alan Merklin's joint on the way home from Carlisle and he piled about 600 pounds of spare parts and tools in the truck's bed (alongside the 1915 engine on the pallet @chines1had delivered) plus another 2-300 pounds of junk inside the MG!

It wasn't ideal but I didn't die.

To tow a Speedster on a trailer does require something more.

Funny "Car Guy" semi-race story (mostly for Rick)....

Some of you on here know my son, Chris and his long departed 1999 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX drag car.  He and his race car friends all had heavily chipped, 7.3 liter Cummins diesel pickups with which to haul their race cars to and from the tracks.  One year, they were headed out to Mid-Ohio for the Diamond Star (Mitsubishi) Drags Shoot Out and left mid-Massachusetts around 9pm, headed west on I-84/I-80 and expecting to arrive in Lexington, Ohio for breakfast.  Somewhere long after midnight, as they were coming down out of the Apple-chain mountains, they were cruising at an even 100mph in the deep night air, all six trucks/trailers just smokin' along and suckin' up fuel, everyone chatting on their CB's, when someone breaks in and asks, "All Y'all doin OK with those car haulers?  Y'all don't think you're runnin' a bit fast?"

"Nope!", came the answer from the lead truck, We're just trying to make Lexington, Ohio for breakfast with our friends and tryin' to run safe in the middle of the night."

As the unmarked Pennsylvania State Cruiser pulled alongside the lead truck, he held his badge out of the window for the truck driver to see and said on his CB, "OK for now, fellas, but along about 5 am or so I'm gonna ask you to back it down to 80 or less and watch for increasing traffic, OK?  Jus' wanna keep all y'all safe!" and then dropped back while giving each truck a headlight flash and blip of the horn.

Diesels can do this.  Cummins diesels can do this all night long (for many nights).  Don't try this with your gas jobs.   You, too, Rick!  

Sometimes, it's more fun getting to the track, than running at the track.

IIRC, that was the year they rebuilt an Eclipse transaxle in the hotel parking lot overnight, too.

I'm with Lane on this one. If time is short and you just need to find a way to get there, Call U-Haul and rent a trailer and a truck. I bought a really nice stock 1950 Chevy years back form a Dr. in West Virginia. I had planned to drive it back to California with a group of other car crazy guys who also bought their cars at Hershey. We took 2 line roads and a week to get home to California, but in Gallup, New Mexico the transmission on the Chevy would not stay in 3 gear. With nothing but Hot, long and dry ahead of me, I pulled into U-Haul and rented a truck and trailer. Not cheep but the truck had air and was comfortable pulling the load. Made it home and got the trans fixed.

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