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Best EMERGENCY way to tow a Vanagon
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erikj2000
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 6:55 pm    Post subject: Best EMERGENCY way to tow a Vanagon Reply with quote

I'm thinking about driving a 1987 van to Alaska along with my Ford p/u.

I'm still working the bugs out of the van.
Looking ahead, I want to be able tow it (the Van) in a pinch (should the Van break down).
Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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Terry Kay
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 7:32 pm    Post subject: Re: Best way to tow a vanagon Reply with quote

On a trailer.
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erikj2000
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 7:56 pm    Post subject: Re: Best way to tow a vanagon Reply with quote

I'm not trying to stir the pot. I'm considering a tow bar, but there are quiet a few that meet my needs. Any first hand experience would be appreciated.
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Sodo
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 8:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Best way to tow a vanagon Reply with quote

I know you wrote "in a pinch" but if it the van craps out and the tow ends up being a few hundred miles you'll want to have planned protection from the gravel blast.
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hdenter
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 8:10 pm    Post subject: Re: Best way to tow a vanagon Reply with quote

I have one of the harbor freight bolt together bumper tow bars. While I am quite comfortable using it for local tows and on longer tows with frequent checks, I would not want it for a long term or long distance tow bar. I would suggest a more solid built unit that has a welded assembly and hard mounted attachment points. Maybe lynch pins to mount or remove it from the attachment points.

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slo356
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 8:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Best way to tow a vanagon Reply with quote

You didn't describe your Vanagon. 2WD, Syncro or automatic?

If it were me, I would want a pretty solid tow bar arrangement as the poster above suggests. How about a two wheel dolly (think movie Fargo)? If it is an automatic, you might needs to tow with rear wheels off the ground.

WAIT! You aren't talking about towing the p/u with the Vanagon are you??!! 'Shocked' 'Very Happy'
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erikj2000
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 8:36 pm    Post subject: Re: Best way to tow a vanagon Reply with quote

Thanks. I looked at that setup. With a little luck I won't need to tow it. Based on prior trips up north, I'm thinking a back up plan is warranted..

The van is a 2wd , manual transmission.
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IdahoDoug
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 8:39 pm    Post subject: Re: Best way to tow a vanagon Reply with quote

I'd just consider the P/U an added measure of assistance if the Van breaks down that can let you handle fairly big issues. You'll be able to drive to get parts and come back, even buying tools, a lift, etc. In addition, you'd even be able to buy a two wheel dolly and these are fine for towing. I towed a car on a dolly I bought for my Mother 2500 miles to her house uneventfully. It was a 4WD Subaru wagon.

So, you'll have lots of options if you break down to fix it. And in the small statistical event it is unfixable, you'll have a tow vehicle there and can travel around to find a used tow dolly in a state full of surplus machines, equipment and vehicles.
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slo356
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 8:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Best way to tow a vanagon Reply with quote

Yep, backup plans are good…especially when you are dealing with long distances. Good Luck with your trip, should be fun.
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erikj2000
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 8:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Best way to tow a vanagon Reply with quote

I appreciate your post Doug. I'll keep my eyes peeled for the best application for my van,. I'll probably have to push the old girl home.
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danfromsyr
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 9:03 pm    Post subject: Re: Best way to tow a vanagon Reply with quote

you asked for the best way to tow a vanagon (to alaska)
I'm with Terry, on a trailer

but I'm also the guy who tow'd a vanagon with a vanagon on a tow bar for ~1200mi (maybe it was ~1100 I don't recall right at the moment)
here it is, from my gallery http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/album_page.php?pic_id=1012207

in fact I carry a towbar in the base of my closet on ALL trips.. that's where I store it, it's a reese what breaks down, even the long arms.

there's a thread in here with fairly decent write up and pics to use a reese/harbor freight towbar w/o modifications to the van.


but back to your question..
best way is on a trailer. Wink
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erikj2000
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 9:06 pm    Post subject: Re: Best way to tow a vanagon Reply with quote

Sorry to waste your time.
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erikj2000
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 9:24 pm    Post subject: Re: Best way to tow a vanagon Reply with quote

I'm gonna tap out. Good luck.
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danfromsyr
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2016 5:46 am    Post subject: Re: Best way to tow a vanagon Reply with quote

come in seeking opinions an yer panties already in a knot.

guess links are too much for ya so I'll jut toss the picktur in here for shyts & giggles


to the OP seeking personal experience, there's some in here.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.
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Abscate
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2016 6:24 am    Post subject: Re: Best way to tow a vanagon Reply with quote

Trying to guide you to Terrys advice with some civility.

Theres a Bay thread about what happens when a towed vehicle slips into gear when towed and detonates the engine.

Like others here, I would flat tow an hour or two, maybe three, but trailer tow longer than that. Certainly remove driveshafts from the towed car at least.
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Sodo
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2016 6:29 am    Post subject: Re: Best way to tow a vanagon Reply with quote

Abscate wrote:
Trying to guide you to Terrys advice with some civility.


I read it that OP wanted to drive two vehicles, be ready to tow if the Vanagon had trouble. He didn't say he was going to tow the entire 2300 miles. I gott the impression that he wanted to bring a towbar rather than a trailer, and was looking for forum wisdom regarding towbars. I got this in the opening post, but perhaps I was reading too much into it. Cool

Removing the axles if it looks like a lotta miles sounds like a reasonable suggestion, but not a lot of fun. I don't think trannies slip into gear, I think they might get there by mistake when parked (the dog did it) and then because the vehicle is unoccupied the tow-er is unaware.
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Last edited by Sodo on Tue Apr 26, 2016 6:33 am; edited 1 time in total
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Randy in Maine
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2016 7:39 am    Post subject: Re: Best way to tow a vanagon Reply with quote

Suggestion:

Invest in something like this and haul your car to AK. Sell the trailer up there and you will get most of your money back.

Or just send it up to AK on the ferry.

http://www.alumaklm.com/utility/tandem-axle/7800-tandem-utility-trailer-models
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greebly
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2016 8:05 am    Post subject: Re: Best EMERGENCY way to tow a vanagon Reply with quote

If I had to tow some distance and a full trailer was not practical and I had to tow it I would rent a tow dolly from the nearest U haul and remove the CV axles. I keep AAA premium and their 200 mile tow package which may not get me home but provides options where I can effect repairs. Happy trails.
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Terry Kay
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2016 8:08 am    Post subject: Re: Best EMERGENCY way to tow a vanagon Reply with quote

"Or just send it up to AK on the ferry."

Boy--now here is a painless way to get the job done-
I think this could be a really wise move.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2016 8:10 am    Post subject: Re: Best EMERGENCY way to tow a vanagon Reply with quote

I too am one who likes to be prepared.

While I do not YET carry a tow bar, it is on my "add to the pile of crap that I carry list".

If you remove the front bumper, Two 13mm bolt heads and the bumper end cap screws, you will see two large holes that go through the front panel exiting in the rear on either side of the radiator (but below the radiator)

These two holes when utilized with some long hardened 1/2" bolts, washers and preferably a steel plate or two, are effective tow points for mounting a tow bar.

Knowing that long hardened 1/2" bolts are not found on every street corner, I do carry them along with a small pile of hardened washers and nuts for the bolts.

That's my "just in case" kit for towing right now.

Knowing where you are headed, buy the tow bar in the Lower 48 before you set out. Also test fit the mount points so you know how it is fastened and that it fastens securely.

What brand?
They all work, pick your poison, as with most things, the more you spend the better the quality of the bar.
But, being something you hope you will never use, I'd err on the side of economy but stop shy of being garbage.


Dave
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