N Sperlo
N Sperlo UberDork
6/5/12 11:08 a.m.

Bad towing.

I want a positive experience when towing. I need to tow my Cavalier. I figure tie it with four five-thousand lb straps. One at each corner criss-crossing front to front of the trailer and criss-crossing rear to the rear of the trailer.

Sound good? Suggestions? Criticisms? No one is hurting my feelings. I don't want to drop the car on I-70.

Sky_Render
Sky_Render Reader
6/5/12 11:18 a.m.

Tie down the front K-member and the rear axle, as well. I like to make the straps tight enough to compress the suspension a bit.

N Sperlo
N Sperlo UberDork
6/5/12 11:22 a.m.

In reply to Sky_Render:

Noted. Keep her from getting too bouncy. Thanks.

foxtrapper
foxtrapper PowerDork
6/5/12 12:31 p.m.

I've used straps basically straight up and down. I used them running long span, fore and aft. Of the two, I prefer long diagonal spans. Yes, there's more bounce, but there's no sway or drifting on the trailer. I've found bounce to not really be a problem, but a swaying shifting load can make life very interesting.

Of the times I've broken things (straps, chains, tie down points, etc), it's when I've tried to completely eliminate motion. In particular, straight up and down motion. The bobbing mass of a car is really good at destroying things trying to keep it from bobbing.

oldopelguy
oldopelguy Dork
6/5/12 1:12 p.m.

I've never understood having to cross the straps. My experience is that crossing on both ends allows the load to "twist" more, or rock side to side. My personal plan of attack is usually to cross one end and run the other end not crossed.

That aside, I tie down the car with straps to keep it from moving and lock it in place, then always back that up with a loose chain on each end as a back up. There's a lot of piece of mind knowing that if the strap breaks the load still can't come off the trailer. Tow truck operators used to be required to use a chain on each end as well, and I've always figured that if I met those requirements I'd have less concern for random Johnny Law as well.

alfadriver
alfadriver UberDork
6/5/12 1:30 p.m.

the past 6 or 7 years, i've only tied down the car via 4 wheel straps. Before that, I tied it down via just the axle or the outer part of the suspension.

never really had a problem unless i didn't get the strap well on the tire.

i think the worry about the shocks working is silly- the primary suspension is in the trailer, and by then, the car is secondary- so it's not as if you are driving it, like on a track....

Zomby Woof
Zomby Woof UltraDork
6/5/12 1:48 p.m.
Sky_Render wrote: Tie down the front K-member and the rear axle, as well. I like to make the straps tight enough to compress the suspension a bit.

That's exactly what I've always done, and never had a problem.

N Sperlo
N Sperlo UberDork
6/5/12 1:57 p.m.

Hmmm... Maybe I'll just cross one side and get some secondary chains. Once again, thanks guys.

After the tow, you can expect some video of mad Cadavalier action from the Back 40.

81cpcamaro
81cpcamaro Reader
6/5/12 4:23 p.m.
oldopelguy wrote: I've never understood having to cross the straps. My experience is that crossing on both ends allows the load to "twist" more, or rock side to side. My personal plan of attack is usually to cross one end and run the other end not crossed.

Some states require you to cross the straps, so check to see if yours does. I have tied cars down both cross strapped and straight. Both worked just fine.

aussiesmg
aussiesmg PowerDork
6/5/12 4:41 p.m.

I use 4 Mac tie downs (GRM advertiser) and have yet to have any car move at all

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This way you're not fighting against the suspension at all.

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Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy SuperDork
6/5/12 8:26 p.m.

Everybody crosses the straps, and I presume there is a legitimate reason- I know the Late Model has to get crossed, or it shuffles sideways over time and leans up against the wheelwell.

I figure if I use 4 straps, pulling straight, I can have a complete failure of one of the straps on each end, and the car remains secure. With the straps crossed, if one breaks, the cars bounces sideways and comes completely loose.

Use 4 good straps of any design, and as long as they are secure, you are good to go.

glueguy
glueguy Reader
6/5/12 8:36 p.m.

Oh, good, maybe someone can explain this to me. When I tow, it's front control arms straight forward and rear suspension (beam, diff, control arm) straight back. No cross. My logic is that when stress is applied, I want the strap in a straight line, not with some geometry angle that could/would put a weird stress on the webbing of the strap.

Wally
Wally UltimaDork
6/5/12 9:28 p.m.

In reply to glueguy:

You're overthinking it. Each strap can hold the weight of the car on it's own. On most cars I've towed it doesn't matter if I crossed the straps or chains or ran them straight back but by crossing them it helps keep the car centered because it there is a little slack in either strap it will only move a small amount as it tightens the other strap.

For the Cavalier and most other cars if you haven't got the wheel bonnet type of straps you may want to invest in a set of hooks like these. The mini j hook will fit securely it small reinforced oval slots in the floor pan ahead of the rear axle and in the front subframe then the hook on the strap gets hooked into the loop. You don't have to worry about cutting the strap wrapping it around a suspension part or bending anything that wasn't intended to be a tie down.

http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200466639_200466639

Toyman01
Toyman01 PowerDork
6/5/12 9:53 p.m.

I usually load toward the back of the trailer to keep the tongue weights reasonable, so running the rear straps straight is usually not an option. The Abomination has a center ring on the back sub-frame so the straps run from there to the corners of the trailer. The fronts run from the corner rings to the front corners of the trailer so I end up with all the straps in an X shape with the car at the center. Movement is not an option without a strap failure. Since I'm holding 1700#s of car with 20000#s of straps, I don't think that will happen unless it falls off a cliff.

I strap to the frame and compress the suspension as much as possible. I prefer the car and trailer move as one unit rather than two, but that's just personal preference.

My only other advice is don't set all the straps pulling in the same direction. I've seen that more times than I can count and it usually ends badly.

Also, if you are going any distance, stop after the first 20-30 miles and check everything. Straps, safety chains, light connectors, tire temps on the trailer and rear of the tow vehicle and even trailer bearing temps. Finding problems before they are emergencies will save you a lot of heart ache.

jimbbski
jimbbski Reader
6/5/12 10:43 p.m.

I have to keep the load towards the back of my trailer and crossing the straps makes it easier to tie down as otherwise the distance is to short for the straps I have to hook to the ideal points on the car and the trailer tie down points. In front I always just go from the front wheels to the front of the trailer. I never try to compress the suspension of the car. I perfer that its free to move.

curtis73
curtis73 SuperDork
6/5/12 10:52 p.m.

If I'm attaching to the frame, I like to use as little down-angle as possible for three reasons; 1) pulling fore and aft minimizes the amount that the car is tied "down" compressing the suspension. Allowing the car to bounce and react minimizes the shock load on the straps. Lets say you tie it straight down from the frame compressing half of its travel. If you hit a big bump and compress the car's suspension further, it will rebound and "twang" the strap potentially causing failure. The other problem with that is when the car does compress, there is potential for the hook to come off. 2) Tying out instead of down not only allows the car to react to bumps, but it minimizes the change in the distance between tie points. That reduces shock load and pretty much eliminates the possibility of the hooks coming loose. 3) It reduces the peak load on the straps. If you tie straight down and you have to hit the brakes the strap is perpendicular to the moment of force (direction of the stress). The mechanical advantage on the strap is very large.

I also criss-cross the straps for one simple reason. If you tie it straight forward and backward, there is little keeping the car centered. I could migrate left or right by stretching the straps a bit. On short trips with an open trailer, its not much of an issue. In my enclosed trailer when I transported my freshly painted classic pontiac for 1500-miles, I crossed the straps.

I have also used the "tire bonnet" type and they are great. Super easy to use, very stable.... unless you have an accident. In that case you are putting massive stress loads on ten 2" rubber suspension bushings with 1/2" bolts through them. I know the whole point is to NOT get in an accident, but if it happens, it just seems to me like four, criss-crossed tie downs from the frame are about as good as it gets. The upside to the tire bonnets is that they will see very little shock loads since the tire doesn't move. That means the likelihood of strap failure is slim to none AND it provides completely free movement of the chassis as natural.

My thoughts are this: In normal situations without accidents or impacts I would use tire bonnets. In the real world where accidents happen, I prefer the criss-cross from the frame.

DaveEstey
DaveEstey Dork
6/6/12 9:00 a.m.

I always cross straps and yes, I use 4 5,000lb straps to hold down my Miata.

N Sperlo
N Sperlo UberDork
6/6/12 9:14 a.m.

In reply to curtis73:

Great explanation. I obviously don't plan on getting into an accident, but I feel I have a better idea of what I need to do. Thanks everyone.

alex
alex UltraDork
6/6/12 9:42 a.m.

Dunno if you have something in mind yet, but I recently loaded my Model A onto a U-Haul trailer that was surprisingly nice. Granted, I only spent enough time with it to tie the car down and watch it drive away, but it struck me as being stout, well thought-out and full-featured. Not to mention, pretty new and/or well maintained, which is particularly surprising for U-Haul.

alex
alex UltraDork
6/6/12 9:50 a.m.

Oh, and if you need any straps or various other tie down and towing stuff, check out Dickey Bub, Orscheln or Tractor Supply (if any of those are up your way, Sperlo). They have everything you could reasonably need.

N Sperlo
N Sperlo UberDork
6/6/12 10:24 a.m.

In reply to alex:

I think I've got what I need. When are you coming out with us?

Wally
Wally UltimaDork
6/6/12 11:17 p.m.
curtis73 wrote: I have also used the "tire bonnet" type and they are great. Super easy to use, very stable.... unless you have an accident. In that case you are putting massive stress loads on ten 2" rubber suspension bushings with 1/2" bolts through them. I know the whole point is to NOT get in an accident, but if it happens, it just seems to me like four, criss-crossed tie downs from the frame are about as good as it gets. The upside to the tire bonnets is that they will see very little shock loads since the tire doesn't move. That means the likelihood of strap failure is slim to none AND it provides completely free movement of the chassis as natural.

If you have an accident that breaks either the tire bonnets or suspension bolts you won't feel the car hit you anyway.

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