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towing with tow bar?

Old 10-04-2016, 09:57 AM
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Default towing with tow bar?

sometimes I need to take the jeep several miles for some off-roading and am considering using a tow bar. the reason for this is if something on the jeep breaks while on the trail I can still get home.


I have never used one before, what is the process and problems I should look out for? how do I set up the jeep for towing (put the transfer case in natural?)? any shared experiences would be helpful.
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Old 10-04-2016, 11:18 AM
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Some of that depends on what your going to tow it with? The 6" lift needs to be addressed someway so that the tow bar is level while towing. If not it will tow properly and then braking on the tow car.


The best bet for what your after is like mine and use a trailer both ways as many things happen that will render it not road worthy not just engine running or driveline.


The hitch for my WH is a hidden mount and the hitch is made for motorhome use and the arms slide in and out for easy hookup.
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Old 10-04-2016, 12:48 PM
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I will be towing it with a duramax van (about 7500 lbs) so power is not an issue. I agree that a trailer would be better, the problem with that is I don't have the room and don't want to pay more taxes including DMV fees.



I have rented trailers in the past and found one that rents for $40/day which is reasonable but its inconvenient. I figure the money saved using a tow bar in one trip would more than pay for itself.
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Old 10-04-2016, 01:52 PM
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A tow bar can be handy. It can suck during tight turns when the front wheels need to slide on the ground.

Connecting the tow bar to the towing vehicle can be difficult of the conditions are not good. The tow bar / vehicle won't shift side to side to aid in connecting.
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Old 10-04-2016, 05:51 PM
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As far as alignment when hooking up is concerned, here's something my brother did that I though was brilliant. He painted a red line up the inside of his truck's tailgate, stuck a fishing pole on a magnet on the trailer tongue, and used his rear view mirror to line up. He said it was like lining up the sights on a rifle!
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Old 10-04-2016, 09:23 PM
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That is clever.

A trailer has some wiggle room to jog if the alignment isn't perfect. A tow bar won't budge a millimeter to get onto the ball.
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Old 10-04-2016, 11:42 PM
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I've found if you're close, the tires will give enough flex if you wiggle it viciously! My camp trailer will generally drop onto the ball if you start lowering the trailer jack and jump up and down on the truck!
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Old 10-05-2016, 07:56 AM
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Transfer case in neutral.
Trans in park.
Ignition switch one click back from on so the power is off but the steering wheel is still free to turn.
Parking brake off ( ez to forget!).
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Old 10-05-2016, 09:19 AM
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thanks Nick.


here is an odd thought (and I am not sure about the legality of it), the tow bar Harbor Freight sells does not come with a chain. could I use my winch cable in place of the chain? no doubt it will hold the jeep in the event the bar fails, but seems unconventional.
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Old 10-05-2016, 05:44 PM
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That sounds like a question for the DMV.
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Old 10-06-2016, 03:51 AM
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I don't think using the winch cable will pass.Its a single point and if the worse does happen the load on the cable will snap it out break your winch.A tow chain or chains is cheap easy to buy and a lot safer to use in case the worse happens.
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Old 10-06-2016, 07:57 AM
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Just go to Home Depot / Lowes and have them cut you 2 lengths of chain and grab 4 quick links to attach the ends an you'll be safe and legal.
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Old 10-06-2016, 09:26 AM
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thanks guys, appreciate the advice. I never thought of picking up a chain from home depot Nick thanks for the tip.
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Old 10-06-2016, 11:33 AM
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I guess I never thought about a state ripping people off for a flatbed trailer we have 5 of them from 16-20' in length. Tags cost $7.50 a yr for any trailer and tax's for each a yr is about $4-6.


The tow rig must have the hitch ball level with your 6" lifted XJ's tow bar.
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Old 10-06-2016, 01:33 PM
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why does the ball have to be the same height? I can see under very heavy breaking (or a front end accident) that the jeep may rise and possibly come in contact with the rear. is that the reason? the tow vehicle will be more than twice the weight of the jeep.
The difference in height may be a bit difficult to match up due to the lift and tires.
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