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Old 09-06-2011, 12:34 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Poor flat tow

I just got back from a 160 mile trip into the mountains flat towing my 88 samuari. This was the first time I have towed it. My tow vehicle was a 2005 jeep grand cherokee with the 5.7L engine. My tow bar is attached to the front spring shackles with pins.
I was suprised at how poorly the samuari followed as I got into the curves. I could sometimes feel a tug from the samuari when the front wheels didn't quickly follow the tow.
The samuari is bone stock with tires one size up at 215. I set tire pressure high at 38 psi on the trip up thinking it would tow better, lowered the pressure to 28 psi on the way home with no change in handling. Front wheel locks were free, transfer case in neutral and transmission in 2nd gear.
The steering feels normal when I drive the samuari.
Has anyone else had this problem?
Thanks
Don
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Old 09-06-2011, 06:04 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Try attaching the tow bar to the bumper.

Edit.

My bad - the bumper is not the best place - but the shackles really aren't much better - ideally you don't want to attach the tow to any moveable part of the suspension.

The tow bar really needs to be attached to something firm such as the frame or the frame crossmember mentioned below.
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Last edited by fordem; 09-06-2011 at 02:05 PM.
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Old 09-06-2011, 01:01 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fordem View Post
Try attaching the tow bar to the bumper.
I am interested in this answer to. I recently took my front bumper off to straighten a big dent the previous owner had put in it. I had no trouble straightening it and sanding and painting it, looks great now. I was surprized at how light the metal is. Will the stock bumper handle a tow bar mounted straight to it? Do you have one? If so did you drill holes to mount plates to attach the tow bar? Thanks! pics?
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Old 09-06-2011, 01:29 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fordem View Post
Try attaching the tow bar to the bumper.
Personally, I really, really wouldn't. That's just asking to have your Sammy wander off on its own, while you drive off towing an A-frame and a bumper.

There's a hollow crossmember between the chassis rails at the front of the car. I reinforced mine by stuffing it full of steel bar, and flat tow mine by attaching to that - but mine is on 31" tyres and has SPOA (roughly 6" lift on top of the extra tyre height) so just because mine tows well from there, doesn't mean yours will.

It is worth a try though.

Pic (not my car, just one I found of a bumperless SJ on the interwebtubes):



Just below the number plate on that image is the crossmember I'm speaking of.
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Old 09-06-2011, 08:21 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Did you remeber to unlock the steering, by leaving the key in (the first position)?

A tow bar and baseplate really needs to be attached to the frame. The days of bumper-mounted equipment disappeared with the demise of clunky Detroit iron, decades ago. The Samurai bumper is nothing more than a thin sheet-metal mounting for parking lights and turn signals. It's not even heavy enough for headlights. I tow about 10K miles/year and use the Blue-Ox system behind a motorhome, but it's too upscale for most Zukers.
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Old 09-06-2011, 08:29 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Think of the front bumper as a large turn signal/license plate holder... it doesn't do much more than that...

I tow using a tow bar attached to spring shackles on one zook, and the same bar attached to a rock crawler bumper that is bolted directly to the frame at 7 points for the trail zook. The secret is in the front end alignment. If the caster is off just a little, the wheels won't follow correctly.
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Old 09-07-2011, 01:20 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zami View Post
I am interested in this answer to. I recently took my front bumper off to straighten a big dent the previous owner had put in it. I had no trouble straightening it and sanding and painting it, looks great now. I was surprized at how light the metal is. Will the stock bumper handle a tow bar mounted straight to it? Do you have one? If so did you drill holes to mount plates to attach the tow bar? Thanks! pics?
That's what I thought, the metal is not strong enough to support towing from it, nor the brackets that hold the bumper to the chassis. I was curious because when I searched for Samurai tow bar the image of ones sold were bolted directly to the bumper! Wouldn't do that either. The towing issues you mentioned could be related to suspension. I wonder if you had much weight in your tow vehicle? That plays into handling also.
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Old 09-07-2011, 11:13 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Flat tow response

Thanks everyone. I do like this site.
To Zami: the samuari was not loaded with anything
To merlin: I forgot to mention the key was at acc, that is the easiest to forget as I did in my questions
To Bill: I am getting the alingment checked in the next few days, this sami has easy miles but there are 90,000 of them. I will let everyone know about the alingment.
The original owner told me he towed it a lot so I trustingly towed it home 2 years ago using his tow points. The road was mostly straight. When I looked closer I found that the tow points were attached to the original grill guard with 1 bolt on each side. Not nearly strong enough and the grill guard was not attached for towing. Wonder how often someone looses one of these?
the safety chain is important but I don't think there would be much control over the sami if the tow bar pulled loose. A lot to think about.
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Old 09-07-2011, 09:59 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Mine is attached to the top spring shackle that is bolted to the frame.
High quality bolts. What they ^ said about the OE bumper.
Have seen those tubes ^ between the frame at the front come unstuck !
The safety chain is for the towing vehicle.
With Bill ^ on the alignment.
Some say the tow bar should be as horizontal as possible.
Towed mine all over behind my VW Syncro, many miles.
Also behind trucks in Canada many kms.
I do over inflate my tires. Check them for heat each stop.
I disconnect the battery with a quick disconnect. Key on or acc.
I leave mine in 4th gear, T/C is in what they call neutral.
Front hubs turned out. Rear driveshaft off at rear pumpkin and wired solid up to underside of body. Be careful not to let it slide apart.
Wired to towing vehicle through trailer connector to Extra bright brake lights and so so signal lights...found amber to be more visible in the day time.
Only issue was when one tire went flat at night and didn't tell me. Lost the tire, it is a highway alligator somewhere in New Mexico.
My VW is much lighter than ur Jeep.
Good luck.
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Old 09-10-2011, 03:37 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Mine Towes great even with a ranger pickup. Mine basicaly has 2 plates welded to the front tube the plate is mounted where it is about a 16th of an inch from the inside of the stock bumper with a bolt sticking straight foward after the bumper is drilled and installed there is a bracket held on by the bolt. It looks stock except the bracket on each side.

Tow bar should be level from hitch to front of samurai. Dont know how level mine is real close and works perfect.


Maby you got some slop in the bushings or something out of wack. I would think towing by shackles would be ok . But I wouldnt design it that way unless I knew.
I never put 38 or even 28 psi in my tires. Why So much? How about 20 have no idea if it makes a differance. Just cant see a reason for airing up so high
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