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Discussion Starter #1
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Discussion Starter #8
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.
Don
 

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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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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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Discussion Starter #11
I drive at 24 psi on roads, but when towing think there may be less rolling resistance from the tires with higher psi.
 

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Mine is attached to the top spring shackle that is bolted to the frame.
You mean you got longer bolts for the top part of the shackle, and attached the towing frame there?

Have seen those tubes ^ between the frame at the front come unstuck !
Well, as I said, mine has been reinforced. Originally I reinforced it so I could use it as a recovery point, and thusfar it's survived several snatch recoveries and shows no signs of hairline fractures or other signs that it's going to fail.

And when I say snatch recovery, it's been tugged by 3.9 litre RR classics, 4.8 litre v8 Defender 90's, 3.0 litre turbodiesel Land Cruisers and other such powerful beasts. When reinforced properly, having that tubing come unstuck is *not* a problem. I've flat towed it from that point dozens of times too.

You just have to use some common sense! ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I am using the same jeep tow shackles from currie as you, Bill. I got the info from you.
The shackles look good, easy to install, very strong tow point and still have the front end looking stock.
The lineup is good with +3.5 castor.
I had some wobble before I put on new tires and steering dampner. afterwards no wobble at any speed. I think the old wobble is showing up in the tow. I'll be looking at the kingpins and bearings next.
 

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poor tow

Though I dont have your problem Im very interested in this subject. My Sami is bone stock 100,000 miles. put only about 4000 miles in the last 7 monthes. Every thing feels good I havent removed the hubs or inspected bearings but grabing the front wheel I cant dectect any looseness. Steering damper yea there is one doesent look to good but its there. Tows good handels good.
Now my next door neighbor has a samurai with high steer jeep springs power steering etc etc. It rides smooth but man in a second you could wind up in a ditch and the steering feels loose. Dont know how his tows. Because of how his feels Im not planning any "upgrade"
Good steering componets along with proper alighnment would be good place to look for your problem. I havent checked alighnment If Im not having a problem and all my parts are good, tires wear ok. I dont check it unless I have a problem with one of these Items
 

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When using the shackles Bill talks about, mine seemed to surge.
Probably from the springs flexing.
Got longer high grade bolts to replace top stock ones and used them as a hitch point. Worked better from then on.
My tires are 8ply 700X15 Bridgestone/Toyo/Michelin LTs
Can handle 65PSI for very small contact patch on the pavement.
They allow and work best off road with 7 to 9 PSI for comfort and traction.
When at 45PSI under tow, they leave a very small contact print.
Making for very little rolling resistance.
Very little body roll and great following traits.
They do heat up very quickly on pavement at speed with low PSI.
Carrying C02 to 'air up' makes 7 to 45PSI quick.
C02 also works well with ether/bic when re-beading a tire offroad.
Cost of refil is $7 to $15 depending on source.
Can fill my tires some 20 times on one fill. Airing up larger tires obviously takes more C02.
Flat tow/4down is the way to go in my offroad experience.
Bill has a good rig and is safely pulling his Suzuki.
Follow his advice and have success.
 

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poor tow

Being a Plumber I often carry a co2 bottle. Got many flats and aired up with it. I never listened much to people saying the co2 causes water inside rim rusting steel wheels. Is that true?
But while towing my Samurai I just run about normal 20 psi in my stock size tires (cant remember size) they are a basic road tire. Should I be maxing out the presure? Is that safer?
 

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Mine had a tow-bar made out of trailer hitch type steel bolted to the frame in 4 places, also having little circular pieces that went around the front cross-member.

I was amazed at the ride improvement upon removing it. Stock springs don't like extra weight up front...
 

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Just finished long tow

I just finished a 1500 mile tow with my 88 Samurai. I didn't know it was behind me most of the time. It was great. I'll post a couple of pictures of the hitch. I was told to keep the tow bar as level as possible bumper to ball. PK
 

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