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Posted: 5/25/2009 4:55:43 AM EST
I had to go retrieve it from the interstate; fuel pump was dead right there. We ended up towing #1 with #2 with a tow strap for 18 miles. It reminded me of some lessons.

1 Do not do difficult procedures when your crew is tired.

2 Keep a steady tension in the tow line. The rear vehicle provides the braking, and the front does the towing.

3 The drivers need to brief each other in about expected speed and route.

4 I am thankful that I do not need to do this often.
Link Posted: 5/25/2009 5:05:03 AM EST
a pair of those little FRS radios helps as well.
Link Posted: 5/25/2009 5:12:54 AM EST
You should probably get a tow bar for towing, not just a strap. A metal bar big enough to fit a strap through the center of would work. IIRC, here in PA you can't just tow with a strap, though I've done it plenty of times. Radios like Mannlicher suggested would be a great idea as well.
Link Posted: 5/25/2009 5:36:23 AM EST
Though I might like to have a tow bar; I can't justify the cost. This is the first time in some decades that a tow bar would have been useful for me and I do not have a place to keep one.

I'm looking into some shackles, chain and pipe though.
Link Posted: 5/25/2009 5:56:18 AM EST
I once towed a car about 90 miles using a chain and 6 foot piece of pipe. The chain was passed through the pipe and kept us from bumping.
Nowadays, the nanny police would probably arrest me for trying that on the highway.
You really need the radios to keep in touch, although cell phones can get the job done. However, there are a lot of areas where the cell phones won't work.
Link Posted: 5/25/2009 5:57:53 AM EST
Things that went right:

The kids acted like a team and really pitched in to go rescue mom.

I was able to bring another adult.

I listened when my wife said she was too tired to continue as a driver.


Things that went wrong.

The other driver and I did not agree on speeds before beginning. He was much more comfortable at 25mph while I saw the need to go 35 to 50. I was towing him and he was trying slow us down.

Link Posted: 5/25/2009 6:04:03 AM EST
Originally Posted By halfslow:
I once towed a car about 90 miles using a chain and 6 foot piece of pipe. The chain was passed through the pipe and kept us from bumping.
Nowadays, the nanny police would probably arrest me for trying that on the highway.
snip...


A thing that you can get by with once in a rare while but do not get a reputation for doing so.

We got to the disabled BOV and got it away from the interstate hwy before "the man" saw the need to get involved.
Link Posted: 5/26/2009 3:21:49 AM EST
Look at the bright side –– at least this happened during normal times, not during SHTF while you and yours were trying to GOOD along with zillons of sheep and too many nasty people driving by. Parts are going to break on a BOV and murphy says it will happen at the worse possible time. The only way to minimize this is what airplane drivers call zero-timing critical parts; you swap out fuel pumps, water pumps, hoses, belts, etc before they die based on expected lifetime for that part. Probably will not completely prevent this from happening, but will miniimize the odds. each of us still need to keep tools are key spare parts in the BOV, but it should mimimize having to replace a water pump in driving freezing rain on the side of a crowded interstate some dark and stormy night.
Link Posted: 5/30/2009 5:41:51 PM EST
I've done it with the chain thru a pipe trick, but these days, I'd use my trailer. If I didn't have one, borrow a friend's. In SHTF, ya gotta do what you gotta do though.

Michael
Link Posted: 5/30/2009 6:55:57 PM EST
What kind of vehicle was that died? could you have changed the fuel pump on the spot? I know they can be a PITA. One more reason I like my carbd, mechanical fuel pump on the block vehicle.
Link Posted: 5/30/2009 7:57:47 PM EST
DT, yes I could have changed it on the side of the road, but it was better that I move it. The BOV died about an hour after the parts stores were closed, so it would have been the next day before I could get to fix it. The BOV died while traveling on the interstate hwy, so the highway patrol would have been offended if I left the BOV for a day. I had a heads up that the pump might be failing and had planned to replace it, but it failed first. Pics and process here

I think I'm gonna slice a quick access panel into the rear floor of the Suburban
Link Posted: 5/31/2009 3:12:28 AM EST
chain it thru an old tire.
and get it as tight as you can.
doesn't work for turns (take big sweeping wide turns)
but keeps them from bumping but keeps it up tight so the 2nd person doesn't have to do all the braking, etc

Honestly a trailer is a way better way to do this.
1 mile, 2 miles, is fine for a strap

18 miles is a lot and dangerous.
Link Posted: 5/31/2009 5:53:06 AM EST
Originally Posted By PA22-400:
Things that went right:

The kids acted like a team and really pitched in to go rescue mom.





This is probably the best thing that could have happened. Now you know you can count on them to jump when you need them to. And I'm sure some bonding occurred. Find the silver lining in this "training excersize!" I say this is it.
Link Posted: 5/31/2009 7:40:21 AM EST
Guys I agree that towing with a chain is one of the most difficult, and dangerous ways to tow.

Believe it or not I do try to avoid needing to tow my BOV by an active preventative maintenance program. I've had only 6 unscheduled maintenance events in 8 and 1/2 years of ownership; 3 batteries, 2 fuel pumps and 1 flat tire due to road hazard. As I have said in vague ways before I was planning to replace the fuel pump this last time at soon as I had the money, but the pump failed before payday.


Link Posted: 6/14/2009 8:09:05 AM EST
Originally Posted By PA22-400:
The other driver and I did not agree on speeds before beginning. He was much more comfortable at 25mph while I saw the need to go 35 to 50. I was towing him and he was trying slow us down.



50mph seems pretty excessive to be towing another vehicle with a strap or chain. If the vehicle being towed has power brakes, braking ability would be decreased, too.
Link Posted: 6/14/2009 8:51:49 AM EST
Originally Posted By Boomer:
Originally Posted By PA22-400:
The other driver and I did not agree on speeds before beginning. He was much more comfortable at 25mph while I saw the need to go 35 to 50. I was towing him and he was trying slow us down.



50mph seems pretty excessive to be towing another vehicle with a strap or chain. If the vehicle being towed has power brakes, braking ability would be decreased, too.


The 50mph was on the interstate, 70mph limit with frequent speeders, to reduce our risk of being rear ended; a dash for less than 1 mile to get to the exit.

The whole idea while towing with a chain is to do all maneuvers [Westley said in the "Prince's Bride"] GENTLY [/Westley said in the "Prince's Bride"]

I had a long sweeping uphill exit.

The 35mph sections were to keep a bit of tension on the downhill portions of a 2 lane county road. I was able to bleed speed off on the next hill by not adding power.
Link Posted: 6/14/2009 9:30:49 AM EST
Boomer, would give us a lesson about keeping steady tension in a towing assembly?

Please?
Link Posted: 6/14/2009 10:51:32 AM EST
Hey PA22-400, I've got that same Suburban and have had the same fuel pump problems. I put four of the damn things in over a 3 year period- and in my experience the 'factory original' has been no better than an 'off' brand. The trouble seems to be in the harness, I've had extensive shortage, voltage drop, bad connectors and burned sockets all over the car. What a fricking POS.....


Anyway, about two months ago I abandoned the factory fuel pump completely for a frame mounted pump from Summit racing. Surprisingly my fuel economy went UP about 1 mpg in town. I simply tapped into the factory system and gutted the factory pump module, hooking up the existing draw straw.

Good luck! This is the first time I've been here is about a week, please email questions if you are interested- otherwise I probably won't see them.
Link Posted: 6/14/2009 11:20:26 AM EST
That reminds me of something that happened to me... I had an old Blazer die on me, in the middle of the highway, at night, in a snowstorm. BOTH bolts on the fuel pump had vibrated loose and fallen out, the fuel pump was dangling by the fuel line.
Link Posted: 6/14/2009 12:49:10 PM EST
1. towing insurance its cheap, even if you just have it towed to a shop near your house then tow it the rest of the way yourself. the idiots on the roadways are what scares me, ive towed several vehicles even once towed a hummer 80mi with a chain across the desert so i'm not afraid of much but the other drivers.
Link Posted: 6/14/2009 2:39:10 PM EST
Originally Posted By SCW:
Hey PA22-400, I've got that same Suburban and have had the same fuel pump problems. I put four of the damn things in over a 3 year period- and in my experience the 'factory original' has been no better than an 'off' brand. The trouble seems to be in the harness, I've had extensive shortage, voltage drop, bad connectors and burned sockets all over the car. What a fricking POS.....


Anyway, about two months ago I abandoned the factory fuel pump completely for a frame mounted pump from Summit racing. Surprisingly my fuel economy went UP about 1 mpg in town. I simply tapped into the factory system and gutted the factory pump module, hooking up the existing draw straw.

Good luck! This is the first time I've been here is about a week, please email questions if you are interested- otherwise I probably won't see them.


Did I miss what year Suburban we're talking about?

Link Posted: 6/14/2009 3:50:08 PM EST
mrstang01,

BOV1 is a 2000 Chevy PU with the 5.3
BOV2 is a 1999 Chevy Suburban with the 5.7 Vortec

It was BOV1 that had the pump failure, and BOV2 did the towing.
Link Posted: 6/14/2009 5:16:58 PM EST
Got ya. The SO's BOV Suburban is a 2005, I've been contemplating the same thing, cutting a hole in the floorboard for the fuel pump, and also on my 97. Glad you got your vehicles home safely, and good deal with the kids co-operating.

Michael
Link Posted: 6/14/2009 8:43:13 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/14/2009 8:58:38 PM EST by Boomer]
Originally Posted By PA22-400:
Boomer, would give us a lesson about keeping steady tension in a towing assembly?

Please?


Sure. Maintain constant tension by going a slow, steady speed and using either the service or parking brakes on the towed vehicle to stretch brake as necessary rather than invite a failure of the tow equipment or mounting points or a collision with the tow vehicle by relying on acceleration to maintain tension and constantly changing speeds and driving excessively fast. Additionally, most tow straps are 20-50' long, which is not a safe following distance at 50mph. Anything else I can help you with? Slack action and the forces associated with it are something I deal with every day as part of my job.
Link Posted: 6/14/2009 9:42:42 PM EST
Thanks Boomer
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 4:44:32 AM EST
I consider towing in this manner a last resort sort of thing.

With chains people want to use the factory supplied hooks on a lot of tow chains but when there is no tension on the chain these hooks can come off. Using something to keep the chain captured in the hook makes things a whole lot safer if you have to use a chain.

The stretchy yank straps are fun to tow with but add more thought to the game.

I have not towed or been towed for a decade or more but we used a couple handheld cb radios to keep in touch so the rear vehicle could apply brakes first and maintain tension on the rope we used, it was super duper rope and we had nothing else to mess with.

The handheld cb radios can suck, but when you are that close they work fine and being in contact was very nice compared to trying to guess what the other person was doing and if there was a further mechanical issue or not.
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