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buick man

Need Sound Advice for towing Buick Roadmaster on an open car trailer.

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Hello:

I am looking for any experienced and best tried and true techniques regarding the proper loading and most importantly,

" Strapping Down" and/or chaining down and securing of the vehicle once on the trailer bed itself to minimize lateral side to side movement/sliding as well as minimizing the front to back slide movements which can occur.

Best overall techniques wanted!

I have seen photos where some guys, in addition to the front and back strapping, also put straps shut into the car's doors and then secure the other ends to the trailer. Don't really know what's going on there. If anyone knows what going on here please comment as well.

By the way, I use to drive professionally, a semi-truck 18 wheeler, long hauling between california and the east coast back and forth as well as through mountainous and winter conditions so I have those skills sets down. I have not had a lot of experience however, hauling cars on open trailers.

My tow vehicle is a 1-ton suspension 4 X 4 Extended Cab F-250 7.3 Diesel with Banks Turbo Charger. I also have an Electric Brake installed along with a 10,000 lb hitch setup. I do not have duals on the rear. The trailer will be a Penske rented trailer with dual 5600 lb axles. I may recall they are electric brakes. I know the U-hauls are surge and not electrical braked from what I have been told so far. So, if anyone wants to chime in on this as well please do. I will be hauling from Los Angeles to San Francisco Bay area. The only real hill will be coming back right out of L.A. going north and thats a big down hill run. The towed vehicle is a Late 50's Roadmaster.

Please let me hear any input which you may have it will be well received and apreciated.

Thanks in advance!

David

Edited by buick man (see edit history)

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Appropriately sized straps secured in an X pattern, prevent forward, rearward, and side to side motion.

I will let someone with more knowledge chime in, but I think that the only reason to put straps into the passenger compartment via the doorway is to secure the long loose strap ends from flapping in the wind.

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Hey David,:)Cross em as per Matts advise,NO chains use the ratcheting nylon tie downs with the straps that go over the axles.I don't know how those trailer beds are laid out for attaching the other end of the straps.Most important thing is TONGUE weight,make SURE you got enough,TOO much better than not enough.You got plenty of truck,check the straps when you stop for fuel and have at it.:)diz

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Hi David,

Matt and Diz are right on target!

Cross-tie front and rear with ratcheting nylon tie-downs - secure the loose ends - load at least 60% of your weight forward of the axle center - with your truck, the more tongue weight - the better - to eliminate sway, especially in the event of an emergency maneuver - you know, when somebody cuts you off while texting and eating at the same time.

Check trailer tire pressures, and each time you stop, feel for the temperature of the trailer axle hub bearings.

Enjoy your trip - enjoy your new Buick - wish I were driving the Pacific Coast Highway in a convertible like when we drove to the 1998 Founders Tour in Milpitas/San Jose and took the 17 mile drive on the Monterey Peninsula and Pebble Beach.

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Well, thanks you guys for your input. Yeah that 17 mile drive is something everyone should do at one time or another.

I have read that securing the axles downward so you do not get suspension flex is a good idea. Therefore, I have gotten some axle straps, which in turn are to be connected to the belted straps that X-pattern to the outriggers on the trailer itself.

Now I understand how that would work for the rear axle but how does one go about securing and bringing down the front suspension without ruining or bending control arms and the like. I would suspect using the belly frame of the front clip?

Procedure:

Now to see if I have this right, in utilizing this X-pattern method you guys speak of for example, I would attach one axle strap to say the rear drivers side of the axle, then with a new belt strap hook to it and run it over to the rear passengers side of the trailer and cinch it up. Then run a new strap from that same axle strap and run it forward to the front corner passengers

side of the trailer and then cinch it up. Then repeat the process for the other rear passengers side of the axle? I could see by doing this that forward/aft and side ways shear movement would be minimized. Now do I understand the strapping and hold down method correctly as you guys explained?

Someone else spoke about wheel nets and how do they fasten and work?

Lastly, I do not have an equalizer/load leveler/weight-distributing hitch nor do I have an adjustable drop/raise ball setup. I do how ever have the heavy duty rectangular receiver I spoke of that is attached to my frame. Now I will be using the Penske trailer so they may or may not supply this "A" framed equalizer/weight distributing unit. I suspect they only have a trussed front yoke with receiver which would attach to my ball unit. So what are your suggestions with my current status quo and what suggestions could you make.

I will be purchasing an enclosed trailer down the road here, but this deal fell into my lap so I have to go get it and bring home.

David

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NEVER tie down a car in an X pattern. Think about it, if one arm (strap) of the X breaks or loosens the other strap will pull the car to the side ( and loosen that strap also) as the trailer bounces. Cross strapping is advice often heard but it is bad advice in my opinion. Four straps on the four corners of the vehicle are sufficient and meet DOT requirements. The single most important factor in safe and easy towing is maintaining the bearings on the trailer wheels. I am speaking from several hundred thousand miles towing experience over 30+ years. Properly strapped down, the car on the trailer is the least of your worries.

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We also vote for the crossed method of tie down. Without crossing them I would be more concerned about side drift in the trailer. I DO agree , however, all that really matters is the load stays PUT. With the HD suspension under your tow vehicle the load leveling bars won't be an issue. That equipment becomes more needed with taller enclosed trailers and lighter duty tow vehicles. Place your load on the trailer with some tongue weight but there is no need to bury the back of the truck. Let the trailer carry it's share of the work. Just keep any eye on your load and tie downs and your good to go. Drive your load like the old truck driver you were and you'll do great.

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Which brings me to the point that when you ask for advice, you will always get at least two different opinions. No offense to Restorer32, but I prefer the X method.

I have used the straight four corners tie down approach and I have also used the X pattern approach. I found that the straight approach resulted in a little side to side movement of the car. I now use the X method.

Research what you can and decide what works for you. While nothing that you find on the internet should be taken as Gospel, the following link (I think photos 12 and 13) show the method that I am talking about...

Proper Equipment & Safe Tie-Down Practices - Off Road Magazine

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The time I do see the four corner method used is in professional car hauling. You don't see any crossing of chains. The difference being they bind down directly to the under frame not the axles. This allows them to compress the suspension almost all the way down. At that point there is no drifting and their chains don't give. Their tie downs stay very short and that is how they can have a car sitting on the last 2 inches of a tire ramp.

Still love watching it go down the road.

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If your car moved even a little with the straight tie down method your straps were not tight enough. With the X method the car is guaranteed to move if one strap loosens but to each their own. Both methods usually work fine. Years ago we sold a Jag to a fellow from NY. He strapped the car to his way too short trailer with hardware store bungee cords and away he went despite our pleading with him to borrow our straps. He made it home 300 miles or so with no problem. Always wondered if he ever realized how lucky he was.

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Hi David-I read the article with interest hoping to learn from the experience of others. The 4 corners vs x tiedown alternatives are of interest-seems each has some advantages. I once went with a friend in his 1 ton dually Ford to haul his beautifully restored 5,000 # 1936 Lincoln to a show. He had put an extremely shiny paint on the box trailer floor which looked neat but made for a slick surface. We tied the car down using the 4 corners method which is my preferred method.

My friend drive through a very mountainous area of West Virginia at speeds which made me nervous even tho I knew he was a good driver. At mountain peaks I saw elevation signs reading almost 3,000.

When I opened the dropdown door on arrival in Uniontown I found the car to have shifted a foot or so sideways in the trailer so close to one inside fender we had to borrow a jack and shift the car sideways to unload it.

Questions of the week-would X strapping have eliminated the sideways slide? Had it gone another 6", damage to the runningboards would have occurred.

One certain conclusion for me-do not paint the floor of either opendeck or closed trailers with slick paint.

This friend had me install a 3" high wheel track inside and cover with rubber matting to get more clearance in case of another slide on future trips.

In future I think I would certainly X the straps if the floor is slick.

I'm sure you have plenty of truck to haul this heavy Buick.

One more tip-stop after 10-15 miles and recheck the straps as suspension work will stretch them out.

I haul very nice cars in my box trailer on occasion and just bought a new set of straps to replace the 10 year old units.

Martin Lum

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I have never crossed a strap in 20 years of towing on both open and enclosed trailers and have never had a car to move forward, backward or side to side not ever not even an inch. I always use patio carpet in my trailers covering the entire floor installed with a staple gun. tighten all four corners down, car in first gear [or park], emergency brake firmly set. You would have to wreck for that car to move.

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X pattern or 4 corners straight. This question is like asking who makes the best pizza. :D There have been a lot of great comments. Both methods are acceptable in my opinion and either can be used safely. The only problem I have had with the x-pattern is in the front. I attached to the control arms and the flexing of the suspension cut the strap because it was pulled towards the frame which won't happen using the straight method. So if you choose X, just watch out for that.

I almost always use the straight pattern and tie to the axle and lower control arms and let the suspension move freely. The big multi-car carriers tie to the frames because they have chains and binders capable of pulling them down tight with no bounce. The common straps, ratchets and angles used for a single trailer are not capable of doing that in my opinion. For that reason its best to tie to non-moving parts like axle and lower control arms. On the rare occasion I decide to tie to the frame, I use the X- pattern because the X pattern will limit the amount the strap relaxes on a bounce because of the angle.

As mentioned, with your awesome tow vehicle, you do not need a load equalizing hitch but they do stabilize the tow vehicle and improve safety especially in panic situations. The heavier the tow vehicle the less advantage they offer. There is no substitute for driver awareness and common sense when towing.

Already mentioned but I'll do it again. I check straps within the first 15 miles then again at each rest stop, or after you have to hit the brakes hard, or some other incident that could have caused something to shift or loosen.

Many tie-down straps have basic hooks without a spring lever to close the loop preventing the hook from coming detached if the strap relaxes enough. If you have that style consider putting a couple wraps of duct tape around the point of attachment to prevent accidental detachment.

Before I bought my trailer I tried to rent a Penske car hauler mutiple times and they wouldn't do it unless I rented a truck to pull it.

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Thats was a great article regarding the strapping onto a trailer, with pictures to boot! Thank you.

I must admit that corner strapping works well if you have the attachments on the bed plane located so you can make the connects from axle to bed with short lengths of strap or at least a bed loop that would allow you to pull or decompress the suspension as you cinched the strap from the anchoring point on the trailer edge frame. However, most flat open trailers and especially rented trailers have the trailer frame edged fastening hooks but no in-bed hold down mounts located on the bed surface so one could compress the load.

So Restorer 32, with that said, how would I corner strap the vehicle and compress the suspension without proper in bed loops or attachment points.

If you strapped each corner diagonally from each corner axle or frame position, without applying force downward as you cinch the strap diagonally outward / forward / aft / - then it seems to me if one strap were to loosen or break you would have no lateral support as well. To work well with this system the straps or chains would need to be pulling down the suspension and would have to be as short as possible to limit any unwanted lateral lash movements. The same would occur as you pointed out regarding the X strap method.

I do like this corner method if I could compress the suspension. Short of not having the in bed hold downs I may have to do what I can.

I now have a very clearer idea of where and how to secure the rear end, however I still am having trouble visualizing how to securely fasten down the front end of my late fifties Roadmaster without strapping onto a bendable suspension member/suspension joint or looping over the frame so the strap would only slide since there are no holes in the frame that I know of in this area which would allow the front to be secured by strapping to the frame. If anyone wants to narrow this concept down for me that would be great.

I will however, picture document my adventures with this haul when it happens and post it here. Bye the way this community is something else. Thanks!

David

Edited by buick man (see edit history)

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We never strap to the frame. Usually 2 straps around the real axle and two around the front axle on "old" cars, thru the A-arms on newer vehicles, tightened as tight as possible plus a little bit. On a 6500# ALF Speedster we recently built for a customer we welded heavy lifting lugs in 4 convenient places on the axles. Blew out 2 tires on the trailer on a recent trip but the car didn't move. We tow with a 3/4 ton Dodge Turbo Diesel pick-em-up which is the best tow vehicle I have ever owned.

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When we load the "newer" stuff with a-frames I like to use the mini J hooks. They lock nicely into the elongated holes in the frame and give a good solid ring to attach the strap hooks to. It does take some movement out of the suspension though because you are binding above the spring point.

post-60266-143138187689_thumb.jpeg

Edited by msmazcol (see edit history)

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I was browsing topics, and this one is a bit interesting to me. As the systems designer for Mac's Custom Tie Downs, the question of whether to cross straps or not comes up almost daily here in the office. While no tie-down method is perfect in all situations, I see images of damage on a pretty regular basis from one strap failing, and the crossed strap pulling the vehicle to the other side of the trailer.

The other point that we've found is that while crossing straps often does reduce a little of the side-to-side creep that can happen on the road, in doing so they are at a severe angle to the direction of travel - forward. Straps are strong in a straight line - and you will achieve the full 10,000# static breaking strength in that line. The more severe the angle, the weaker the straps are. This is a big problem in a collision.

So, we would say that IF everything goes as planned, either method is equally valid. I personally don't cross my straps, because if a Moose jumps in front of me, I don't want to be rear-ended by the car in the trailer when the straps fail at being pulled sideways. That 4000# Buick triples it's weight pretty easily in a collision.

But don't take my word for it - our video page has some industry leaders weighing in on what they think: www.macscustomtiedowns.com/tricks

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Very interesting. Would seem the ideal set up would be to have the straps crossed but also add an additional set straight on at the rear axle.

Perhaps overkill, but!

Thanks for the info.

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Very interesting. Would seem the ideal set up would be to have the straps crossed but also add an additional set straight on at the rear axle.

Perhaps overkill, but!

Thanks for the info.

Well, to me it sounds like you are adding yet another strap to fix the weak link brought about by crossed straps. Also, don't just add the one rear straight strap, you should do 2 to gain the needed total breaking limit??(in a crash)... but to compensate for straight straps on the rear, pulling against crossed fronts...you should add straight fronts, right? :)

I am with Resorer 32, you are asking for uneeded problems by crossing, and I just don't see a gain in real world towing.

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Personally I like a four wheel net situation into a track system, with the track running right under the wheels. Several months ago a client was towing a '32 roadster this way on the second deck of his stacker trailer, and when things went wrong (the trailer ended up on it's side) he opened the door to find the car hanging safely from it's nets.

Now for the sad part; the CHP threw a strap over the trailer in their hurry to right it, and compressed the trailer over the very valuable car.

All in all, redundancy is a good thing, but there is a higher initial cost, and more time involved with the tie-down procedure. For me, peace-of-mind during the trip lets me enjoy being out on the road a bit more, and the extra effort is worth it. I can see it being a pain if you were in a hurry, though...

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That net system sounds VERY impressive.

Too bad about the car surviving the crash only to get wrecked later.

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Thanks again JSmitty for the information on tie down straps. Went to Mac's web site and noticed that the Versa track and E track show no load limits on them.

Just curious how the stuff is rated? I know E track has been used for years in commercial trailer applications. Most times I see it wall mounted for load stabilization. How does it hold when an accident occurs and now the trailer is on it's side? I use some E track on the walls of my trailer. I use it to keep stuff organized and off the floor. When I purchased the lock in rings they came in a variety of ratings even though they all "looked" the same.

I'm always looking for an improved way of doing things.

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Well it sounds to me that the J-Hook idea is what to use in the front especially if you don't want to bend lower control arms or pivot lower ball joints.

Ok. Let's summarize here. If I owned a flat trailer my first thing to do on it would be to secure a truss plate front and back under the bed welded to the frame itself. Then I would use this base plate system to attach a hold down at each corner which would go through the bed above so I could corner strap and cinch downward the suspension with short straps and have a ratchet system that would torque down all travel on these straps good and tight - On all fours. Then I would double strap forward and aft, tight for oppositional surge forces. Now with this setup the downward force would control roll/yawl and the forward/aft tension would control surge and creep. Without the suspension rock n rollin, the harmonics of E=mc2 would not be a problem.

However, I am renting a penske trailer. Makes me want to rethink this whole thing. I guess I will have to go and recheck the penske trailers out and check for hold downs locations, number of hold downs & access to hold downs etc. Then I will have to make a judgement call. This trailer no doubt has no suspension suppression capabilities to cinch it down. It may also have limited areas to strap and cinch forward and aft. That is probably why you see cars being hauled on these rented trailers behind a U-haul van truck bouncing up and down and swaying port and starboard on down the road. I always try and pass these guys as quickly as possible.

David

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You have received a lot of good (and conflicting) advice.

I think it has already been said, but don't over think it. If you take 4 appropriate straps and attach them in any manner in which they are tightly cinched down to four strong points on the trailer, the car will stay put on the trailer.

It will not matter if you cross them or do not cross them. The problem you have trailering will involve another driver that you see on the road, or if the trailer were not maintained propertly, a bearing or tire problem on the trailer.

Any rental trailer designed to haul cars will have appropriate tie down points, as that is what they are designed for.

Strap the car down and enjoy the trip!

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