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Old 08-04-2017, 01:20 AM   #1
zimmerdale
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Default Volvo 240 / 740 / 940 tow bar and adapters (my solution)

I've been using my '93 945 to flat tow 2/7/9 series cars with great success. I made adapters to bolt in place of the front bumpers, so I can walk up to a car and in about 15 minutes be ready to go with no alterations to the car. I'm posting the details here for VolvoEmpire and anyone else who may find it useful.

I bought a cheap tow bar on Ebay for under $50. There are several brands that all look the same. It's this basic setup: 5,000 Lb Adjustable Tow Bar. I replaced some of the bolts with Grade 8, but otherwise it's worked fine for me.



The 240 adapters are made from 12" pieces of 1-1/4" Sch 40 black steel pipe with 5-1/2" pieces of 3/16" 2x2 angle iron welded on the end.













The two main bolts that secure the bumper shocks are on either side of the radiator. The passenger side bolt is much easier to get to than the driver side. You'll also need to detach the ends of the bumper from the fenders and loosen or remove the two bolts where each bumper shock enters the frame rail. After that, the bumper should pull out with a little encouragement.



Insert the tow bar adapters, reinstall the large bolt in each one, and tighten the two bolts where the adapter goes into the frame rail.



Hook up your lights for the car being towed, and you're ready to go:



Let me know if you have any questions. I didn't give specific dimensions and locations of holes to be drilled, but that should be pretty self explanatory.

I also made a set of adaptors to pull 7/9 series cars. I couldn't come up with a simple adapter made from off the shelf components, so I used an old set of bumper shocks instead. I drilled a small hole in the side, released the pressure (only one had any), drained the fluid, and collapsed them with a sledge hammer. Then I drilled and cross bolted through both sleeves to secure them from pulling apart.

I drilled the face so I could bolt the tow bar receiver pieces to it. It's not elegant, but it has worked fine for me. Ideally, I'd cut off the irregular face and weld on a piece of angle iron like the 240 adapters. So far I've only needed to tow one 740, so it wasn't worth my time.





Thanks for looking!
Jason
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1996 855 R (red) 218k miles
1993 945 T (white) 207k miles
1993 244 (black) 264k miles
1992 244 (blue) 260k miles
1958 444 (jalopy)
--------------
1988 245 DL (tan) 221k (sold)
1978 245 (white) 200k (sold)
1990 244 (red) 241k (parted and sold)
1991 944 GLE (black) 194k (parted and crushed)
1988 745 (green) 260k (parted and crushed)
1975 245 (white) 75k (parted and crushed)

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Last edited by zimmerdale; 08-04-2017 at 09:35 PM..
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Old 08-04-2017, 03:12 AM   #2
stiligFox
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For a quick glancing shot I thought you were towing by the bumper shocks and was like uuuuuuuh

Looks good! Nice and sturdy :D
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Old 08-04-2017, 03:40 PM   #3
VolvoEmpire
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Hey thanks man, I may have some time to whip up a set of those this weekend. I'll be sure to tow it back with my 244 so I look like a weirdo towing the same car I'm driving.
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Old 08-04-2017, 03:46 PM   #4
SlowRide
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Originally Posted by VolvoEmpire View Post
Hey thanks man, I may have some time to whip up a set of those this weekend. I'll be sure to tow it back with my 244 so I look like a weirdo towing the same car I'm driving.
That's not weird, at least you're willing to do it right

See, it think its more weird to see 244's on the back of flatbed tow trucks because they're typically loaded on backwards
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Old 08-04-2017, 03:53 PM   #5
white855T
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I'll be doing the opposite soon, towing a 240(for paint work) with a 7 series. This is definitely helpful.
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Old 08-04-2017, 09:46 PM   #6
zimmerdale
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If by chance you're towing a car without an engine in it, you'll need to let a lot of air out of the front tires to get it to trail properly. I learned this with the red car pictured above. At 35 psi, the front wheels jackknifed when I tried to turn a corner. I let air out down to about 15-20 psi, and it followed perfectly. You can even back it around corners and into place most of the time.

I've heard different opinions, but I had success just putting the car in neutral, turning the key on (with the battery disconnected) so the steering wheel could rotate freely, and towing that way. Some guys say you should secure the steering wheel and just drag the car around corners. I didn't have any problems using my method with the four cars I towed about 300 miles total.
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Old 08-05-2017, 12:29 PM   #7
Wren
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zimmerdale View Post
Some guys say you should secure the steering wheel and just drag the car around corners.
That's a terrible idea. Don't be one of those guys.

Regarding the vehicle doing the towing, God help you if you get in an accident and it comes out that you are exceeding the vehicle manufacturer's recommended limit for towing something without its own brakes. I believe the specified limit for a Volvo 740 is around 2000 lbs for something without trailer brakes.

Driving slowly and carefully (the excuse that many use) isn't going to help you in a panic stop situation. I've flat towed plenty of 240's with my truck that weighs 5000 lbs. and even with that rig, the stopping distance is increased considerably.
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Old 08-08-2017, 02:52 AM   #8
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Hey guys, I've got some experience doing this, and some advice to match. I built my own from box and plate and spring hangers:









And have reused it on my caravan, after the initial use on my DOHC turbo truck:









And the deal is this:

1) Ball centre height and hinge centre height should match closely to minimise angle and jacking
2) Long as possible = minimum angle mismatch & minimum jacking force for a given height difference, mine's about 1.8m or nearly 6 foot.

If the towed car is low, it'll jack the towing car rear under brakes, and vice versa if high. If it's level during a braking event then it'll just push you. Which has its own challenges! But is manageable.

My truck had/has a welded diff at the time/now. What this meant is that even under light braking around a corner with the pivots a little lower than the ball, it pushed the back of the 240 wagon up in the air enough to lose traction and do little low-speed low-power drifts with ute attached. No one died. Given your car under tow will have an open diff, and the key in, and steering free to follow like a castor wheel, you shouldn't experience that as easily as I did.

Aside from that, towing my 1200kg truck with my 1300kg wagon, both laden heavily, it was fine. Just leave plenty of towing distance.

Future improvement: plumb towed vehicle brake circuit into braked coupling and enjoy help from the rear.

Jockey wheel is a winner, wish I had it when towing the ute, as otherwise you have to unbolt if from the front before moving anywhere.

No reversing, of course, or your steering will do what you don't want.
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Old 08-12-2017, 05:07 PM   #9
white855T
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I got a chance to make these adapters today. Haven't towed car yet but wanted to add some helpful info if you plan to make adapters yourself. The 1 1/4 schedule 40 steel pipe and 3/16 2x2 angle steel can be found at any Ace Hardware. The 2ft steel pipe was $10 and the angle steel was about $25(they only sell a piece in 3 ft). You also want to grab 4 flat washers and 4 locking washers. The tow bar I purchased did not include any washers. I did pick up the tow bar at Harbor Freight for $75(Haul Master brand). If you don't already have towing lights, Harbor freight has a cheap setup available as well.

To make holes on the pipe and angle steel, I used a drill press with a unibit(purchased from Harbor freight many years ago). If you have a drill press available or know someone who will let you use a press, this would be the recommended route to go. To cut the pipe and angle steel, I used a hacksaw(ran out of cutting discs for grinder). I measured each piece and then used my bench vise to make each cut.
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