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MG MGA - Emergency towing connection

I am going to fit one of above to the front of the car and looking underneath a badly installed one could easily perform a frontal lobotomy on the car. I am going to use a thread on ring so the structure and socket will normally be hidden.
Any advice or pics on a suitable structure would be much appreciated plus attachment method..preferably bolt on .
Neil Ferguson

Might want to re write re right write right this one Neil!
Don't need cars with lobotomies, it's why we have drivers.

FRM
Fletcher R Millmore

Neil,

The front crossmember is really the only part strong enough for towing. The tube joining the extensions at the front of the frame is not strong enough.
The problem with a MGA is the body is so low at the front. The tow cable will cut into the body when tension is applied.
All MGA competition cars here are required to have a towing ring fitted. The normal method is a threaded piece welded (or bolted) to the front crossmember and a hole at the same height in the front body. The towing ring shaft is then screwed in when required.
I cannot see any way of avoiding the hole in the body.

Mick
M F Anderson

For a short tow, use a web strap and attach it to the suspension lower A-arm, running forward where the valance panel is highest near one side. Be very careful not to let the strap go slack and run over it. For something more permanent, perhaps a spring loaded drop down loop under center of the front cross member, but you still have to crawl under to hook it up. Any hook point extending through the front valance needs lateral bracing up front as well as attachment to suspension cross member.
Barney Gaylord

http://www2.mgcars.org.uk/cgi-bin/gen5?runprog=mgbbs&access=&mode=archiveth&subject=6&subjectar=6&thread=2008092917432021418
Del Rawlins

Del..presume the webpage you listed would have some good bumf on for me but cannot get it to reveal its secrets..tried a number of different ways. Is there any other reference you can give me?
Neil
Neil Ferguson

Many years ago I made up a piece of nylon coated aircraft cable (3/16" dia), available from most hardware stores, with a loop in each end, and the finished length is about 5 feet. One loop is about 12 inches long (x2) with the joint spliced in. The other loop is about 4 inches long (x2), and I used 2 wire clamps for this end.
I put the cable over the round cross member, then pass the long loop through the shorter one, and take the long loop out through the starter handle hole in the body and front bumper. Then I hook a tow rope to the long loop of the cable.
I have used a "bungee" type tow rope, and was able to tow the car safely at over 60 miles per hour. Haven't used it since the car and I came to Canada as self tows with ropes are not allowed. It would put the tow trucks out of business, asd some might say it was unsafe!
This is not a fixed tow hook as required for competitive use, but is useful for private use.
Peter.
P. Tilbury

Some time ago I bought a collection of spares and included was a length of specially fabricated angle iron that the guy said was used when towing. I assumed it was for bolting to the front in place of the bumpers when being towed. I've just had another look at it and , in actual fact, from the holes it goes on the rear in place of the back bumper so it's for towing or for attaching a trailer.
However, couldn't you use something similar to fix to the front bumper irons?
This one is made up of a 36" length of 3"x2"x1/4" angle with some slight bends and welding up (see pictures)................mike

m.j. moore

Picture 2

m.j. moore

Sorry, I was trying to post a link to an archive thread about towing an MGA. I will just repost the pictures of my towbar apparatus that I posted in that thread:



Del Rawlins

Second image:



Del Rawlins

My dad originally built the towbar about 30 years ago, but sometime over the years, the frame attachment was lost, so I had to build my own when I got the car out of storage and brought it to Anchorage. As noted above, the bumper mounts are not adequate for towing, and my frame attachment only uses them for vertical location. The main portion of the load is borne by two bolts through the forwardmost portion of the frame, where the extension bolts on. I wouldn't want to use this mount to tow any long distance, but I did use it to tow my MGA about 60 miles from Whittier to Anchorage with no apparent ill effect, and I later used it to tow the rolling chassis of a parts car across town. If there had been more time, I would have built something that would have extended back to the next set of extension mounting holes on the frame, but I got to town at 7pm or so, and had to get it ready to tow for the next day, so I was up welding and cutting until the wee hours of the morning as it was.
Del Rawlins

Del..Thanks for all the detail.that is quite a device. ...and from the look of the front ball connection you socket straight onto the tow car in front without use of any cable or rope and system does not need anyone in the drivers seat of the mga.We used to call these close arrangements 'sniffing dogs'.
Am I correct? and if so how do you stop the front mga wheels turning and scrubbing ...do you just lock the steering somehow?
...or am I way off beam?


Re another arrangement desribed above (P.Tilbury ) I appreciate the simplicity and the fact that it is temporary (and you have used and the any side loads did not affect the front end..ie you still have a front end pointing forwards) ) .
Two questions...
What is a 'bungy' type tow rope? Presume it has some elasticity but don't recollect seeing them here in Oz or in UK.
Not sure whch crossmember you used for the loop ?

Neil
Neil Ferguson

Neil,

A "bungee" tow rope is a stretchy rope, with hooks at each end, that starts at about 4 feet, and stretches to about 12 feet when under load. It is a big bungee inside a cover. This takes up the slack automatically and the towed car does not run over it. It also helps to prevent jerking when starting off.
The one I have is made by the HASHI-KEN Corporation in Japan, and is called the "S.O.F.T. Car Rope". I got this in the 1980's so don't know if they are still in business.
I towed a Subaru rally car with a BMW for more than 150 miles with this, with speeds of up to 100 mph. When a herd of goats came out in front of me it was a little exciting. The Japanese rally driver in the Subaru wet his pants, I think.
The MGA round cross member I referred to is the one just in front of the horn(s) with the "guide" hole plate for the starter handle welded to it. In fact, I put the cable through this guide hole.
Hope this helps.
Peter.
P. Tilbury

Neil,

There is no need to lock the steering with a tow bar like Del's. The car just follows you like a faithful dog, turning whenever you do. It also stops when you do. It's the only way to tow.

Ken
k v morton

Neil, Ken is correct, you do NOT want to restrict the steering of the towed vehicle, or problems could result. Just be sure the parking brake is released, and the transmission is in neutral. Putting the car on a trailer is a better way to go, especially for long distances, but as long as the car doesn't have any drivetrain problems that would keep it from rolling okay, and the steering is in reasonably good condition, a towbar setup like mine can work in a pinch. Be sure you have full coverage mud flaps on the towing vehicle, and you also want some sort of safety strap or chain. I ran a tow strap from one of the cross members on the MGA to the towing vehicle in case of failure of the towbar system.
Del Rawlins

Neil -
Well I was trying to get you to tell us what sort of thing you want, for what purpose, sorry if that was too abstruse.

Are you looking at stuck in a ditch, emergency breakdown, long distance transport, race track requirements, etc.? Makes a lot of difference!

We had a bolt on similar to Del, but it bolted on all 4 bumper brackets, nothing else. At the time (60 -70s) we were constantly gathering up dead and/or parts cars, which there were lots of, usually local but sometimes a few hundred miles. With such a towbar, the wheels track just fine, no need for a pilot.

I like Peter's story - I think I've been behind him a couple of times! Once we went to look at a car, with our towbar. Bought the car, after much hemming and hawing about the $250 which seemed excessive at the time, but the bumper brackets were AFU, wouldn't work. It was far enough (50-60 miles) we did not want to come back, and it was a holiday weekend, back when no stores were open on weekends. So we dug up a piece of nasty old manilla rope about 15 ft long and tied it to the Ford pickup. I got to steer the MGA, Partner took off at about 50 mph. I could just hang out far enough to see ahead - then the rope broke. So we tied it together, but it was shorter and harder to see. After about 6 times, I was less than six feet from the truck and he was still going 50+! Made it home OK, after a few stops to retie the string and let the MG brakes cool off. Two hours of fiddling got it running, and my partner drove it for a couple of years as his DD, then we redid it one winter since we had no other work. He said we couldn't paint it black because it was such a mess, so I metal finished it and painted it in black acrylic lacquer to show quality! All new NOS chrome and we were hard pressed to get $2000 for it in 1976.

FRM
Fletcher R Millmore

Yeah, when I towed the rolling chassis from the parts car I bought a while ago, the bumper brackets were bent up pretty badly where the mount attaches. I was able to straighten them sufficiently using a couple of big hammers, but I don't think that would have been possible with the body in place. Those bumper brackets are pretty flimsy for towing, which is why my mount only uses them for vertical location. When I fabricated the mount in place on my MGA, I discovered that one of the mounts was cracked nearly all the way through at the weld, which I believe may have been caused by previous towing when my dad originally built the towbar. I think his original mount only attached to the bumper brackets as yours did. I welded up the crack, but it will require further attention prior to reassembly, because I was in a hurry at the time.
Del Rawlins

This thread was discussed between 27/02/2010 and 02/03/2010

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