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Old October 8th, 2006, 02:37 PM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Sanger, TX
Posts: 2,820
Default how to modify your towbar for narrowed front beam

Alrighty so I have narrowed the front beam on my beetle about 6" (see the full build-up here) and now I am in need of a tow bar to move it around for various trips to car shows, paint shops and whatnot,,,

I thaught I would share how I modified my standard tow bar to accomidate this.

FIRST OFF: if you don't know how to weld structural materials, DON'T attempt this!

First step ... get your hands on a tow bar. I baught a new one for about $70 ...

... a few cuts. make careful measurements ... all the cuts needs to be symetrical and square to the tubing. I made one cut in the 'tie bar' across the lower section of the assembly , then two carefulk cuts in the main tubing near the head... I made sure to keep these two upper end cuts in the 'flat/straight areas of the tubing.

Next I narrow the tie bar by 7" (the assembly was originally 31" wide, my narrowed beam will acomidate 24") then using some angle iron and clamps, mocked up the two halves and tack welded them back together. (ONLY teck weld at this point, but enough to keep everything square and solid)

Now comes the tricky part. the two main tubes have to be cut down the EXACT amount to allow the head assembly to slide right into place, square and stright. this took me about 6 different cuts, and ALOT of measuring to ensure both sides were equal. A nifty trick to ensure the tubing is cut square, use a large diameter pipe cutter to scribe a mark in the tubing.

once the cuts are complete and perfect, break the tack weld apart on the tie bar and slip some steel tubing inside the upper tubing, these will act as guides to keep the entire assembly jigged up and square.

Having a large flat surface to work on is critical at this point. mock everything up including the angle iron and clamps. step back and smoke a couple cigarettes while you look the entire assembly over from many different angles. Don't be afraid to trust your eye... most people can spot as little as 1 degree out of plum. measure measure measure.
measure for square (diagonal corner to diagonal corner should be equal)

then weld it up. plenty of heat and plenty of penetration is crucial here. if these welds come apart while towing a vehicle, it's going to be a bad bad bad day. for you and many others.

anywho... good luck!
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