Strapping your car down to the trailer: To the suspension or the frame?

Discussion in 'The Choo-Choo shop' started by No Lift, Jul 23, 2012.

  1. No Lift

    No Lift Platinum Level Contributor

    Since a trailer is in my future I'm just wondering what you long time towers feel is the best way to go about it, to the frame and pull the suspension down somewhat or to the axle and the a-arms and let the car float?
  2. bobc455

    bobc455 Well-Known Member

    Let the car float! Otherwise it is like the entire trailer has no shocks, it's a solid piece.
  3. cstanley-gs

    cstanley-gs Silver Mist

    Strap the rear axle and front control arms
    Get a quality set of straps, someone here on the board makes them, and are highly recommended, I just cant remember who
  4. TheSilverBuick

    TheSilverBuick In the Middle of No Where

    Suspension for short drives because it's easier and will keep the car there, and frame for long drives to keep the trailer steadier and I "hear" that shocks tend to get blown/wore out from bouncing on the trailer. Which I guess adjustable drag shocks are more prone to that :Do No: That's my two cents :TU:

    ---------- Post added at 02:18 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:15 PM ----------

    How is that any different than any other load a trailer would be expected to carry? Boxes, engine blocks, junk, etc never have shocks. I've had some funky harmonics go on with the car bouncing on the trailer in tandem with the trailer springs. Not sure how to describe the feeling, but it was definitely felt in the truck.
  5. ragtops

    ragtops Gold Level Contributor

    Yep, this always brings controversy, some say above the suspension, some say below.
    I will repeat what the instruction sheet that came with my first set of tie down straps, "Always tie below the suspension and make sure the strap is wrapped around the spool/reel at least twice". I have always strapped them that way, never had a problem, and I have put a few miles towing.
    I also believe both ways will work if the stuff one has to work with is used properly. I personally don't like the suspension bound down.
    Towing companies generally tow for short distances and do what is easiest for them.
    On the new cars tying below the suspension is usually difficult because they are made so flimsy there is nothing to latch onto without damaging something.
    I doubt anyone will disagree that wheel straps are about the best you can use, but this requires more money for the track they normally use which has to be mounted to the trailer floor.
    Whatever you do, do it right. If you use chains do not use hardware store chains or parts, buy chains and parts normally used for towing. Don't "cheap out", I mean look at the money you have invested in the car you are towing, trying to get by cheap on towing aids just seems silly to me.

    Good luck,

    RACEBUICKS Midwest Buick Mafia

    Its all different around the world to tie a car down however. If Im going a short distance I use the axle and a front lower a arm. If Im going long distance the car is on lock down. I use T hooks in my frame to hold the car solid. Just like they did when it was delivered to the dealership. Bouncy cars are not good. It could allow you to damage shocks or springs could bounce out if they are loosely set in the rear.

    I sell (none in stock now) a 10K rated strap set with axle loops and they are the best american made straps around. If you know an experienced trailer person let them show you the best way to tie down a car. Do not forget to cross them from side to side as well. It keeps the car from sliding off in a sharp turn situation. Alway think about the WHAT IF! it will save your car from harm as well as keep it from damaging the straps too.
  7. TheSilverBuick

    TheSilverBuick In the Middle of No Where

    For reference, most cars come with anchor points in the frame that every time I've had my GM or Ford car's towed the towing company latched on to those points on the frame for tie down.
  8. gsfred

    gsfred Founders Club Member

    I always tie down to the rear axel, and thru the A arms. I have seen torn straps when people have gone to the frame. This way the car can move up and down with bumps, otherwise the whole trailer will try to move up and down. Not safe. On a flat bed you have the whole trucks suspension to handle it. Notice on rental trailers they give you the straps that go over the wheels.
  9. Deacon07

    Deacon07 1969 Buick Skylark

    My dad used to haul cars and it was always chains with hooks that were set up to hook into the frame, and always pull away from each other.

    But he also gave me two giant tubs of very large ratchet straps that I'm trying to get out of the garage. He said he bought then for 1700 or so new. I'm not looking for that basically just shipping and a few bucks for trouble.

    Just looked and they say 1,666 working load.

    I can take pics if anyone is interested.

    If you can't tell, really want them gone...
  10. Jim Weise

    Jim Weise EFI/DIS 482

    As a veteran of towing everything from parts cars to big buck show and race cars, I can tell you that I have never used anything but the frame for tie down.

    I absolutely hate axle straps. They prevent you from really getting a nice cross bite on the rear of the car, because the strap slides. I'm sure it's possible to wrap it around there and get it solid so you can get a good bite on it, and pull it tight, but I don't see it very often... Just had a customer trailer a 70 GS 455 convert here last week for some tune and AC work, with axle straps, and sure enough, they were just dangling when he got here.

    I also don't care for the T hooks, as those were meant for anchoring at a very sharp downward angle, like that used on the delivery trucks. Very few of us have that setup. Often times you end up with poor pull angles and/or straps rubbing on components.

    What I use is an open hook, in the large holes on the frame, just in front of the rear wheels and behind the front wheels.

    These are easy access, provide a nice mild pull angle, miss all suspension components, and they stay tight. Yet they don't bind the suspension down hard. More of a front to rear pull than up and down.

    Just a word to those letting the car bounce.. especially a race car..

    You will wear the car out in/on the trailer, long before it ever wears out at the track. You must have one of those inflatable donuts to go under a solid suspension point on the car, to keep it from bouncing.

  11. Deacon07

    Deacon07 1969 Buick Skylark

    Well said. Pops hated using the t-hooks. Tried to use the sea horse shaped ones. They always get a full bite on the frame.
  12. 64 Hardtop

    64 Hardtop Founders Club Member

    I have two tow hooks mounted on the front frame of my race car that I use to strap the front down. No front end bounce. I use two axle straps crossed in the rear and have always towed in this manor. Personally I do not like to see a car bouncing on my trailer, if it's bouncing that means it's time to adjust the straps
  13. austingta

    austingta Well-Known Member

    I use transport grade chain with ratchet binders. I have a set of multi-point wrecker anchor points ( s hooks, j hooks and the big hook). I used to use straps until, on a long haul in the rain, they stretched when they were wet. None of that for me any more. You never see a wrecker using soft straps, and I know why.

    RACEBUICKS Midwest Buick Mafia

    you never see any kynedyne straps get wet and stretch either. Thats who I get mine from the same company that sells to the semi guys. If there is enough people interested like 20 I would do another run of them too
  15. Brad Conley

    Brad Conley Super Moderator Staff Member


    The hooks you are referring to are called "R" hooks and are shaped like a seahorse. T hooks will rip a frame if over tightened or if not tight enough and the car bounces around.

    Everyone else,
    If you all look in your assembly manual (you DO own an assembly manual, don't you???) there are a couple of pages devoted on how to tie down a car. 45* angles, points to tie to, etc. I tie to the slots in the frame designed for such use with "R" hooks that I had made with my tie-downs. I cinch the car down tight. It will ride a lot better and cause much less wear and tear on the car if tied down tightly. If you don't tie down tight, the trailer suspension and the car's suspension will fight each other. I do NOT cross my tie downs and have never had a car move in/on a trailer as long as it was properly cinched down. Think about it; the guy delivering you car when new did NOT cross his tie downs and you should not either.
  16. Briz

    Briz Platinum Level Contributor

    Ive got a set of Michael's straps and they work great ( mike I need to replace 1 of them) As far as tieing down I have always tied to the axel tube and the lower A arms. I'll tie the back down then pull forward with the wench till tight and ratchet down the front. After its tight I release the winch pressure but leave it on there for good measure. Car position on the trailer is as important as the strapping. To far forward and the truck wanders to far back and the trailer will fish tail. I have stops marked on the bed for each car I tow and place a block on that mark when I load. 6" makes a big difference. You want the trailer to carry the load not the hitch on your truck
  17. john hixon

    john hixon Well-Known Member

    Have run Mike's straps for over 10 years now. Tie to front frame crossed where I have tow brackets welded in and at rear axle crossed. Towed this way for both short and long hauls.

  18. Mister T

    Mister T Just truckin' around

    Plenty of opinions about how to tie a car down here, BUT NOT ONE about regularly checking those straps and/or chains during transit. That is the single most important task after loading your car. My choice is to check them within 30 minutes or 25 miles after departing. Then again at EVERY stop!! I have even made a special stop, in a safe location, if I see any unusual movement in my mirrors.

    Here is how I tied down my 65 GS during my recent vacation trip. It went 740 miles each way from Winnipeg, MB to Cedar Rapids, IA. Note the chains up front, with a bear claw to cinch them tight. I forgot to photograph the rear end, but that was straps hooked into the frame behind the tires, crossed and hooked into a "D" ring on the trailer. Just for extra measure, I attached a safety chain to the front crossmember and the trailer. It wouldn't keep the car all that steady, but would buy some time for a gradual stop, should both front chains fail.


    Bear claw, secured with wire ties after cinching tight.


    With this method, the car did not move during my trip. If it did, then it was time to check the chains and straps. I did note that the rear straps, (not Kinnedyne) would gradually stretch. I traveled through a few rain showers, which had no effect on those straps.
  19. woodchuck2

    woodchuck2 Well-Known Member

    I have towed many vehicles with several trailers and i have found cross binding with straps works best for me. I have used this method on cars,trucks and even small equipment. Axle straps work ok when needed but otherwise i attach to the frame mostly. I have never had issues with straps becoming loose in the rain and i feel the straps are a little more forgiving if there is any kind of suspension movement. If using chains it feels to me when the suspension moves you get a harsh jolt when the chain comes tight again, with straps the will stretch when tightened and will keep a continuous pull on the load as it bounces with bumps and the straps relax with the movement. IMO cross binding is a must. I have had my own off road truck slide around on the trailer and one fella in our club had his 8k lb blazer actually slide to side enough to fall off the trailer at 50mph. The only thing that saved him was the trailer was a deck over gooseneck and the axle diff dug into the wood platform, the 44" bogger sure put up a smoke show though. When cross binding the straps/chain are actually fighting each other and the load is forced to maintain position. For the load to move it would have to stretch or break the strap/chain preventing it from moving in that direction. When binding straight forward you are only preventing the forward movement, the straps/chain can actually still allow movement side to side quite a distance before they even begin to limit any movement in that direction.
  20. austingta

    austingta Well-Known Member

    I am going to go get a 69 Electra 225 for a board member this Saturday. I will use my chains and ratchet binders as always. I'll try and get some pics for this thread. I like to pull the suspension down just a little, to allow for some give, but mainly I attach to the frame.

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