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Old 07-10-2014, 07:18 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Tie down a race car on a trailer

I want to tie down my 91 civic hatch rally car to the trailer using unsprung points so the suspension stops working the straps over every bump. With older cars, I've used axle straps around the axles. Could I use axle straps on the front and rear lower control arms? If not, where on the suspension could I tie into that doesn't move much?

I don't want to go with wheel baskets and the wheels we use don't have room to wrap through the spokes and around the rim.
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Old 07-10-2014, 08:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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what would the difference be if you tied it down at the towing points? does the car have a front traction bar? you could use that? I don't want to tell you that you can use the lca's and then have you hit a bump and bend something or strip something
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Old 07-10-2014, 08:54 PM   #3 (permalink)
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If I tie down at the towing points, what happens when I tighten the straps is that the suspension is compressed, but not all the way to the bump stops. When the trailer goes over bumps, the suspension bounces and shocks the straps. If I can find tie down points that are unsprung (like solid rear axles on trucks or older cars) then the straps pull on something solid and there is no movement when hitting bumps. This is why some people use basket straps over the wheels. My trailer doesn't have attachment points that would let me use these types of straps. Does this help you understand what I'm after?
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Old 07-10-2014, 10:50 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Unless you're driving over a washboard of a country road then I can't see how tying it down via the tow points would be a real concern, especially if you have some moderately stiff springs
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Old 07-10-2014, 11:46 PM   #5 (permalink)
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So what do you wanna replace as wear items?

The tie-down straps or the dampers on the rally car?

Tie-down straps are cheaper. Buy more and be redundant.

A Pro Mod car I helped with, he ties the nose down by the frame, but the rear is tied down by the axle straps...AND chassis straps.

Honda rear LCA's work as well as the rear tow hook.

Also, with a rally car he has way more usable suspension travel with softer (stock?) springs
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Old 07-11-2014, 05:23 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Sounds like there is no easy answer, so I'll stick with frame tie-down points.
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Old 07-11-2014, 05:35 AM   #7 (permalink)
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i bent one of my old rear lcas using cum a longs to tie my car down to the trailer.

i now use the tow points. not sure why i didnt in the first place lol.
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Old 07-11-2014, 06:36 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by civicdxude View Post
i bent one of my old rear lcas using cum a longs to tie my car down to the trailer.

i now use the tow points. not sure why i didnt in the first place lol.
This. I have seen it happen too.
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Old 07-11-2014, 07:10 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Just an idea. Get a set of old steel wheels, Cut some bigger pockets in the sides by the outer rim to slide straps through. Only put them on the car when towing it.

Just a thought
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Old 07-11-2014, 08:12 AM   #10 (permalink)
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These are cheap, you fish them around the LCA in each corner and attach your straps in an apporpriate and non-wearing manner to the d-rings, problem solved. And they're cheap....

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Old 07-11-2014, 08:48 AM   #11 (permalink)
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The only "unsprung" point on a independent suspension car would be the wheels, everything else moves.


When the cars leave the factory and loaded on to trains or trucks guess where they attach the tie downs?....
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Old 07-11-2014, 06:25 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I don't know why, I just don't trust those tie down points on a bouncy trailer going down a lumpy road....single point of failure front and rear, likely to total the car if one of those points fails, could even get sued if somebody gets hurt when the car leaves the trailer and causes an accident.

Call me paranoid if you like, no offense taken, I prefer to tie the car down at 4 corners to stronger points
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Old 07-11-2014, 07:57 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I've towed heavy equipment as well as street and race cars; each gets tied down in it's own manner:

Backhoes & such that have no suspension get tied down with chain binders to lock them solidly to the trailer... they have no real suspension to bind, just the pressure in the tires to keep them from moving against the chains locked in on the chassis hard points.

Race cars such as my old F440 got tied down by binding the wheels themselves with ratchet straps across the treads. Any movement of the suspension while rolling down the road was inconsequential, and the stickiest part of the car was held securely in place to keep the trailer balanced.

Street cars get tied down with chain binders and hooks at the tie down points, compressing the suspension to the max for transport. There is enough flex in the tires themselves to protect the car from any damage during transport without having to worry about it working itself loose while on the trailer. I do, however, stop and check that the chains are still secure after a brief period just to ease my mind that nothing has worked it's way loose.
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Old 07-14-2014, 03:07 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I don't know why, I just don't trust those tie down points on a bouncy trailer going down a lumpy road....single point of failure front and rear, likely to total the car if one of those points fails, could even get sued if somebody gets hurt when the car leaves the trailer and causes an accident.

Call me paranoid if you like, no offense taken, I prefer to tie the car down at 4 corners to stronger points
I had RCAutoWorks weld 4 custom tow-hooks for me. Two on the front frame rails near where the stockers go and two on the rear bumper frame protruding slightly under the rear bumper. (not visible, but very easily accessible).

I bought 4 24ft ratcheting tie-downs from Harbor Freight for $75, loaded the car and then cut off the excess. I then tied the remaining excess back to the strap as a 'slider' so they are easy to store.

I bought an 8ft aluminum box-truck loading ramp which was cut into two pieces and fits snugly in the bed of the pickup. I also brought this to Bob @ RC to have tabs welded so the ramps hook onto the trailer, and had him weld more material on the lower portion so that the car doesn't have a bump to climb to get up onto the ramps.

Loading and unloading the car takes all of 5 minutes and requires no wood, crawling around on the ground, or other bullshit. There is zero sway or unbalance. I ratchet the 4 corners down until the suspension is slightly compressed and each strap can suspend me in the air while hooked between car and trailer (I am approx 200lbs). Car comes out to ~2700lbs with fluids and tools/cargo.

I am @ Tail of the Dragon/D-series 4th annual East Coast meet right now and trailered the car from Chicago (650+ miles) away through some crazy elevation with 0 issues. By the time we are done with this trip and swinging through Michigan on the way back for WMHM, and considering the local towing beforehand, we will easily have put 1500+ worry-free miles on this tow setup this week.

I'll upload some pictures of this setup when I get home.

Last edited by d-serious; 07-14-2014 at 03:09 PM.
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Old 07-15-2014, 07:39 AM   #15 (permalink)
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IMO straps are best if you have a suspension to compress (cars), chains are for dedicated hard points that have very little bounce/movement (equipment). I've helped chain & strap down many types of heavy machinery & cars, never once did I have a chain or strap loosen let alone come off. This includes driving the trailers off-road.

Straps "give" to apply tension and absorb shock, chains do not but can apply more [static] force. Heavy duty ratchet straps hooked to the chassis can put well over 2 times the pull to the suspension than gravity, so bumpy roads should only be a concern if you have the body of a 6yr old and can't get them tight.
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Old 07-15-2014, 06:09 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by d-serious View Post
I had RCAutoWorks weld 4 custom tow-hooks for me. Two on the front frame rails near where the stockers go and two on the rear bumper frame protruding slightly under the rear bumper. (not visible, but very easily accessible).

I bought 4 24ft ratcheting tie-downs from Harbor Freight for $75, loaded the car and then cut off the excess. I then tied the remaining excess back to the strap as a 'slider' so they are easy to store.

I bought an 8ft aluminum box-truck loading ramp which was cut into two pieces and fits snugly in the bed of the pickup. I also brought this to Bob @ RC to have tabs welded so the ramps hook onto the trailer, and had him weld more material on the lower portion so that the car doesn't have a bump to climb to get up onto the ramps.

Loading and unloading the car takes all of 5 minutes and requires no wood, crawling around on the ground, or other bullshit. There is zero sway or unbalance. I ratchet the 4 corners down until the suspension is slightly compressed and each strap can suspend me in the air while hooked between car and trailer (I am approx 200lbs). Car comes out to ~2700lbs with fluids and tools/cargo.

I am @ Tail of the Dragon/D-series 4th annual East Coast meet right now and trailered the car from Chicago (650+ miles) away through some crazy elevation with 0 issues. By the time we are done with this trip and swinging through Michigan on the way back for WMHM, and considering the local towing beforehand, we will easily have put 1500+ worry-free miles on this tow setup this week.

I'll upload some pictures of this setup when I get home.
Thanks for the details.

What we do is pretty standard and much like what you do. We use an 18ft car hauler flatbed tandem axle trailer. We have ramps that store in pockets accessible at the rear of the trailer. These hook onto a channel that runs the length of the rear of the trailer. There is a winch at the front of the trailer that we use to load the car. We drive it off, but I hate to drive onto the trailer. Too much can go horrible wrong.

Once the car is loaded, we tie it down with 2-inch ratchet straps (not HF, sorry no trust in most of their products), using the OEM tie-down points and d-rings at appropriate points. We suck it down pretty tight and get no sway. Between stage rally, rally cross and auto cross (yes, we auto cross the thing), We tow somewhere between 500 and 2000 miles a month during race season. We've had no problems and I don't expect to have any.

My concern is that there is always some movement when using sprung tie-down points. I can get the tire basket/rail system for not very much, but that system makes it a bit harder to tie down the car due to having to have the car in just the right place on the trailer. It seems to be a matter of convenience versus what is the best tie-down method.
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Old 07-16-2014, 09:20 PM   #17 (permalink)
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My concern is that there is always some movement when using sprung tie-down points. I can get the tire basket/rail system for not very much, but that system makes it a bit harder to tie down the car due to having to have the car in just the right place on the trailer. It seems to be a matter of convenience versus what is the best tie-down method.
I'm not sure I agree. I'm not seeing any movement at all, even through garbage terrain and hills. Hell some asshole twit on a cell phone rear-ended the trailer with the car on it and it didn't budge. Perhaps I am just ratcheting them down harder? The only 'true unsprung' point you're going to get is the wheels..which I'd be a concerned would turn and loosen up the straps if you looped through them. You'd have to get something like this, but just seems like a pain in the rear to me:



I guess I'm not sure what more you're looking for, this 'traditional' sprung setup works great for me.

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Old 07-17-2014, 02:02 AM   #18 (permalink)
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If you have holes in your rims why not just loop through the wheels and snug them down tight?
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Old 07-20-2014, 06:00 PM   #19 (permalink)
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We use the type like the orange ones above and ratchet straps to strap cars to the dyno. Dont see why they wouldnt hold the car to the trailer.
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94 del Sol si 144whp
I/H/E, pnp y8 head,Bisi lvl 2
Built trans, 4.90fd

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Old 08-03-2014, 11:57 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Modify the stock tow points. Extend them out long enough so you can get a hook for a come along and and chained endlink. Weld up a bump on the inside. Use the come a long to pull the car down to where you want then using one of those d rings that has the screw pin, hook up your chain and ease up on the come along. Do it again for the other 3 sides.
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