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Old 10-06-2017, 09:54 AM   #1
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Classic VW Van as a toad?

I found a brief thread about this in a search, but the details I'm looking for weren't in it. The thread was too old to just add to per the website.

I wanted to bring this back up as we're looking to move into a class A. I want a classic, wife loves the VW Bus, it could handle our kids. We'd be looking at something in the late 60s, early 70s to bring back her childhood.

What would be needed to use a classic VW as a 4 down toad?

tow bar, mounting system, brake system (Blue Ox Toadstop?)

What would you need to do to tow it 4 down? Just put it in neutral?

Sorry for the newb questions, just trying figure it all out!
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Old 10-06-2017, 10:48 AM   #2
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My first call would be to Remco: Remco : The Towing Experts
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Old 10-06-2017, 11:29 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldBird View Post
I found a brief thread about this in a search, but the details I'm looking for weren't in it. The thread was too old to just add to per the website.

I wanted to bring this back up as we're looking to move into a class A. I want a classic, wife loves the VW Bus, it could handle our kids. We'd be looking at something in the late 60s, early 70s to bring back her childhood.

What would be needed to use a classic VW as a 4 down toad?

tow bar, mounting system, brake system (Blue Ox Toadstop?)

What would you need to do to tow it 4 down? Just put it in neutral?

Sorry for the newb questions, just trying figure it all out!
There's nothing wrong with questions, we all ask them every now and then. Pretty sure NO ONE is born with all the answers. Anyway, I'm not a real VW expert but, if I'm not mistaken, most of those early VW vans, had the same front end construction/design as the VW beetle. I'd have to confirm that to be real sure. So, if it does have the same front end, people towed earlier VW beetles for years and years with one of the cheapest tow bars ever designed and constructed. Below is a link to an Amazon ad with the model I'm referring to.

https://www.amazon.com/Volkswagen-Be.../dp/B00700U44A

Now, if the model of VW van you're looking for DOES NOT have that same front end, then I can't help any further. Come to think of it, one just doesn't see that many VW vans being towed behind ANY motor home, much less a Class A. It's not that it doesn't happen, we just don't see any. As for wiring your VW for tail lights, that's about as easy as it gets. A simple tie into each tail light along with a cheap, Radio Shack diode and, you're done. And your VW tail lights act the same exact way towing it as they do when you're driving it.
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Old 10-06-2017, 12:01 PM   #4
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I had an old 1958 VW Bus for years and when it gave up I put a tow bar on it and towed it all over with my tools inside. It made a great enclosed trailer. After I quit working I put a new motor in her and away we went so towing it around did not seem to hurt anything.
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Old 10-06-2017, 12:52 PM   #5
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I don't know a thing about the mechanical practicality, but I know that would make a very cool looking toad! Good luck working it out.
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Old 10-06-2017, 02:49 PM   #6
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As I understand it, VW vans, as in the older ones, especially in the multi-window ones with the roof radius glass panels, fetch a PHENOMENAL price now. I've talked with friends that frequent VW shows and, for a complete rust bucket, floor missing, windows all broke, no engine, electrical gone, and much more, that VW van carcass, will bring as much as $5K-$8K now, just for a CARCASS. Things in the retro-world of autos have just gotten too out of hand.
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Old 10-06-2017, 03:33 PM   #7
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I tow several old vehicles (1954-1965) but on a dolly. The base plate modifications even if bolted on will destroy the value of a collector vehicle. Also before 5 mph bumpers became law there was little front structure on uni-body vehicles where a base-plate could be attached. We tow the Rampside in the summer almost exclusively because it is air conditioned. Corvair automatics (PowerGlide) can be towed 4-down as the transmission has two oil pumps, one engine driven and one wheel driven. This was so any Corvair could be push started. The Forward Control Corvairs do have a front sub-frame. Fortunately classic car insurance will still cover you, it the vehicle is towed and it is very reasonable. I would suspect that a good driver, window, VW van in the 1955-67 series (before the Euro Van) would be in the $20,000 to $35,000 range A Corvair Greenbrier 6 door would only cost about $10,000.
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Old 10-06-2017, 07:29 PM   #8
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Good points all. As far as collectability, I'm looking at likely a 72 (that's the year my wife had) and they're not all that valuable. I'd be starting with something not perfect anyway.

The unibody issue is something I hadn't really thought through, most newer cars are unibody but they seem like they're a little more stout these days. I like the Greenbrier idea, Corvair truck and wagons have a great cool factor, unfortunately a little harder to sell to my wife since she has the emotional attachment to a VW.
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Old 10-06-2017, 08:58 PM   #9
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I towed my 70 VW Beetle convertible for a year, and it towed well, but decided to switch to a newer toad after the fuel pump of the VW went out 1,000 miles from home. I will still tow the VW on short local trips, but a 45+ year-old vehicle has too many potential problems to take on a long trip if you really have to depend on it. I love the VW, but old cars require a lot of attention, and they can really interrupt a vacation when they break down.
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Old 10-09-2017, 12:02 AM   #10
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Love my '69...my first car about '77ish. LOVED that thing (no not the VW Thing)! Several time a few of my classmates piled in and went fishing. Had to cross the river a few times. To do that we opened the slider door and the driver side...water flowed through perfectly...only later did we consider the water could have pushed us over as it hit the drivers side... ironically we walked out of physics class...hahaha...screw it we lived and caught a few.

My only worry would have been it being so top heavy. But given the experience others have had I see it's not a forgone conclusion.
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Old 10-09-2017, 07:08 AM   #11
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Check out TheSamba.com and on Oldbug.com you can find Vans for $250,000 and Beatles for $425,000
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Old 10-12-2017, 07:23 PM   #12
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OldBird...
Definitely possible

I have a 68 Squareback I intended to tow. Eckhart Hitches here in So Cal wanted 800.00 to fab up a base plate type.

Most guys that I know that have towed busses have used reinforced bumper brackets and through bolted through the sheet metal.

I don't recommend that due to the sheet metal is not that substantial. maybe be ok for a short tow but not for traveling

VWs are a craze right now so I imagine you may be able to find somebody to fab up something that will have some integrity

or

here's a link for what looks to be something you can use:

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifi....php?id=280516

Designed after the beetle tow bar which attaches to the front Axel

Don't know about brake system for you..
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Old 10-16-2017, 05:12 PM   #13
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I towed a '74 VW Beetle (Standard - not Super) since 2009 and for many thousands of miles. Just put the transmission in neutral and unlock the steering column which is simply done by inserting the key, turning the key to the "Run" position and then turning back to the lock position but leaving the key inserted. As long as the key is left in place, the steering will remain unlocked. Since the Beetle was only 1800 pounds, I did not use a supplemental braking system and I can add that my current ReadyBrake system states that it would not work on the Beetle. I assume that is because the brake pedal pivot point is on the floor and is not suspended from behind the dash. I would think that some of the other braking systems such as the SMI Delta Force would work on a VW van. The EMPI tow bar I used was very inexpensive (around $100) and it is specifically made for classic VW's. I'm not sure if it would work on a van though.

I still have our Beetle and the only reason it is not still our primary toad is because when we started taking longer trips my wife wanted something that had automatic transmission and air conditioning. We now tow a four wheel drive '87 Ford Bronco II that has the manual transfer case and manually locking front hubs.

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Old 10-17-2017, 01:32 AM   #14
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My ReadyBrake system worked fine with my 1970 Beetle, and was very easy to install. It seems that when I installed it a few years ago, there were VW-specific instructions.
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