The Week's Features
As the saying goes, “Everything is bigger in Texas”
The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act may be applicable in some cases
Sensors pinpointing whereabouts can then be shared with recovery firms
Features include 37,000 lbs. of rated structural capacity and much more
Tank’s transport was final move to new VFW building
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August 15-17, 2019
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Dec. 4-8, 2019
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New Mexico Family Takes Wrecker Customization to Next Level

--Charles Duke
By Don Lomax
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The 2017 Tax Cuts Act has helped my business
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more better than not
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Editor: Charles Duke
Managing Editor: Brendan Dooley
ATTV Editor & Anchor: Emily Oz
Advertising Sales (800-732-3869):
Dennie Ortiz x213, Ellen Rosengart x203,
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Content Management: Henri Calitri
Site Progr., Graphics & Video: Ryan Oser
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Wrecks + Recovery Editor: Jim "Buck" Sorrenti
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Tow Business Editor: Brian J. Riker
Tow Illustrated Editor: George L. Nitti
American Towman Wire • 08-23-2019
Stalled vehicles on Houston's freeways will be towed to a nearby safe location off the freeway at no cost through the “Tow and Go” regional traffic management plan. Image - towandgo.com.


Don't Miss It!
He’s back and is rarin’ to go with his entertaining theatrical review of air cushion jobs worldwide that’s not “a lot of hot air!” Join Howard “Scooby” Eagan and John Sweezy Jr., as Matjack presents “Scooby’s Mystery Theater,” taking place during the American Towman Exposition at the Atlantic City Convention Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Dec. 4-7. (Note: Some of this presentation may not be suitable for children.)

towexpodfw.com
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August 21 - August 27, 2019
Gray’s Towing of Flint, Michigan, provided a tow truck to help VFW 4087 move to its new building in Davison. Image – Gary Gould.
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American Towman Exposition Gallery
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Hit all the basics on this one. Thumbs up.
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August 21 - August 27, 2019
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Light-Duty nonconsensual tow rates as provided by Police Towers of America.
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Mercedes-Benz has been fitting sensors inside new and used vehicles to pinpoint their exact whereabouts in the event of repossession.

Metal Fatigue and Vintage Tow Loops

89 d04c5By Randall C. Resch

Have you ever loaded a vehicle onto your carrier using old style—not bumper-mounted—underside tow loops?

I recently reviewed a lawsuit where a carrier's operator was loading a vintage 1970s BMW coupe onto his carrier. The operator attached the winch cable to an underside factory tow loop, forgoing other attachment accessories. The BMW was nearly onto the carrier's deck when the loop let go. The BMW took off, hit a parked car and ran into a building. Thankfully no one was injured or killed; but there was considerable property damage.

The insurance group asked my opinion whether the operator should have used the loading loop. I reviewed the investigation that included numerous photos and statements by the operator, the vehicle's owner and witnesses who saw the crash.

Tow Vs. Transport

This was a challenging case as there are several factors that come into play to consider.

Exotic and collector cars come in all sizes, shapes and conditions. I researched early BMW cars like the 3.0 CS and found they often have considerable issues with rust. It's common that vintage vehicles have issues with undercarriage rust.

Fast forward to the introduction of flatbed carriers; towers frequently hooked into tow loops because of convenience and by vehicle design. Besides, either flat-towing or winch-loading bears only a percentage of the vehicle's total weight during tow or loading processes.

Some early BMWs and Jaguars were factory outfitted with these kinds of loops. U-shaped loops were made of rolled steel and were factory-welded to the vehicle's frame, usually on both undersides of the vehicle and oftentimes at both ends. Thirty-five years ago, I used them on vintage Ferraris, Aston Martins and other vintage vehicles. Because separation is always possible, I personally don't use any eye-loops for this very reason.

Consider All Options

Having reviewed the underside photos taken by investigators, it was my opinion that the vehicle's tow loop gave way. It was clearly evident it separated from the factory weld. That's not operator negligence; that's metal fatigue.

Another factor for not using bridles with J-hooks on exotics: the shape of a J-hook's shank is prone to making small indentations in lower control arms and suspension components. Some vintage owners strongly demand no J-hooks be used for loading processes, especially on concours and show-quality vehicles.

While I believe there's a plethora of V-bridles, cluster hooks and round-strap accessories that could have been used during the winch-on process, could this tower have employed other means of attachment? Yes. ... But I don't necessarily blame the tow operator.

The same goes for today's modern vehicles, especially Honda cars that have that small hoo-ha located on the underside of the car's spare-tire well. Intentionally situated, they're intended for hold down purposes and not to be used for winch-on operations, recovery or attaching ratchet straps in some laughable attempt to attain four-point tie-down.

For vehicles spending time through harsh winters or ocean air environments, they also could pull out during winch-on operations making it good sense to not attach to them.

Remember, there's always the right tool for the job. In an industry where more is better, bridles, straps and round slings can be employed in any number of ways to avoid cable detachment and separation. Always consider the vehicle's age for potential of an attachment point not bearing the weight of pull. While tow loops served their purpose long ago, the industry's made great advances in tow and load techniques and accessories available to today's towers.

I'm sure the tower felt confident that the tow loop had sufficient strength and integrity to winch the vehicle without incident. But as we all know, we towers aren't quite 100-percent clairvoyant in knowing when something's about to break or let go, right? Don't take chances on a case of simple metal fatigue; use today's modern accessories as a means to prevent potential damage and an accidental runaway.

Randall Resch is American Towman's and Tow Industry Week's Operations Editor, a former California police officer, tow business owner and retired civilian off-road instructor for Navy Special Warfare. Randall is an approved instructor for towers serving the California Highway Patrol's rotation contract. His course is approved by the California law enforcement community. He has written over 500 industry-related articles for print and on-line, is a member of the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame, and, a recipient of the 2017 Dave Jones Leadership Award.
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