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Thread: Powered Towbar/Tug

  1. #31
    Dan was a very innovative guy. We miss him in the club.
    Marty Vanover
    Tucson, Az.

    Where "Sandy Beech" has landed.

  2. #32
    As promised, here is information on the purchase and design of my prototype. The next post will cover my first attempts (yikes!) to move the Sundowner.

    First item - COST: this is what I put at-risk to potentially save the $800 to $1,000 used to purchase a commercial unit. True, your mileage may vary, especially if you can find a used item.
    - 12v motor unit: StocknumberWX2-0 3959337920 012V MOTORIZED TRAILERJACK$206.99
    - shipping: $19.99
    - wooden shovel handle (Home Depot) - about $15
    - TOTAL investment : about $245
    This assumes you have a 12v battery (and charger) from another one of your toys, vehicles, lawn tractor, whatever available. I had a 175 amphour deep cycle used in my golf cart and sailboat. Simple.

    Great news - - all the parts come with the motorized trailer jack, including the needed brackets and bolts (and extra pieces left over to boot. Maybe I can fit it the boat trailer too!)
    Caution - - metric nonsense and cheap China made items. I wouldn't "push" these parts to stresses anywhere past their design.

    First photo - - I sawed off the welded "T" brackets and turned them into "L" shapes. The end hole was drilled / enlarged to 9/16ths to perfectly fit the Sundowner's towbar studs on the front gear. I drilled through the wheel housing in two places to fix the trimmed brackets onto it's sides. Now she is held on by three of the supplied bolts with self-locking nuts. Ok - not a quick connect by any means, but give me some slack for the moment(!). The top bolt is perfect for squeezing the brackets (tough metal and tough to drill) onto the gear, and there is plenty of room in the wheel housing (thick metal but it drills like butter) to run the bolts through and minimize any stresses. A great start.

    2nd photo - a better picture of the unit mounted. The smaller socket on the top is for the control arm and switch. The larger forward facing pipe socket is for the bottom of the jack stand that would be vertical and facing up if on the boat trailer. These are all of the parts as supplied for your 12v powered towbar.

    3rd photo - - in the foreground are the extras needed to make this puppy work. The wooden shovel handle and the 12v battery (my battery is a rather large deep cycle).

    And another photo from the other side.

    Next post with be the results of the operation of the unit. On the edge of your chair ???

    Attached Images Attached Images

  3. #33
    ok - - getting a little miffed, but what else is new ?

    I wanted to post the 12v motorized trailer jack for our membership and took a long time to find it (at Sportsman's Guide).

    At least I found this for you - - -

    Might be "sold out", but probably worth a call if you decide to go this route.

    Operational Sundowner test and video to follow.....


  4. #34
    "Thrifty" powered tow bar - - continued

    Operational History - my hangar floor is level, but about 10 inches above the grass lawn in the front (which abuts the runway). After shutdown, the plane is pushed backward into the hangar. I need two (2) helpers or it's not even worth trying. With three of us, we can manage to push it up the gravel pad and into the hangar. Barely. Usually I shut down with the mains right on the edge of the gravel pad.

    The grass and the gravel surfaces would not accommodate a small drive wheel ... or wheels, plus a separate cart would require a good amount of weight to get traction. Driving the aircraft tire was a reasonable choice to bypass these issues. I was concerned that the slick front tire would spin on the gravel or grass. This has not been an issue ... yet. Instead, I am losing traction first between the electric driving wheel and the front tire. We'll see how this goes.

    Durability - - I do not know how long the planetary gear system or the 12v motor will last. Time will tell ....

    Improvements for version 2.0 after day one of testing - - - (1) install a "T" handle instead of the straight shovel wooden handle. (2) move the original electric control to the shovel handle and discard the supplied metal control tubing and handle (3) shim the loose fitting shovel handle to raise it up and allow better control (it is a little loose just stabbed into the pipe threads). And (4) - - your suggestions!

    photo one - I moved the plane into its parked-at-the-end-of-the-flight position. Actually, I placed it about 6 feet further into the grass than usual. Moving the plane around on the grass was a one finger operation. Most excellent. No issues.

    photo 2 - - this gravel bump at the transition from the grass stopped me cold. The driven wheel just slipped on the front tire. The far main landing gear did not have an issue getting up onto the gravel. This bump gives you a reasonable limitation on the rough surface capabilities of the set-up.

    photo 3 - simple solution, and no problems after this was done. Possibly there are three paved strips for the wheels in my future

    video #1 - - - if you ignore the "bent over" look for the operator, and the low-rider donuts on my gear, moving the plane on pavement was a one-finger operation. Slow .... yes, I like slow.

    video #2 - - - yes, the real Texas coyote ugly honnnerry test. Even with 2 helpers this part of the push into the hangar can be a challenge. Yep - - I am shoving to help out, but the plane went into the hangar!! Gotta design that T handle (and REALLY get with Rap on some new donuts). And it's been about 2 months since I checked my air pressures. Tires look a little soft.

    So - - if you get lucky , this might save your knees and back, and also about $700. Best to you all, my friends.

    Taxi safe, fly safe,
    Attached Images Attached Images

  5. #35
    let's try that link for the #1 video again .....

    maybe? - - - if not, cut and paste. There is an underscore before the last letter "E"

  6. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by trumpet nelson View Post
    let's try that link for the #1 video again .....

    maybe? - - - if not, cut and paste. There is an underscore before the last letter "E"
    That's pretty cool. I want to make this.

  7. #37
    That is very cool. In addition to low-rider donuts you have a low-rider battery. And your hat is awesome

    Seriously, very good work. My plane rolls crazy easy and I have flat concrete ramps, otherwise I'd make this.
    Dave Gribble
    Marion IA
    Flying the Restored Hangarmouse (Super III N3698Q)
    Building RV-9A N149DG

  8. #38
    Okay - has anyone bought and used the MOTOW? It looks perfect for the job, price is reasonable for what it is and Christmas is coming...

  9. #39
    Our "thrifty" towbar - - cost now reduced to $230 .... I no longer am using that shovel handle

    So we'll call this version 2.0. I took off the shovel handle and inserted the original pipe stem back into the drive unit. This removed a lot of play as well as gave me a sturdy mount for hanging the large battery. I also moved and mounted the top portion of the original wired controller to the center area. The toggle switch direction matches the direction the plane moves.

    Forward extension of the unit is now a couple of pieces of scrap 2x2 and also a short piece of 2x4 (you just KNEW that a piece of 2x4 would eventually appear!) to create the "T" handle at the end. Next upgrade will be downsizing the battery to something more manageable. The driving weight is great, but moving it around off the plane is a clumsy. We'll see just how small I can shrink it (my lawn tractor may be our next battery donor ...)

    The photos below show the 2.0 version, as well as my airstair" being employed to double as my battery stand for mounting / un-mounting. By the way, that black plastic $12 step stool is just right for going up and down into the cockpit, stows easily in the baggage area, and weighs very little. Most importantly, it gives your foot a large and stable target when stepping down from the wing - - - a very big help. Available at Home Depot.

    And a video having fun in the bumpy grass area in front of the hangar .....

    - - will post link in next reply - -

    And a second uphill "gravel travel" video. I gave it the real test. Filled the fuel tanks to the brim and then used it to move the Sundowner across the grass, up the gravel, and into the hangar. Success is sweet!

    - - ditto - -

    Be safe, keep smiling,
    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. #40
    Moving the Sundowner 180 on the bumpy grass with the power tow bar:


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