In late February 2010 I purchased an 1993 XFI parts car off Craigslist for $225. It was a 5 hour round trip drive from home and rather than once again renting a U-Haul tow dolly I decided to build a tow bar that was custom fit for a Geo Geo. Wow, I had no idea what I was getting into. The build turned into a complete nightmare!
My father was coming up from Pensacola for a weekend visit and had cut some old piping that he had left over from a project so we decided to use it instead of the 2" square tubing that I had just purchased:
Here is what the tube tow bar looked like when completed:
After towing my 'Vert around the block we found out just how bad the design and materials were. I was EXTREMELY LUCKY the tow bar didn't snap in half and kill someone while I was out on the road. The long unsupported arms acted like a lever and caused the piping to break right where the small angled supports were. Once it broke it was easy to see why:
So, my father wasted a day at home cutting the round pipe, and we wasted a day putting the thing together. On the 3rd day of the build we went back to the original plan and used the new 2" square piping that I purchased for the job and an old tongue that was left over from the Beer Cooler Project. Since the ball hitch was 18" off the ground and the tie down ears on the Geo were 8" off the ground we had to modify the tongue to angle downward. We did this by cutting a pie shaped peice out of it:
Here you can get an idea of the angle that we used (it was actually a little steeper when the final welds were made). Note that the round tubing and ears on the Geo side were reused from version 1.0 of the torn up tow bar. The round tubing that was reused was thicker than the stuff that ripped in half:
Just about finished. Yes, those supports are much nicer now!:
A closer look at how we attached the tabs to the tie down points on the Geo (note the double nut on the end). The tabs are about 39.5" wide on the Vert and about 40" wide on my LSI hatchback. I didn't know how wide they would be on the XFI so I took a hammer with me just in case. Yep, I had to beat the tie down points on the XFI out a bit to get the tow bar to fit:
All hooked up (well, the chains were already removed before I thought to take a picture). So how did the tow bar work? It did just fine. I did find that if I ran over a curb (or was it just making a really sharp turn - I am not exactly sure at this time) the Geo would shimmy violently until I slowed down and straighted it up. I'll try to remember this the next time I use the tow bar and see if I can figure out what exactly is going on. Also, there is a little play where the tab bolts run through the oblong holes on the tie down bracket. I might try to construct something to get rid of this play:
The "new" XFI. Yes, there is a little bit of front end damage:
Info from the craigslist ad in case anyone is interested:
1993 Geo Metro that has been wrecked in the front. Still driveable but needs
hood, fenders and bumper. Has 240k miles on car. Tires are less than 10k
miles old. Has 5 speed transmission that was replaced about 30k miles ago
and a new clutch was installed at the same time. The engine had new rings
and bearings about 45k miles ago when I had the head rebuilt. The head has
new valves, springs and seals in it. Water pump was replaced last February.
Timing belt was replaced about 4 months ago.