BUILDING A “DEUCE AND A HALF” TOW BAR!


This post will cover the home building of a military style Medium Tow bar typically used for Deuce and a Halfs.

MEDIUM DUTY MILITARY TOW BAR

 As with all of my projects, they always start with the research. I always start with generic search engine requests briefly looking through the pictures until I find the technical name of what I was looking for, in this case “Military Medium Duty Tow Bar”. I ended up stumbling across a thread on Steel Soldiers that had a discussion and pictures of this specific topic: Thread ONE and TWO.

Having found the pictures and Military Tow Bar Specs (thanks to Recovry4x4 on Steel Soldiers). I was ready to start laying out parts.

These are still available from government liquidation auctions, but are getting harder to find and more expensive. Also, it often requires a minimum couple hour driving trip to go pick up from whatever military base that you bought it from. So, I decided to build one myself.

MEDIUM DUTY MILITARY TOW BAR

Laying out parts, trying to get a mental image of the final product.

MEDIUM DUTY MILITARY TOW BAR

Cranked up the plasma cutter and started cutting all of my plate items out of 1/2″ plate.

MEDIUM DUTY MILITARY TOW BAR

I love projects… (notice the super sporty safety equipment! More on that later)

MEDIUM DUTY MILITARY TOW BAR

Laying out my parts again. This time I had to take extra time to think about how long I wanted the tow bar and make sure that the lunette ring will be at the correct angle when in towing position.

MEDIUM DUTY MILITARY TOW BAR

Welding the two main plates together. This step is not absolutely necessary, but I have found that when welding on thick or large objects, the weld flows better when you preheat it first.

MEDIUM DUTY MILITARY TOW BAR

Main plates welded together, bolted the leg plates onto the main plate so I could attach them to the tubing. I had temporarily stuck a washer in there for spacing. The tubing that I am using is 3″x3″ with 1/4″ wall thickness.

 

MEDIUM DUTY MILITARY TOW BAR

A LOT of welding later and a coat of primer.

MEDIUM DUTY MILITARY TOW BAR

Fully Assembled

MEDIUM DUTY MILITARY TOW BAR

Side shot, notice the gussets on top and bottom for extra strength.

 

MEDIUM DUTY MILITARY TOW BAR

Since the larger plate is a total of 1″ thick, I had to cut and bend the ends of the tube on the left so they would meet up with the plate for welding. This is also shown in the previous picture.

MEDIUM DUTY MILITARY TOW BAR

Testing day! This picture shows the assembled pucks (two round pieces of 1/2″ plate welded together) that make the connection to the shackles tight.

MEDIUM DUTY MILITARY TOW BAR

It turned out to be pretty big. I would recommend having at least 2 people to move it around and help you hook up.

MEDIUM DUTY MILITARY TOW BAR

Gertrude helping.

MEDIUM DUTY MILITARY TOW BAR

This pic shows the attachment to the towing truck. I used an adjustable mounting point on the tow bar for versatility, but it is not necessary.

MEDIUM DUTY MILITARY TOW BAR

Attachment to the towed truck.

This is how “we” hooked up to the towed truck. I am not validating or suggesting that this is the right or only way, if you do the same it is at your own risk. I also had lock washers and nuts for the 3/4″ bolts, but they are not shown in the picture. After our test pull, the first thing we did was go to the tractor supply store and buy some replacement pins for the shackles that have large hairpins on them instead of the weak wire pins shown above. I have done a lot of research and found many people that hook up to the shackles on the towed truck, one of whom does so on the daily basis as his job/hobby is to buy military trucks at auction all over the states and tow them home.

MEDIUM DUTY MILITARY TOW BAR

Final product hooked up! I didn’t get them set up yet, but safety chains should always be used between the towing vehicle and the towed vehicle.

The beauty of having a tow bar for these trucks is that it gives the ability to buy and go pick up disabled military trucks (assuming you have a truck big enough to pull it). Often if they are not listed as running on the government auction sites, they go for significantly less than the ones that are known running. Therefore the investment in the tow bar can pay for itself over and over in the long run.