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Old 03-28-2015, 12:36 PM   #1
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FLATBEDDING an INTERSTATE

With all the discussion about towing, flatbedding and dollies for rear wheels, I strongly suggest again putting heavy steel wheels below your tow hitch so there is something for your rear end to ride on instead of your bumper or anything else that hangs low back there. Certainly will prevent EXPENSIVE damage and also keep you from worrying when you hear that loud scraping noise in and out of driveways. VERY CHEAP INSURANCE.
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Old 03-28-2015, 01:31 PM   #2
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Sounds like you are posting from personal experience. Waiting for the rest of the story.
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Old 03-29-2015, 09:24 AM   #3
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Not sure if this will add anything to the conversation, but we have a dearth of pics on this topic, so here is a pic of a Sprinter analog (2015 Ford Transit) being transported down the freeway yesterday afternoon - I just happened to be driving beside it for a spell.

I'm not sure what this type of trailer / slope-bed thing is called or whether it might work for an Interstate. This is obviously one of the taller Transit models but it does not appear to have quite the same wheel base.
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Old 03-30-2015, 12:03 AM   #4
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I got mine towed on Thursday and my right rear bumper broke off from scraping the cement. The tow guy used wood blocks to made the rear higher, but it didn't help. He said he done it before and mine was the first one he damaged by accident and he didn't heard me telling him to stop. Gotta find a better way to load and unload it from the flatbed next time I get stranded.
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Old 03-30-2015, 02:19 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Dungrace View Post
Gotta find a better way to load and unload it from the flatbed next time I get stranded.
Might try loading it on rear-end first. The winch cable can be attached to the hitch receiver, and as the winch pulls the van backwards up the ramp, it will provide a bit of lift to the rear end. Not much lift, but a bit. The front end with its shorter overhang is less likely to scrape pavement.

You would actually be exceeding the capacity of the hitch receiver, but at such a slow movement speed and for such a short time it should be okay. It would be up to you whether you're willing to try it; I can't tell you it's safe, only that it's potentially safer than the technique used last time, that has already caused damage.
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Old 03-30-2015, 10:39 AM   #6
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I got mine towed on Thursday and my right rear bumper broke off from scraping the cement. The tow guy used wood blocks to made the rear higher, but it didn't help. He said he done it before and mine was the first one he damaged by accident and he didn't heard me telling him to stop. Gotta find a better way to load and unload it from the flatbed next time I get stranded.
You've further convinced me that we need pics of *exactly* which flat-bed options and methods are acceptable and safe. If I ever find myself in this situation, I would like to be able to produce the pics and then record the resulting conversation with the wrecker driver on my phone, in case I ever need to take it to court.
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Old 03-30-2015, 11:02 AM   #7
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You've further convinced me that we need pics of *exactly* which flat-bed options and methods are acceptable and safe. If I ever find myself in this situation, I would like to be able to produce the pics and then record the resulting conversation with the wrecker driver on my phone, in case I ever need to take it to court.
Dang...I wish we had been there the other night when they finally towed ours in. Though it wasn't flatbedded, I would have liked to take photos of it, if for no other reason than to document the condition moho was in, just in case there's any damage.
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Old 03-30-2015, 10:10 PM   #8
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One more (pessimistic) thought on the whole towing/flatbed discussion. Most likely, unless you are extremely lucky, when you need to be towed, you are not going to be able to dictate what kind of tow truck you get. Look at me, smack dab in the middle of a big city, where you'd think it'd be easy to get what you want...and we couldn't. In the end, they towed us with the best apparatus they could get, and, I think it worked out ok. But, good luck arguing with your roadside assistance when you break down in the middle of the countryside, that you will only accept the perfect flatbed to tow you in!!
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Old 03-30-2015, 10:39 PM   #9
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Hopefully they didn't have the rear wheels on the ground if they exceeded the 30/30 req't.
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Old 03-31-2015, 07:22 AM   #10
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One more (pessimistic) thought on the whole towing/flatbed discussion. Most likely, unless you are extremely lucky, when you need to be towed, you are not going to be able to dictate what kind of tow truck you get. Look at me, smack dab in the middle of a big city, where you'd think it'd be easy to get what you want...and we couldn't. In the end, they towed us with the best apparatus they could get, and, I think it worked out ok. But, good luck arguing with your roadside assistance when you break down in the middle of the countryside, that you will only accept the perfect flatbed to tow you in!!
I don't see it as being about dictating or arguing. I see it as educating and then maybe establishing culpability if that needs to be done. In many instances, contractors bring the wrong equipment NOT because they don't have the right equipment available, but because they're getting paid a flat rate by the insurance company and using the wrong equipment is cheaper for them regardless of what it costs you in the long run. And then sometimes they try to feed you that "beyond our control" line if damage occurs, when in fact it would have been within their control if the equipment they brought had matched the task.

At least with a pre-determination of equipment suitability and functional terms, a conversation can take place instead of me just closing my eyes and hoping for the best.

I'm thinking right now of when I get soil, rock, and mulch delivered to my residence. Typically I need to sign a waiver indicating that I accept the risk of having the dump truck back into my 26-foot-wide very expensive six-car concrete driveway in order to deposit the load. The driveway was designed for passenger vehicles, not fully-loaded dump trucks, and via the waiver, I agree to assume responsibility if the truck cracks the concrete. The terms of the transaction are laid out precisely and explicitly in advance.

What's the analogous set of terms for Interstate towing? Does anyone get clearly informed of them in advance? Who is responsible for what outcomes and in what scenarios? With Interstates typically valued anywhere between $30,000 and $150,000, is it not reasonable to ask those questions?
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Old 03-31-2015, 09:11 AM   #11
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Weirdstuff was merely making a comment on a forum in a normal conversational way.

You, on the otherhand, have to always turn it into something more. Is this how you talk to your friends? And who cares about your "very expensive driveway"?
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Old 03-31-2015, 09:55 AM   #12
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Hopefully they didn't have the rear wheels on the ground if they exceeded the 30/30 req't.
Well, I don't know if the back wheels were off the ground, since they took it while we weren't there!! And they delivered it after hours to Mercedes, since they were already closed.

I was surprised they'd tow it without us being there and signing a waiver.

What are the potential problems that can occur if they exceed the 30/30? I'm pretty sure they got on the freeway with it and drove 20 miles. Is there any type of problem/damage I should be looking at?

I'll try to call the tow truck company and ask about how they did this.
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Old 03-31-2015, 10:03 AM   #13
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Interblog...you do tend to turn things into "something more", as Ron said.

I get your points, and they are good valid points. My main comment was that, depending on where you break down, there will be no perfect flatbed, or there will be no flatbed at all...so be prepared to deal with what you've got to work with!!

Our ordeal took all day, numerous phone calls to 2 different roadside assistance companies, and 3 different tow trucks being sent out to our location. Luckily, we just needed the rig towed from our storage facility, and not from the side of the road.
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Old 03-31-2015, 10:08 AM   #14
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Well, I don't know if the back wheels were off the ground, since they took it while we weren't there!!
I'd have to check the Mercedes Benz owners manual on the that. But you need to check with the Mercedes dealer to see what if any damage could have occurred.
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