Monday, December 9, 2013

DIY: Tow be or not Tow be

Words & Snaps by Ben

A couple of years back, I messed up some fuel mileage calculations and ended up stranded on the side of the Malaysian North-South Highway without a drop of gas left in my tank. I was offered a tow, but fell short as I realised my car did not have a front tow hook.

There's a specific bolt welded to the chassis in which you can screw in a tow hook, but that tow hook was nowhere to be found.

I ended up being rescued by someone with a jerrycan of gas, but what stuck to my mind was that in case of emergency, my car could not be towed. At least not from the front.

I decided to get a tow hook, but the original seemed to be a rare piece of metal that even Santa couldn't find in his magic workshop. Buying an aftermarket tow hook would do the job, but I was looking for a solution that wouldn't get unwanted comments from the authorities (hard tow hooks being illegal for pedestrian safety reasons).

The solution then: getting a soft tow hook. Or more precisely, making one.

This is a pretty basic DIY job, and all you'll need is an old seatbelt, a couple of metal eyelets, a sturdy bolt and nut, a drill (optional), and about 10 minutes of free time.

I first checked where to install my tow hook and decided to use the original tow hook location, behind the front left fog light cover, for practicality.

I then took my seatbelt, made a first fitting to measure how much I wanted it to stick out and proceeded to cut the belt.

As I don't have the tools to put on eyelets, I went to find someone who had the tools to do it.

Note that I only installed 2 eyelets and left one hole bare. The reason for this is that once the rivet in place, the belt would not be able to pass through the bolt hole in the chassis as the hole is half obstructed at the back.

This done, I then looped the belt in and secured it with the bolt.

To let the soft hook come out of the fog light cover, I took it out and drilled a slot in it.

I then put the cover back in place, slid the tow hook through the slot and voilĂ ! Job done.


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