Brief Description: Beefing Up Tow Bar Attach Points on Nose Gear
The orginal Vans design involves attaching the towbar thru holes in the wheel pants to some cap head bolts that sit on aluminum blocks.
A modification to that design uses bushings and longer bolts to put the cap ends out into the slipstream external to the wheel pant. And then using a large washer to protect the wheel pant. This avoids ramp damage where the heavy towbars end up trashing the wheel pants. The extra height of the bolt tends to strip the threads of the nose wheel fork so helicoils are recommended to strengthen the threads.
Afte 3 years of use, bad ramp handling and me forgetting to replace a bushing caused one of the helicoils to strip and the pant was getting beat up. After losing a couple of bolts I decided to modify things some more.
To eliminate the bushing and to stiffen the whole structure I made blocks big enough to reach flush with the wheel pants. I cut out a hole for the washer so it could fit flush and then glassed it in place for a solid fit.
Now, despite the partially stripped threads, the structure is stiff enough to take quite a few years of rough ramp handling.
The only problem is that this added some unnecesssary weight. At next dissassembly I will shave the blocks down a bit.