Towing: Front Tow Socket

Towing: Front Tow Socket

[In case you didn't already know, that beefy eye screw in the tool kit is to screw into the front or rear frame to provide a sturdy place to attach a winch cable or tow rope. If you're really lucky, you'll never need to use it! -Editor]

I seriously urge everybody to check their front tow socket. When I recently needed to access this, I found that the aluminum plug that is screwed in there to keep dirt out was frozen in the thread. Wouldn't budge. I tried heat, I tried cold, I tried penetrating oil, I tried an impact driver (the bit broke!), I chiseled my heart out, all to no avail. That thing is solidly frozen in place. I'll have to take it to the dealer to get it drilled out. The dealer also told me that the plug was later replaced by a rubber plug....... So, do yourself a favor and check this _before_ you need access to the tow socket and best replace the aluminum plug with the rubber one.


Thilo Corts
'87 S4 auto


Suggest you douse it with penetrating oil, wait a few
hours, (days would be better), and then try an "Easy Out".

DC Burrows


Well, it's taken close to a month, but I finally managed to remove the plug from my front tow socket.

In case you're new to this topic, let me digress:

Our cars have large threaded sockets that are to be used in the event that it is necessary to winch the car up onto a flatbed. I don't know whether all model years use this scheme. In the toolkit you will find a beefy threaded rod with a large elongated "eye" on one end. The rod screws into the socket to provide a sturdy connection to the car's frame. The rear socket is just above the license plate. The front socket is just below the right fog light. The rear socket stays open, but the front socket has an aluminum plug in it to keep out road dirt. There is a funny shaped tool (looks like: ___----___) in the kit with a 6mm hex (Allen) tip that is used to remove the plug (also does manual fore/aft adjustment of the power seats.) I found this all quite interesting to learn because my owners manual (1987 Canadian) omits these details.

The aluminum cap in my front tow socket was stuck in there good. I tried a 3/8-inch breaker bar with a 6mm Allen socket, but it just wouldn't budge. So, since I was in no particular hurry, I squirted some WD-40 around the seam, waited a few days and repeated. I did this four times over three weeks, with occasional taps from a hammer for good measure. Still stuck. So, I bought some easyouts in the hardware store today and had my drill ready to go. Decided to give it one last try with the breaker bar. Decided to really go for it this time - if the Allen hole in the plug strips, no big deal, I'll just drill it out. If my Allen socket snaps, no big deal, it's got a lifetime warranty. Well, to my pleasant surprise, the plug actually began to budge! I got it out, cleaned and lubricated everything with antiseize compound (works well with aluminum, I hear), screwed the towing eye in and out a few times, and reinstalled the plug. Now I can remove the plug with the toolkit tool. Yea! I plan to check it every year or so and relubricate it.

I'm quite certain that going through all this trouble will just about guarantee that I'll *never* have an occasion to use this hardware under negative circumstances. (Let's hope so, anyway.)

Anyway, the moral of this long story is this:
If you've got you need of these tow sockets, check it now, before you need it.

+Greg Nichols
'87 928S4. 5-speed


The U.S. 86.5 928S has two socket holes to insert (screw in) the tow hook. The holes are covered by round plugs on either side of the grill. Removing the plugs without marring the surface is the tricky part.

I usually put the tow hook in one of the front holes whenever I go to the track. Usually, I have to bring the trailer, so the trailer hitch acts as the rear tow location. So far I have not had to use either. My luck, the day I forget to do it will be the day I'll need it.

Merry motoring, Ed.


Regarding the towing eye pulg problem.....if you use heat work quickly because the aluminium will expand more than the steel...or do the opposite..use dry ice on the plug to shrink it. This works well on things like distributors that refuse to budge.

Happy motoring

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