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Technical Another flat towing question...

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by rustydusty, Feb 4, 2020.

  1. rustydusty
    Joined: Apr 19, 2010
    Posts: 1,716

    rustydusty
    Member

    Hey guys, I am considering flat towing my T to a fairly long distance cruise in. I would be interested in opinions on towing an automatic transmission with the engine idling. With my bad back, it would be a real pia dropping the drive shaft and reconnecting it at the show. Did the search, and some people seemed to think it was okay. A trailer is not feasible as we will be towing it with a '55 Desoto...
     
  2. kevinrevin
    Joined: Jul 1, 2018
    Posts: 63

    kevinrevin
    Member
    from East Texas

    I know someone who did this a lot. He had a used car lot in NE Texas and one near San Antonio. Moved cars from one to the other often. As long as the one being towed doesn't overheat or the engine die, all is ok. If it dies from running out of fuel, the trans can fry. I was following with a pair on that trip.
     
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  3. dana barlow
    Joined: May 30, 2006
    Posts: 4,053

    dana barlow
    Member
    from Miami Fla.
    1. Y-blocks

    If it were me, an have a hitch on 55 Desoto, ;;I'd still go for a trailer. A "T" is low lbs. an on a trailer is likely less drag then a towbar an 4 car wheels/ rod just idling with bad air flow behind tow car don't seem a good idea anyway to me. I would hold hyway speeds to max of 60. My 2cents
    I towed my racecar all over the southeast on open 1 axle trailer for 40+ years,never used twin axle trailers or closed box, an towed with station wagons.
    .
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2020
  4. Phil P
    Joined: Jan 1, 2018
    Posts: 299

    Phil P
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    In wouldn't be comfortable towing something like that any distance. I can think of several bad scenarios resulting from a car idling in neutral towed down a bumpy road.

    Phil
     
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  5. CAHotRodBoy
    Joined: Apr 22, 2005
    Posts: 345

    CAHotRodBoy
    Member

    Back in the 70's I had a buddy with a spooled drag car that he flat towed. he made up freewheeling hubs. He would remove the drag slicks, bolt up the hubs and then a set of regular tires and wheels. Didn't have to disconnect the driveshaft that way.
     
  6. JOECOOL
    Joined: Jan 13, 2004
    Posts: 2,757

    JOECOOL
    Member

    I have flat towed a bunch. I think I would borrow or rent a tow dolly . They are easy to load and no more than this is going to weigh should tow like a breeze,
     
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  7. Spend 15 minutes wisely and drop the drive shaft. Plug up the transmission so it won't lose any fluid.
     
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  8. dirty old man
    Joined: Feb 2, 2008
    Posts: 8,686

    dirty old man
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    If you're not willing to use a trailer, but have a hitch, rent a tow dolly from U-Haul and tow it with the rear (drive) wheels off the road.
    Another safe thing would be to round up another driveshaft yoke, pull the driveshaft and insert spare yoke into transmission, and secure it with tie wraps or similar.
    IMHO, the idling engine idea is inviting disaster.
     
  9. RJP
    Joined: Oct 5, 2005
    Posts: 1,656

    RJP
    Member
    from PNW

    If it's gonna be running anyway, why not drive it?
     
  10. oldolds
    Joined: Oct 18, 2010
    Posts: 3,030

    oldolds
    Member

    What transmission? Transmissions from the 50's you had to be careful about towing them. Things changed in the 60's. Aluminum powerglides, th350, th400, c4, c6, and most other mid-60's and up to the 90's, you can put in neutral and tow. We towed cars every day like that with tow trucks. I am not sure on the things after that because most are towed with rollbacks now. I know a lot of the newer stuff has specific towing requirement even on a flatbed.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2020
  11. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,264

    Atwater Mike
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Flat towing memorandum: "When nothing bad can happen, it will."
     
  12. southcross2631
    Joined: Jan 20, 2013
    Posts: 4,015

    southcross2631
    Member

    If that Desoto will pull it flat towing then a uhaul trailer is 49.95 per day much safer.
    I flat towed for years with an NMW tow bar and tow hubs. No running the car and wasting gas. no risk of the transmission accidently getting knocked into reverse after you hit one of Americas pot holes.
    I tow dolleyed a 63 Nova wagon with a Chevy Cavalier over 200 miles once with no problems.
     
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  13. seb fontana
    Joined: Sep 1, 2005
    Posts: 6,609

    seb fontana
    Member
    from ct

    So why can't it be driven?
     
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  14. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,375

    56sedandelivery
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    ANY automatic transmission with a rear pump, will "engage" that pump at some speed, and you will notice it as it "pulls down" and you're working against it. Without a rear pump might seem like it would work, but too many things can go wrong; like someone already said, a stretch of rough road and it bounces into gear, and with the engine running............ At the very least, you need a partner who can do the work you can't. Safety first! I am Butch/56sedandelivery.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2020
  15. CAHotRodBoy
    Joined: Apr 22, 2005
    Posts: 345

    CAHotRodBoy
    Member

    Don't want to speak for the OP but if his back is so bad he can't reconnect the driveshaft then he probably not going to be able to do long distances in a bucket. They aren't the most comfortable thing out there.
     
  16. FiftyFordy
    Joined: Feb 4, 2020
    Posts: 8

    FiftyFordy

    You could opt for a pump. They are made just for this purpose, to circulate tranny fluid while flat towing. Had a buddy tow lots of miles with one of these. I always thought it might be a recipe for disaster, but it worked for him.
     
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  17. redo32
    Joined: Jul 16, 2008
    Posts: 1,732

    redo32
    Member

    If you're going to do this frequently you can invest in this,
     

    Attached Files:

  18. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 11,585

    Hnstray
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Quincy, IL

    I believe there is a lot of misinformation here. Aluminum PG had rear pump until about ‘66...not after. The rest of those you cite do not, and never did have, rear pumps and are not suitable to tow in neutral with engine off. And I agree with those recommending against towing that distance with engine running.

    Ray
     
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  19. 41rodderz
    Joined: Sep 27, 2010
    Posts: 5,200

    41rodderz
    Member
    from Oregon

    You get a flat tire on that bucket , you will see what fun is . :oops:
     
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  20. oldolds
    Joined: Oct 18, 2010
    Posts: 3,030

    oldolds
    Member

    The rear pump transmissions are the ones you can't tow without taking the drive shaft off. I towed 100's of cars back from the auction in the 80's with a tow truck. one auction was 60 miles away another was 100. All 70 and 80's cars. No problem. I towed a 55 Oldsmobile less than 10 miles at less than 20mph. without removing the driveshaft as recommended it the manual. The transmission was smoking hot when we got done.
     
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  21. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 11,585

    Hnstray
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Quincy, IL

    Perhaps you are correct, given your background and experience. However, I am not without some exposure/experience in this realm.....though probably not as much as yours. As for the rear pump, the one thing I remember about them, or their absence, is the ability to push start the vehicle so equipped.....not so those without.

    My thought about the towability is that most automatics suffer from a lack of lubrication to rotating parts when being towed. There are exceptions. But the majority of owner’s and shop manuals I have seen warn that so doing will damage the transmission unless very short distance and slow speed, as you mention.

    Ray
     
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  22. gene-koning
    Joined: Oct 28, 2016
    Posts: 2,031

    gene-koning
    Member

    I vote for the tow dolly with the rear end on the dolly.
    Chrysler lists towing their automatic transmissions for less then 10 miles, at under 50 mph without disconnecting the driveshaft, and its been that way since at least 65. The modern transmissions have more stringent limitations then that.
    If you have towed those Mopar auto trans cars more then the 10 miles and haven't damaged one yet, you have been very lucky. I've seen a few that were not as lucky. Gene
     
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  23. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 6,873

    blowby
    Member
    from Nicasio Ca

    I'm the opposite, a long drive hurts my bad back. Laying under the car, no problem.

    The Desoto got drums all around? Trailer brakes would be nice.
     
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  24. I would rent a tow dolly, put the front up on it then you have room to work to pull the driveshaft, get all your stuff within reach so you don't have to go under twice.
    If this sounds like a voice of experience then you've hit the nail on the head, I did this exact thing with my t-bucket, a bad back and went on a 16 hr drive.
     
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  25. rustydusty
    Joined: Apr 19, 2010
    Posts: 1,716

    rustydusty
    Member

    Thanks for the replies guys. Uhaul won't rent you a car trailer unless you have a hefty pickup. They wouldn't even rent to me for my ot 2017 Jeep 4 door wrangler which has a 3500 pound towing capacity. Had to get a buddy with a 3/4 ton pickup to rent the trailer when I went to pick up the T. The trip is about 100 miles each way, and if I drove the T, I wouldn't be able to walk when I got there! I will probably bite the bullet and disconnect the drive shaft...
     
  26. adam401
    Joined: Dec 27, 2007
    Posts: 2,192

    adam401
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    towhubs5.jpg You need a set of these bad boys
     
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  27. jaracer
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 511

    jaracer
    Member

    I also rebuilt a lot of 70's and 80's transmissions that when they failed we also found all the bushings in the gear train worn out. We found that in many cases they were flat towed a significant distance. If the engine isn't running, there is no lube circulated in the gear train, but the driveshaft turns it. Short distances at 30 mph or less is okay. Over 10 miles it starts to get sketchy.
     
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  28. Did 1000’s of miles flat towing our drag car in the 60’s with towing hubs, never a problem.
     
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  29. chevy57dude
    Joined: Dec 10, 2007
    Posts: 5,781

    chevy57dude
    Member

    That T would be fun with a 4 speed. Just sayin'..
     
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  30. rustydusty
    Joined: Apr 19, 2010
    Posts: 1,716

    rustydusty
    Member

    It would be fun with a 4 speed, if there was room for my big feet and another pedal.
     
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