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Technical Long distance towing with a Y-Block?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Finn Jensen, Jul 31, 2020.

  1. Finn Jensen
    Joined: Dec 20, 2008
    Posts: 635

    Finn Jensen
    Member

    For the last ten years, I have been pulling my 37 Ford on a 16 foot trailer to vintage drag events in Illinois and Wisconsin. My pull vehicle has been a O/T V6 SUV, which has actually done a respectable job for short-distance jaunts.

    But last year, I went to the H.A.M.B. drags -- a 12-hour pull each direction (for me) from Rockford IL. In spite of poor weather, the experience at Mokan was great -- but the travel each way, not so hot. So when I got home, I became determined to locate a more appropriate tow vehicle with more pulling -power. And definitely one that was H.A.M.B. friendly.

    So for the past ten months, I have been watching for a vintage pickup to take over the pull-duties. My objective is to develop a truck with reasonable torque and solid reliability, for increasing my range to more distant vintage drag races. It would probably have been more practical to locate a C-10, F-100 or similar where somebody had already installed a late engine, AOD transmission and front clip/independent front suspension. There are certainly a number of them on the market.

    I am a dedicated SBC guy, but I found this 1964 F-100 short-box an hour's drive from my house. It just struck me as being really cool. It is an original Y-Block 292 (last U.S. production year) with three-speed manual transmission. What struck me is how solid and un-corrupted the truck is. The only significant changes are those awful aftermarket wheels with cracked rotted radials, and a real cheapo floor-shifter.

    For me, year 1964 is memorable. It's the first year for NHRA Modified Production and the last complete year for active drag-racing for buddies and me back East. We all headed into the military in 1965.

    With this year largely shut down thanks to covid, I am using the time to bring this old truck up to modern safety and reliability standards. So far, I replaced the mickey-mouse floor-shift with a Hurst Master-Shift. The original generator charged perfectly, but I replaced it with a 100 Amp alternator for future capacity needs. I ordered and received vintage wheels from Wheel Smith, which are currently out for powder-coating. The wheels are 16" diameter all-around, 7" wide front and 8" wide rear. And I am awaiting a front-disk brake kit from Master power brakes.

    The tires are ready to be installed, 205/70R16 front and 265/70R16 rear. This will yield about a 3 inch "rubber-rake." I would like to figure out how to drop the front a couple of more inches, but I don't see how to do that short of replacing the front axle with a clip. And I have no intention of doing that.

    The jury is out on how well this little truck will tow, but I think that it will do OK. With my 37 Ford loaded, the weight on the trailer wheels is 4300 pounds and about 300 pounds on the hitch. But no matter what, I plan on working with the Y-Block rather than replacing it with a modern engine.

    64Ford10.jpg 64Ford2.jpg Car Hauler Late.jpg
     

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  2. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 7,187

    jimmy six
    Member

    Since it has a 9” stock the only few things you need to do is decide is speed and ease. I can tell you that a 292 with a factory 2 barrel makes great torque up to 3800-4000 rpm. And if your willing to tow at 55-60 I’d put in 4.11 gears. A 3speed with out OD probably had 3.55 or 3.70 stock but 4.11’s makes for ez towing and doesn’t over work a clutch. I take it your trailer has brakes and if they are not in both axles do that first.
    A 2 barrel usually more torquey than a 4 barrel but u can make the decision to spend on it or not. I think they only had about 175 HP but that’s plenty.. good luck and nice find..
     
  3. Blue One
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 10,682

    Blue One
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Alberta

    I wouldn’t try towing anything with that short stubby little truck.
    The ride is going to be choppy to begin with and it will be even worse when it has the trailer hooked on.

    You’ll probably wish you had more wheelbase after a few hours.
     
  4. No reason it can’t be a good tow rig for you. You are already upgrading one of the critical parts and that is the brakes. I would also consider upgrading the cooling system.

    I towed some with a ‘69 Dodge D100 short wide bed. It had 318 with no upgrades and it did fine. It would have been nice to have discs up front though.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2020

  5. 51504bat
    Joined: May 22, 2010
    Posts: 2,162

    51504bat
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Your pickup had a shipping weight of 3,220 pounds per the net and your loaded trailer weighs 3,800 pounds per your post. With a short wheel base the trailer might have a tendency to try to push the truck around depending on conditions. I'd load it up and do a couple of test runs just to see how it handles. If it were me I'd like a bit heavier tow vehicle but people have been towing more with less for years. Just don't want to see you do a 180 on the I-10 freeway east of Los Angeles while towing. Don't ask me how I know.
     
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  6. @mctim64 pulled the 416 race truck behind his Yblock/T5 shop truck from Visalia to Bonneville and Elmo for several years before changing tow vehicles
     
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  7. An equalizer hitch system will do wonders for keeping things under control. Take a look at the technology if you don’t have it now.
     
  8. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,298

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    Compare the HP and torque of your V6 SUV with the 292, you might be surprised which has the power. I wouldn't choose a short wheelbase 1964 pickup with no air conditioning over a late model SUV with disc brakes, air, PS etc for a 12 hour towing trip.

    There are things you can do to make your SUV pull better, like smaller diameter tires to lower the gearing. If you have 60 series tires, change them for the same size but 50 series. This will drop your gearing by 7% and make a noticeable difference. If you have overdrive, do your towing in high gear direct drive.

    A good rigid hitch receiver and weight distributing hitch, properly set up, makes a big difference to towing comfort and safety. Another handy gadget is a transmission cooler and synthetic trans fluid for longer transmission life.

    Worst case you might want to go to a more powerful heavier tow vehicle. I don't think the 64 Ford is going to be any more satisfying than what you have now. Of course, you don't say what kind of SUV, if it's a RAV 4 that is different from a Chevy Suburban.
     
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  9. jaracer
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 519

    jaracer
    Member

    For what it's worth, back in 63 I worked at a service station. The owner also worked for a sandblasting and tuck pointing company. They worked on big buildings. He had a 63 F100 which he badly overloaded and pulled a large air compressor; sometimes a gunite machine. It was a 292, 3 speed and I don't ever remember him having any problem going from job to job.
     
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  10. Finn Jensen
    Joined: Dec 20, 2008
    Posts: 635

    Finn Jensen
    Member

    Thanks. I set up an equalizer hitch last year, and it did make a huge difference in towing stability. I also added brakes to the second axle. Made for much smoother stopping.
     
  11. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 4,451

    BamaMav
    Member
    from Berry, AL

    I've pulled cars on trailers without any brakes at all with short bed pickups for years without any problems. It's all in knowing your limitations and driving accordingly. You know you're not going to stop on a dime, so you drive defensively and watch your speed. I'm not saying a longer, heavier vehicle and trailer brakes wouldn't be better, it might be, but you make do with what you have when you have to. A properly set up and loaded trailer goes a long way toward how it acts behind a vehicle.....load one end too heavy and you'll know it as soon as you take off down the road. I have had to stop and reposition a car on a trailer a bit to get a better balance and make it tow better.
     
  12. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 27,551

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Good grief, guys have towed race cars with short bed 1/2 pickups ever since they started using trailers to haul the race cars. Some real experts here.

    It has to tow better than the V6 Suv. I'd agree that rear end gearing might be something that you close attention to and if it seems to droop in back with the trailer on it even with the Equalizer hitch some overload springs that just come into play when the back end drops slightly might be worthy.

    Too heavy of a load on the trailer without the equalizer would cause the tail to wag the dog though. Been there, done that .
     
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  13. KenC
    Joined: Sep 14, 2006
    Posts: 475

    KenC
    Member

    Heavier and longer would be better, but what you have will work given the brake upgrade and quality trailer brake controller. Power and durability shouldn't be an issue. Way back when, I built a 312 for our shop (Dad's really, me helper). Put it in a 61 F500 that came with a 292. We used it to tow after installing a homemade wrecker bed and huge winch. Pulled lots of cars to the salvage with that thing. And it was still in great shape when Dad retired in '90.
     
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  14. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 7,187

    jimmy six
    Member

    Can’t remember all the cooling of a 64 Pickup but it seems Y-Blocks today are heating up and from what I read and learned on mine it’s 90% a gasoline problem. Remedies are: smaller water pump pulley, plug the bypass hose and drill 1/8” hole in plug, 5 or 6 blade fan, US Radiator copper/brass radiator, fan shroud. All my cooling problems are gone.
    Add a sway brake to your ez lift and tighten as tight as you can.
     
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  15. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 4,308

    Budget36
    Member

    The engine will have plenty of power, the trans will survive...but you have to tow like it was 1970...50-60 max, leave lots of room in front of you.

    Just have to keep in mind not everyone thinks it's 1970, cell phones, TV's/DVD players in the car, etc...folks will cut you off in a heart beat. That trailer with a vehicle on it should put enough tongue weight to the truck to let the rear brakes do their job, brakes on the trailer is a big plus.
     
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  16. LWEL9226
    Joined: Jul 7, 2012
    Posts: 286

    LWEL9226
    Member
    from So. Oregon

    Try it... You will probably do fine.....
    If you decide you want more power an FE will fit right in there and still keep everything H.A.M.B. friendly....

    LynnW
     
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  17. The Y-Block will have plenty of power and if you want it can make a bunch more with a little effort. The only thing I would do is go with a front disc conversion. Other than that, solid truck. Larry said something about a sketchy tow but I've done it over high passes with a smaller truck before.
    tims truck 004.jpg DSC03723 (2).JPG
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2020
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  18. Boneyard51
    Joined: Dec 10, 2017
    Posts: 4,383

    Boneyard51
    Member

    My family bought a 1959 1/2 ton F-100 292 four speed long wheel base new. It was the main truck on our ranch for years. We pulled huge loads with that engine , including several trips from Oklahoma to California pulling a loaded four wheel trailer! I assure you your 292 will have plenty of power.
    One tip, most folks probably already know is, to put everything extra in the back of the pick up, not on the trailer.








    Bones
     
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  19. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 6,203

    anthony myrick
    Member

    Never had an issue with the ride of a SWB truck. Especially old ones. Old trucks are supposed to ride like old trucks.
    Towing isn’t an issue, stopping is.
    Those trucks have small drums.
    Make sure you have a good trailer brake set up and remember to drive it like it’s a 56 year old truck.
    power discs would be nice but we just had that argument here
     
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  20. Blue One
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 10,682

    Blue One
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Alberta

    I wasn’t concerned about the power at all my main concern was the short wheel base and the choppy ride which can be bothersome with a trailer.
    Yes the equalizer hitch would help somewhat with that.
    My comment is based on personal experience by the way.:D
     
  21. F-ONE
    Joined: Mar 27, 2008
    Posts: 2,273

    F-ONE
    Member
    from Alabama

    Honestly,
    You have just adopted a new "old one".

    Just because it can, does not mean it should. A 250 would have been more suited but your talking 50 MPH tops. A Galaxie XL or Wagon, better still for Hwy towing.

    To be truthful 50MPH is tops for this one too and you don't have the bigger drums, the granny low and drastically low rear gears those T-98/Dana 60 F-250s have. Lower speed, low gears, granny low, engine braking and gear braking is what made those early 60s 250s and the Camper Specials shine in a towing application. The 100s could do it but not near as good.
    [​IMG]

    Likely your CC '64 looked like this '66 originally judging by the red steering wheel.
    What a beauty queen!

    I would stick with the SUV for the towing and just enjoy that 100. They are a blast to drive and excel on grocery and ice cream runs.:)
    Towing 12 hrs.....Mmmmm I don't know.

    I nearly jack knifed a '94 F150 pulling a pontoon boat back from the lake. It was during a T storm raining cats and dogs. I was coming up on a stale green going about 25mph. Plenty plenty of room to stop. I slowed to about 5-10mph anticipating the light. It goes yellow/red. I get to 3MPH, it tried to jackknife and had had to go through the light at 3-5MPH. Not fun.
    I discovered the toon took on a lot of water...still though, not fun. The boat was sold within 2 weeks.
    The '94 was just too small.
    What do you have when you put disk brakes on "64 F100? Pretty much a 94 F150 with a straight axle.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2020
  22. JeffB2
    Joined: Dec 18, 2006
    Posts: 8,492

    JeffB2
    Member
    from Phoenix,AZ

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  23. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 6,203

    anthony myrick
    Member

    5E0829A2-BD6B-4F67-B11E-499B51C59360.jpeg
    current tow rig build.
    It’s ugly, but I spent more time on the chassis.
    Updated the suspension and brakes from a 15kgvw motorhome.
    Super easy and cheap.
    It’s not the pulling as much as it is the stopping.
    I pulled several trailers with 60s era f100s then stepped up to a f250. Wow what a difference.
    Be careful down hill.
    That was the worst part pulling a trailer with my old f100s. Ford did a brake upgrade in 68 with larger drums. I installed discs on my 67. The 67 f100 has the same brakes as your f100. The difference from adding the power discs was huge.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2020
  24. Boneyard51
    Joined: Dec 10, 2017
    Posts: 4,383

    Boneyard51
    Member

    I keep hearing it should have been a F-250. The main advantage of a 250 is a full floating rear end, that has a huge advantage for hauling weight in the bed, coupled with heavy springs. That axle also comes with larger brakes. This is the main advantage of a 250. The OP has already stated he is going to improve the brake system. Including two trailer brakes. and his tongue weight is light and he adding a equalizer trailer hitch. I assure you that nine inch rear end is capable of pulling that load around the world. The engine and transmissions are the same in a 1/2 ton and a 3/4 ton.
    As for the “ choppy” ride of a short truck, that has more to do with spring rate that the vehicle’s length. My friend has an OT one ton four door Chevy that is twice as long as my OT mini van, but his truck will jar your back, will actually throw you off your seat! My mini-van rides real nice.... at a wheel base close to or shorter that a short bed truck. Just my observations while driving and hauling a huge amount of vehicles in my career.
     
  25. phat rat
    Joined: Mar 18, 2001
    Posts: 4,393

    phat rat
    Member

    For a 16 ft trailer your F-100 will do the job fine. I'm usually in the school of bigger is better but this will do the job. When I first started towing a car trailer it was a 16 ft and I towed it with a little Ford Ranger, x cab, V6, 5 spd and an equalizer hitch. I pulled an A cpe home from the other side of Rapid City, S.D. and a 52 Ford from N.W. Mn without any problems. However I now tow a 34 ft with an OT diesel dually.
    Boneyard, my G.M. rides nice and the longer wheelbase generally does make a better ride
     
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  26. I had one exactly like this except mine was a step side bed. Same; engine, trans 3 speed column shift, 15" tires, 3:50 rear end gears. Top speed was around 70 MPH unloaded and made many trips on the PA Turnpike when the speed limit was 55 MPH:mad:, made up time in the tunnels doing 70 MPH:D. The truck will do fine for you with the upgrades that you mentioned with the brakes. I don't think you can really lower it much more with the front axle as they already have about 5" of drop already from the factory IIRC. All the time you are towing will require you to be aware of your surroundings and other drivers as it should be. With the automatic transmissions, power steering and brakes, lane keeping warnings and bliss in modern vehicles it has made driving too mundane for the daily driver. Don't even get me started on cell phones.:eek: Drive it like you intend and use common sense. Along with your brake upgrades, possible cooling upgrades, seat belts, and definitely a weight distributing hitch with maybe a sway control. You will do fine.
     
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  27. 4 pedals
    Joined: Oct 8, 2009
    Posts: 723

    4 pedals
    Member
    from Nor Cal

    One thing I haven't seen mentioned is tires. Personally I'd want some load range E tires on the back. They'll handle the weight better and have a stiffer sidewall.

    Devin
     
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  28. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 6,203

    anthony myrick
    Member

    Yep. Helps eliminate some of the sway.
     
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  29. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 6,203

    anthony myrick
    Member

  30. Finn Jensen
    Joined: Dec 20, 2008
    Posts: 635

    Finn Jensen
    Member

    anthony myrick likes this.

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