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Technical Towing capacity AGAIN

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by carpunker, Jun 22, 2020.

  1. carpunker
    Joined: Oct 24, 2016
    Posts: 18


    Ok I know it’s been discussed but I used the search and it’s the usual decent into pissing contests and miss information

    does anybody know where I can find the towing capacity for older vehicles?
    Yes I want it 50,s-60, ,s Dare I even say pre 19eighty one even
    I’m sure I saw something somewhere for old suburbans ?? Or possibly f1 trucks?

    vans wagons trucks
    I want something not too outrageously big that can tow around 7-8000lbs
    Please I’m not interested in anything other than actual towing capacity data so I can narrow down my search yes I will upgrade the brakes etc
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  2. Gearhead Graphics
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 3,534

    Gearhead Graphics
    from Denver Co

    Might be easier to say what youre seeking to pull, and an idea of your tow rig choices, dollars to donuts someone on here already has done it
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  3. Tow capacity is hitch/bumper dependent as a rule. Some modern trucks lost tow capacity on the trailer ready models.

    You are not probably going to find tow capacity for a car, even an old one. Ratings are going to be for trucks and you just have to choose one and google it. Not likely going to find a list.
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  4. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 27,210


    For most Chevy trucks and burbs you can find the info in the GM Herritage center archives.
    Maybe some for Chevy cars.
    Click on the archive tab, click on vehicle information kits on the drop down that opens then click on Chevrolet truck and the page that opens lists Trucks for a lot of years and has the pfds with info listed where you can open the year you want. That much weigh I would be looking at at least a 3/4 ton truck or burb though. Otherwise you end up with the tail wagging the dog down the road.
    Searching though a few years up to 65 I don't find any mention of towing capacity on Chevy trucks from Chevrolet. I'd say that Porknbeaner is correct there in that it wasn't that much of an issue until the mid 70's when people started dragging bigger campers and trailers around. Or in my case a heavier boat or car trailer with a car on it.
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2020
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  5. 51504bat
    Joined: May 22, 2010
    Posts: 2,022


    Watch The Long Trailer with Lucy and Ricky for towing tips?:cool:
    6sally6, 31hotrodguy, weps and 12 others like this.
  6. arkiehotrods
    Joined: Mar 9, 2006
    Posts: 5,843


    Here is some info for slightly O.T. GM stuff that might be helpful for applying to other vehicles if you know weight, engine, rear axle ratio, etc.
    1969chevytruck_rec_13.jpg weight 2 70.jpg weight 1 70.jpg
    chryslerfan55 and pitman like this.
  7. AldeanFan
    Joined: Dec 12, 2014
    Posts: 562


    When looking at what they towed with years ago, Remember that speed limits and driving habits were different 50 years ago.

    I see old photos of flathead powered cars towing trailers, but they weren’t going 80mph up hill tailgating in traffic with the AC on pulling a 8500 pound trailer and carrying a 5000kw generator, two yeti’s full of beer and a cord of fire wood in the tow vehicle.

    I’ve wondered if I could tow my Racecar on my open trailer with my ‘54 YBlock powered wagon and I’m sure in the 50’s that would have been a common combination, but I wouldn’t expect to go over the garden city skyway at 120kmph with it.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  8. arkiehotrods
    Joined: Mar 9, 2006
    Posts: 5,843


    I have a Motor Trend magazine from 1966 with a road test of a '66 Caprice with 427 (390 hp) engine. The articles reads, "it's ideally suited for towing a trailer."
    I flat-towed a '65 Catalina with my '66 Caprice from southern Illinois to Tulsa, OK 45 years ago. Used a rented U-Haul tow hitch that attached to front bumper of the Pontiac. Only problem I encountered was in St. Louis area going down a steep hill and a light turned red. I slid right through that intersection with my drum brakes and the push from behind.
  9. 03GMCSonoma
    Joined: Jan 15, 2011
    Posts: 225


    Did you have an extra pair of underwear with you?
  10. gene-koning
    Joined: Oct 28, 2016
    Posts: 1,921


    I had a 1966 Dodge Coronet station wagon with a factory towing package. The car was ordered specifically to tow a 20'-24' camping trailer from Dodge. With the welded on 2" receiver hitch, 11" drum brakes, a 26" 3 core radiator, a 3:23 geared 8 3/4 Sure grip, and a heavy duty 727 with a large trans cooler, and a poly 318 motor, the car was rated for pulling a 3,000 lbs trailer.

    I installed front disc brakes and the car was a work horse. It pulled my open car trailer with our 3200 lbs dirt hobby car around, but the trailer also had functioning brakes. That was the limit I felt comfortable pulling with it. We weren't pulling any mountains, and the longest loaded trip was probably around 300 miles round trip. It didn't like long hills and even with the trailer brakes, the front disc brakes, and the 11" rear brakes, it wasn't a real fast stop, you had to pay attention to what was going on in front of you.

    My 73 extended cab 440 auto 1 ton Dodge Pickup was only rated at 7,000 lbs towing capacity, and you knew when you were close to the limit. 7,000 lbs - 8,000 lbs is a lot of weight to pull around. Gene
  11. denis4x4
    Joined: Apr 23, 2005
    Posts: 3,518

    from Colorado

    Go to the Trailer Life website or the airstream forums for info on older vehicle tow ratings
    clem and 31hotrodguy like this.
  12. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,449


    Looks like around 1970 was when vehicle makers started publishing data like that. So you won't find what you're looking for. But you will find lots of stories, misinformation, and pissing contests.

    Good luck! 8000 lbs is a lot to tow with something old, unless it's a 3/4 ton or larger. And then, it would have been designed for towing that load at 40-50 mph, not today's highway speeds.

    (yes, I have lots of towing stories myself, but they probably won't help you).
    Joined: Dec 14, 2009
    Posts: 2,463


    Do you want a dedicated tow rig?
    Or something that can play double duty ?

    A tow rig from the 50’s or 60’s would need brake and transmission / diff upgrades to keep up with hwy speeds of today.

    as has been stated 3/4 ton or bigger and stuff from back then was built for farmers etc. With granny low gears and 55 mph top speeds.

    If you get something from .... Gasp !..... the 70’sit would be a bit more modern and keep up with modern traffic , that’s a lotta weight your pulling !
    31hotrodguy likes this.
  14. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,254

    Rusty O'Toole

    7 - 8000 lbs is a serious weight to tow. Best suggestion I can make is a late model 1 ton or 1 1/2 ton truck with an old body on it. What is it exactly a float with a steam shovel or a 45 foot trailer with chandeliers granite counter tops and hot tub?
    31hotrodguy and VANDENPLAS like this.
  15. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 11,573

    from Quincy, IL

    Anyone close to 70 or older, who thinks about it a bit, can and will tell you the whole trailer thing was vastly different in the ‘old days’ than in the last 20 or 30 years. It has evolved dramatically in that period.

    By far the most common trailers seen in the ‘40s, ‘50s, ‘60s were home made utility types made from anything from water pipe or bed frames to rear chassis/bed assemblies from a old pickup truck. You still see them in rural areas in barn yards and fence rows. The other common item was boat trailers, and most boats were relatively light weight. And, of course, the familiar U-Haul type people rented to move their household stuff, with clamp on bumper hitches.

    Any serious pasenger car based trailer tow vehicle was upfitted at welding shops with reinforcements or supplements to the typical weak rear frame rails and bumper attach points. Pickups were sometimes better equipped in that regard, but only by a modest amount unless they were heavy duty (3/4 ton or better, as stated by others). Any serious trailer tongue loads (more than 200 lbs or so) required a load equalizing hitch.

    There just wasn’t much demand for more towing capacity in those days. Now, even a common, so-called “half ton” pickup load capacity exceeds any “three quarter ton” of 20 years ago and so on up the load rating line. The trucks themselves have become relative gigantic compared to pickups before the ‘70s and even beyond.

    So, in summary, as others have suggested, what you want to know is mostly non-existent for the reasons cited above. I think it is fair to say, you will have to build your own if it is to be period based (at least in appearance) and capable of the loads you suggest you want to tow.

    Just an anecdote to add. For more than twenty years I have frequently towed tandem axle car hauling type flat deck trailers, literally, over a large portion of the US, often grossing 6500 to 7500 lbs trailer weight. Around 2000 I was towing with a ‘99 Dodge Durango 2WD with factory trailer tow package. It was very satisfactory. At the time my brother had an early ‘80s 1500 Suburban and we were heading on a 500 mile trip and for whatever reason, he insisted we use his Burb instead of my Durango. But we used my trailer.

    I could, and did, tow that trailer, loaded, behind my Durango at 70 mph on Interstates. It was stable and confidence inspiring. I took a shift driving with his Burb and had immediate heavy duty pucker factor! Couldn’t believe how the tail (trailer) was wagging the dog. And it wasn’t tire pressure that was the problem. My point, even utility vehicles from that era were not all up to the task. And the earlier they are, the less suitable as originally built.

    Last edited: Jun 23, 2020
  16. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,449


    I got to do the Salt River Canyon (highway 60) with this. Lots of fun! But we survived.

  17. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 11,573

    from Quincy, IL

    @squirrel ....I have traveled that road and remember the descent west bound down into the dam very well. I wasn’t towing on that trip however, but driving and eminently suitable OT sports car.

    Highway 60 from Socorro, NM toward Phoenix is a delight to drive! Maybe not quite as much with the rig you pictured....but the ‘prize’ was surely worth the effort. And, it is obvious from the photo, the Chevy pickup is equipped for the job. No surprise there. ;)

    Last edited: Jun 22, 2020
  18. Torkwrench
    Joined: Jan 28, 2005
    Posts: 2,461


    Not sure how much this will help, since it doesn't have any factual towing capacity info, but.....For the last few years, I've been using my 59 GMC 1/2 ton longbed for occasional towing duties. It has a basically stock 326 Pontiac V8, Saginaw 4 speed, ( 3.5 first gear), and a 3:42 Pontiac rear axel.

    Most of the time, this has been towing my 55 Chevy, (about 3300 lbs.), to the drag strip. It does OK, but it's a pretty short trip, (about 25 miles one way), and I don't go over 60mph. The heaviest load that I've towed with my GMC, is a 96 Chevy dually with a 454. I was able to get up to about 50mph, while going uphill, (starting from about 25mph at the base), but the 326 was REALLY straining. Got up to about 60mph after reaching to top of the hill. The weight of the dually bowed my trailer a bit, too.

    Towing 4A.jpg Glory Days  Number One, July 2019.jpg Glory Days 2019 B.jpg
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  19. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 11,573

    from Quincy, IL

    @Torkwrench ....I respectfully suggest you have not included the trailer weight in your figure of “3300 lbs”. Probably another 1800/2200 lbs to be added to the car weight. Unless, of course, you have a VERY lightweight ‘55 Chevy.;)

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  20. hemihotrod66
    Joined: May 5, 2019
    Posts: 201


    When I got out of the military in 1975 I towed a tandem axle car trailer hauling a 1934 Ford sedan behind my family car which was a stock straight eight 1950 Buick sedan with a 3 speed manual transmission...Towed from Clovis New Mexico to Dayton Ohio and never had any problems...The only issue was the brakes that were 12 volt and the car was 6 volt..... They wouldn't lock but they slowed the load down....55 to 60 mph the whole trip....That was the speed limit for most states for cars being towed...Then in the 1980's when I moved to Vegas I towed the same trailer and old Ford with 1972 98 Oldsmobile... My 1950 Buick.jpg
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2020
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  21. plym_46
    Joined: Sep 8, 2005
    Posts: 3,964

    from central NY

    A friend used to run a mini mod dirt track car. His double axled trailer weighed 1100 the car was 1600, tires and tools and spares, fuel and oil added 1500. He towed it with early 70s Chrysler New Yorker station wagon. The wagon usually had an engine or transmission for his face car in the back. He had air shocks on it. Can't remember if it was a 413 or 440.
    , But it towed the rig with 4 guys and stuff in the car with no problem, except for frequent fuel stops. He later used it to tow a modified Jeep Cherokee off roader and stuff for off road camping weekends.
  22. daddy_o's_diner
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 2,784


    7000lbs is a lot for an old truck. Here is my answer to the towing question. My '66 has a stock F250 frame that was upgraded with a Crown Victoria front suspension and disc brakes. It also has a 8.8" rear with disc brakes. The rear of the frame has been c-notched and has airbags installed in addition to the stock leaf springs. This is done to adjust for tongue weight with the lowered stance. For the drivetrain I went with a 6.0L LS with a 4L80E trans. I know folks on this board HATE LS swaps, but do you want to tow or don't you. This things tows a car trailer comfortably at 75MPH all day long and has over over 15,000 miles on it since last summer. Good power, an overdrive trans and good brakes make safe towing possible.

    20200227_090115.jpg 20190904_154902.jpg 20200620_230411.jpg
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  23. plym_46
    Joined: Sep 8, 2005
    Posts: 3,964

    from central NY

    Just found Chrysler's towing info for 72. With the trailer towing package and recieved style hitch it was rated for 500 lbs tongue weight and 5500 gross weight, with equalizer hitch with sway mitigation weight went to 6000. 440, police spec torqflite. 7 blade fan, oversized radiator cooler and limited slip 3.55 rear. I do recall that Larry up graded his brakes to those of a Chrysler stretch airport limo. Discs up front and 11 inch rear drums.
    31hotrodguy likes this.
  24. plym_46
    Joined: Sep 8, 2005
    Posts: 3,964

    from central NY

    There's always an old Winnebago...
  25. southcross2631
    Joined: Jan 20, 2013
    Posts: 3,852


    My dad had a WW2 surplus Dodge power wagon with a 57 Caddy motor with a mechanic's bed.
    He always had a 6 cylinder gas engine powered welder in the bed and has been known to hook onto a pulp wood truck that had about 8 cords of wood on the back and tow it back to the shop when it broke down. That had to be over 8,000 lbs. He did that with a home made tow bar.
    Squirrel, I used to run the Salt River Canyon all the time when I lived in Show Low. Towing a trailer can be fun in the winter.
    31hotrodguy, pitman and squirrel like this.
  26. X-cpe
    Joined: Mar 9, 2018
    Posts: 975


    Look at what modern vehicles will meet your needs and then it's basic hot rodding to upgrade your choice of vehicle to meet the standards of what you need it to do.
    31hotrodguy, Driver50x and Hnstray like this.
  27. Hitch equalizers are just as useful and helpful now as they were 50 years ago....

  28. manyolcars
    Joined: Mar 30, 2001
    Posts: 8,318


    Theres lots of pictures on the internet showing cars in the 1940s pulling mobile home/trailer houses.
    I used my 1939 1/2 ton Ford pickup, 350/350 3 deuces, 9" for a daily driver for 17 years and moved more than 80 antique cars 400 miles each. Lots of you saw my truck at Pate each year.
    hemihotrod66 likes this.
  29. I realize that no one wants to hear this, but, get a newer truck. At least a 3/4 ton truck. When the Super Duty came out in 1999, it redefined the category and the others followed suit. For me, four wheel disc brakes are mandatory, as well as functioning trailer brakes. I prefer a manual transmission, but automatics work well too. I also prefer the other fuel choice but we will leave that alone.

    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    carpunker, pitman, VANDENPLAS and 3 others like this.
  30. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 6,679

    Bandit Billy

    Be careful with insurance carriers. Hagerty is specific, you cannot tow a collector vehicle with a collector vehicle both being covered by their policies or all is void. Sure looks cool though. Love the service truck above.

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