El Camino as a towing vehicle?? - Chevelle Tech
2002 General Tech questions from 2002

 
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old Feb 9th, 02, 10:02 AM Thread Starter
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Location: Santa Monica, CA USA
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In my small group of friends it has been suggested that an El Camino makes a "horrible" towing vehicle when towing a car on a trailer. My argument is that maybe his '65 is much lighter than my '70 and could have something to do with towing ability.

Anyone have any comments to this? I unfortunetly haven't had my El Camino on the road long enough to check this out.

Thanks for any comments-

Dan Latta

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Dan Latta
Student, Santa Monica City College
1970 El Camino
Current ground up restoration in progress: Everything brand new except rear end: GM 350 crate motor w/ Weiand dual plane intake & Holley 600 cfm carb, long H20 pump, fuel pump, starter, shifting cables. K&N exhaust. Doug Thorley Headers w/ Flowmaster pipe & exhaust. Rebuilt transmission from A1 w/ shift kit & 2500 stall converter, Hurst pro-matic II shifter, re-balanced drive shaft, 15 Rallys w/ BF Goodrich tires, disc & drums & lines, Chevelle SS steering wheel, portion of wiring engine wiring harness, booster/master cylinder, tranny and motor mounts, 4-core radiator, combo oil/tranny cooler, tranny cooler lines, ARP bolts everywhere.
Short Term: replace all suspension bushings, fabricate lower portion of left side rusty firewall, weld in replacement right side rocker, weld new panel behind rear glass, brighter headlights, 3 pt. Retractable seatbelts or racing harness. What color to paint????
Long Term plans: Extensive guage package, New rear-end to replace the 3.08? More radical cam w/ roller rockers, lifters and beefier springs including a new aluminum head-zz5? Convert the interior to black.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old Feb 9th, 02, 10:16 AM
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I used to tow boats and other things and 3/4 ton trucks just work better. My 1/2 ton can do the job but, if you need to stop fast the lighter vehicals don't have the brakes. If you plan on towing any distance or frequently just get a truck.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old Feb 9th, 02, 11:54 AM
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Jerry
 
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I have concidered using an ElCamino as a tow vehicle at one point too. I had a 68 ss ElCamino that I thought would be cool to tow my 68 ss chevelle.
I wouldn't say it would be a horrible tow truck, but certainly not as good as a full size truck. Especially on the Interstates. I decided to go w/ a fullsize because of the better suspension and more interior room.
Actually right now I'm getting my my fullsize truck ready to tow. I have a hidden hitch and airbags installed. Now I need to get a brake controller.


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SS396
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old Feb 9th, 02, 12:40 PM
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An El Camino is a car, not a truck. A '65 is not "much lighter" than a '70. Using an El Camino to tow a trailer with an auto on it would be an accident waiting to happen IMO. Would your auto insurance cover such an operation? If you got in an accident while exceeding the GM-stated towing capacity of your El Camino, could your lawyer save you from a big judgement against you? Who would pay?

My $0.02
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old Feb 9th, 02, 3:51 PM
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A newer 3/4 ton truck is a much better choice for serious towing. That said I have used my Silverado 1/2 ton for car trailering with no complaints whatsoever.

Let us think about this for a moment: trailer + car weight will probably be in the 5,500+ weight catagory - which is well beyond the rated trailering and braking capacity of an El Camino.

Here is a less attractive alternative when using an El Camino as a tow vehicle: flat tow instead of trailer tow (its the way I remember El Caminos being used as tow rigs for little guy drag racers way back when). Two things happen when you flat tow: 1) you eliminate the trailer weight (many car haulers weigh easily in the 2,000 lb range). 2) You eliminate any real tongue weight and the consequent porpoising that causes on a lightweight tow vehicle. Brakes are the only issue for a flat towing ElCamino - get disc brakes if you don't already have them.

Good luck, Thomas

------------------
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Was 350/TH350 14.90 @ 93mph, 360,000+ miles on car.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old Feb 10th, 02, 9:44 AM
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This subject has come up B-4. IMO....
You not only risking your tow vhicle and
towed rig. but anyone elce in you path.
I Know a fellow member towed his two cars from CO to TN, but I liken that to WALKIN ON THE WILD SIDE. or Mission Dangerious.

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old Feb 10th, 02, 9:49 AM
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My Dad used to tow his 26 ft boat with my elcamino, (before it was mine)it did ok but I think he was just lucky! He had one hell of a hitch put on. Took me a couple of hours to get it off.
A close friend of mine was towing a lightened
68 c10 race truck on a trailer in a 70 SS and it got away from him they ended up in the median facing the wrong way (with all wheels on the ground), but it did a number on the hitch, bumper, and tailer.
They never towed with it again.
I would agree with your friends!

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70 El Camino ET 11.32 @ 117MPH 70elcamino
66 Malibu project 66Chevelle as purchased
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old Feb 10th, 02, 9:57 AM
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Shai Domb
 
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I never thought about that..
interesting issue..

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Shai

1972 Chevelle Malibu custom 4dr
Restoration started: February 10th 2001
TC member #1278

[This message has been edited by ChaosMalibu (edited 02-10-2002).]
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old Feb 10th, 02, 11:41 AM
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I thought the load & tow rating on the El Camino was 600lbs & 1000lbs respectively. A 1000lb tow rating is way too small to pull a car/boat around. I'll get my owners manual out later and verify these numbers.


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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old Feb 10th, 02, 2:13 PM
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I used my old 70 to tow a boat about 20 miles once...I had upgraded brakes from a Camaro (1LE) and of course power was not an issue. I also had complete Hotchkis suspension front and rear. Airbags are awesome! The car felt solid and easily managable. BUT, that was only a 3000lbs. boat. I think it is do-able, but I would not recommend it on an everyday basis. I would only do it if I couldn't get larger truck.

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John
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old Feb 10th, 02, 4:15 PM
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I'm the one who towed my '71 GMC Sprint (5000 lbs with trailer) behind my '68 El Camino - 2700 miles round trip to Chevellabration in Nashville.

That was the first time I had ever driven with a trailer of ANY kind. It was a bit of a "white-knuckle" drive at first, but I got used to it. I never had any close calls or serious trouble. There were a few times that the rig swayed back-and-forth a bit. That was on the interstate where "ruts" had been worn in the lanes. Otherwise, it was fairly stable. The trailer & hitch geometry did cause a significant amount of tounge weight, which caused the rear end to droop. But it never bottomed out. I got stuck in shop-and-go traffic on a hot day on the interstate near downtown Kansas City. The engine & transmission temperatures climbed to nearly 220. I was about to pull over and shut it off when the traffic opened up an it cooled down when I got moving continuously again.

There would be a difference between towing with a '65 vs. a '70. The BIG difference is that the '70 has a longer wheelbase, which helps. El Caminos have a fully-boxed frame which is quite strong and has the capability to tow a lot. It is probably the overall weight of the vehicle and the suspension that are the limiting factors.

Here is how I had my vehicle equipped. I would not have attempted this feat with anything less:

1968 El Camino SS-396. Original block and heads. Some engine upgrades including aluminum intake, headers, etc. 4-core radiator with auxillary transmission cooler. Transmission temperature gauge. TH-400 automatic transmission with "switch-pitch" torque converter (1200/3000 stall). 12-bolt rear axle (3.07 posi). All polygraphite suspension bushings front & rear. Super heavy duty anti-sway bars front and rear. '69-style front disk brakes. '75 El Camino rear 11" brake drums (originals were 9"). Custom-bult heavy-duty hitch. Adjustible electronic trailer brake controller mounted on console where driver can manipulate it while driving. Rented trailer with electronic brakes.

I would recommend the electronic brakes over the "surge" type trailer brakes.

I wouldn't hesitate to use my '68 El Camino to tow such a rig in the future. But I probably wouldn't do it for that great a distance - especially alone.



------------------
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old Feb 10th, 02, 7:12 PM
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Jerry
 
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Do you think this ElCamino was used to tow a funny car?
I'm sure plenty of ElCaminos were heavy haulers. Not my little truck.


------------------
SS396

[This message has been edited by mild68ss (edited 02-10-2002).]
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old Feb 11th, 02, 12:55 AM
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Through the 60's and 70's my family owned a business selling travel trailers. Almost everything was towed by the family car using an "Equalizing Hitch" This had the receiver welded to the frame (this is a key point as to why you don't see this done any more since few if any cars have frames) and the hitch used torsion bars that were hooked under the trailer tonge. These bars were hooked to the tongue so that the weight of the tongue was tranfered to the tow vehicles frame and thus distributed to all 4 wheels. This is probably the type hitch that 70el_66Ch dad pulled the 26' boat because of the time he says it took to take the old hitch off.

Bottom line is I think you can pull a trailer with the El Camino but the larger heavier trailer I would only pull using the Equalizer hitch. Not by just hanging it on the bumper with the air shocks pumped up or air bags pumped up.

My $.02.

------------------
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old Feb 11th, 02, 8:21 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the great replys-and dcarr: that is an awesome photo of the two El Caminos! I intend to use my El Camino as a very light duty hauler with very limited towing. There may be some short distance, city street car towing but I'll bet I look around a bit for someone with a truck/truck instead of a car/truck first.

My El Camino is destined to be a garage queen when I'm through!

Thanks again-

Dan Latta

------------------
Dan Latta
Student, Santa Monica City College
1970 El Camino
Current ground up restoration in progress: Everything brand new except rear end: GM 350 crate motor w/ Weiand dual plane intake & Holley 600 cfm carb, long H20 pump, fuel pump, starter, shifting cables. K&N exhaust. Doug Thorley Headers w/ Flowmaster pipe & exhaust. Rebuilt transmission from A1 w/ shift kit & 2500 stall converter, Hurst pro-matic II shifter, re-balanced drive shaft, 15" Powder Coated Rallys w/ BF Goodrich tires, disc & drums & lines, Chevelle SS steering wheel, portion of wiring engine wiring harness, booster/master cylinder, tranny and motor mounts, 4-core radiator, combo oil/tranny cooler, tranny cooler lines, ARP bolts everywhere.
Short Term: replace all suspension bushings, fabricate lower portion of left side rusty firewall, weld in replacement right side rocker, weld new panel behind rear glass, brighter headlights, 3 pt. Retractable seatbelts or racing harness. What color to paint????
Long Term plans: Extensive guage package, New rear-end to replace the 3.08? More radical cam w/ roller rockers, lifters and beefier springs including a new aluminum head-zz5? Convert the interior to black.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old Feb 11th, 02, 9:48 AM
wagons rule!
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I tow any and everything with my 70 wagon just fine.
http://members.aol.com/smartasrealit...gon-a-crop.jpg



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