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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All:
Once I get my inherited El Camino all road ready, I'm wondering what a realistic tow rating is? I have a boat/trailer combo approx. 3500 lbs. Will this trans, engine, rear end, and brake combo handle this. The trailer has surge brakes. If this is possible would it be worth adding a transmission cooler? Thanks, Cam
 

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Can't really help you with the towing information as I am wondering about it myself, but I just got done rebuilding my transmission (have swapped in 350sbc/th350 combo) and after seeing the burned clutches in it and learning from some people, adding a trans cooler to even a daily driver is a good idea, especially if your going to be towing. Coolers keep the fluid cooler, improve the shifts and said to even double the life of a trans. So I would definitely get one with the weight your gonna be towing.
 

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I vote absolutely on the cooler, but dont know capacity either but my 85 came with a hitch on so somebody knows
 
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Tongue weight of the trailer on the hitch is a factor to consider. The hitch may have a max weight figure. The rear end ratio is another. If the rear is like a 2.73 or 2.56 etc. it wont pull very easy.
And a cooler is a must, to pull a load that heavy. The surge brake should do the job OK if it's working right.

You can check out the ratio on the rear by looking for the code stamped on the right axle housing, front side. There's info pages on here to see which you have.

You also need to know how the trailer hitch is attached to your Elco. It needs to be beefy to pull that load.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
No trailer hitch is installed yet. I've heard they have a weak transmission and towing much over 1000 Lbs is not recommended. I was just wondering if this were the case....or just hearsay. I have another vehicle to tow with....just thought it would be cool to show up sometime with the boat and El Camino together. Thanks again for your input. Cam (c good)
 
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My 85, 305 auto, has a trailer hitch with a 3500 pound limit and all the hitches that I have seen on the internet have the same or lower weight limit. Sounds like your load may be a little too heavy to be safely towed. I tow a small utility trailer with mine and it's nothing to brag about even with only 1500 to 2000 lbs on board.
 

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I've thought about this too. Quote "Heavy towing (class 3 hitch):
An El Camino equipped with a 5.0L (LG4) motor, automatic transmission, and a 2.73 rear can pull up to a gross weight of 5000 pounds with 600 pounds tongue load." Make sure you have good brakes, and for heavier loads, an alternate radiator (and battery) are recommended.
 

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Just glad you are considering all including braking. Its not so much can you pull it as it is can you stop it! Trans cooler and HD radiator are a plus. The stock air shocks on the rear can handle it with the right inflation...And those are not class III hitches that come on Elkys!
 

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Quote "Heavy towing (class 3 hitch):
An El Camino equipped with a 5.0L (LG4) motor, automatic transmission, and a 2.73 rear can pull up to a gross weight of 5000 pounds with 600 pounds tongue load."
Here is the full quote:

What is the towing capacity of a 78-88 El Camino?
(Author: Ernie G. from
http://www.malibunirvana.com)
According to the Chevy Recreation and Trailering Guide there are three possible trailering configurations for an El Camino. All require a deadweight hitch bolted to the frame through pre-punched holes. Equalizing and antisway assemblies were also required and were available through outside sources.

Light towing (class 1 hitch):
An El Camino equipped with a 3.8L (LC3/LD5) motor, automatic transmission, and a 2.73 rear can pull up to a gross weight of 2000 pounds with 200 pounds tongue load.

Medium towing (class 2 hitch):
An El Camino equipped with a 5.0L (LG4) motor, automatic transmission, and a 2.41 rear can pull up to a gross weight of 4000 pounds with 500 pounds tongue load.

Heavy towing (class 3 hitch):
An El Camino equipped with a 5.0L (LG4) motor, automatic transmission, and a 2.73 rear can pull up to a gross weight of 5000 pounds with 600 pounds tongue load.

Medium and Heavy towing also require a heavy duty battery and heavy duty radiator.

Yes, that is me being quoted by Ray Buck on his Chevy Asylum web site about eight years ago.
 

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wow really it can tow that much? I never thought it could but I have a larger tow vehicle so I wouldn't need to but its interesting
 

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I found that my 85 EC tows much more nicely since I put real dual exhaust and dual air intake onto the EC (camaro air cleaner with dual intakes and hoses for each side with inlets behind the headlight buckets). Prior to the dual exhaust being installed the EC just felt like it was always out of breath. Since the installation of the dual exhaust I have towed my 1975 caprice (about 4500 pounds) several times with no problems. However stock brakes are a little scary. I am in the process currently of changing front brakes over to 12 inch brakes from 1980s HD Caprice donor car (that should really fix the brake issue). Hope that helps.
 

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Aww man, i was hoping my V6 auto tranny, could tow my dad's boat...trailer and boat weigh about 3500 pounds....It's a 20 foot boat, but the trailer is just so heavy duty, my dad built it himself, and his building plans are always this: "Calculate what is needed to be on the safe side of things, then double it. Then triple it."

He claims to have a radiator cooler in the garage, but what other things would i have to do to make it tow worthy?
 

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Heh, it's relevant to the incline of the launch - if it's too steep, you may never reclaim the boat with a V6. BTW, how much does the trailer weigh again?
 

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Aww man, i was hoping my V6 auto tranny, could tow my dad's boat...trailer and boat weigh about 3500 pounds....It's a 20 foot boat, but the trailer is just so heavy duty, my dad built it himself, and his building plans are always this: "Calculate what is needed to be on the safe side of things, then double it. Then triple it."

He claims to have a radiator cooler in the garage, but what other things would i have to do to make it tow worthy?
Best be Installing 3:42 Ratio , Posi Rear , HD Cooler Rad , 160 Degree Stat , Trans Up Grade Kit !
Trans Cooler & Oil Cooler . . Only then would it even be close . .
 

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That said I too was Scratching My Head about 5.0 Liter combo , as I went back - did some basic research on brakes , and Really Got Confused . .
It seems some Years all ran 9.5" Drums & 10.56 Rotors . I did find a few years where is looked like chevy placed 11" Drums on Rear , but I couldn't get Confirmation on this .
Part Houses sometimes have Bad Info . .

I did Find 11 Frt. Rotor on Larger V8's and Later years . .

Any Help , as I would be Towing If I Purchase Ekee , Owner stated 350 cu in. But sometimes , If there is No Record or Vin being Offered just doesn't break down enough ..
Serial Numbers on Motors seem Hard to Locate .. Any Help ..on Brakes :unsure:
 

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Best be Installing 3:42 Ratio , Posi Rear , HD Cooler Rad , 160 Degree Stat , Trans Up Grade Kit !
Trans Cooler & Oil Cooler . . Only then would it even be close . .
That said I too was Scratching My Head about 5.0 Liter combo , as I went back - did some basic research on brakes , and Really Got Confused . .
It seems some Years all ran 9.5" Drums & 10.56 Rotors . I did find a few years where is looked like chevy placed 11" Drums on Rear , but I couldn't get Confirmation on this .
Part Houses sometimes have Bad Info . .

I did Find 11 Frt. Rotor on Larger V8's and Later years . .

Any Help , as I would be Towing If I Purchase Ekee , Owner stated 350 cu in. But sometimes , If there is No Record or Vin being Offered just doesn't break down enough ..
Serial Numbers on Motors seem Hard to Locate .. Any Help ..on Brakes :unsure:
Old thread, but since you're here anyways....
if you need advice on towing with an Elc, I'm confused as to how you are giving advice that someone needs a 3.42 posi rear end and trans upgrade kit....when GM says that you don't (with the HD options)
All automatics have a standard duty trans cooler, though an additional one is not a bad idea.
Brakes didn't change size AFAIK other than the front hub diameter change from 79 on.

I've towed way bigger loads than I should have over the years with my 5th gens. Car's on flatbeds mostly. Brakes were never an issue, proper tongue weight, tire capacity and sidewall flex, and rear end squat were the main concerns. Using trailer brakes is essential. I could always still lock up my brakes when I needed to with the load if balanced correctly; in fact I always made it a point to test that when trying out a new load configuration. Just gotta remember how light these elcamino's are especially when pulling out of a slick wet boat ramp.
 
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