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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I sold my 1972 Chevy pickup truck a few days ago, it got only 10 mpg on premium fuel. However, I used it for towing the car trailer with 3,500 Lb or less vehicles. Just ate too much fuel, and seldom used.

I was thinking that I could either buy a newer pickup, or set up my 1987 El Camino for tow use? I'd like to use my El Camino, it has a 305 with the 200R overdrive transmission. The El Camino seems to have good solid power however, I'm keeping in mind that fact that both the frame and drive train are not as strong as the 1972 pickup.

What would seem the limits for safe towing?, and is this power train capable of handling a car trailer with a vehicle? I have a solid engine, add on trans cooler, and new air shocks. It feels like it could handle the weight however, I thought I'd ask some of you guys if you're towing some weight, and what drawbacks I might experience? ( other than the obvious )

I've also yet to buy the hitch, can't decide if I'll have a custom made or just buy one from a dealer? Thoughts?
 

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Hitch

I do not know much about towing with the Elky. But, I do know that no one I can find makes a class III hitch for the Elky. So if you need a 2 inch receiver for your present ball set up, you will have to have one custom made.
 

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Even though a El Camino is a truck,i would not want to tow anything bigger than a single axle trailer,even at that with air shocks its a a load, with out air shocks and if you have lager tires you will bottom out the rear ! i have done this and not worth the head ache, but thats just my 2 cents.
:texas:
 

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I dragged my son's S 10 home once. I should not have done it, but it was a short distance and the only way to get it home. Pulling it is only one part. The biggest thing to worry about is handling and STOPPING. I have hauled about 1500 lbs of dirt in mine (short distance) and that was OK but towing is not a good idea. The elky is too light.
elamott
 

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There's a guy by me that pulls a big powerboat around with his all the time. Dunno how good it works as I don't actually know the guy and at the size of the boat(probably low to mid 30's) it probably has its own brakes. I'd say throw some airbags in the springs to help level it out and then dump some money in the brakes and you'd probably be fine.
 

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Don't know about the 5th gens but I have seen a ton of old drag car photos from back in the day and a lot of people used 3rd gens for towing their drag cars. But you have to remember that the 3rd gens also had boxed frames, bigger engines and stronger transmissions then the 5th gens. I'd say if you wanted to tow cars with it you would need to box the frame, upgrade motor and trans, brakes and suspension. Also I would use trailer brakes too. Here's some old pics of el caminos towing.

 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Sure looks like I goofed on this one...LOL!!

I knew the frames from earlier El Caminos were boxed, and my 5th. gen. were not. But it sounds like a real effort to attempt to use a car trailer with a vehicle on the trailer with the lighter 5th. gen. body. And " mrbsa " is correct in the fact that nobody makes a class 3, and Gawd I hate those class 2 hitches...ugh!! It also explains why I've never seen a hitch on a El Camino in the wrecking yards.

Looks like I'll have to buy another truck?
 

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I have a universal type that straps on to mine. I got it from a RV shop but I have seen them in pep boys also. Been using them for about 4 years now and they work fine.
 

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i have a class 5 reciever on mine and have towed everything with it. my trailer weighs 2200 lbs empty and put a car on it it is about 6000 lbs,as stated above you will need the best brakes and at least 342 gears. the stock 200r4 in mine lasted maybe 1 yr towing. i went to the 700 from a pu and no trans problems,you will need the biggest cooler you can fit. mine is half the size of my ac condenser. you will need to make sure your cooling system is top notch,7 blade fan and hd radiator and the severe duty thermal fan clutch.get a good brake controller for the trailer brakes. hd u joints. the 305 will be way short on torque compared to the truck
 

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My 80 came from the dealer with a hitch 2 bolts in the bumper, and 2 in the rear crossmember ,not very substantial acts well as a bumper guard !
 

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With a big engines your gas mileage don't drop much. With a small engines your gas mileage drop a lot and transmission is smaller, this is bad. You should have transmission cooler if you pull something:You_Rock:
 

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From what I've read it is possible... but if you hadn't planned on upgrading all kinds of stuff it might be a lot of work you hadn't planned on.

Hitch: they only sell class 1 and 2 hitches for our 5th gens that most of us can find... they may have made them before or start again but usually Class 3 and up would need to be custom fit.
-I like class 3 even if towing something in the class 1 or 2 weight, it's just beefier and one less link to fail, also helps keep the frame from flexing as much, bonus.

Springs, shocks and air bags: heavy cargo springs, heavy shocks or 'load assist shocks' and airbags are all a big deal if you want to tow or carry.

Breaks: 100% working order. Bigger breaks are a hugely good idea, and breaks on your trailer are nearly mandatory.

Transmission cooler: Yes.

Boxing the frame/added frame bracing: A lot of folks like to do this to our 5th gens anyway. If you happen to have the time/money or are doing a frame-off, sure! But otherwise our open frame is something we have to deal with. Very high HP or stressful racing or heavy towing applications put a lot of stress on the frame. That said, a load of mulch, motorcycle or the lawntractor on a trailer or in the bed... even all at once, shouldn't be cause to start making changes to your setup, except airbags, you'll enjoy many a happy home improvement run with those. :beer:

Personally I'm looking forward to towing at least a pop up camper and hauling my Home Depot/Scrap yard finds/motorcycle around, but I am planning on my parts beforehand and knowing my 'lero's limits... There is a point where if I ever want or need more hauling or towing power than that, I'll have to pick up a bigger pickup :smileyb:

Jeri~
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
In all honesty, I've given up on the entire idea of using my 5th. gen. for heavy towing. It sounds like a lot of real " extra " work to just get it safely rolling. I am however going to have a hitch custom made, I like the 2" receivers much better. Somewhere down the road I do plan on boxing sections of the frame rails, but that's way down the road.

Interesting and very informative information, thanks guys!!
 

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Ron , I just saw your forum and that you have decided to not do the heavy towing with your 5 th Gen. and think that is a wise idea . I had a custom hitch welded onto my old 83 . I put a lot of miles on it towing my Hobie cat sailing catamarans around Florida to race . I would be gone for a week at a time with extra storage box , gear , parts and was probably not near your wieght of 3500 lbs . I was at the point that it handled well but any more weight would have been unwise . What CCC and Otterfox suggest is the way to go if someone is interested in towing with a 5 th Gen. You made a wise decision .
 

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trailer towing

Hello all My ? is I have a enclosed trailer 6x12 I use it to haul lawn equipment will el-c. pull OK? 1985 305 stock AT. Thanks in advance
 
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