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Towing advice - '85 Delta 88

Old June 30th, 2008, 11:48 AM
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Towing advice - '85 Delta 88

Hi everyone,

Does anyone have towing experience with the 307/4 speed overdrive combo (2.73 rear end)? I'd like to use this car as a back-up tow vehicle (no hitch installed YET), but don't want to ruin the transmission, AND, to be honest, I'm not sure if the engine has enough guts to actually pull the boat up the ramp. The boat w/ trailer weighs in at just 3,000 pounds.

Any advice would be appreciated.
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Old June 30th, 2008, 11:49 AM
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Sorry....I meant "just UNDER 3,000 pounds". Thx.
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Old June 30th, 2008, 01:16 PM
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3000lbs ~should~ be doable. How far are you pulling it?
OM says anything?

I read somewhere that this drivetrain in the Cutlass would pull 4000lbs "without major upgrades" such as hydraulic trailer brakes, weight equalizing hitch, etc. After all that it mentioned 6000 but I find that a bit excessive. However, we are talking about a car with a body and frame setup.

The engine has the low end torque and I know it. The tranny's condition will need to be known before you tow anything.

You will probably need air shocks to level the load.
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Old June 30th, 2008, 01:52 PM
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Not far....less than 10 miles....from the house to the boat ramp. My biggest concern was pulling the boat out of the water/up the ramp. The trans seems to be OK for the most part....super smooth 95% of the time with no leaks. It does, however, occasionally have a fit (only done it twice in 4 months of ownership) and decide to skip second gear. If I shut the car off, give it a rest, then start back, its fine. Electronic solenoid issues perhaps??

Many years ago, we had a boat of equal weight, and used our old '77 Grand LeMans (Chevy 305-2V) on a regular basis as the tow car, and had a couple close calls with some of the steeper ramps....with the gas pedal to the floor....almost wouldn't get it.
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Old June 30th, 2008, 02:00 PM
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You should be ok. I've towed multiple cars home with mine over 30 miles, and I don't even have a hitch. I warn you however that the rear of that frame is kind of a wiggly p.o.s. due to the long lengths of unsupported rear sections.
I'd make sure the rear frame horns get connected together, and put some new body mounts and bolts in the rear rails.
Don't ever pull anything from the bumpers if you have the aluminum insert.
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Old June 30th, 2008, 02:02 PM
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I can only vouch for dry land towing though. A sandy boat ramp sounds like trouble to me. Even though it weighs 3000 lbs, full of water and with a boat full of water you may be taking a bad chance.
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Old June 30th, 2008, 07:02 PM
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I guess what I was meaning about the tranny was to have a REPUTABLE mechanic pull the pan (with you watching) and check for debris such as excessive metal filings, etc. Also, there should be no slippage as it shifts.
Afterwards change the fluid and filter.
Not sure why the shift issue - I can consult the manual for that...
If this all is okay, it should be fine for those short hauls.

We owned a lake house long ago and a friend there and I decided to go out somewhere. I had my 86 Olds with its 307 and 200R4. The circular gravel driveway made a very sharp turn up a very steep grade. and the road leading out was steep also.
He was used to his familys little toyotas so he asked how the heck are we going to get out of there... I did not really know what he was talking about as I gave the Olds a little gas and it effortly torqued it on up the drive and and then up the steep street, shifting into second at 20mph. His mouth was wide open proclaming that that is "one horse of a motor"!
Had I used the low range, slippage would have been even lower due to higher fluid pressures.

Yep, the 307 has some excellent torque. It is better than most of the small pickups!
We pulled our boat with a 78 T-bird w/ a 351 - best hauler we had. We later had a Ramcharger, but it kept dying on the boat ramp (turned out to be a bad ignition module).

As J mentioned, just make sure you have a frame-mounted hitch and do keep the water out of the boat!
(Do not forget the plug like we did once and discovered it AT THE DOCK.)
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Old June 30th, 2008, 09:40 PM
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The FIRST thing ANY tow vehicle needs is an auxillary TRANSMISSION COOLER!!!
DO NOT tow without one. PERIOD!

Please repeat...
Transmission cooler.

Say it again if you you did not catch it.

I hope I made this clear enough. No shyt.

Make sure your transmission is up to snuff, first.
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Old July 1st, 2008, 06:21 AM
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OK, thanks guys. Yeah, I was going to go for a good solid frame-mounted hitch. I've started shopping around for them. Again, this will be a back-up tow car, as I have a truck (for now) that does the primary towing .
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