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Old 02-27-2013, 07:38 PM   #1
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1972 25' Tradewind
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'66 Olds Delta 88

Anybody towing with a mid 60s olds? Saw a sweet 66 Delta 88 with 425 rocket and 3 speed automatic transmission on Ebay in excellent condition-contacted a hitch specialist regarding equipping it with a load leveler hitch, tranny cooler wiring and brake harness etc. for towing my 72 25 foot Tradewind-but they were concerned about leaf springs vs coil, frame etc.Waiting to hear back from seller regarding this. Not sure of exact weight of my trailer but guess it to be 4000 to 4500. Would this work or am i playing with fire. Appreciate any input.
Happy Travels;
Garth & Joanne
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Old 02-27-2013, 09:44 PM   #2
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This article may be of interest to you Garth.

http://home.hiwaay.net/~tomorkim/Reese.htm

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Old 02-27-2013, 11:08 PM   #3
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A buddy of mine in high school had one of these. A fine car. But it's now a half-century old. There is no end to potential electrical dilemmas, and to component failures of any mechanical pieces. So, I'd define "playing with fire" as consideration of problems while underway . . at 60-mph, or 150-miles from the nearest service.
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Old 02-28-2013, 03:22 AM   #4
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I've heard its good to have a tow vehicle as heavy or heavier than what you're towing, old cars tend to be heavy. Mounting hitches and load level/sway bars to a full frame chassis is preferable to mounting to uni-body sheetmetal, cars typical of the 60's are usually full frame. Long wheelbase is preferable when towing, most olds are not tiny/short wheelbase. Big cube big torque engine is useful for towing on hills etc., 425 cu.in. seems big enough ! Big old boats from the past seem ideal to tow with, except for a few things like brakes that are lacking ( 4 wheel drums ?), sloppy handling and loose suspension, safety in an accident and poorer fuel economy. There are big brake 13" disc upgrades available ($$$) updated suspension with more modern geometry ($$) and good tuning to improve economy, I know of no airbagged resto-mods that are mounted on the steering wheel for safety, get creative there I guess. Basically build yourself a pro touring car that is heavy, handles and stops, those old full frame cars are basically lowered trucks. The simplicity of the design leaves more confidence in ability to repair on the side of the road than a modern ecu controlled, 50 miles of wiring and sensors modern rig. A couple grand in updates and you'll tow in style no 50 grand diesel rig can match !
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Old 02-28-2013, 06:38 AM   #5
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You may get one of those to work today but realize that most modern Minivans would out perform the old Olds in almost every way.
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Old 02-28-2013, 08:55 AM   #6
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My parents had a 60 Super 88 when I was in high school.
They towed a double horse trailer that was made out of steel. With horses, weight had to be in excess of two tons.
The Olds had plenty of power, a saggy rear end that had to be reinforced with helper springs and very marginal brakes, (no trailer brakes or equalizer hitch). Speed was limited to35 mph. Trailer sway was a problem with the squishy rear end.
The automatic transmission went south at about 60,000 miles. They were cheap to rebuild back then. A rebuilt transmission and a cooler would be a necessity for a 60 year old tow vehicle.
For a cool, vintage rig look, I'd say go for it. For utility, you would be better served with a newer tow vehicle.
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Old 02-28-2013, 09:28 AM   #7
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I tow a Trade Wind with no problems with a '71 Buick Centurion. The car has coil springs and aftermarket air shocks. With a WDH the air shocks are at minimum air pressure as it isn't necessary or recommended. I now have a '69 Olds 4 door hardtop ninety eight and looking forward to having a receiver hitch installed.

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Old 02-28-2013, 01:23 PM   #8
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I would ask Inland Andy, he should know the answer, he has been around forever.
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Old 02-28-2013, 05:52 PM   #9
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Can you not word this a bit different? like maybe, he is very experienced.

Dave

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I would ask Inland Andy, he should know the answer, he has been around forever.
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Old 02-28-2013, 07:12 PM   #10
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No, he really has been around forever (as a badge of honor).
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Old 02-28-2013, 08:59 PM   #11
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Back in the early '70s, my father had a 1967 Delta 88 with a 425 2 barrel and 3 speed automatic. He borrowed a small travel trailer - I'd say about 16 or 17' - on a couple of occasions. The biggest problem with that car seemed to be overheating, until my uncle installed a "triple core" radiator in it.

I recall ground clearance being an issue on rough gravel roads/driveways.
The comments about a "squishy" rear suspension seem accurate.
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Old 02-28-2013, 09:09 PM   #12
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Nothing beats the cool factor of a vintage tow vehicle and a vintage Airstream.

Bill
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Old 02-28-2013, 11:51 PM   #13
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'66 Olds Delta 88

Greetings Garth and Joanne!

Quote:
Originally Posted by gtijewlr View Post
Anybody towing with a mid 60s olds? Saw a sweet 66 Delta 88 with 425 rocket and 3 speed automatic transmission on Ebay in excellent condition-contacted a hitch specialist regarding equipping it with a load leveler hitch, tranny cooler wiring and brake harness etc. for towing my 72 25 foot Tradewind-but they were concerned about leaf springs vs coil, frame etc.Waiting to hear back from seller regarding this. Not sure of exact weight of my trailer but guess it to be 4000 to 4500. Would this work or am i playing with fire. Appreciate any input.
Happy Travels;
Garth & Joanne


I had friends during the 1960s through the 1980s who towed with a 1966 Oldsmobile with the 425. They towed a 1964 BeeLine 27' with a Reese Strait-Line Hitch with Dual Cam Sway Control. The car did very will with their trailer that was less aerodynamic and quite a bit heavier than your Tradewind. Some considerations for using such a car today would include:
  • The 425 V8 was designed to run on high-octane leaded fuel. What this means today is that it will either need to have the heads machined to accept hardened valve seats or lead replacement will be needed in every tank of fuel to protect the valve seats from recision under the high temperature demands of towing.
  • You probably will find as I did with my '75 Cadillac that the springs will need to be replaced along with shocks. Cargo Coil still offers new heavy duty shocks for many 1960s and 1970s GM products.
  • Towing will quickly uncover any deficiencies in the front end componencts. In the end, my '75 Cadillac need upper and lower ball joints, tie rod ends, control rod ends, idler arm, as well as all new bushings.
  • The radiator will also likely need to be rebuilt or possibly even need a custom replacement. My Cadillac was known to run too warm in stock form so I had a new custom radiator manufactured with a four-row core and extra-capacity tanks. An auxilliary transmission fluid cooler will be needed, and you may want to investigate the possible need for external oil and/or power steering fluid coolers.
  • Many of the stock 1966 Oldsmobile Delta 88s were equipped with 3.07 differential gears, and I suspect that something in the 3.73 to 3.90 range will be needed to make for a pleasurable towing experience.
My family owned a 1966 Oldsmobile for many years, and they were noted for rust problems (we lived in the Chicago suburbs at the time). The most obnoxious rust problem was around the rear window as it would eventually allow water to flow from the rear window into the trunk. My suggestion would be to investigate whether this problem may be present on the 1966 Delta 88 that you are considering. On our 1966, the lower corners were where the worst rust occurred.

The 1966 Oldsmobile would be among the cadre of cars that would have been considered contemporary tow vehicles for Airstreams of the 1960s and 1970s. I truly enjoy towing with my '75 Cadillac Eldorado and haven't found it to be any more troublesome than my Suburban. In 2008, I made the trip to the WBCCI International Rally in Bozeman, Montana. That trip included 8,000 miles, and the only issue was the failure of the newly rebuilt alternator during the first 250 miles . . . beyond that one mechanical issue the car experienced 7,750 miles with no problems. Be prepared for low fuel economy as my Cadillac averages below 9 MPG with the Minuet and below 8 MPG with the Overlander. I suspect that the '66 Oldsmobile would provide something between 9 and 12 MPG towing your Tradewind.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin

P.S.: I agree with Bill . . . . Nothing beats a Vintage tow vehicle for the "cool" factor when towing a Vintage Airstream . . .





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Old 03-02-2013, 10:11 PM   #14
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1972 25' Tradewind
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Thanks for all the input and advice-haven't decided anything for sure yet-one thing in our favour, at this point we don't do a lot of long distance trailering-maybe an hour or two from home-central Alberta has a wealth of great places to camp close by-so if we go for it we'd never be far way. If it comes to be we'll post picture.
Happy travels;
Garth & Joanne
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