Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 03-27-2015, 03:20 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
 
RogueArtist's Avatar
 
1971 27' Overlander
Oklahoma City , Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 8
'76 Cadillac Fleetwood Hearse Tow Vehicle?

My wife and I are purchasing a '76 Cadillac Fleetwood hearse. Before you ask, we're big Halloween people. Love decorating and scaring the little kids. We get about 1,500 trick or treaters each year.

I was wondering if this would make a decent tow vehicle and am interested in others comments. It has a 500 cu in (8.2L) OHV V8 engine. Seems to me it would be fine. Bigger engine than my Expedition.

Cheers.

__________________

__________________
_____________________________________________
1971 27' Overlander "Maybelline Too"
2000 Ford Expedition Eddie Bauer 4x4 "Maximus"
Mojo, Roxi, Angus & Zack - "The Road Crew"

"One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things." – Henry Miller
RogueArtist is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-27-2015, 04:32 PM   #2
Rivet Master
 
AnnArborBob's Avatar
 
2014 27' FB Eddie Bauer
Chelsea , Michigan
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 1,767
Images: 12
Definitely a unique tow vehicle.

I would tend to doubt that the payload capacity of a hearse would be sufficient to handle the tongue weight of the Airstream plus any cargo you might have in the tow vehicle. A typical mid-sized modern Airstream will have a REAL tongue weight of 700 to 900 lbs. You might be able to pull a 16 or 19 footer, but certainly nothing larger.

Modern engines are way more efficient at delivering torque for a given amount of horsepower than are the classics.

Plus, do you really want to put that much wear and tear on such a beautiful classic hearse?

But, if you insist, at least check the tire inflation/cargo capacity tag that is probably located in the driver's door frame of the hearse.
__________________

__________________
Bob Martel
WBCCI# 5766
AnnArborBob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-27-2015, 04:51 PM   #3
Moderator
 
DKB_SATX's Avatar

 
2017 26' Flying Cloud
1976 Argosy 28
Alamo Heights , Texas
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 6,401
Images: 1
Blog Entries: 7
It's my impression that those old Series 70 cars were all "super heavy duty" underneath, not just stretched/modified versions of the consumer cars until at least '76. I think the later ones may be lighter, but this one may be a beast you could do a few upgrades to and make it a fine tow vehicle for that '71 Overlander.

I would bet a mortgage payment the Caddy as built doesn't have enough brakes for my taste, but back then only exotic cars had brakes as good as my '05 Subaru wagon does. You may have some challenges finding tires in the original size with enough load-carrying capacity, but you can probably fix that with newer wheels. Does it have a bunch of emissions-control hardware, or did they have a waver for commercial vehicles? I suspect the waiver was just for high-gross-weight commercial stuff, so you'll have a bunch of finicky power-robbing vacuum plumbing to sort out in that old barge.
__________________
— David

Zero Gravitas — 2017 Flying Cloud 26U | Il Progetto — 1976 Argosy 28 Center Bath | WBCCI# 15566

He has all of the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire. — Sir Winston Churchill
DKB_SATX is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-27-2015, 05:23 PM   #4
Rivet Master
 
wkerfoot's Avatar
 
1979 23' Safari
1954 29' Liner
Orange , California
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 3,667
Nor much different from my 1977 Lincoln Continental 460 CI engine towing either my 1979 Safari or 1954 Liner. You do need a good weight distributing hitch and transmission cooler.

Cars were the standard tow vehicle, along with Suburbans, until the cars were downsized in the late 70's to early 80's when the pickups were made more civilized.

Bill

Quote:
Originally Posted by RogueArtist View Post
My wife and I are purchasing a '76 Cadillac Fleetwood hearse. Before you ask, we're big Halloween people. Love decorating and scaring the little kids. We get about 1,500 trick or treaters each year.

I was wondering if this would make a decent tow vehicle and am interested in others comments. It has a 500 cu in (8.2L) OHV V8 engine. Seems to me it would be fine. Bigger engine than my Expedition.

Cheers.

__________________
Bill Kerfoot, WBCCI/VAC/CAC/El Camino Real Unit #5223
Just my personal opinion
1973 Dodge W200 PowerWagon, 1977 Lincoln Continental, 2014 Dodge Durango
1979 23' Safari, and 1954 29' Double Door Liner Orange, CA

http://billbethsblog.blogspot.com/
wkerfoot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2015, 09:59 AM   #5
Vintage Kin
 
slowmover's Avatar
 
Fort Worth , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 7,598
Images: 1
That's a 1977. Downsized from 1976.
__________________
1990 35' Silver Streak Sterling; 9k GVWR.
2004 DODGE Cummins 305/555; 6-manual; 9k GVWR.
Hensley Arrow. 9-cpm solo, 15-cpm towing
Sold: Silver Streak Model 3411
slowmover is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2015, 10:08 AM   #6
Rivet Master
 
dznf0g's Avatar

 
2007 30' Classic
Oswego , Illinois
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 9,408
Images: 5
Research is in order. The hearse prep package was (and still is) a pretty comprehensive special build specifically for upfit.

The 500ci motor was just the start. I'd bet that you will find the front and rear suspension is drastically beefed up over a stock sedan. I know the Buicks were (I worked for Buick during the 80s.)

I am not sure if Cadillac customer assistance has a "Heritage" department or not, but certainly call them first. Also, if you can find an upfitter badge anywhere in or on the hearse, call them as well.
__________________
-Rich-

"If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy." - Red Green
dznf0g is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2015, 10:20 AM   #7
Rivet Master
 
2010 25' FB Flying Cloud
Davenport , Iowa
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,458
Blog Entries: 1
Hearses and ambulances were usually modifications done by another company, Superior Motor Coach being one. Look also for this label and check with them if still in business. They would be the one to tell you what mods had been done ie suspension brakes and tranny etc.
__________________
Airtandem is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2015, 11:11 AM   #8
Rivet Master
 
dznf0g's Avatar

 
2007 30' Classic
Oswego , Illinois
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 9,408
Images: 5
Many of the power train and suspension mods and electrical provisions are done at the factory. Then they are shipped to the up fitter and the saws come out.
__________________
-Rich-

"If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy." - Red Green
dznf0g is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2015, 11:13 AM   #9
Rivet Master
 
terryV's Avatar
 
2002 31' Classic
Currently Looking...
Monroe , Iowa
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 649
My dad pulled his 31' Airstreams with the top of the line Buicks for years back in the 60s and 70s with no mods other than a welded on trailer hitch and an add on brake control. He used an Easy Lift WD hitch and one of those sliding sway controls.

The old bias ply tires didn't last very long, but you were doing pretty good back in those days if you got 15,000 miles out of them without pulling a trailer.

I'll bet the suspension on those old hearses was pretty stout, considering the weight of a big metal casket and dead body. I think it would pull your AS very well, and look really cool. I'd love to have one myself.
__________________
terryV is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2015, 12:00 PM   #10
Rivet Master
 
m.hony's Avatar
 
2013 30' Classic
Greenwood , Mississippi
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 11,832
It's as long as a crew cab pickup and has as much storage as a pickup with a high-rise topper.
__________________
2013 Classic 30 Limited
2007 Silver Toyota Tundra Crew Max Limited 5.7 iForce
2006 Vivid Black Harley-Davidson Road King Classic
1999 Black Nissan Pathfinder LE
TAC #MS-10
WBCCI #1811, Region 6, Unit 56
Airforums #70955
m.hony is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2015, 12:24 PM   #11
1 Rivet Member
 
koosdhr's Avatar
 
1983 34' Limited
2017 23' International
Joppe , GLD
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 14
Images: 2
Send a message via Skype™ to koosdhr
It is beautiful! Would look great in front of an Airstream. One disadvantage is the long rear overhang. That combined with the relatively soft suspension might make it hard for the car to keep a heavy trailer under control. What size of Airstream do you want to tow with it? Be sure to mount weight distributors and sway control bars.
__________________
koosdhr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2015, 12:44 PM   #12
2 Rivet Member
 
Mission Viejo , California
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 90
Nice!

Probably some airbags in the rear and a disk brake conversion in the front would be good. Maybe you'd need a bigger alternator and make sure the radiator and trans cooler are up to the job.
__________________
Bill Lynch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2015, 01:18 PM   #13
4 Rivet Member
 
1966 24' Tradewind
2005 22' Safari
Bastrop , Texas
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 329
Go for it ! bet it already has disc brakes on the front , and no more overhang than the big sleds that were the vehicles of choice to pull AS trailers back in the sixtys . With a WD hitch and a sway control or two , you will be cruising in style !
__________________
dannydimitt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2015, 02:13 PM   #14
2 Rivet Member
 
strshpntrprz's Avatar
 
1973 23' Safari
Reese , Michigan
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 42
ANYTHING you want to!!!!

GO FOR IT!!!! That boat will do ALL you want and then some. You already have the recommended items listed here to tend to. You SHOULD have front disc brakes from the factory-- just wire it to pull a trailer and install a GOOD brake controller within easy reach and make sure your trailer brakes work properly so the trailer can stop itself. At it's age I would opt for a new- larger radiator and trans. cooler and a trans. service to check for bad things in the oil pan. You WILL want a really good set of heavy duty tires for help in sway control and safety-- no blowouts wanted no matter what your towing. I think your tow vehicle has rear coil springs-- because of the weight you could put in the back and the tongue weight even with the needed weight distribution hitch a cargo coil spring would serve you well, they are designed to give a good ride with a portion of the spring then go into heavy duty mode as more weight is put on them. There are many more options to choose from-- air shocks, air bags, newer pickups have rubber springs that can be added that work very well, and may be adapted for your application. You may find a class 3 trailer hitch available to put on your baby, but you may end up building one from scratch, no big deal, I just finished one for my 1957 chevy and places like tractor supply and even harbor freight have the basic 18 inch drop tube on the shelf for cheap and start building from there. Any RV store should have add on mirrors to complete your getup, and get going. We have some clubs in our area that are BIGGG into even MUCH older stuff than yours and they have a ball doing it. I have one old hearse that goes by my house that has a vacancy sign in the back window, Last year at A VERY LARGE car show in FLINT MI. one club had a power chair set up with radio controls and decked out with a skeleton in suit and bowler cruising their intersection and it was fun to sit back and watch the fun as people would look over at it and FREAK for just a second, till they figured out what they were looking at. We have pulled our 23 ft airstream for 15 years with our 66 chevy pick up and everything has been good, got the 57 ready to tow it soon and have done some short trips with it and pulls great, the truck and car weight about the same, about the same as the trailer weights, and back in the day, that's how they did it. ENJOY My thoughts are your baby is already set up heavy duty, so maybe not much more will be needed to make it a tow vehicle.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	57port c.jpg
Views:	59
Size:	160.0 KB
ID:	235076   Click image for larger version

Name:	PA280387.jpg
Views:	64
Size:	571.0 KB
ID:	235077  

__________________

__________________
Gene and Sharol in starship enterprize (earthbound) don't grow up, it is a TRAP ---repairing, not restoring since 1999
strshpntrprz is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Airstream Hearse arden_dean General Motorhome Topics 14 04-27-2015 12:48 PM
1970 Cadillac Fleetwood Tow car Goin Retro Towing, Tow Vehicles & Hitches 6 07-31-2012 12:29 PM
Help to choose Cadillac 79 or Dodge 66 to tow Big Bad H Tow Vehicles 8 10-18-2007 07:17 PM
1975 Cadillac Eldorado as Tow Vehicle overlander64 Tow Vehicles 9 11-04-2002 08:04 AM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:09 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.