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Old 10-17-2007, 05:59 PM   #1
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Smile Help to choose Cadillac 79 or Dodge 66 to tow

i need to make up my mind in choosing the best towing vehicle between my dodge Monaco 1966 and my 1979 De Ville Cadilac. Both were left to me by my father (original owner and they are in mint condition (very low miles). the Dodge has a 318 LA Canadian ( maybe a 85D,I am not sure on the transmission) built in Windsor Ontario and the Caddy as the 425 / 400 TB transmission. My question to you (expert) is which one of those car would be best to tow (combined with the load is 2500lbs) with electric brake on trailer. And what would be better to tow 2500lbs with one axle trailer or 3000lbs with 2 axles trailer. I have read over 29 page of info on this site and value you guy's opinion. Thank you in advance for your opinion. Dan

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Old 10-17-2007, 06:07 PM   #2
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The Caddy for ability...
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Old 10-17-2007, 06:20 PM   #3
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if the monaco is like in the us, you have either the 904 or the 727 transmission. the 904 is lighter duty but will be better pulling from a start. if you have the 8 3/4 rear, they are "pumpkin" style gear set and easily swappable with a used unit to improve the gearing. can you tell i'm partial to the dodge?

p.s. the 318 is great for torque!
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Old 10-17-2007, 06:28 PM   #4
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Towed a 22ft Caravel with a 1 ton Dodge MaxiVan (1981) 318 engine and it was a great engine but not much power. Of course it was pulling a much heavier vehicle even before the AS was hitched up. Also pulled with the 360 in a Dodge and it was better, but I'd go for the Caddy without a doubt.
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Old 10-18-2007, 06:56 AM   #5
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Just my opinion, but it would be the Cadillac for me in an instant.
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Old 10-18-2007, 08:46 AM   #6
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The Dodge is the better vehicle from the standpoint of suspension/chassis. That torsion-bar front and leaf-sprung rear is better, any day, than a coil all around GM for any kind of handling. Towing only maginifies the superiority. KONI shocks are called for, as are new rubber bushings.

And, while the V8-318 is an excellent engine, the pre-1967 version is not the same beast (this bears checking out). The motor would need to re-timed (engine mechanical advance) and a vacuum secondary/spread-bore carb would be appropriate. Unleaded gasoline will take a toll on the valve seats (high loads, long times, higher than normal op temps and elevated cruise rpm). Frankly, I'd go with a more modern 360. They've been bullet-proof in motorhome combinations. Same with the transmission. The electrical system needs upgrading to a more modern alternator and starter, and the ammeter needs to be bypassed.

The one true failing is brakes. Single circuit is, IMO, unacceptable in a tow vehicle. Drum brakes are okay (just, they bear a lot of PITA time in getting them adjusted properly). There are plenty of aftermarket conversion kits (STAINLESS STEEL BRAKES, for one) that can address this properly.

Having had some old cars I believe that re-wiring them is the best solution to the worst headache: whether in the 1950's or the 2000's, the reason 80% of cars are in the shop at any given moment is electrical. Rewiring all but the dashboard isn't too terrible a job.

Last, seatbelts. It needs three-point harnesses.

You can ask plenty of questions at the: C-Body Dry Dock and get more (likely better) answers. (Contact Mark Olson for a 1967 Chrysler Tow Guide that diagrams the necessary way to fabricate and install a hitch). Same at

The Cadillac is the easier choice. The drivetrain is almost as good as the Dodge for longevity. It still needs emission equipment removed (not all, as some is beneficial to operation and longevity) and it needs the engine timing and fuel delivery modernized for efficency. That vehicle ought to be able to get 16 mpg, solo, on the Interstate. Keep at it until it does.

The brakes, the chassis are suitable for towing. The rubber bushings all need to be replaced, and KONI shocks installed. The brakes need a new master cylinder, vacuum booster and hoses. Re-do all the calipers and rear drum hydraulics.

Near thirty year old wiring is the reason I'd be a bit leery of this car, as there is so much of it. And, unlike the Dodge, working on it is a long and big job.

The real advantage of the Cadillac is the steering, as variable-ratio is superior to the Chrysler. It also has a longer wheelbase. I'd add a rear anti-roll bar if not so equipped.

I think you can have fun with either one. The Cadillac is the easiest choice given identical states of running reliability. I'd rather have the Dodge.
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Old 10-18-2007, 09:46 AM   #7
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Old 10-18-2007, 09:53 AM   #8
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IMHO either will work so put a hitch on both and take turns.

We frequent a lot of rod runs where many of the vehicles also tow a trailer to camp at or near the run. We see a lot of sixties Chrysler products towing and a few Caddy's - but most of those are fifties and older just due to the preference of rodders for those cars. We live right on the West Coast and we see a lot of these cars/trailers all over BC/WA/OR and they do not have issues with mountains and narrow winding roads. Some have upgraded the brakes and I suspect in some cases wiring, however most of the ones I've seen have not done much with wiring other than making sure it has not been compromised over the years. Seat belts are extremely important and the Cad will have those but if the other car does not make the effort to get that done. I know most Provinces require seat belts in all cars after 1963 or 1964 and three point are best - but again that's your decision.

It really comes down to your use. If you are planning trips blasting down the freeways or over the Rockies you will want the power of the Cad. If you are intending to take the secondary highways for the most part the Chrysler products work fine. All of the trailers of the early seventies and older were made with the expectation that a car would be the tow vehicle. Yes, the world has changed and the current crowd generally feel that the safest TV is a big truck, big engine, big ..... but you will do just fine with either car if driven with consideration to the limitations these cars have.

As a note I use a 1957 Pontiac station wagon to tow. I have upgraded the brakes, the wiring, and the cooling system, as well as added seat belts. I did these things over time as the old parts wore out and then, rather than just rebuild what was there, I replaced with the latest and greatest available at that time. It made it more affordable, and we never had any problems before making the changes until age and use caused us to make the repair/changes. We drive the car and tow the trailer with the knowledge that we are in a 50 year old vehicle and this it needs to be driven with care and attention.

For me, with those two cars available, I'd first off thank my father continuously, even if it is by looking up to the sky and saying thanks, Dad , and then I'd use them both with the biggest smile possible .

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Old 10-18-2007, 06:17 PM   #9
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Thanks to all of you that help me in my sole searching to make up my mind. I am leaning towards the Caddy for safety on longer run but will eventually outfit the Dodge for shorter run. ( I love the look of that Dodge)
Anyone have any idea on the double axle trailor or single axle for stability and control. Since retirement is at the corner, Eventually I will have a (not to heavy airstream just for me and the wife (still looking)) and I also have plan to pull 2 motorcycles 1300 pounds total with low hauler trailer (separate occasion). What would be better to tow (including the weight of the trailer)2500lbs with one axle trailer or 3000lbs with 2 axles trailer. Maybe the wife can drive the Caddy with the Airstream and I can drive the Dodge with the bikes (Humm I wonder) Thanks again & Safari 57 ( My Dad surely apreciate ) your kind word, me too. Cheers Dan

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