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Old 03-18-2010, 12:34 PM   #1
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What Can This Tow?

Hello Streamers!

We just bought a 1970 Ford Ranchero with a 351 Cleveland and are about to drive it to Phoenix to give it to Murray's dad for his birthday this weekend. (He owned one back in the day.) We purchased it from the gentleman who managed the boat yard where our boat was on the hard for seventy-six days last year, who received it from his uncle who owned it for 38 years.

We have no information about its towing capacity. We posted on a Ford Forum but were not able to find any salient information.

So can this tow our 1961 Bambi without any modifications to the frame other than adding a tow hitch? Do we dare to dream that it could tow our 1976 Caravanner?

Any insight would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 03-18-2010, 12:54 PM   #2
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That's a very nice looking Ranchero. I have owned and rebuilt antique cars since high school, and I would be extremely cautious about towing a 3000+# trailer with that Ranchero. The Cleveland has more than enough power to pull the small Airstream. It's the suspension and the transmission that I would be concerned about. I'm not sure that they could handle the load without some modification.

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Old 03-18-2010, 01:03 PM   #3
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Yhottys,

Yes and probably. If an automatic, you will need a transmission cooler and perhaps a larger radiator in addition to the hitch.

But then I tow with a 1977 Lincoln and a 1973 Powerwagon.

Bill
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Old 03-18-2010, 04:25 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moosetags View Post
That's a very nice looking Ranchero. I have owned and rebuilt antique cars since high school, and I would be extremely cautious about towing a 3000+# trailer with that Ranchero. The Cleveland has more than enough power to pull the small Airstream. It's the suspension and the transmission that I would be concerned about. I'm not sure that they could handle the load without some modification.

Brian
Thanks for your thoughts Brian. We really appreciate your insight.

All the best,
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Old 03-18-2010, 05:28 PM   #5
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A lot depends on how much towing you want to do. If you plan to drive it slowly to a local Camporee or vintage car meet for the weekend that is different from say a coast to coast trip on the interstate.

The Bambi should be fine. Possibly the Caravanner too if you take it easy.

In any case you need to make sure everything is in top shape, new rad hoses, possibly a new rad, trans cooler, service the transmission, brakes good, new shocks, etc.

Should be OK if you are halfway sensible. Get a good hitch and give it a try.
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Old 03-18-2010, 07:39 PM   #6
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I think Ganaraska is on the money.

Back in the 70's vehicles with a similar nature were towing dual axle Airstreams all over the country.

With the help of modern technology the project could go very well.
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Old 03-18-2010, 07:54 PM   #7
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What does it have for axle gearing . That will help determine how much strain will be on the transmission . Another weak spot wil be the brakes. The Caravanner might be pushing it . Good luck
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Old 03-18-2010, 08:38 PM   #8
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Man, that thing is a 70's. You can tow just about anything with it. ( if you would like to)

seriously, it would probably tow it. but if it's hot or going up hills you will probably over heat. extra coolers are a must for any 70's vehicle. even my 3/4 ton 75 dodge gets a little hot...
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Old 03-18-2010, 08:43 PM   #9
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The ranchero was based off a station wagon so its got a frame similar to a half ton pickup. It probably has a C6 transmission and it has a 9 inch rear end. It wont even know the bambi is behind it...
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Old 03-18-2010, 09:56 PM   #10
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My brother bought a 1971 Ranchero with a 351 Cleveland and towing package. The towing package was popular because it had a lower ratio rear end and heavy duty cooling. Having said that, the Cleveland would not be my pick of a towing engine. The 351 Windsor would be my pick. The Windsor has small ports and is designed to deliver low-end power like you need when towing. The Cleveland has huge ports and is designed for high revolutions.

In my opinion, the best use for that Ranchero would be to take it out and look for guys in SS396s and Corvettes.

The one you found looks like a beaut! My brother's is in a barn on his property in northeast Arkansas, but hasn't run in many years. And looks it.
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Old 03-18-2010, 10:06 PM   #11
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Those original plates!

Sorry to bend this tread, but I couldn't help but notice those original plates. Don't let them go.
Randy Bowman
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Old 03-18-2010, 10:15 PM   #12
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Quote:
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In my opinion, the best use for that Ranchero would be to take it out and look for guys in SS396s and Corvettes.
LOL! Or pretty girls!

We hope Dad likes it-it's a surprise. We plan on meeting him for breakfast, parking the Ranchero behind the restaurant, and handing him a small gift-wrapped box with the keys in it.

It may bring back all those great polyester, leisure suit memories.
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Old 03-18-2010, 10:21 PM   #13
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Hi, a few things from memory about the Ranchero/Torino/Country Squire. The 351 Cleveland will have no problem towing, but you might want to add some ballast in the bed. The 351 Cleveland 4V has very large intake ports and is followed by a C-6 transmission. The 351 Cleveland 2V has small intake ports and is followed with a a C-4 transmission. I believe all Rancheros had a 9" differential and the other models had a 8" differential with the 2-V / C-4 option. During this time frame, Cougars with a 351 Cleveland 4-V also had the C-6, but the 2-V engines had the FMX transmission.


Disclaimer: this information is from ancient history and may not be exactly correct, but close. Also this information plus a $5.00 bill might buy you either a cup of coffee or a bag of pop-corn.
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Old 03-18-2010, 11:12 PM   #14
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Back in the day, I had a 1972 Montego with a 351Cleveland and FMX. It was very good for the purpose I had it, but I seem to remember an issue towing with the FMX. I also had a Gran Torino wagon with a 351 Cleveland and a C4, I towed a 22 foot Holiday Rambler travel trailer all over the Mid South with with it with no trouble, other than having to always be looking for a gas station. The wagon had something like a 3.03 rear ratio. You can find the ratio of the rear end on the Ranchero by looking at the tag on one of the carrier bolts, it'll have 3 numbers on it, like "303".
If the car has over 60,000 miles on it, and it has not been done yet, expect the timing chain to come undone soon. It's not like the newer cars that shreds the engine if it happens, you just replace it and keep driving.

It would certainly tow your Bambi with no problem, and you could probably tow the Caravanner with a few "extras" like a transmission cooler, good frame mount receiver, and brake controller.
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