By on January 28, 2016

 

towing. shutterstock user PATIWIT HONGSANG

Rob writes:

Hello Sajeev,

I’m untangling a logistical nightmare and I think a Panther can help.

This particular nightmare involves relocating from Urbana, IL to Idaho Falls, ID, a 1964 Corvette convertible that’s sitting in Richmond, VA, and a Grand Marquis in New Jersey. The Corvette “ran when parked” in my father-in-law’s garage in 1982 and brought back to Illinois by me using a rental van towing a car hauler. A moving company will take care of the move to Idaho including transporting one car, but not the Corvette because the car has to be operational. In the meantime, my Dad needs to sell my grandfather’s Grand Marquis.

The plan is to purchase the Grand Marquis, drive it to Delaware to meet up with the wife, kids, and dogs. While there, I’ll have U-Haul install a 2-inch hitch receiver and (possibly) have an independent shop install Coil-Rite air bag helper springs. My wife will fly to Idaho with the kids while I drive the Grand Marquis with the dogs to Illinois, where I’ll pick up the Corvette and trailer it to Idaho.

So, how crazy is this plan? Alternatives include putting the Corvette into storage and waiting for another opportunity to transport it, or buying a SUV/truck, but my wife and I being iconoclasts towards the dogma of parents and pet owners needing SUVs, and at a time of limited funds and many one-time expenses, this plan seems best.

Thoughts?

Sajeev answers:

Everyone knows that I love me some Panther, even if I don’t currently own one. The red flags in this query depend on the year, mileage and options of said Panther. Because Panthers aren’t monoliths, every generation and/or year has unique challenges as they age — especially when towing two tons (give or take) of Corvette and car trailer. No matter which one you get, get a trailer brake controller, then drive slow and brake slow!

Since you didn’t tell us anything about your Panther tow vehicle, let’s get generic:

  1. Box Panthers (79-91) towing in 2016: The Ford AOD is a great gearbox when upgraded by a savvy transmission shop, but stock units are marginal. Add the stress of towing and it’s a dicey proposition for long distances (i.e. don’t use 4th gear much). The TV cable bushing is the most obvious problem. Adding a transmission cooler helps if one is not already equipped. Mediocre disc/drum brakes will keep you from towing at speeds attainable by a modern truck/SUV. The helper springs can help, but I don’t know how often rear air springs were ordered back then.
  2. Aero/Fat Panthers (92-97) in 2016: Better transmissions (4R70W) came with the 4.6-liter V-8, but age and external coolers are still a concern. The fact these are somewhat new with optional air suspensions makes it a better proposition for long distance towing. But towing in overdrive? Maybe not. At least the fat Panthers have (dare I say it) rich and warm interior trimmings.
  3. Skinny Panthers (1998-2011) in 2016: The best perk here is bigger front brakes and calipers. Rear air is still available with the improved suspensions. The 2003+ models got a beefier (4R75W) transmission and far more aggressive suspension improvements. I’d feel content towing with a 2003+ Panther at reasonable highway speeds, even using overdrive on flat stretches. Too bad the interiors are universally cheaper than their Fat Panther counterparts.

Yes, you could safely tow this load in theory with any generation of Panther, but you’ll have much less stress in the process if it’s a 2003+ model with recently replaced air springs (that won’t bleed out 500 miles into your journey from cracks at the base of the springs).

It must be nice to be an SUV iconoclast with a mid-year Corvette and a Grand Marquis. I like your style!

[Image: Shutterstock user PATIWIT HONGSANG]

Send your queries to [email protected]com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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53 Comments on “Piston Slap: The Monolith Panther Tow Vehicle?...”


  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    Pay to have the Vette shipped. In the end, it will cost less, not to mention the value of your time. Plus, if anything happens to the Vette along the way, it’s the carrier’s problem, not yours.

    • 0 avatar
      Ko1

      +1 on this plan. I’m all for the feeling of accomplishment of DIY but if I ever had to move my Corvairs or my ’67 Chrysler any kind of distance, I’d be calling a transport company. It’s fun to watch Finnegan and Freiburger screw around and deal with breakdowns on Roadkill but having that crap happen to you in real life sucks.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      +10. This is entirely too much effort, paperwork, shop time, installation, modification, taxes, and stress for something which can be handled with a phone call and a credit card number in 20 minutes.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Shipping a running car is fairly cheap. Shipping a non-running car is massively expensive.

      Just DIY the move. Go slow and take your time, will be just fine.

      One suggestion is that rather than renting a tank of a U-Haul car hauler that will weigh more than the Corvette, invest in a lightwieght aluminum car trailer. You can sell it after the move and get most of your money back. Probably won’t lose much more than the cost of a one-way rental.

  • avatar
    MBella

    Since you are only making one trip this way you’ll be fine. If the trailer in question has trailer brakes, get the trailer brake controller. Keep it in the slow lane with a large gap to the car in front of you. 55-60mph and very gentle acceleration deceleration.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    The plan only makes sense if you actually want that specific Grand Marquis. Otherwise you’re just towing one old car cross-country with another old car. I love a road trip, but this one is just asking for trouble.

    It’s probably a lot cheaper to get the Corvette operational. It doesn’t need run well, it just needs to drive onto a trailer.

  • avatar
    mankyman

    I have wondered about the air bags question myself. I have a 2007 CVPI with 134K (3.27 LSD) and have regularly used it to tow a light (> 2000 pound) boat throughout the south. It’s funny being the only dude at the boat ramp with a car.

    Regardless, the car handles the load just fine as far as acceleration, stopping, and generally feeling in control of the vehicle. At highway speeds, mileage is horrible (15? 16?), but that’s OK. A challenge with using these as tow vehicles is the trailer ball is pretty low, causing bottoming out on driveways, etc. A very experienced mechanic said that my vehicle is very tow-capable, having the BOF construction, 4.6 engine (same as older F150s), transmission (same as some F150s), Ford 8.8 rear end, coolers, 4 wheel disc brakes, etc.

    So 3 questions for the cognoscenti:

    (1) I recently had to replace the rear end because the pinion bearings went. (I got a junkyard rear end and put it in) Could the condition of the differential been caused by towing 10,000 miles in 5 years? Or, could my overenthusiastic fishtailing around corners have accelerated wear in any way?

    (2) Would getting air bags help in any noticeable way? Like I said, the rear end does tend to sag a bit when I’m towing the boat, but does that cause any real problems? I’m running on the original shocks, and I see you can get either shocks where the air bag is built into the shock or you can also buy a kit that goes in the springs. Preferences?

    (3) Alternatively, what could I buy that gives me remotely the utility of the CVPI? I don’t know any other car that can tow well, and all the trucks, SUVs, crossovers that I look at are freakishly expensive. What would be a cheap, reliable alternative to my current vehicle?

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      The only modern cars I know of with actual towing capacity are Saabs and Volvos. It seems like the Swedes didnt bother lowering capacities when importing their vehicles to North America so most are rated at 3500lbs.

      Certain Dodge Magnums were also rated for 3800lbs, but they are tough to find equipped that way.

      I’m fairly certain any LX car or a G8 could safely handle ~2000 lbs but you’d be over official specs.

    • 0 avatar
      jrhmobile

      Short answers for the three questions:

      1) Yes, on both counts. But it’s an ex cop car with 134K miles, so I wouldn’t take that all on myself. Clean/replace the gear lube like right now, and check to old crud for metal shavings. Fresh lube is good insurance, and inspecting the old lube lets you know if you bought a worthy replacement.

      2) Yes. Fresh shocks AND the air bag kit that goes inside the springs. Replace the ones in front too, and don’t cheap out on the replacement shocks. Trust me, your ride will be transformed.

      3) You’ll know if you need to substitute the Crown Vic for towing duty after covering 1) and 2) above. If you do, look into V6-equipped Rangers/Tacomas/Frontiers/Dakotas/S-10s.

      • 0 avatar
        mankyman

        Thanks for your advice. “New” rear end is fine. Changed the lube when I got it.

        I’m a bit reluctant to spend all that money on shocks. Aren’t the heavy duty shocks that originally came with the car OK? I mean, shocks either work or they don’t, right?

        I see some other comments further down disparaging the P71 as a tow vehicle. I have absolutely no problems towing my boat. Like I say, the only problem I have is the rear end sags a bit. But then, I would never tow more than 2000 pounds with it. It’s got plenty of pick up and go and still stops fine.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          The P71 shocks are pretty stiff but shocks do wear out. We can’t tell if they are worn out through the internet.

          Most people are disparaging the Panther in general and the P71 is not the same as a garden variety Panther. P71’s are equipped with the same or higher rated parts of those that effect tow capacity than those cars that were rated to tow 5K. Even base model cars are good for 2K. So yeah you are fine towing 2K with a P71.

        • 0 avatar
          jrhmobile

          Shocks are insidious. They don’t so much die as waste away. And if you drive the car regularly, you don’t notice the deterioration until they’re WAY too far gone. And even at nearly all-highway miles, you can bet with 134,000 miles on OEM shocks they’re pretty shot. Truly, I can’t emphasize this enough.

          A fresh set of quality shocks (They don’t have to be Konis or Bilsteins; a top-line set of Monroe gas shocks will do nicely) will transform how your car handles and brakes. You’ll marvel at the difference. Plus, four well-controlled wheels at the front will make the ones connected behind you track straight and true. So much so, I’ll bet, that you’ll kick yourself for waiting so long once you do it.

          And don’t let the folks disparaging your CVPI get to you. A solid full-size, full-frame car like yours can tow a ton — or do a ton — easily all day long.

          • 0 avatar
            mankyman

            Thanks. I’m going to get the lot; Monroe heavy duty shocks and an airbag kit.

            This car has done a lot of heavy duty, and I’ve been close to the max weight of 6600 pounds many times, hauling various combinations of gear and kids around.

            Incidentally, I was taking the Dauphine Island ferry last fall and the ferry was rolling back and forth in the waves. There were a lot of other vehicles in the ferry but my car seemed to be the only one where the space between the top of the tires and the body opened and closed. Up to 2-3″ of sway. The other cars didn’t do that – they seemed stiffer. Ever since, I’ve wondered about the shocks.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      ” have regularly used it to tow a light (> 2000 pound) boat throughout the south.”

      When I was a kid my dad towed our 18′ fiberglass bowrider with an ’86 Escort wagon. The advent of needing a full size truck for any towing duty is pretty recent. People used to tow whatever with whatever.

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        My second boat was an 18′ Celebrity w/4.3 MerCriuiser. I towed that with my compact ’93 Toyota PU. I figured I had somewhere around 2700 pounds back there. My girlfriend at the time had a ’94 Escort wagon That Escort didn’t have the power, brakes, curb weight, or suspension to safely tow that boat out of the garage much less to the local lake. Even with an outboard any 18′ glass open bow boat is gonna go over 2K pounds easy sitting on a trailer loaded with fuel and gear. You don’t tow 2K+ pounds with a Ford Escort station wagon. Not safely anyways. I’d love to know how he even managed to find and mount a class II hitch for that thing because a class I wouldn’t cut it and I doubt anyone made a class II hitch for an Escort.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      1) No

      2) if the rear end truly sags on a P71 with a 2,000lb trailer hooked up you are doing it wrong. P71 rear springs are stiff and designed with having 200-300lbs of gear in the trunk. Yes it will come down a little when you drop the hitch on but otherwise you may have your trailer very tongue heavy or you are fooling yourself as to its actual weight.

      3)Nothing

      • 0 avatar
        mankyman

        (2) Yeah, I know. It’s a logistical nightmare keeping the trunk from weighing more than 300 pounds with gear and 150 pounds of trailer weight. When you’re that close to 6600 pounds, you need to be good at load distribution. It’s time for new shocks.

    • 0 avatar

      A great alternative would be a 2001-2006 Chevy Tahoe. Find a base model, cloth interior with 2WD and you can pick one up under $5k. If it has the tow package it will already have the hitch, wiring, 3.73 rear end and trans coolers.

      We used a Tahoe Z71 to tow a vintage 5500lb trailer over 10k miles and it was rock solid. We could easily tow at 70-75 and it was super stable.

      We decided a vintage tow vehicle would be fun so we bought a 94 Roadmaster Wagon to replace it. It’s not nearly as stable as the Tahoe for a few reasons, but the biggest is the overhang to wheelbase ratio. It’s under 40% on the Tahoe, over 50% on the Roadmaster. Combine that with old, mushy bushings, loose steering, and the Roadmaster is no fun over 50 MPH.

      The Tahoe was also dead-nuts reliable, it only needed regular maintenance while we owned it. Brakes, tires, fluids, etc. It had 150k miles when we sold it and I wish we hadn’t. Oh well!

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        You know your right on about the overhang. I had a ’97 2Dr Tahoe. I bought it to pull my 23′ cuddy boat with V8/sterndrive. A friend me told it would sway all over the place with the short wheel base and I’d end up regretting buying the truck. He was wrong. It was super stable w/zero sway issues. I attributed that to 2 things. First the boat/trailer was set-up correctly as far as tongue weight. Secondly, that truck had very little rear overhang. The distance from the hitch ball to the rear axel was very small. So despite the short wheelbase it still towed like a dream.

      • 0 avatar
        mankyman

        Thanks! I’m more of a Ford man but not committed to Ford.

        Since the Vic failed me last summer by spitting out a spark plug I’ll start looking at Tahoes on Craigslist.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    I would vote for shipping the vette, open air shipping is pretty cheap, good question do you want the Panther,
    in what you will put into it to make it a semi ok tow car ( safety, time…) you could pay to have the vette shipped, or rent a pickup to tow the vette and dump the panther, I hear there is a guy in Houston who love them, he will fly to Nj and drive it back.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I towed a 1967 Mustang (in July 2013) with a 2004 F150 Heritage (2wd, 4.6 V8, 4-speed auto) the trip was from the Lima, OH area to Gallup, NM. I locked out OD, went slow and stayed off the interstate as much as possible.

    If you don’t mind the time it takes and having everybody passing you, it is actually a nice way to see this great country.

    • 0 avatar
      pragmatist

      Wouldn’t it be wise to stay ON the interstate? Easy hills,much less braking, no sharp turns?

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Go 55 in a 75 or more zone? As Waylon Jennings said: “I might be a little bit crazy but it’s kept me from going insane.”

        • 0 avatar
          CobraJet

          I towed my daughter’s Mercury Milan from Nashville to Memphis on I40 with my 94 Chevy PU using a U-haul car dolly. This is one where the two front wheels of the towed vehicle are on the trailer and the rear wheels are on the ground. Not a big deal when towing a front-wheel drive vehicle (no drive shaft to disconnect). I drove about 60 with the transmission in regular drive.
          The big deal is with U-haul. They entered my tow vehicle and the car being towed into their database. It met the criteria so they rented me the dolly. If U-haul data indicates a tow vehicle is inadequate for the towed vehicle weight, they won’t rent it to you. For a two-axle car trailer, they probably will make you rent one of their trucks to tow it.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            I rented the two axle trailer from UHAUL. Their date indicated that the car/trailer combo shouldn’t be more than 5000 lbs so I was fine with a 1/2 ton truck.

            My concern and the reason I kept it off the interstate was my nearly 10 year old close to 100,000 mile truck (I wanted to be kind to the transmission and go slow) and the desire to not be run over by the jackasses with turbo diesel pickups towing 10,000+ lbs at 95 mph.

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            “For a two-axle car trailer, they probably will make you rent one of their trucks to tow it.”

            If you show up with a Panther, yes.

            If you show up with a a truck capable of actually towing a car, no – I’ve done this with my F250, to tow my old Merc to the shop.

            They asked me what my truck was and for the rough weight of the towed car and just handed me the paperwork.

            (n.b. For in-town, don’t bother. AAA will do it cheaper than a one-day rental even if you’ve already used up your allotment of freebies.

            And that way you also don’t have to load the thing yourself and deal with moving it.)

  • avatar
    ExPatBrit

    1964 Vette is about 3200 lbs according to Road and Track.

    http://www.corvsport.com/Corvette/C2/1964/C2_1964_Specifications.html

  • avatar
    lastwgn

    Another big achilles heel of towing with a box panther that does not have the factory tow package will be the rear axle gear. Many if not most Grand Marquis are equipped with a 2.73 rear gear, which sucks the life out of the engine. However, even with that set-up, if the corvette convertible can be towed with two wheels on the ground using a tow dolly, towing will not be an issue. Just make sure the tires on the ground can hold air and will not blow apart during the trip. I have towed first generation Mazda RX-7’s long-distance with a 1991 Mercury on more than one ocassion.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    The last gen Grand Marquis is similar to a 2WD F150 of late 90’s/early 2000s construction, I say go for it with the Class IV hitch and air springs. As Sanjeev noted, make sure you install a trailer brake controller and the trailer has brakes on each axle. Should be a fine rig if not a bit underpowered.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    You can buy a GMT-800 SUV pretty cheaply. Find one with a tow package and your pretty much good to go. The wiring is all there for the brake controller & installing is plug n play. Won’t be the case with the car. That’s a pretty major job and you’ll spend hundreds of dollars just on installation unless you do it yourself. Regardless every cargo trailer I’ve rented has been equipped w/surge brakes. I’ve also rented trailers where if you pulled up with anything less than a 3/4 ton truck they wouldn’t rent to you. So I would check into all of that first if you haven’t already.

    Your best bet as others have suggested is to probably just have someone transport it for you. Trying to make a tow vehicle out of an old Panther is an exercise in futility IMO when you have so many better options our there for a tow vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      This isnt some 4 cylinder unibody FWD gas saver here, this is a car built like a truck: full frame, RWD, solid axle, V-8 engine. Itll tow a Corvette just fine, buying an SUV isnt necessary unless he just wants it for after the job. The rest of his family is flying, so its not like he will need more room or cargo capacity than the Grand Marquis offers. With a 4.6L and being lighter and more aerodynamic than an SUV, he will likely get a lot better mileage, especially when not in the mountains.

      Its not like he’s towing a 70s Olds wagon with a Contour here, the Corvette is a fairly light car and the Grand Marquis is a fairly heavy duty car. Buying an SUV is overkill.

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        “Buying an SUV is overkill.”

        Not it’s not. That car wasn’t designed to tow close to 5K pounds. It has the wrong gearing, no transmission cooler, soft, saggy, mushy, rear suspension. No factory receiver hitch, none of the wiring for an electric brake controller. The mileage and towing performance would be terrible due to the tall gearing. Waste of time and money to try and turn it into something it’s not. I tried towing with a car. I soon tired of that nonsense, got a proper truck haven’t looked back.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Panthers were designed to tow up to 5K in the aero years or even up to 6K in the box years when properly equipped. The problem is very few were properly equipped for towing that much.

          The big key in this is the gear ratio in the rear axle. Tow package and HPP cars came with 3.23 gears (with a very short window of 3.55 for the HPP) however depending on the year the standard models had 3.08 or 2.73 ratios.

          However while I have towed 5K with my HPP’ed 92 CV I certainly wouldn’t want to tow the proposed combination across the country.

          A SUV or pickup is also not necessarily the answer. It needs to have the equipment that the mfg required for the load in question. Particularly with SUVs many are not equipped with anything that raises the tow capacity beyond the stated minimum which may be less than the properly equipped Panther.

          All in all either shipping the Vette or going to Uhaul and getting one of their trucks and trailers will be better choices. Why buy a car, truck or SUV for a single trip. Renting a big Uhaul will be cheaper and easier.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @Scoutdude,
            Ford Falcons here can tow 5,000lbs with the inline Barra engine. One thing you used to see a lot is a Falcon towing a lightweight Caravan, before the use of now common diesel SUV’s and Pickups.

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            I think you win, by having actually towed a relatively comparable load cross country in basically the same car.

          • 0 avatar
            Carlson Fan

            @scoutdude – I agree that an SUV without the towing package and tall gears won’t be any better than a panther. But almost all of them come equipped with a towing package nowadays. I also agree that it’s best not to buy a tow vehicle at all for his situation. If it was me, I’d figure out a way to drive it home!

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        And more importantly, it has the same transmission and rear diff as the F150 of the era.

        Make sure it has a good transmission cooler and I’d think it’d be fine; the only worry I can think of is that it might be a bit slow or undercapacity compared to the F150 because of the lower rear ratio.

  • avatar
    Toad

    What is the cost to have the Vette shipped vs. the cost to tow it yourself with all the machinations involved? My guess is that the all in cost of both options is probably pretty close, and that is assuming that there are no problems using the old Panther to tow cross country.

    Taking on a cross country family relocation is stressful enough; perhaps the complexity, risk, time, and expense of moving the Panther and Vette would be better invested in making sure your family’s move goes smoothly.

    Fire sale or donate the Panther, then put the Vette in storage. When your kids are a little older take them a cross county road trip to retrieve it. It will be a great experience that all of you can enjoy.

    • 0 avatar
      olddavid

      I am usually of the the ilk believing in my own invulnerability, however time has disabused me of that opinion. Disclaimer done, I know you’re going to tow, so be careful and go by the route that gives you the easiest elevation changes. No Loveland Pass on this trip. Possibly go through northern Wyoming after Sturgis to Cody and on though? Don’t endanger your life trying to accomplish the impossible. If the Marquis gives up the ghost, sell it for metal weight and call a transport company. Your family will be anxious enough by themselves in an unfamiliar town, so make it as quickly as safety dictates. Good luck. Were I 30 years younger I’d volunteer to help just to test my mettle once again.

  • avatar
    mike9o

    Using an online transport company to get an estimate, I got an $1145 quote to ship an inoperable ’64 Corvette from Chicago to Boise. Your mileage may vary.

    • 0 avatar
      BuzzDog

      Thanks for that information. Now, let’s assume he drives the shortest route, which is approximately 1,500 miles:

      I’ll take a wild guess and say he’ll get 15mpg towing a 3,200 pound load, and the current average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States is $1.822 (which seems high in my area, but let’s just admit this is a “back of the napkin” exercise). So gas is going to run $180.

      Unless you’re a masochist, plan on two nights in hotel rooms: If you Priceline it to death, you might get by for another $150. Allow another $100 or so for meals. Now we’re up to $430.

      You’ll have to add a hitch receiver, a brake controller, shocks and air bag helper springs to Grandpa’s Panther. Not sure what that will cost, but you start to see you’re getting close to the cost of shipping. And this doesn’t even include the cost of getting to New Jersey, driving to Delaware, and then on to Urbana to pick up the Vette.

      Don’t do it, man…just don’t do it!

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        But the load won’t be 3200lbs as a trailer that can carry that much weighs a ton or so minimum, unless you have a fancy aluminum one. Even a tow dolly can push 500lbs.

        I’d figure more like 10-12mpg when crossing passes is involved.

        • 0 avatar

          10 MPG Probably. Our Tahoe could do 12 MPG, towing in 4th at 60 MPH. That Panther will be in 3rd, and a car on a trailer is not nearly as aerodynamic as our old Streamline trailer.

          • 0 avatar
            BuzzDog

            Thanks, guys…and to think, I was afraid someone was going to come along and tell me my cost estimates were too HIGH, using the (un)proven accuracy of the renowned “back of the napkin” method.

            So if the Panther’s mileage gets knocked down to 10 mpg, it makes the proposition even LESS cost effective. I simply don’t see how it makes economic sense, not to mention you’ll be missing out on time spent with your family as they’re settling into a new home. You can’t put a price on that.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    They used the same mirrors on the original Aerostar! Yay!

    http://www.curbsideclassic.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/1995FordAerostarAd03.jpg

    However, it seems like only sometimes. Can someone clue me in on when they used the black plastic smaller mirrors, and when they had the big extended ones? Perhaps part of a tow package.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      The little black plastic mirrors, which were standard on all Aerostars, were the same as on the first-gen Ranger and Bronco II, and the base F-150 from 85-87 (also possibly available on the base Bronco).

      The optional black or chrome Swing-Lok mirrors (I dunno if they were still using that name in the ’80s) were also standard on almost all Broncos and F-150s after 1981, and most first-gen Rangers and Bronco IIs.

      EDIT: Looking in the ’86 Aerostar brochure, Ford just calls them “swingaway mirrors.”

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    This could be dangerous. Sure, I have done this maybe a dozen times, but never with an unfamiliar tow vehicle and over unfamiliar roads. Also, my tow vehicle had the proper towing equipment and tranny cooler on it already. Save yourself the aggravation and probably some money and have it transported for you.
    That way you can help your wife and family get there easier too.

    Or- rent a truck and trailer combination, and drive S-L-O-W.
    The main thing is to BE CAREFUL !

  • avatar
    WildcatMatt

    I live in Delaware and have made the trip to Illinois more than a couple of times and have looked into having my Wildcat shipped to me.

    I’ll echo what others have said — make a realistic estimate all of your costs for the trip: the car, gas (figuring crappy tow mileage), the cost of getting to Delaware, hitch, trailer, food, and lodging. I think you could get a lot of work done on the ‘Vette and ship it for the cost of DIY and I would explore that if at all possible.

    Although I’ve done Wilmington to Chicago comfortably with a toddler with one overnight stop that’s been cruising at 75-80 which you’re not going to do so I would assume 2 stops on the way to Illinois. I can’t speak reliably to points beyond Des Moines.

    If you go with this plan, resist the urge to meander up to the Turnpikes (I-76/I-80/I-90). Take I-95 south into Maryland, take the Beltway around Baltimore to the North, then take I-70 West, continuing on I-68 through West Virginia. Then take I-79 North to re-join I-70 and cross Ohio and Indiana. Definitely plan to stop at Exit 10 in WV, it’s your best bet for easy access to food and fuel on your way.

    Not only does this save you a fortune in tolls, but in my experience traffic on this route is much more laid-back, there are fewer cops, and the trip through the mountains is much gentler than the PA Turnpike.

  • avatar
    mankyman

    I don’t suppose anyone is still reading this thread, but I wanted to add a coda. I have a 2007 P71. Yesterday I hauled a 2800 pound car along with a 250 pound single axle dolly about 600 miles.
    I am used to towing an 1500 pound boat + trailer combo and it feels fine with that.

    Towing 3000 pounds with a P71 is a lot closer to the edge than towing 1500 pounds. I feel it would be OK around town, but I never felt comfortable going faster than about 60 mph or so. I felt like I could stop reasonably fast and get up to speed reasonably fast, but I was buffeted by the truckers going by me at 70 mph. My mileage was 13 mpg. I would not have done it if I had to go up a lot of hills.

    I would be curious to try this trip with a late 90’s F150, and I believe the engine, transmission and differential approximate those of the CVPI. I saw a lot of other vehicles being towed and it was mostly with a 3/4 ton or 1 ton truck.


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