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View Full Version : Rear shocks and towing/hauling



Duke George V
01-31-2011, 02:54 AM
Anyone do any towing or hauling with their van? I'm possibly going to be towing a car a few hundred miles in the next month or so and I was considering replacing the rear shocks with Gabriel Hi Jackers, part number 49370. They're adjustable air shocks that you can pump up or down with a standard air hose, like at a gas station. They claim to be able to add up to 1100 pounds to your towing capacity, which is pretty significant when you consider the GVWR of my van is about 5200 lbs.

Also, who can I rent a car dolly from that won't bitch about the weight difference? Is U-Haul the only game in town? Last time I talked to them, they wouldn't rent me one because they said my Suburban only weighed 800 pounds more than the Chrysler Fifth Avenue I needed to move, and they require at least a thousand pounds difference between the two vehicles. I even offered to sign a waiver or something, but they refused my business. I could lie and tell them I'll be towing, like, a 1994 Geo Metro or something, but I'd rather not have to.

86euro
02-02-2011, 11:23 PM
Avoid U-haul, those douchebags will just waste your time. Do you know any one that has a dolly you could borrow? Or even know someone who knows someone?

We used to tow a pop-up camper with the '92 APV, you hardly noticed it was there. Some air shocks should be plenty enough to help out when towing a car, although I would be more worried about the brakes. Would you be towing on level terrain?

Duke George V
02-03-2011, 12:48 AM
Would you be towing on level terrain?

I would try to as much as possible, but the car is in Colorado. I would probably take the southern route and avoid I-70 altogether, which goes over the Rockies.

86euro
02-03-2011, 02:26 AM
You would probably be fine, but having a brake controller and a dolly with brakes would be much safer. Unfortunately then you need to buy a controller, wire it up, AND find a dolly with brakes. I don't think many have them.

Jr's3800
02-06-2011, 10:48 PM
I Have Monroe air shocks on the rear of mine... But I do have the Load Level... I will recommend the Monroe Max Air over the gabes all day long...

I see from your sig pic that you have a 3800 this meas you have 3.06 gears as well... You should be able to tow.. As for stopping... If you tow a car it takes a lot to stop and the Brake system of that van is not meant to deal with that... Now that I have tossed that disclaimer to you...

I agree with a lot of the above Post..

The Brake Calipers are Camaro Firebird Calipers, using Bonneville Pads and rotors iirc for the front... The rears are much like the Bonnevilles as well...

The actually weight of the van is in the 3800 Lb area... If you are towing a 3000 Lb car and the dolly lets say you are now at 7100 Lbs... The Trans in the van is designed for a max of 6000 Lbs... And at that point you would want a Trans Cooler...

Keep in mind I am in Floraida and on a lot of flat land... I have towed 4500 Lbs a short distance and the Engine and trans didn't seem to notice... The engine has enough torque, but stopping that weight is another issue.. Knew a guy that Towed cars all of the time with a 96 APV with the 3400 V6( all of these had 3.29 gears )... He had one problem with this, Burned up 2 transmissions in 2 years... Other than that he towed with the van a lot...

I am not so much concerned with what the van can tow as I am what the Brakes can stop..

Pontiac6ksteawd
02-07-2011, 12:23 AM
My Suggestion would be to avoid the tow dolly entirely...

Since that Chrysler has a frame, you can buy a tow bar, for alot cheaper than you can rent a tow dolly for, and flat tow the chrysler. I think the only catch would be that you have to disconnect the drive shaft at the rear yolk.

Attach that beast to the frame, hook it up to your 'Burb, and take off. No weight issues on the truck at all that way, just make sure you keep those brakes cool!

Jr's3800
02-07-2011, 12:30 AM
Hmmm I missed the Burb...

Had a Buddy that rented a car hauler from U-haul, to tow behind his Avalanche with a 3700 Lb Bonneville on the car hauler... iirc the truck was in the 5000-6000 Lb area and set up to tow 10,000 Lbs... They rented him the car hauler... Truck at 5000 Lbs at least, Bonneville at 3700 car hauler was over 2000... He towed the car across the state over here to my House.. No problems...

But it was designed to tow, and also had the Hydraboost brakes..

I would think you would be able to tow pretty good with the Burb, and I like the idea of the tow bar...

Duke George V
02-07-2011, 01:01 AM
The Fifth Avenue thing was about five years ago guys. I don't have the Suburban anymore.

And it turned out that my tax refund is much smaller than I anticipated, so I won't be going to get the car anyway. Thanks for the advice though.

Pontiac6ksteawd
02-07-2011, 01:07 AM
Why is it showing you posted this just a couple days ago?

Jr's3800
02-07-2011, 01:16 AM
Sorry to hear that man... Thats a Bummer..

If you ever do decide to tow anything with the van... Consider doing this...


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v294/Jr3800/1995%20Pontiac%20Transport/95TransportTrannyRemoval055.jpg

I actually have a larger cooler on there now.. This van came from the factory with 2 Trans cooler in the radiator, I run through both of them and then to the AUX cooler and back to the trans... Its kept the fluid nice and red through the abuse and all of the hauling I have done.. I have a Class 2 hitch... I wanted a class 3( overkill I know ) but they don't make one for it...

That L27 Tuned Port you have is a strong low end torquer... In 1991 GM rated it at 170 HP and 225 Ft Lbs... In 1993 the engine received newer pistons and better rings( less friction, they were pretty good to begin with, I think they went with a skinner set of rings and got a little closer to the top of the piston )... As well with the newer pistons they upped the compression from 8.5:1 to 9.0 : 1... Then the replaced the Pivots with Roller bearing pivots( a lot less valve train friction )... The numbers were never changed.. My guess is 180 HP and 235-240 Ft Lbs... And 1995 was the freak motor as it used the Series II crank and slightly lighter rods...

I have gotten way off topic... But your van should be pretty versatile and should do most of the things you want it to... Its the reason i like mine soo much and just can't let it go.. That and it looks like nothing on the road...

86euro
02-07-2011, 02:31 AM
Even though the plan went kaput, the flat-tow thing is not a good idea. While braking and turning, the vehicle in tow has more of a tendency to push the back end of the tow vehicle sideways.

Duke George V
02-07-2011, 02:33 AM
Why is it showing you posted this just a couple days ago?

I wasn't clear about the time the Suburban/5th Ave thing happened in. Sorry.

Duke George V
01-13-2012, 06:30 PM
I'm gonna revive this, since I might be doing some hauling soon. I'm looking at Monroe Sensa-Trac shocks for the rear, part number 58427. (http://catalog.monroe.com/catalogPart/monroePartSearchFromECatalog.do?partKey=320783&partNumber=58427&catalogKey=360&methodName=initialiseMonroe&catalogCode=monroe&locale=EN&loadStatus=ACTIVE) They have a 25 lb spring over them, and say they're made for vans that are used to tow or haul. Anyone have any experience with that particular shock?

SexySilhouette
01-13-2012, 06:57 PM
If you were to go with air shocks, you could install a factory air compressor to fill them instead of paying a gas station.

Fer1973
01-15-2012, 05:26 PM
so sorry for you low tax return, what kind of car were you trying to buy? just curious.


Fer

Duke George V
01-15-2012, 07:15 PM
That was last year, but it was going to be a turbocharged 1987 Pontiac 6000 SE wagon. It's currently owned by a user here named turbosewgn. He doesn't post here anymore, sadly. I'm pretty interested in knowing if he ever got all the little things sorted out on it.

Duke George V
02-04-2012, 05:24 AM
I'm gonna revive this, since I might be doing some hauling soon. I'm looking at Monroe Sensa-Trac shocks for the rear, part number 58427. (http://catalog.monroe.com/catalogPart/monroePartSearchFromECatalog.do?partKey=320783&partNumber=58427&catalogKey=360&methodName=initialiseMonroe&catalogCode=monroe&locale=EN&loadStatus=ACTIVE) They have a 25 lb spring over them, and say they're made for vans that are used to tow or haul. Anyone have any experience with that particular shock?
No one knows anything about this? I'm mostly wondering if these shocks will negatively affect ride quality.

JB1
02-11-2012, 10:40 PM
I have a century wagon w/3rd-row seat, and haul 2 kids back there all the time. I have Gabriel Ultra shocks, and put airlift 1000 bags in the rear coil springs. The bags made a HUGE difference! better handling, stability, and a firm ride without being harsh.The kit comes with 2 air fill valves, and I put separate fills for the bags because I didn't want any side to side transfer of air.
I recently warrantied out my front gabriel ultra struts for some that fit a '94-96 dustbuster. The spring seat is 3/4" higher, and I now run 225/50-17s on steel wheels front and rear. I really wanted to go with Monroe struts, but the spring seat didn't have much difference. The monroe load-adjusting shocks, and the max-air shocks have 7.25" of travel...way more than any gabriel. SD Truck springs has some air-suspension bags for $28-$40 that you could replace your rear springs completely with. Good Luck!

Duke George V
02-18-2012, 11:30 PM
I bought those Monroe shocks I linked to in a previous post and installed them today. Easy job, as long as you have a helper. Of course I forgot to take pictures. The van rides a lot better now, especially since the old shocks were more or less blown and old as hell. Ride height is a bit higher in the back as well. Should work real well for when I move next.

white89euro
05-28-2012, 08:06 PM
Hello!

My experience in towing has been with
1. A-body wagons (including a tech4)
2. Windstar Minivans
3. Venture / Montana Minivans

By FAR the best for towing were the Venture / Montana vans. They tow (and have towed) our 2500 pop up camper with ease. You really cannot tell anything is behind you. Plenty of power to spare and gas mileage around 16.5 highway.

I agree with the other posters: what ever you two with, install a transmission cooler first.
Second, I have always used Gabriel or Monroe air shocks (added to the vans and wagons). This keeps your headlights aimed correctly and keeps your van/trailer from scraping the pavement, especially on driveways for gas stations.

I tow only in drive, never overdrive - saves the transmission.

That's all I can think of...
George

Duke George V
05-30-2012, 03:15 AM
I tow only in drive, never overdrive - saves the transmission.
Not only that, at 60-65 mph, the gearing puts the engine right in the meat of the torque band, at least on my 3.06 and Buick V6.

MADHUSMITA
06-05-2012, 02:29 PM
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Jr's3800
06-08-2012, 11:44 AM
Hello!

My experience in towing has been with
1. A-body wagons (including a tech4)
2. Windstar Minivans
3. Venture / Montana Minivans

By FAR the best for towing were the Venture / Montana vans. They tow (and have towed) our 2500 pop up camper with ease. You really cannot tell anything is behind you. Plenty of power to spare and gas mileage around 16.5 highway.

I agree with the other posters: what ever you two with, install a transmission cooler first.
Second, I have always used Gabriel or Monroe air shocks (added to the vans and wagons). This keeps your headlights aimed correctly and keeps your van/trailer from scraping the pavement, especially on driveways for gas stations.

I tow only in drive, never overdrive - saves the transmission.

That's all I can think of...
George

One of the reasons that the Montana could tow so well was the 3.29 gearing behind the 3400, and in the later years with the 3500 there was more torque to be had, pretty good for a 3.5 pushrod...

The old Trans Sport with the 3800 and 3.06 gears could tow as well... The 90-96 vans weighed 3600-3800 Lbs and with the torque of the 3800 towing was easy.. Bad part is there is no class III hitch for the 90-96 vans.. IIRC the 3800 powered vans were actually rated to tow 3000 Lbs.. And 94-96 Vans had some updates that the earlier ones didn't have, Frame also changed to some degree...

I also agree on the cooler... If you tow or are going to tow a Trans cooler is a must...