Towing Pumkinator with another G-body wagon?

SRD art

G-Body Guru
Jun 16, 2011
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St. George, UT
Hey all, how's things? Those who remember me I've wanted to get back to posting G-body happenings but have been working two jobs lately and staying plenty busy. I've got a question though and I really wasn't sure where it fits in the forum so it ended up here in general. I found an old thread from 2012 on the subject but it was closed so I couldn't post my question there. I'm trying to get as detailed below as I can so I can get some decent feedback about what I'm thinking to do.

I want to tow Pumkinator to races with another 79 Cutlass wagon I have. I've dolly towed My 73 Nova with Pumkinator, with Pumk completely loaded from the front seats back with tools and junk from Utah to Georgia and back without any issues other than dragging booty from all the weight in the back. This time in towing Pumk however I want to use a trailer, which I have prior experience only using my Suburbans. The goal is to get better mpg and have some insane cool factor when I pull in to races towing a wagon with a wagon.

Pumkinator is going on a diet so it'll end up somewhere between 3000 and 3300 lbs. I just got the trailer and don't know yet what the weight of it is, however it does have a 5000 lb axle. It's an 18 ft single axle with an airbag custom suspension built by a company that uses this set up for high end custom trailers. It was a full use prototype for a design that is now in production, I got it as part of the deal to obtain a Malibu parts car and I just used it to haul the complete Malibu wagon body including engine and trans, but no chassis under it. It towed flawlessly behind my '04 Suburban from Phoenix AZ to southern Utah.

The tow wagon is a '79 Cutlass, stock control arms with poly bushings and Proforged ball joints, 1LE F-body 33mm front sway bar, Moog 5660 650 lb springs and Bilstein shocks. Front brakes are a 12" dual piston '98-02 Camaro conversion. The rear suspension has boxed factory control arms, F41 rear sway bar, and 2" drop springs with air bag assist bags that were on a friend's Malibu wagon that was used to tow a 2000+ lb boat. The engine is a 406 SBC with ported factory heads and a custom ground serious grunt cam that should be in the neighborhood of 300-350 hp and 500+ ft lbs. The trans is a TH350 with a transpack kit and the rear axle is a drum brake 7.5 with a Yukon posi center and 2.56 gears. At the advice of the fellow that towed the boat with the Malibu I will strengthen/ brace the rear frame rails somehow, and the hitch I'm using is a class 3 from a 75 El Camino that I modified to bolt into Pumkinator at the rear bumper mounts and the rear frame rails.

Last 2 pics are renderings of where Pumk is headed and the car that I'm building to tow it. Just wanted to get some feedback from anyone that's towed something as heavy as a car on a trailer with a G-body. Am I on track or am I missing something to keep things right side up? Thanks for any info you can share.


trip 011b.jpg
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Pumk Wagon Forums.jpg
79 Cutlass Wagon new 8 72.jpg
 

carnutjw

G-Body Guru
Supporting Member
Sep 17, 2017
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Glad to see you back Ben. My concerns would be 1) The 7.5" rear axle bearings- they're not exactly "robust"- on the tow vehicle. 2) Total gross weight- 3500# + 3200# + 2000# = 8700#-how much do you trust those F body brakes? Does the trailer have brakes? 3) Gonna be a turd off the line with 2.56 gears, even with a decent 406 sbc. Try it and let us know how it works out. If it's bad, just head back home.
 
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Ribbedroof

Comic Book Super Hero
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Jan 4, 2009
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Trailer brakes a must, probably also required by law when trailer is over 2000#
 
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ELCAM

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Jun 19, 2021
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I have an old Reece hitch on an El Camino it is a class 3 hitch goes on the bumper mounts and has heavy angle plates that go about 15" forward on the bottom of the frame that uses two half inch bolts mounting it to the frame on each side.

Key is it looks like a class 3 but was rated like a class 2, 350/3500# The G body chassis is not a heavy tow chassis.
 
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scoti

Royal Smart Person
Sep 5, 2019
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Braking would be a concern; 101%. Def need properly functioning trailer brakes on both axles as well as the HD brakes on the wagon.

There's more weight @ the load vs the tow vehicle which is sketchy when dealing w/vehicles not designed for the HD task. I'd want to keep that tongue weight as light as possible (limits of the tow vehicle/hitch combo). Shifting the load on the trailer might/prob will be necessary so the rear of the tow vehicle just starts squatting.
 
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81cutlass

Comic Book Super Hero
Feb 16, 2009
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I mean would you pull the trailer with an 03 extended cab, 4wd S10? Probably. A G body is very much just a 2wd S10 with coils instead of leafs.

Stuff I'd keep an eye out for-

Front F body brakes, they are the same as a police spec impala and bigger than a 4wd 98+ S10 by a considerable margin. As long as you have trailer brakes and a good booster and have the proportioning valve set, you'd be fine i'd imagine.
Weight distribution hitch and rear frame reinforcement is a must. The rear frame rails on G bodies can't hardly hold up a bumper when they rust out, i'd be afraid of bending the frame in a panic stop. I'd weld in some reinforcements from the rear frame up to where the coil springs mount, probably one of those shock brakces, and possibly reinforce the control arm to frame locations similar to what Trick Chassis or HR parts n stuff offers for GN's.
Rear axle bearings also make a lot of sense. 4wd S10's have much larger diameter rear axle bearings than a 7.5 S10 or G body. You could buy new rear axle shafts out of a 98-02 s10 4wd blazer with a t5 and they are the same width as a G body shaft but with the 'truck' diameter bearing. Only issue there is they are 30 spline and you can't get a 30 spline 7.5 carrier.

Poly or heim ends on the rear are a must, but it sounds like you are covered there. I'd be concerned with rear axle to frame sway.

Cooling. You will need a big trans cooler and rad. Make sure the rubber ducting and air dam is in place.

You should be fine otherwise, euro and aussies pull stuff with cars and utes all the time. Americans are generally panzies thinking they need a 1 ton dually to pull a jon boat.
 
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clean8485

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Dec 18, 2005
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Hi Ben. Glad to see you back. I'm liking the renderings.
About the only thing I can contribute, besides what's already been mentioned, is that if you've already lowered the rear of the tow vehicle with springs, do you have something to account for the extra weight of the trailer? Air bags, air shocks, etc?
 
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SRD art

G-Body Guru
Jun 16, 2011
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St. George, UT
Glad to see you back Ben. My concerns would be 1) The 7.5" rear axle bearings- they're not exactly "robust"- on the tow vehicle. 2) Total gross weight- 3500# + 3200# + 2000# = 8700#-how much do you trust those F body brakes? Does the trailer have brakes? 3) Gonna be a turd off the line with 2.56 gears, even with a decent 406 sbc. Try it and let us know how it works out. If it's bad, just head back home.
Thanks! Weighing in at 3700 with me in it Pumkinator ran consistent 14.50s @ 99mph at 3300 ft altitude with an 8.5:1 406 with these same heads and a comp XE268 cam. I suspect it was a little less hp and maybe 400ish ft lbs. compared to the new 9:1 406 with the custom cam. Pumk's 60 ft time was slooooow but it got groovin once it got movin. I'd be ok with those sorts of times in this car too. FWIW I put a 3.42 GN rear in Pumk and with no other changes it went 13.90s @ 99 mph first time to the track.
 

SRD art

G-Body Guru
Jun 16, 2011
550
443
63
St. George, UT
Hi Ben. Glad to see you back. I'm liking the renderings.
About the only thing I can contribute, besides what's already been mentioned, is that if you've already lowered the rear of the tow vehicle with springs, do you have something to account for the extra weight of the trailer? Air bags, air shocks, etc?
I have some air bags for it, the heavier kind specifically designed to aid a vehicle when towing. I tried Drag Bags on Pumk when I first built it and they popped from the heat of the exhaust within the first two hours of towing. :(
 

SRD art

G-Body Guru
Jun 16, 2011
550
443
63
St. George, UT
Thanks for the replies folks. I do want to look into trailer brakes for sure. As far as the F-body brakes when I tow dollied my Nova there was never an issue but again in this situation I'll be adding the weight of the trailer too. I'll check into that load leveling hitch, I'm new to owning a trailer so I'll have to see what that's all about.
 

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