Towing with the commodore

Submitted: Monday, Dec 09, 2013 at 09:28
ThreadID: 105425 Views:1789 Replies:5 FollowUps:7
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Morning all. Firstly - a big thankyou to everyone who contributes to this forum, it's been a very valuable source of information when I've been looking at upgrade options to tow our new boat. Lots of informative reviews and commentary.

My issue - Unfortunately funds (and willing buyers) aren't supporting my plans of offloading the motorcycle and commodore to buy something more suitable for towing.

So I'm going to persist with my 03 VY v6 wagon and was hoping you could advise the must-do things to ensure it tows safely.
Power wise - it's not completely horrible, pulling up long hills to Murray bridge is less of a struggle than I expected but I just potter along and take it easy.

I dragged the boat over a weigh bridge on the weekend and trailer/boat + near full tank of fuel (60lt tank) weighed in at 1310kgs. This confirmed that my 1200kg towball is out of spec. So I'm getting a quote from Allin today; attempted to both email and call Hall with no success/response. 1600/1800kg should be fine, not worth going the 2100kg?

Assume a trans cooler will also my a bare minimum - but is one better than another, fan assisted etc. Some advice would be handy.

Some of the boat ramps on the Murray can be sketchy, and the open wheeler diff has spun up before with a light tinny. The addition of an LSD was on my hitlist - is this a waste of money? Will nothin short of a 4x4 save the loss of traction on degraded boat ramps?

Hmmm going from this photo the car stays quite level, so not sure is the airbag inserts in the rear springs is needed, or a WDH. Thoughts?

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Reply By: bluefella - Monday, Dec 09, 2013 at 10:07

Monday, Dec 09, 2013 at 10:07
Hi Neil, I would tow in 3rd gear, better economy and less stress on transmission.
AnswerID: 522784

Follow Up By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Monday, Dec 09, 2013 at 10:22

Monday, Dec 09, 2013 at 10:22
As a very experienced tow person I agree with Bluefella 110%.

I have proven the lower gear economy thing time and time again, to myself of course, even on dead flat country.

When pulling up long hills keep the engine close to its best torque rev range by using your gears and you will be surprised how well the unit will do.

Those V6s are anything but ordinary.

Good Luck, Bruce.
At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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Reply By: Robin Miller - Monday, Dec 09, 2013 at 11:11

Monday, Dec 09, 2013 at 11:11
Look nothing wrong with a better trans cooler for Xmas Neil but I doubt if its essential.

What does your car manual say !

Also lowering your tyre pressures seriously espically pulling up a ramp will do a lot more than an LSD.

Ask for a good compressor to re-inflate for Xmas as well.

Robin Miller

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Reply By: yarda - Monday, Dec 09, 2013 at 11:17

Monday, Dec 09, 2013 at 11:17
My experience at Holden was that any commodore with a towbar without a trans cooler suffered chronic trans fluid cooking and subsequent trans failure. Especially with the ridiculous service schedule.

Fit the largest trans cooler you can, forget the small factory option cooler, and do a full fluid flush and trans filter change every 40 k.

You can get a lim slip centre or a torsen centre for the diff, but it will cost a bit of coin, you could try the poor mans lim slip - use the handbrake to control rear wheelspin and even out the drive. You can improve traction on both wheels by dropping the tyre pressures to lengthen the footprint. A decent compressor and gauge won't cost too much.
AnswerID: 522788

Follow Up By: Neil S6 - Monday, Dec 09, 2013 at 11:41

Monday, Dec 09, 2013 at 11:41
Tyre pressure drop is a top idea. Will be doing that for sure (and install of a compressor)
FollowupID: 803955

Reply By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Monday, Dec 09, 2013 at 16:46

Monday, Dec 09, 2013 at 16:46
For several years we towed a 19' Haines (deep "V" type) with a couple of 120HP Mercs on the back by a Hk Kingswood. Okay the car was worked a bit (!!) and you could out run and out accelerate a 5000 SLR (no legal limits out of town then). That helped. But the Haines would have been heaps heavier than yours. I don't think we would be allowed to do it these days. Buty it worked for us. You have a lighter boat than ours.

We went all up and down the east coast and we had a few issues with steep ramps but all I did was put a rop on the trailer and let the lot go down without letting the actual car go down the steep ramp or even go onto the wet/slippery one. Not one issue and no hassles with anyone waiting either. We were sometimes quicker than others. Practice, skill and good rubber helped.

I reckon you will be fine if you don't mind doing as we did.

AnswerID: 522804

Follow Up By: Member Andys Adventures - Tuesday, Dec 10, 2013 at 10:08

Tuesday, Dec 10, 2013 at 10:08
Hi Phil,
That's one quick HK. My SLR did the 1/4 mile in 11.1 sec with street rubber. Would like to know how worked it was.
FollowupID: 804018

Follow Up By: Slow one - Tuesday, Dec 10, 2013 at 10:21

Tuesday, Dec 10, 2013 at 10:21
That is one quick SLR that can do a 11.1 on street tyres. Love to see that.

Stock they did it in around 16 seconds.

FollowupID: 804020

Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Tuesday, Dec 10, 2013 at 10:52

Tuesday, Dec 10, 2013 at 10:52
A bloke by the name of Doug Chivas was the main drive behibnd it. We came up with an arrangement that I paid for the parts and he took care of the work. That was in 1972. A Highway robber chased us for 5 miles south of Tarcutta once. We didn't even know it was a cop. No lights or anything. We slowed for cattle on the road and he came up beside us blowing a poofer valve and his horn. Couldn't book us as there wasn't a speed limit. Apparently he just wanted to check the car but when we didn't slow down he thought that it was stolen and chased us. Twit.

I am talking about speeds in excess of 140 MPH here and not the kiddy speeds of today. There wasn't a speed limit out of towns in those days. He had a 5000 cop car that was supposed to be quick.Well it wasn't. I just dropped it back a notch and floored it to get away from this "idiot on my tail". 1/4 mile - never tried it. But we used to do Sydney and Portsea in under 8 hours every second weekend when the we were posted to Victoria. No town bypasses then either and only single lanes each way for the whole way. I have been told that they still have a photo of it on the old Sefton workshop wall.

Beautiful car and had it for 22 years. Shame I had to sell. Just a fully balanced and highly polished 192 with everything solid. Full suspension upgrade to Monaro GT specs with special parts from pagewood. M34 box with 6 cyl 1st gear. 28 MPG when idling. Went out to just over 8.5 but they redlined it at 7.2. Bunch of SU's specifically balanced by Doug himself, cross flow head and breathing by Bo Seaton (Glens dad). Never raced it but just liked having that "extra" bit inside the bonnet and underneath. Doug used to run the very early HDT team. Found the car parked next to Brockys XU1 on more than one occasion. Rear rubber was 7" and fronts 6". All certified and fully legal. That was a must for insurance for us. On a medical emergency run to see the younger brother in hospital I beat my older brother to Wagga by better than 30 minutes in his non-standard Monaro. That's not bad for memory. I sold it in 1984.


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Follow Up By: Member Andys Adventures - Tuesday, Dec 10, 2013 at 15:31

Tuesday, Dec 10, 2013 at 15:31
It was a fully worked 308 with 11:1 pistons, straight through stainless exhaust (which I had to change every year for rego) a 750 double pump holly, 32/64 cam. Only got 13 mile to the gallon. 10" rear and 8" front TA's.
The car was in the movie FJ Holden down at brickies.
Cheers Andy
FollowupID: 804028

Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Tuesday, Dec 10, 2013 at 15:38

Tuesday, Dec 10, 2013 at 15:38
Sounds like the Monaro. Bob also had a Hillman Imp with a Cooper motor in it. Used to run it out to around 13 to scare the bikes.

Mine was never used to race to time or that stuff. But it was interesting that Bo Seaton fitted an all legal exhaust. Refused the straight through. I think the old man is still working. Should look him up one day.

Got 8.5 MPG one night rushing to work for a flap with a south east Asia link. The MPs couldn't keep up. Loved doing that to them. I had a very interesting job

But this is not 4WD and is thus OT so I think that we should finish here.



FollowupID: 804029

Reply By: Neil S6 - Tuesday, Dec 17, 2013 at 15:35

Tuesday, Dec 17, 2013 at 15:35
Happy for you fellas to reminisce of times gone and your old glory cars. Jealous I've not had that, on 4 wheels anyway.

Any othe advice or commentary on the commodore wagon towing 1300+ kgs would be appreciated.

Expected distance won't be vast, mostly from Adelaide to Murray Bridge or Walkers Flat.
AnswerID: 523220

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