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buick man

Need Sound Advice for towing Buick Roadmaster on an open car trailer.

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The Navy is using certified load tested chains. The average person hauling a car is using hardware store straps made who knows where. But like you say, each method works equally well, assuming no equipment failures.

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Great thoughts, views, explanations, and advice. You guys are all outstanding.

Ok so I am now rethinking this.

From tip to filter the car is just around 17.5 feet in length. These trailers are 16 feet in length. Ok, so with this trailer or any 16 ft trailer this allows me 10.6 feet for my foot print. Then I would only have 6 feet of trailer to work with. Meaning the car body would be at least 1.5 feet longer than the trailer. The front tires would need to be no further than 3 feet from the front end of the trailer. A lot of weight would be on the front 1/3 or the trailer. The brakes are surge not electric as I was 1st told.

Now am I thinking this out correctly or would a heavy duty 16-footer work here?

David

I have hauled mid sixties Cadillac on my 16' trailer as well as a 66 Electra with no problem. Those are about as long a car as you can get. Yes it will hang out a bit on the rear but a small amount isn't going to cause a problem. You are correct that tongue weight can be an issue with a big car and a shorter trailer. An 18' would be ideal but I chose to buy a 16' because they are easier to manuever and I know I can haul about anything. My first tow vehicle was a HD Ford F-250 and now an F-350 so tongue weight was never too much concern for me. With the F-250 I would intentionally move the car back a few inches letting more hangover in rear vs moving it forward and increasing tongue weight. It doesn't matter with the F-350.

With your F-250 and the heavy Diesel engine up front I seriously doubt tongue weight would be an issue...but I'm no expert. Just going from my own experience. If tow vehicle was a 1/2 ton truck I'd say no way.

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after reading all these experiences i just feel lucky i never had a problem towing a '66 cad on a car trailer towed by a toyota 4 cylinder/automatic with no equalizer hitch. at least i had 4 brakes on the trailer. and i used one long chain to each rear corner (trailer) from over (or was it under??) the pumpkin and straight straps on the front.:o (i do admit that i towed quite a number of cars with this setup but the cad was the heavyest...)

Edited by mrspeedyt (see edit history)

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Well I guess you guys are a wondering how things went on my L.A. run?

First off. We are all car guys here so let's not kid ourselves. We all love a good car find story. So here is mine for you. So I may go on and on a wee bit try to understand my excitement of it all.

I took videos of the loading of the car. When I get this put together I will post it on youtube and let everyone take a look at the adventure.

To begin with I ended up taking down an enclosed Interstate trailer with torsion suspension. Rated at 9,950 lbs or nearly to that effect. With my F-250 4x4 heavy duty suspension and Banks Turbo with Banks 4-inch exhaust and Banks Transmission package I hardly felt like I was towing a trailer down to L.A. that is. Coming back up and home was slightly another matter that I will get into shortly.

First though, I have to say the trip down to L.A. on Interstate 5 was uneventful save for a sideline pit stop at one of those out-in-no where truck stops spaced every 40 miles or so along the long lonely stretch that is Interstate 5 which runs from the San Francisco bay area south to L.A. The Mecca Run as it is sometimes known.

I discovered at dusk, that I had no running lights power feeding the trailer and it was getting dark. So I had to pull off and wire up off of my tail light in order for the trailer to brighten up. Had brake and turn signals but no tree lights.

Well we arrived at our destination about 12:00 midnight. Slept in the truck till 5:00 when the storage facility opened and the seller showed up.

It did not matter what time it was. I jumped up rubbed my eyes, started my rig and drove around to the back of the facility.

So there was my 1957 Road Master 2 Door Hard Top Model 76A just like it was waiting for me. I was pumped to say the least. I felt like a high school kid. Appearing in the original stock Antique Ivory also known as Cigarette Cream to some it was a contrast to the lot lights reaching out into the cold dim morning light and shimmering over the top of the car. I had never actually seen the car in person, mine you up to this point. A couple of weeks earlier a fellow I know went and took a zillion photos for me as directed so I had a really good idea of the condition of the car but had not felt and smelled it if you know what I mean. I had offered the lady a purchase option on the car and she accepted it. A non refundable $ 250.00 down and she would hold-up the sale for 45-days or until I could get a chance to see it and decide to buy it.

This car according to the lady selling it for her still living 95 year old aunt to trim down the estate was originally purchased by her aunt in 1957 right here in L.A.. According to the VIN It was built right here at the L.A. plant G.M. had in the 50's and spent it's entire existence within this basin of The Door's infamous L.A. Women. Well, so the story goes the aunt stored the car in the very early seventies at her home in her garage. It had been her late husbands pride and joy so she kept it for remembrance I suppose. When I opened his Buick's extremely well balanced bank-vault-like driver's door, I caught a glimpse of the service tags that stations and dealers use to paste up on the lower inside door edge. Upon closer examination, I took a double take to discover one complete service tag had been done at 57,560 miles. The date? July 1968! Another tag just below and beside that one was for an oil change, chassis lube and complete transmission service at 60,000 miles. The date? 1970. The tags looked maybe 2-years old! I guess they should if no one ever opened the doors. I was amused at this until I then got into the car and looked at the odometer. It read 60,040. What? Had this car sat for that long? That or the odometer was broken. I asked the niece (seller) about this and she told me the car had sat all the time and was rarely ever driven after 1969 or 70. But it was serviced. The black original license plates had a june 1981 sticker on the plate. The battery was stamped punched 1981. It was toast. Apparently the old lady had licensed the vehicle up to that time but never drove it. She finally apparently just did a non-op on it from then on and there it sat in her garage.

Boy the interior is like a time machine. Inside the car looks like a low mileage, no kids owner car cause I don't think the back seat was ever even sat in! Yep, the niece told me she had no kids. It reminds me of cars I would go and look at when I was in junior high back in the 60's. Like you would of found by opening the door up and looking in on some used car lot back in 1966 or so.

I concluded the deal with the niece as she was in a hurry to get back up to San Jose where she lived. I then spent about an hour going over the car and looking at the original engine bay and generally checking everything out. My dad had a 1957 Century Convertible for about 3-years parked in front of our driveway when I was in 4th - 6th grade. It did not run but my friends and I use to sit in it and pretend we were flying bombing missions like on the 12:O' Clock High T.V. show. They say our sense of smell is directly wired to our memory banks in our brain. Well the smells of the engine and interior immediately flashed me back to those times. What a pleasant rush. This was the first car that I had worked on or had taken the engine apart as a kid will and knew it very well. The Buick green engine paint is still in great condition as are all components. Another time machine flash back for me.

The car came stock with power windows, brakes, wonder bar radio w/foot switch, speed minder buzzer, electric antenna, electric 2-way seats and front/back/both radio speaker control. We had brought a battery with us so needless to say I was anxious to install it and power things up. I did not want or try to start it since it has been hibernating for so long. I have a time intensive detailed process for awakening slumbering and even locked engines. This was not to be the exception to this rule as badly as I wanted to see if the engine was free and would spin. But since the keys were long missing I could not turn the key to on so as to power most of the accessories up. However, I did reach over as if by reflex and wondering turned on the radio just to see if it might just light up or something, not expecting much but hoping. Humzzz went the vibrator in the radio. A good sign. A sign from heaven? Then very shortly there after classical music started to play. Scratchy at first then suddenly as clear as a bell. I then touch and lightly pressed the wonder bar. A quite sound like an old record changer mechanism noise followed, tha-click went the unit, then the dial moved to another station. Oh my god it works! It's ALIVE! Then I decided to try the foot button. The dial again changed to another station, this time a talk radio station. Then again and again a new station. When it reached the far right side as it began to recycle it thumped a little then flipped back to the left and started the process all over again though more smoothly this time. After a couple of times of this, the mechanism and movement was smooth and almost noiseless. I looked for and located the electric antenna switch just near my left knee and just wondered. So I at first tried to press/pull on it only to discover that a toggle switch was below that. Yes it worked. And smoothly up and down up and down. The lights all worked and the fan blowers as well.

The Loading and Hauling of the Car:

Well after all this excitement we washed the car at the site to clean it up. It had 40 years of dust and an oily type grease residue on the paint. Petroleum base air pollution.

We then loaded the car nose first into the trailer easing it up the ramp using our winch we had brought along. I loaded as close to a 60/40 weight ratio as I could slightly weighing down the front of the trailer. We cross tied the front from the frame and I also straight tied off the front as well. When we straight tied using 2-inch 10,000 lb straps we were able to compress the suspension about 3-inches. We were tight to say the least. We only had about 2 1/2 feet or so working space up front so we also used our legs to cinch the straps down on the lock buckles. On the rear end I used axle straps being careful not to crush the steel brake lines that run along the axle housing and used the straight strap method and cinched these up tight as well. On hind sight I think I would of crossed strapped the rears but did not have enough straps to do so.

We finally were loaded and set out on our return home journey. After some 65 miles through commuter Friday afternoon traffic we made our way to the start of the grape vine mountain grade just at the north end of the greater L.A. area basin . We were zombies at this point, so decided to stay the night and get a fresh start at a truckerville encampment. I checked the straps that night and they were tight. We left just click or two before dawn and made our way down the long steep mountain pass northward. This went off without a hitch letting the engine compression of the big diesel hold down it's own. I drove for a couple of uneventful hours then pulled over to check the straps. I was somewhat surprised. They were somewhat loose. Glad I had checked. I had not done any Jim Rockford type maneuvers so I could not understand how they could of loosened that much. The handle/strap brackets were still tight. Never the less they had slipped as slip they will. What happens regardless how frickin tight you get these straps they still manage to stretch then micro slip until loose. - Well thats my theory anyways. I think just the downhill inertia did the work to loosen the straps. So heres a lesson. HILLS LOOSEN STRAPS ! So we tightened them up and kept pushing on. We stopped again about 150 miles down the road and they needed slight tightening work but were just fine. The 4,400 lb car lives up to it's namesake "ROAD MASTER" and also made the F-250 more aware this time that something was in back of her unlike coming down to L.A. I found going north on I-5 is kinda of a long very slow but noticeable upgrade all the way back to the Bay Area. I could tell by the slight increase in turbo charge on my gauges and pyrometer exhaust meter.

We got back ok and in one piece. The unloading went smoothly as we were now officially experts, and we were dead tired to say the least. A few days later I installed the battery again. I had taken out the driver's side door handle and lock and brought it to the locksmith to have a key made and was excited to see what I had bought. I inserted the new key into the ignition. Presto, it turned with ease. I then tried the locked glove box. It too turned with ease. Then the savored moment, I inserted the key into the switch turned it to on as I was anxious to see if the electric windows and seats worked. Sure enough as Fridays are paydays, they did and with ease. Hesitant at first sending out a slight smack off from a 40 year embrace with the rubber trim but the windows worked good. I did not want to press my luck and have them freeze on me until I was ready to service and lube them so I took them up. The passenger door side had been down about 3 inches and the driver's side about 2-inches for only God knows how long. They went up with ease. The trunk looks like it never was used. Still has the original jack with the jacking instructions on the trunk lid. The tires are all old Remington 8.0X15's with Wide White Walls. Probably at least 3 1/2 inches wide. They are not rotted and look like new tires with good tread although dirty and scuffed. Go figure. Did they even do date codes back then on the tires? I think not. The spare is also the same WWW tire type. No hubcaps though. I actually really surprised that the interior survived like it did as well as the inside of the truck and the completely original engine with clamps and hoses. I tried the electric seat but it did not work. I looked under the seat and discovered the stock wire connector had come off of the motor sometime in the past. I simply reinserted the harness end. Presto, the seats worked? A little jumpy and clunky at first but smoothed out. I had truly been one lucky guy to say the least.

Well enough for now. I have a lot of work ahead of me to bring this car out of hibernation, rehabilitation and back onto the road. But I will do just that! I suspect just one kiss will not do it however.

I am going to try and document on video the entire process since I run my own digital production company here in the Bay Area I thought this would be a neat and informative thing to do.

Until then, I want to thank all of you guys for your input. To think this car was sleeping all this time since the Moon Landing and just like that voyage, it's a trip to say the least.

David Gavin

Edited by buick man
For Improved Clarity (see edit history)

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