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How did they do it before 4X4's.

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  • How did they do it before 4X4's.

    My Uncle that still lives in North Tonawanda NY next to the Erie Barge Canal towed, launched and retrieved his big heavy 18' cedar strip with a huge 80HP Johnson strapped to it on The Niagara River, The Great Lakes and the canal in the 60's and early 70's with an AMC Rambler, rear wheel drive. If I can remember that long ago I think he had rear snow tires on all year. I remember those huge bolt on side view mirrors he put on every time he hit the water. That was before it was mandatory in North America to tow anything heavier than a Tinny with a full size 4X4 and I see 1/2 ton 4X4's towing them as well. Have ramps changed that much? I'm seriously asking how they did it then without 1/2 ton 4X4's?

    Experience is a lifetime of mistakes, wisdom is not making them again.

  • #2
    Back then most families only had one car, thats right, car! So they used whatever they had to get their boat to the water. Those old boats were heavy too. I don't recall any failed transmissions or other issues.
    The older I get,the less I care what people think.....Central NC

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    • #3
      I’m guessing you could still tow with a car if you wanted to take on the liability associated with such.

      Keep in mind that the population of the US has since doubled. Twice as many people on the roads.

      Trailering laws and enforcement have increased substantially, not to mention liability litigation was all but nonexistent at the time.

      Today, bump the wrong person’s car when the trailer pushes you into the intersection, you could loose everything you own...then some.
      ....

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      • #4
        Cars and trucks back then shared the same engine and transmission, similar rear axle, and a similar full frame. For all intents and purposes, they were trucks.

        Back then, public works actually worked..... Things were maintained.

        Now days, cars are hydroformed unibodies, or even composite parts are holding the driveline to the plastic body panels in place
        Cheesehead boating the Gulf Coast of FLA 27.51° N, 82.53° W

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        • #5
          Pulled my SCARAB SPORT with a 67 Caddy many moons ago.------No problem.-----Once had someone ask ----" What do you pull with that hitch "-----My reply---" just about anything I want too "------Cars were different back then.

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          • #6
            Yup, I used an Olds Toronado for quite a while for it's heavy front wheel drive. Helped reach the drier pavement. Wasn't until later when I started driving pick ups.

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            • #7
              That Olds Toronado set-up was used in the still popular , near legendary GMC motor home.----Solid stuff.

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              • #8
                To Scott's point

                Yup , I am willing to bet my highschool beater (late 70s Monte Carlo / big block) could pull my 4k boat better than my current tow vehicle i tow my boat with ( full-size bronco )heck that Monte probably weighted more too

                Monte drank the gas but the big engine / long wheel base - garuntee would have towed just fine.

                My grandparents had one of those ugly Ford station wagons , country squire I believe with a 460 , they would pull a fairly large camper trailer all over the country with zero problems
                Last edited by Redrig; February 12th, 2020, 07:14 PM.
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                • #9
                  I'm thinking about it. They say they don't make things the way they used to. Thank goodness. Back when I started driving and up to 30 or so years ago if you got 100,000 miles out of a car before the tranny went, threw a rod, all the seals leaked, engine burned oil, suspension wore out, became a pile of rust and, and, and 100K was time to see the scrap dealer. After putting almost 250,000 miles on my wife's Nissan Altima the CVT tranny finally failed. I gave the car to a friends kid and when I towed it to their place the car shinned like new, not one spot of rust and we live in Ontario Canada where they use a bit of salt on the roads, the interior didn't have a rip or crack in it. The little 3.5 liter V6 was close to 300HP and it ran like new. I don't think my 76' Corvette was close to 250 HP. I know my 81' Eldorado was something like 180 HP and sucked gas like a 300HP O/B. So thank God they don't make vehicles like they used to. Man I can type fast with 2 fingers and a thumb, after all this typing I could have said guys towing big boats with family cars probably went through a few cars during the life of the boat. So I'm thinking they probably beat the pew out of those cars towing. Getting in and out of ramps is the big question I would love to know.
                  Experience is a lifetime of mistakes, wisdom is not making them again.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Redrig View Post
                    To Scott's point

                    Yup , I am willing to bet my highschool beater (late 70s Monte Carlo / big block) could pull my 4k boat better than my current tow vehicle i tow my boat with ( full-size bronco )heck that Monte probably weighted more too

                    Monte drank the gas but the big engine / long wheel base - garuntee would have towed just fine
                    I had a 74' Monte Zuma as my pal called it. And those Monte Carlos were not considered as full size automobiles. My Dad's 1970 Mercury Marquise Brougham was. It was a Lincoln with a Merc badge on it. We had to knock out a few blocks at the end of the garage to fit it in. Only he could park it in the garage. No way I could squeeze in or out of it, he was a very small guy, I wasn't. When the guys went away for a long weekend I borrowed the car once and slept in it. I was almost 6 foot then and my head and feet didn't touch the doors in the back seat. A few years ago I saw a Monte Carlo at a show and shine. The door had to be 5 feet long. I couldn't believe the size of it, and like I said it wasn't a full size car back then. I agree with Scott those old beasts were built like trucks but their life times were short compared to today. We used them like trucks too. My Fathers 59' Chevy wagon was used like a truck. Dad my 2 brothers and myself all fit in the front seat when he was hauling anything from sheets of plywood, bags of concrete to bushels of Tomatoes and wine making grapes from the farmers.

                    My question is more about getting boat in and out of the water with a 2 rear wheel drive car.

                    Experience is a lifetime of mistakes, wisdom is not making them again.

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                    • #11
                      A seldom used old timers trick if the tires spin is to set the E-brake on lightly. The brake load helps to control wheel spin. If the tires have any grip, you can walk right up a ramp with a gentle throttle. Don't use the foot brake, the front wheels have to turn freely.

                      I use the E-brake thing on a lightly used ramp with a lot of mossy looking crud at the bottom where my rear tires always seem to rest driving a short wheelbase 2WD Cherokee with a non-posi rearend.

                      My Dad taught me this for winter driving - Usually works in snow if it doesn't pack under the car.
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                      • #12
                        I tow with a Car. My Roadmaster has a Factory Tow Package rated for 5000lbs, It has a Limited Slip Diff
                        Click image for larger version  Name:	SX195#11a.jpg Views:	1 Size:	51.6 KB ID:	10831699

                        my Caddy also has the Factory Tow Package rated for 7000lb. It has an open diff, with primitive Traction Control
                        Click image for larger version  Name:	$_27.jpg Views:	2 Size:	50.8 KB ID:	10831700

                        Both cars have the same engine and transmission, but the Buick has 2.93 gears, and the Cadillac has 3.42.
                        Last edited by jimmbo; February 13th, 2020, 01:45 AM.

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                        • #13
                          "That was before it was mandatory in North America to tow anything heavier than a Tinny with a full size 4X4 and I see 1/2 ton 4X4's towing them as well. Have ramps changed that much? I'm seriously asking how they did it then without 1/2 ton 4X4's?"

                          Since when did that become a law?

                          We towed boats with anything we had. My wife's T-Bird could tow 4000#, but needed a paved ramp to retrieve.

                          I launched my 18 foot SeaRay I/O with my Altima. Retrieving was another story...

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                          • #14
                            I remember those bumper hitches that were held on with 2 large u bolts!
                            The older I get,the less I care what people think.....Central NC

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                            • #15
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                              Well 4x4s were not widely available in the 50s and 60s.The average boat was not heavier in fact it was significantly lighter than boats today. The average boat had a 25-40 hp on a 14' tinny which maybe weighed #500 loaded. Cars today are much better than they were remember the cold days whe your car wouldn't start.

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