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Thread: 1986 lincoln town car installing a hitch for towing a camper.

  1. #1

    Default 1986 lincoln town car installing a hitch for towing a camper.

    I know the modern conventional wisdom is car can't pull anything other than a snailshell and even that will make the motor explode and lob a piston into your eyeball and cause your grandchild become to infertile, etc, etc.

    But I know damn well that ain't the truth. I have a 1975 holiday rambler that due to my situation I am living in, and the only vehicle I have that can potentially pull this trailer is my lincoln town car. Yet trying to figure out the information what to do to make this haul this trailer is a bit of mixed bag of internet gurus saying its impossible just give up! Despite the fact these cars came with tow packages.

    So what exactly do I need to do to make sure that my boat can tow this trailer if need be. My lincoln doesn't have the tow package sadly if it did I feel this ordeal would be infinitely easier.

  2. #2
    2 decades of DDing Box Panthers, now in a Whale VicCrownVic's Avatar
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    Obviously a hitch if you don't have one is the first thing you need.
    I installed a class III Curt 13707 earlier this year. For some reason I thought it was a bolt on deal, but it actually requires drilling holes in the frame. A step drill bit from Harbor Freight worked great for this. Marked the correct diameter on the bit with a paint pen so I knew when to stop.
    Here is a Curt install video if you need it:


    You also need to be able to run the lights (brake, turn, and reverse if equipped) on the camper. You could probably just tap into the car's lights, but there are modules that power from your battery and isolate the trailer lights so you don't overload your car's wiring. I only need a 4 flat connector, so I went with a Tow-Ready Modulite 119180. You may need a 7 pin connector so that you can have working reverse lights and trailer brakes if the camper is equiped with those.

    An auxiliary trans cooler is highly recommend. I went with the Hayden 699 and have some GMT400 ('88-'98 style GMC/Chevrolet trucks) trans cooler mounting brackets that I think will work perfect. (Not yet installed.)

    If it seems the car squats too much, you may want to install beefier springs. I have Moog CC817 sedan cargo coils along with Gabriel HiJacker 49205 air shocks on my car. Moog CC819 wagon cargo coils would be beefier yet but the car will sit quite higher in the rear when unloaded.

    When selecting a ball, a flipped over 4 or 6 in drop mount will likely work. Make sure the ball is one that can be unbolted so the mount can be flipped.

    Some of this stuff you may already have considered, and some may need to be adjusted for your needs. I'm sure I'm forgetting something (trailer brake controller if the camper has brakes).
    Last edited by VicCrownVic; 07-10-2021 at 12:08 AM.
    Vic

    ~ 1998 Mercury Grand Marquis LS - new DD
    ~ 1991 Mercury Grand Marquis LS "The Scab" - plenty of rot, backup/summer cruiser
    ~ 1997 GMC Yukon SLT - wannabe winter DD - many issues, returning sometime in the 2020s
    ~ 1991 Mercury Grand Marquis GS "The Ice Car" - Rotting Retired Winter DD
    ~ 1989 Mercury Grand Marquis GS - Rotting Retired DD
    Gone but not forgotten:
    ~ 1988 Country Squire ~ 1987 Ford Crown Vic

  3. #3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by VicCrownVic View Post
    Obviously a hitch if you don't have one is the first thing you need.
    I installed a class III Curt 13707 earlier this year. For some reason I thought it was a bolt on deal, but it actually requires drilling holes in the frame. A step drill bit from Harbor Freight worked great for this. Marked the correct diameter on the bit with a paint pen so I knew when to stop.
    Here is a Curt install video if you need it:




    You also need to be able to run the lights (brake, turn, and reverse if equipped) on the camper. You could probably just tap into the car's lights, but there are modules that power from your battery and isolate the trailer lights so you don't overload your car's wiring. I only need a 4 flat connector, so I went with a Tow-Ready Modulite 119180. You may need a 7 pin connector so that you can have working reverse lights and trailer brakes if the camper is equiped with those.

    An auxiliary trans cooler is highly recommend. I went with the Hayden 699 and have some GMT400 ('88-'98 style GMC/Chevrolet trucks) trans cooler mounting brackets that I think will work perfect. (Not yet installed.)

    If it seems the car squats too much, you may want to install beefier springs. I have Moog CC817 sedan cargo coils along with Gabriel HiJacker 49205 air shocks on my car. Moog CC819 wagon cargo coils would be beefier yet but the car will sit quite higher in the rear when unloaded.

    When selecting a ball, a flipped over 4 or 6 in drop mount will likely work. Make sure the ball is one that can be unbolted so the mount can be flipped.

    Some of this stuff you may already have considered, and some may need to be adjusted for your needs. I'm sure I'm forgetting something (trailer brake controller if the camper has brakes).
    Thank you so much for your information. One of my concerns is the transmission over heating. Would it be wise to install a transmission cooler? Then again that just might be me being paranoid because of what killed my 1986 vic. See avatar for further explanation.

  4. #4
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    yes, a cooler is a good idea. The factory tow package cooler isn't all that large, so anything you add is probably at least that good. Trans coolers are generally a good idea even if you aren't towing.

    The other useful thing the factory tow package got you was 3.55 rear gears and larger rear drums. The gears make it go, drums make it stop. If you have trailer brakes, that will work just fine for stopping, otherwise be sure your brakes are in good working shape. If you happen to have a better set of gears laying around than the 3.08 that are probably in it go for it, otherwise just take it easy and keep it out of overdrive.

    these cars were rated for up to 2000 lbs with a 200 lb tongue weight without a tow package, or 3500lb and 500lb on the tongue with the tow package. A lot of that weight difference is the hitch itself.

    86 Lincoln Town Car (Galactica).
    5.0 HO, CompCams XE258,Scorpion 1.72 roller rockers, 3.55 K code rear, tow package, BHPerformance ported E7 heads, Tmoss Explorer intake, 65mm throttle body, Hedman 1 5/8" headers, 2.5" dual exhaust, ASP underdrive pulley

    91 Lincoln Mark VII LSC SE, triple black (Timewarp) - poly front bushings, KYB struts and shocks, Holley SystemMax1 lower intake, SilverFox AOD valve body,

    1984 Lincoln Continental TurboDiesel - rolls coal

    Quote Originally Posted by phayzer5 View Post
    I drive a Lincoln. I can't be bothered to shift like the peasants and rabble rousers

  5. #5
    Beater gonna beat sly's Avatar
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    I thought tow package was 4k/500 without weight distributing hitch and 5k/500 with.

    Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. -- Albert Einstein
    rides: 93 Crown Vic LX (The Red Velvet Cake), 2000 Crown Vic base model (Sandy), 2003 Expedition (the vacation beast)
    Quote Originally Posted by gadget73
    ... and it should all work like magic and unicorns and stuff.
    Quote Originally Posted by dmccaig
    Overhead, some poor bastards are flying in airplanes.

  6. #6
    Carthago delenda est Lutrova's Avatar
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    Is it safe to tow more than the vehicle weighs? 5000 lbs seems like a lot.

    Also, are there any circumstances when towing when you could use overdrive? I understand going up big hills, but flat ground? And does keeping it in 3rd have to do with trans fluid temperature or the OD band weakness?

    The last and only time I towed a trailer I kept it in 3rd the whole way. Went from 18-20 mpg without towing down to around 12 mpg. Some of that loss is probably from the even poorer aerodynamics of a trailer.

  7. #7
    Beater gonna beat sly's Avatar
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    I've towed 3500# with my 93 with no issues in OD. But I also have a 24 plate trans cooler and it was on flat land. I would imagine a stock tow package would have no issues with 2500# or less in OD even in boxes. The trans cooler is the real champion in this equation.

    Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. -- Albert Einstein
    rides: 93 Crown Vic LX (The Red Velvet Cake), 2000 Crown Vic base model (Sandy), 2003 Expedition (the vacation beast)
    Quote Originally Posted by gadget73
    ... and it should all work like magic and unicorns and stuff.
    Quote Originally Posted by dmccaig
    Overhead, some poor bastards are flying in airplanes.

  8. #8
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sly View Post
    I thought tow package was 4k/500 without weight distributing hitch and 5k/500 with.
    I was looking in my owners manual for those numbers, so thats what Ford had to say about it in 86. I thought it was higher as well

    I have pulled a Towncar on a tow dolly with my Towncar. Its very sketchy.


    OD is not a great idea when towing any sort of significant load. Its the weakest part of the trans. If you have a utility trailer with a couple hundred pounds on it no problem but half or more the weight of the vehicle isn't a good idea. The owners manual specifies what to do but mostly it says stay out of overdrive.

    later transmissions have a larger OD band so its not quite as feeble
    Last edited by gadget73; 07-11-2021 at 09:55 AM.

    86 Lincoln Town Car (Galactica).
    5.0 HO, CompCams XE258,Scorpion 1.72 roller rockers, 3.55 K code rear, tow package, BHPerformance ported E7 heads, Tmoss Explorer intake, 65mm throttle body, Hedman 1 5/8" headers, 2.5" dual exhaust, ASP underdrive pulley

    91 Lincoln Mark VII LSC SE, triple black (Timewarp) - poly front bushings, KYB struts and shocks, Holley SystemMax1 lower intake, SilverFox AOD valve body,

    1984 Lincoln Continental TurboDiesel - rolls coal

    Quote Originally Posted by phayzer5 View Post
    I drive a Lincoln. I can't be bothered to shift like the peasants and rabble rousers

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrHax View Post
    I have a 1975 holiday rambler that due to my situation I am living in, and the only vehicle I have that can potentially pull this trailer is my lincoln town car.
    https://www.nadaguides.com/RVs/1975/Holiday-Rambler

    It looks like a Holiday Rambler bumper pull trailer that year could have ranged from under 4000 lbs to over 6500. If you live in the trailer, will you be towing with your personal items (clothing, groceries, kitchenware, sporting goods, etc.) in it? Will water and propane tanks be empty?

    Depending on the weight of your trailer, you might or might not be within the capabilities of the Lincoln (with additional equipment and modfications as others have mentioned).

    Note that the commercially-available Class III hitches designed to fit Panthers are rated for about 4000 lbs weight carrying or 6000 lbs weight distributing.

  10. #10
    Beater gonna beat sly's Avatar
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    yeah... the OD band in mine is a larger one since it's been rebuilt. Considering my trailer is max axle weight of 3300# and I've run it with about 3500# total... I imagine I've run it maxed since GV should be about 3500-3600# with some weight on the tongue. But yeah... best practice is no OD. The rear gears on the tow vehicle make the biggest difference for capability.

    Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. -- Albert Einstein
    rides: 93 Crown Vic LX (The Red Velvet Cake), 2000 Crown Vic base model (Sandy), 2003 Expedition (the vacation beast)
    Quote Originally Posted by gadget73
    ... and it should all work like magic and unicorns and stuff.
    Quote Originally Posted by dmccaig
    Overhead, some poor bastards are flying in airplanes.

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