View Full Version : Transmission: towing

07-15-2017, 06:30 PM
i need to move a '63 avanti 300 miles. i have both a trailer and a car dolly. the dolly is much easier to deal with but i don't know if towing with the back wheels on the ground WITHOUT removing the drive shaft will hurt the powerflight. flat towed many cars years ago with no problems but never a studebaker. i'm looking for cold facts here, not an opinion, so if anyone can help i would appreciate it. thank you.

07-15-2017, 06:36 PM
You should disconnect the driveshaft when towing any automatic with a rear pump. The powershift does. (have one). That is why you can push start a Studebaker with an automatic, the rear pump pressure will engage the clutches it pumps to.

07-15-2017, 06:47 PM
The driveshaft DOES NOT have to be removed as the Powershift has a rear oil pump that will keep things lubricated......However, if it were mine and going 300 miles, I'd remove it anyway!

07-15-2017, 07:02 PM
use the trailer or remove the driveshaft if on a dolly. i learned the hard way a few years ago. cost me $1,200 for repairs.:(

07-15-2017, 07:31 PM
I tow my 66 Daytona thousands of miles behind our motorhome on a dolly. Have used it for 2 summers and about 7000 miles with no problems.
I do not remove the driveshaft, but do disconnect it from the differential. I found that it will lay against one of the mufflers and be secured with 2 large radiator style clamps. I tape the u-joint caps on, put a plastic bag over the joint, tape it onto the driveshaft and also make another wrap over the caps. Just make sure that the driveshaft can't slip out of the trans and loose the fluid. You may find something other then a muffler to use as an attaching point under the Avanti.
Hope this helps and happy towing.

07-15-2017, 07:34 PM
Here's a cold hard fact: Anytime in doubt, disconnect the driveshaft at the diff. It needn't be totally removed if you can suspend it to a crossmember with some mechanic's wire or equivalent. Wrap your u-joint cups with good tape for the trip.

07-15-2017, 10:38 PM
Some people lock the steering straight, and put the rear of the car on the dolly. that may be another option that would not involve getting under the car every time you tow.

07-16-2017, 12:02 AM
I have been told that Studebaker steering geometry does not like to be towed. Tends to go full lock either left or right and stays there. locking or tying the steering wheel straight might help, put if going forward is a problem, how bad could it be going backwards?
Some people lock the steering straight, and put the rear of the car on the dolly. that may be another option that would not involve getting under the car every time you tow.

Mike Sal
07-16-2017, 12:21 AM
I have both tow dolly and car trailer (open). Have used both over hundreds of miles over the years. In my opinion, I would not use a dolly with an Avanti.
Mike Sal

07-16-2017, 08:32 AM
I see you have both a dolly and a trailer. If the Avanti is on the trailer, nothing goes wrong unless it falls off the trailer. With the dolly, there's a chance of something going wrong. Bad bearing, low lube in the diff, drive shaft falls off the wire if disconnected.

I've towed a couple of Avanti's on trailers well over two thousand miles and darn glad to have them on it. Now a tow bar with a Studebaker with unknown front suspension condition, That's a ride that will clear your bowels.


07-16-2017, 09:14 AM
I've towed about 5 different Studebakers using a tow dolly. Never had an issue, but as noted above I would always remove the driveshaft and put a plug in the end of the transmission (to keep the lube in). Kept two good wheels and tires that were to put in the rear for towing.

But......if I would have had a good trailer with electric brakes, and a vehicle of sufficient weight/braking/power to tow it........I sure would have towed them on the trailer! :)

07-16-2017, 11:48 AM
It pays to remember,..for SHORT distance towing, say 25 miles or so, removing the driveshaft, and consequent loss of ATF, is completely un-necessary.

Just make sure the Flightomatic (or even the older 'DG') auto tranny has sufficient fluid, and the range selector is in neutral, of course! :)

07-16-2017, 11:53 AM
I believe that a Twin-Ultramatic equipped '56 Golden Hawk, which also has an output shaft driven rear oil pump, can be towed (short distance at least) in neutral with the two-piece driveshaft left in place. :!:

07-16-2017, 12:14 PM
I'd disconnect the driveshaft, just to be safe, but tie it off as mentioned above. That way, no loss of ATF, and easier to reconnect. Just be sure to tie it off VERY securely. I also wrap the u'joint in duck tape, to keep it together and not lose the end caps.

Mike Sal
07-16-2017, 04:34 PM
Last month when we were bringing home the '65 from the Chuck Nagel sale, somewhere in New Mexico I think, we passed a sad group of people on the side of the freeway who had been tow dollying a mid-fifties chevy truck. The left rear wheel was gone (broken axle) & the fender & rear bumper was slightly shorter from being sanded off by the pavement while they were trying to get pulled over. It was in the upper 90's too....sure was glad our load was riding on a trailer of known condition.
Mike Sal

07-17-2017, 02:25 PM
I used a tow dolly on my 59 Lark. I loaded it backwards and used bungee cords to lock the steering wheel to the bottom of the seat, on BOTH steering wheel arms. I towed it about 15 miles and the front suspension was VERY worn.

Over about 30 MPH, the car wanted to start wagging. If I was going to do any more distance, I would turn it around, remove the DS or load it on a full trailer. I could not tow it forward at the time because the rear diff had issues.

07-17-2017, 08:32 PM
If you could drive the car 300 miles. Then use a dolly.

If the car is not drivable ie sitting for years. ie old tires dry bearings. Then use a trailer.

07-17-2017, 09:10 PM
I would NEVER use a dolly when a trailer is available... for anything... ever.