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towing with 51 comander

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  • towing with 51 comander

    I just bought a 1968 Apache tent camper that is in very good condition that I plan to tow with my 51 comander. The trailer is very lite I see now trouble in towing it. I would like to use a 1 1/4 resever so I can take off the ball shank when not in use. Has anyone towed with a 51 with this setup? If you have what brand of hitch did you use? We are long time campers and are realy looking forwad to it.

  • #2
    I can't speak to your specific questions, having never towed with my '51. I did once rent a U-Haul trailer and used their clamp-on hitch on the rear bumper of my '53 Commander, which has the same drivetrain as the '51. I only ran it a couple hundred miles and was only hauling a couple of Champion engines.

    There was a Studebaker accessory hitch in '51 that clamped to the bumper and bolted to the rear crossmember. Others here may have more details on it than I.

    My concern would be on the '51 brakes. They were not the best to begin with for the weight of the car. Have you upgraded, or considered upgrading to the later V-8 brakes?

    Brad Johnson
    Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
    '33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight, '53 Commander Starlight
    "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

    Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
    Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
    '33 Rockne 10,
    '51 Commander Starlight,
    '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée",
    '56 Sky Hawk


    • #3
      I have changed the brakes to a set off of a 60 hawk so I think I am in good shape there. The hitch you talk about sounds interesting! Thanks


      • #4
        I have never done this either, but I would strongly recommend that you convert to 12 volts and add electric trailer brakes. I'm sure the engine and transmission can take it, but I would be cautious using overdrive with this setup because of the freewheeling. I think you would want that engine braking available.


        • #5
          Yes I Plan on running with the overdrive locked out. Of course with a 456 rear end I think that will make a big difference. The trailer is real small probably weigh 500# or less which is not much more then 2 or 3 people.


          • #6
            There may be some confusion about overdrive. When a Studebaker is in overdrive, there is no freewheeling. There is only freewheeling before overdrive is engaged, below maybe 30 MPH. If you drive below 30 with the OD handle pulled out, then push it in at 30 then upshift, there will be no problem with freewheeling.


            On deceleration, when the speed drops below 25, the transmission will automatically drop out of OD. If you give it a little gas, to continue pulling, then pull out the handle, it will lock out overdrive and freewheeling.

            Tom Bredehoft
            '53 Commander Coupe
            '60 Lark VI
            '05 Legacy Ltd Wagon
            All three Indiana built OD cars


            • #7
              You are absolutely right. I have owned several overdrive cars over the years. When I said I was going to tow out of overdrive I meant when I was in hilly country. This in affect gives me a lower gear ratio which in turn gives more engine braking. I live about 30 miles west of South Bend so it is real flat here so I may be able to tow here in overdrive. I weighed the trailer today and it was 640# dry so it is real light as long as we keep cargo down.


              • #8
                I've flat-towed my 64 lark home behind my 54 champion 20 miles home after it broke...suprisingly handled it okay.

                I usually never flat tow a car,however I did have a reluctant girlfriend steering the car in flat-tow.

                My girlfriend Kate says some of the tings I do is more entertaining then watching 'jackass' on MTV...not sure if this is a complement or not[?]