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5th wheel towing?

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by rts, Nov 25, 2001.

  1. rts

    rts Registered Member

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    Have any of you ever removed the top on your blazer, and towed a fifth wheel trailer? can the hardware be mounted to the bed of the blazer? How much weight can a stock '89 K5 350 tow?
     
  2. Can Can

    Can Can Pusher Man Staff Member Super Moderator

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    I've never seen it done, but I looked into it when I had an opportunity to get a nice fiver really cheap. Other than the fact that the hitch assembly is right behind your passengers in the rear seat, there shouldn't be a problem. You'll also need to drill a hole in the floor to route your trailer brake wiring.

    The only huge downside that I considered was that almost all your cargo space is lost because of the hitch placement.

    You shouldn't plan on towing more than 5000lbs with a K5, either.



    <font color=blue> NEVER FORGET, NEVER FORGIVE, NEVER SURRENDER<font color=blue>
     
  3. rts

    rts Registered Member

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    Thanks CanmoreK5. How much was it going to cost?

    Anyone actualy done it? Everyone agree that 5000 is the max?

    Thanks!
     
  4. chevyfumes

    chevyfumes Court jester

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    Watch for the muzzleflash!
    Don't ya think the gastank might get in the way.....

    <font color=blue> I'd rather have a bottle in front of me, than a frontal lobotomy!
     
  5. Can Can

    Can Can Pusher Man Staff Member Super Moderator

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    I believe the hitch was going to cost me around $350(that was in Canadian dollars). Because of the position of the gas tank on a K5, I was looking at the type of hitch that bolted onto the top of the rear wheelwells as opposed to the style that bolted to the bed floor.

    The wiring wasn't going to be an issue. I just planned on running the brake controller wires under the truck, punching a hole in the floor and installing a wiring grommet once the wires were in place......

    Also, if you have a 700r4 tranny, MAKE SURE YOU INSTALL AN AUXILLIARY TRANNY COOLER IF YOU PLAN TO TOW!!!! I assume your 89 has one, and thought I'd tell you just in case you didn't know. Also, NEVER tow in OD......

    Good luck, brother!!!![​IMG]



    <font color=blue> NEVER FORGET, NEVER FORGIVE, NEVER SURRENDER<font color=blue>
     
  6. TheGeneral

    TheGeneral 1/2 ton status

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    Just something to consider is length of tow rig. It is not recommended to tow something that is longer than your rig. Many people don't follow this, but as far as the short wheelbase of our K5's go, I have seen a 14' boot start to sway, and there was no stopping the dam thing. K5 and boot ended up in ditch, no one hurt though. Just my 2 cents.

    If you ain't hurt, you ain't playin' hard enough.

    The General
     
  7. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    I'm not real sure that applies to a 5th wheel set-up. The dynamics are much different. The weight is much farther forward on a 5th wheel set-up which makes it much more stable. My only concern is the actual load capacity of a K5 ain't a lot...but for a 5th wheel weighing 5000 lbs or less it should be OK. Just pray for good weather.[​IMG] or bring along a soft top for when the 5th wheel isn't hooked up.

    Also a weight didtributing hitch assembly can go a long way to stabilizing both the truck and the trailer. I've towed our 21 foot trailer quite a bit and never had a sway problem, and I tow with my 35's and a 4" lift.

    Rene

    <font color=green>Dyslexics of the world...UNTIE!</font color=green>
    <a target="_blank" href=http://coloradok5.com/gallery/project_T2> tRusty pics...</a>
     
  8. Can Can

    Can Can Pusher Man Staff Member Super Moderator

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    I don't want to start an argument, but I've never heard that "rule", Joel. In fact, if that was true, why are there so many 28-32 ft. travel trailers out there? What percentage of people actually tow with a truck that long?

    I own a 21' travel trailer that I tow with both my K5 and my 83 GMC 1/2 ton. I've NEVER had a problem, and I tow on some pretty hairy mountain roads. As long as you use a quality load stabliizer system you shouldn't have a problem. I use a Reese stabilzer/equalizer setup that keeps even pressure on all four tires of the tow rig.

    The thing you mentioned about the boat trailer is true- however, most boat trailers are single axle while *most* travel trailers and fivers are dual axle. The second axle makes a HUGE difference in trailer handling.

    Like I said, I don't want to start an argument- I just wanted to further explain my point.



    <font color=blue> NEVER FORGET, NEVER FORGIVE, NEVER SURRENDER<font color=blue>
     
  9. rts

    rts Registered Member

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    So, is there anyway to safely tow a 7000 - 8000 pound trailer?
    Tans. cooler, oil cooler, sway bars etc..
    I was hoping that If I went the 5th wheel rought, I may be able to tow more. I guess not.

    Is it un-safe, or just hard on the K5?
    I could get buy with only towing it 5 or 6 times, about 1000 mile each time.

    Thanks
     
  10. Can Can

    Can Can Pusher Man Staff Member Super Moderator

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    One thing you have to consider is overall weight. My TT is only 3200 lbs(It's a brand new ultralite), but I somehow managed to pile in almost 700 lbs of gear, clothing, dishes, food, etc..... Chances are your overall weight will be more than just your "dry" trailer weight.

    8000 lbs is just too much for a K5. It would definitely be hard on a stocker, but the biggest issue you face with that kind of weight is BRAKING. 8000lb trailer + gear in trailer + K5 + gear and people in K5 = somewhere around 14-15,000 lbs. Even with a good brake controller, you're looking at a LOT of weight being stopped by a basic four wheel disc/drum braking system designed to stop just the truck. How fast can you stop 15,000 lbs in an emergency? I really can't tell you, but I don't think I want to find out the hard way[​IMG]!!!!!!!

    A fiver is better to tow, you're right, but the weight behind your truck doesn't change........



    <font color=blue> NEVER FORGET, NEVER FORGIVE, NEVER SURRENDER<font color=blue>
     
  11. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    Our 21 foot trailer is usually in the 5500 lb neighborhood with all our junk...that puts me in the 11,000 to 12,000 lb total weight area. I do have a 14 bolt FF rear which has considerably larger drum brakes, plus all my trailer brakes are brand new. It does stop pretty good, but I sure wouldn't want to try more weight than that.

    Rene

    <font color=green>Dyslexics of the world...UNTIE!</font color=green>
    <a target="_blank" href=http://coloradok5.com/gallery/project_T2> tRusty pics...</a>
     
  12. greg83k5

    greg83k5 1/2 ton status

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    more wheelbase lessens squirreliness..... i'd never tow even an empty fifth wheel with a blazer. while it would be simply awesome to back up with it, the short wheelbase coupled with the 1/2 ton squishy springs would be ridiculous....

    my 3/4 ton reg cab's fith wheel trailering habits are weird compared to th rock-solid stability of my father's extra cab dually... the 3/4 ton wanders more, and the extracab just feels more planted-granted ( that rhymes) the dually is a big difference, but so is the wheelbase.... and weight.

    greg .......... now the more i think about it, i am REALLY interested in how a super-short wheelbase vehicle would tow a 5th..... but i sure as hell am not gonna do it....
     
  13. chvyhs

    chvyhs 1/2 ton status

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    I wouldn't tow anything longer than 20' and heavier than 5000lbs. with my K5. I used to tow a car hauler with mine and that would make for some tense moments. I bought a 3/4 ton Suburban last week and it tows like a dream compared to the K5. If your K5 is lifted it makes things worse. Your suspension can't handle it and niether can your brakes.

    There's my .02 keep the change.

    <font color=red>Sure your Durango can go any place I can go, (if I hook a strap to it).</font color=red>
     
  14. Sparky87k5

    Sparky87k5 1/2 ton status

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    I've been towing travel trailers for over 25 years and with everything commonly found including GM pick ups, Subs &amp; K5's. I now tow 24' 5000# TT with a heavily modified K5 and have no problems but I don't suggest that the K5 is the best choice for towing. Short wheelbase trucks just don't have the stability as the longer wheelbase trucks like pickups and Sububans do. All factors being equal, longer wheelbase will be better for towing except for parking in tight spots. Using a K5 for 5th wheel towing will be an experience I hope to NEVER have an opportunity to do. Can't imagine anyone considering the idea. If you want advice from experts, try this link. <a target="_blank" href=http://www.rv.net/forum>http://www.rv.net/forum</a> Goodluck.

    87 K5, 427BBC,D60 & 14BFF, NV4500, NP208, TSM disc's,
     
  15. 87superblaze

    87superblaze 1/2 ton status

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    I see one serious problem with towing a fith wheel with a K5. This is from experience in towing 15,000 lb fith wheel trailers. I am assuming you are taling about camper trailers. The hitch in the K5 will be so close to the cab that when you try to turn sharp enough, the corner of the camper will hit the cab of the blazer. I towed the camper with an extended cab chevy and it was difficult to back up because the camper would hit if i turned hard enough. I know that a blazer can turn much sharper than a full size extended cab. Just my 2 cents. It could be done however.
     
  16. horsepit

    horsepit Registered Member

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    tRustyK5
    I have a 28' trailer, about 4,800 lbs dry. I'm looking to buy a Blazer because they're a lot more fun than a Suburban (I've had both) and since I only tow the trailer 4-6 times a year it seems like over kill to have the Burb. What did you do to upgrade the Blazer for the load?
     
  17. punchdrunk

    punchdrunk Registered Member

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    You would have to be an absolute nut to pull a 5th wheel with a K5,i installed and distributed hitches for a living several years back and i GUARENTEE you will not find any manufacturer of hitches that would disagree,the wheelbase is to short.anything is possible but to do so would endanger everyone on the road around you.
    buy a regular traveltrailer and if its over 4000# i use a weight dist. setup,there about 300.00 but you could tow up to 7500# and still be safe(depending on many other factors).i have to admit i've towed more when i had my 78' K5,good trailer brakes is manditory
    also 5th wheel hitches should be mounted 2 to 6'' in front of the rear axle so clearance would be a problem.
    Keep it safe bro
    Doug

    Work is for people who can't fish!<font color=blue>
     
  18. Chaz88K5

    Chaz88K5 1/2 ton status

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    5th wheel trailers are total diff animals...the swaying issuse is almost a non issue...figure it this way...i have a 16 foot car trailer i tow behind my 88 and i towed my 72 on it....swayed like crazy....then look at a 5th wheel hook up....a normal semi truck has a wheel base in the area of 196"....and we tow trailers that are 120 feet long with no swaying problems

    <font color=green>Chaz</font color=green>

    <a target="_blank" href=http://community.webshots.com/user/chaz88k5>http://community.webshots.com/user/chaz88k5</a>
     
  19. punchdrunk

    punchdrunk Registered Member

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    yea a k5 and a semi are almost the same,HELLO semis are built to tow and have 10 wheels
    and i don't think i said sway would be the problem,towing a 5th wheel with a k5 is the problem

    Work is for people who can't fish!<font color=blue><P ID="edit"><FONT class="small">Edited by punchdrunk on 11/25/01 11:19 PM.</FONT></P>
     
  20. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    I made some upgrades to the motor like a mild cam designed for torque. I run a 4 speed tranny, but I don't really recomend it. The splits between gears on a SM465 are a little far apart and the big hills can be frustrating. I tow through the coastal Mountains in B.C. and many of our grades are truck killers, 8,9,and 10% for miles.

    I'm a firm believer in weight distributing hitches, really good trailer brakes and vehicle brakes. I've had good luck towing our trailer...but if you want expert advice ask Sparky87K5. I'm sure Bill has forgotten more than I know about towing on a grand scale.

    IMHO K5's can be used to tow up to 5000-6000 lbs but preparation is the key. I made many short trips to get everything set up right. The longest trip I made was to Huntington beach CA and back. (3500 miles)

    Shoot Sparky a private message...trust me, he's a towing God[​IMG]

    Rene

    <font color=green>Dyslexics of the world...UNTIE!</font color=green>
    <a target="_blank" href=http://coloradok5.com/gallery/project_T2> tRusty pics...</a>
     

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