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Flat Towing a Trail rig... help me win an argument or hey, lose it...

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by sled_dog, Dec 21, 2005.

  1. sled_dog

    sled_dog 1 ton status

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    My Dad wants me to setup my S10 for flat towing. He thinks that instead of using a trailer I should be flat towing it to the trails. Hes been pushing hard for this and expected me to do it so I could tow it home that way. I simply didn't have time, nor do I want to. I think flat towing it would simply be unsafe and stupid. Please help me figure out if I'm being stupid or he is.

    From what I can see here are the PROBLEMS:
    -Suspension is designed to just drop out from under the truck, so I need to limit down every time I leave the trail.
    -Paragon is 1.5hrs from my house. 120 mile round trip. Rausch is 2 hours, 200 mile round trip. That is a lot of wear on the rig, and what if I break something??
    -Set of tires just for transporting it, no way I'm wearing my IROKs...
    -I'm not even sure it is legal in PA.
    -No backing up...
    -No added braking when stopping(wear on the tow rig)
    -Have to remove both driveshafts(or the drive slugs up front)

    Pros:
    -cheaper than buying a trailer for myself(dad uses his too often and it is narrower then my S10 with street tires and stock backspacing wheels).
    -easy... I guess...
     
  2. Hossbaby50

    Hossbaby50 3/4 ton status

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    It depends on what you are towing it with and how much it weighs to see if it is safe. I flat towed my full bodied k5 with all the hardware and alot of extra weight in it from Phoenix, AZ to Ft Collins, CO. It was 1000 miles. It was probably not 100% the safest thing I have done but it worked pretty well. I would do it again, and I plan to.

    I towed it behind and 2005 Ford F250. It towed the truck pretty well and it also did a pretty good job at stopping both trucks. You must make sure to observe safe distances so you can stop.

    I plan to flat tow my K5 alot this summer. All the good trails in Colorado are 3hrs + away and are in the mountains. I am going to tow my K5 this summer behind my new towrig. It is a 98.5 Dodge 2500 Cummins. It should pull my K5 around pretty safely, especially if it is in wheeling trim with no doors, no top, light tailgate, etc.

    When I flat towed my K5 I pulled the rear driveshaft so I didn't mess up the NP208.

    Before I left AZ I had a friend help me build a BURLY towbar for my truck. It did the job really well on my 1000 mile voyage.

    Harley
     
  3. spongeidys

    spongeidys 1/2 ton status

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    flat towing is legal in pa i belive....i see people flat towing around here all the time
     
  4. Chaddy

    Chaddy 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Get a trailer....safer with the breaks, and if you break something major on the trail and cant flat tow then trailer is much nicer than calling for one.
     
  5. Hossbaby50

    Hossbaby50 3/4 ton status

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    All you gotta do it make the truck be able to roll to get it to flat tow. It is not impossible to break it to badly to flat tow but it would be pretty difficult to do especially if you carry a good supply of spare parts.

    Harley
     
  6. sled_dog

    sled_dog 1 ton status

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    seeing as I just 4 linked it and it is my first REAL project doing so. I could forsee some bad breakage. What if I bend a leaf spring? Thats not a too uncommon thing to do...
     
  7. FWP

    FWP CRS

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    That's exactly why I trailer my rig, street legal as it is, to the trails. Wearing out a set of TSL's on the pavement is not a good thing IMHO.

    Imagine yourself, tired and worn out at the end of the day of wheelin, only to break out the tools to swap tires. Then do all the other necessary stuff you mentioned, and drive home 2+ hours after all that. I guarantee you'll only do that a few times to realize a trailer is worth the price.
     
  8. cybrfire

    cybrfire 1 ton status Vendor GMOTM Winner

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    I've seen brakes hooked up on the flat towed vehicle. Can't remember how it all works but it is an available aftermarket piece.

    I'd trailer it though.
     
  9. 0cP

    0cP Registered Member

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    What about a tow dolly then you only have to swap 2 wheels and only 1 axle has to roll. Do they have dollys with brakes?

    Dean the guy with the SASed astro tow bars his wifes jeep just fine but thats a lot less weight.

    Set it up for flat towing and try it, less weight then with a trailer. Plus I want to know how it is for when I build my astro.
     
  10. mountainexplorer

    mountainexplorer 1/2 ton status

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    I've towed alot with my tow bar, but I use my trailer more. Like has already been pointed out, sometimes you may have issues/breakage to where the trail rig won't roll or shouldn't roll. If you have seized wheel bearings, a broken axle housing, flat tires, bent rims, exploded gears (requiring axleshafts to be pulled), or a number of other problems, on a trailer you don't have to worry about any of that as long as you have a way to drag it on or load it.

    If the trailer is always licensed and has lights you don't have to worry about magnetic lights or a light bar or current tabs on a trail rig.
     
  11. sled_dog

    sled_dog 1 ton status

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    there is a good point. Does a vehicle being flat towed have to be registered? The S10 is a little, well if you look ino the title it is fishy :wink1: so registration just isn't ever going to happen.
     
  12. ntsqd

    ntsqd 1/2 ton status

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    In CA it must have either a plate or an OHV registration sticker on it to be legally flat towed.
    If at all possible I'd put it on a trailer.
     
  13. mikey_d05

    mikey_d05 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    I'd either trailer it or use a tow dolly. Trailers aren't THAT expensive. I had to swallow hard when I cut the check for mine but it's been worth every penny. You can haul more than just your truck on the trailer as well. I've made a couple hundred bucks from "borrowing" it out.

    This is probably just a repost of your original list but these are the reasons I saved and bought a trailer.

    -Tire wear on trail truck. I'm not willing to wear 40" boggers any faster than I absolutely have to.
    -Brakes on trailer. They're capable of locking up with ~ 6000 lbs. sitting on the trailer, much better than no brakes at all.
    -Highway manners. Even if you didn't break or cut a tire, I doubt it'd be a pleasant load to pull.
    -Street legality. In MN, road vehicles and trailers are required to have "complete fender coverage of the tires" and I trailers still have to have their rear "bumper" or some structural piece to act as one within a certain height range. So, even as a trailer, my trail truck isn't even close to legal.
    -Trail breakage. If I grenade something during the day, all I have to do is hook the winch up to the trailer tongue and drag my truck onto the trailer and I'm on my way. If it's messed up so badly that I can't even do that, well, there's no way I'd be able to flat tow it home.

    I had the exact same fight with my dad early last summer. In the end, I won because I tow with his pickup and flat towing would just increase the wear and tear on his vehicle as well as being a ****-ton more work at the trailhead if you have a seperate set of street tires.

    Convince him to shell out/let you shell out for a trailer. Trust me, you won't regret it.
     
  14. mountainexplorer

    mountainexplorer 1/2 ton status

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    In Washington, you have to either have current tabs or a trip permit. And trip permits aren't that cheap anymore. Even if you use a tow dolly around here you have to have current tabs. And even truck campers that are on truck beds and don't even touch the pavement technically have to be licensed.

    Could be completely different over there though. But more than likely if you flat towed it and it wasn't registered, eventually you'd get pulled over and asked a few questions.
     
  15. stallion85

    stallion85 1/2 ton status

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    I flat tow my rig. I have towed it to Moab and the local trails here in Vegas. It is just a temporary solution to my final purchase of a trailer. From what I have seen is I could get one in the $1500 range. That is almost the price of a new set of tires. So if you figure that into the mix it is not a bad investment......
     
  16. monster man

    monster man 1/2 ton status

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    if you can avoid it, I would. I've flat towed many vehicles before and finally just bought a trailer, much safer and more convenient. You have brakes, you don't have to disconnect your driveshafts, you have better maneuverability, and no wear on the towed vehicle

    Plus, just saw a NASTY wreck involving some jackass over the weekend. I'm doing 55 towing my new Model A Ford home, when some joker flat towing a Nissan Pathfinder with another one flew by at about 70, in the pouring rain. We saw him about an hour later just after he spun 'em both around into a guard rail. Of course, you can be safe and smart flat towing, but it's just easier with a trailer
     
  17. Hossbaby50

    Hossbaby50 3/4 ton status

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    A trailer is a much better route but I am not going to be able to afford a trailer for a long time since I still got to pay off the towrig. As far a breakage goes yes things like bent springs and seized wheel bearings are a problem unless you prepare for it.

    I carry spare main leaves for both the front and rear suspensions. I carry spare wheel bearings, races and a spare spindle. There are breakages that require trailers but if you carry enough spare parts and tools then there are very few things to stop you from flat towing. I personally carry ALOT of spare parts which is another reason I consider flat towing to be an ok option.

    I run MTR's on my truck so flat towing the truck even longer distances isn't to hard on my tire wear.

    If you can afford a trailer then that is the ticket but if you cant then flat towing is ok.

    Harley
     
  18. stallion85

    stallion85 1/2 ton status

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    Harley you forgot to mention the kitchen sink too:D

    I have seen your list of trail spares and stuff! You are prepared for the apocalypse.....or whatever else might happen on the trail:D
     

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