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FLAT TOWING...

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by 90blzr, Jul 9, 2003.

  1. 90blzr

    90blzr 1/2 ton status

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    Who here has flat towed? I gotta pick up a crew cab and was planning on towing it with an HD...gas engine /forums/images/graemlins/angryfire.gif and a trailer. Wich is gonna get SH!TTY mileage.

    Then it was brought up about flat towing. Would this be easier on the tow vehicle? If that is the case...I have a buddies Expedition that should do that. AND get about doubler the gas mileage!
    I've towed with the expo before and it does well..I just figured for a 'bigger' truck, a 'bigger' tow vehicle will handle the trailer alot better. Depending on how flat towing works/needs, I may be able to get away with using the Expo.

    Any opinions, one way or the other?

    Do you use a dolly...or tow bar...or??

    I've always used trailers, never flat towed anything.

    Any info/help is appreciated asap! /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  2. JustHorsinArownd

    JustHorsinArownd Registered Member

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    Sounds to me like you're goin to be towin quite a distance and flat towin is not the way to go. I once flat towed in the towed vehicle for about 30 miles and it really blew. Always havin to be on the edge of your seat about hittin the brakes is really nerve rackin. If you're really all that worried about gas mileage and the vehicle you're towin can fit on a car dolly then that may be the way to go. Same thing about a tow bar. I've done both and I was confident about the safety of either one. Flat towin is ok for short distances but not longer ones. Least ways that's my $.02 worth anyways. Good luck in whatever you decide!

    Allan
     
  3. Suburbanite

    Suburbanite Registered Member

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  4. Pookster

    Pookster 1/2 ton status

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    flat towing isnt that bad, but it depends on the weight. Generally, I would shy away from towing more than 65% of the primary vehicles weight. Longer wheel base helps a lot, but flat towing has a tendency to try and come around you, more so than a tow dolly or trailer. Also, the thing about brakes....

    Towing an equal value of weight, or close to equal value, is quite a challenge on your brakes. Stopping distances are rediculous if the ground is even slightly less than perfect. Add that with weight bias toward the front axle, and a unloaded rear axle, it has a tendency to try and jacknife the truck. (not so bad with the new ABS Trucks, they tend to realize when the rear is trying to come around on them and not brake as hard.).

    I'd consider a tow dolly with trailer brakes.
     
  5. 90blzr

    90blzr 1/2 ton status

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    Okay..maybe I used the wrong term...what do you consider flat towing? Sounds like from what you said, flat towing and towing with a dolly/tow bar are two different things.

    I will be taking the HD now for sure, the expo is out as of now. Its about 1300 miles...so thats why gas was a concern...but either way good or bad...its gonna be cheaper than having a carrier bring it. AND there is nothing like another ROAD TRIP /forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif

    I was just wondering if using a dolly/tow bar is gonna be any better or worse than just using a trailer? Towing and pulling/mileage wise?
     
  6. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    I flat towed an 82 Blazer from Austin to Vancouver with a tow bar. I didn't have any real problems but the towed Blazer had no motor and was missing a few other parts which dropped it's weight to about 3400 lbs. Even with that modest of a weight I was technically illegal in almost every state I drove through because I had no brakes on the towed vehicle.

    Crew cabs are heavy, especially if they are complete. If there are parts missing that make it lighter that is better but it'll still be too heavy to be legally flat towed without a dolly.

    I'd try and wrangle up a dolly, that'll be the lightest, legal way to tow it home (dolly has brakes)

    Rene
     
  7. 90blzr

    90blzr 1/2 ton status

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    Hmmm...cool. Any idea on how wide the outside wheel to outside wheel mearurments is on stocks? I dont have the truck to measure with/forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif

    I'm gonna call on a dolly and tow bar and see what the deal is. Another member hauled a Suburban with a tow bar with no problems.
    I am just wondering if with the dolly, they will say the truck is too heavy for it or something...
     
  8. Pookster

    Pookster 1/2 ton status

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    I've used both dolly and trailers, Both are good, in their own ways. Dolly's are much lighter (several hundred vs several thousand lbs) Much shorter, so on and so forth.

    THere is also no tongue weight. (or virtually non compared to a regular trailer). this is good and bad. I think A good amount of tongue weight adds stability to the whole shibang. Then again, having no tongue weight makes going over bumps so much smoother!

    Oh yeah, the only reason I got a trailer instead of a tow dolly is that it is gentler on the vehicle being towed. If your towing an extremely long vehicle, which I think you are, your hard pressed to find one easily, most are 16-18 ft. Just make sure the vehcile isnt too wide to fit on the dolly.
     
  9. mastercraftkpk

    mastercraftkpk 1/2 ton status

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    Be careful if you call U-Haul to rent a dolly. They will only give yuo a dolly if you are towing a yugo with a sherman tank. I just recently towed a '72 w/ 36'' tires 900 miles in driving rain on a U-Haul dolly w/ no problems. The tow vehicle was a suburban 1500. (I did need to put smaller tires on the front end in order to get it on the dolly though.)

    Just be sure to REALLY strap the front tires down well w/ extra straps and tell U-Haul that you are towing something like a chevy cavalier w/ a suburban.

    /forums/images/graemlins/k5.gif
     
  10. laketex

    laketex 3/4 ton status

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    Yeah I've already talked to you via PM's but here's my story. I've flat towed twice with 2 different pullers and different loads. The two experiences were worlds apart.

    1) I towed my '79 K5 350 miles with a shortbed F150 with the I6 motor. That was pure hell especially after it started raining. The poor ford just wasn't up to the task. I also had a homeade tow bar and the K5 weighed more than the ford since it was loaded with about a thousand pounds of my crap.

    2) I towed a '87 3/4 ton 4x4 Suburban with my '02 swb dodge cummins about 4 months ago. I went around 550 miles with this combo and it was a sweet pulling dream. I used a heavy duty uhaul towbar and I hardly even knew it was back there till i got over 80mph and it started to sway. Keeping it at 70 to 75 left me with no problems. I would figure that the 2 trucks here were about the same weight, but the dodge has the cummins, 4 wheel disks, and very tight steering. Also the Sub had tight steering and a good frontend.

    If you're going to rent, I might try a towbar from Uhaul. I had really good experiences with that one. You're gonna be hard pressed to find a trailer that will accept a crewcab. That's a lot of wheelbase and total length. I've never towed with a dolly so i can't make an educated comment on those.

    Hope some of these ramblings help.

    Bryan
     
  11. kennyw

    kennyw N9PHW Premium Member

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    Is the crewcab you are picking up driveable? I would drive something small out to get it (small car or S10) and use the crewcab to tow the other smaller car back. Then you could rent a tow dolly and safely pull it 1300 miles /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif

    I have done a lot of flat towing using a friends towbar. The tow vehicle needs to be 50% larger (longer wheelbase and more weight prefered) than what is being towed if you plan to travel over 30 mph safely. Going around corners requires a very large turn radius and slow down! I broke the bumper on this 66 GMC going around a corner too tight (tow bar clamped onto bumper) webshots pic . Then on my 86 S10 I broke the bumper mounting bracket off the frame when I was forced into a tight turn...

    For a long distance I am more comfortable using a tow dolly if possible. You still need a tow rig with brakes capable of handling the extra weight as the dolly brakes are only set up for a small car if they even have brakes (most I have rented dont have brakes).
    [​IMG]
    Use stock size tires and the shorter the better. A chain and binder to chain down the front axle to the dolly as a back up would also be good (assuming the crewcab is a 4x4). I was able to get 14-15 mpg hauling that GMC home from N. CAL. but I have a NA Diesel. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  12. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    My tow bar was bolted to the frame of the towed K5, no front bumper...

    It was very stable and at one point I had it over 85 mph when there were funnel clouds forming near the highway in Oklahoma./forums/images/graemlins/eek.gif I figure if I'm getting passed by locals doing 100 mph it was best to follow suit./forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

    A stable tight connection with a tow bar is the best. I'm not fond of the ones that clamp to the bumper, they tend to slide around.

    Rene
     

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