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Just tell me that "Flat Tow" is a bad idea and I'll feel better.

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by BigBen, Feb 14, 2003.

  1. BigBen

    BigBen 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    Just tell me that \"Flat Tow\" is a bad idea and I\'ll feel better.

    Hey all,

    I've spent the last 2 hours reading the results from my all history search on "flat tow" in this forum... You all have addressed this in about every fashion possible. The strange thing is that everyone has had different experiences.... some fine, some really bad. /forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif

    But, I would value your opinion in this particular case.

    I'm moving back to MI from Cali in April. I moved out in my 1/2 ton 2-door '95 Yukon and a 6x12 U-Haul trailer. The Yukon did fine, but worked on the hills. Since then I seem to have acquired about 4700 pounds of '74 K5 which I just got running. /forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

    My original plan was to ship the K5 and pull a 6x12 again to get home. The K5 shipping will run about $1400 to get from here to there.

    I could buy a flatbed for about that, but I'm pretty sure Blazer+Trailer would be too much for the Yukon.

    My buds are trying to convince me that I could load everything I own in the K5 and Flat Tow it behind my Yukon.

    This seems like a VERY bad idea to me /forums/images/graemlins/eek.gif but wanted to double check with the experts before shelling out the 1400 clams! Or do I just not have enough cajones? /forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif

    Thanks

    -Ben

    /forums/images/graemlins/1zhelp.gif
     
  2. the professor

    the professor 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Just tell me that \"Flat Tow\" is a bad idea and I\'ll feel better.

    If its stick shift, no problem for intermediate distances (less than 50 miles, less than 50mph)very little internal lubrication with the input shaf and countershaft not turning..

    ..If 4x4, just put the transfer in neutral, no problem any distance or speed.
    --
    If its a 2wd automatic..you had better:
    --
    Pull the driveshaft...and tie it up..out of the way..
    --
    Unless you have another yoke to fit into the trans..
    --
    If you flat tow it..the driveshaft turns, the trans internals turn, the clutches turn but are not engaged..just rubbing..AND THERE IS NO LUBRICATION, because since the 1950's there has been no "rear pump" in any automatic transmission
    --
    If you are luckey, you will just wear out the clutches..
    --
    Not so luckey, you will sieze it
    --
    ASE Master tech for 43 years..rebuilt may flat towed transmissions /forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif /forums/images/graemlins/truck.gif
     
  3. Shaggy

    Shaggy 3/4 ton status

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    Re: Just tell me that \"Flat Tow\" is a bad idea and I\'ll feel better.

    <font color="green"> I agree. If it's a stick then just throw the case in neutral and unlock the front hubs then go for it. If it's an auto then disconnect the rear shaft at the axle and tie it up out of the way, unlock the front hubs and knock yourself out. Just go slow and it *should* be fine. I see no reason that it would hurt the K5.</font color>
     
  4. DBLAZER

    DBLAZER 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Just tell me that \"Flat Tow\" is a bad idea and I\'ll feel better.

    If you are going to falt tow it I would pull both the front and rear driveshaft. I do not think that just throwing the T-case in neutral is a good idea. the bearings will still be spinning on the shafts and there will be nothing to lubricate them. I have seen first hand a tcase hurt by this. It does not take to long to pull the front and rear.
    If it were me and you can afford it, I would by the trailer and tow it. I wouldn't do it every weekend and I would take my time when I did do it. I pulled my big ol rig , heavy as hell, with my wifes 95 short bed c1500 stepside chevy. /forums/images/graemlins/truck.gif It pulled it, it was slow, but it pulled it. At least this way you can turn around and sell the trailer and you won't be out that much cash.
     
  5. the professor

    the professor 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Just tell me that \"Flat Tow\" is a bad idea and I\'ll feel better.

    I have to respectfully dissagree with the last post...
    -
    If a 4x4 and you have auto-locking, or manual locking hubs, and the hubs are unlocked..the driveline front driveline doesn't turn
    --
    Even if it did, and it turned the transfer case...all petinent rotating parts are submerged in oil..they are in the bottom of the transfer case... /forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif /forums/images/graemlins/truck.gif.so no worry about lubrication
     
  6. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    Re: Just tell me that \"Flat Tow\" is a bad idea and I\'ll feel better.

    Since nobody has addressed this yet I will. I the majority of states the max weight of a trailer without trailer brakes is 3000 lbs. Flat towing a 74 Blazer makes it a trailer...with 4700 lbs behind ya you will prolly end up in the ditch on the first cloverleaf you encounter. The 74 will be pushing the back of the Yukon out towards the outside of the corner pretty hard!

    I have flat towed a fair bit...about 4000 miles worth. The first one was an 82 blazer with no motor and somewhat stripped. Weighed 3400 lbs. I towed it home from Austin TX to Vancouver BC. It was not bad but quite a bit lighter than a complete Blazer.

    The second Blazer I flat towed was a bare shell on a frame and rolling on 10 bolts. Total weight was about 2200 lbs and I had no trouble with that one at all.

    IMO the first one I towed was borderline for no brakes etc and it did push the back of my truck out once...fortunately I was going slow enough that I managed to recover.

    Get a car trailer with good brakes and a weight distributing hitch and then sell the trailer when you get to Cali...

    Rene
     
  7. fourwheelerjeff

    fourwheelerjeff 1/2 ton status Staff Member Moderator

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    Re: Just tell me that \"Flat Tow\" is a bad idea and I\'ll feel better.

    i flat towed a blazer 1700 miles, dropped both driveshafts, and left the steering free, pulled it with a 87 2wd 1/2 ton pickup and had no problems, even going through cities and changing lanes, i only went 50-55 the whole way though, better safe than sorry

    oh yeah, this blazer had a 12 inch lift and 39.5 boggers /forums/images/graemlins/pimp1.gif
     
  8. BigBen

    BigBen 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    Re: Just tell me that \"Flat Tow\" is a bad idea and I\'ll feel better.

    tRusty, I think you are getting the the core of my dilemma.

    First of all, the front shaft is out right now, and I would pull the rear, just to be safe.
    I'm afraid that the Blazer with my stuff in it (probably 6000#s) would just shove me and the Yukon around..... not a good thing. /forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif Plus, your point about the 3000 lb limit pretty much rules this out in my mind. (I may be crazy, but 2500 miles like that would just be stupid)

    My other fear is that with the K5 on a trailer, the combo might be pretty heavy for the short wheelbase 1/2 ton Yukon to handle all the way across the country.

    I suppose I better think about this a little more......

    -Ben
     
  9. pr1aw

    pr1aw 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Just tell me that \"Flat Tow\" is a bad idea and I\'ll feel better.

    I pull a boat at 5000# with my Blazer with no problems. Your Yukon should pull 6000#. Go with the trailer and your Blazer riding along for the ride. Just make sure the trailer you buy has electric brakes or hitch/hydraulic brakes.
     
  10. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    Re: Just tell me that \"Flat Tow\" is a bad idea and I\'ll feel better.

    </font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
    (I may be crazy, but 2500 miles like that would just be stupid)

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I never scaled the 82 Blazer before hand, I honestly thought I was closer to legal weight/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif It towed so nice I would forget it was behind me now and then./forums/images/graemlins/eek.gif

    I have towed our 21 foot camper trailer loaded with all our junk many times behind my Jimmy with 35's and 4" of lift. I would never tow that without good electric brakes on the trailer and a weight distributing hitch. A tandem axle car trailer with good brakes and a weight distributing hitch should pull without too much trouble.

    Rene
     
  11. afroman006

    afroman006 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Just tell me that \"Flat Tow\" is a bad idea and I\'ll feel better.

    tRusty is right on the money about the weight distributing hitch. I havent personally driven while towing before but riding with my dad I can tell a fair bit from the passenger seat. Towing our 3000 pound or so fiberglass beast of a boat with no load distributing hitch is a little nerve racking compared to towing our 7000 pound camper with the hitch. We also have a flatbed trailer with the load distributing settup but we havent used it in such a long time I have no idea what it rides like.
     
  12. twenty_below0

    twenty_below0 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Just tell me that \"Flat Tow\" is a bad idea and I\'ll feel better.

    trusty is a good honest guy and I would weigh what he says HEAVILY!!! I have pulled a a twin axle trailer with car and I can assure you that the road from there to Cali is much smoother than the Alaskan highway from Oregon to Haines Alaska WITHOUT a DOUBT, this is about an 1800 mile trip I believe. With a GOOD weight distribution hitch and brakes on a QUALITY twin axle trailer you will be fine ! Just dont go over 65 and use some wisdom ! /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  13. Thumper

    Thumper 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Just tell me that \"Flat Tow\" is a bad idea and I\'ll feel better.

    Hey Rene,
    Some guy here was spouting off that he heard a new law coming in that was going to outlaw any trailer over 2000 lbs with electric brakes... he seems to think that they are all going to require hydraulic brakes to be legal if the weight of the trailer is over 2k lbs. I think he is nuts... you?

    Also... been tossing the idea around about towing mine down to Edmonton and possibly Waiprous and maybe even Moab someday, and got to thinkin...
    My ex military trailer has a inertia brake on the tongue that applies hydraulics to the brakes on the trailer. What if a guy scrounged another one and incorporated it into a towbar? Plumb the hyd. line into the trucks rear brakes... possibly doable? What do you think? Or even along the same lines... what if a guy teed a line out of the regular brake system on the tow vehicle that goes to the rear brakes on the Blazer? When you step on the brakes of the tow vehicle, the rears apply on the towee vehicle. Hmmm or even a separate hyd system with its own reservoir and pump of some sort... electrically operated when the pedal is pressed.... Am I nuts?

    Mike
     
  14. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    Re: Just tell me that \"Flat Tow\" is a bad idea and I\'ll feel better.

    Mike, I'd have to do a search to confirm but I'm pretty sure they make systems that actuate part or the whole towed vehicles braking system already. I believe you'd need to check the big RV crowd. I see plenty of Grand Cherokee's and larger being flat towed and those are definitely over 3000 lbs. I'm fairly sure they run some sort of kit that applies the towed vehicles brakes to be legal.

    I think you're buddy has his wires crossed. To my knowledge there isn't a camper trailer out there built in the last 20 years that doesn't have electric brakes. Can you imagine the uproar and the logistic's of refitting all those trailers?/forums/images/graemlins/eek.gif

    My towing experience with both Blazers was pretty uneventful, but caution in tight turns is needed. This is especially true if the tow rig is light in the rear like your pick-up. You can also forget about trying to back it up...

    The flat towed vehicles steering must be unlocked while being towed...and it'll track behind you like an eager to please puppy. Tight corners it will try and push the back end outward though.

    Rene
     
  15. cybrfire

    cybrfire 1 ton status Vendor GMOTM Winner

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    Re: Just tell me that \"Flat Tow\" is a bad idea and I\'ll feel better.

    They definitely make systems that brake the towed vehicle. The company I used to work for makes one. They also make the towbar that goes with it for flat towing. I have used the towbar for quite some time now. I really like it. I never used the brake system but seen it work and it is quite nice. The single most disturbing part of flat towing is that you will still wear out your tires. 2500 miles on whatever off road tire you have is murder. Like the other guys said disconnect the rear shaft at least. That is what I do. The furthest I have towed is only about 60 miles so I can't complain much. The key to flat towing is the bar must be parallel to the ground. If it isn't the loading and unloading condition described by somebody above is exaggerated. I hastily hooked up to a parts truck one time and didn't bother to use the drop male end for the towbar and got the hell scared out of me. It will push around corners. You pretty much have to either go very slow or keep the tow vehicle pulling. That is my take anyway. I am by no means an expert. I like my towbar. Very convenient. I am also sure some of these guys have towed their rigs considerably further and longer than I have. Just my .02 .
     
  16. 88sub4x4

    88sub4x4 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Just tell me that \"Flat Tow\" is a bad idea and I\'ll feel better.

    I agree with most of the others, a tandem axle trailer with electric brakes and weight distribution. And take it easy. I have towed 25ft camper trailers with a bronco on 1000k mile trips. I always use a weight distributing hitch and sway bar (due to the lengthy trailer) and usually go 55-60 without problems. The short wheelbase does make it tricky in heavy crosswinds, but thats why you need to take it easy. If you are being blown around alot then slow down. Better late then never. /forums/images/graemlins/burb.gif
     
  17. the professor

    the professor 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Just tell me that \"Flat Tow\" is a bad idea and I\'ll feel better.

    Regarding my post.."that it won't damage a transfer case"
    -- /forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif
    I have to take my foot out of my mouth..
    --
    After some thought...I realised
    that YES you can and probably will damage a transfer case with a flat tow

    Particularly a NP208, with the hubs unlocked..

    They lube with AFF, the chain won't turn for splash lube, and there will be no lubrication on the output shaft..not good

    With the front hubs locked, the chain wil turn, and it will lube the internals..

    A NP205, has similar restrictions to a manual transmission, regarding speed and distance towed..

    They lube with 80/90wt..and are all needle, roller and ball bearing, and will run for awhile

    They turn ONLY the front and rear input shafts in neutral with the hubs engaged...the lower shift fork dissengages the gear train on the lower shaft...

    Only the output shaft with the hubs dissengaged

    You only need to remove the rear shaft in any case...

    Sorry for the missinformation /forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif /forums/images/graemlins/truck.gif
     
  18. m j

    m j 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Just tell me that \"Flat Tow\" is a bad idea and I\'ll feel better.

    thank you for the retraction, saved me some typing /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
     
  19. laketex

    laketex 3/4 ton status

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    Re: Just tell me that \"Flat Tow\" is a bad idea and I\'ll feel better.

    Well i've had 2 experiences, take them for what they're worth.

    About 4 years ago, I flat towed my '79 Blazer with my '96 F150 pickup. The K5 was loaded with everything I owned and clearly weighed more than the pickup. It was fine but a little slow on dry pavement but then it started to rain and the K5 pushed me everywhere. Very scary experience. Total distance towed = 350 miles. Damage = bent front framehorns

    Then just this past wednesday, I picked up a '89 Suburban at wes's place in Kans ass. Flat towed it 700 miles to Chicago for Dan behind my CTD. Probably nearly equal weight vehicles since the sub was 4x4 and 3/4 ton. Did really well and I averaged 65 to 75 mph the whole way on the interstate.

    Dunno if that helps, but I'd put you into the category of the first one. it's doable if it's dry out, but add inclement weather and you're pretty much screwed. Have you looked into Uhaul trucks? Get the big boy 28'er and drive the K5 inside. Pack your stuff all around it, and rent a dolly for the tahoe. Dunno, just a thought.

    Bryan
     
  20. bigjbear

    bigjbear 1 ton status Staff Member Moderator

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    Re: Just tell me that \"Flat Tow\" is a bad idea and I\'ll feel better.

    U-Hual sounds like a good idea, just figgure out which would be eaiser to put inside and rent a full trailer, not the dolly, for the other.
     

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