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Lets talk Towing

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Mudzer, Aug 21, 2003.

  1. Mudzer

    Mudzer 1/2 ton status Author

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    I bought a tow rig and am in the process of buying a trailer. The trailer I am looking at has 2 5000 pound axles with brakes with a rated capacity of 10,000 pounds.

    I am unsure of my tongue weight with my truck loaded - Ill have to get that real soon. My question is - Do I need a weight distributing hitch and sway controller for my application? My K5 weighs about 6200# and the trailer is another 1200# or so. Im going to be towing with a 2wd 88 Suburban 3/4 ton (14 Bolt Full Floater) and 454 TBI with TH400. Any of you veteran trailer pullers out there?
     
  2. Muddytazz

    Muddytazz 1 ton status

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    Me personally, I would get it, if for nothing else added piece of mind. Getting the weight distributed on a heavy trailer is real important.
     
  3. laketex

    laketex 3/4 ton status

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    That truck, while being 3/4 ton, is a light duty 3/4 ton. You don't NEED the weight distributing hitch, but it wouldn't be a bad idea by any stretch of the imagination. Tongue weight is easy. Just adjust the truck on the trailer. I usually try to drop the ass end of my tow vehicle 2-3 inches with the tongue weight. You want some but not too much. 500 or so pounds is probably about right for you. The sway bar is another issue alltogether. You dont see many vehicles with them but travel trailers. If you think about it, you'll be just as tall, drag as much wind, and be as heavy. I would do it, especially if you'll be towing anywhere that you'll get much crosswind such as say....the plains of mo and ks!!! /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

    If you dont get them now, you might plan to eventually...

    I used to have sway aways and weight distributing bars when i towed with a 1/2 ton. Didn't need them with my cummins. You're gonna be right in between I think. In other words, you could get away without having them, but eventually you're going to want them for peace of mind if nothing else.

    My 38C
     
  4. outlaw612

    outlaw612 1/2 ton status

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    Hey Neil! My father-in-laws burb is the exact same setup as yours (454/th400 and 3/4 ton) and I pulled my old K5 and recently my pickup and you cant hardly tell its behind there. I dont think youll need anything but a hitch. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  5. 6.2Blazer

    6.2Blazer 1/2 ton status

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    For the weight of the trailer, most of the 10K flatbeds I have looked at were closer to 2,000 lbs., but anyway.

    As mentioned you should be able to get by without the weight distributing and sway control hitch, but it sure is nice to have. Anytime you can transfer weight off of the trailer on onto the tow vehicle it helps, but usually you are limited by bumper pull trailers because you start taking weight off of the front tires if there is too much tongue weight.

    I used my old 1/2 ton Dodge Ram to tow a '77 1-ton home last year with a borrowed trailer and the weight dist. hitch (no sway control). It had the 750 lb. bars. I was a little apprehensive about towing that much with a 1/2 ton, but with the hitch setup it towed really nice. With the weight dist. hitch I'm sure the rear suspension would have been on the bumpstops and the front would have been very light.

    We also experimented with a 1/2 ton Suburban pulling a rather large camper trailer....alot bigger than should have been behind a 1/2 ton. With a regular hitch the thing was basically undriveable as the trailer would push the Sub all over the road. After installing a weight distributing hitch and sway control the setup was actually pretty nice to drive. If it can make that much of a difference on a 1/2ton, it surely would still help out a lot on a more suitable tow rig.
     
  6. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    I've towed our 21 foot trailer with and without the wieght distributing bars and it is a night and day difference. Even with the short K5 as a tow rig it's a very controlled and comfortable towing set-up with the bars installed. I have 500 lb bars for our trailer and it weighs in at about 5500 lbs loaded with all our junk.

    Generally 10% of the weight should be on the tongue, then I use the bars to level the rear of the truck. I'd love to take the whole deal through the government scales and see what the weights of the front and rear of the truck are with and without the bars. I'd predict the bars add about 300 lbs (out of 500-600 total tongue weight) over the front wheels...

    Rene
     
  7. KRAZIE87K5

    KRAZIE87K5 1/2 ton status

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    On that note... Where should someone look to purchase a setup like this? I did a quick Google search, and found setups anywhere from $400-500! /forums/images/graemlins/eek.gif

    -Dan
     
  8. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    The weight distributing hitch is worth every cent IMHO...

    Rene
     
  9. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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  10. Butch

    Butch 1/2 ton status

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    I have never used a weight distributing hitch on mine. The work really well from what I have seen, but for me I will choose not to use one. I pull with a HD2500 454 4L80 combo in a 4x4. If you set the tongue weight properly it will pull just fine. I think nothing of towing 80+ on the interstate when no one is around me. The best thing you can do is weigh the whole deal. Blazer and trailer by itself. Just dolley it down on a scale. Then go home and when your wife is not looking get the bath room scale. /forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif Put a one end of a 2x6 on the scale that is 6' long. Put the trailer jack at the 5' point and a block of wood the height of the scale at the end of the board. It is very important that you have the sub in front of the trailer and the height of the tongue where it will ride on Sub. See what the weight of the scale is and multiply by 5. If you raise or lower the jack you will see a big difference in the tongue weight. Move your blazer back and forth till you get this 10% total weight on the tongue. Once you find it mark where your tires are on the trailer and go pull it. Another very important thing is the trailer needs to be as level as possible when loaded and hooked to the sub. So get the correct drop hitch for that.

    The reason I say you will not want a weight distributing hitch is if you get on an unlevel surface or have to go through a big dip with the sub and trailer to get to where you will wheel. The hitch will hold the Sub and trailer level and you will be stuck! Your rear end will have to droop all the way to the ground and you will not have any traction. See this happen many times. Guess you could unhook it while still on the paved road, but what fun is that? /forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif
     
  11. BIGJ

    BIGJ 1/2 ton status Author

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    I say go with the weight distributing hitch if you can. It would be nice to have when you want to tow heavier loads, and if you don't need to use the distributing bars, then leave them off. That's what I do. The only way I could get a hitch with a 12,000lb capacity was to go with a weight distribution hitch. I'm not anywhere near that when I tow, but I like having it if I ever needed the extra capacity. I usually disconnect the bars when the trailer leaves the pavement anyway...

    Just my .02

    BIGJ
     
  12. Sparky87k5

    Sparky87k5 1/2 ton status

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    Go with the weight distributing hitch setup. You'll be glad you did in high cross winds and when the 18 wheelers blow by you. 7500-8000# hanging on your bumper can be a white knuckle ride at times. The WDH will take the "thrill" out of towing. Every pound of weight pushing down on the rear bump will lift some weight off the front axle. Put it on a scale and check it out. The more weight pushing the rear down, the less on the front. WDH help to balance the tow rig. Your family deserves nothing but the best and safest towing means.
     
  13. Grim-Reaper

    Grim-Reaper 3/4 ton status Author

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    Go weight distributing. I have exactly the same tow vehicle (88 454 th400) burb. I have towed exactly what you plan to tow. I also tow a 22ft camper.

    Weight distributing is worth every penny and should be concidered as much a safety device. A properly set up weight distributing hitch will act as a sway control without any other sway control. Most good hitches the head is adjustable . with a 15deg angle on the load bars they wil case them to seek center.

    Also the distributing hit is mis understood. They put the weigh on the back axle close to what it is without the load and put it back on the trailer.. They level the tow vehcile and cause the weight to shift forward. My TT has 550lb of tounge weight. dropping it on the hitch drops the rear bumper 1.5 inches. It RAISES the front 1 inch. When you set up the bars the gola is to have the tow vehicle settle both front and rear the same amount. Once I put the bars on the rear is .25 inches lower then stock and the front is .25 inches hight then stock. /forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif

    As for the issue butch pointed out. Yes it can happen but it take a pretty good hole to cause it. My truck is open rear and never even came close to doing this yet and this includes running a pretty good way up trail 1 at Tellico. That'd gravel road and the pleace I pulled in was not very level. didn't have a issue.

    Also watch E-Bay. The hitch I have was a E-Bay score. It's a Reese Drawbar with a Valley head, 1,000lb bars AND a Reese dual cam sway control. It's rated 1,000/10,000. It's was $600 worth of gear that is in great shape and it was scored for $250. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  14. KRAZIE87K5

    KRAZIE87K5 1/2 ton status

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    That thread is exactly why I am asking around Harry! /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif

    -Dan
     
  15. 6.2Blazer

    6.2Blazer 1/2 ton status

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    It would take a pretty big dip to cause this, probably to the point that the WDH really wouldn't make any difference in the vehicle getting stuck. I pulled a trailer with a WDH up and around a rather steep gravel drive without any problems before. Plus the bars are very easy and quick to unhook....maybe takes 30 seconds.
     
  16. gravdigr

    gravdigr 1/2 ton status

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    Not sure what you are towing with but in my experience the blazers short wheelbase makes towing any sizable trailer without weight distribution and sway control very exciting. We pull a 26' camper and without sway control it is undrivable over 35mph. It is well worth it.
     
  17. TXsizeK5

    TXsizeK5 1/2 ton status

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    So how much woulda setup with say a 12' car trailer and brakes and weight distribution cost? Im thinking of towing my blazer (no top cage, no tailgate, stripped downa little) around in college wiht a buddy of mines Ford (I-6, 4.10, eaton lsd, 33bfg).

    What kind of precautions should I take, how would you set this up safely? Ive never towed before?
     
  18. KRAZIE87K5

    KRAZIE87K5 1/2 ton status

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    12' is a VERY short "car" hauler. I'd say that you would more than likely benefit, since you will probably have to load the K5 heavy on the tounge, just to get it to fit on the trailer! /forums/images/graemlins/eek.gif Cost wise... I think you can get them for about $300-400 from most vendors.

    -Dan
     
  19. TXsizeK5

    TXsizeK5 1/2 ton status

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    What length would you recomend for hauling just a k5?
     
  20. KRAZIE87K5

    KRAZIE87K5 1/2 ton status

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    No less than 16' IMO. I bouhgt my trailer this year, and I was thinking 16' when I left my house. I came home with an 18' dove tail because the 16'er was too short to load the tongue weight properly on my Burb. Just my .02.

    -Dan
     

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