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Towing to Moab..... Suggestions for the '72 Burb?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Greg72, Sep 15, 2003.

  1. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Towing to Moab..... Suggestions for the \'72 Burb?

    OK guys I'm geting started thinking about the upcoming Moab trip and want to make sure that the "tow rig" is ready for the long drive. I'd like a little input on my ideas....

    The Suburban is setup with a hitch already. It was custom-made a LONG time ago to work around the 50 gallon gas tank that was installed at the dealership back in 1972. The hitch "looks" pretty strong, but I'm thinking that towing my K5 (roughly 5000 Lbs) and adding the trailer weight (another 2500 Lbs?) means that I'm beyond a Class III load rating.....

    Anyone know what makes a Class IV stronger? Is it just more "beef" everywhere in the hitch? I guess I really just need to take it to a specialist and have them evaluate it's strength and overall condition....?

    I was also thinking about adding some supplemental airbags to the rear coils (the Suburban is a full coilspring setup BTW) to help me carry more tongue weight without sagging. The Sub is a 3/4-Ton....so the springs are pretty beefy, but if I hang 10-15% of the weight on the hitch (~800+ Lbs), I'm sure it's going to sag. /forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif

    I was also thinking about those "load distributing" hitches to help keep everything level, stable and happy. I am unsure if those are part of the "hitch" (the truck side) or the trailer???


    Anyway, I'll take any BTDT suggestions....as well as the name of any Bay Area shops that you've used (and trust) to help get the truck setup better for towing.

    ....the clock is ticking, so I need to get this project underway. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  2. Pookster

    Pookster 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Towing to Moab..... Suggestions for the \'72 Burb?

    Air bags would definately help keep the rear at its current height. Though I didnt know any suburbans came with coil springs in the rear. I though they were all leafs!

    As for the 800 LB toungue weight, while air bags would help keep things level, it may not keep it level when you hit bumps, etc. Weight distributing really helps in this area, as I discovered recently. it will try to level all the weight of the trailer and truck into one plane. Much more stable. it helps push the toungue weight evenly along the whole truck,rather than just at the hitch.

    Anti sway setup I would also recommend. Trying with and without it, the difference is significant. with a suburban (flying barn house) with a trailer and a k5 on it (another flying barn), the surface area is large, and the weight will be pretty high off the ground. Definately invest in a good sway setup. If you can afford it, you can check out the Pullrite or the Hensley (but they are mega bucks- like 1500-2k). I am very happy with my Dual Cam anti sway. Stay away from the friction sways, they are reactive, rather than proactive sway controls.

    Oh yeah, also strap down the k5 by the frame, and not the axles. That way, you dont have 6000 lbs of bouncy truck on your trailer. /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
     
  3. ramjet gmc

    ramjet gmc CK5 Staff Staff Member Moderator GMOTM Winner

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    Re: Towing to Moab..... Suggestions for the \'72 Burb?

    i like to strap the axels down and then the body only to stop the bouncing of the truck that will stop the sway and i feel it tracks better /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  4. Grim-Reaper

    Grim-Reaper 3/4 ton status Author

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    Re: Towing to Moab..... Suggestions for the \'72 Burb?

    Weight distributing hitch and you won't need airbags. What people miss when they think that airbags is going to help is it only helps in the rear. If the load was even in the vehicle then yess they do help a lot.
    Tounge weight also takes weight off the front of the vehicle because it loads the vehicle all the way at th end. Weight distributing hitch pushes the weight forward on the tow vehicle.

    My burb with 550lb of tounge sits 1/4 inch lower in the rear and 1/4 high in the front once the leveling bars are installed. Without the bars the truck sags 1.75 inches in the rear and the front comes up an inch.

    when you set up the bars you idealy want the vehicle to remain very close to level and front a rear to actully drop the same amount. That's hard to do on a 3/4 ton because the suspension is so stiff so just try to get it as close to level as possible.

    To set them up put a peice of tape on the side behind the wheel well and one in front of the wheel well in the front. Measure unloaded, measure drop with tounge and then try to get it back to level. Also when you set the head on the hitch if you tilt the head back it will make the load bars work like a sway control. The recomended tilt is 15 degrees. Some tow heads have this built in so the ball mount surface will appear level but the bars have that 15 degrees on their pivot axis. It's best that the trailer also sit level.

    Addition sway control is never a bad idea but tandem axle trailers with proper tounge weight are usually stable. The rule of thumb on tounge weight is 10% of trailers total weight. SO your going to be about 7.5k so you need about 750lb of tounge.
     
  5. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Re: Towing to Moab..... Suggestions for the \'72 Burb?

    2WD Suburbans came with coils, 4WD had leafs IIRC.

    I also recall hearing that on GMCs, the leafs were standard but coils were the "option".....Chevy's had coils but leafs were "optional".... ????

    Anyway, that's a good point about the airbags (and strapping by the frame)

    Any websites I can check out for those levelling systems? Is it trailer mounted, or hitch mounted? I'm borrowing a trailer so I can't drill holes and stuff if that's a requirement....
     
  6. Grim-Reaper

    Grim-Reaper 3/4 ton status Author

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    Re: Towing to Moab..... Suggestions for the \'72 Burb?

    [ QUOTE ]
    Air bags would definately help keep the rear at its current height. Though I didnt know any suburbans came with coil springs in the rear. I though they were all leafs!

    As for the 800 LB toungue weight, while air bags would help keep things level, it may not keep it level when you hit bumps, etc. Weight distributing really helps in this area, as I discovered recently. it will try to level all the weight of the trailer and truck into one plane. Much more stable. it helps push the toungue weight evenly along the whole truck,rather than just at the hitch.

    Anti sway setup I would also recommend. Trying with and without it, the difference is significant. with a suburban (flying barn house) with a trailer and a k5 on it (another flying barn), the surface area is large, and the weight will be pretty high off the ground. Definately invest in a good sway setup. If you can afford it, you can check out the Pullrite or the Hensley (but they are mega bucks- like 1500-2k). I am very happy with my Dual Cam anti sway. Stay away from the friction sways, they are reactive, rather than proactive sway controls.

    Oh yeah, also strap down the k5 by the frame, and not the axles. That way, you dont have 6000 lbs of bouncy truck on your trailer. /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I have a dual cam I picked up for the Airstream. Have not had a chance to use it yet. Any tips you can give me?
     
  7. Beast388

    Beast388 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Towing to Moab..... Suggestions for the \'72 Burb?

    [ QUOTE ]
    2WD Suburbans came with coils, 4WD had leafs IIRC.

    I also recall hearing that on GMCs, the leafs were standard but coils were the "option".....Chevy's had coils but leafs were "optional".... ????

    [/ QUOTE ]

    You are mostly correct sir. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif For the 67-72 trucks, all 4wd were leafs, 2wds could get either coils or leafs. You are correct about the Chevy/GMC standard/optional statement. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif

    If you had leafs in the rear, you could just get some Rough Country springs and you would have zero rear-end squat. /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif Ask me how I know /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif
     
  8. Pookster

    Pookster 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Towing to Moab..... Suggestions for the \'72 Burb?

    Its pretty simple, and should take you no more than 30 min (without the drilling). I was afraid that It may have needed to be moved around (since I dont want to make my trailer turn into swiss cheese), I went to home depot and got 1 foot length chains, and some of those tensioner things. This held it in place along with the set screws, and after 400 miles, none of it moved. It also turned out to be in a very good position, as it worked perfectly.

    The general instructions said 18" from the hitch ball.

    Adjust the arm to be in line with the drop chain.

    Thats it!

    Works like a charm, and had no problems turning either. It did go pop a few times, but thats cause I think I should grease the contact point between the bars and the cam.

    PM me if you have any questions..
     
  9. Grim-Reaper

    Grim-Reaper 3/4 ton status Author

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    Re: Towing to Moab..... Suggestions for the \'72 Burb?

    [ QUOTE ]
    Its pretty simple, and should take you no more than 30 min (without the drilling). I was afraid that It may have needed to be moved around (since I dont want to make my trailer turn into swiss cheese), I went to home depot and got 1 foot length chains, and some of those tensioner things. This held it in place along with the set screws, and after 400 miles, none of it moved. It also turned out to be in a very good position, as it worked perfectly.

    The general instructions said 18" from the hitch ball.

    Adjust the arm to be in line with the drop chain.

    Thats it!

    Works like a charm, and had no problems turning either. It did go pop a few times, but thats cause I think I should grease the contact point between the bars and the cam.

    PM me if you have any questions..

    [/ QUOTE ]
    I have heard not to use axle grease if you lube them. What I have seen recomended is vasaline. The axle grease will alow them to unlock to easy.
     
  10. BIGJ

    BIGJ 1/2 ton status Author

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    Re: Towing to Moab..... Suggestions for the \'72 Burb?

    Class IV is more beef everywhere for sure, class V is quite a bit beefier than the IV. I'd definitely look into the class IV hitch. You're right about the weight being too much for the hitch you have. Although, the max Gross Trailer Weight for a Class IV is only 7500lbs. To get it higher, you'll have to use a weight distributing hitch, which should bump that up to 10,000lbs. I've got one like this and it works really well with my class IV hitch towing my blazer.

    Air bags will help with the overall ride in the back, but a good hitch/distribution setup is where I would start first.

    BIGJ
     
  11. Pookster

    Pookster 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Towing to Moab..... Suggestions for the \'72 Burb?

    I heard that too somewhere. But i have never ever purchased vasaline in my life! guess I'll go get a tub.....
     
  12. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    Re: Towing to Moab..... Suggestions for the \'72 Burb?

    Maybe you've already taken care of this, but a BIG tranny cooler and tranny temp gauge should also be on the list. You'll have some long grades to pull along the way so that TH350 will be working hard. /forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif
     
  13. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    Re: Towing to Moab..... Suggestions for the \'72 Burb?

    FWIW, the Class IV/V hitches primarily concern with frame attachment. They are generally built stronger over all, but in some makes are identical to their weaker cousins except for length for frame plates and number/kind of fasteners.

    I’ve been debating a load distributing hitch, but my 2500 HD doesn’t seem to know or care that the buggy/trailer is back there…
     
  14. FRIZZLEFRY

    FRIZZLEFRY 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Towing to Moab..... Suggestions for the \'72 Burb?

    [ QUOTE ]
    Suggestions for the '72 Burb

    [/ QUOTE ]

    AC /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  15. Pookster

    Pookster 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Towing to Moab..... Suggestions for the \'72 Burb?

    Oh yeah, duh.. Music! CB radio! Lotsa caffeine?
     
  16. moneypit

    moneypit 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Towing to Moab..... Suggestions for the \'72 Burb?

    Don't forget the gas card /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif
     
  17. therobzilla

    therobzilla 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Towing to Moab..... Suggestions for the \'72 Burb?

    Greg,

    I think someone alread mentioned this, but a weight distributing hitch is the only way to go when towing this amount of weight. It's like night and day when towing.

    I have a WDH and an Air Lift helper bag on the rear, and it's like night and day. Do not tow without a trans cooler. And make sure the weight is loaded up correctly on the trailer. Good Trailer tires only on the trailer and trailer brakes is a must on with the blazer on the back.

    Good luck. See you there....

    Rob & Joey
     
  18. Pookster

    Pookster 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Towing to Moab..... Suggestions for the \'72 Burb?

    oh yeah, TANDEM AXLE with TANDEM Brakes preferred!

    Dont forget a good controller. A Tekonsha prodigy or Jordan are pretty much the best out there. I have a prodigy, and its great. It uses momentum sensors to tell it when and how much brakes to apply. It also has a gain adjustment, to tell it how fast to apply the brakes, and on top of that, even extra brake boost, for those extra heavy loads.
     
  19. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Re: Towing to Moab..... Suggestions for the \'72 Burb?

    Any chance either of those controllers were available in 1972? /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

    This Suburban was setup for towing back when it was new. The story goes that the original owner used it to tow his boat to the lake during the summertime. That's about all he used it for....which explains the 70,000 original miles on it!

    Anyway, it does have the trailering stuff already on it, including the electrical wiring, trailer brake mounted under the dash and some amount of extra cooling already. I will certainly take a look and see if there's a way to supplement it since what I'm towing is substantially heavier than a boat, and the route is going to be pretty tough at times.....


    Thanks to everyone for the suggestions so far.... /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  20. ramjet gmc

    ramjet gmc CK5 Staff Staff Member Moderator GMOTM Winner

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    Re: Towing to Moab..... Suggestions for the \'72 Burb?

    [ QUOTE ]
    electrical wiring, trailer brake mounted under the dash

    [/ QUOTE ]
    If you have a electric brake controller you will know it is normal a small black box that can be easily reached and it will have a sliding switch on the top on a older truck (non anty lock) you can trace the line back to the MC is this what you have ??

    just wanted to make shore /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
     

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