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Towing with tow bar--advise needed

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by bedford boy, Sep 19, 2004.

  1. bedford boy

    bedford boy Registered Member

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    In three weeks i am going to be towing my 1974 K5 (minus engine/tranny/transfercase) using my 1985 Suburban with a 350. I have installed a tow bar on the K5 and will be towing it from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City (approx 700 miles). The K5 Has 33" X12.5" tires and i was wondering if any of you out there has any towing advise for a complete novice. I am worried with regards to the K5 drifting in and out of lanes!! Thanks in advanced for any help.
     
  2. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    I've done the long haul tow bar routine twice now. Once an 82 K5 missing motor and a few front clip parts from Austin TX to Vancouver BC, and once a rolling 74 K5 shell from San Diego CA to Vancouver BC.

    First of all I do not like the bumper clamp style tow bar...they shift around. I bolted my tow bar to the front of the frame on both K5's. I custom built my tow bar though. The tow bar itself should be level.

    I had no trouble with either wandering behind the truck, it's impossible for them to do that. Just keep the steering unlocked and it'll track behind you with no trouble.

    You have to watch the towed vehicle's weight. In most states anything over 3000 lbs needs 'trailer' brakes. The 82 from TX was about 3500 lbs...it towed just fine behind my 81 Jimmy, but when I had to stop at the scales when I entered Canada they wouldn't let me tow it any further.

    Backing up is impossible without a second person to steer the towed vehicle. The wheels will just go max to the right or left as soon as you reverse.

    Honestly, I kept forgetting the trucks I was towing were behind me...then when I'd check my rearview there'd be a half second or so when I thought someone was tailgating me /forums/images/graemlins/doah.gif

    I made a custom wire harness that powered the towed vehicle's taillights.

    If you're much heavier than 3000 lbs I'd consider a trailer or a tow dolly with brakes.

    Rene
     
  3. cybrfire

    cybrfire 1 ton status Vendor GMOTM Winner

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    I've done a fair amount of short runs with a tow bar. Only problems I have run into so far is one vehicle had a severe caster issue in the front end. Previous owner had installed extended shackles and they were on the front of the front leaf springs. When the tow vehicle turned left the towed vehicle turned right. Had to fix that. Like mentioned above I think the most important thing is keeping the towbar as level as possible and watch the weight. If you have some kind of braking system you should be good to go. If not that full size will really push hard if you need to stop fast.
     
  4. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    I would advise against it totally.

    I've pulled some scary trailers in my time and learned my lesson without ever having a serious accident.
     
  5. Pookster

    Pookster 1/2 ton status

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    not even a zuki??? Comon, those things are small and compact! /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
     
  6. justhorsinaround

    justhorsinaround 3/4 ton status

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    The only thing I might could add would be maybe put some smaller tires on that thing. The less weight the better. Oh and unless you've towed somethin way heavy before do be extra, extra, extra careful for the first little bit as it is quite the experience for the novice.
     
  7. BAJA_BLAZER

    BAJA_BLAZER 1/2 ton status Author

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    Back in the 80's I towed over 50 4X4's with a tow bar from Salt Lake City to San Diego; everything from Toyota FJ40’s to 1 Ton Crew Cabs, including a dozen or more Blazers/Jimmy’s. I put my self through college buying rigs in Utah, Colorado, and Oregon then selling them in San Diego. Back then Interstate 15 wasn’t what it is today and had hundreds of miles of one lane and two lane with deep “truck groves” that could make the tow a handful. I never had a single problem. You won’t have any either. Remember to keep the steering column unlocked and TC in neutral. You can’t back up, so you’ll have to plan your gas station entrances and exits. You should also use a safety chain and trailering lights. Tire size is not an issue, but front-end alignment of the towed vehicle is.
     
  8. sponsoredbydad

    sponsoredbydad Dune Slaying Sand Junkie Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    OK IF IT'S NOT TOO LATE YOU SHOULD BE FINE. PLEASE PLEASE CHECK THAT TOW BAR AFTER YOU HAVE TRAVLED YOUR FIRST 1 OR 2 MILES THEN AGAIN AT 25 OR SO. I HAVE WORKED IN RENTAL YARDS THAT GAVE THESE TOW BARS TO ANYONE AND I'VE SEEN ALOT OF BAD CRAP HAPPEN ALL BECAUSE THEY WERE NOT CHECKED AFTER THEY WERE ON THE ROAD A WHILE.THEY SETTLE IN AND CAN COME LOOSE WHICH IS BAD. SO JUST CHECK IT OFTEN AND ALL WILL BE FINE. O-YEA WATCH THAT GAS STATION THING NO BACK-UPS IS A BITCH BUT IT'S BETTER THAN HAVING TO UN-HOOK AND REHOOK-UP. /forums/images/graemlins/waytogo.gif /forums/images/graemlins/waytogo.gif /forums/images/graemlins/waytogo.gif /forums/images/graemlins/waytogo.gif
     
  9. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    [ QUOTE ]
    not even a zuki??? Comon, those things are small and compact! /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Still too heavy without having brakes on them to safely or legally go down the road in most states, including the one I live in.

    If it weighs more than 2,000 lbs, you need brakes on the towed load.
     
  10. justhorsinaround

    justhorsinaround 3/4 ton status

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    Timmay, you punk ass do nuthin moron. A Volkswagen Baja weighs quite a bit and there ain't nuthin wrong with towin one of those. Hell I've towed one with a Mitsubishi Montero (very light weight towing vehicle) with no problems at all.

    If the vehicle that is towing weighs more the the object being towed there is no issue in safety as long as the person driving pays attention to the world around them.

    Y'all need to rethink most of your basis for evaluation in your life I believe.
     
  11. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    Better check your info Tim, the majority of states require brakes over 3000 lbs, not 2000. /forums/images/graemlins/rolleyes.gif

    The first K5 I towed scaled at 3500 lbs and towed so nicely I forgot it was there most of the time. The second one was even lighter and towed like a dream.

    Rene
     
  12. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    [ QUOTE ]
    Better check your info Tim, the majority of states require brakes over 3000 lbs, not 2000. /forums/images/graemlins/rolleyes.gif

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Better check Illinois, because obviously I'd post my own state.

    Wisconsin requires brakes for ANY trailer, reguardless of weight.
     
  13. dodgedude99

    dodgedude99 1/2 ton status

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    [/ QUOTE ]

    Better check Illinois, because obviously I'd post my own state.

    Wisconsin requires brakes for ANY trailer, reguardless of weight.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Wisconsin

    Total length: 60’. A motor vehicle may be towed without being equipped with brakes if the *GVW of the towed vehicles not more than 40% of the *GVW of the towing vehicle and the towing vehicle has brakes adequate enough to stop the combination of vehicles. The drawbar or other connection between the 2 vehicles may not exceed 12’ in length. In addition to the hitch, every towed vehicle must be coupled to the towing vehicle by means of safety chains, leveling bars, or cables. The provision does not apply to a vehicle equipped with a 5th-wheel and kingpin assembly. 2,3


    Illinois

    Total length: 65’. Every trailer of a *GW of over 3,000lbs. must be equipped with brakes when operated upon a highway. Such brakes must be so designed and connected that in case of an accidental breakaway of a towed vehicle over 5,000lbs., the brakes are automatically applied. Drawbar or other connection shall be of sufficient strength to pull all the weight towed and shall not exceed 15’ in length. Outside a business, residential or suburban district, or highway, no vehicle shall be towed on a roadway except by a drawbar and each such vehicle so towed shall, in addition, be coupled with 2 safety chains or cables to the towing vehicle. Chains or cables shall be of sufficient size and strength to prevent towed vehicle parting from towing vehicle in case drawbar should break or become disengaged. Special permit required if combination exceed size limits. Brake hookup required if vehicle towed is over 3,000lbs.
     
  14. Jays Beast

    Jays Beast 1/2 ton status

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    [ QUOTE ]
    Remember to keep the steering column unlocked and TC in neutral.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Just curious why you say to leave the steering unlocked?
     
  15. dodgedude99

    dodgedude99 1/2 ton status

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    so that the tires of the towed vehicle track thru the turn instead of just being pulled sideways.
     
  16. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    [ QUOTE ]


    [/ QUOTE ]

    Better check Illinois, because obviously I'd post my own state.

    Wisconsin requires brakes for ANY trailer, reguardless of weight.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Wisconsin

    Total length: 60’. A motor vehicle may be towed without being equipped with brakes if the *GVW of the towed vehicles not more than 40% of the *GVW of the towing vehicle and the towing vehicle has brakes adequate enough to stop the combination of vehicles. The drawbar or other connection between the 2 vehicles may not exceed 12’ in length. In addition to the hitch, every towed vehicle must be coupled to the towing vehicle by means of safety chains, leveling bars, or cables. The provision does not apply to a vehicle equipped with a 5th-wheel and kingpin assembly. 2,3


    Illinois

    Total length: 65’. Every trailer of a *GW of over 3,000lbs. must be equipped with brakes when operated upon a highway. Such brakes must be so designed and connected that in case of an accidental breakaway of a towed vehicle over 5,000lbs., the brakes are automatically applied. Drawbar or other connection shall be of sufficient strength to pull all the weight towed and shall not exceed 15’ in length. Outside a business, residential or suburban district, or highway, no vehicle shall be towed on a roadway except by a drawbar and each such vehicle so towed shall, in addition, be coupled with 2 safety chains or cables to the towing vehicle. Chains or cables shall be of sufficient size and strength to prevent towed vehicle parting from towing vehicle in case drawbar should break or become disengaged. Special permit required if combination exceed size limits. Brake hookup required if vehicle towed is over 3,000lbs.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Nice burn... /forums/images/graemlins/waytogo.gif /forums/images/graemlins/waytogo.gif

    Rene
     
  17. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    [ QUOTE ]
    [ QUOTE ]
    Better check your info Tim, the majority of states require brakes over 3000 lbs, not 2000. /forums/images/graemlins/rolleyes.gif

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Better check Illinois, because obviously I'd post my own state.

    Wisconsin requires brakes for ANY trailer, reguardless of weight.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    So what exactly do you know about towing Tim? /forums/images/graemlins/whistling.gif

    Rene
     
  18. justhorsinaround

    justhorsinaround 3/4 ton status

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    I made the mistake of makin a pretty tight u-turn with the steering wheel tied in place. Didn't break anything but it sure make a helluva noise and a definate jerk and release that really rocked the Z-71 back and forth. Felt like it was gonna rip the hitch right off the truck.
     
  19. BAJA_BLAZER

    BAJA_BLAZER 1/2 ton status Author

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    [ QUOTE ]
    So what exactly do you know about towing Tim? /forums/images/graemlins/whistling.gif

    Rene

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Is this a "My 'Posts: 15018' is bigger than your 'Posts: 14488' thing, boys?
     
  20. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    [ QUOTE ]
    [ QUOTE ]
    So what exactly do you know about towing Tim? /forums/images/graemlins/whistling.gif

    Rene

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Is this a "My 'Posts: 15018' is bigger than your 'Posts: 14488' thing, boys?

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Guess so.

    Laws change apparently.

    Actually I just varified in the Illinois vehicle code. 3k is correct.

    Wisconsin has always been the state to require brakes on ANY trailer. I think this is overkill and apparently someone over there did too.

    If this chart is correct, there are no states left in the union that require brakes for all trailers, although *some* are as low as 1,500 lbs.

    http://www.glenl.com/designs/trailer/trailer-laws.html

    Either way, I'd highly suggest that if you're going to pull a fullsize truck, you use a trailer.

    What do I know about towing? I know what I have to know. I have a 1 ton truck and a 14k GVWR trailer to put my truck on. I don't fool around pulling unsafe trailers.
     

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