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Author Topic: New to Towing, Need Help  (Read 516 times)

NeverEnuffAmmo

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New to Towing, Need Help
« on: September 11, 2017, 02:23:37 PM »
Hey guys, I'm new to towing and to the forum. I'm planning a big move (Texas to Idaho) and I had the bright idea to buy a trailer (16 ft dual axle 7000lb capacity) to haul my stuff across country instead of waste money on a U-Haul that I'll never recoup. But of course now reality has slapped me in the face and I'm hoping I didn't make a mistake.

I have a 2001 Suburban which states it has a towing capacity of 8000lbs which is more than my trailer will hold (and I don't plan on loading the trailer to capacity anyway, and it states that the factory hitch is rated for that) and so it seems like everything will be fine. But after reading more about towing I've realized there is much more to it than that and I was hoping to get some advice from more experienced towers out there.

What am I missing? What things should I be checking into? I got a 6000lb capacity ball for the hitch, I'm trying to be cautious of what I take to make sure I don't overload anything. I don't want to burn out my engine or transmission on the way up there. I also have an opportunity to sell an Explorer I have and buy another vehicle, specifically a 1999 Silverado 2500 with a bigger engine and transmission that should be better for towing but it adds a lot of expense since after selling the Explorer I'll still have to pony up another $1,500 to pay for the Silverado plus all the taxes and I'll immediately take it to my mechanic to repair anything he finds wrong which could be who knows how much money ....... but if its a better choice or if I'd be stupid to try and haul all the stuff with my Suburban, then I'll take the chance and spend the money for a more suitable vehicle to haul the trailer.

Any advice guys? Am I in over my head? What am I not taking into consideration? Thanks in advance

AStravelers

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Re: New to Towing, Need Help
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2017, 03:42:39 PM »
Did you check the cost of a U-Haul trailer, compared to buying a dual axle trailer.  Especially if the trailer is enclosed.  If the trailer is not enclosed, be sure you get all of your stuff protected from rain. 

A Suburban should not have a problem towing a 6000 pound trailer.  Keep your speed down to 55-60, easier on the Suburban and safer.  When going up hill don't depend on the transmission computer to down shift.  Listen to the engine and when is seems to just start to load down, down shift one gear.  Keep your RPM's up around 3300 to 4500RPM when going up hills.  What burns up transmissions is heat caused by heavy loads and low RPM's. 

When you load any trailer you want about 12% of the trailer weight on the hitch.  So be sure to put some of the heavy stuff a little in front of the axles not behind.  To little weight on the hitch and you get into very dangerous trailer sway conditions.

Something to remember, if you also plan on putting 1500-2000 pounds of passengers and gear in the Suburban, now you are probably overloading the rig and pulling the 6000 pound trailer gets pretty iffy. 
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

NeverEnuffAmmo

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Re: New to Towing, Need Help
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2017, 04:03:00 PM »
Yeah the first thing I did was check U-Haul prices and it was gonna cost me about $2000 for the right sized U-Haul, not including gas and I got the trailer for $1500 new and I always have the option to resell later on to recoup some of my money.

I planned to take it nice and slow. We planned on giving ourselves a week to make the trip, so lots of stopping and slow driving.

I had heard u need to load the trailer with most of the weight forward of the axles, so that's what I was planning on doing.

grashley

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Re: New to Towing, Need Help
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2017, 04:46:09 PM »
The big problem is the published max tow capacity assumes only a 150# driver in the car and NO other cargo in the 'Burb. Note that towing capacity is for the trailer AND cargo, not just the cargo.  If the total weight of the loaded trailer and the stuff in the 'Burb is under 8000#, you should be fine.   Remember to count the weight of the trailer.
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AStravelers

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Re: New to Towing, Need Help
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2017, 06:00:39 PM »
Yeah the first thing I did was check U-Haul prices and it was gonna cost me about $2000 for the right sized U-Haul, not including gas and I got the trailer for $1500 new and I always have the option to resell later on to recoup some of my money.

I planned to take it nice and slow. We planned on giving ourselves a week to make the trip, so lots of stopping and slow driving.

I had heard u need to load the trailer with most of the weight forward of the axles, so that's what I was planning on doing.
It is a balancing act, putting weight forward of the axles.  Put too much up there and you have overloaded the hitch weight which can break the receiver tube and mounting on the truck as well as damage or break the welds on the hitch part of the trailer. 

If you want to be sure about your hitch weight, here is a method, using a bathroom scale:  http://hildstrom.com/projects/tonguescale/

It is a bit of a pain to use the above method, but it works. 
« Last Edit: September 11, 2017, 06:05:04 PM by AStravelers »
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

NeverEnuffAmmo

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Re: New to Towing, Need Help
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2017, 06:29:56 PM »
It is a balancing act, putting weight forward of the axles.  Put too much up there and you have overloaded the hitch weight which can break the receiver tube and mounting on the truck as well as damage or break the welds on the hitch part of the trailer. 

If you want to be sure about your hitch weight, here is a method, using a bathroom scale:  http://hildstrom.com/projects/tonguescale/

It is a bit of a pain to use the above method, but it works.

Thanks for the heads up. I'll see if I can get a rig like this setup. Maybe the best idea is to keep most of the weight (as I have heavier items that I can't spread out) either on top of or just forward of the axles.

Lou Schneider

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Re: New to Towing, Need Help
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2017, 08:11:22 PM »
Welcome to The RV Forum!   At 6000 lbs, your trailer is about the same weight as a medium sized RV trailer so you should set it up in the same manner.

First, you must have at least 10-15% of the trailer's total weight on the hitch.  This keeps the center of gravity forward of the trailer's axles.

If you don't have enough hitch weight the trailer will be VERY unstable.  Look at this short YouTube video that shows what happens when there's not enough hitch weight:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2fkOVHAC8Q

The problem is if you have a 6000 lb trailer, 15% of that weight is 900 lbs.  Put that on a bare ball hitch and the rear of the Suburban will sag while the front end lifts, pointing your headlights at the sky while also reducing the weight on the front end and affecting your braking and steering control.

You'll want an equalizing hitch, not just a bare ball.  The equalizing arms form a bridge across the hitch, pushing the front of the Suburban down to a level posture and restoring proper weight on the front wheels:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cPmCmRHG7E

Harbor Freight sells a weight distributing hitch for about $200.

A 6000 lb. trailer also needs working trailer brakes.  Most states require trailer brakes for anything over 1500 lbs.

Some utility trailers have surge brakes, where there's a hydraulic brake cylinder on the trailer tongue and the brakes apply when the trailer pushes against the tow vehicle.

But most trailers have electric brakes, if yours does you'll need to install an electric brake controller near the driver and run the brake wire back to the trailer's electrical socket.

Be safe!
« Last Edit: September 11, 2017, 08:23:37 PM by Lou Schneider »

Boonieman

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Re: New to Towing, Need Help
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2017, 08:13:26 PM »
I have a 16 foot trailer with the same axle configuration you describe. (Two 3500# axles) One of those axles has electric brakes, and it has a break-away system with a battery and uses a 7 pin connector. The trailer uses a 2 5/16 ball. The ball I uses has a 1 1/4 shank and rated at 12,000 pounds. I assume your tow vehicle has a brake controller, or you are going to get one. If you happen to end up towing on slick or snowy roads, you will be glad you had it. Good luck on your travels.
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OutdoorFT

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Re: New to Towing, Need Help
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2017, 11:47:45 PM »
This guy is a youtube star. We share the same first name as well :D

I cant really help. But be safe!
Future Fulltimer

2011 F350 Lariat CCLB SRW
No RV yet!!

Drifterrider

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Re: New to Towing, Need Help
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2017, 01:04:19 PM »
Something alluded to but I didn't see specifically mentioned:  Are you using a bumper tow or a frame mounted receiver tow?

If towing from the bumper you need to know how much weight the bumper can support.  My S-10 will safely tow 5,000 but my bumper will only support 350 lbs (which is 400 pounds shy of 15% of maximum).  My truck can tow it but the bumper can't support it.


NeverEnuffAmmo

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Re: New to Towing, Need Help
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2017, 02:51:26 PM »
Something alluded to but I didn't see specifically mentioned:  Are you using a bumper tow or a frame mounted receiver tow?

If towing from the bumper you need to know how much weight the bumper can support.  My S-10 will safely tow 5,000 but my bumper will only support 350 lbs (which is 400 pounds shy of 15% of maximum).  My truck can tow it but the bumper can't support it.

I have a factory frame mounted hitch and a weight distributing hitch system as well ....... The Suburban has the factory tow package installed on it so it has the tranny cooler and larger alternator as well

NeverEnuffAmmo

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Re: New to Towing, Need Help
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2017, 02:53:56 PM »
This guy is a youtube star. We share the same first name as well :D

I cant really help. But be safe!

Lol ....... Yup, it's me, I'm busted  ....... Guess the logo was a dead giveaway ...... lol. What's your YT name?

Drifterrider

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Re: New to Towing, Need Help
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2017, 08:20:00 AM »
I have a factory frame mounted hitch and a weight distributing hitch system as well ....... The Suburban has the factory tow package installed on it so it has the tranny cooler and larger alternator as well

Is your trans cooler integrated with the radiator or separate? I think most people don't realize that heat is the mortal enemy of an automatic transmission.

 

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