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Trailer Towing Basics

Driving with a trailer, just some thoughts.

Re: Trailer Towing Basics

Postby Cassidy » Oct 29 2015, 1:50am

Hi guys I have a 2014 silverado 1500 4x4 double cab and I tow a 21 carson fun runner toy hauler. I have a 2 seat sand rail that I put inside and Ive been getting alot of sway on trailer. I do have a WD hitch, im thinking of running my buggy in my trailer backwards to put a little more weight closer to front im also adding air bags to keep truck level. This is my first big trailer, ive towed boats and utility trailers but first toy hauler. the sway scares me if anyone would like to help me with my set up to make sure im right and safe that would be great feel free to reach out thanks
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Re: Trailer Towing Basics

Postby Cassidy » Oct 29 2015, 2:29pm

Cassidy wrote:Hi guys I have a 2014 silverado 1500 4x4 double cab and I tow a 21 carson fun runner toy hauler. I have a 2 seat sand rail that I put inside and Ive been getting alot of sway on trailer. I do have a WD hitch, im thinking of running my buggy in my trailer backwards to put a little more weight closer to front im also adding air bags to keep truck level. This is my first big trailer, ive towed boats and utility trailers but first toy hauler. the sway scares me if anyone would like to help me with my set up to make sure im right and safe that would be great feel free to reach out thanks
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Re: Trailer Towing Basics

Postby KSever » Oct 29 2015, 3:01pm

Turning the buggy around to get more weight centered may help a lot. I have a weight distribution hitch on my 18' enclosed trailer and it came with one sway bar for one side of the hitch. When I was on my first trip to Az from Mo I was getting a lot of sway when getting passed by trucks. I since found out the sway bar was only rated for 6000lbs. I added another sway bar to the other side of the hitch giving me a 12,000lb rating and I can now get passed by them semi's and get no sway at all.
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Re: Trailer Towing Basics

Postby Cassidy » Oct 29 2015, 3:54pm

Thanks I'm using a pro series wdh, when I was full of fresh water it did pretty good but once I came home and fresh was empty boy let me tell you I almost parked it good thing I hit traffic for the rest of my drive. I had a flat trailer axel break on me once and jacked knifed I saved it but don't want to be put in that situation again thanks for your help
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Re: Trailer Towing Basics

Postby A W Warn » Oct 29 2015, 4:18pm

Assuming all of your equipment is rated for the load you are towing:

First thing I recommend is to load your rig like you would when you go camping, then go to a scale and weigh. First weigh costs $10, then each weighing for the next 24 hours is $2, at Cat Scale. (I recommend the three section scale Cat Scales to save you time and effort) Move things around inside the trailer until you get the hitch load of the trailer between 10%-15% of the gross trailer weight. (Weigh truck and trailer together, then weight truck only. The difference of the sums of truck's axel weights between these two weighings is hitch load) There are instruction on how to use the Cat Scales at their website.

The second thing I recommend is, while towing, you inflate both vehicle's tires to the maximum cold inflation pressure that is written on the sidewall. This will reduce side to side movement caused by tire sidewall flex.

Third thing I recommend is to not add or use airbags until you get the load balance correctly. If you are towing within the limits of the truck, you do not need airbags. If you are exceeding the limits of your truck, airbags will only give you a false sense of security.

I towed my 9,800 lb 34' travel trailer from NC to FL this week without any issues.
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Re: Trailer Towing Basics

Postby GAmud » Jan 10 2016, 5:31am

First off THANKS! for the great heads up write up :D
I'm an active/defensive driver by nature, so I already do a lot of the suggested towing tips. I do tow an enclosed 12' trailer, an 18' boat, and a 16' utility trailer, BUT we are about to buy a 35' travel trailer weighing 7400 lbs dry. This is by far the longest/heaviest load I have ever towed. My truck is a 2014 Silverado with the max tow package, brake controls, and the lower gears (3:73 I believe). Rated for 9500lbs. It also comes with a 12,000lb WDH.

My question is ...is this too much for the truck? I will travel as light as possible, no fluids in the tanks, minimal cargo, and the wife and kids will be following in the jeep.
I'm planning its maiden voyage 6 hours to south Florida and hoping it goes well!

The papers aren't signed yet so I'm just looking for some opinions. Thanks!
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Re: Trailer Towing Basics

Postby A W Warn » Jan 10 2016, 5:18pm

YES you can. However, the issue you will have is low payload capacity.
The tongue weight of a trailer, after adding your cargo to the trailer, should be between 10% and 15% of the gross weight of the trailer. If you load heavy toward the front of the trailer it is easy to get too heavy. If you load to the rear tongue weight can get too light, which will cause bad sway. The tongue weight the manufacturer states is with the trailer empty, so it will most likely by several hundred pounds heavier when loaded.
On the door placard on my truck my maximum payload is around 1550 lbs. My 34' trailer tongue weight, with 9,800 lbs gvwr, runs between 1,100 and 1,200 lbs. That leaves ~350 lbs of payload for passengers and cargo in the bed.
What I am trying to show you is that you can tow this trailer, BUT you will have to remove things you would normally have in the tow vehicle and put them inside the trailer.
example:(1,550 max payload) -(1,200 tongue) = (350 available for passengers or cargo)

I am in FL now. I towed my 34' trailer down from NC. I towed at 60-65 mph. Most likely your trailer will come with ST type tires. The ST tires have a maximum speed limit of 65 mph. Towing beyond that speed causes cumulative damage. You may not be able to see the damage as it happens. If the maximum speed is exceeded time after time, the tires can blowout. Check the tire's cold pressure each day before towing. I check mine each time I stop during the day.

ps: You said your truck came with WD. It does not. A weight distribution hitch has to be used. Do not forget you must have mechanical sway control also, in addition to the electronic sway control that the truck comes with.
Last edited by A W Warn on Jan 10 2016, 5:31pm, edited 1 time in total.
Alan
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Re: Trailer Towing Basics

Postby A W Warn » Jan 10 2016, 5:29pm

[quote="GAmud"] snip>>> My truck is a 2014 Silverado with the max tow package, brake controls, and the lower gears (3:73 I believe). Rated for 9500lbs. It also comes with a 12,000lb WDH.<<<< snip [quote]
If your truck has the Max Tow Package your truck's tow rating should be over 11,000 Lbs. Are you sure you do not have the Heavy Tow Package? With the Max Tow Package the rear axle is larger and heavier, with higher load capacity, than with the Heavy Tow Package.
Alan
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Re: Trailer Towing Basics

Postby GAmud » Jan 10 2016, 5:44pm

Thanks Alan,
I took note that the tounge weight was right at 800lbs so that gives me about 600lbs cargo capacity? I will plan to put my gear closer to center if not mostly in the back of the camper. It's not going to be more than a couple hundred pounds.
The dealer will be installing a weight distribution hitch when I go to pick it up so that will be covered.
Thanks for the heads up on the speed rating for the tires. I wasn't expecting the ride to be very comfortable above 65-70mph anyways. Guess I'll just take it easy ;) I may have to look into better tires since I'm not a fan of blow outs.

Thanks for your input, now I'll feel good if the financing is what I want.

Hey, any chance you have a pic of you pulling that beast? It's really hard to imagine 35' tagging along behind my truck, kinda crazy!
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Re: Trailer Towing Basics

Postby A W Warn » Jan 10 2016, 7:27pm

I have no photo's of my 34' while hooked up.
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