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Trailer Towing Basics

Driving with a trailer, just some thoughts.

Re: Trailer Towing Basics

Postby GAmud » Jan 10 2016, 7:49pm

All good, guess I'll post a pic once I pick her up.
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Re: Trailer Towing Basics

Postby getmore » Jan 16 2016, 7:10pm

GAmud, I am confused by the ratings you listed. If you are rated for 9,500 lbs I don't believe you have the max tow package. It is rated for around 11,000 lbs. depending on the size of the truck. (Regular/double/crew cab and bed lengths.)
If I remember correctly, your GVWR would be 7,600 lbs with the Max Tow and 7,200 lbs without it. GCWR is about 16,000 lbs with and 15,000 lbs without Max Tow.

The factory hitch receiver is rated to pull a certain amount without weight distribution, and more with a weight distributing hitch. The weight distributing hitch slides into the receiver, just as a standard ball mount would. The part that is permanently mounted to the truck is the same.

As someone has said, you need to pay attention to not overload the truck's capacity. However, you can not just place most additional cargo in the center of the trailer. You will need that 10-15 percent on the truck to help keep the trailer stable, and that almost always involves overloading the rear of the truck. This is where the weight distributing hitch comes into play and is very important. It is very simple: All it really is is a spring assembly that pushes the nose of your truck down while picking the back of the truck up. In effect, it places the weight of the trailer evenly on all four tires of your truck, which will help maintain braking power and steering control.
It also has the effect of placing some of the tongue weight back onto the trailer, leaving you a little more capacity.

As has already been mentioned, you will want to take the whole rig onto a scale to make sure you have it set up right. You may have to adjust the WD springs a few times. You will want to try to make sure you have the trailer and truck loaded with everything that you will put in there before setting the hitch. Fill the fuel tank of the truck, the propane tank(s), water tank, load all the gear, plates and utensils, clothes, EVERYTHING. You might be surprised at how quickly little things add up, and that can be the difference between legal and trouble.

Oh, and to go back to the ratings again, double check to GCWR. This is the maximum that the entire setup can weigh, everything included. Let's say your truck has a tow rating of 12,000 lbs and the combined weight rating is 16,000 lbs. Well, that leaves 4,000 lbs for the weight of the truck, and I can guarantee you that your truck weighs more than that. With you and the wife, full tank of fuel, and some miscellaneous items in the truck you are probably looking at about 6,000 lbs. That means the trailer cannot weigh more than 10,000 lbs.

I am not saying that you cannot do what you want to. I believe you can, and it is possible for you to do so safely. All I am saying is that you must be careful and really check your numbers first.
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Re: Trailer Towing Basics

Postby GAmud » Jan 17 2016, 2:14pm

Getmore,
I have the 1/2 ton Silverado with the max tow package (lower gear, factory backup camera and trailer brake controls) and its a CC with the short bed. (5'-9" I believe)
I picked up the trailer last week, made a 1.5 hr trip home, loaded with supplies, and then hauled it back to the dealer yesterday. The dang CO2/LP leak sensor wouldn't shut up. Pretty sure the sensor is bad since the gas was shut off, the doors were wide open and the trailer battery was fully charged.
Anyways it pulls nicely at 65mph and holds 2k Rpms. That's the max I'll do with it, at least until I upgrade the truck size (2500?) in a couple years. I'll also put a better rated tire on the trailer for safety. Knock on wood I've never had a blow out, but that's probably due to my addiction for good tires. I never run them to the end of the tread life.
I think some helper springs are in the future. The truck does squat 2.5" with the load and that's using the WDH setting prescribed by the RV dealer. I may crank it one more chain link when I pick it up tomorrow and see if that changes, but really it does drive pretty smooth I just don't want my headlights blinding others.

So here's a pic of it. 2015 Catalina 34'-3" I'm sure it's gonna be like a new truck...many mods to come :roll:
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Re: Trailer Towing Basics

Postby gpphillips » Aug 30 2016, 12:59pm

I got to say that this write-up is by far one of the best ones I have read. I now have a 2001 Silverado K3500 LT 8.1L DRW Auto Allison trans 4.10 rear end that I got a great deal on. Even thru this beast pulls everything I currently own without any problems I still pay attention to how everything is loaded. I currently pull 2-horse Hawk slant load w/dresser room, 24' KZ Sportsmen BP camper, parents 25' Trophy cuddy cabin boat w/twin 150's (twice a year) plus the occasional brother-n-laws small landscape trailer. I use to have a 2000 Silverado K1500 ext cab 8'ft bed 5.3L auto 3.73 rear end. That truck was rated to pull 7400lbs and had no problems with the above items except my parents boat. Even thou the boat-trailer-gear-1/2 tank gas (75 gal) weighed 7300lbs I refused to use my old truck to haul it. I would always use my friends '96 K3500 DRW. I can not stress enough like all others here that you must pay attention to the total trailer weight, tires (truck & trailer), suspension (truck & trailer). They will give you the indication of yeah or neah if the truck can do it.

Also maybe my pet peeve, when the original tires came time to be replaced both on truck and trailers I always went to the next higher load rating for better side wall capabilities. Yes it may give a rougher ride but better than having a side wall blowout.

I also stress the walk around to double check everything is hitched, tires are good condition & pressure at-near psi rating, trailer is level or just above level, trailer brakes & lights function as required. I made the mistake once moving horses from one barn to another with the K1500 not doing the walk around. Got loaded and rushed down the road before another person from the barn flashed me to stop to find out I had no lights or brakes. Since I was the last trailer to leave I was already committed to the 10ish mile run. Basically had to really adjust my driving and route to avoid hills and traffic. Once there and unloaded I search all over to find the ground wire rotted off which caused me to loose everything. That was a lesson learned ALL WAYS DO THE WALK AROUND CHECKS BEFORE HEADING DOWN THE ROAD!

When towing no matter from the smallest landscape trailer to the biggest camper prepare yourself to encounter [email protected]@ drivers. They will cut you off to get around you only to get off the next exit or not be behind you at all cost. It never stops no matter we hours of the morning or evening with little traffic they see you and you are a target or nuisance to them.

Happy trailing!!!!!!!!!!
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Re: Trailer Towing Basics

Postby kimokalihi » Sep 01 2016, 3:32am

This is helpful. I've never towed anything before but plan to pull a trailer for hauling single vehicles. I'm worried about it. Maybe I'll have a friend come with to give me pointers.
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Re: Trailer Towing Basics

Postby bootstrap » Sep 01 2016, 5:25pm

I get cut off frequently while hauling my gooseneck. Its so bad sometimes that I swear people go out of their way because Im towing. I live in the southern portion of the north east, where the most inconsiderate people in the world reside. Lots of people here are only concerned with themselves, and are convinced that their time is much more valuable than yours.
I see a lot of people speed past me on the left then cut right in front of me, slam on the brakes and get off an exit. Dumbest thing ever, yet it happens at least once per 60 towing miles.
Around here you get really good at paying attention to your surroundings while towing, and predicting these idiotic moved.
There is always enough time to do it over again, but never enough time to do it right the first time.
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Re: Trailer Towing Basics

Postby gibson01 » Mar 12 2017, 11:08pm

what is the bigges trailer I can tow with my 08 gmc it is 4x4 6.0 motor and has a 5ft bed
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Re: Trailer Towing Basics

Postby A W Warn » Mar 14 2017, 3:10am

gibson01 wrote:what is the bigges trailer I can tow with my 08 gmc it is 4x4 6.0 motor and has a 5ft bed

You have not provided enough information.

The owner's manual will give you the answer, and much more about towing. You will need to know the exact model, body style, motor size, transmission type, gear ratio, and bed length to find the GCWR (gross combined weight rating) in the listed models.

Once you know the GCWR, subtract the actual weight of the truck. That's the maximum weight a trailer can be, according to the manufacturer. Still the truck is limited by the amount it can carry as cargo, without exceeding the payload capacity. The weight of the trailer tongue bearing on the hitch, the hitch itself, passengers, and everything the truck is carrying are payload. As payload increases the allowed weight of a trailer is decreased by that amount

Don't forget that any trailer 3,000 lbs or heavier require brakes. A brake controller is required to activate electric brakes on a trailer.
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Re: Trailer Towing Basics

Postby gpphillips » Mar 15 2017, 11:13am

As A W Warn said you did not provide all the info needed to determine the max towing weight. Also like he stated the info is on the door sticker. I know that Chevy had a trailering guide for both of my trucks ('00 K1500 & '01 K3500 drw) that had a lot of good info. You may want to look around on the web to see if one is available for your '08 GMC. Below is what they had for my '01 K3500 which is different than what was printed for '00.

As I said before in my previous post, you must use your head and pay attention to your truck. Just because Chevy says in the guide I could tow 7400lbs ('00 K1500 ext cab 4x4 5.3l 3.73 rear 8ft bed), I would not tow my parents boat that I estimated at 7300lbs. In my opinion it was too close to max.
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Re: Trailer Towing Basics

Postby gpphillips » Mar 15 2017, 11:20am

As A W Warn said you did not provide all the info needed to determine the max towing weight. Also like he stated the info is on the door sticker. I know that Chevy had a trailering guide for both of my trucks ('00 K1500 & '01 K3500 drw) that had a lot of good info. You may want to look around on the web to see if one is available for your '08 GMC. Below is what they had for my '01 K3500 which is different than what was printed for '00.

As I said before in my previous post, you must use your head and pay attention to your truck. Just because Chevy says in the guide I could tow 7400lbs ('00 K1500 ext cab 4x4 5.3l 3.73 rear 8ft bed), I would not tow my parents boat that I estimated at 7300lbs. In my opinion it was too close to max.
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