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Clever technology for towing and hauling . . .


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chilly460
5 hours ago, Curt said:

13,000 lbs. is about what I tow with my diesel powered F-350.  Go ahead, hitch that weight to a new F-150 and take it down the road at highway speeds, let's see how she handles it.  Better make sure all your insurance policies are up to date first.

I tow 6300l s with my F150, it’s comfortable but I wouldn’t say it’s ready for much more, I’d guess 8000lbs is about all I’d feel right towing.  Agreed the tow ratings have gotten idiotic.  

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salmontogue

Go is important, stop is incredibly important but stability is paramount.  "Use enough gun", (Robert Ruark) translates into use enough truck/tow vehicle.

 

Perk

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Dogwood

Ok enough of the rants so be specific: How does one determine how much a given vehicle can safely tow if the manufacturer’s ratings can’t be trusted?

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WI Outdoor Nut
14 minutes ago, Dogwood said:

Ok enough of the rants so be specific: How does one determine how much a given vehicle can safely tow if the manufacturer’s ratings can’t be trusted?

I personally think it is based on your skill set as a driver, experience with towing, and vehicle/trailer combo.  The manufactures rating is the max amount.  Based on the other things mentioned, one should reduce that amount. 

 

Yesterday I had my enclosed trailer loaded up with my tractor, 2 atv's, a cultapacker and a drag.  Plus 2 kids, extra fuel, and food/drink.  I weighed the rig and total weight with truck and trailer was a touch over 13,000#'s.  Truck pulls it fine.  Braking not an issue.  What does make a difference - wind!  We had a front coming through yesterday and when the winds would pick up, I would need to slow down to 55 or 60, or really get tossed around the road.  I wouldn't say it was white knuckle driving, but more of active driving.  I had the kids deal with even something as simple as the radio.  

 

While I could handle this load fine, I would never have my 16 yo son pull this rig, even though he is a good driver.  He simply does not have the miles under him.  Or nor my wife, her skill set is just not there and is simply aware enough of what is going on.  If she is pulling a 30' trailer, she won't take the turn any wider than if she is driving her toyota avalon.  And that will get you in trouble.  

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River19

As you guys said above, it comes down to skill, experience and attention to detail.  More experienced folks might be "OK" towing close to the limit of the vehicles and most likely put proper time into hitch setup, weight distribution, tire pressure and selection, brake maintenance, emergency plans etc.

 

I prefer to tow well under my trucks supposed limits (Ram 2500).  I tow horses with trailer weight up to 7000-8000lbs but a live load and then our travel trailer which is only ~5500-6000lbs or so.  I like having the heavier rig when winds pick up or storms roll through etc.

 

The danger is when folks take the "rating" at face value.....tongue weight, payload, truck setup, weight distribution etc. are all foreign concepts to them.

 

I personally like a rig that has a fighting chance of stopping safely if the trailer brakes fail or if we have a blowout at high speed etc.

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Dogwood
12 minutes ago, WI Outdoor Nut said:

I personally think it is based on your skill set as a driver, experience with towing, and vehicle/trailer combo.  The manufactures rating is the max amount.  Based on the other things mentioned, one should reduce that amount. 

 

Yesterday I had my enclosed trailer loaded up with my tractor, 2 atv's, a cultapacker and a drag.  Plus 2 kids, extra fuel, and food/drink.  I weighed the rig and total weight with truck and trailer was a touch over 13,000#'s.  Truck pulls it fine.  Braking not an issue.  What does make a difference - wind!  We had a front coming through yesterday and when the winds would pick up, I would need to slow down to 55 or 60, or really get tossed around the road.  I wouldn't say it was white knuckle driving, but more of active driving.  I had the kids deal with even something as simple as the radio.  

 

While I could handle this load fine, I would never have my 16 yo son pull this rig, even though he is a good driver.  He simply does not have the miles under him.  Or nor my wife, her skill set is just not there and is simply aware enough of what is going on.  If she is pulling a 30' trailer, she won't take the turn any wider than if she is driving her toyota avalon.  And that will get you in trouble.  

 

Just now, River19 said:

As you guys said above, it comes down to skill, experience and attention to detail.  More experienced folks might be "OK" towing close to the limit of the vehicles and most likely put proper time into hitch setup, weight distribution, tire pressure and selection, brake maintenance, emergency plans etc.

 

I prefer to tow well under my trucks supposed limits (Ram 2500).  I tow horses with trailer weight up to 7000-8000lbs but a live load and then our travel trailer which is only ~5500-6000lbs or so.  I like having the heavier rig when winds pick up or storms roll through etc.

 

The danger is when folks take the "rating" at face value.....tongue weight, payload, truck setup, weight distribution etc. are all foreign concepts to them.

 

I personally like a rig that has a fighting chance of stopping safely if the trailer brakes fail or if we have a blowout at high speed etc.

 

Thanks  but this process still seems nebulous and maybe that's the endpoint of the process but some metric/percentage would be useful and less prone to potentially very dangerous guess work, esp. for a newbie to towing.  Like yours truly.

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River19
10 minutes ago, Dogwood said:

 

 

Thanks  but this process still seems nebulous and maybe that's the endpoint of the process but some metric/percentage would be useful and less prone to potentially very dangerous guess work, esp. for a newbie to towing.  Like yours truly.

 

Fair point.

 

Over the years I have seen people take the approach of staying within a certain % of the truck's Payload and then a % of the GCVW to allow for "headroom".  There are so many factors that it is hard to focus on just one metric and say "this is black and white". 

 

There needs to be some level of assumption for proper maintenance of the vehicle and proper vehicle selection (specifically wheelbase/payload).  Everyone focuses their energy on engine and transmission/rear end selection when buying a tow rig.  Sure they are important, but usually all the choices will get your load to highway speeds.......what happens after that has everything to do with the truck setup and driver skill at working within the limits of the specific rig.

 

Usually when dealing with manufacturer ratings and numbers the quickest way to cut through the BS is to look at payload capacity and know what your tongue weight is going to be.  Chances are you will max out payload way before you every approach the theoretical maximum towing rating.

 

EDIT:  For example.....F150 has payloads from 1750-2200lbs or so.  A 10K lbs trailer would have a tongue weight at 1000-1500lbs (10-15% is a normal range), that is before the weight of your hitch, gear, cooler, humans etc. (in some cases full fuel is factored into payload ratings sometimes not). Not hard to get close to max Payload when you get into heavier trailers with heavier tongue weight.

 

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Dogwood
22 hours ago, River19 said:

 

Fair point.

 

Over the years I have seen people take the approach of staying within a certain % of the truck's Payload and then a % of the GCVW to allow for "headroom".  There are so many factors that it is hard to focus on just one metric and say "this is black and white". 

 

There needs to be some level of assumption for proper maintenance of the vehicle and proper vehicle selection (specifically wheelbase/payload).  Everyone focuses their energy on engine and transmission/rear end selection when buying a tow rig.  Sure they are important, but usually all the choices will get your load to highway speeds.......what happens after that has everything to do with the truck setup and driver skill at working within the limits of the specific rig.

 

Usually when dealing with manufacturer ratings and numbers the quickest way to cut through the BS is to look at payload capacity and know what your tongue weight is going to be.  Chances are you will max out payload way before you every approach the theoretical maximum towing rating.

 

EDIT:  For example.....F150 has payloads from 1750-2200lbs or so.  A 10K lbs trailer would have a tongue weight at 1000-1500lbs (10-15% is a normal range), that is before the weight of your hitch, gear, cooler, humans etc. (in some cases full fuel is factored into payload ratings sometimes not). Not hard to get close to max Payload when you get into heavier trailers with heavier tongue weight.

 

 

Thank you!  So it seems that max SAFE towing capacity is really a function of total payload, not the actual towing force capacity of the drive train?

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River19
17 minutes ago, Dogwood said:

 

Thank you!  So it seems that max SAFE towing capacity is really a function of total payload, not the actual towing force capacity of the drive train?

 

I think that is a safe/logical way to look at it.  I'm sure there are other opinions but towing safely from my perspective is towing and controlling the load with plenty of headroom to handle whatever unforeseen issue may arise.  Remember, it isn't just your safety out there, it is everyone on the road as well.

 

Being able to "move" the load is actually fairly easy.  I mean you can probably rig a Mustang GT to "pull" and get an 8000lb load moving but it doesn't make it a good idea as it won't be able to stop it or control it reliably.

 

When it comes to the number games with trucks and marketing, the things knowledgeable people pay attention to are payload and GCVW.  Those are the foundational metrics I would start with to determine if a given rig can safely tow the trailer, gear, etc. I need.  That includes being honest about what will be loaded in/on the trailer for weight and distribution (do you plan to load up the front basement of a travel trailer as that will impact your tongue weight and payload), what will be IN the truck....humans, gear in the bed, a cap on the bed, dog, etc.

 

EDIT:   And for the love of all things holy.......level the damn trailer and rig.......I see so many trailers on the road that are way tongue heavy and squatting the truck so much their front end HAS to be light over highway bumps etc.  So unsafe.

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Sage Hen

Still waiting for the device that automatically lowers the headlight beams on loaded towing rigs. Should be a crime to blind oncoming drivers. 

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25/06
5 hours ago, Sage Hen said:

Still waiting for the device that automatically lowers the headlight beams on loaded towing rigs. Should be a crime to blind oncoming drivers. 

I agree with you about the headlights pointing too high, but the ride height of the vehicle is the problem not the headlights. Driving around with a lot of tongue weight squishing the back suspensions and lifting weight off the front end is dangerous. Dodge and now Ford are partially trying to address this issue with air bags that adjust the ride height to accommodate trailer weight. This is still not a substitute for a stabilizer hitch or 5th wheel set up if feasible.

 

Driving is a skill, hauling a substantial amount of weight with a trailer is an advanced driving skill. We have a graduated license system for a reason. A person can 

be inside the vehicle recommended ratings in every way and still be unsafe to drive without some training and experience. No amount of equipment will fix that.

We see a lot of carnage in our part of the world from RV &Camper trailer crashes. It amazes me the number of people who have driven nothing bigger than a Prius

their whole lives decide to buy a gigantic camping rig and drive around the country, without any formal training or experience. When it goes bad it is of course the equipment and not the driver. I am all for people getting out with whatever rig they want but it would be nice if they got some training and practiced a bit ahead of time.

If a person has to ask the interweb if their "vehicle can pull it", their vehicle may be just fine but they most definitely are not ready.

 

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River19
5 hours ago, Sage Hen said:

Still waiting for the device that automatically lowers the headlight beams on loaded towing rigs. Should be a crime to blind oncoming drivers. 

 

I believe Nissan actually had this in the Titan when they introduced the Cummins.  I'm like 67% sure.......maybe 63%

 

EDIT:  100% sure now:

 

 

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WI Outdoor Nut
1 hour ago, 25/06 said:

I agree with you about the headlights pointing too high, but the ride height of the vehicle is the problem not the headlights. Driving around with a lot of tongue weight squishing the back suspensions and lifting weight off the front end is dangerous. Dodge and now Ford are partially trying to address this issue with air bags that adjust the ride height to accommodate trailer weight. This is still not a substitute for a stabilizer hitch or 5th wheel set up if feasible.

 

 

I know at least some of the GM Suburban type vehicles have this.  I pulled my boat (~6500#s) with my buddies GMC Yukon XL Denali last year on a couple hundred mile trip.  Every time we would hook up the boat to the SUV, you would hear the pump start for the air bags and the truck would be level again.  And for the record, one of the best riding SUV's/trucks I have ever been in while pulling.  

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11 hours ago, Dogwood said:

 

Thank you!  So it seems that max SAFE towing capacity is really a function of total payload, not the actual towing force capacity of the drive train?

 

It's all of the above, and more. The engine and drive line can tow x amount of weight. So that is one limit. The truck can handle a certain payload, that includes passengers, cargo, fuel, etc and the tongue weight of the trailer. That is another separate limit. The tires have a load limit, depending on the inflation pressure. The horse tailer has a weight limit for the axles.

 

You have to stay within ALL of them. 

 

I check tire pressures on both truck and trailer regularly. They are inflated to the maximum pressure they are rated. When towing anything, but especially with  horses the way the trailer is loaded is very important. It would be a bad mistake to leave a horse out of the front position to try lighten the tongue weight so that your hitch is spared a heavy load. You also want the horse trailer pretty level when hitched to the truck, so that one trailer axle isn't shouldering too much of the load.  

 

If you are going to tow horses a 3/4 ton or one ton pick up is the right way to go. They are engineered to handle the stresses towing involves. As an example, the 05 Chevy K3500 Duramax that I still haul horses to train the dogs has 270k miles and still has the original u-joints and brakes. When I towed horses with a half ton Suburban, the trailer jerked the Suburban around in windy or hilly conditions. With a one ton truck, I never feel the trailer jerk the truck.  

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Well now that I've been properly schooled and thank you, I look at all tow set-ups on the roads differently.  Boy some are scary looking yikes!

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