Towing, Hitching and Tow Vehicles Discussions about tow vehicles, tow systems, hitching, leveling, jacks and more.
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Old 03-09-2016, 11:10 AM   #21
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Default Another Consideration

Been following this thread with interest. Lots of good info with differing opinions, which always seems to be the case when talking about towing. I have very limited towing experience but would like to point out another consideration which I haven't seen mentioned so far in this thread: Wheelbase.

I don't know if any of you are familiar with the RV Consumer Group which was founded by JD Gallant in the early 1990's? Here is their website:

https://www.rv.org/index.html

The Group puts out an excellent towing guide (membership required to access the pdf download) called How to Tow Safely- A Complete Towing Guide. While weight considerations and other factors are indeed important, JD states in his towing guide that, based on his research, the number one consideration for towing safely should always be wheelbase. You don't hear much about it because the truck manufacturers don't talk about it. If you want to learn more you will need to join the RVCG to download the 79-page guide.

From my limited towing experience, I have to agree with the wheelbase argument. While my Tahoe has more than adequate power (5.7 liter engine), appropriate gearing with factory installed towing package and use of a weight distribution hitch, I still have experienced trailer sway while towing my 24' Towlite. I attribute this to the short wheelbase of the Tahoe.

Just my 2 cents worth . . .
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Old 03-09-2016, 12:26 PM   #22
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Lucky I agree with your observation, wheelbase is important for towing, anyone who tried to rent a trailer from U-Haul if they had a jeep wrangler 2 door, they try to get you out the door faster than a bullet.
I think that was one of the main reason Jeep introduced the 4 door wrangler, so their owners can have some towing ability without trailer sway.
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Old 03-10-2016, 07:07 AM   #23
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Besides just wheelbase, the distance from the rear axle to the hitch ball is important in sway. The shorter distance there the better, zero distance being the best as in a 5th wheel. Sometimes the SUVS like my Aspen and your Tahoe don't do as well as the pickups because they have softer suspensions, especially in the rear. I would bet though if a low profile trailer is swaying it's because you need more tounge weight.
Here is a good video showing a promising new product for sway elimination. They load a trailer very wrong, and it's not even that heavy. Even using the biggest, longest truck possible it has massive sway and almost puts them into the wall.
https://youtu.be/cVlXlbU38zA
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Old 03-10-2016, 10:01 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hersbird View Post
Besides just wheelbase, the distance from the rear axle to the hitch ball is important in sway. The shorter distance there the better, zero distance being the best as in a 5th wheel. Sometimes the SUVS like my Aspen and your Tahoe don't do as well as the pickups because they have softer suspensions, especially in the rear. I would bet though if a low profile trailer is swaying it's because you need more tounge weight.
Here is a good video showing a promising new product for sway elimination. They load a trailer very wrong, and it's not even that heavy. Even using the biggest, longest truck possible it has massive sway and almost puts them into the wall.
https://youtu.be/cVlXlbU38zA
Interesting video! Thankfully my sway is not that bad! So to increase the tongue weight, should I just load more stuff in the front of the trailer (under the dinette in my case)? How does the stuff I load in the back of the Tahoe affect tongue weight?
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Old 03-10-2016, 10:33 AM   #25
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Greg, nothing you load in the Tahoe should effect the tongue weight. But, if you put a lot there, you would need to adjust your Weight Distribution Hitch to transfer weight off the rear axle and re-level your tow vehicle and trailer.

Yes, you can load more stuff into the front of your trailer to increase the tongue weight. Ideally, it should be between 10-15% of the total trailer weight.

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Old 03-10-2016, 02:20 PM   #26
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BUT...what is loaded in that Tahoe affects total weight - so you have to consider your GVWR when loading the back of the vehicle. You wouldn't want to end up going over your GVWR with the combination of trailer/gear.
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Old 03-10-2016, 04:08 PM   #27
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"BUT...what is loaded in that Tahoe affects total weight"

So just to add a little insight, here. I just got done with my initial loading of the truck for a cross country trip with stuff I typically carry- no food,clothes, ice, soda or beer yet.
Tool box, CAMP bag ( axe, saw, transfer pump, etc), Chock bag( chocks, water hose, jumper cables), screen shelter, Smokey Joe, leveling packs, light folding aluminum table, two aluminum/steel camp chairs, and a Mr Buddy. I've got a not-super-accurate meat scale with 2 lb increments and I hung that up and weighed stuff as I was putting it in Total 187 lbs ! HAH! Granted, the screen shelter is close to 50 lbs and is an indulgence. Still... Not YOU ALL, but I bet a good many have no concept of how much stuff they are carrying when they load up to head out. At this point- after tongue weight, distribution hitch, wife, dog, and all this stuff- I've got 310lbs left ----and when I start tossing in ice and food and other stuff that could get eaten up VERY QUICKLY. IN fact- I'm not even going to cruise by the scales because I bet I'll be a little over. Likely wont take bikes, certainly no boat. Just goes to show how little capacity is actually there when we start adding up all those little 10 and 20 lb items. Anybody know what a twelve pack weighs??

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Old 03-10-2016, 04:58 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KnottyRig View Post
BUT...what is loaded in that Tahoe affects total weight - so you have to consider your GVWR when loading the back of the vehicle. You wouldn't want to end up going over your GVWR with the combination of trailer/gear.
Absolutely correct! (Good catch, Knotty). If your trailer axle/wheel combination can stand it, you are probably better off putting stuff in the trailer, since most HiLos weigh quite a bit less than the towing capacity of our tow vehicles. But of course you have to respect the GAWR of the trailer too.

I rather suspect many, if not most of the vehicle/trailer combinations we see on the highway are overloaded in one way or another. It's just too easy to do. And, the fact that they function without serious incident is a testament to the engineering of those vehicles and trailers.

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Old 03-10-2016, 07:36 PM   #29
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I carry very little in the trailer seeing as it's GVWR is 4500 lbs and, as we know, my two axles together are rated to carry Less Than That! All the accessories on that trailer DO add up.
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Old 03-14-2016, 10:25 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JackandJanet View Post

I rather suspect many, if not most of the vehicle/trailer combinations we see on the highway are overloaded in one way or another. It's just too easy to do. And, the fact that they function without serious incident is a testament to the engineering of those vehicles and trailers.

- Jack
I'm not a betting man, but I'd bet with you on this Jack. It's just too darn easy to do (overload stuff), since we don't teach people about it, and don't have an easy (built-in) way to determine vehicle load for consumer vehicles.


LuckyDog - thanks for that link.

HillTool - I'd estimate a 12 pack of beer would weigh about as much as your head (beer is water, with other constituents, so is about 8lbs per gallon). I'd say your head has about as much volume as a 12 pack (144 oz -a little more than 2 gallons), so prob about 16 lbs or so. Wow...never seems like that much when I pick one up! (PS...my math could be all wrong...I'm HORRIBLE at math).
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