School Me on Towing

Discussion in 'Tow Rigs and Trailers' started by ckruzer, Feb 8, 2018.

  1. ckruzer

    ckruzer Infidel

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2015
    Location:
    asheville nc
    Looking for an information download from trusted sources here on NC4x4. What are some highlights that come to mind? Do's and Don'ts? Can you recommend strongly advised truck improvements for safety and performance?

    Truck: 2010 Ram 1500, Stock (f/r coils). Trans temp gauge 7400 standard tow, and 9950 max
    Trailer TBB: tandem lowboy, 2 axle, 18ft

    Some additional Truck Info from Build Sheet
    Canadian. Laramie. 4x4. 545RFE Auto Trans. 5.7 V8 Hemi MDS VVT Engine. HD Trans Cooler. HD Engine Cooling. 160amp alt. Traction Control. 4 Wheel disc. 205mm HD Front Axle. 3.55 gears. Corp 9.25 LD Rear. IFS. Aux Readings (Trans Temp, Oil Temp, Oil PSI, Tire PSI, Water Temp). 12v aux outlet. Engine block heater. F/R Sway bar. HD Shocks f/r (stock, 160k). Park Sense / Park Assist Sensor System. 4 and 7 pin trailer harness system. 5ft Bed. 32 Gal Tank. Next Gen Engine Controller (?). Aluminum Wheels R20. Tow Hooks. Tcase Skid Plate. Front Suspension Skid Plate. Class IV Receiver hitch. TPMS.

    Modded Info Based on This Thread
    Truck: Better rear coils (which ones). SumoSprings. Catch Can.
    Trailer: Foldup ramps. 500# min tongue weight. Ratchet straps, axle to trailer. 2 tire spares. bottle jack and dedicated tools.

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2018
  2. 77GreenMachine

    77GreenMachine Phillip Talton

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2010
    Location:
    Trinity, NC
    With a half ton, or any truck really, it’s all in how you load it. I towed to Harlan and back with a ram with a Hemi, it done great. I’m told coils in the rear squat a little more and roll a bit compared to leaf springs, but not real bad.

    I would consider a tranny cooler, but a gauge or way to monitor trans temp at minimum.

    You’ll need to load it in a way where the trailer takes most of the load but have it forward just enough to level the truck (assuming it does not have a leveling kit)
    Mine ride best when the truck sat about level. It did not push/pull or bounce to much.

    I like to have 2 trailer spare tires on long trips since they take so much abuse.

    I’m sure others will chime in with more/better advice and correct anything I have stated wrong.
     
    ckruzer likes this.
  3. Mac5005

    Mac5005 Welding Instructor

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2005
    Location:
    Rocky Mount
    Shoot for 10% of total weight at tongue weight.

    Big trans cooler. Air bags, weight distribution hitch, trailer brakes and a good controller are all upgrades to make the experience better.

    Get the tongue weight and ball height correct first.

    Good tires on the trailer.

    All of that makes it less stressful.

    The 1/2 ton will pull it fine, just down shift downhills to keep the brakes cool and limit usage unless necessary.

    Secure the load in the right spot to keep from pushing the back of the truck around.

    Upgrade to stiffer tires on the tow rig. Load range e.
     
    moldman05, WARRIORWELDING and ckruzer like this.
  4. ckruzer

    ckruzer Infidel

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2015
    Location:
    asheville nc
    I do have a temp gauge in the stock data screen. I updated the original post to include that info. Does the trans lines to the radiator count as a cooler?
     
  5. WARRIORWELDING

    WARRIORWELDING Owner opperator Of WarriorWelding LLC.

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2008
    Location:
    Chillin, Hwy 64 Mocksville NC
    Tongue weight 500lbs minimum. (EDIT Macs is a bit better for all load types, i put a value to it since most understand 500lbs squats a truck some....its gotta compress the suspension some to be right) A little more if you expect bouncy road conditions. Balanced or worse tail heavy equals poor trailer handling. Tail wagging or a worse disaster and the trailer steering your rear end where it wants. Most campers come with equalizers and stabilizer bars because to weight isn't easily adjustable. You control the load and its placement, supper critical.

    Understand your brake controller and don't pull with out it or the brakes working. One panic stop or a-hole cutting you off and your done, period.

    Tie down points. People debate attachment. I personally allow a suspended vehicle to cycle. Strap by axles with the right straps or wheel straps. Use ratcheting wide belts straps with safety hooks for everything. I only use ratcheting chain binders and chains when the load exceeds web designs. This will be rare and hard to do safely behind a half-ton.
     
    Stuntman Autoworks and moldman05 like this.
  6. ckruzer

    ckruzer Infidel

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2015
    Location:
    asheville nc
    how would you prioritize these? any recommends for a wd hitch? is the trans cooler in addition to the lines arlready ran to the radiator? would you recommend a stock controller or AF controller? i noted the costs in the first post. looking at toyo at E/10 tires for the truck.
     
  7. Ron

    Ron Dum Spiro Spero Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2005
    Location:
    Sharon, SC
    Speed - Slow down. You internal comfortable driving level is calculated intrinsically by years (decades) of driving experiences and your reaction and outcome to those experiences. When towing everything happens slower. You brake slower, you have to move/steer slower. You accelerate slower. Etc etc etc. Even if you are captain ding a ling tow master there are idiots all over the road. Account for them. They WILL cut you off, pull out, or turn right in front of you. Prepare and plan for that.

    Become OCD about checking things. Straps loosen, loads shift, tires wear, chains or wires drag. Check everything every time. There is a cross roads 4 miles from my house and an old abandoned store there. It is basically impossible to leave my house without passing this spot. At this point as we get around the corenr to this intersection my 17 year old son is putting his phone in his pocket and unbuckling because he knows we are getting out to check every tie down and make sure they are still tight. He has actually finally reached the trust spot where I allow him to check them without me even getting out. Hes quicker. lol

    Eventually you will blow a tire. Be prepared to change it. I have a "trailer bag" that has a dedicated bottle jack, a small piece of 4x4. An older 1/2" ratchet and the right size socket, a spare trailer light, some wire a wire stripper and crimper and some e-tape. Anytime the trailer leaves the yard the bag is in the truck. All those tools are dedicated to that bag and never leave. The bottle jack I cant stress enough. Mine can hit my frame rail and lift enough to clear an inflated tire by a couple inches. The 4x4 was added after a poor roadside experience. Ou dont want to be depending on a factory truck jack to lift a trailer. And for me, I dont want to have to get under the trailer to my axle to lift in a road side situation. If its a driver side flat that means getting my legs/feet too close to traffic as I scurry under.

    If you start down the road and have tail wagging stop and reposition the load. It wont go away. It will aggravate you the whole trip. I know it takes 15 minutes to unhook straps, pull forward and re hook. Its worth it. Do it. And BTW make a mental note where you are positioned if towing a vehicle and know where to be next time.

    Final opinion that many may disagree with. If you need a WD hitch on an 18' trailer you have either the wrong trailer or the wrong tow rig for your needs.
     
  8. BigSouth

    BigSouth Doesn't play well with others!

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2011
    Location:
    Shelby, NC
    Reese WD With Sway Control Weight Distribution | etrailer.com

    I use a REESE setup and give it the highest marks. I'll mirror @Ron comment about the 18' trailer not needing WD, however, I know what its like to use what you already own. It's not always convenient to go buy a new truck or trailer just to accommodate our hobbies.
     
    yager and ckruzer like this.
  9. jeepinmatt

    jeepinmatt Still Fat

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2005
    Location:
    Stanley, NC
    Get a Weigh-safe hitch. They have a built in load sensor so you know exact tongue weight, and have adjustable height. They are pricey for a hitch, but they are really nice, and once and done kinda thing. If I was starting from scratch, that's the way to go, but I already have 5 different hitches at the right height with the right ball for various trailers.

    Know what the weight distribution is on your load (if you do this, you don't need the Weigh-Safe hitch). This is all theoretical, verify on your exact application:
    If your jeep is 60% front, 40% rear, and weighs 4000 pounds, then its pretty easy to know where to load it. You can use those numbers to know where the center of mass is, and if you know where the center of mass is, then you can quickly judge how much tongue weight you have. An 18ft trailer will probably have about 300lbs of tongue weight (+/-100), and weigh about 2000lbs. Your jeep is probably a little over 4000lbs, and the center of mass is probably about in line with the windshield frame. So trailer and jeep are around 6000lbs, and I'd say 10-15% tongue weight is a good target (better to err on the heavier side). Since you already have 300lbs on the tongue from the trailer, you want to put another 300-600lbs on the ball. Since you know the center of mass location and the weight of the jeep, you can do that pretty easily. If the center of mass is between trailer axles, you are putting all the load weight on the trailer and none on the ball. If the load is magically balanced on the ball, then there's no weight on the trailer. Anything in between is directly proportional to the location between those two points. For an 18ft trailer, its probably about 15ft from ball to center of axles, so to add 400lbs tongue weight, you'd need to move the center of mass of the load in front of the center of the axles by 10% of the distance from ball to center of the axles. That will give you about 700lbs of tongue weight, which should be about right for the load of the trailer and payload/towing capacity of the truck.
     
    BigSouth and ckruzer like this.
  10. anvilrubi

    anvilrubi Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2015
    Location:
    Carter county, Tn
    Plenty of good advise, just stay frosty Pay extra attention to everybody else around you.
     
    ckruzer likes this.
  11. Tim C

    Tim C Wizard

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2007
    Location:
    Fayetteville
    Once youre happy with the way the trailer is loaded and its towing good, mark the trailer so its easier to hit again.

    I use chains with axle J hooks like a wrecker to hold my truck on the trailer. I made the rear axles chains the right length to position the load. I pull on the trailer, hook the chains, then pull up til the chains get tight. Then I chain and load bind the front.

    Ive found the chains work fine for most everything I've moved, from my 78 f150 to a friends 2000 mustang.

    If your trail rig is top heavy or has slinky suspension it helps to tie the suspension down too. I run ratchet straps side to side over my trail rigs front and rear hitch recievers. I don't do this pulling a normal vehicle.

    Sent from my HTC6545LVW using Tapatalk
     
    ckruzer likes this.
  12. rabb11d

    rabb11d Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2009
    Location:
    Statesville,NC
    1st - buy towing mirrors
    2nd - leave them flipped up
    3rd - practice with you ghost trailer


    I have nothing really useful to add, just thought this thread had way too much info and not enough sarcasm...
     
  13. ckruzer

    ckruzer Infidel

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2015
    Location:
    asheville nc

    you know... was thinking of swapping on those gen4 wings. gotta join the 'first in flight' truck club, ya know?
     
    palmetto zuk and rabb11d like this.
  14. LBarr2002

    LBarr2002 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2009
    Location:
    SC
    Back when I had my own trailer and used it at least monthly, I kept a set of axle straps without ratchets. They were set to the right length where you pull on, hook on rear axle, drive forward till they're tight, hook front and roll. Always in the same spot.
     
  15. GubNi

    GubNi 8 lug disc brakes?

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    Location:
    Jonesborough, TN
    1. trans cooler (most disconnect from radiator and use the cooler only)
    2. Trailer brakes - try to get brakes on both axles if towing a vehicle or upgrade the non brake axle to brakes
    3. Good trailer brake controller - if your truck has a real one built in it should do
    4. Great tires on truck and trailer

    99. WD hitch and air bags
     
    ckruzer likes this.
  16. Jody Treadway

    Jody Treadway Croc wearing fool Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    Location:
    Hendersonville, NC
    Tie downs: Look at our selection of car tie downs! | RatchetStraps.com
    Put a floor jack and 4 way in your trailer toolbox along with a set of wheel bearings, spare straps and some chain.

    You know me, I like to simplify things compared to you. Hook up trailer, load your YJ until you see the rear suspension on your truck squat "some". Strap it down and gradually get up to highway speed. If it starts to sway, move the YJ further up the trailer. Find the happy spot and mark the trailer so you know where the LF tire of the YJ goes everytime.

    Then you can start a detailed thread about what color paint is best to mark said happy spot with. :flipoff2:
     
  17. 77GreenMachine

    77GreenMachine Phillip Talton

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2010
    Location:
    Trinity, NC
    Factory brake controllers are great these days.

    X2 on strapping at the axles unless you have real soft suspension on the rig.

    X3 on finding the sweet spot on the trailer and marking that with paint or some other means.

    When towing thru rolling hills my truck would down shift heading for the hills, then upshift going down right before going back up the next hill. I believe you have a selectable transmission with the +\- this will be great as you can just leave it the right pulling gear rather than it shifting back and forth creating more heat. Then let it do it’s own thing when you’re not in the up and down hills.

    The bottle jack mentioned is a huge help. Any amount f towing and you WILL experience a trailer flat.

    Air bags would be nice. The load may not squat the truck too bad, but if you start throwing tools, spare parts, camping gear, coolers of beverages and stuff in the bed it will start to squat.

    On some good hills, don’t be skeered to let that Hemi sing. It will make its power on the upper end of the RPM range but you can’t hurt it. Send it.

    X1000 on taking your time. People feel the need to keep up with traffic when towing, I’ve been guilty of this. Ain’t nothing wrong with hanging out in the right lane and being safe. The older I get the less I care about being able to do 75-80 with traffic towing a load. It just ain’t worth it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2018
    Subzilla and ckruzer like this.
  18. Mac5005

    Mac5005 Welding Instructor

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2005
    Location:
    Rocky Mount
    My priority from towing a rig since 08 or so and starting from flat towing and then a trailer with brakes etc and constantly upgrading.

    1) good tires, multiple spares, dedicated floor jack & cordless impact
    2) correct tongue weight, properly secured load, toe down points , lockable storage on trailer for jack and straps
    3) trailer brakes with controller, aux trans cooler.
    4)weight distribution hitch
    5)airbags, stiffer shocks.

    On my jeep and my dads cab truck we couldn’t only secure the axles when towing. His is a 14k tag, my trailer is a 7k tag along.

    If we secured with axles only the chassis and spring weight of the rigs leaning on the trailer would make trailer sway worse at highway speeds and cross wind gusts. This is due to somewhat high cog, and long travel suspensions.

    His lightweight 3800lbs buggy is secured by axles only and is a non issue with either trailer.

    To solve the problem we secure the front axle, secure the rear axle, then use big ratchet straps to suck down the rear suspension ( both of the problem rigs were leaf sprung front and linked rear). Once the rear was sucked down then we made sure the rear axle straps were still tight, as the wheelbase grows in bump.

    This one change strapping down the suspension and chassis instead of just the axles completely solved the issue.

    We used to tow with chains and ratchet binders but have moved to nice high quality straps.

    On his cab truck we welded the tow down points to use the shortest chain and binder combo as possible. His rear was held with binder only from trailer d ring, to d rings on rear axle.

    We don’t cross straps any more, each one just has a slight outward angle.

    We used to cross, until the thought of one coming apart and the rig falling off the side of the trailer.

    I still don’t have w/d hitch or airbags but I would like to get in future.

    I shoot for 600-700lbs tongue weight. We screwed angle cut 6x6 block to trailer deck to mark where to stop with rigs.

    Moving coolers and spares around on trailer, including spare tire for crawler can make a 150-200 lbs difference with tongue weight after the rig location is marked.

    Too much tongue weight is just as bad as too little with a tag along. Cause poor steering and poor braking. Just as scary as having it tail heavy but in a different way.

    Definitely want to get the rear of the truck to squat some.

    X2 on what Ron said about give your self plenty of room and don’t be in a hurry. Getting somewhere 30 mins later from taking it easy vs destroying a tow rig trailer and potentially a lot more and never making to the destination, is far worse.

    Also use a lower gear whenever possible to use compression braking downhill and to keep from having lots of shifts on highway.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2018
    moldman05 and ckruzer like this.
  19. Tim C

    Tim C Wizard

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2007
    Location:
    Fayetteville
    Plenty of trailer spares is a good point too. Ive had 3 blow out on one trip to and from Harlan before, and they were properly inflated. I check before each trip. I took this pic from the balcony of the super8 hotel by the flats a few years ago. It shows my truck and dad's bronco with 3 spares total, lol and the way I chain the axles and strap the suspension down. [​IMG]

    Sent from my HTC6545LVW using Tapatalk
     
    ckruzer likes this.
  20. LBarr2002

    LBarr2002 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2009
    Location:
    SC
    I lost 3 tires on the way home from Harlan a few years ago on a 25' goose with 16" wheels and only 1 spare. Second tire went at 5:00 on a sunday afternoon... luckily found a junk yard with used tires and bought 2, had them swapped onto the wheels from the blown tires and got home. 4th one was coming apart when I pulled in the driveway.
     
  21. LBarr2002

    LBarr2002 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2009
    Location:
    SC
    You dont really need a floor jack, but if you have room for one bring it. I always had a couple short pieces of 4x6 post in the bed of the truck. Wheel chocks, and if you cut one end at an angle you can pull the good trailer tire up on the block which unloads the blown tire.
     
    jeepinmatt likes this.
  22. ckruzer

    ckruzer Infidel

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2015
    Location:
    asheville nc
    @Tim C @LBarr2002

    when a tire blows. do you yall unhitch and drive off leaving the trailer and rig on the side of the road?
     
  23. LBarr2002

    LBarr2002 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2009
    Location:
    SC
    Luckily when I ran out of spares I was able to limp it off an exit and another person in our group took me to get tires, leaving the whole rig in a safe spot.

    If I had a passenger, I would probably unload the rig and drive both to a safe place towing empty trailer.

    If no passenger, no way to get to safe place, I'd probably unload jeep and leave truck/trailer hitched up on side of road.
     
  24. Tim C

    Tim C Wizard

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2007
    Location:
    Fayetteville
    I just pull as far off the shoulder as I can and jack up the trailer while its still loaded and hitched to the tow rig. Between my dads 1 spare and my two I have not ran out of spares yet, but I have used them all! I actually bought a used passenger car tire in evarts KY on that trip so I'd have something round to limp to an exit with if needed.

    Im pretty fortunate that since dad and I wheel together we have two rigs in the convoy so someone can run for parts if needed. You cant be prepared for everything. I had the whole upper radiator tank vaporize on my old 03 f250 tow rig climbing fancy gap on i77 headed to harlan a few years back, I limped it up the last mile at 35 mph on the shoulder and got to an exit while dad ran up the interstate a few miles to an autozone for a new radiator.

    My trailer toolbox has the chains and binders, some cut to length straps for suspension suckdown duty, a few uncut straps to use if I have to tow something different like a car or tractor, a bottle jack that will lift the trailer, spare wheel bearings pre packed with grease, and some spare lights.

    Sent from my HTC6545LVW using Tapatalk
     
    Mac5005 and moldman05 like this.
  25. ckruzer

    ckruzer Infidel

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2015
    Location:
    asheville nc
    Question

    How can you tell when a trailer tire blows?
     

Share This Page