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73-87 Chevy _ GMC Trucks => 73-87 Chevy & GMC Trucks => Topic started by: 85 CA SIERRA 1500 on October 24, 2018, 08:23:51 PM

Title: Towing with a 1/2
Post by: 85 CA SIERRA 1500 on October 24, 2018, 08:23:51 PM
Hi All,
One of the new guys here.
How heavy have you towed with your C-10/ 1500?
I have noticed that the new 1/2 ton  trucks all seem to have some very impressive numbers.
So, just how heavy have you guys actually towed with a SquareBody 1/2??? 
All the best,
Tracey>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Title: Re: Towing with a 1/2
Post by: zieg85 on October 24, 2018, 10:11:42 PM
With a weight distributing hitch I towed 6K lbs with no problem having trailer brakes.  The main problem with 1/2T trucks are no trailer brakes and car tires.  Have LT on back and proper gearing to get the load started is a must.  Most stock trucks have highway gears in them.
Title: Re: Towing with a 1/2
Post by: Irish_Alley on October 25, 2018, 01:33:08 AM
zieg hit it on the head. its going to be about those rear ratios and how much heat youre going to build in the trans.
Title: Re: Towing with a 1/2
Post by: 85 CA SIERRA 1500 on October 25, 2018, 10:16:24 AM
Thanks Zieg,
Thanks Irish,
I already have the tire situation covered, currently wearing 30x9.50x15 Lt's rated @1985 with 51psi.
Still need to work on the rear gears, currently has 2.73 open diff., planning on going to a 3.73.
I am also going to air-bag it to help the 33 year old springpack a little bit.
Anybody else out there that has towed heavy with their Square???
A curious mind wants to know,
All the best,
Tracey>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Title: Re: Towing with a 1/2
Post by: Irish_Alley on October 25, 2018, 12:30:40 PM
tell you the truth theres no difference in the frames of the ton and ton frames. it might be easier and cheaper for you to swap axles that way you get a lower ratio like the 4.10 or 3.73. you will also have to get new rims and u joints
Title: Re: Towing with a 1/2
Post by: 85 CA SIERRA 1500 on October 26, 2018, 03:47:27 AM
tell you the truth theres no difference in the frames of the ton and ton frames. it might be easier and cheaper for you to swap axles that way you get a lower ratio like the 4.10 or 3.73. you will also have to get new rims and u joints
This is a very good point, makes me think it might be worthwhile to start checking the "Pick-a-part".
Thanks Irish
Title: Re: Towing with a 1/2
Post by: Irish_Alley on October 27, 2018, 10:43:51 PM
it was brought to my attention that i was incorrect on saying the frames are the same. and its true should of been more detailed ;-)
ton frames are about 6" tall and 5/32 thick
ton frames are about 6" tall and about 3/64" thicker than the tons
1 ton frames are about 8" taller and share the same thickness as the ton frames
Title: Re: Towing with a 1/2
Post by: 75gmck25 on October 28, 2018, 06:51:09 AM
I would be more concerned about brakes than the strength of the frame.  Heavier GVW trucks have larger front brakes, and some have much larger rear drums.  My 3/4 ton with 8200 lb GVW has a 14 bolt FF with 13" drums on the rear, which are much bigger than a half ton.   However, there are lots of options to upgrade the brakes on a half ton.

It also makes a difference whether the trailer has electric brakes, or at least has surge brakes.  When you try to stop a loaded trailer with no brakes on the trailer it pushes forward and tends to jacknife.  If you have well adjusted trailer brakes they will actually drag you to a stop when then come on.  Trailer brake controllers are not that expensive, and relatively easy to install.

You also want to make sure that more of the trailer weight is in the front on the tongue so that it keeps it stable.  If you load heavy items in the back it will give you a light hitch load, but the trailer will also bounce up and down much more, which is very unstable.   Weight on the hitch is your friend.

Bruce
Title: Towing with a 1/2
Post by: roundhouse on October 28, 2018, 10:14:02 AM
Weve pulled a 22 foot camper with a longbed 2wd
No problem
Not sure about the axle ratio

Weve pulled same camper with a shortbed 4wd with a 4 lift 3.73 axle

The rancho RS-9000 adjustable shocks are handy
   We use em set on 1 normally and on 5 towing
Setting them on 9 is too stiff even for towing


You will need a sturdy hitch installed properly on your truck

And Probabaly a weight distributor hitch
Also properly installed and adjusted and set up

And a good brake controller
Also properly installed and adjusted

And good brakes on the trailer
Also properly adjusted

With ours , 60-65 mph is max comfortable speed(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20181028/9211d45e581c128249cf02f37d30c634.jpg)(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20181028/a76bbc98d7ed3ba7698cd8382a0e37d5.jpg)
Title: Re: Towing with a 1/2
Post by: Irish_Alley on October 28, 2018, 07:12:49 PM
ive hauled trucks before with a k5. like stated trailer brakes can make or break how you can tow. ive heard people say your truck has to be heavier than the vehicle youre towing but like i just said the blazer and trailer+ truck on the trailer, i think the blazer was outweighed but we had trailer brakes.
Title: Re: Towing with a 1/2
Post by: 85 CA SIERRA 1500 on October 30, 2018, 10:54:31 PM
Thanks to all you guys that have chimed in.
Anybody else out there that has worked their Square like a truck and has any real world tales of towing heavy?
Any one else have pic's of their rig hitched up?
Even though the new trucks are rated with some very impressive #'s, some of the 1/2's are even in what used to be considered  3/4 ton duty, I still love my Square.
Title: Re: Towing with a 1/2
Post by: Henry on November 01, 2018, 11:08:55 AM
Hi 85:
Experience towing heavy: I have overloaded my enclosed 18' two axle trailer and experienced how dangerous this can be. I dont know how much it weighed, but I filled it up to the top with stuff when helping a friend move. When driving down the freeway any wind or waviness in the pavement would cause the trailer to "wag" the rear end of the truck...there was no way to counteract this other than to slow down by coasting. The "wagging" was like an oscillation that would increase in amplitude and cause a jackknife if I tried to counteract it by steering or braking. Loading the trailer with a car (which is what it was designed for) was a weight that I did not have this problem and towing was fine. The advice here is to tow a load that your truck is rated for. If your truck has a few towing mods, be sure to understand what these mods can do and how omitting other towing mods leave you in a dangerous situation on heavy towing. Having said that, previous comments on hitching, brakes, suspension, and powertrain are all valid.

As a starting point, I would look at your bumper and if it is the factory stamped steel bumper I would upgrade to a welded plate bumper (1/4 inch thick) with a square hole receiver welded to it. Have this bumper bolted to your frame with four big grade 8 bolts. Add a electric trailer brakes controller and modify your trailer electric connector to accept multiple types of trailer light connectors.
Regards,
Henry
Title: Re: Towing with a 1/2
Post by: 85 CA SIERRA 1500 on November 02, 2018, 01:27:04 PM
Henry,
Thanks for joining the party and sharing your experience.
I absolutely agree that "trailer sway" is a catastrophe waiting to happen. My experience has been that one of the most effective ways to control the oscillation is to drag the trailer brake. Also high profile trailers do not handle sway nearly as well as low profile like flatbed trailers.
Come on the rest of you Square drivers, jump in and share.
All the best,
Tracey>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Title: Re: Towing with a 1/2
Post by: 75gmck25 on November 03, 2018, 07:01:39 AM
Take a look at this video to see what happens when you have a trailer that is too heavy in the back, which really throws off the stability and causes excessive sway.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2fkOVHAC8Q 

And this one shows you how fast that sway can get out of hand.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=miE3MOcqn7E

Having the proper weight distribution makes a big difference.

Bruce
Title: Re: Towing with a 1/2
Post by: Stewart G Griffin on November 03, 2018, 09:09:29 AM
i have always thought and maintained that 3/4 ton was the MINIMUM if you want to tow heavy.  And i would define "heavy" as anything 5000 lbs or over.

However, lately i'm not so sure and have become a little more flexible in my notions concerning minimum truck for towing for several reasons.

But first, here is my towing experience:
i once tried to tow a chevette with open car trailer.   Now, keep in mind that a chevette is one of the lightest cars out there at under 2000lbs.  The trailer was an open, tandem axle, car trailer rented from U-haul.    My truck, at the time, had a 305 (out of a malibu, so it made like 240 tq and 140 hp) with 2 bbl.,  TH-350C automatic, and 2.56 rear axle gear.    Total weight of chevette and trailer could not have been more than 5000 lbs.   More like 4000 to 4500, but probably less.

The truck did ok with just the empty trailer, but once the chevette was loaded on to it, there was an immediate problem.  The truck really struggled to make it up hills on the back roads.   And on the interstates, it did ok on totally flat terrain, but would slow down and struggle on even the slightest inclines.   Here is where i learned how much in a hurry truck drivers always seem to be----- :) :(    This was a very uncomfortable experience and the truck was totally wrong for the job.   Normal mpg for the truck was 15-16mpg, with trailer it went to about 13 and with load like 11-12.   i have to say handling wise, it did ok.  Fairly smooth, no sway etc.  It just couldn't pull the trailer very well.

Gearing is a big deal.  In fact, gearing may be EVERYTHING when it comes to towing.    i had 2.56 and this is totally wrong for towing.  i also did not have an external transmission cooler at the time.  And you really need that if you want to tow.

Now here is why i now think SOME 1/2 trucks CAN tow a little bit of weight.

1) There is a GM engineer who has towed a 70's chevelle (these are not light, weighing close to 4000 lbs.) on an open car trailer with a 1/2 ton truck.   AND he did it with a 4.3 v-6 no less!    So, if a gm engineer thinks it can be done, has proven it can be done, then i also now think it can be done.    Granted he has a 3.73 gear.
https://www.gmsquarebody.com/threads/intro-from-an-old-assembly-plant-guy.13399/
You may want to email him with questions/advice etc.

a) Others, have a apparently towed heavy with a 1/2 ton successfully.

2) Concerning the newer 1/2 tons:
i've been thinking about buying a newer truck, since i need to tow and don't have time to mess with an older truck (or so i think......), so i've been doing some research.

All '14 and later suburbans/yukons etc. and 1/2 ton trucks, if equipped with a v-8, get the 14 bolt semi-floater rear axle.  And these v- 8's make decent power.  i think the base 5.3 puts out 355 hp.   These two factors alone equal good towing ability.   Even the new 4.3 puts out 285hp and 305tq although you don't get the 14 bolt rear.   Even the colorado has like a 7000 pound tow capacity if equipped with v-6 or diesel?

a) i saw 3 yukons on the NJ turnpike a few Sundays ago.  All three had open car trailers.  They all had racers, but two of them were pretty much stock , so they weighed pretty as much as a street car.  i think nova/chevelle.  The third had a tube framed car, so a little lighter.   The speed limit on the turnpike is 65(i think), but they were going much faster than that.  No sway, and the rear was at the same height as stock.    Very stable.

So yes, these newer 1/2 tons and even some older 1/2 tons are, apparently, capable of towing some weight.   i am still more comfortable with a 3/4 ton truck while being a little more open minded to the possibility of a 1/2 truck fitting my needs.

i want to add that i see plenty of 1/2 trucks----Toyota Takomas, F-150's, Silverados etc. on the turnpike with rear bumpers sagging, not looking very stable and traveling at or below the speed limit.  They look like they're struggling to keep it in the lane.    i don't have any experience with travel trailers.  i imagine there must be a large weight disparity between different models?

i think a weight distributing hitch is a must irregardless of using a 1/2 or 3/4 truck.

i also think a tongue scale (not sure of the exact term) is also very important.  Too little weight is bad, could cause a jacknife.  Too much could cause the rear of the truck to sag.
 
Title: Re: Towing with a 1/2
Post by: Irish_Alley on November 04, 2018, 10:03:38 PM
Take a look at this video to see what happens when you have a trailer that is too heavy in the back, which really throws off the stability and causes excessive sway.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2fkOVHAC8Q 

And this one shows you how fast that sway can get out of hand.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=miE3MOcqn7E

Having the proper weight distribution makes a big difference.

Bruce


^^^^^^^^^THIS^^^^^^^^^^

its all about weight distribution. GM even has a 4.1 and 4.8 (little 6 cylinders) in the 70s 1 tons. if you feel the trailer start to sway slow down by letting off the gas AND DONT press the brakes. if you can pull over and adjust for more tongue weight on the trailer if you cant adjust the weight then keep going at a slow speed and be cautious about lane changes. you can overload a trans with the improper gearing this will overheat the trans and once the fluid overheats you can toast the trans fast, so trans temp is important also and thats directly dependent on where your driving and how youre driving (i.e hills, highways and stop and goes) a higher rear ratio (like 4.10 or 4.56) would be more idea for the harder driving situations like stops and hills. as long as you dont exceed your vehicles GVWR youll be ok with the proper distribution of weight
Title: Re: Towing with a 1/2
Post by: roundhouse on November 12, 2018, 09:46:12 PM
When it starts swaying
The best response it to give it more gas and drag the trailer  brakes
Do NOT touch your brake pedal or move the steering wheel until the swaying stops

do NOT try to compensate with the steering wheel , you will just make it worse

Just mash the gas ,  let it sway and drag the trailer brakes until it stops
And if you give it gas and drag the trailer brakes , the swaying WILL stop , then keep dragging the trailer brakes and take your foot off the gas and pull over and fix the problem

Swaying means you dont have enough weight on the tongue

Ive towed some trailers that had air compressors and stuff mounted inside and it swayed so bad you could get over 40

I stopped and bought a 55 gallon drum
Strapped it in the nose of  the trailer and filled it with water

That cured the sway

Towing more than 5000 lbs with a shortbed 1/2 ton 50 yr old pickup is just stupid

Not something you want to brag about

Id say You can tow about 5000 if you have the right weight on the tongue and a weight distribution hitch and maybe a sway control bar
  Good brakes on the trailer
A good quality brake controller   In the cab

And use some common sense and dont get over 60-65 tops

And keep a safe following distance from the cars in front of you
 
You will get passed by every other vehicle on the road
  Youre not in a crew cab turbo diesel F-250 that is six feet more wheelbase , weighs 3000 more lbs , has twice the braking capacity, and four times the power