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This weekend i learned one of the biggest lessons in driving. I hope to pass some info to beginners like me so you can learn from my mistakes. This was my first experiance in towing anything.

Tow truck: 1997 Dodge Ram 1/2 ton 4x4 standard cab, short bed, on 265/70 r16s, 360ci, automatic, and it weighs 5100lbs

Trailer: Uhaul, dual axle with surge brakes

Truck being towed: 1996 Toyota Tacoma 4x4 extra cab, weighs 3800lbs

The Tacoma had been in a roll-over accident and we had to back in the truck to put on trailer. Problem #1 trailer was inproperly weighted. Too much weight on rear of trail = bad. Problem #2 tow truck was too light and too short of wheel base to tow comfortably. Problem #3 trailer did not have electric brakes (surge brakes react too slowly for me)

All these problems combined made towing VERY diffuclt. It produced some extreamlly bad trailer sway. We could not go over 50 miles an hour with out getting scary trailer sway. It took 5 1/2 hours to get to our destination to pick up truck. It took 9 1/2 hours to return with the truck loaded on trailer.

What i have learned:
1. Load placement is critcal to safely tow a trailer
2. Short wheel base 1/2 ton trucks are not very fun to tow with and are the very minium to use as a tow truck. I will be looking into getting a new truck.

I hope this helps out some people who are newbies in the towing world. Next time i will be better prepaired.
 

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Chubby Chaser
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Weight distribution is definately critical. About 4 years ago we rolled our toybox trailer and FJ80 Land Cruiser due to the same issues. At the last minute before we left I loaded a bunch of fire wood in the back of the trailer which made the tongue weight too light and it had the same symptoms as yours, only we crashed ;)
 

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I think that weight distribution was your biggest factor. I have towed a lot of different vehicles with my 1990 1/2-ton Blazer which has a shorter wheelbase than your Dodge. Get the right weight distribution, beef up your rear springs so they don't sag if you need to, and maybe use a weight distributing hitch (will take some of the load off the rear springs). You should be fine towing a Toyota with a setup like that. I have towed 5000lb vehicles with mine.

Later!
Richard
 

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I will agree..I used to tow with a scout II..with the weight just right there are no worries..I think your tow rig was ok,so was the trailor,,I have pulled those u-haul trailors befor and they pulled great..Like you said your load placement was your bigg problem factor...
 

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thecarman said:
I think that weight distribution was your biggest factor.
I agree 100%. I've towed a lot with shortbed trucks (and full-size Jimmy's) & really didn't notice longbeds being any better whatsoever. Moving up to a 1-ton DID make a big difference. I also didn't have any problems with surge brakes as long as they're working properly.


TEX
 

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TEX said:
I also didn't have any problems with surge brakes as long as they're working properly.
And with a U-haul, that's a hit-or-miss proposition.
 

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I towed my CJ2A back from Idaho on a Uhaul trailer in April of 2002, using a 97 F150. I had too much tonque weight, had to buy binders and chain and move the jeep back on the trailer. Towed it back at 80 mph until I hit a head wind of 40 mph in Nevada, Got home and bought a F250 PSD:D
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I towed my CJ2A back from Idaho on a Uhaul trailer in April of 2002, using a 97 F150. I had too much tonque weight, had to buy binders and chain and move the jeep back on the trailer. Towed it back at 80 mph until I hit a head wind of 40 mph in Nevada, Got home and bought a F250 PSD
So what happend with too much tongue weight? Did it cause the trailer to sway? How big of differance did the F250 make over the F150?
 

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And with a U-haul, that's a hit-or-miss proposition.
Don't even get me started about U-Haul. To make a long story short i was very dissapointed with the trailers. We had to try 4 trailers to finally get one with good working wiring for lights. To top it off i had to fix the wiring on the last trailer. It was the mechanics first day on the job and he didn't know a screwdriver from a hole in the ground! :mad: oh well we got the truck and we made it back safe and sound.. thats all that matters..
 

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drnut said:


So what happend with too much tongue weight? Did it cause the trailer to sway? How big of differance did the F250 make over the F150?
Too much tongue weight will cause a "porpoise" effect. It's not ideal, but it's nowhere NEAR as hairy as too LITTLE tongue weight.


TEX
 

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by "porpoise", do you mean like bouncing? I rented a trailer for a trip to the con, and at times (often) I had the truck bouncing front-to-rear. Like i could see the front of the truck going up and down in rythm. I mostly left the truck where I first loaded it. big mistake.
 
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