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I'm not crazy about towing because of the extra strain it puts on vehicles, many nowadays are built as light as possible with no extra margin.
That said, any tips for towing all day for a few days? Would you go close to the maximum towing capacity?
 

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Business Owner
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Load the trailer weight mostly in front of the axle. Trailers loaded more heavily in the rear of the axle can suddenly develop violent, uncontrollable sway.

Make sure the trailer is equipped with Trailer tires and not passenger car or light truck tires.

Carry a spare trailer tire, jack and a set of wheel chocks.

Find out what size bearing sleaves and bearings fit the trailer wheel hubs and carry a set of spares, and bearing grease. Also carry the tools needed to change them.

Stop frequently, at first, on long hauls and check the temperature of the wheel hubs on the trailer. Make sure its not getting very hot.

Check your lights; tail, brake, turn at every gas fill-up.

USE the safety chains and criss-cross them when attaching to the tow vehicle, so they make an "X"

Check the integrity of the towing vehicle's hitch mount, either bumper mount or receiver hitch. I have had both become loosened over time towing. Carry a BIG socket set with a long handle, and sockets to fit the trailer hitch ball nut, and any nuts holding your hitch or bumper to your vehicle.

Carry flares (or better - reflective triangles or reflective traffic cones) in case of a break down. Carry more than the recommended 3.

Equip your trailer with a battery for the breakaway system and check and charge it regularly. Make sure you connect the wire-rope from the break away to your tow vehicle so it will activate the break-away brakes in case the trailer detaches.

Drive slower with the trailer than you normally do, and be aware of increased braking distance, even with trailer brakes and especially in wet, snowy or icy conditions.

Anticipate people driving like idiots and cutting you off, or passing you just to slam on the brakes and make an immediate turn.

Be careful!
 

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Ham Extra Class
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I put hitches on all my vehicles. I feel it gives me options should an emergency arise. I like Curt Hitches and Draw Tite Hitches.
My pickup and SUV came factory with hitches.
I try not to tow more than 2000 lbs with the cars, and the SUV ( Toyota 4Runner)I try not to tow more than 4000 lbs. The truck is a 1 ton super duty and I tow about what I want.










 

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Super Moderator
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For an extended tow/trip, a properly set up vehicle is a God-send. Trying to "make do" with a marginal vehicle is a job.

Recently, my 2006 F350 dually had some problems. (6.0 diesel) Mom said it had to go. (But the next one has to tow Moms RV, a 32' Open Range tow behind @ 9,980 lbs loaded) I didn't want another gut-busting, bladder shaking, teeth loosening, rough riding heavy duty truck, but I still had to tow the trailer. I went to my local truck pusher, and outlined my wants, F-150, 4x4, 4 door, short bed with tow package capable of 10,000 lbs. Book said it could be done, short story was not without it costing $1000.00 more than a similarly equipped F350.

Moral of the story; all tow vehicles are not created equal. Verify, verify, verify. And then verify that info.
 

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Greyman with a Mohawk
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I put hitches on all my vehicles. I feel it gives me options should an emergency arise. I like Curt Hitches and Draw Tite Hitches.
My pickup and SUV came factory with hitches.
I try not to tow more than 2000 lbs with the cars, and the SUV ( Toyota 4Runner)I try not to tow more than 4000 lbs. The truck is a 1 ton super duty and I tow about what I want.










Does yor Benz have a factory tow package?
- if so do you happen to know the factory rating?
If its not the factory kit, which one is it?

As far as towing at maximum capacity goes, I really feel it depends on the vehicle, some trucks are made for towing and heavy duty work loads and others are just shaped like a truck.
 

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Semper Vigilans
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All that a "TOW PACKAGE" means is that the vehicle has a Class III receiver and a Lighting and maybe Braking connector.

It doesn't change the ability of any vehicles tow weight rating.

Tow weight ratings can be misleading and get you killed or at the very least upside down in a ditch some day.

I would never tow anything over 2000 pounds with a Unibody vehicle,
Towing any more is dangerous as there is no true frame to keep the vehicle stable while towing.

Depending on what you are towing you need to look at these factors regarding your tow vehicle.

Does it have a true fully boxed frame?
Does it have enough motor?
Is the Transmission strong enough? does it have an oversize cooler?
Heat is what kills transmissions.
Is the driveline and u-joints strong enough?
Are the differentials and axles strong enough?
Are the springs on the vehicle enough to keep the truck stable while towing?
Do you have big enough brakes to stop your load in an emergency?

If you can't positively answer yes to ALL of these questions you are taking your chances towing anything.

I have been towing big and small trailers and loads for almost 40 years now and I've seen some pretty stupid things from people who usually claim that their car dealer told them their truck could tow whatever.

And I've seen my share of cars and trucks upside down in ditches or their loads scattered across a 1/4 mile of highway that I always make sure I have more truck than I think I may need.

If you need confirmation just google trailer crashes.
It's always a very destructive ending.







Be Smart, don't end up being one of these people.
.
 

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Semper Fi
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I'm not crazy about towing because of the extra strain it puts on vehicles, many nowadays are built as light as possible with no extra margin.
That said, any tips for towing all day for a few days? Would you go close to the maximum towing capacity?
Absent more specific information as to YOUR VEHICLE there is no way to provide any useful information.
 
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Like everyone said, it's hard to tell based on lack of information. Age and type of vehicle, size of the trailer, etc.

If it's a car pulling a wire bed 4x8 or smaller trailer, that's one thing. If you think your going to pull a camper behind you, that's another. My general rule of thumb without more information is 1/2 of the manufacturers listed vehicle tow capcity, 1/2 to 3/4 of the vehicle manufacturer's listed trailer tongue weight, and 3/4 of the speed limit for short distances. People forget the tongue weight and it's easy to overload it with a 2 wheel trailer.

http://www.campinglife.com/tow-ratings-database/

As mentioned above plan for a breakdown and heat kills. I have a specific toolbox I put in the car with extra wire, connections, bulbs, specific wrenches, trailer spare parts, road hazard reflectors, etc. If you don't have a transmission cooler that can handle towing, install one. If you pull something heavy up hill on a hot day make stops to check your oil, transmission fluid, trailer, and vehicle tires. You can put heavier weight engine oil in and carry a quart of it and transmission fluid. Make sure the spare tire on you car and trailer have air in them and all your tires are properly inflated. If all you have is a donut spare, plan on buying a full sized spare tire for your car from a junkyard.

I have another box that is full of racheting tie down straps, elastic stretch cords, red plastic to tie on the end of items that hang out the back, and rope. Don't be that guy that stacks stuff in a crappy pile held together with one piece of string that looks like it's about to fall out. If in doubt, buy more straps.
 

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Militant Normal
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Load the trailer weight mostly in front of the axle. Trailers loaded more heavily in the rear of the axle can suddenly develop violent, uncontrollable sway.
Actually no, do NOT load all the weight forward unless you have an unusually heavy tow vehicle. For ordinary passenger cars, load so that the tongue weight at the ball is about 50-75 lbs, no more. Too much weight on the hitch levers weight off the front wheels of the tow vehicle, reducing steering traction and stability. This is what the MattB4 meant by balancing the trailer. High tongue weight may also overload the rear tires. The car should sit nice and level when everything is aboard and the trailer hooked up. Your owners manual may have a specification for tongue weight.

If you have compact, heavy objects, it's best to load them directly over the axle, and put lighter objects to the front and rear. This minimizes the rotational inertia (about the vertical axis), which will reduce the tendency to sway. The longer the trailer, the more important this is.
 

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The two things that fail most often when towing are transmissions and brakes. Monitor your trans temperature. Add a gauge if you have to. Keep your vehicle in the right rpm range. Add a brake controller and adjust it. Make sure your trailer brakes work properly. Sometimes on roads with grades say over 6-7 percent you need to pull over and let things cool off with the engine running.

On an interstate or good state highway, or flat country it is no problem to get close to your max towing rating. In tough conditions big problems start to show up. Diesels really shine when the towing gets tough.
 

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Warlord of the wastes
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One thing I picked up was trailer size (wind loading) is just as important as weight. I pulled a mesh lawn and garden trailer with not a big load behind my Ranger and ended up puking most of the transmission fluid out of it. I was nowhere near the load rating, but a mesh ramp at highway speed isn't any more aerodynamic than a solid one, maybe less so due to the turbulent air it creates. Had I installed a transmission temp gauge as ppine suggested, I would have known to stop or gear down before that. Lesson learned.
 

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Ham Extra Class
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Does yor Benz have a factory tow package?
- if so do you happen to know the factory rating?
If its not the factory kit, which one is it?

As far as towing at maximum capacity goes, I really feel it depends on the vehicle, some trucks are made for towing and heavy duty work loads and others are just shaped like a truck.
No the Benz does not have a factory tow package. I added the curt mfg hitch. This car is diesel and I don't tow heavy loads with it.
 

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'73 F250 4x4 with a 390 and a 4-speed. Load Range E tires all the way around. We regularly pull a 23x7 goose-neck trailer loaded with 12 cows, around 1300lbs each. The trailer, itself, probably weighs around 6,000 lbs (I'd really like to weigh it just to see).

12 x 1300 = 15,600 lbs
15600 + 6000 = 21,600 lbs = 10.8 tons

The pickup moves the load around with no problem, perfectly stable, stops well, running 55 to 60 mph.

It handles the trailer much better than the 350 gallon water tank (roughly 2900 pounds, 1.5 tons) we haul on the flatbed; the sloshing water makes the HiBoy feel top-heavy and somewhat unstable. Adding a sway-bar to the rear made a big difference, though. Now I just need to figure out how to mount a sway-bar to the front.
 

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Outlander Territory
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I'm not crazy about towing because of the extra strain it puts on vehicles, many nowadays are built as light as possible with no extra margin.
That said, any tips for towing all day for a few days? Would you go close to the maximum towing capacity?
I always try to keep my towed trailer at least 10% under the tow capacity of my truck. It gives me some breathing room, but it is just a personal thing, not a mechanical thing.

Knowing how to tow properly and having it set up correctly shouldn't put much more strain on the vehicle than just driving. But there is the lynch-pin of that sentence...tow properly!

I've been towing horse and cattle trailers all of my driving life and I'm always cautious. I got taught from the best people. Hauling livestock is different animal altogether.

Taking a class or two on how to tow safely and properly, including all the things regarding the trailer and tow vehicle, will enhance everybody's technique and abilities. Escapees (the RV club) actually has a rally every year that gives classes on all of this...might be worth looking into.

Other than that...accelerate and brake slowly and easily, allow for cut corners when turning and go wider accordingly, be aware that most people on the road won't care that you can't stop as quickly and be ready for the idiots.

Sway bars are helpful for bumper pull trailers, especially with heavier loads and lighter vehicles.
 

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Business Owner
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Actually no, do NOT load all the weight forward unless you have an unusually heavy tow vehicle. For ordinary passenger cars, load so that the tongue weight at the ball is about 50-75 lbs, no more. Too much weight on the hitch levers weight off the front wheels of the tow vehicle, reducing steering traction and stability. This is what the MattB4 meant by balancing the trailer. High tongue weight may also overload the rear tires. The car should sit nice and level when everything is aboard and the trailer hooked up. Your owners manual may have a specification for tongue weight.

If you have compact, heavy objects, it's best to load them directly over the axle, and put lighter objects to the front and rear. This minimizes the rotational inertia (about the vertical axis), which will reduce the tendency to sway. The longer the trailer, the more important this is.
I did NOT say to load all of the weight in front, but I was not clear about what I meant. I agree to put most of the weight above the trailer's axles, and to keep the tongue weight from being too heavy. A trailer and tow vehicle should be balanced so that the tow vehicle isn't sitting with the steering tires jacked-up.

I was talking about mainly small, utility trailers and keeping the weight 60/40 balanced towards the front. I know from personal experience of 1000's of miles that sway develops with more weight rear-ward than forward.

The attached picture is from U-Haul's towing recommendations.
 

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Semper Fi
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So dmas is in need of help but can't be bothered to reply to posts asking for more information in order for us to actually provide said help.

Threaded fastener him I say.
 
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Crusty Old B*stard
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I don't know if you already have the vehicle and the trailer or not, but if you're still in the planning stages you might want to think about a gooseneck or a 5th wheel trailer. I went from bumper pull horse trailers to a gooseneck, and it made a world of difference. I can load up my three horse slant load Featherlite with three big warmblood horses and pull it comfortably all day with my older F250/6.0 diesel. Handling is so much better with the gooseneck that I would never get another bumper pull.
 
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