View Full Version : Tow vehicle/trailer questions
05-13-2007, 08:47 PM
Few trailering issues that might be truck, might be trailer, might be both.
My boat is a 23' Fish Nautique (inboard center console). I've never had it on scales, but internet literature I've read puts it at 4800lbs empty, so I figure it at a MAX of 6,000lbs all loaded up.
Trailer is a 2004 tandem torsion axle aluminum trailer with no brakes and a standard 2" coupler (same deal that's on my 19' boat trailer?) The trailer was supposedly custom made for the boat, who knows whether that's true.
The truck is a 1995 Suburban with a 350 TBI engine, 4L60E tranny, 3 inches of lift, 33" tires, class 3 receiver hitch.
The truck sags in the rear as it is, without a boat...put the boat on there and I feel like if I hit a bump just right I'll ride a wheelie. The truck's brakes suck as it is, put the boat on there and I feel like I'm waiting to rear-end people, so I end up driving 500yds behind people. The engine might be getting worn out because it sure doesn't seem as peppy as it used to (it's got 180,000 miles on it) but I don't imagine any truck likes having 6,000lbs of boat behind it, so I'm chalking the sluggishness up to that and not really counting it as a problem.
So, would adding trailer brakes fix my braking issues? I know a boat of this size should definitely have brakes, but until three weeks ago I only had to trailer .02 miles, if at all, to put the boat in the water...usually it just slept in the water. Now that's changed and the shortest trip is 15 minutes and I'll be towing her next weekend 3.5 hours. Full-size Chevy's of that era are known for having crappy brakes, and I've never had a boat trailer with brakes, so I don't know how much they help. Since I'm pretty sure I need to get em, what brand, what style, etc. As for the the sagging stance, it does that with or w/out the boat, so I'm stopping by a spring shop one day after work this week to talk about it with them, but my question here is whether or not there may be too much tongue weight, and if so, how do I decide how far back to the move the boat (I probably only have 6" of adjustment aft before the winch post hits a crossbeam).
Thanks for any help.
05-14-2007, 10:31 AM
That load is WAY too heavy to not have trailer brakes... I would recommend 3 things.
1. Get disc brakes installed on at least one of the axles.
2. Put air shocks on the truck.
3. If possible change out leaf spring size on truck to a beefier set.
I'm pretty sure you are also illegal. Any trailer over 3000lbs is required to have brakes.
Tounge weight should be about 10% of actual trailer/boat/load groos weight, depending on hitch set up max allowable tounge weight. Should be a Class 3 frame mounted hitch, 10000lbs towing, 1000lbs max tounge weight. The key to towing is having the trailer carry most of the weight and just enough tounge weight to stop the trailer from fish tailing at speed.
I believe that vehicle is maxed out at between 5K and 7k towing, depending on wether or not it was set up factory with towing package. If not I would recommend installing a tranny cooler, or change your tranny fluid often.
PS you may also want to change ball and reciever to a 2 5/16".
05-14-2007, 10:42 AM
One more thing... that set up is a disaster waiting to happen, if you have to swerve and brake hard it is very likely that the trailer will jackknife... be really really careful man.
05-14-2007, 10:50 AM
An equalizing hitch would let you maintain enough tongue weight to avoid fishtailing, but would level up your truck.
I always used an equalizing hitch on my two different Suburbans. Now that I have an F-250, I don't seem to need one with my present boat.
05-14-2007, 11:46 AM
GET BRAKES ON THE TRAILER.
Go weigh your boat...you may be surprised. Literature assumes an empty hull. IE: no batteries, electronics, anything.
GET BRAKES ON THE TRAILER.
What's already been covered pretty much sums it up though.
GET BRAKES ON THE TRAILER.
Get two people to stand on your rear bumper and see how the truck sits...that's about how it should look with your boat attached. If it's sitting a lot higher than with the boat, you have too much tongue weight. If it's sitting the same or lower, you're suspension on your truck is done and you need new springs.
GET BRAKES ON THE TRAILER TODAY!
BTW, you may want to look at getting brakes installed on that trailer too :rolleyes:
05-14-2007, 11:55 AM
Do you think he needs brakes on the trailer?
05-14-2007, 11:56 AM
Do you think he needs brakes on the trailer?
I dunno, it may help a little :D
05-14-2007, 12:09 PM
Sounds like you have too much weight on the tongue...like has been said...10% of total weight is right.
You can usually move the axle enough to make it right.
brakes are good too...I'd recommend discs instead of drumz...
05-14-2007, 02:14 PM
For some reason I get the feeling trailer brakes would be good to have.
05-14-2007, 03:18 PM
Sounds like your truck doesn't have enough ass to pull that boat.
Oh, and trailer brakes, yeah, those too...
05-14-2007, 06:55 PM
Yeah, I knew I needed the trailer brakes...like I said, the trailer used to be used to pull the boat from my driveway down the hill beside my house to the river and then was towed empty anywhere else by my buddy while I just ran the boat there...money's different these days and it's turning into a trailer only kind of boat...so brakes are definitely needed, I know this, I was more asking for specifics (surge vs electric, drum vs disc, particular brands, etc).
05-14-2007, 07:39 PM
Electric, disc and a better truck...... your gonna kill your self or someone else!
05-14-2007, 08:02 PM
I prefer surge, disc, a little more expensive but I think worth it, and if you can afford stainless steel all the better but galvanized will do the trick. Stay completely away from drum if the thing even drives by salt water. Any reputable boat trailer dealer that has a full shop near you can fix you up, and probably handle the proper set up for tounge weight and adjustment of the brackets and bunks if needed. Don't know manufacturers of the parts off hand. I'm fortunate to have a good Magic Tilt trailer dealer near me that I trust, I run their Aluminum I-beam tandem axle Signature Series with quad surge SS disk and really like them a lot, with my set up I can barely tell the difference in braking whether the trailer is on the truck or not. As a matter of fact you should probably call him and get some info, he will tell you whats what straight up, and give you an idea of costs.
George Lauretti, B&G Trailers in Deland, FL. (386)734-5244
05-14-2007, 08:03 PM
I have a f250 deisel and triple axile trailer for 7,000 lbs. I have surge brakes and they are drums. Drums need replaced about once every two years BUT what a difference when you have brakes on trailier. If you are towing GET the Right Truck !!! Get brakes ASAP cheaper then killing someone like yourself or fender bender it will happen !!!! Any brakes are good as long as you mantain them. Trust me I have been there just bring trailer to shop and have them put on you will be shocked at the difference !!!!
05-14-2007, 08:12 PM
Like those before me said Brakes Fl. law requires them on all axles. 10% Tounge to little or much you have a lot of fish tale problems also to much stress the trailer and the hitch. Also with the lift in the truck be sure the trailer is sitting level you may need a extra drop in hitch. Have you had a good alignment by a shop does trucks that have been lifted. Dropping the rear end with a load rsised the front and changes the angles in the front end making for eratic handling.
05-14-2007, 09:05 PM
If you tow with any regularity brakes will be the least expensive problem.The 4L60E is the same POS tranny they used in either caddies or firebirds.Totally unsuitable for towing.I have rebuilt 1 twice and bought 2 new or rebuilt in my 99 Suburban towing 1500 less pounds.Also 3 rear-ends 1 at 30K(right after a tranny went) 1 at 100K and 1 at 130K.
Motor is like new at 150K 16mpg in town 22mpg hiway 9mpg towing at 70mph.
Oh, and get trailer brakes :thumps:
05-14-2007, 10:06 PM
Surge brakes are pretty simple, realtively easy to maintain, and work well.
If you get drums, get them with the hose connection and rinse them out every time you get home. If you get discs, you still have to rinse them well when you get home, but they will last longer. I would check prices and decide then. You may be able to find disc sets for only a few $ more.
05-15-2007, 04:00 PM
Also with the lift in the truck be sure the trailer is sitting level you may need a extra drop in hitch. Have you had a good alignment by a shop does trucks that have been lifted. Dropping the rear end with a load rsised the front and changes the angles in the front end making for eratic handling.
This is my third lifted truck, so I have an assortment of drop hitches and after plenty of failed attempts, found a guy who could align and balance (well...sorta balance) my 37's, so the Suburban with 33" tires rides like a dream...
As for the brakes, if my buddy will let me keep it in his slip I'll get em next week on the trailer so y'all can sleep at night.
New springs (or whatever the hell the spring shop recommends) will be coming this week and my old 350 will just have to keep chuggin along.
As for the tranny being a POS...I'm on my second...or third...I don't know...I do know I don't like it and would love to move up to a NV4500, but that's $$$ I don't have.
05-16-2007, 04:55 PM
Those 33's are knocking the hell out of your final drive ratio, if it is stock. I put 4.10's in my 98 Silverado with 31 in tires and it is pretty comfortable at 75 mph, in overdrive. Original 4L60e@ 95000 miles, lot's of towing. Put a huge cooler off a Dodge diesel truck on it.
Just converted my trailer from drum to disc, got parts from Champion trailer supply(online), Kodiak discs, love them. The folks at champion are very knowledgable, priced right, and everything came in a kit, and was a breeze to install.
As for springs, I cured my problem with air bags and a frame mounted compressor(JC Whitney), everything was Air Ride, good stuff, for around 275.00. I can let the air out and have a real nice ride empty, and with the touch of a button level the truck with the boat on. Way better than air shocks.
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