Having been a professional truck driver and trainer for more than 30 years, I find that you never, ever know it all. There are always new things to learn. My primary goal with this blog is to help other drivers (especially newer ones) with pertinent information and tips to enable them to work happier and more safely. Guest posts, contributors and feed-back are always welcome and wanted!
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Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Towing heavy the easy way
Husky Towing Products’ Center Line WD hitch with active sway control.
Center Line hitch makes it easy to manage those heavy equipment and utility trailers with lighter duty pickups and full-size SUVs
The front wheels of the pickup pulling a 24-foot equipment trailer came off the ground for a couple seconds as it crossed over a raised railroad crossing. It looked all the world like one of those pro street racers leaving the impromptu starting line on Street Outlaws.
What stopped the upward lurch was the trailer ball on the hitch hitting the ground, sending sparks flying.
Oblivious to what happened, or just unconcerned, the driver motored on down the road with the mini excavator securely strapped to the trailer deck.
Pickups and SUVs towing heavy equipment and utility trailers on the factory hitches, front ends high, rear suspensions sagging under the loads, is an all-too-common sight. And one that should be disconcerting to the company owner.
Not only is towing in such a manner unsafe because vehicle control is compromised, it’s a serious liability issue for the vehicle’s driver and the company that owns or has contracted the tow vehicle for the task.
A contractor friend of mine in Mississippi fits right into the “my truck can handle anything I need to tow” mentality: his tow vehicle is an ’03 Suburban.
He uses it to tow everything from car trailers to trailers to a hydraulic dump trailer used primarily to haul away landscaping debris.
And he does it all using the OEM factory Class IV hitch and receiver.
He doesn’t care much about being “properly equipped” for the trailer weights he’s pulling around.
At least not until a recent close call with losing control of his vehicle while towing the dump trailer made him re-evaluate his towing setup.
He decided, after all these years, to install a WD hitch per GM’s recommendations. .
What he ended up getting installed is a Husky Towing Products’ Center Line WD system. It took less than an hour to install and set up. It’s competitively priced. But best of all, it provides the optimum in trailer sway control.
The Center Line WD hitch incorporates a new design to help minimize sway using special trunnions that have built-in springs to apply progressive-compression pressure so the spring bars fight against trailer sway.
This “active sway control” system is smooth and efficient. (More conventional WD hitches use friction at the ends of the sway bars to dampen sway, which is far less efficient.)
Now that he has it set up for his tow vehicle it only takes about 60 seconds to hook up the trailer and hit the road.
“I can’t believe how much nicer it is towing that trailer,” my friend Karl said when we hit the road for a test drive with the Big Tex dump trailer filling up the rear glass. “It almost drives like I don’t have the trailer back there. This is something I should have done years ago.”
And they say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks…
What Karl still needs to be reminded of is that just because he is utilizing a WD hitch doesn’t mean he can tow an even bigger trailer. There’s still that little issue of Gross Vehicle Weight Ratings to contend with.