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 Post subject: Tow capacity
PostPosted: August 22nd, 2015, 12:32 pm 
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I have a boat that weighs right at the 5k lbs mark (calculating in for the trailer and fluids). I'm considering the idea of towing it from Tahoe, ca. To Austin, tx. I lean towards not doing it, but thought I'd throw out the idea. Has anyone towed near the limit? How did it feel (besides nervous as hell at first)?
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 Post subject: Re: Tow capacity
PostPosted: August 22nd, 2015, 5:31 pm 
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Joined: August 11th, 2014, 9:54 am
Posts: 174
Location: New Hampshire
Do it and report back :twisted: :P


You have a Dana 70 rear with 305HP V10. I'm sure the engine and rear suspension will handle the "recommended" max amount. Any weirdness will come from the tongue length or something. I'm guessing you'll be fine.

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 Post subject: Re: Tow capacity
PostPosted: August 22nd, 2015, 7:11 pm 
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I'm liking the optimism. Hills will be a challenge I'm sure, but doable.


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 Post subject: Re: Tow capacity
PostPosted: August 22nd, 2015, 8:36 pm 
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Joined: July 31st, 2014, 1:01 am
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Location: 1999 Concourse
I have towed a 4,600# trailer all over the place, first with an E-250 van (V8), and now with my Chinook (V10). I find the Chinook tows it beautifully, with a couple of caveats. These may be old news to you, I realize.

1) Check your rear axle weight. My boat is on a tandem and thus can have a slightly lower tongue weight (5-7% vs. the usual recommended 10%). The tongue weight is around 350#, which due to Chinook overhang + good-old physics adds 550# to the rear axle. I have weighed many times while towing and not towing, so I know I'm underweight, but it's something to check. I do find the rear axle is the closest to the max vs. the other weight ratings.

2) If it's a tandem trailer, put some effort into making sure it tows level (not a Chinook-specific thing).

3) Trailer brakes are a good idea and may be required in your state. I have surge-activated brakes with discs on all four trailer wheels - stops very well (of course still drive conservatively when towing).

4) If you have surge brakes and are towing in the mountains, keep in mind that there is not a very positive "release" on the brakes -- so if you engage the trailer brakes near the top of the hill, they might well stay on the whole way down, thus getting very hot or worse. I slow up before cresting a pass, and then use engine braking (i.e. downshift). If you have electric-over-hydraulic brakes (cab controller) then this is not an issue. Related to this is that they say "don't go down the hill in a higher gear than you'd climb the same hill in." I also often click down out of overdrive (with the button) sooner than the automatic would. I can see hills ahead even though it can't. I keep the RPM's up above at least 2,000 RPM.

5) I installed a larger transmission cooler, but I think it would probably do fine even with the stock one.

6) I run a Scan Gauge II so I can keep an eye on transmission fluid temperature, plus engine coolant temp (and other stuff too, but those were the main goals).

7) Your rear Chinook tires will want a slightly higher pressure for the additional weight on the rear axle (I go by the weight/pressure chart for my size tires).

8) The wheel lugs on the trailer are likely a different size than the Chinook, so a different wrench/socket size.

9) If you hear an airplane about twenty feet overhead, it's likely just the engine (radiator) cooling fan. It's loud! Mine will kick in sometimes in hot weather when climbing. Usually it kicks in at around 200-202º F water temp, and then goes back off when it gets down to 197º (usually less than a minute). On a big climb, I'll turn off the Air-conditioning if I have it on.

10) My trailer is 8' wide, which is really nice as it just about tucks in behind the Chinook, yet I can see all four trailer tires/fenders in my mirrors.

11) I do have to watch things a bit if going in and out of something like a gas station with a big drop off at the street intersection. It's especially easy to drag the back of the trailer - I scout ahead and also go diagonally if I can. You may not have that issue with the extra clearance of 4WD.

The Chinook is a great towing machine for my boat. Even before I had the new front end/bigger brakes put on, it still worked fine due to the trailer brakes. I was comfortably under all the weight ratings, but I'm decently "underweight" to begin with (all Chinooks may not be though, from what I have read). I have also moved the spare tire to the front which moves around 200-225# of weight off the rear axle.

I have the manual rear step, so I don't need a super long tow bar. I do need to leave the lower step flipped up (storage position), and of course slightly step around the trailer tongue when going in and out. Door and all else works fine though.

If you have a long/tandem trailer, it will cut in quite a bit on corners, and also swing out due to the tailswing of the long overhang (didn't have that on my van). If you are launching, watch the rear axle (vent) and the generator so they don't get submerged (especially if someone goes by with a big wake just as you are launching :(

Coming down from Tahoe, if 395 works out, it's a nice towing road. Gorgeous and not crazy, traffic-wise, plus lots of places to pull out for breaks, lunch, etc. I towed from Seattle to south Texas a few years ago, but as it was December I "had" to go down I-5 instead (ugh) and I crossed over on Tehachapi, then took I-40 to 95 and down to I-10 from there, then I-10 the rest of the way, basically. But unless it's winter, I tow up 395. MUCH nicer. Of course you're already east of the Sierras.

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Last edited by Blue~Go on August 23rd, 2015, 7:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Tow capacity
PostPosted: August 22nd, 2015, 8:39 pm 
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Location: 1999 Concourse
PS: On big passes I'm usually down in 2nd gear toward the top, but still moving along easily and (in that gear) with some power to spare. OTOH, I'm not the type who has to squeeze every last drop of speed out when towing up/down mountains. There are usually enough lanes for everyone to stay out of each others way, and I'm able to just ease on up and down without undue strain.

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 Post subject: Re: Tow capacity
PostPosted: August 22nd, 2015, 9:15 pm 
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Thanks for the info as always Blue. Makes me feel better about giving it a go. I'm concerned with the big drop down into gardnervile (395) from Tahoe, but might be able to have someone else use his truck for that part (ease me into things). It's a dual axle trailer with surge brakes.


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 Post subject: Re: Tow capacity
PostPosted: August 22nd, 2015, 11:35 pm 
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Joined: July 31st, 2014, 1:01 am
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Location: 1999 Concourse
Okay then - sounds like you'll be towing a trailer very similar to mine (weight/tandem/brake style).

My first big tow (was with previous van) I was soooo nervous. Especially for my first big pass. I felt like I needed a climbers chalk bag just so I could keep a grip on the wheel! Although I had around 1500 miles of towing before I got to the mountains that first time vs. just plunging right in. But it turned out to be not that bad. I like to just ease down in second gear on a big pass. On a 6% grade I may have to tap the brakes once or twice, but mostly the transmission/engine just keep me at a very comfortable speed without my touching the pedals. Oftentimes there are slight "level offs" between pitches (all of a sudden, like a bicyclist, you are sensitive to every nuance in up/down grade).

I can't remember that exact grade, but I guess I must have towed it a few times as I've taken 395 from 58 (down near Barstow) up Alturas, CA. At least you'll avoid Reno (I just remember rough road and traffic through there after the pleasantness that is most of 395).

I forgot to mention that I carry an IR thermometer and check the hubs and tires at stops. You can just put a hand on them, but I like to have a number (also handy to compare from trip to trip). My hubs are usually running at around 25º over ambient temp (or so).

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 Post subject: Re: Tow capacity
PostPosted: August 23rd, 2015, 7:34 am 
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Think I can pick up a cheap ir thing at harbour freight. Going to pick up a new ball and pin anyway (ordered a new extra extra long hidden hitch ball mount bar.. The one my rv came with is rusted out so bad I don't trust it. 1st owner used to tow a boat. I bought from the 2nd owners though, so not much details were available.)


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 Post subject: Towing capacity
PostPosted: August 24th, 2015, 7:01 am 
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Moving thread.


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 Post subject: Re: Towing capacity
PostPosted: September 19th, 2016, 11:29 am 
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Joined: August 20th, 2016, 10:38 am
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I bought a used 2000 Ford Chinook E-350 and it does not say on the papers and in the vehicle how much can it pull. Can somebody tell me how much can it pull and how I can prove it???


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