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Old 01-26-2012, 04:35 PM
twmattox twmattox is offline
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Hauling our Boy Scout trailer

Our local Troop has had a problem finding vehicles able to haul our Scout trailer. It is a fairly large tandem axle trailer filled with all our gear. I know that a typical Chevy 1500 is used to haul it sometimes (others it is hauled with a Chevy 2500 and a Ford F250). I am considering using my '88 GW to pull the trailer in the future and need to know what I will have to do to the rig to perform this safely. My GW has recently had a complete rebuild done on the 360, with a Melling MTA-1 cam, edelbrock double roller timing chain, and some oiling modifications; still have the stock 2v carb and intake though.

The trailer does have a weight distribution hitch that it is used with. From my research, the GW came with a Type III receiver from the factory. This is rated to 5,000# load carrying / 500# tongue weight. From my research on similar hitches (Hidden Hitch Type III and others), these can be used up to 8,000# weight distribution / 800# tongue weight. Is this correct for the GW as well?

Assuming that the trailer falls within this weight category and I can safely pull it, I will need to be able to safely stop. I have recently completely re-done my brake system (new booster, master cylinder, calipers, wheel cylinders, shoes, pads, and rubber lines). I will look into the trailer to ensure that it has electric brakes (I am 90%certain it does).

Next, I need to make sure my rig can actually pull this weight at speed. I know my gear ratio will need to be changed from the stock 2.93. I have recently bought a set of gears and plan on changing out to 3.31 ratio (would have preferred 3.54 but couldn't find them). With stock size tires (or slightly oversized to 30") will this ratio allow enough power to pull?

Finally, should I consider any suspension items? Ideally, I would put on a 2" AAL lift (my springs are in very good shape but are too soft for hauling). What about the addition of air shocks or air springs?

At this point I am in the investigation stages of determining what it will take for me to do this safely. I just know it stinks that these boys have to cancel some campouts because they can't get their gear to accompany them.
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'05 Wrangler Unlimited (LJ) / 4.0L / NSG 370 / NV231 / DANA 30-44 (3.73)
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  #2  
Old 01-26-2012, 04:52 PM
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derf derf is offline
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Location: Colorado Springs, CO
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A trailer that big should have electric brakes on it. Controlling them properly would be my first priority. Wiring up an adjustable trailer brake controller isn't difficult but it would be the first thing I did.

For weight control, it's hard to beat an airbag helper spring system, if you can tolerate the cost. You leave the bags deflated when you're not towing. When you load it up, you inflate the bags and it helps take a lot of the extra weight safely. There is a bolt in kit that fits the stock GW. You can get just the bags or you can even step up with a compressor and dash controller, depending on how much you want to spend.

Gears in the axle are important as well. The factory 2.73 gears need to go. Stepping up to something around 3.31 or 3.54 on stock tires will give you much better power to get the trailer moving. With slightly bigger tires, I'd give serious thought to 3.54s. Even so, you're not going to be in the fast lane.


Can you tow that trailer? Sure.

Is it the best rig for towing? Not exactly.

Can you make it adequate? Yep.
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Last edited by derf : 01-26-2012 at 04:54 PM.
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  #3  
Old 01-26-2012, 05:06 PM
twmattox twmattox is offline
350 Buick
 
Join Date: Feb 24, 2003
Location: Indiana
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That is what I am looking for...adequate; but, more importantly, SAFE!

I am just trying to get a parts list so I can assess the cost.

Do I need a new receiver or will the stock one suffice?

Do I need the 2" AAL?

Do I need the air springs?

Do I need air shocks?

Do I need a transmission cooler?

Those are the questions I am beginning with.

Honestly, we go camping about once a month. I am guessing that I will be called to haul the trailer about 3 times a year. The furthest we haul it is about 200 miles (one way). Most times it is significantly shorter trips than that. Thanks for all the help...
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'83 Scrambler (CJ-8) / 258 / T-5 / D-300 / DANA 30-AMC20 (3.31)
'88 Grand Wagoneer (SJ) / 360 / TF727 / NP229 / DANA 44 (2.73)
'05 Wrangler Unlimited (LJ) / 4.0L / NSG 370 / NV231 / DANA 30-44 (3.73)
'15 Wrangler Unlimited (JKU) / 3.6L / 42 RLE / NV 241 / DANA 30-44 (3.73)
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  #4  
Old 01-26-2012, 06:17 PM
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tgreese tgreese is offline
 
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Location: Medford MA USA
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5000 lbs is a lot of gear for a Scout troop. What do they bring along that's so heavy?
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Maine beekeeper's truck: '77 J10 LWB, 258/T15/D20/3.54 bone stock, low options (delete radio), PS, hubcaps.
Browless and proud: '82 J20 360/T18/NP208/3.73, Destination ATs, 7600 GVWR
Copper Polly: '75 CJ-6, 304/T15, PS, BFG KM2s, soft top
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  #5  
Old 01-26-2012, 06:55 PM
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billyj7175 billyj7175 is offline
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How long of a trailer are we talking about?

A transmission cooler would be highly recommended...

X2 on the brake controller. The new digital ones work very well.

Also, make sure the weight distributing hitch has some sort of sway control. Most all do, but I've seen a few that didn't.

With the W/D hitch, you might not need the AAL or air bags/shocks. Best thing to do is to hitch up and see.
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  #6  
Old 01-26-2012, 07:56 PM
twmattox twmattox is offline
350 Buick
 
Join Date: Feb 24, 2003
Location: Indiana
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I have no real idea on how heavy the trailer is. But, everyone says it is heavy. There are 30+ tents, 5 patrol boxes that weigh over 100# each, lots of cast iron cookware, canopies, everyone's personal gear, firewood, charcoal, and a ton of other things... Before I pull the trigger on anything, I plan on getting the trailer weighed.
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'83 Scrambler (CJ-8) / 258 / T-5 / D-300 / DANA 30-AMC20 (3.31)
'88 Grand Wagoneer (SJ) / 360 / TF727 / NP229 / DANA 44 (2.73)
'05 Wrangler Unlimited (LJ) / 4.0L / NSG 370 / NV231 / DANA 30-44 (3.73)
'15 Wrangler Unlimited (JKU) / 3.6L / 42 RLE / NV 241 / DANA 30-44 (3.73)
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  #7  
Old 01-26-2012, 08:11 PM
joe joe is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tgreese
5000 lbs is a lot of gear for a Scout troop. What do they bring along that's so heavy?
Girl Scout troop B with accessories
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  #8  
Old 01-26-2012, 08:24 PM
joe joe is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 28, 2000
Location: PNWet, USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twmattox
I know my gear ratio will need to be changed from the stock 2.93. I have recently bought a set of gears and plan on changing out to 3.31 ratio (would have preferred 3.54 but couldn't find them). With stock size tires (or slightly oversized to 30") will this ratio allow enough power to pull?

Finally, should I consider any suspension items? Ideally, I would put on a 2".
Sounds like a heavy tow. Just my opinion but since you're going through the hassle/expense of a gear swap I'd exchange the 3.54's you bought for 3.73's or lower. I don't like towing heavy loads so I try to make it as easy as possible. I've got a diesel F-250 with 3.54's and it's a slug towing. If I need to tow I use the diesel C-20 Chev w/4.10's Both rigs are in very good condition but the 4.10's make a world of difference over the 3.54's.
edit: PS thoroughly break-in new gears before you tow a heavy load.
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Last edited by joe : 01-26-2012 at 08:26 PM.
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  #9  
Old 01-26-2012, 08:49 PM
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derf derf is offline
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Join Date: Jul 12, 2001
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twmattox
That is what I am looking for...adequate; but, more importantly, SAFE!

I am just trying to get a parts list so I can assess the cost.

That's a good approach.

Quote:
Originally Posted by twmattox
Do I need a new receiver or will the stock one suffice?

What does the factory one look like? If it's a full receiver and not just a tongue, it'll probably work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by twmattox
Do I need the 2" AAL?

I wouldn't. They ride way too rough. The air springs let you add or remove weight capacity as you need it. They're much more flexible from that perspective.

Quote:
Originally Posted by twmattox
Do I need the air springs?

I wouldn't consider any other route. You can start with just the bags with an air chuck you can inflate/deflate with any compressed air source. As your budget allows, you can add a built in compressor and dash board control.

Quote:
Originally Posted by twmattox
Do I need air shocks?

Not really. They sort of work but air springs are a better choice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by twmattox
Do I need a transmission cooler?

Always. You can never keep your transmission too cool. I'm considering adding a 3rd cooler to my truck when I do the trans swap. It already goes through the radiator and then to the factory aux cooler in front of the radiator. I'm thinking about getting one of those extruded coolers and running it along the frame rail.

Quote:
Originally Posted by twmattox
Those are the questions I am beginning with.

Honestly, we go camping about once a month. I am guessing that I will be called to haul the trailer about 3 times a year. The furthest we haul it is about 200 miles (one way). Most times it is significantly shorter trips than that. Thanks for all the help...[/quote]

I did the once a month boy scout camping trips when I was a kid. We never had that much gear that we needed a trailer. But we did pack all the cars pretty full when we went. Having a dedicated trailer probably would have helped.
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  #10  
Old 01-26-2012, 08:50 PM
derf's Avatar
derf derf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twmattox
I have no real idea on how heavy the trailer is. But, everyone says it is heavy. There are 30+ tents, 5 patrol boxes that weigh over 100# each, lots of cast iron cookware, canopies, everyone's personal gear, firewood, charcoal, and a ton of other things... Before I pull the trigger on anything, I plan on getting the trailer weighed.

Very good idea. If it's over 3,500 pounds, you want to make sure it has trailer brakes and that they're in good shape.
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  #11  
Old 01-27-2012, 08:44 AM
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710 Burner 710 Burner is offline
 
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Location: Normal, Oklahoma
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since it has a weight distributing hitch, at a minimum, I would go air shocks, electric brakes, gears, and high efficiency trans cooler. Those big box trailers are like pulling a brick wall from the air hitting them.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrandWag&Prix
Actually, now that I think about it, that could be either awesome or really terrible.


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  #12  
Old 01-27-2012, 09:31 AM
The PIG Smith's Avatar
The PIG Smith The PIG Smith is offline
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Location: Fort Wayne, Indiana
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tgreese
5000 lbs is a lot of gear for a Scout troop. What do they bring along that's so heavy?
My son is in a large BSA troop. (50+ boys on the roster)
http://www.troop349.com/

Their 12' single axle trailer is often overloaded.
The troop has long term plans to purchase a 14' tandem axle trailer.

I can speak to why so much gear.
Most parents cannot afford true lightweight back packing gear. (very costly stuff!)
Just getting the Scout to have a complete uniform shirt can be a challenge.
...then add the cost of Troop dues, outtings, popcorn, couple hundred for summer camp, etc...
So, the troop uses normal heavy camping gear, tents, sleeping bags, food for 20+ folks for a weekend, stoves for places they do not permit a ground fire, first aid gear, sleds for Klondike events...I can go on and on..

...all of this gear is heavy and when you get 20+ Scouts personal gear added in as well...it takes a big trailer to haul it all.
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...but if it works, I wouldn't touch it.
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  #13  
Old 01-27-2012, 09:49 AM
twmattox twmattox is offline
350 Buick
 
Join Date: Feb 24, 2003
Location: Indiana
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Add in the fact that the trailer (empty) was weighed at 2500#. Then add in all the shelving and fixtures.

Best guess is that our large trailer may top out around 8000#. Our smaller trailer has been weighed (fully loaded) at 6740#.

Again, I am not looking to do this on a daily basis. More in a pinch when no body else can possibly do it. I just want to make sure that I can do it safely.


On a side note, I have hauled our smaller Cub Scout trailer all over the place just the way I am. We have never weighed it, but I am sure that old thing is pretty heavy as it sits.
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'83 Scrambler (CJ-8) / 258 / T-5 / D-300 / DANA 30-AMC20 (3.31)
'88 Grand Wagoneer (SJ) / 360 / TF727 / NP229 / DANA 44 (2.73)
'05 Wrangler Unlimited (LJ) / 4.0L / NSG 370 / NV231 / DANA 30-44 (3.73)
'15 Wrangler Unlimited (JKU) / 3.6L / 42 RLE / NV 241 / DANA 30-44 (3.73)
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  #14  
Old 01-27-2012, 09:56 AM
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tgreese tgreese is offline
 
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I was a Scout and an assistant Scoutmaster (long ago) and both of these troops had their own gear - plywood fold-up kitchens, steel stoves, canvas Baker tents - the usual car camping stuff. Usually we had a few Dads with pickup trucks that could haul the gear. Maybe times have changed, but somehow a dedicated trailer for the gear seems excessive ... even car camping gear is not that heavy.

Both troops were sponsored by churches, which gave the troop some storage space for gear. I suppose if there were no other storage available, a trailer would make sense.

Not a criticism - just a comment.
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Maine beekeeper's truck: '77 J10 LWB, 258/T15/D20/3.54 bone stock, low options (delete radio), PS, hubcaps.
Browless and proud: '82 J20 360/T18/NP208/3.73, Destination ATs, 7600 GVWR
Copper Polly: '75 CJ-6, 304/T15, PS, BFG KM2s, soft top
GTI without the badges: '95 VW Golf Sport 2000cc 2D
ECO Green: '15 FCA Jeep Cherokee KL Trailhawk
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  #15  
Old 01-27-2012, 10:11 AM
leadsled01 leadsled01 is offline
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I just purchased the Air Ride air spring kit for my Wagoneer. Have not installed it yet but it looks like quality stuff. I need it for towing my car trailer with the wrangler on it, it was fine for towing 5 quads but not the wrangler. I would hitch it up and give it a shakedown run and then decide what you need to do. Tranny cooler is first on the list.
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  #16  
Old 01-27-2012, 10:24 AM
twmattox twmattox is offline
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Location: Indiana
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tgreese
I was a Scout and an assistant Scoutmaster (long ago) and both of these troops had their own gear - plywood fold-up kitchens, steel stoves, canvas Baker tents - the usual car camping stuff. Usually we had a few Dads with pickup trucks that could haul the gear. Maybe times have changed, but somehow a dedicated trailer for the gear seems excessive ... even car camping gear is not that heavy.

Both troops were sponsored by churches, which gave the troop some storage space for gear. I suppose if there were no other storage available, a trailer would make sense.

Not a criticism - just a comment.

You just hit a part of the reason we have trailers. We have no storage space. All our gear has to be stored in the trailers.

Also, our summer camp requires that we pack everything we will need for a week (including food). Our small trailer has a chest freezer, a fridge, and all the tables/equipment for a group of about 45 people for a week.

Then, there is the advantage of taking less time to pack for a campout. All our stuff is there...just hook up a truck and drive away.
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'88 Grand Wagoneer (SJ) / 360 / TF727 / NP229 / DANA 44 (2.73)
'05 Wrangler Unlimited (LJ) / 4.0L / NSG 370 / NV231 / DANA 30-44 (3.73)
'15 Wrangler Unlimited (JKU) / 3.6L / 42 RLE / NV 241 / DANA 30-44 (3.73)
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  #17  
Old 01-27-2012, 10:44 AM
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710 Burner 710 Burner is offline
 
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I forgot to mention it, but you will be spending alot of time with your foot on the floor. Make sure your cooling system will handle the load, i.e. a spotlessly clean radiator.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrandWag&Prix
Actually, now that I think about it, that could be either awesome or really terrible.


'79 Cherokee Chief "Junaluska"
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  #18  
Old 01-27-2012, 12:12 PM
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The PIG Smith The PIG Smith is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tgreese
I was a Scout and an assistant Scoutmaster (long ago) and both of these troops had their own gear - plywood fold-up kitchens, steel stoves, canvas Baker tents - the usual car camping stuff. Usually we had a few Dads with pickup trucks that could haul the gear. Maybe times have changed, but somehow a dedicated trailer for the gear seems excessive ... even car camping gear is not that heavy.

Both troops were sponsored by churches, which gave the troop some storage space for gear. I suppose if there were no other storage available, a trailer would make sense.

Not a criticism - just a comment.
I was a Den Leader and then later an Assistant Scoutmaster (too many politics, so no longer for me)
When you have have 30ish boys that camp with a dozen or so Adult leaders put all their gear together..that would be a lot of work to load it all into a few pickup trucks and then unload...up and down the stairs of the church building.
...even with young strapping men to do the grunt work, there is the time factor.
When kids get outta school, get home, parents needs to get home, feed the kids/Scout, gather up the gear, get to the church at 5 or so, there not a lot of time to load a few pickup trucks (that maybe someone DD so hard to load it ahead of time)
The BSA Motto is Be Prepared!
The trailer can be packed up early (Scout Meeting before an outing), be ready to go the Friday evening before a weekend outing.
All the gear is in the trailer, no second guessing, "Did remember to bring..."
(Been there, done there, quite embarrassing)
It really a much better way to Car Camp with a lot of folks.
The sponsoring church pays for the license and insurance..for it really their trailer.

I suppose if there were not that many Scouts, then yes, throwing all the gear in a pickup truck may make sense.
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2005 Grand Cherokee Limited - HEMI! Current Daily Driver
1982 J10: Current Project, goal to be roadworthy in 2017: No Cab Brow!
1981 J20: Commercial flat bed. Long term Project: RUST! No Cab Brow!

Quote:
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...but if it works, I wouldn't touch it.
Quote:
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