TOWING or Pullin', Draggin', and Hookin' Up
I started towing in 1968, flat towing a street/strip drag car with a tow bar. I only had the one car so if any of my friends had a hitch on their vehicle I begged them to tow me to the races. It was simple, just drop the tow bar on the ball and go. No chains, anti sway bars, load distributing hitches or anything. We tied the steering wheel of the drag car to the vent window so it wouldn't spin around and down the road we went. Of course we didn't do interstates and mostly it was 50 mile tows at under 50 mph. We just stuck a sign on the back "Car in Tow" and turned on the park lights. Luck was with us.
Since then I've towed lots of cars and boats on lots of trailers, single car, double car and open and closed trailers. I've learned a bit about towing the hard way but never had a major problem, never dumped or lost a trailer, and have been able to maneuver out of some pretty tight spots. Last year I bought my first TT/TH. It's the biggest thing I've ever pulled, although not the heaviest. I'm pulling with a 2012 F350 with a 6.7 diesel, 15,000# hitch, sway bar, weight distributing hitch, and electronic brake control. Naturally it pulls real sweet with never a problem with speed or terrain.
I see a lot of questions about towing and I understand how it can be kinda scary, especially for a newbie. The truth is I think you can pull about anything with anything as long as you're able to hook them together. I remember an "I Love Lucy" show where they all went on a trip, pulling a camper trailer with maybe a 54 Merc. Headlights in the sky, tail draggin, but that's how it was back then. They didn't die, although I don't remember exactly what did happen.
The real truth about your setup comes about once you pull out on the road. If you're gonna pull at 40 mph for 50 miles you should have no problem. I've seen people pulling other vehicles with a rope at that level. But as you increase speed and distance, you increase the chances of mayhem, and it's good to know what can happen. If you overload your trailer (especially the axle/tire ratings) you're gonna start blowing tires. That's your first tip off that something ain't quite right. If the trailer is swaying side to side it probably means that it's too heavy in the ass end. This is especially true with toy haulers. Sway bars help, but pull more of your load forward if you can and it'll stop. If you find it hard to stop, you're pushing your limit with the brakes. And you know that can be a problem. And of course when a big truck passes you and you think you're gonna flip over, you've got several issues to deal with.
Really, you want to have the biggest baddest tow vehicle you can find but not everyone has a budget for that and doesn't want one for a daily driver when you're not traveling. Sure you can pull a big TT with a 1500 truck. If you're just going outside of town to the lake, no problem. But if you want to be on the interstate and you wanna run 80 miles an hour, you gotta have the right equipment. If you don't, then you'll have to go slower. And your ride may be a little spooky at times.
All in all, the driver is so important. You must learn defensive driving. Leave lots of room in front of you, make sure you know what is around you, be patient and let that fool riding your butt go around. Look around the corner or into that parking lot before you turn in. Don't put yourself in a situation that you can't get out of.
I think towing is a lot of fun. For me it's about adventure and time on the road. I still get excited everytime I hook up, looking forward to the trip. Getting there is half the fun of being there. But a mishap can spoil the whole thing. Just take your time and enjoy it. Use your safety equipment and if your rig gets squirelly over 50 mph, then don't go over 50 mph. It's fun. Try to keep it that way.
2012 Ford Lariat F-350 Super Duty
2014 Forest River Cherokee Wolf Pack 27 TH