towing 4700 lbs - Chevy Colorado & GMC Canyon
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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-18-2017, 08:16 AM Thread Starter
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towing 4700 lbs

Hi all: Last weekend the head of my son's robotics team was pulling the team trailer back from a competition. He has a Tahoe. The trailer is a tandem-axle Stealth Elite. While towing he reported the drive home was very difficult with his Tahoe being difficult to drive. We weighed the trailer and it was 4700 lbs but he had over 900 lbs tongue weight!!! This makes sense as his Tahoe was squatting. I plan on towing this same trailer with my 2015 Canyon SLT CC. My truck has the towing package and I have installed a Redac brake controller. I have measured and purchased the correct drop drawbar and a 2 7/16 ball. Assuming I load the trailer properly with a tongue weight a more appropriate 500 lbs, should this be a safe set up? I ask because I have never towed anything weighing almost as much as, if not more than, the truck. My truck tows my 17 ft runabout with no problem, but it is 1/2 and weight. Any advise greatly appreciated.

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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-18-2017, 08:50 AM
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I tow an estimated 4800 lb camper trailer with my truck. I bought it used and haven't taken it to the scales yet, although it is the first thing I plan to do this year with it. So I don't know my total weight or tongue weight.

The one thing I do have that helps the truck not squat is a weight distributing hitch.

My truck handles the load very well. It did need to use high rpm's to do mountain passes at highway speeds (I never do more than 65 mph when towing).

I'm looking forward to seeing how well my supercharger helps while towing this year!

I carry a gun because cops are too heavy...

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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-18-2017, 09:11 AM
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I pull at about 4000 Lbs and the truck does fine. Also have a Weight Distribution System. The biggest enemy is Aero Drag. While coming back from Branson MO, we faced some like 15 to 20 MPH headwind. At 65 MPH it had a similar effect of 80+ MPH air speed. MPGs dropped like a rock at about 5 MPG. Anyway, my camper is shaped like a block; the front is like an air brake.
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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-18-2017, 04:59 PM
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A poorly set up trailer makes a huge difference in max towing ability as well as a driver feeling comfortable. No vehicle will tow well if you don't take the time to set it up right. This truck is more than capable if you set it up right and are reasonable/rational when driving.
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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-18-2017, 06:01 PM
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towing 4700 lbs

This tritoon/ trailer combination weighs almost exactly 6,000#. No mods to driveline or suspension. Standard flat tow. Handled so well I had to slow down and set the cruise when I found myself doing 74mph. Minimax got just under 21 mpg on the last 25 miles of the trip at 65 mph.
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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 01:21 PM
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Ifmyour just pulling it across town a wdh is optional but if you are pulling 4k or higher any distance a wdh is almost a necessity. Will help the truck drive much more surefooted. I did pull my camper home (about 4250lbs empty) 35 miles or so it was an ok drive didn't really feel unsafe or any thing but i also didn't go over 55 or so. I have a equalizer wdh hitch now and it drives great now that its set up right. It takes some time to set up a wdh correctly. A bad set up is worse than none at all. Just some trial and error but you can get it pretty damn close with a tape measure

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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 01:32 PM
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... I have a equalizer wdh hitch now and it drives great now that its set up right. It takes some time to set up a wdh correctly. A bad set up is worse than none at all. Just some trial and error but you can get it pretty damn close with a tape measure
At the risk of getting shot, can you post a DIY on how to setup a WDH?

I know there are probably some good videos already on it, and each hitch is different, but the idea of getting close with a tape measure intrigues me. Recognize I have never towed with a WDH.

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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 01:42 PM
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My trailer is 5,539 #. On semi flat road I can tow at 70 mph and just cruise along. My RV dealer set up my WDH a Reese Pro. My truck squats about 2" in the rear and the truck and trailer are dead level. It' tows like a dream. Just wish I could have waited for the minimax. That is what I really wanted. Darn kids.

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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 01:50 PM
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When i get home. But the basic theory is to have the front end return atleast halh way back to its original height with no load, like you say every one is a little different as i heard gm like it to be back all the way to origial height or weight would be more accurate. Here is the basic idea. Measure you trucks wheel well rim height at the front wheel. We'll say 38 inches for example with no trailer attached but loaded to go. Next hook up trailer loaded to go WITHOUT weight distribution hooked up we'll say 41 inches for example. Now hook up weight distribution and the front end should be atleast half way back if not all the way so it should be between 38 and 39 1/2 inched high. A scale is the correct way and to get the front axle weight to be very close to the same weght with and without trailer hooked up. Tuere are different way to adjust different brand od wdh. The height of the bars and the pitch of the hitch itself. Note tnat too much on the front is more dangerous that not enough for jack knife reasons. Also the rear should squat some it must take some weight atleast a 1/2 to 3/4 drop is considered ok. My canyon was 34 3/4 without. 34 7/8 with now i went to get to a scale to confirm. Of course all of this is done on level ground.

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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 02:29 PM
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When i get home. But the basic theory is to have the front end return atleast halh way back to its original height with no load, like you say every one is a little different as i heard gm like it to be back all the way to origial height or weight would be more accurate. Here is the basic idea. Measure you trucks wheel well rim height at the front wheel. We'll say 38 inches for example with no trailer attached but loaded to go. Next hook up trailer loaded to go WITHOUT weight distribution hooked up we'll say 41 inches for example. Now hook up weight distribution and the front end should be atleast half way back if not all the way so it should be between 38 and 39 1/2 inched high. A scale is the correct way and to get the front axle weight to be very close to the same weght with and without trailer hooked up. Tuere are different way to adjust different brand od wdh. The height of the bars and the pitch of the hitch itself. Note tnat too much on the front is more dangerous that not enough for jack knife reasons. Also the rear should squat some it must take some weight atleast a 1/2 to 3/4 drop is considered ok. My canyon was 34 3/4 without. 34 7/8 with now i went to get to a scale to confirm. Of course all of this is done on level ground.
Good explanation, didn't even need a template or a lot of pictures. I understand totally what I would want to do.

Couldn't I just measure the gap from the bottom of the air dam to the ground with and without the trailer to achieve the same affect? (The air dam has to have some useful function. )

I will argue that a lot of WDH hookups I have seen have been pretty poorly setup based on your descriptions.

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post #11 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 04:10 PM
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Here is a shot of mine towing a 5900lb trailer with about a 600lb tongue weight. No wt. dist. hitch. Dropped the back only about 1.5" or so.


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post #12 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 08:48 PM
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Not the best angle of mine hooked up to trailer. I'll see if I can find a better one.






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post #13 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 08:51 PM
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Here is a better picture of mine hooked up.


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post #14 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 03:14 AM
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I just bought a 23' camper rig and and set about a road trip. Truck handles the weight pretty well, I have to drive it and pay attention. The transmission programming really is poor for towing I find. I can get it into 5th at 100kph around 2100rpm and any more than about 1/2 throttle, it downshifts. Not just to 4th, but usually to 3rd and whips the gerbils into a frenzy. I find the trans shifts far more often than necessary. It like the trans just doesn't believe the engine will make it over the next hill without visiting 6000 rpm at least twice. If there's​ an aftermarket, or some way of getting the trans to hold a gear manually, or at least until 3/4 throttle, please tell me!
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post #15 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 06:52 AM
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I just bought a 23' camper rig and and set about a road trip. Truck handles the weight pretty well, I have to drive it and pay attention. The transmission programming really is poor for towing I find. I can get it into 5th at 100kph around 2100rpm and any more than about 1/2 throttle, it downshifts. Not just to 4th, but usually to 3rd and whips the gerbils into a frenzy. I find the trans shifts far more often than necessary. It like the trans just doesn't believe the engine will make it over the next hill without visiting 6000 rpm at least twice. If there's​ an aftermarket, or some way of getting the trans to hold a gear manually, or at least until 3/4 throttle, please tell me!
Suggestions for you:

Use the tow /haul mode
Do not use cruise control as it excites the gerbils way too much. Feather the throttle instead especially in hilly terrain.
My highway cruise RPM's while towing a similar load as you is 2700 which would be normal for that amount of weight.
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post #16 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 03:03 PM
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I have found that tow haul mode is best used to get to highway speeds then be turned off. That's just me. I found that the truck would hunt for gears more and get much hotter than by leaving it off.


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post #17 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 05:34 AM
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I bought a new pontoon boat and picked it up on Friday. The boat weighs right at 5K with a 500 pound tongue. That's the tongue limit for the Canyon. Not liking to tow at max tongue weight, I added some rear airbags.

I will tell you that my Canyon did find with the tongue, before inflating the air bags. It probably dropped me about an inch. My truck is 4 wheel drive with a leveling kit, so any weight on the back will make it droop a little. If your truck is stock, you should have some rear lift and will probably be pretty close to level.

I like the air bags for stiffening it up a little and to get me back to level. Your truck will be fine. If you intend to tow that trailer on a more frequent basis, you might look at the air bags to give you some leeway when towing. These trucks also handle much better when you inflate the tires to their max while towing. It helps to keep the lighter weight trucks from moving around.

I agree with "impact".....I had mine in Tow/Haul mode and the truck was fine until I hit a grade. The darn thing would drop a couple of gears and start running at about 6000 rpm. I killed the cruise, let the rpm's drop so it would upshift. Just by feathering the throttle, I could maintain the same speed I had the cruise set at, but only running about 3500 rpm. I don't know why it wants to over rev like that.

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post #18 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 08:06 AM
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I agree with "impact".....I had mine in Tow/Haul mode and the truck was fine until I hit a grade. The darn thing would drop a couple of gears and start running at about 6000 rpm. I killed the cruise, let the rpm's drop so it would upshift. Just by feathering the throttle, I could maintain the same speed I had the cruise set at, but only running about 3500 rpm. I don't know why it wants to over rev like that.
I'm towing a 5500 Lb. (loaded) travel trailer - I found out as well about the severe downshift and learned to control it pretty much the same as you.

The first time the severe downshift happened I was questioning our choice of the Colorado but once we learned what to do and what not to do we have been fine. Towed the trailer last fall from So. Cal. through Wyoming, Utah and back without any issues - that includes towing through some fairly notable grades and mountain passes.
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post #19 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 08:44 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks all for the replies. We test loaded the trailer yesterday, moving various pieces of equipment around to get about 450-500 lbs on the tongue. Once we had it balanced the truck/trailer were almost perfectly level. The trailer tongue is about 1/2 inch lower than the axles with a 3 inch drop.
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post #20 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 10:39 AM
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DonS Where did you get the 500lb tongue weight limit from? The truck has a max tow of 7000lbs and at 10% tongue weight that would be 700 and my hitch is rated at 900lbs from the factory
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