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  #1  
Old 02-01-2012, 02:21 AM
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Default Towing with ball on bumper

Hey all, I'm a total noob to towing and will be (depending on UHaul allowing a bumper hitch...) helping a friend move this week, 4.5 hour drive each way with the trailer (empty there, loaded back).

I've got a 2010 Ram 1500 Crew Cab Sport 5.7L fully loaded (except the hitch receiver... DOH ). The trailer in question is this one: http://www.uhaul.com/Reservations/Eq....aspx?model=RV

The trailer only weighs 1920lbs empty, and the load will definitely not be more than 1000lbs, so we figured the 5000/500 bumper hitch would do the job fine. The only other restriction I could find is the ball height, and according to my uneducated measurements, the height to my bumper is almost exactly 25" from the ground, which is within spec for that trailer. Since we checked that out, I've done some research and it seems a lot of people aren't a huge fan of bumper towing and in fact many say UHaul won't even rent you a trailer unless you have a proper receiver hitch.

I'm hoping someone with some related experience can chime in and ease my nerves a bit (or if necessary tell me straight up it's a no go). All along I've been thinking what the manufacturer says goes, and if 5000/500 is stamped on my truck, provided I load the trailer right, I'm good to go. All of the naysayers have me worried, however.

Thanks in advance for any input, it's much appreciated!

Last edited by jimbodean; 02-01-2012 at 02:25 AM.
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Old 02-01-2012, 10:48 AM
TNC TNC is offline
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Looks like all your components are within or well below the specs required, so I wouldn't see a problem. You probably won't have any sag issues if you load the trailer properly. I've never used a hydraulic surge brake system, but it's probably fully adequate for this application.
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Old 02-01-2012, 01:44 PM
IH Scout Driver IH Scout Driver is offline
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I've bumper pulled heavy loads and had fairly good success if the trailer is properly loaded. While I prefer to have it going to a frame mounted hitch, there are times where the bumper is more than adequate.

Some of the u-haul folks aren't the sharpest tools in the shed, but will usually not give too much hassle if you know your vehicles capabilities to the T. Don't ask them if it's sufficient, tell them that it is and have the paperwork in the truck to back it up. Make them prove that it isn't. If you ask them to inspect for adequacy, then they'll try to sell you a frame hitch and all the fixin's.

As for the hydraulic surge brakes, they are very nice when working properly. If you are on flat ground, you'll never know that they are there unless you go into a panic stop. On downhills coasting, you may feel them surge and start slowing you down slightly; this is normal. They typically won't drag and I believe the u-hauls have a reverse solenoid on them to prevent them from locking up while you back up (I don't remember off the top of my head though).

Also, make sure you have the 2" ball with a full sized shank in the bumper (ie if you have a 3/4" hole, use a 3/4" shank). The 1-7/8" ball gets a little sloppy in these trailers since they are oversized to permit dual sizing.

Allow adequate time for stopping and you'll be fine. I personally tend to keep at least an extra car length between myself and the guy in front.

Good luck with the move.
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Old 02-01-2012, 02:29 PM
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Awesome, thanks guys, repped you both.

I guess the only other concern I had was weighting the trailer while on the way there, since it will be empty. I was trying to determine the best way to ensure that there's about 190lbs on the tongue and I guess just throwing some sandbags in there would be the way and measuring after, but is that worthwhile with a tandem axle trailer or are they pretty solid when empty?

Thanks again.
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Old 02-01-2012, 02:45 PM
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Tandem axle trailers are pretty solid when empty. The last u-haul I towed was their car hauler and it was fine behind my F250 at highway speeds.

Usually you won't get any sway unless there is a low tire or bad bearing; so you may want to check the pressures before you head out. Hard to really check the bearings without disassembly. A quick check is to feel them for temperature after a few miles at highway speed (should be warm, not hot).

Personally, I wouldn't worry about throwing sand bags or other weight into the trailer. it should pull pretty well while empty.
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Old 02-03-2012, 02:12 PM
Cheatham Cheatham is offline
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I just pulled a fully packed u-haul tandem axle and i didnt get enuff weight in the front of the trailer and it did whip over 65mph, i was pulling with a Ram Express if it were a long bed truck or longer wheelbase it would have been a bit easier as far as sway control, the surge brakes do work well as they saved me a couple of times coming down a mountain in denver if heavy fog and lots of traffic and not paying attention to my speed i began tail whipping bad i jabbed the brakes shortly and the brake surge straightened and slowed me down whew, the only way to save a whipping trailer is to decelerate up a hill or accelerate and hope to drive it to a hill or up a freeway it is scary no matter what your driving.
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Old 02-04-2012, 02:58 PM
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Thanks for all the input guys. I actually ended up picking up an OEM hitch receiver for my truck (full replacement, not just the bolt on receiver) and installing it the night before the tow. I decided I didn't want to risk messing up my bumper with hooking/unhooking being so close to the bumper.

In spite of sections of the highway which were in serious disrepair, it towed like a dream. No swaying/whipping at all, and jolting was negligible. Loved it!
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Old 02-04-2012, 03:10 PM
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I am glad to hear that you didn't have any real problems

Some people seem to forget about the JOLTING, what seems like a light jolt, could easily bend our light weight bumpers, likely it would not break or crack the bumper, but i wouldn't want a bulge in my bumper, easier to just buy a hitch & receiver, cheaper too
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Old 02-09-2012, 10:42 AM
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If you look under your truck you will see that the hole for the bumper hitch goes through a frame tube. This tube and same hole are where Class III hitches mount. The chrome bumper cover may be flimsy, but the hitch mount is not. BTW, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the small receiver hitch vs the large receiver hitch. The small one is class III which covers anything a 1500 is rated to tow. The bigger one is class IV and provides little to no advantage over the class III unless you exceed the tow rating of your truck.
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Old 02-09-2012, 04:30 PM
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Speaking of bumper hitches, I don't want to start a new topic. My previous owner had one, then later put on put a receiver. They left a bolt sticking down through the bumper. Do they sell a plug that I can put in where the plastic was punched out for a ball?
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