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Author Topic: Suspension and Hitch for towing >50/50  (Read 8193 times)

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K-9 kennellanche

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Suspension and Hitch for towing >50/50
« on: July 5, 2011, 10:01:30 AM »

 :help:

What is the consensus on any combination of weight distribution hitch, front lift, airbags, and or helper springs?

'03 2500 Has a compressor and 4gal pancake air tank,..

Needs suspension upgrades and hitch upgrades for towing a 10k lbs. toy hauler coast to coast on i-10 this november for baja1000 touring..  will post pics as the work gets done  in exchange for some good info, thanks,,the rear leaf springs are stock on blocks at the moment, SMH...i need contacts, names, and part numbers please,
« Last Edit: October 16, 2011, 07:08:30 AM by K-9 kennellanche »
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Wazbro

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Re: Suspension and Hitch for towing >50/50
« Reply #1 on: July 5, 2011, 15:44:46 PM »

Well first I would say go with airbags not helper spring to keep a better ride while not towing.
Reese and Drawtite are both descent weight distribution hitches if you can spend a bit more Hensley and ProPride are better. Hensley and ProPride were both designed by the same person, the ProPride is the newer design and less expensive of the two.
Here is a link for ProPride.
http://www.propridehitch.com/products/ProPride-3P-Trailer-Sway-Control-Hitch-.html
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K-9 kennellanche

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Re: Suspension and Hitch for towing >50/50
« Reply #2 on: July 6, 2011, 06:17:29 AM »

thanks for the advice!  keep it coming

 what airbag is recommended?
« Last Edit: July 6, 2011, 07:35:04 AM by K-9 kennellanche »
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Wazbro

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Re: Suspension and Hitch for towing >50/50
« Reply #3 on: July 6, 2011, 14:43:47 PM »

This thread talks about the Firestone air bags.
http://chevyavalanchefanclub.com/cafcna/index.php/topic,116505.0.html
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K-9 kennellanche

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Re: Suspension and Hitch for towing >50/50
« Reply #4 on: July 7, 2011, 06:55:47 AM »

should i remove the leaf springs or use the helper air bags?
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jimbo53188

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Re: Suspension and Hitch for towing >50/50
« Reply #5 on: July 7, 2011, 07:45:01 AM »

the airbags are "supplemental" to the stock suspension, you only need to add enough air to level things.
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Re: Suspension and Hitch for towing >50/50
« Reply #6 on: July 7, 2011, 08:35:56 AM »

I had a Hensley on my first trailer.  It was good (and expensive), but I always had a hell of a time putting it on even with a backup camera and a second person watching   :beating:   :E:
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K-9 kennellanche

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Re: Suspension and Hitch for towing >50/50
« Reply #7 on: July 7, 2011, 23:21:42 PM »

i need to order a backup cam too..  mine fizzled again..such a long list of mods to install.. ugh, i need a gtg
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mountainstoner

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Re: Suspension and Hitch for towing >50/50
« Reply #8 on: July 8, 2011, 14:47:48 PM »

thanks for the advice!  keep it coming

 what airbag is recommended?

I have the Firestone airbags and onboard compressor/gauge.  Is a very worthy addition if you tow anything with much tongue weight; just hit the switch and level it out.  The previous owner installed them, but I understand they are pretty easy to install.

I also just received the Curt class V hitch I ordered last week.  It's rated at 1500lbs tongue weight and 15K lbs towing.  I tow a boat so I don't use a weight-distribution system.  If you want the highest capacity weight-carrying hitch, the Curt is your answer (though in your situation I probably would go with weight-distributing hitch rather than a weight-carrying hitch).
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K-9 kennellanche

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Re: Suspension and Hitch for towing >50/50
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2011, 11:04:32 AM »

i will search around for a video to watch about this stuff,  i am such a noob
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cookeze

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Re: Suspension and Hitch for towing >50/50
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2011, 16:49:18 PM »

I choose the Draw-tite hitches because the span the weak area of the frame.  There have been repots of bending in this area.  The Curt hitch is strong, the frame isn't.

http://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Hitch/Chevrolet/Suburban/2005/45013.html?vehicleid=20055851

http://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Hitch/Chevrolet/Suburban/2005/41930.html?vehicleid=20055532
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avalonandl

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Re: Suspension and Hitch for towing >50/50
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2011, 01:48:50 AM »

K9- i strongly suggest the firestone air bags. The install is not that bad- I have a thread somewhere WAY back. The ride improvement was immense- keep your leaf springs. you will need about 50 psi in the bags when towing that weight. Get a Prodigy or other smart brake controller- i assume you have electric brakes on the TT.

Ask any other questions you need to.

Avalon

http://chevyavalanchefanclub.com/cafcna/index.php/topic,87548.0.html
« Last Edit: July 21, 2011, 06:26:31 AM by avalonandl »
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K-9 kennellanche

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Re: Suspension and Hitch for towing >50/50
« Reply #12 on: October 7, 2011, 08:12:32 AM »

thaNKs for the advice..  i got the air bags..brake controller, and a hitch.. and now i need to find a front lift kit to match the height of these bags...    cognito, rough country , superlift..  there are so many choices..  which is the best front lift kit,4-6"?
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avalonandl

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Re: Suspension and Hitch for towing >50/50
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2011, 08:52:53 AM »

Stay 4 inch or under. Really what you should look at first is changing front torsion keys.

Avalon
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04Ron

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Re: Suspension and Hitch for towing >50/50
« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2011, 04:07:45 AM »

Following the advice of some of the good folks on this forum I installed the Firestone air bags on my '04 2500 and couldn't be more pleased with them.  I don't understand why you would want to lift the front BECAUSE you have bags in the rear.  I adjust the air in the bags to bring the rear up to its normal height when I'm towing with a heavy tongue weight. 

I've been towing a 23' travel trailer with this Ava for at least 75K of its 101K miles.  I love everything about this truck except the design of its hitch and the strength of rear end of the frame.  Factory hitch: failed, cracks in welds.  Putnam hitch: receiver pin hole wallowed out and the combination of its strength plus its short mounting foot (like the OEM hitch) caused the frame to crack in several places.  Draw-Tite Tow Beast: have towed with it for about 25K miles and so far no problems.  Prior to installing it I had frame reinforced and cracks welded.  Also beefed up the attachment of the hitch to the frame in such a way that it is solidly bolted through both lips of the C-channel rather than just the lower lip.  So far no more frame problems.

I conclude that the original design of the truck will not support long-term towing at anything close to its rated weight specifications.  I'm just very blessed to have found these various problems before I "lost" my trailer while underway.  The moral of the story is check the frame and the hitch frequently for problems if you are towing a heavy trailer.    With 20/20 hindsight if I were planning to do a lot of heavy towing with this truck I'd discard the OEM hitch and install a Tow Beast but beef up the attachment points to avoid ever causing frame damage.
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K-9 kennellanche

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Re: Suspension and Hitch for towing >50/50
« Reply #15 on: October 16, 2011, 06:13:06 AM »

thanks for your replies, my frame is bent back there .. tow beast is now on the list!!

i have turned the bolts and level keys...and 2"blocks on the back springs...
but, that has to go back to stock to fit a lift kit...

 :Dthe reason is 20"wheels. :E:..10ply 35" tires in the front wheel well the air bags will have a 2" lift at minimum inflation,,i want a little more level

so what type of front lift is best for the 2500avalanche ..  any suggestions on a front lift kit?
« Last Edit: October 16, 2011, 06:37:10 AM by K-9 kennellanche »
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K-9 kennellanche

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Re: Suspension and Hitch for towing >50/50
« Reply #16 on: November 5, 2011, 11:08:16 AM »

ok ,  so i guess you are right.  i should just tow with the skinny aluminum factory rims and tires...just lift the back.   

so just go with the bags?? ok it rides the same height as the toy hauler..
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MS03 2500

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Re: Suspension and Hitch for towing >50/50
« Reply #17 on: November 5, 2011, 11:19:48 AM »

Well Cognito Motor Sports makes a excellent front end levelling kit.

Sorry you dont lift a tow monster, that's a really not idea. Level it.
« Last Edit: November 5, 2011, 11:38:30 AM by MS03 2500 »
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K-9 kennellanche

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Re: Suspension and Hitch for towing >50/50
« Reply #18 on: November 18, 2011, 06:38:41 AM »

well,  if the airbags in the back then i can slam it back there and just cruise down the highway with the trailer level and the front end way up in the air!  then i can unhitch and put air in the bags and go off road
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K-9 kennellanche

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Re: Suspension and Hitch for towing >50/50
« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2012, 10:56:40 AM »

how can a front end lift affect the towing?  i dont care what it looks like as long as it is safe. 

seriously, i'm still considering the cognito lift for the front end..,  as long as the rear is level and the trailer is level will towing be ok?...  does the front end lifted a few inches change the displacement?

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MS03 2500

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Re: Suspension and Hitch for towing >50/50
« Reply #20 on: January 27, 2012, 11:28:03 AM »

Leveling the AV is fine, I will be doing the cognito control arm myself shortly.
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avalonandl

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Re: Suspension and Hitch for towing >50/50
« Reply #21 on: January 29, 2012, 12:18:47 PM »

how can a front end lift affect the towing?  i dont care what it looks like as long as it is safe. 

seriously, i'm still considering the cognito lift for the front end..,  as long as the rear is level and the trailer is level will towing be ok?...  does the front end lifted a few inches change the displacement?



Towing with a 4 inch or more body lift is not the best idea. It puts more strain on the hitch, higher center of gravity, and most likely a drop hitch attachment. All less then desireable, and when combined makes towing less safe. Can you do it? yes, is it the best way to tow, no.

Avalonj
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KenAirstream

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Re: Suspension and Hitch for towing >50/50
« Reply #22 on: July 3, 2019, 10:03:58 AM »

Ron 04,
I have a 2003 AV 2500, 140k miles, and tow a 30 ft airstream weighing 8300# with a Putnam hitch. Recently discovered cracked frame a few inches in front of hitch bolts, with big hole cracked.  You can see light through some cracks with a flashlight.
My son in law has a 2004, and tows an airstream wt about 9600 #.
After finding my frame cracked both sides, we had his inspected, and same problem.
Can you tell me who repaired and strengthed your AV, the method used, and the cost.
It has caused both of us to ground our AV from towing.
I have been told to do a frame swap, but it is out of the question due to cost.
Both our AV's are in great shape, and it is a bitter pill for me.  I bought the truck new.
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MS03 2500

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Re: Suspension and Hitch for towing >50/50
« Reply #23 on: July 4, 2019, 10:19:00 AM »

Ron 04,
I have a 2003 AV 2500, 140k miles, and tow a 30 ft airstream weighing 8300# with a Putnam hitch. Recently discovered cracked frame a few inches in front of hitch bolts, with big hole cracked.  You can see light through some cracks with a flashlight.
My son in law has a 2004, and tows an airstream wt about 9600 #.
After finding my frame cracked both sides, we had his inspected, and same problem.
Can you tell me who repaired and strengthed your AV, the method used, and the cost.
It has caused both of us to ground our AV from towing.
I have been told to do a frame swap, but it is out of the question due to cost.
Both our AV's are in great shape, and it is a bitter pill for me.  I bought the truck new.

I'm not sure if 04Ron is still around since the last time they logged on was 2015, but maybe I can help you.

GM makes a frame extension that you have to weld in to replace the cracked part.
The extensions cost 675 dollars per side or you could try to find a 2500 AV in a salvage yard and cut the rear frame off.

The estimate of cost is around 3,000 for a frame shop dissemble, weld the new extension and reassembly..




I highly recommend you swap out the stock hitch for one that has a longer reach and more mounting points to the frame








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Re: Suspension and Hitch for towing >50/50
« Reply #24 on: July 4, 2019, 10:48:18 AM »

I tow with a 6" lift with no problems but I've never maxed it out maybe 9,000 lbs.

Because of the height difference from front to rear, when I lifted it the rear at the hitch only came up 2-1/2 inches with 4 inch blocks under the springs because as the front came up (9 inches measured at the fender lip) leveling it, the rear bumper past the axel came down. I set it so the AV sits level, I hated the nose down stance it came with..


I put on the Firestone air bags but only keep the minimum air in them unless I towing something with a heavy tongue weight, have heavy load in the bed or both..


Looks awesome and works for me...



Oh, and I'm running the Reese 45013 like Bryan shows above.. Great hitch defiantly worth getting and very easy to install..
« Last Edit: July 4, 2019, 11:03:13 AM by Randy »
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