Power Wagon Towing - real life experience

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62Blazer

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Since I constantly see posts asking how a Power Wagon tows here are some real-world experiences if people are searching for information about it.
2016 Power Wagon, 1.5" Thuren front springs w/ Fox 2.0 shocks, 1" rear coil spacers and stock shocks, Airlifter 5000 air bags, 37x13.50R17 Ridge Grapplers on 17x9 wheels. So yes, a lifted PW on 37's....... Previous truck for comparison was a Chevy 2500HD crew cab shortbed with the gas 6.0L, auto, 4.10 rear axle, stock suspension with slightly larger tires (33's, basically the same size as stock PW).

Trailer 1 - small 6x12 single axle pulling a SxS so total weight is maybe 3,000 lbs. Obviously not an issue in general. Was surprised the first time on the freeway at 70+mph you could feel just a tiny bit of sway. Looked out the mirror and could see some minor trailer sway...nothing major, but you could feel it in the truck. Pulled the SxS as far forward as possible (maybe another 8") and it was fine and never noticed this with the Chevy even with less tongue weight. Again, not big deal but just the fact it was noticed. I've pulled this load for thousands of miles on the freeway.

Trailer 2 - 28' enclosed trailer, 9,900 lb. GVW and is around 4,500 lb. empty. Fully loaded would estimate around 7,000 lb. with 1,000 lb. tongue load (have a hitch with scales on it). 30 lbs. in the air bags and rear tires at 45 PSI (when empty run 38 PSI) it tows perfect. 65-70 mph on the freeway, even with 20 mph gust crosswinds, were cruise control and one hand on the steering wheel. With no air in the bags it has a decent amount of squat, but not too much squat. With 30 lbs. in the bags the rear suspension feels really planted and solid with no bouncing on expansion joints, but doesn't feel harsh. Did not have WD hooked up.

red trailer 1.jpg

Trailer 3 - 26' enclosed trailer, 7,000 lb. GVW and around 4,000 lb. empty. Probably only 6,000 lb. but improperly loaded with too much tongue weight. Hitch scales said 1,300 lbs. Caused excessive squat. While I didn't notice it, there were witness marks where the rear bump stops had just touched the axle pads. Keep in mind I have 1" spacers so the bump stops are 1" further away from the pads versus stock. I would not drive this down the freeway as-is but the 2 mile trip was fine. Don't have a built-in air compressor for the bags so they were not inflated at all. This picture makes is look worse than it really was because of the angle, but it was too much squat.
trailer 3.jpg

Overall on tongue weight:
The PW can handle around 800 lbs. on stock springs with what I would consider normal and reasonable squat.
1,000 lbs. of tongue weight is "okay" and not excessive squat, but the PW really could use a little assistance. 30 PSI in air bags (rated up to 100 PSI) was good.
1,300 lbs. of tongue weight is just too much for the factory suspension. While it didn't feel bad or anything towing a short distance and slower speeds, and would probably be fine on the freeway, it's really too much. You should have either air bags and/or WD hitch
 

JerryETX

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Thanks for the info. Always interesting to hear towing feedback from others.

Sorry this doesn’t have anything to do with a PW but I pull a 38’ travel trailer at 10,530 (Cat scales) with my 2016 2500 6.4 Hemi 3:73’s 6 speed trans. It does fine on flat highway at 65 mph. Struggles on hills and into a strong headwind. I wouldn’t want to pull any more than this with my truck.
 

ANGLICO

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Excellent info. Thank you for posting.

I have not towed anything bigger than rental equipment for 20 years, however, it looks like that is changing in my life. Appreciate this post.
 

18CrewDually

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From everything read about towing with a Powewagon, airbags are the biggest improvement along with adding the Hellwig swaybar kit.
Due to the suspension having the rear coil springs inboard of the chassis in comparison to the 3500 leafspring trucks, plus the soft rear coil springs towing any real weight makes it squirrel.
To me, airbag kit that mounts to the frame is a huge improvement. And if you're worried about "flex" and ripping a bag, I've seen lower cups or Daystar cradles that capture the bag instead of being hard mounted. This allows the axle to droop without pulling on the bag.

Firestone-Ride-Rite-2014_-Ram-2500-Dodge-Rear-Air-Bag-Kit_900x.jpg
 
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62Blazer

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Add a little further information on how it towed power-wise. Again, stock 4.10 gears and 37x13.50 tires. Used tow/haul mode so it locked out 6th gear. Fairly flat highway and at lower elevation in the midwest. Stiff cross-wind that does make it pull harder, especially on a trailer with that much cross-section. On paper, a 15 mph cross-wind has about the same drag as a 7.5 mph headwind. Probably 80% of the time it stayed in 5th gear at 65 mph, occasionally dropping down to 4th gear for short periods of times. Fuel mileage was around 8 MPG. Was in a group with 2 other trucks. One was an 2018 Ram 2500 6.4 truck all stock pulling a slightly larger (longer) and slightly heavier trailer. I didn't exactly calculate his MPG but it was just slightly better (both basically filled up prior to leaving on the trip, drove the exact same route back to back, and filled up at the exact same time). Mine took around 27 gallons, and believe his needed around 25+ gallons.
 

joesstripclub

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I am in the process of moving from Denver back to KC so I towed my camper home this weekend. I ran 70 to 72 mph on the highway. Toy hauler is about 9000 lbs dry with my CanAm in the back. Had a N to NE wind while traveling east so combo of headwind and cross wind. Truck would stay in 6th on the flat sections with Tow/Haul on and shift down to 5th for most hills, 4th a couple times on really steep sections. Got a whopping 6 mpg. Cross wind caused a bit of sway at times but WDH mostly kept it under control. Leaving the truck out of Tow/haul (forgot after getting gas one time) would let it run in 7th on some flat runs once the wind died down. Fuel mileage sucked but otherwise the truck towed great for my first long highway trip.
 

Ramv

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I’ve always had good
Luck with mine. Recently upgraded to 5.13s and Helwig sway bar. I have had the airbags and Daystars for six years. I haul a side by side on a deck and tow a 5 klb travel trailer with 1k Lb tongue weight with just a WC drawbar
 

bcbouy

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i live in B.C. 4 mountain ranges cross the province.absolutely no problems towing my travel trailer with a full bed and 2 electric fishing kayaks and ll the gear for them .all i have is a wdh.hauls my side by side trailer like it's not there.all i have to complain about is the gas mileage but i knew it would be bad goin in.
 
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62Blazer

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Pulled a 32' enclosed trailer the other weekend. Not sure the total weight but was told around 9k loaded. Even empty it felt noticeably heavier than the other trailers pictured above. Tongue weight showed 1,700 lbs. when loaded. Really glad I had the airbags otherwise it would have been on the bump stops. Pumped up the airbags from 30 to 40 psi. Only ran some smaller 2 lane roads and only up to 55 mph for a few short periods, but felt decent. Did not have WDH as I don't have the correct drop shank for the setup on this trailer. For this trips it was fine but would want WDH for the highway. A co-worker usually pulls that trailer with a stock 4th gen 2500HD 6.4L truck. With no WDH on that truck it sits okay. Obviously squats the back down some and the front is a little higher, but doesn't look horrible.
And just before somebody makes the comment about having too much tongue weight for the total weight. That trailer showed almost 1,000 lbs. tongue weight basically empty. It's a "standard, off the shelf" 32' tandem axle 10k rated trailer. It has a normal size toolbox on the tongue, and inside about a 3' wide shelf along the front wall with the spare tire and maybe a 100 lbs. of gear, so nothing abnormal. Really no way to change the loading to reduce the tongue weight. It's completely full in regards to floor space, with the heaviest equipment loaded right over the trailer axles.
 
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