Merrily We Tow Along
It's something we've all done at one time or another, whether we're flat-towing a 1,800-pound flatfender behind a motorhome or pulling a 12,000-pound travel trailer behind a heavy-duty pickup. Towing and trailering are near-universal experiences among those of us who like to spend our leisure time far off the beaten path, and since we hadn't covered the subject for awhile, we thought it was a good time to revisit it, with an eye on spotlighting some of the most novel new trailer and towing products on the market.
One of the coolest new tent trailers we've seen recently appears on this month's cover-courtesy of Mopar, with Jeep guys firmly in mind. With 32- to 35-inch tires and up to 15 inches of ground clearance, this is a trailer that's actually built for trails. And best of all, you can order one for yourself at your local Jeep dealer now. We're always delighted to see an OE performance division such as Mopar renewing its commitment to products that are aimed specifically at off-road enthusiasts who like to camp, and you can read our evaluation of the new trailer on page 46.
At the other end of the spectrum, we also had a chance to evaluate a new single-axle trailer from Carson, which we used to haul a Husqvarna side-by-side around the dry lakebeds of Johnson Valley at last spring's King of The Hammers race. We also came across a handy trailer-hitch kit that allows you to run either a fifth-wheel or gooseneck hitch using all underbed hardware, which gives you the flexibility to run either setup for towing while keeping your truck bed uncluttered and able to store additional gear. Already got a dedicated fifth-wheel? Not to worry-there's a cool conversion kit that allows you to keep your current hitch in place if you need the added articulation that a gooseneck provides, which can be a real boon when towing in the boonies.
No matter what setup you run, though, towing is no fun at all if you haven't got a truck that's up to the demands of the job. And when you're pulling heavy loads, you need big torque. The so-called manufacturer "torque wars" have generated a lot of controversy in recent years, with each successive diesel promising a few more lb-ft than the competition. And if you're looking to buy a new rig for towing and work, we've got a review of the latest OE torque champ, the 2011 GM Silverado/Sierra heavy-duty trucks sporting the 6.6L Duramax diesel that's now rated at 765 peak lb-ft of torque. And it cranks out 400 peak horsepower as well, and as such, one would think this block will be a tempting platform for diesel aftermarket in the coming year.
If you've already got a diesel rig, we've also got some buildup tips-and some smart new products-to help you turn an ordinary oil-burner into a much more capable tow motor. The engine we're showcasing, the Ford 6.0L Power Stroke, can certainly benefit from a variety of upgrades, but much of the information we're passing along will be applicable to owners of other diesels as well.
Also this month, we actually found something to write about that's older than we are-and it's certainly timely, given our cover theme this month. Long before heavy-duty pickup trucks or SUVs with three rows of seats were commercially available to consumers who needed a vehicle with serious cargo-carrying and towing ability, there was the GM Carryall Suburban, which celebrates its 75th birthday this year. We scoured the archives for photos and specs, and we compiled what we found in a thumbnail history of the legendary Sub, starting on page 38. -Douglas McColloch