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Trailer & Towing Buyer's Guide

Posted in How To: Body Chassis on July 1, 2007
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Folding Camper

What: A traveling bedroom/living area, created in about 20 seconds
Why: There are 15 floorplans available; the company recommends the Expedition Package for off-pavement travel-you'll get a massive cargo area, among the perks. The Aliner features aluminum-composite materials, so it's both lightweight and strong.
Wallet: The base Aliner is $9,550
Where: Aliner, 724/423-7440,

Lifted-Truck Airbag Adapters

What: These Lift-Rite airbag adapters allow you to use airbag helper springs on a lifted vehicle.
Why: The adapters fit both Firestone and Air Lift airbags, and are available in 2, 4, and 6 inches.
Wallet: Almost $50
Where: EZ-Ride Concepts, 559/592-6462,

Receiver Hitch

What: The Tow & Stow hitch has a Class IV rating for 10,000 pounds of gross vehicle weight and 1,000 pounds of vertical towing weight.
Why: It's adjustable (1-inch increments), has various ball sizes, you can pull the two stainless steel pins and get the hitch out of sight, and there's a single locking point for ease and speed of setup.
Wallet: Starts at $172
Where: B&W Trailer Hitches, 800/248-6564,

Ball Mount

What: Its birth name: Adjustable Height Zero-Tilt Ball Mount with One Tool Torque.
Why: The OTT technology makes leveling the trailer way easier if you're wearing gloves (or have frozen fingers). It installs just like a regular ball mount but has an adjustable column in order to raise or lower the position of the hitch ball for any trailer height, without special tools.
Wallet: Figure $125
Where: Master Lock,

Front-Mounted Hitch Receiver

What: The receiver bolts to the frame without any welding, and has steel-tube construction. It's a custom fit for many applications, and some will not require any drilling for installation.
Wallet: Varies
Where: Draw-Tite, 866/308-9054,

Air Helper Springs

What: The Ride-Rite system for '01-'08 Chevy/GMC 2500 and 3500 HD pickups with fifth-wheel or gooseneck hitches.
Why: It's said to improve handling while towing, as the springs aid in leveling and load carrying. They mount in between the frame and the axle; factory holes are used.
Wallet: Around $350
Where: Firestone Industrial Products, 800/888-0650,

Hitch Up Mirror

What: The mirror will let you keep an eye on the ball and coupler as you hitch up a trailer. It's 12 inches in diameter and mounts on a 3-foot section of flex tube.
Why: Its height is adjustable, meaning it can work with even a 1-ton dualie. Models exist for every trailer type, and there's a tote bag for storage.
Wallet: About $70
Where: Hitch Up Mirrors, 866/327-9843,

Digital Tongue-Weight Towbar

What: The SenZBar is a Class IV towbar that also measures tongue weight.
Why: That's important when determining if
your trailer is properly loaded for the tow-rig's capability.
Wallet: Right around $150
Where: SenZBar, 410/336-1351,

Protective Mudflaps

What: RoadWing has an "antisail" design to help keep mudflaps down, and double-bolt attachment points hold everything in place.
Why: How else are you going to deflect rocks, gravel, and road debris away from the trailer or the vehicle you're towing? The flaps slip over the ball mount or towbar stinger, and can be trimmed to fit pretty much anything. Available sizes range from 69 to 102 inches.
Wallet: Less than $250
Where: Roadmaster, 800/669-9690,

Universal Towing Mirror

What: It will fit any existing mirror. Standard flat or wide angle are the glass options.
Why: You won't need tools for installation.
Wallet: About $30
Where: VisionView Mirror Products, 888/776-6758,

Weight-Distributing Hitch

What: SwayPro, designed to eliminate trailer sway from heavy loads, high winds, or rough roads. Four tongue weights are available:550, 750, 1,000, and 1,500 pounds.
Why: It has a Class IV rating.
Wallet: Starts at $625
Where: Blue Ox, 402/385-3051,

Class V Receiver Hitch

What: The heavy-duty Power Pull Xtreme unit is rated for 12,000 pounds weight-carrying and 15,000 pounds weight-distributing capacity. It has all-steel construction and a 2 1/2-inch receiver opening.
Why: It's available for 3/4- and 1-ton pickups.
Wallet: About $400
Where: Valley Ind., 800/344-3112,

Wireless Tow Lights

What: Plug the transmitter into the four-way flat plug and attach the lights to magnetic mounts or mounting straps, and you're set with turn signals, brakelights, flashers, and so on.
Why: You don't need any tools to hook up this system.
Wallet: Around $150
Where: Wireless Tow Lights, 800/687-4940,


What: The Ultra Pack has four padded axle straps and four ratchet straps (2-inch beefy webbing) for towing a vehicle or equipment. Pick 6- or 8-foot lengths, and choose from a bunch of colors.
Why: There's even a free duffle bag thrown in for hauling the straps.
Wallet: MSRP is $149.99
Where: Mac's Custom Tie Downs, 800/666-1586,

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