I know that "Bearing Buddies" are convenient, but the old grease has to go somewhere when the new grease is squirted in, and that means the old stuff goes past the inner bearing seals. Not good. Be diligent and lube the bearings correctly. If there's water in the hub cavity, the seals are toast. They are designed to keep water and other debris out. If you are operating a boat trailer, use grease designed for occasional submerged use. Your bearings will thank you.
Good article and a lot of good comments. I'm not going to get into any discussions about crossing tiedowns or anything like that I'm just going to add my comments on a subject that is not taken as seriously as it probably should be. I am an over the road Class A CDL truck driver and I see a lot out there on the road. So the first thing is a heads up. There is a picture in the article of a Chevy 3500 dualie towing a large RV. So to all you 1 ton dualie truck owners be careful with the tow weight of your trailer. 1 ton dualies normally have a GVWR of over 10,000 lbs. Most are around 12K. While that doesn't necessarily require you to have a class A or B license if you end up towing more than 10,000 lbs you would be required to have a Class A license. Most of the time you're going to get away with it but it only takes one cop or DOT inspector to create a messy situation for you. The other thing that I want to add is STFD (slow the f--k down) when towing. I see people all the time in the number 1 lane doing 80 mph or more because the truck they're driving can tow that fast and they think they're good enough drivers to deal with it. Towing changes the dynamics of your vehicle and allowing for extra space and distance is paramount to safely towing. On most interstates you're not allowed to be traveling in the number 1 lane (except to pass) in the first place. So take it easy, slow down and hang with the big rigs, well make room for you and we'll all arrive safely at our destinations. Stay safe
The 3500lbs rule isn’t universal.
I can tow a 7,000 lbs trailer and rock-krawler with little sag and no control issues. Because my truck has a 3,000 lbs payload, long wheel base, and was engineered for that kind of weight.
The wife’s SUV is rated to tow 7,200 lbs, but hooking that same trailer up to her rig would be a nightmare. Not even equalizers and sway control will make that safe.
Great piece! Thank you. Interesting that my father-in-law must have taught me all of this without my even noticing... I can’t think of how I would have known this stuff and used it otherwise, because my trailer-towing days pre-date the modern internet by some years (Montreal to Tucson, AZ, pulling a double-axle UHaul in 1989, to start). Here’s to you in the great beyond, Tom.
To go to the source, the guidance for safety chains and load securement comes from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Safety Chains are found in CFR 393.371 and load securement in CFR 393.128. Basically with a trailer you are required to have two properly rated and crossed safety chains with properly rated hardware and latching hooks. Crossing the safety chains is to prevent the tongue or towing device from falling to the ground and control the trailer if something happens. If you don't cross the chains and the trailer gets loose it will take you for the ride of your life, try it pass you or take off into the oncoming traffic lane.
Load securement, CFR 393.128, for vehicles under 10,000 pounds Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) requires a four point tie down system between the vehicle and the trailer that prevents movement side to side, vertically and most importantly, motion front to rear. As to the "big X " tie down securement method, over the years and after a lot of research on the subject I could find no where in the the FMCSA regs, state regulations, towing and transport info, SAE, towing equipment manufacturers and training organizations where this method of securement is reccomended, its just not there. In a hard stop or starting and stopping in traffic, most of the resistance or load force is going to be moving front to rear and the straps will be stretching out at an angle to the force as well as affecting their strength, as well as as well as extending the strap which may loosen up.
It has been pointed out that the CFR's are only for commercial drivers. Not quite true as all states are required to adapt the FMCSA rules and in doing so there is probably a non-commercial regulation that would also apply to your combination being an "unsafe load or vehicle".
Polyester straps can stretch 10 to 15 per cent under load which is why stopping after a few miles and during a trip to check the load is always a good idea.
As to the comment on towing speed, most rigs can tow at 70-80 mph but will have no chance of stopping if something happens, what are you chances of being able to safely steer, stop and control your vehicle in an emergency situation?
Remember that gravity is not a retention device and when you are loading up always ask yourself, Self, is this the safest way to be doing this?