I’m using a 2020 Chevy Silverado 2500HD Custom to tow. My problem is after going over any type of dip in the road the truck bounces. Do I need new shocks? Heavier-duty ones? I’m at a loss. —Dan, 2019 Cougar 5th wheel 1/2 towable
Before you start swapping out suspension parts you need to find out what weights you have. The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) is the maximum weight your 5th wheel can weigh with all cargo, water, and LP. The Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) is the maximum weight that can be on each axle of your tow vehicle. Since your 5th wheel has dual axles directly in line they don’t necessarily factor in GAWR, but rather GVWR. Both weights are important; however, it is typical to find the GAWR of the rear axle of the tow vehicle to be overloaded.
Typically there is a very large, heavy bedroom filled with clothes and blankets and there’s a huge compartment underneath that we think can be filled to the brim. Then, the portable generator, grill, and other items get put in the back of the truck.
Get the unit weighed
Take your unit to a CAT Scale at a Flying J or Pilot Truck Stop and place the front wheels of the truck on the first pad, the back wheels on the second pad, and the trailer wheels on the third. This will give you the exact weights of the trailer and what is on the rear axle of the truck.
Having worked with the Recreation Vehicle Safety & Education Foundation for several years, it has been recommended that you do not run down the road at maximum weights, but rather take off 10%. You should be able to find the weight ratings for your truck on the data sticker inside the driver’s door.
If your rig is over the GAWR for the rear, or at maximum weight, you will need to remove or shift some of the weight to stay under recommendations.
Next, inspect the springs
If you are within the weight rating recommendations, I would then inspect the springs, shocks, and suspension to make sure they are in good condition and nothing is loose. Most Chevy 2500s that I have driven have soft rear springs to provide a better drive rather than load hauling. We have installed air bags to not only reduce some of the spring, but also lift the back end, as it was not level after hooking up the rig. Keep in mind these do not increase any weight carrying capacity or GAWR—they are just driving enhancements.
There are several other enhancement products on the market like Sumo Springs, Stabilizer Plus Spring Enhancement and, yes, even changing out the factory shocks with a beefier Bilstein or other would be beneficial. I would recommend getting the unit weighed first and then contacting a local towing specialty dealer, as they would have some real-world applications and probably a wider range of product.
You might also enjoy this from Dave
Can I tow a fifth wheel with a 1/2-ton pickup?
My wife and I are looking into a fifth wheel purchase. I was wondering if we have to get a 3/4-ton pickup or higher? Or can I tow a fifth wheel with a 1/2-ton pickup? Thanks for any consideration! —Steve, 2021 Forest River Salem FSX
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I put spring over gas shocks in the rear of my hauler and had no more purposing….
Weight is not the only issue. How that weight is distributed is a very big factor on how the trailer will behave going down the road
With a ball hitch TT 10% of the trailer weight should be on the ball. The other 90% on the trailer axles.
A fifth wheel can handle higher percentages but not much.
While the bounce is specifically for a 5th wheel, many of the same weight issues would apply to a bumper tow RV.
Dave, I am going to put in a pitch for the Curt Rocker Ball for bumper towing. While not going to affect the axle bounce, it does in my experience over 6K plus miles towing, significantly reduce the push/pull surge that directly follows those bounces, as well as start-up & braking. It is a much smoother ride The cost is about double that of a quality standard ball, plus you may need a different length drop on the tow bar. But I can never see me going back to a standard ball.
And I just noticed Curt has introduced a goose-neck Rocker Ball should you be using that hitch style with your 5th wheel.
I’d love to see your take on this device.
And after all that is done, swap out your truck! You do not want to be near the limit on truck or trailer loads, but have plenty to spare! Our Chevy 3500 long box dually is overkill for our 35′ Montana, and that is just the way I like it!
Leonard I agree with you on that. Nothing wrong with a little overkill if it gives you peace of mind. Stay safe.
I shudder to think how many pickups are overloaded on the rear axle with a 5ver pin weight that is much more than anyone suspects…especially for people towing with half-tons.
I have had one 5ver…a 34′ Sunnybrook. My truck is a Chevy 2500 HD diesel. I was barely within the rear GAWR. I did install air bags to lift the rear and level the truck and it rode very nicely, but I hated being so close to the weight rating.
If I were to ever have another 5ver I’d have a one ton dually, period. Most fivers in the mid 30′ range virtually require it for any kind of safety margin on weights.
Wonder what mph your doing and does do it all speeds?
Great discussion! Too many of us have or do overload our rigs. We live in these full-time and therefore everything we own is either in the truck or the trailer. It’s a great reminder. It’s been awhile. I need to find a scale.
I had a 2018 Silverado short bed, then traded it in on a 2021 F150 Hybrid with the 6’ bed and I get/got porpoising on some Pa Interstate roads. No one seems to have a solution. One guy told me airbags, but a Jayco dealer said they don’t work. Another Jayco dealer told me the WD hitch rods were too stiff. Put lighter one on which I had. No difference. When I had a 28’ TT, no issue. With my 34’ TT porpoising. Another guy told me you’ll have porpoising on some roads, nothing you can do about it.
It’s your truck, not springs or hitches! You simply do not have enough truck.
Thanks, but the towing capacity on the F150 hybrid is 11,000 lbs and the Silverado was 9500 lb. The trailer loaded was probably around 8500 lbs and the porpoising only occurred on certain portions of Pa interstate concrete highways. No problem on asphalt roads.
Bob, I know what you’re talking about. My truck (97 Dodge Diesel) does the same thing even when not towing but only on certain concrete highways. On other roads it rides very smooth. I think it has something to do with the way they poured those sections of highway.