Speaking of towing with a V10 Ford...
I've posted this before (pre-hack), but I think it's worth repeating... It's pretty obvious that when it comes to towing, I'm solidly in the longer-and-heavier is better camp. Let me tell you why...
In April of 2004, I was bringing home a fiberglass RV that I'd bought in NW Iowa. My red short-bed 4WD 4cyl Toyota pickup that had so admirably towed the UHaul
was dying of a sucked intake manifold gasket, and all I had to tow with was my Excursion. As I was driving eastbound on U.S. 20 just east of Webster City, Iowa, I hit a particularly rough portion of highway that caused the entire rig to porpoise.
Unbeknownst to me, the coupler spoon was worn badly enough to allow the coupler to jump off the hitch ball with that kind of pitching. Fortunately, I had safety chains installed properly. I felt something odd going on with the trailer before I saw it. Then I watched the trailer start to dance around like a drunken sailor on the deck of a destroyer in 20 foot seas. I instinctively reached for the brake controller to bring the trailer back in line (no sway control) and it did nothing as the pitching of the tongue had pulled the pigtail out of the socket. The trailer continued to dance and jerk the back of the Excursion around. Fortunately, it's 1500 lbs couldn't exert enough pressure on the rear axle
of the 7,000 lb Excursion to move it. I watched in fascinated horror as it hopped on one wheel and then back to the other swaying out eight or ten feet with each oscillation, knowing that at any moment the trailer was going to roll. It was probably the longest 45 seconds of my entire life.
Fortunately U.S. 20 is a four-lane divided highway and there was no traffic in either direction at that moment but me. I was able to slow the trailer gradually until it settled down on it's wheels, and I brought the entire rig to a stop smoothly. After I uttered a brief prayer of thanks, I wobbily got out of the driver's seat and checked the damage. The only damage was that the pigtail had pulled out of the socket and the cord had been ground half-way through by contact with the roadway. One safety chain had ground through and fallen off as I came to a stop, and that was the only damage!
I returned to Webster City RV (only two miles away at this point) and had a new coupler, chains, and pigtail installed as well as the rest of the frame and running gear examined for damage. Fortunately, there was no other damage to the trailer at all.
Were it not for the 7000 lbs of the Excursion being able to withstand the 1500 lbs of fiberglass trailer wildly tugging away at the rear end, this story probably would have had a MUCH different ending. Had I been towing with the compact Toyota truck, I'm sure that the trailer would have rolled and taken the Toyota and me with it.
The moral of this story is that you can't count on your trailer brakes
in a sway situation as they aren't always effective, especially if they're disconnected (this trailer didn't have an on-board battery
, and therefore no break-away switch... which was actually good as I'm sure that had the brakes
locked on, the trailer WOULD have broken the chains and rolled); A severe sway condition CAN be controlled if the towed weight
to tow vehicle weight
ratio is insignificant enough, even if the trailer is only connected by chains; and that if you keep your head, have a plan, are properly equipped, and do the right things in the right order you can control your trailer in the worst of circumstances. Let the physics of having a heavy tow vehicle work for you instead of against you.
These are some of the reasons that I earlier said that towing a 2000 lb trailer with a car rated for a thousand pounds isn't a good idea, particularly when the car probably only weighs 3500 lbs itself.