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Old 10-03-2007, 09:20 AM   #1
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Question 96 Blazer with factory trailer hitch - towing capacity?

Hello, I'm the third owner of 96 Chevy Blazer, and I believe the hitch came on it from the factory, but I don't know for certain. On the trailer hitch receiver, it has 2 different sets of numbers: Dead Weight and Weight Distributing. I'm counting on it being ready to tow the much larger Weight Distributing load capacities, but I have no idea what the difference is, nor how to tell the difference. Can anyone tell me how it would have come from the factory, or how to tell for sure which set of load numbers is applicable to me? TIA for any help.
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Old 10-03-2007, 09:27 AM   #2
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The hitch should be capable of towing what is listed for weight distributing, if you use a weight distibuting hitch. However, what the hitch is rated for, and what the vehicle is rated for may be two different things. If the vehicle towing capacity is not listed in the owners manual, or if you don't have the owners manual, I'd check with Chevrolet if I were you.

Oh, and welcome to the forum.

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Old 10-03-2007, 09:54 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveH
The hitch should be capable of towing what is listed for weight distributing, if you use a weight distibuting hitch.
Thanks for the reply. That's the question I have... what's the difference between Dead Weight and Weight Distributing, and how can I tell which applies to my vehicle? The vehicle can tow 5,500 lbs, but it's the hitch setup I'm unfamiliar with and unsure of.
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Old 10-03-2007, 10:24 AM   #4
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A weight distributing hitch is like this:



It distributes the tongue weight of the trailer, some back onto the trailer, and the rest to the center of the tow vehicle, if it is setup correctly.
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Old 10-03-2007, 10:34 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlazinHaze
Hello, I'm the third owner of 96 Chevy Blazer, and I believe the hitch came on it from the factory, but I don't know for certain. On the trailer hitch receiver, it has 2 different sets of numbers: Dead Weight and Weight Distributing. I'm counting on it being ready to tow the much larger Weight Distributing load capacities, but I have no idea what the difference is, nor how to tell the difference. Can anyone tell me how it would have come from the factory, or how to tell for sure which set of load numbers is applicable to me? TIA for any help.
What size trailer and weight are thinking about towing with the Blazer? Which engine is in the Blazer? The Blazer has a relatively short wheelbase so you will be limited as to the size trailer you can tow safely.

Below is a review of the 96 Blazer by RV news. I think the capacity is on the high side and would not try to go near what is suggested.

RV News Tests Chevy's '96 Blazer
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Old 10-04-2007, 12:23 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveH
A weight distributing hitch is like this:

[image]
It distributes the tongue weight of the trailer, some back onto the trailer, and the rest to the center of the tow vehicle, if it is setup correctly.
Thank you, I think I understand better. I'm not sure how that takes weight off the tongue (I should have taken that physics class), but now I know what I'm looking at. I'm still a little confused about the two sets of numbers on the hitch receiver, though. What does the 'Dead Weight' part refer to? And why are those numbers so low?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Clark
What size trailer and weight are thinking about towing with the Blazer? Which engine is in the Blazer? The Blazer has a relatively short wheelbase so you will be limited as to the size trailer you can tow safely.
Thanks for the heads-up about the wheelbase, I'll be sure to keep that in consideration. I am (obviously) a total noob in all this, and just starting to learn what I need to know for safe trailering. I hope to find something comfortably under the towing capacity, which GM says is 5,500 lbs for this model Blazer. So ideally, I would like to find something under 4,000 lbs or so, perhaps in the 18' range?

Here are some specs on the vehicle:

Engine Size (Metric/CID) 4.3L/262
Engine: Vortec 4300 V6 SFI
Horsepower 190 @ 4400
Torque 250 @ 2800
Platform GM GMT330 platform
Length 176.8 in
Width 67.8 in
Height 64.5 in
Curb weight: 3814
Wheelbase: 100.5
Turning circle: 35.2
Brakes, f/r: 4 wheel ABS, power-assist, front 10.5 x 1.03 disc/rear 9.5 x .20 drum
Tires: P235/75R-15


Quote:
I think the capacity is on the high side and would not try to go near what is suggested.

RV News Tests Chevy's '96 Blazer
According to the owner's manual, the towing capacity on the 2wd auto is 5,500 lbs, and the hitch receiver has a 6,000 lbs 'distributing weight' listed. I'd like to avoid ever exceeding 4,000 lbs in tow, as a safety margin. Does that sound about right to you?
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Old 10-04-2007, 01:32 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by BlazinHaze
Thank you, I think I understand better. I'm not sure how that takes weight off the tongue (I should have taken that physics class),
The physics is discussed here:
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f464...sis-19236.html
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Old 10-04-2007, 05:30 AM   #8
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BlazinHaze,

"Dead Weight" on the hitch, simply means tongue weight without a WD hitch.

I think the limiting factor in your equasion will be the V6 engine, and your plan to stay with an 18 to 19' trailer is a good idea. A trailer of that length will be way below the max weight rating of the Blazer, but the engine would be strugling too much with a heavier/longer trailer, IMHO.
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Old 10-04-2007, 06:28 AM   #9
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Dania-

I had to buy hitch equipment in FLL, and used a guy in Dania, he had EVERYTHING, and knows what he's doing. There is a building on the NW corner of Ravenswood and Stirling, and he's next to the jet ski shop- its up the Ravenswood side. Hitch Stop? Pit Stop? Can't remember, but he's seriously the best in that area. I go back to him from Daytona when I need something, he's good, but busy, have patience with him...
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Old 10-05-2007, 01:20 AM   #10
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Thanks for all your input guys!

Quote:
Originally Posted by nickcrowhurst
Thanks for the link, but I think that discussion is a little beyond me. I found this page that explains a WD setup in more layman terms, but it doesn't explain quite how it's acheived... Trailer Hitch-T-One Connectors


Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveH
"Dead Weight" on the hitch, simply means tongue weight without a WD hitch.
That's what I thought too, but it's odd to me. There's a sticker on the hitch that looks like this:
Code:
                      V5
                 Hitch Ratings
Dead Weight   |   Weight Distributing
2000 lbs max  |   Trailer Weight     6000 lbs max  
200 lbs max   |   Tongue Load       750 lbs max
I've dropped in on Chevy dealership and showed it to the service manager, as well as a couple of U-Haul places near here, and they weren't entirely sure what was up either, but they all said that it's a class 3 hitch, and should handle 6000 without the WD.

So on the one hand, I should trust their expertise, but I also don't want to make a huge and tragic mistake becuse of some confusion... and that Dead Weight rating really has me confused. Could my class 3 reciever really only handle 2000/200 without WD? Seems very low to me.

I'm not sure how relative this is to the functionality of a WD hitch, but my reciever doesn't have any kind of elaborate frame or shape, just one length of square tubing bolted to the underside by brackets at both ends. I've seen in some discussions where they talk about transferring part of the load to the tow vehicle's front axle, and I don't get that at all, at least not with what I have.


Quote:
Originally Posted by EllieZ
I had to buy hitch equipment in FLL, and used a guy in Dania, he had EVERYTHING, and knows what he's doing. There is a building on the NW corner of Ravenswood and Stirling, and he's next to the jet ski shop- its up the Ravenswood side. Hitch Stop? Pit Stop? Can't remember, but he's seriously the best in that area. I go back to him from Daytona when I need something, he's good, but busy, have patience with him...
Thanks for the tip. I haven't found much around these parts, and that sounds like a place I'd like to visit. I'd like to call before heading down that way, especially if he's busy. I tried to search for it, but I haven't turned up anything. Any other ideas what the name of the place would be? Is it a marine shop? Got an old credit card receipt maybe?
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Old 10-05-2007, 02:18 AM   #11
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If the hitch is the original equipment, it would appear to me to be quite clear that the maximum trailer weight is 2000 pounds when a trailer is just on the ball, but the maximum trailer weight increases to 6000 pounds if a weight distributing hitch is used.
Think of the arms of a weight distributing hitch as being like the handles sticking out of a 4 wheel "wheel barrow". When the arms are lifted up by the WD chain tension, the load on the rear wheels of the tow vehicles and hitch are decreased, and the load on the front wheels of the tow vehicle are increased, so as to improve steering traction. As the hitch, including its bolts and welds, are subjected to less loading when a WD hitch is used, a higher weight trailer can be hauled.
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Old 10-05-2007, 05:16 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by BlazinHaze
Could my class 3 reciever really only handle 2000/200 without WD? Seems very low to me.
The strength of any system will relate to the strength of the weakest link. If the vehicle designers have rated the frame and suspension of the tow vehicle at a maximum of 2000 pounds of trailer on the ball, then the strength of any hitch attched to it will not achieve a higher tow rating, IMHO.
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Old 10-05-2007, 10:25 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickcrowhurst
The strength of any system will relate to the strength of the weakest link. If the vehicle designers have rated the frame and suspension of the tow vehicle at a maximum of 2000 pounds of trailer on the ball, then the strength of any hitch attched to it will not achieve a higher tow rating, IMHO.
Nick.
The Blazer's max design point for towing strength is probably reflected in the higher 5500 lb WD towing number. The Blazer's max design point for cargo weight (or hitch strength) is most likely what the designers used to determine lower 2000 lb trailer number because, without a WD hitch, the tongue weight of a 2000 lb trailer would exceed the Blazer's cargo (or hitch) capacity before it exceeded the combined towing capacity.

............Scott
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Old 10-06-2007, 02:25 AM   #14
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Can't find the name, but the address and directions are accurate- double checked with my man- I-95 to Stirling Road, west, about 1 miles and just over RR tracks make a right on Ravenswood/Anglers Ave, and its the first set of warehouses on the NW corner, and he has 3 or 4 bays- you can see the sign, we just don't remember. Worth driving there, he's the best source we've ever used... good luck.
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