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Old 09-12-2013, 01:33 AM   #1
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Hitch replacement or modification suggestions for 2004 Tahoe

I've been reading up on hitch failures on the 2000-2006 Tahoe/Suburban chassis. I'm obviously dissapointed that what I thought was a robust system turns out to have flaws. Of course, the Tahoe/Burb probably get more use and abuse than many other vehicles, so maybe it's not surprising that some have failed.

Either way, I'm trying to decide which course to take. Replace the hitch or modify it.

Do aftermarket hitches have a longer attachment arm under the truck to provide better leverage for the WD setup? Or are they just stiffer?

Is there anything easy that a good welding shop could do to the stock hitch to beef it up?

I checked our hitch today and don't see any signs of cracking. Since we're not in the rust-belt the hitch looks pretty good. And we only have about 4000 miles on it with the current trailer. I also think we're the first people to really use it seriously.

Our trailer weights about 6000 lbs total with 800 lbs on the tongue when loaded. I have been able to get the front axle back to it's load before hitching, but that still means that all the weight is on the rear axles. I would like to transfer more weight to the front axle if possible, and I don't know if I need to go to 1000 lb bars, or replace the hitch.

We are using a Reese WD hitch with 750 lb bars. I don't have the most recent figures handy, but we did do a weigh with the truck loaded but not hitched, then also hitched. And the front axle was about the same both times, while the rear was much heavier. I need to find the weights again, argh!

I have attached two photos, one close, one further away. I do think I need to angle the setup down more to use more chains and give the setup more room to move. I get some clunks from the chains hitting the tongue on sharp turns.

Thanks!
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Old 09-12-2013, 01:49 AM   #2
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Hi, if your tow vehicle [GM product] has the round tube receiver on it, I would definitely replace it. In your second picture, your spring bars seem to be pulled way up-ward. I think you need to make an adjustment to the hitch head so it tilts rear ward. Your spring bars should be more level with your trailer's frame.
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Old 09-12-2013, 04:53 AM   #3
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Curt makes a more robust hitch with much higher load specs. The one I have for my Silverado cost under $300 and was easy to install.
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Old 09-12-2013, 05:33 AM   #4
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"Do aftermarket hitches have a longer attachment arm under the truck to provide better leverage for the WD setup? Or are they just stiffer?"

Yes....definitely. Thats one of the main benefits when transferring weight.

One of the first towing up-grades I did on our 06 Burb. Replaced quite a few at the Chevy store before retiring.

Without knowing the exact weight needing to be moved it's hard to know what bars are needed....I use 1000lbs on our Classic.
I think 750 is a bit light for your rig, the bars do appear to be at their max in the photo.

Bob
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Old 09-13-2013, 02:01 AM   #5
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Robert, what brand is that in your photo?

Thanks for.all the help! I will also look into the Curt.
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Old 09-13-2013, 06:22 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeweloJalopy View Post
Robert, what brand is that in your photo?

Thanks for.all the help! I will also look into the Curt.
Reese TowBeast,(titan), with this receiver you will need a 2 inch reducer welded in.

I chose the Reese exactly because of the extra length of the mounts, much better/easier weight transfer.

Bob
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Old 09-15-2013, 12:07 AM   #7
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Thanks!

Another dumb question. Is the factory hitch technicallly a class V?
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Old 09-15-2013, 05:09 AM   #8
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We had the reported failure issue on the factory hitch on the 2012 Dodge Rams as it was welded to a round frame tube as well. It was rated for 1,200 pounds, but the tongue weight of our 25FB was 1,150 pounds new.

So, after we cut off the factory hitch head, I replaced it with a Curt 15049 hitch rated at 2,550 pounds tongue weight and 17,000 pound trailer. That should cover most Airstreams.
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Old 09-15-2013, 06:43 AM   #9
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Thanks!

Another dumb question. Is the factory hitch technicallly a class V?
Ian,

Yes....It is stamped as a class V, personally I wouldn't trust it any further than I could throw a potato chip.

This is off our 06 Burb.

If they are still being made by Northern Stamping, and of the same design, consider them suspect.
The Burb hitch was re-designed in 07,(thru bumper), and is much more substantial, although with a 25" hitch height.

Bob
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Old 05-10-2014, 12:44 AM   #10
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My 2001 Suburban hitch had failing welds showed rust on the welds. Was going to dye pen them but took my digital camera and enlarged the picture. Made it quite easy to see the cracks. I have a rock guard that's built around my receiver so I decided to rework the factory unit. I took a two inch square tube and welded it to the front of the receiver box. And ran it up to a cross member that runs behind the spare tire. I bolted a piece of angle to the cros member and welded the tube to it. This way the whole hitch can still be unbolted and removed. All the welds on the adition were beveled and then made multiple passes. I then strapped the joints . The factory welds were also ground out an re-welded. Cris
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