Truck Trend's Tow Test Trailer
Part One: Taking testing to the next level
If there's one aspect of Truck Trend our editorial staff prides itself on, it's testing every vehicle that passes through our hands. And while our systems utilize state-of-the-art technology, there's one area we felt we could improve on: towing.
Well, we've entered a new age, and starting with the January 2003 issue of TT, we'll push the tow-test envelope and bring you instrumented towing numbers and seat-of-the-pants commentary to every vehicle that has a hitch. How, you ask? With a custom tow-test trailer, courtesy of Villa Industries.
Our trailer started life as a 20-ft BigTex flatbed, with a 12,000-lb GVWR, 6000-lb axles with electric brakes, and a complete Break-A-Way system. The hauler then went through a complete tow-test transformation at Villa Industries (670/341-6667). Beneath the polished diamond-plate deck (which allows us to carry any vehicle up to a crew cab dualie) are twin tanks, capable of holding 1400 gal of water ballast. Using the crossover valve and twin drains, we're able to quickly load the trailer to its maximum weight to simulate a full load.
So far, we're in the process of filling the tanks and weighing the trailer, ensuring accurate gallon/weight ratio when we test. We'll add an electric trailer brake cutoff switch, allowing us to test a vehicle's braking system with and without trailer brakes in use.
In the following updates, as we'll be hitching up a plethora of test vehicles, we'll let you know how they haul. Be sure to check our test numbers that'll reflect acceleration, braking, and handling while pulling half of a truck or SUV's rated trailer capacity.