Part Seven: Let’s Tow Something
Project Looks. Muscle. Longevity has come a long way since coming off the used car lot last November. This truck was somewhat high-mileage with 117K on the clock, but it was in perfect condition both inside and out. The previous owner had taken good care of it and Carfax showed great maintenance reports for the first five years of its life. This go-around, we’ll finally make the 2012 Silverado tow-worthy.
During the warmer summer months this truck will spend most weekends in the mountains dragging a 12,000-pound fifth wheel travel trailer around, but to do that it’ll first need an in-bed hitch system installed. For ease of install for a DIY kind of guy, the CURT EZr Double Lock underbed hitch is a great choice. Yes, it’ll still take a couple hours to complete the task, but it can be done start to finish by just one person thanks to CURT’s carriage bolts and their simple, no-drill, no-weld frame rail mounting brackets. There will need to be a big 4-inch hole drilled in the center of the bed floor, but CURT makes this easy, with no measuring required, thanks to the ingenious Center Locator tool included with the kit. The EZr Double Lock offers additional peace of mind and security with a dual locking pin design through the turnover ball.
On 2011+ GM model trucks the toughest part of this install is dealing with the boxed frame rails, as four large bolts need to be fished into place from the inside through some access points not directly behind the outer mounting hole locations. For this, CURT also helps make installation easy by including coiled fish wires you can thread the bolts into to help fish the bolts into place.
With the gooseneck hitch taken care of, in conjunction with a fifth wheel adapter the truck can finally start being used for its real purpose in life, heavy towing. Before that first big camping trip, however, bolting on some additional load support can not only help ride quality and prevent excessive suspension sag when towing but also prevent excessive sway and make for a more stable driving experience.
While on-board airbag systems have their advantages, there are some airless systems available like the SumoSprings kits from Super Springs International. SumoSprings were developed to enhance the load-carrying ability and help stabilize heavy loads for better driver control and ride quality while offering maintenance-free use for the lifetime of the truck. With traditional airbag kits it’s not uncommon for small air leaks to develop in lines or the bags themselves. Over time, an on-board electrical air compressor could need replaced after excessive moisture or use burns it up.
Using a unique micro-cellular urethane, the SumoSprings act much like a large bump stop with a progressive spring rate that helps handle the additional weight and dampen the ride for better stability while driving. The biggest difference between SumoSprings and airbags is how the air is captured and used within the bag. A standard airbag is much like a balloon, trapping air within it, where the air pressure used controls the spring rate. The SumoSpring captures millions of small air pockets within its urethane material. They can’t leak and can be compressed to 80% of their original height and still rebound to factory form.
We determined the two-piece Rebel kit in the mid-density would be best for this daily driver and weekend tow rig. Super Springs offers three different SumoSpring variations, each having three different densities to fine-tune the load support based on the weight you’re pulling and how often you pull it. The Rebel kit works great on a daily driver since when unloaded the travel won’t be limited because the axle is still working independently from the frame. Because the upper and lower pieces don’t require air pressure and don’t ride on each other, unloaded ride quality is unchanged. But as the weight from a trailer is added the two pieces will meet each other and start to compress, offering better support and helping to dampen the ride more effectively than the factory leaf springs and shocks could on their own.
Super Springs International