I'm a complete noob to owning my own horse. I hope to get a stock trailer this year...sometime. Anyway, I have a '97 Chevy Tahoe and was planning on using it to tow the stock. I've read threads that seem to imply this might be a bad idea. It's never really spoken of directly, but in a way that makes me think for most people this is understood.
Please tell me about towing a stock trailer with my Tahoe.
I have no other vehicle.
He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).
A 97 Tahoe is a full sized SUV so it's built on the same weight frame as a 1500 Silverado. As long as you have a V8 in it which I believe they all did, and you have a FACTORY tow package then you should be fine. Make sure it's a factory package and not that someone just stuck a hitch on the back. The factory packages have other things like extra cooling for the transmission and other such helpful stuff. When towing with a 1/2 ton truck(which it is) I also prefer it to be a 4x4 as they tend to have heavier suspension. I always cringe when I see a truck towing anything and the tires are practically rubbing the wheel wells! I'm sure you'll hear that OMG you need a 3/4 ton diesel to tow anything and all such stuff, but really any 1/2 ton truck can handle a 2 horse trailer! (oh, I'm one of those people who has a big diesel truck too)
It's the smaller SUVs with short wheel bases and such that are not a good idea to tow with. You pretty much have a Silverado with an enclosed bed! You'll be fine.
My experience towing with SUVs has been such that I would also recommend "sway bars" or whatever they call them these days? I used to have to borrow a tow vehicle from my then-employer's farm, and I sometimes ended up with a 1/2 or 3/4 ton truck, or sometimes a Suburban or Tahoe. The trucks hauled best, but the SUVs definitely needed that "little extra" for stability when towing.
When I started using a weight
distribution system with my Suburban 1500 it made a huge difference. They are a pain to hook up, but it gets easier as you get used to it, and it makes all the difference.
You should be fine. A tahoe can be configured to haul more than some trucks can. I consider a tahoe more a truck than a SUV. Just do your research. Know how much yuour engine can safely tow. Get a trailer under that weight and install trailer breaks. I have an F150 and haul a two horse BP. My trailer with two horses and gear weighs way under what my truck can pull.
A 97 Tahoe is a full sized SUV so it's built on the same weight frame as a 1500 Silverado. As long as you have a V8 in it which I believe they all did, and you have a FACTORY tow package then you should be fine. Make sure it's a factory package and not that someone just stuck a hitch on the back.
Or you can find out what's in the "Factory tow package" and install it separately. For example, I recently looked at a vehicle whose "factory tow package" meant a hitch, a transmission cooler, and an upgraded alternator. They wanted about $1500 for said "factory tow package." I could have those things installed after-market for about $500.
Admittedly, some factory tow packages include upgrades to the chassis or suspension that would be difficult to outfit after-market. But it's worth looking into, especially for a Tahoe (which is already built on a truck chassis).
Last edited by jn4jenny; Jan. 15, 2012 at 10:07 AM.
I'm on my second Tahoe (traded the first one when it had 375,000 miles on it) and they're great for towing a smallish trailer! Mine had/have the big Vortec v-8 with factory tow package. I've never had sway bars and I have a Hawk 2h BP w/out dressing room.
I towed mine with my old 96 Tahoe. But my trailer has a dressing room and was really too much for the transmission, so I traded it in for the F250. But a simple stock with no dressing room and less weight should be ok, especially if you're just hauling one horse. Assuming you have the 5.7L V8. And do get weight distribution hitch.
My husband is an engineer. He did all the research on hitches and then installed the Equalizer on my truck. I had towed without it for many years but it's so much more solid with it on.
I tow with a 1/2 ton and have a Hawk 2-horse with a dressing room. Would NOT tow without the special hitch unless I'm just going down the road. I bought the trailer/truck from someone who bought the package directly from the dealer. The Equalizer hitch is better than what they sold the first owners.
Make sure you mind the size of your stock trailer. Since the older ones are usually steel they are heavy, especially the longer ones. Add a dressing room to that and a heavier horse and you can be overweight.
Find the weight your truck is supposed to haul and look at trailers by weight plus the weight of your equipment and horse.
Before I had my own truck and trailer, one of the ones I borrowed a few times was a Tahoe (a 99 I think) and a 2h bp without DR. I believe it had weight distribution bars
In all honesty, the stopping distance sucked (even with only 1 horse in it) to the point where I felt it was unsafe except at fairly low speeds. So if you go in that direction, I would drive extraordinarily carefully and leave super long following distances.
Just my experience
There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.(Churchill)
You may want to rethink the stock trailer just because of weight. We pulled a steel two-horse BP w/no dressing room when my kids were on ponies with 1996 F-150 (not too different from your Tahoe). When they grew and were on horses, we couldn't get up the hills (hills, not mountains) with two horses in the trailer.