Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Importance of Trailer Servicing

During the winter months, travel, boat and utility trailers typically don't get used. When a trailer sits, it can develop problems with wiring, brakes and electrical. The last thing you need is to find a problem right before that big trip.

I recommend before the trip to hook up and test the entire trailer system so you don't get stuck in the middle of nowhere with repairs that can get very expensive.

With over 45 years of combined experience, Vaca Valley Truck & SUV should be your only source for trailer repairs and services.

Some of the many services we offer are:

  • Complete Hitch Towing Systems
  • Gooseneck Hitches
  • 5th Wheel Hitches
  • Towing Accessories
  • Brake Controllers
  • Complete Trailer Electrical Repairs and Installations
  • Axle Replacements & Services

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Computer Programmers for Cars & Trucks

Let’s talk a little about computer programmers for cars & trucks (sometimes called “chips”). There are literally a hundred different brands available. The brand I prefer is Superchips. It is a unit that plugs into the ECM port on the truck. The model I sell the most is the Flashpaq Tuner which comes with three options: Economy, Tow and Performance. They are available for gas or diesel; however, I sell many more to diesel truck owners.

The way the programmer works is it has enhanced programs that are loaded into the vehicle computer and it stores the original factory specs in the programmer.
After the unit is plugged into the ECM port, first it scans the computer to make sure there are no pre-existing codes. Then it gives you options such as shift point adjustment, tire size adjustments for speedometer calibrations for larger or smaller than stock tires, removal of speed limiter, rev limiter adjustments and offers fan adjustments to turn on the fan at different temperatures than the factory set.

For example, let’s use a 2007 Ford 6.0 liter diesel. On tow safe mode (always recommended when towing), you get 47 horsepower with 81 ft lbs of torque. On economy mode, you can expect an increase of 5-7% better fuel mileage and 88 horsepower and 132 ft lbs of torque improvements. In performance mode, there is an almost 100 horsepower increase with 160 ft lbs of torque.

Any time the truck needs to go to the dealer and you want the factory computer back to original settings, simply reverse the install procedure and the original settings will be transferred back to the truck’s computer while the programmer will store the optional settings for future use. This is about a 5-10 minute process. It is very important to choose a unit that won’t mess with other options and functions of the truck computer. That’s why I prefer Superchips. Also check with your dealer about potential warranty issues. Some dealers actually install such products, along with lift kits, wheels & tires and other accessories and other dealers won’t touch a truck with modifications. So always consult your dealers’ service department prior to modifications.

Last, there are over a hundred manufacturers of this kind of product and it can be very confusing until you are fully familiar with what the programmers are and how they are best utilized. Don’t make a costly mistake. Find a local supplier that is knowledgeable and rely on them to help you get the best setup. We have the knowledge and skill and have sold these for many years. Give us a call and we can walk you through the things you need to know.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Tow Systems, Hitches & Wiring










So you have a customer looking for a trailer tow system?

The first question is always, what is the hitch going on and how much weight do you intend on towing?

There are several classes of hitches, Class 1 through Class 5. Each one has a weight rating. Class 1 is up to 1500 lbs and Class 5 is up to 15,000 lbs with trailer and vehicle equipped properly.

All hitches have a tow weight which is the maximum pull strength for the hitch and tongue weight which is the downward weight and the capacity can increase with weight distribution systems or, as they are commonly called, equalizer bars.

Not only is the hitch limited to certain weights, all the accessories are also limited to weight.

The three components that make up the towing system are the hitch, the ball mount and the ball. Each of these items has a weight limit. So, let’s say that your hitch has a 6,000 lb rating, your ball mount has a 5,000 lb rating and your ball is rated at 6,000 lbs. The weak point is the ball mount at 5,000 lbs. This is a common problem. It is always important to make sure you explain and choose the correct parts for towing trailers with all accessories having a compatible weight rating.

Wiring. There are numerous trailer wire plugs, such as the 4-way flat, 4-way round, 6-way and 7-way. The type of plug usually determines the trailer and what electrical items are on the trailer. Your standard trailer plug (4-way) operates all running lights, brake lights and turn signals. The 6 and 7-way usually operate trailer brake systems, battery charge lines and back up lights. Most new trucks and SUV’s come with factory harnesses in place so the installer just duplicates the system to best serve the customer needs.

There is a lot to know about trailer towing. I have 25 years experience at it and still learn new things all the time.

The bottom line is when looking for someone to install towing systems, choose a qualified shop that is familiar with all facets of hitches and wiring and is familiar with the ever-changing new models that are constantly being introduced. Call me at 707-447-9905 and I'll be happy to answer all your questions!