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GMC Quadrasteer Tour Part 1, Towing Horse Trailers at 14,000ft.

Extreme Towing I

Also Reviewing a Logan Contender Steel Horse Trailer

While covering the Falken Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on the peak at 14,000ft., I commented on the fog that was drifting between the press buses to my son. He then explained to me that at this altitude, it’s not called fog. Then it dawned on me that we were walking in the clouds. Looking down the mountain at the w’s and switchbacks that weaved down the mountain, I thought what a great place to demonstrate the cornering ability of Delphi’s Quadrasteer, available on select GM trucks and SUV’s. And of course my extreme test would have to include a trailer. GMC Quadrasteer Tour Part 1, Towing Horse Trailers at 14,000ft. 

 

So in my long term review of Quadrasteer, (Four-Wheel-Steer), we did just that. I borrowed a Logan steel 3 horse slant trailer from Transwest Truck and Trailer of Longmont Colorado. Kevin xthumbnail-orig-image=”denalilogan2.jpg” align=”left” width=”100″ height=”46″>So in my long term review of Quadrasteer, (Four-Wheel-Steer), we did just that. I borrowed a Logan steel 3 horse slant trailer from Transwest Truck and Trailer of Longmont Colorado. Kevin Lavigne and Michael Douponce of Delphi and I then took the GMC Denali Extended cab to the top of Pikes Peak towing the Logan steel horse trailer following a park ranger up the twisting road that switches from pavement to a dirt early on. From the base up 19 miles to the top, way above tree line, the Denali Quadrasteer pulled the trailer with ease. We could go much faster but the park ranger didn’t want to race us. The tranny temp gauge read that we were staying around 200 degrees and after doing our victory lap on top, eye level with clouds were rivers are born, coming down was fun too. Kevin Lavigne did an excellent job of using the transmission and engine braking to bring us down the hill cool. About 1/2 way down, Pikes Peak has a station to check vehicle brake temperature. We passed with flying colors at 182 degrees with 300 being dangerous. The tranny gauge read 185 degrees. The trailer brakes were between 114-120 degrees Fahrenheit. This was at 11,500 ft above sea level with the outside temperature 63 degrees. The Pikes Peak road is mostly a 9% grade, with curves that are closer to U-Turns. The Four-Wheel-Steer GMC Denali felt right at home towing a trailer up and down Pikes Peak, with control and wheel tracking like no other vehicle out there. Maybe next year we can enter the International Hill Climb with a Quadrasteer and race Jesse James of Monster Garage, to the top!

I wanted to find interesting ways to demonstrate the ability and agility of Quadrasteer. Towing a trailer is the most impressive way to get an understanding of what it does. Kevin, Mike and I also towed the Logan steel horse trailer up Trail Ridge, the highest paved road in the Continental US (12,000ft.) We only had to slow down to take pictures of the Elk grazing beside the highway. In this 5 or 6 part series, I’ll be collecting opinions from folks whom I have drive the Denali towing trailers. Quadrasteer excels in 3 major areas, towing, handling and parking. Since you can find a dealer to test drive a Quadrasteer in the Denali, Sierra, Silverado, Suburban and Yukon XL, where you can try the handling and parking, I’ll concentrate this series on towing.

In 2002 when the GMC Denali was introduced with Quadrasteer as a standard feature, all the press, (including myself), raved about how remarkable it was. Towing trailers with QS was even hard to describe, but in short it’s very hard to force a trailer to whip or sway being towed with Quadrasteer as I demonstrate more in the next article in this series.

Andrew Lyons, general manager of Transwest Truck and Trailers, largest Hart horse trailer dealer, Longmont Colorado. Took a spin in the Denali with one of his steel 3 horse slant Logan horst trailers on back. “It’s a big difference towing with Quadrasteer, it could mean being upright or rolling a trailer. It feels safer and more stable changing lanes at highway speeds when towing a trailer.”

If you’ve read my review of QS in 2003 were I drove and towed with a LT Suburban and a SLT Sierra Extended cab, I wrote about how the wider rear axle of Quadrasteer along with the dramatic steering improvement of QS, made it a superior handling machine in good weather and snow and ice. The Denali that I’m driving now has amazed me when I drop of each trailer and use it as a daily driver. All you have to do is visualize that you are driving a small car. I’m used to driving past a parking spot a little like you normally do with a truck before turning in. If you do that with a Quadrasteer, you’ll be in the parking spot next to that. It turns so tight that you can turn into a parking spot early. I think like I’m driving a go cart! When I’m at Sam’s or the mall, I get a kick out of turning into a parking spot on the opposite side in the opposite angle from where I’m driving. People will stop and stare at me as I take this truck, almost 20 feet long and turn around in the middle of the lane and parking going the other direction.

Delphi built in many safety systems into the Four-Wheel-Steer system, so you don’t have to think about it. Most folks leave FWS on all the time. There is a mechanical and electronic override incase of system failure. With a spring in the steering actuator that will realign the axle to neutral if something fails. In FWS tow mode, the rear axle won’t turn as much so you don’t turn too tight into your trailer and the rear steering direction will change over sooner. When you put the QS truck in neutral it will realign to straight for a car wash track and when you are going slow as when pulling out of a parking spot, it won’t turn as sharply preventing you from turning into a car next to you. So the learning curve is fast for enjoying the experience.

It is going to be a little harder finding a Quadrasteer to test drive. The Quadrasteer option was $4995 in 2003 when both GMC and Chevrolet rolled out their models, but at that price, the trucks didn’t sell well. Then for 2004 model year, the Quadrasteer option was reduced clear down to $1995 where it’s a bargain. But GM dealers didn’t stock many QS, not adjusting for the new price. I think GM has dropped the ball with little advertising going for Quadrasteer. But Quadrasteer is important enough to ask for and order to get what you want. The majority of folks who own a Quadrasteer, that I talk to, are very happy with theirs and plan their next vehicle being a Quadrasteer. I say Quadrasteer is the most important towing accessory to come along since the weight distributing hitch.

I recommend Quadrasteer for trailers under 10,000 lbs as they are rated. Towing horses with their high center of gravity and constantly shifting their weight, should be towed closer to 15% of a truck or SUV’s towing capacity. And with live cargo, Quadrasteer can make a dramatic difference in safety and towing confidence. I feel so strongly that Quadrasteer is the best towing solution for the right size trailer, I end up doing mini seminars when I feel up at gas stations. I weave in and out of the pump islands before I fuel up even with a trailer behind me, so if I didn’t run over you, I made you curious. Diesels have their purpose, a lot of folks buy them for the wrong reason or just didn’t know how to match their trailer needs to the right truck. Quadrasteer can take the intimidation of a truck or trailer out of the picture for first time truck or trailer owners. QS trucks and SUV’s can turn in a 37.4′ circle like a Saturn or Focus. So when you unhook the trailer, you can use a QS like a car, with no problem in traffic or parking lots.

Parking next to the clouds.

The Manitou Cog Railway, goes to the top of Pikes Peak all day long. The cog track keeps the train from sliding back down.  We had to give the park ranger a head start. He was a good sport, so we didn’t pass him and become fugitives.

I covered the Falken Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in June until we got snowed in on top and had to wait on the snow plow to get down. So we missed 1/2 of the race. I’ll have to try again next year to see what the second 1/2 looks like.

No problem parking on the peak, even with a trailer and a bunch of tourists. Wonderful view on top of Pikes Peak near Colorado Springs Colorado. We became a  tourist attraction while there.

This is what was on the back side of the Denali, you can see the Continental Divide and numerous high country lakes. High above the tree line standing in clouds.

On top of the world. We were there, Kevin, Mike and I working hard at Four Wheel Steer research. There’s even a cog railroad that chugs up & down the mountain all day.

This is what the switchbacks looked like as we zig-zag in the Quadrasteer with ease on the tight corners even with the horse trailer, closely tracking behind.

Park Ranger escort leads us for 19 miles of curves on 9% grades as we tow a steel horse trailer to the summit. Don’t try this at home, we’re professional grade.

Jesse James of Monster Garage spins up the mountain  as the first run of the day, in his exhibition run in the Pikes Peak Int. Hill Climb.

I think Jesse spotted me, I was supposed to be in line with the rest of the reporters asking about his $3500 Blazer climbing the mountain.

“Don’t get steamed, I didn’t ask you about Sandra Bullock.” Actually just a blown  radiator reservoir after the stress of the climb.

The Logan Contender, all-galvanized triple-wall trailer was the trailer we pulled up and down the mountains. A galvanized steel three horse slant good looking horse trailer from Transwest Truck and Trailer of Longmont CO. It has a large dressing/tack room. I liked the diamond deck plating in the nose, fenders and corner brace. Logan uses double posts where sheet metal meets. I like a large rear door. Besides more room to load, still being a farmer at heart I like to have trailers usable for many purposes, like hauling hay and helping the kids move out.

Logan Coach horse trailers are designed to protect you and your animals while traveling. It’s easy to recognize the quality design, attractive appearance, all  galvanized steel construction. The only manufacturers in the world to use galvanized sheet metal and structural tubing. Galvanized steel offers greatly enhanced rust protection over standard black steel. This means you can be assured that our trailers will remain both structurally sound and looking great for years to come. With Logan Coach, you get the strength of steel with long-lasting durability and performance other companies simply can’t match.

Formed fit walls, precise engineering and advanced building techniques allows Logan Coach to bend sidewalls around  vertical support columns. Not only does this give their trailers stronger vertical seams, it also keeps welds on the inside of the trailer walls, giving our trailers a cleaner look and a smoother finish. Enhanced Structural Integrity, Logan trailers are engineered for safety and feature thicker sidewalls and additional vertical support columns. These enhancements assure increased structural integrity in the event of an accident or rollover.

A better roof, Logan Coach is the only trailer company to build a roof using acrylic adhesive. Other companies use VHB tape, an inferior quality bonding agent that attracts water and one that, over time, will draw moisture into the seams and weaken the roof itself. Logan uses the latest in modern automobile manufacturing technology to create a bonded roof and sidewalls. Notice how much cleaner and smoother the roof is because there are no rivets and no outside welds.

Special thanks to Transwest Truck and Trailers for the use of the Logan horse trailer. More…

To read the whole International Pikes Peak Hill Climb article with Jesse James, Click below.

I covered the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in June. We had a snow storm at noon, that snowed most of the press in on top. Monster Garage will have the show with their truck and Jesse’s James exhibition run Monday July 26 on the Discovery Channel. More…

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