Frame Bender: What Does It Take To Bend a Truck’s Frame?

Chevy Colorado ZR2 and Jeep Gladiator with bent frames.

chevy colorado zr2 jeep gladiator bent frame bender towing overland

The have been several reports in recent months of midsize trucks with bent frames when towing small camping trailers off-road. What’s going on? Is this a widespread problem or just a ? Here is everything we know so far.

There are just three cases of midsize truck with bent frames that bubbled up to the surface over the recent months. Last year, there were two instances that involved a Chevy Colorado ZR2 and this week there was one that involved a modified Jeep Gladiator Rubicon. Naturally, these isolated cases are not enough to cause major alarm, but they have something in common. They all happened while towing a small trailer at speed and hitting the “whoops”.

Last year, the Chevy Colorado ZR2 incident reported driving at about 40 MPH over a desert trail with an overland camping trailer that weighed about 3,000 lbs.

This week the incident involved a modified Gladiator pickup truck that reportedly had after-market longer travel shocks (according to CORE Off-Road). The truck also had aftermarket wheels and tires among other modifications. This truck was reportedly towing a trailer weighing about 2,000 lbs.

Although, these trailer weights are not super heavy, never underestimate the power of leverage. When hitting the whoops and other off-road obstacles, the trailer’s tongue weight can be multiplied by the leverage. In the case of the Gladiator, the suspension was modified and the longer shock absorbers may have been acting like taller bump stops.

Please let us know in the comments below or at if you know any other cases of trucks with bent frames.

In the end, truck modification and excessive speed while towing off-road are the culprits here. TFLtruck has been testing truck off-road over the last seven year. During our Motor Mountain USA video series, we towed a small 1,300 lbs overland camping trailer nearly 17,000 miles on many off-road trails around the country. We put thousands of miles on our Ram Rebel Rouser project truck with a trailer. We have never experienced a bent frame, but we also have not tried jumping off-road bumps with a trailer.

If you are going at a nice slow pace, your next off-road trailering adventure will turn our just fine.