Weekend Edition: Last Call: The Last Honest Person At U-Haul

PICT4748

This olelongroofan is pretty sure this has to be the only guy in the world who, without telling a lie, told the U-Haul dude, “Yeah, I’m tow dollying a Honda Civic.”

Image Copyright Hooniverse 2013/longrooffan

35 Comments

  1. Awfully quiet here today….
    Edit:
    1. I get downvoted for noting the comments section is quiet today? I'll add something useful, then. See 2.
    2. I have never seen one of those dollys in traffic. Only trailers and flatbeds. Are they any good? I suppose one advantage would that there's less weight on the tow hitch than on an improperly loaded trailer and that these would seem to be nearly impossible to load improperly, as far as weight balance is concerned.. But how practical can those really be in the land of large, automatic, RWD and/or 4WD cars? I mean it get's a little difficult if you have to remove a driveshaft or two before towing.

    1. They tow well as the pivot point for it is between the front wheels. Noisy when towing without a car on it. Also, no brakes on the trailer. Be careful down down mountain grades and in traffic. Lot longer to stop

      1. The "no brakes" part would also explain why i've never seen one over here. If the total weight of the trailer is over 750kg(dolly + civic probably 2x that), it has to have brakes. Though i suppose there's no real reason why one of these couldn't have brakes, it's not like the brakes on a regular trailer are particularly complicated or high-tech..

        1. Oh forgot to say that it is very hard to back up. car will pivot differently than the trailer. If you have a choice go for a real trailer and make sure it is loaded correctly

          1. How about a version of caravan racing where instead of a caravan you tow another car on a dolly? To make it more interesting you could tow the cars backwards and have another driver doing the steering in the towed car.
            [youtube 9_axIytjoJU http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_axIytjoJU youtube]

    2. Define "large". I've heard of several people who attempted to use one of these on a 60's Cadillac/Imperial and found that the car wouldn't fit between the fenders well enough not to have the body make contact when cornering.
      The regular U-haul car trailers tend to have short decks. It makes them easier to store at the lots, but if you plan on towing a long car, you won't have as much flexibility in balancing the load. Back in the days when I didn't have my own trailer, I would always rent from an independent place that had bigger trailers, typically a little cheaper. Of course, I never needed to tow one-way, and I always had a half-ton tow vehicle instead of a big cargo truck.

      1. Large as in a large, holy mackerel this is huuge large. I don't really know what i mean. I've read the magazines since i learned to read but Europe has not had much exposure to american cars in decades.. When Dodge was re-launced here in 2006 my first thought was "Awesome!". My second thought was "What the fuck is this shit?".

  2. What happened with U-Haul anyway? When I worked there in the '80s we wouldn't pause before renting a 16 year old four 3-wheel ATVs and a .22 caliber nail gun. (Full disclosure: There was a lot of cocaine behind the counter.) Now when I go in there to rent a car carrier, a full-sized, dual axle flatbed car carrier, they tell me my 1962 Scout 80 is too much for the trailer to handle. (Though when I described it as a 1980 Jeep Wrangler they were all green lights.)
    I'm like, "I was renting comically overpowered and criminally negligent equipment to drunken imbeciles when you were in diapers, sonny boy. I'm probably complicit in the death of the guy who should have been your father! And you want to tell me I can't have a dual axle trailer for my 80 inch wheelbase 3000 pound truck?"

    1. I really hate that I have to play 20 Questions just to rent a cargo van. I have a truck, I know what it's capable of pulling; otherwise, I wouldn't rent a trailer. I'd get a moving truck. They're still the cheapest around, though, and the large U-Haul store in north Lynnwood, WA has a good selection of equipment, so I keep using them.

      1. But we all know that there are plent of people out there who think "I have a half ton pick up. That means I should be able to tow anything up to and including a fully loaded semi trailer, all on this fancy bumper hitch!"
        I guess the whole wanting every last bit of info thing doesn't bother me too much. It is their equipment I'm taking, they have a right to know how it's going to be used.
        I did find out recently that they won't allow their trailers to be towed behind an SUV without a hardtop, which is kind of annoying and I can't quite figure out the reason for it. My wife and I are taking a trip and bringing a bunch of stuff back, we wanted to take her Wrangler, but because of that rule we have to take the K5.

  3. I've owned both a 4th generation 4Runner and a 7th gen Civic…same colors, even. I can vouch for the fact that a base V6 4Runner will pull 5,000 lbs minimum. A Civic of this vintage ways about half that. The 4Runner will pull the Civic in its sleep; I kinda miss both those vehicles.
    The real question is if the T4R driver was adhering to the 45 MPH speed limit stickers posted on the fenders of the that U-Haul…

      1. When my buddies move they rent the 27' Uhaul and they make me drive cause they couldn't drive their thumb up their ass.
        They have no cruise control but they're governed at around 135-140km/h, so I just got in the hammer lane and held it to the floor. Nothing like hearing a 454 roaring down the highway at like 4500-5000RPM. Hey, I wasn't paying the fuel.

    1. I found that with the full car trailer that anything above 70 is a no-go, at least with a TR6 on it.

  4. I have never towed a Civic. On the other hand I have used UHaul to tow several Corollas, in a amazing variety of shapes and sizes.

  5. Huh. My go-to is always '96 Escort. Why their computer wouldn't let me tow a Fiero, I haven't the foggiest. I've also towed an Escort that looked an awful lot like an '87 Jaguar XJS.

      1. I think certain MR2s were 5-speed only. I remember seeing lots of Fieros with a slushbox.
        In a RWD vehicle with an auto, you need to pull the driveshaft to tow in the forward direction on a tow dolly, in order to prevent transmission damage. With a manual, you can just leave it in neutral.
        Maybe that's the difference in their system–a presumption that a fictional Fiero had an auto.

        1. Escaped working for u-haul about a year ago. Manny Vs Auto didn't matter, still was supposed to pull the drive shaft. The Fiero may have been too low or too wide to fit on the tow dolly.

  6. I towed a 84 prelude that looked alot like a 84 riviera with a half ton shorty ford van that had 33 inch mud tires, two tens, 4 6×9's , 2 amps sony explode deck. Young and dumb ow ya. thanks u-haul

  7. Dad made my buy a tow dolly to transport the MG to the autox's 100 miles away. He didn't trust that car making it… and now that I think about it, I shouldn't have either.
    I never disconnected the drive shaft. Just put it in neutral and went my merry way.

  8. I towed a Taurus to Topeka. Naw, not really, I just like the sound of that: "I towed a Taurus to Topeka". Same thing like "I touched a Testerossa."
    Actually I did tow dolly the Beachgoddess' Taurus from Marionville MO to St. Augustine FL in late July 2011. The one I rented had surge brakes. And don't bother backing!
    That was the summer longrooffan spent in Colorado and let me stay in the Taj Mahal.

  9. My claim has been, and always will be, an '84 VW Rabbit.
    I've used that for a '67 Dodge A-108 window van which was totally totaled by a drunk bastard who hit me going at what the police estimated was 70 MPH, and accelerating. Pulled it to the salvage yard with my '88 Bonneville LE, with a three-day old (when mobile) radiator and manual trans. Engine had about 18K miles on it. I still haz a sad about this, and that was in 1993, or so. I was hit in August '86, and had a place to store it, thankfully.
    The other one was a true challenge. Pull an '83 Continental from Galveston to Dallas, but first we had to get the 4-cyl Ranger pickup from NW of Austin.
    Stay with me. May be TL;DR for some…
    GF, now wife, were on vacation in Galveston, from Dallas, and took her Lincoln. It was a nice road trip machine.
    Turns out, the PO never changed the oil in it, so on long trips, oil 'sludge' would fall off from the internals and plug the oil pickup screen. Removing the pan required jacking up the engine a pretty good way, and I wasn't going to have this done, again, on the road. The first time, we had no other option.
    BTW, so-called oil sludge is more like small triangular pieces of hard carbon leavings. It's brittle, but manages to plug anything over time.
    So, we rent a Buick Century, drive all night to Burnet, TX, get her dad's Ranger pick-em-up, drive back to Galveston, attempt to rent a dolly. They wouldn't let me have one, even with a Rabbit as the towed vehicle.
    Hmmmm.
    We wait…then, that night, helped U-Haul 'relocate' a tow dolly from Galveston to Dallas, at not cost to them…ifyuhknowwhatImean…
    Put the Continental on the dolly ass first, 'cause I couldn't drop the driveshaft without tools/jack, and slowly…like 40 MPH, pulled it back to Dallas. This started @ maybe 11P, and traffic was pretty much non-existent.
    That was a LONG trip home. Additionally, a couple of times, the tail wagged the dog, resulting in taking up both lanes of I-45 as I got it back under control. 40-41 MPH was fine…45 was not.
    That's the last time I used one. Though privately-owned ones are pretty common in the RV community. Personally, I'd rather have a '98 ZJ 5.9L, or barring that, an early-2000's Saturn LW300.
    Gotta have a T-case which disconnects the trans from the wheels, or a vehicle which can be towed 4-down.
    Not all manuels can be towed this way, plus, due to bodily damage to both my wife and I, a clutch is problematic. I fought the healed double-compound break of my lower left leg for about 6 years with a clutch, but traffic is a real problem.
    My wife used to commute in a Kraemer 935…in heels, so she knows what she's doing…but a fused left ankle means she's limited to very low speeds, now, i.e. first and reverse.

    1. Rental car $ (was this a one-way rental, or did you need to return the car to the rental origin?)
      Gas Galveston to Burnet
      Time Galveston to Burnet
      Gas Burnet to Galveston in Ranger
      Time Galveston to Dallas @ 40 mph max
      Gas Galveston to Dallas
      Gas to return Ranger to Burnet
      Time Dallas to Burnet and back to Dallas
      Some sort of return trip $ Burnet to Dallas
      What do you think it would have cost for a local Galveston mechanic to drop the pan and clean out the crud?

      1. Oh, you'll get no argument out of me, there.
        FWIW, it was a RT rental.
        We were planning on visiting her dad, anyway, as he was in the hospital, but still, yeah, it wasn't the best choice. My GF took the Ranger back down and I rode the '83 Honda VF750S, so it was both fun and relatively inexpensive.
        IIRC, they were going to charge $500 for pan drop/cleaning, but the thing was, we knew it was going to be a problem as soon as we got back to Dallas. Plus, it was a weekend, and I couldn't take more time off work. It was an odd confluence of unhelpful things.
        Road trips loosened that stuff at an alarming rate.
        I can't count the time/fuel from Galveston back to Dallas, as we'd have had to make that trip, anyway, and the Ranger, even pulling the Conti, got better MPG. That Lincoln was a fuel consuming beast. 14 city, maybe 17 highway.

  10. If you have an Explorer like me you can't tow anything thanks to the Firestone debacle. And it doesn't matter what year Explorer it is. Even the new Taurus-based ones aren't allowed to tow U-Haul trailers. Apparently it's an insurance problem, but I don't buy it. And if you tell them you have a Mercury Mountaineer (virtually identical) then you can tow no problem.

    1. If you've got an Explorer Sport (2DR), tell 'em you've got a Mazda Navajo. Should confound them for a while – when was the last time you saw one of those on the road?

      1. That'll definitely throw 'em for a loop. I'd be surprised if they even knew what it was.

  11. I actually did put my wife's 2002 Civic on a U-Haul dolly to tow it from Wisconsin to California. Half ton Dodge van tow vehicle==approved combination!
    The dolly did have surge brakes. Because of dual pivot points, you can't back up more than a couple feet. It is indeed possible to drive 2400 miles without backing up.

  12. U-haul wouldnt let me tow my 91 sunbird hobby race car, because the u haul dealer was a friend and knew the car had no windows and resembled a race car(go figure). The next towns dealer had an issue with my 86 suburban towning my 91 subird le street car. I still to this day dont know what the issue was with using a suburban for towing, nor why I couldnt tow a car without windows. luckily I know more than one dealer and he was willing to look the other way and I didnt have to lie to him but he did have to lie to the computer.

    1. Couldn't have been a very good friend.
      Towing a car without windows doesn't seem to present any obvious dangers to the trailer. Those rental guys must be smarter than us.

  13. Funny, I thought I was the only person who did that.
    I have, literally, had nothing but problems dealing with U-Haul. Never had a rental go right.
    Your local craigslist has no shortage of people renting better equipment for cheaper with significantly less BS.

  14. Hey, this is a great place to see idiots still survive their primitive ideas. The only human I knew who owned a tow dolly made every mistake know to man while driving, towing, riding scooters and bikes. He passed away peacefully at 84 last week.

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