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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok basically im Marine stationed in North Carolina, my buddy and me are going back to our original duty station in Cali, im just making sure my truck can handle this job. he has a V6 Mustang, going to be renting a uhual to do this.
can my truck handle this?

i have a 2000 Dodge Ram 1500 v8 5.2L (only upgrade that i will have is my volant cold air intake at this point)

i also will be towing on April 1st

So any upgrade you think i should do before this trip? or anything else that will help me out
 

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Your truck should be able to handle this, but you need to be properly equipped.
I can't tell for sure from the pics, but it doesn't look like you have Class 4 trailer hitch. Here is list of items that are necessary to make this trip safely and legally.

Hitch - Minimum Class 4
Transmission cooler (if you don't already have one)
Trailer brake controller (unless the Uhaul has a built in trailer brake system)

Next thing is to determine the GVW and GCVWR of the truck (Should be a sticker on the drivers B-pillar with that info.) Then you need to know the actual weight of the trailer with the car on it.

GCVWR (Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating) is the maximum weight of the whole unit. This is truck + payload + loaded trailer.

GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight) is the maximum weight of the truck. This includes truck + fuel + humans + cargo + tongue weight of trailer.

When the trailer is properly loaded, about 10% of the gross trailer weight will be on the tongue, so if the trailer weights 2000lbs, and the car weighs 3500lbs, the Gross Trailer Weight will the 5500lbs, and the tongue will be about 550lbs. This 550 lbs is carried by the truck, so becomes part of the trucks 'payload'.

Something that is often overlooked is the rating of the ball mount. These are often rated at max 500lbs, so just be aware of this.

Depending on the rear suspension of your truck and the final tongue weight of the trailer, it may be necessary to use an equalizer hitch. This are generally recommended for trailer weights exceeding 4000lbs. I regularly pull 7000lbs of trailer and do not use an equalizer system, but I have taken the steps to ensure every part of my system is rated greater than the actual load I have on it.

If you have an RV dealer nearby, they can likely offer you some assistance in ensuring you are ready, safe and legal. Your Uhaul rep 'should' be able to do the same.

Not that I am some big expert on trailer towing, but if they give you information that conflicts with what I've given you here, I'd be cautious, then I'd come back here and call me on it. If I'm wrong on any point, I want that corrected so no one has an issue based on wrong information from me. If their stringing you along, there are a lot of members here that will point that out to you.

So by now your thinking 'I'm worried about my truck! What's all this crap about GVW....blah, blah.... I just want to know if my truck will make it without having to replace the engine, trans and differentials when I get there!'

I brought it up first because it 'IS' that important. If your truck has an engine failure, that would be a terrible and costly 'inconvenience', but chances are you would alive and well to complain about it. BUT on that note....

Make sure your truck is well serviced. Starting the trip with a fresh oil/filter change is recommended. If your transmission has not been recently serviced, I would recommend doing that now. You don't need to have it flushed, but a basic oil and filter change would be a great idea. Changing the oil in the diff's is also a smart thing to do, and check your U-joints, suspension components, brakes, wheel bearings, etc.

Depending on what gear ratio you have, will determine how heavy the load feels to your drivetrain. As you likely don't do this often, I will recommend that you just take your time on the trip, and make regular stops to allow the drivetrain to cool. Check the temp of the differential from time to time. After a run on the highway, if you touch it with your hand and get burned right away, you have a problem that needs addressing. Don't worry to much about your hand, it'll heal. :) It is not uncommon for the diff to run hot enough that you can't hold your hand on it for any length of time, but you should not get an instant burn from it.

Also talk with the vehicle maintenance techs on base. These guys usually have an excellent understanding of these ratings, and can often help you in the task of checking over your truck to ensure the best chance of a successful trip. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
i snagged these photos real quick. as you can tell in the last pic i will need to replace the wiring



 

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You'll be fine towing that car. Don't expect to set any records towing up hill but it will handle it. Most Uhaul trailers have their own brake set ups that don't even require a brake controller.
 

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Yeah you'll be fine. The main thing to look at is GCWVR like Brad said. You shouldn't have to focus much on tongue weight being that it can basically only be loaded on the car hauler one way. The 20" wheels will hurt you as well, as they are larger and heavier than the stock wheels, but still you will be fine. Use common sense and just double check the weight, but I'm sure it's within the rating for your truck. I've towed way over the rating of past trucks just kept it slow, used common sense, and all was good. The only thing bad that came from it was I probably took some life of the clutch, but with auto you don't have to worry about that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
so now that i have opinions open to say i should be able to do this job, do i go with the full trailer or the dolly?
 

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^I always like having what I tow off the ground up on the trailer, but that's just my preference. The dolly may be better for you and your truck, it'll be a lot lighter.
 

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That is a BIG no no on an automatic trans car. Auto's get lube from the pump which only pumps when the engine is running.
 

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Backing the car onto the dolly is also an option. I never trusted the steering wheel lock pin to hold everything straight for many miles though. Maybe that is just me over-thinking everything.
 

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^I thought when tow trucks towed cars with the front wheels down they left the key "on" to release the steering lock, so the wheels were free to turn...?
 

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^sorry to thread jack but you have my curiosity now... I understand that the trans pump doesn't spin when the engine doesn't spin. So if you put the car in N and roll down the driveway with the engine off, is that bad?
 

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Tow trucks tow a vehicle backwards, if it has an automatic, rear wheels off the ground
Front wheel drive vehicles are towed with the front wheels off the ground

Another thing for them to consider is just how fast & far they will be driving, if they will be driving under 30 - 35 MPH for a 5 mile tow, they may choose to pull the vehicle with the drive wheels on the ground
They could still blow out the transmission seals, it is a chance that some of them are willing to take, after all, its not their vehicle
 

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Like GTyankee touched on, no rolling down your driveway in neutral is not going to hurt anything because it is only a short distance. And no, the steering wheel is not left unlocked when on the dolly. I wouldn't even bother with a dolly if you've got a long distance to travel.
 

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I spent 20 years pulling my extra wheels around on a dolly, while in the USAF. I'm sold on them, as a matter of fact, i still have one, as well as a trailer 18' long with a mile marker 9,00o Lb winch. I love what the trailer can do over a dolly, but it sure is a lot greater pleasure to pull the dolly. The ONLY disadvantage is that you can't back up effectively with a dolly, but if I figure right, you guys are going non stop, drinking caffeine and eating carbs to keep going...The only thing I would suggest for your truck is... transmission gauge and cooler. My old Chev did not like pulling that dolly with car, over 60 meant gauge temps in the yellow (200 deg plus) keep the tranny out of OD to keep the heat down, as well. putting a gauge on is easy, as well as an aux cooler. Gas is cheap in comparison to tranny rebuilds, especially on the interstate... change the rear diff oil, excellent idea. If you use a dolly, pad the wire harness good, to save the Fords paint.Going the distance will simply take time and pressure, you'll get there, turn up the tunes and enjoy the scenery... pulling the driveshaft is simple, auto or stick, I'd pull it... I used to unbolt it from the rearend, push it in as far as it would go, and using giant zip ties, bind i t tight to the exhaust pipes, (that was easy on b body chargers and road runners, don't know about mustangs, but if the driveshaft is still plugged in, the tranny won't leak...
 
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