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Need Towing Advice And U Haul

1995E

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Hello all,

My friend's Volkswagen Golf 2002 4-Door 2.0L has something broken with his engine immobilizer and he doesn't want to pay for a full on tow truck to tow it to the dealership.

We were thinking we would rent a tow dolly from U-Haul and try to push the VW on the dolly, (although I am unsure if the dolly will fit all cars), then tow it with my Explorer to the dealership. Now I just have the trailer tow package class III hitch. However, I don't know what other supplies I need. I know I probably need a Ball mount or something but what kind? Should I buy my own or rent it at U-Haul?

I am pretty unfamiliar with towing as this will be my first time so if I could get any tips, that would be great.
 
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Turdle

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1995E

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Dan Whitaker

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Are there any other rental places close to you? I'd avoid U-Haul if at all possible. They do not take care of maintenance on their trailers or trucks.

I had a personal experience 15 years ago with one of their trucks. I've also seen one of their utility trailers on the side of the road with the axle laying beside the trailer.
 
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wifes2011xlt

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I'm guessing you probably need a wdh too. Might be cheaper to just call a tow truck or rent both a truck and dolly from uhaul.
 
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peterk9

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U-Haul will rent to those with the 5th generation Explorer. They changed that ruling some time ago.

Peter
 
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Turdle

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Forgive me I was mistaken. However, I would still refuse to do business with them based on principal.

For the OP, you might check with u haul to see what they require or recommend for your use.
 
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If it is a car dolly you are renting, it should have the 3 point straps already built into the trailer that goes around all 4 tires and tightens down. You will need a 2" ball for the trailer to mount on.. they are cheap enough at Walmart to buy and just keep it incase you ever tow again.

I don't think there will be anything else that will be needed.
 
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1995E

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If it is a car dolly you are renting, it should have the 3 point straps already built into the trailer that goes around all 4 tires and tightens down. You will need a 2" ball for the trailer to mount on.. they are cheap enough at Walmart to buy and just keep it incase you ever tow again.

I don't think there will be anything else that will be needed.

Thanks for the recommendations. I think the tow dolly they are giving us is going to only hold the two wheels. Should I go with the full dolly?
 
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wifes2011xlt

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Make sure your draw bar and hitch ball are rated appropriately for the weight you're gonna tug. If you have a 7 pole plug, you'll need a 7-4 pin adapter.

May want to check the weight of the VW if you plan to rent a car hauler. The car hauler will be a couple thousand pounds alone.
 
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blwnsmoke

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Thanks for the recommendations. I think the tow dolly they are giving us is going to only hold the two wheels. Should I go with the full dolly?

A 2 wheel will be just fine. My brother in law had an 02 Explorer and a 2 wheel tow dolly and towed cars all the time. He used to go to auctions, buy and sell them towing them home with it.
 
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dco43054

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I am pretty unfamiliar with towing as this will be my first time so if I could get any tips, that would be great.
This tells me >>your<< best bet would be to let him call a tow truck.

What could go wrong? Maybe nothing. But if you've never towed anything, and are uncertain of equipment, probably not the best idea.
 
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Lewisra

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This tells me >>your<< best bet would be to let him call a tow truck.

What could go wrong? Maybe nothing. But if you've never towed anything, and are uncertain of equipment, probably not the best idea.

You gotta start somewhere. If you drive safely and give yourself enough room around corners you should be fine. Remember your braking distance is increased, you're stopping your vehicle plus 4k lbs. I'd call U-haul and confirm that the trailer has a 2 inch ball. JMHO.
 
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wifes2011xlt

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First time my wife pulled a trailer was when she was on a road trip with her family when she was 17. They were pulling their horse trailer. Someone needed to relieve my FIL at the wheel and my wife got the call. My wife asked what to do about the trailer. FIL said, "It'll just follow you." :eek:

Start braking before turns, swing out wider on turns, watch your speed, don't panic when a trucker passes you and you start to sway - speed up a tad to pull out of it, avoid backing up or practice in an empty parking lot. Don't drive into an area where it will be difficult to get out unless you've practiced backing up. Try not to look at your rearview mirror too much when just driving along, don't worry, the trailer is still back there but make sure your coupler is seated properly on your hitch ball and locked and cross safety chains before attaching.

Hitch ball will either be 1 7/8" or 2". Call to make sure or buy both. I always keep one of each in my trunk. They are pretty inexpensive. Again, make sure they are rated for the load you're going to be tugging.

You have checked your weights, right? and compared them to Uhaul's dolly payload specs? and your Ex's specs?
 
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Bobmbx

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Look at your insurance policy. You may have towing coverage.

Oh, and AAA is your friend. 100 miles free towing.
 
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dco43054

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You gotta start somewhere. If you drive safely and give yourself enough room around corners you should be fine. Remember your braking distance is increased, you're stopping your vehicle plus 4k lbs. I'd call U-haul and confirm that the trailer has a 2 inch ball. JMHO.
IMHO a great place to start is towing a small utility trailer, not 2,800 pounds of VW.

And there is another problem - The owner's manual tells you the braking system of the explorer is rated for the GVWR, 6,180 or so, including the towed load. The curb weight of the Explorer is around 4,625, plus 2,800 pounds of VW puts you at 7,425.

So I will again say - I wouldn't recommend doing it.
 
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1995E

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IMHO a great place to start is towing a small utility trailer, not 2,800 pounds of VW.

And there is another problem - The owner's manual tells you the braking system of the explorer is rated for the GVWR, 6,180 or so, including the towed load. The curb weight of the Explorer is around 4,625, plus 2,800 pounds of VW puts you at 7,425.

So I will again say - I wouldn't recommend doing it.

Wait, so how exactly do those other guys tow 5,000 pounds of boat or something?
 
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wifes2011xlt

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Surge brakes. Make sure you have some.
 
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dco43054

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Wait, so how exactly do those other guys tow 5,000 pounds of boat or something?
Depends on the trailer.

As noted, could be surge brakes - hydraulic with master cylinder on the tongue of the trailer that is actuated when trailer moves forward under braking; or could be electric brakes. If you have the tow package, you have the wiring for electric brakes, but not the controller. You need a cable and controller unit to interface with electric braking circuit on the trailer. Most rental trailers have surge brakes because they don't require any special wiring.

The U-Haul dolly does not have brakes, but their vehicle hauler does http://www.uhaul.com/Trailers/Auto-Transport-Rental/AT/

The vehicle hauler weighs 2,210 pounds per Uhaul, and the VW weighs about 2,800 - so that would put you at 5,000 pounds, which is within the capabilities, but would require trailer braking, and Ford recommends a load equalizing hitch for towing anything over 3,500 pounds.

It's all in your manual. check out the Towing section.

Now, does all this mean you can't do it - nope. You can roll the dice and take your chances. I know I exceeded the design specs for towing with my '97 and '02 for really brief periods of time. Would I recommend it? Nope, especially not for someone who hasn't ever towed anything of substance.
 
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Lewisra

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How far is the dealership?
 
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