Tell me about pulling a moving trailer

I drove our first big load o’ stuff from Ohio to NJ last week in a 30’ truck. It was absolutely terrifying and I really don’t want to repeat the experience. I think I can cram the rest of our crap into a smaller truck or a larger U-Haul trailer; I don’t want to repeat the PA Turnpike Ride of Death.

Would my 6-cylinder X-terra SUV do okay with a trailer? Is pulling a trailer as scary as driving a big honkin’ truck? I have all the hitch-y stuff.

if you have no experience pulling trailers I would recomment renting the smaller truck.

Trailers are significantly more dangerous than trucks. Read this 3-part Los Angeles Times series.

Another vote for the truck. Trailers are a whole different pile of problems. Especially if you have to back one up. Following a trailer where you want it to go rates right up there with herding cats.

WOW! A truck rental it is, then! Thanks.

When my daughter and her husband moved from Utah to Washington state, I went with them and pulled a U-Haul trailer with all their belongings. I had no trouble at all, even going up and down the mountains in between.

However…[ol]
[li]I was pulling the trailer with my big honkin’ 3/4 ton pickup truck with a Hemi engine (Yes, the gas mileage was terrible).[/li][li]I have been pulling camping trailers and boats for over 15 years.[/li][/ol]

If you haven’t towed a trailer before, and don’t have a tow vehicle that weighs at least as much as the loaded trailer, I wouldn’t recommend it.

When I moved from Rochester, N.Y. to Salt Lake City, Utah, everyone assured me that my four-cylinder Mustang II would NEVER be able to drag a Trailer Full o’Stuff all the way out there.

So I bought a light trailer, fixed it up, got it street legal, and loaded my stuff into it.
Between Gary, Indiana and Lincoln, Nebraska I had six flat tires. They were pretty spectacular – at highway speeds the trailer tires didn’t merely deflate, they exploded. Twice the rims were irretrievably bent as well. Each was an adventure in itself, especially the one where it rained on my as I rode my bike to the next exit to call in on my AAA card.

In Lincoln Nebraska my trailer spring broke, as well. That was the end of the trailer. I did a lot of fancy footwork and calling and was able to sell the broken trailer. Then I rented a U-Haul to get my worldly belongings the rest of the way to Utah. I was all set with the trailer hitch and the wiring for the auxiliary lights. Fortunately, everybody turned out to be wrong about me not being able to haul the trailer. Although, as I neared the Continental Divide on US 80 I was all the way down in first and getting slower all the time. I thought I might have to get out and push.
Aside from that, I had no serious problems. A six cylinder engine ought to be able to haul a trailer handily, and , as my experience sows, it’s not necessarily a Death Sentence.

As others have said, its not a bad thing - if you have some experience towing a trailer AND you vehicle can handle it -

Its not the pulling that will get you - its the stopping - and Uhauls do come with trailer brakes to help that out.

Loaded correctly (not over loaded or poorly balanced - most of the wieght to the front of the trailer) - you’ll do fine - if you plan your trip and your stops right - you’ll never have to back it up either. Keep it slow and constant on the highway - you’ll find the sweet spot for the speed where it will travel well.

That being said, I’ve also done enough towing to know what all that means, and If I had to fight the turnpike (that you disliked in a large truck) you’ll really not like it with a trailer in tow.

Horror stories are just that, horror stories - we’ve all got them - but that does not mean that you will be victim of one - just means what to pay attention to when you get started.

When I first started driving race cars, I had a 4 cylinder Ford Courier. I also had a heavy car trailer I could borrow. For 2 years, I drug race cars all over the state of Washington with my little Courier. The only scary moment was the time I burned up the clutch driving over Snoqualmie Pass. I made it the 50 or so miles to home in first gear.

*"T’was the dark ‘o’ the moon,
on the sixth of June,
in a Kenworth haulin’ logs.
Cab over a Pete with reefer on,
and a Jimmy haulin’ hogs.

I was headed for bear on I-one-oh,
'bout a mile outta Shakeytown.
I said ‘Pig Pen this here’s the Rubber Duck,
and I’m about ta put th’ hammer down . . ."*

Just over a year ago, I hauled 13,560 lbs of my truck, my trailer, and most of my worldly posessions from Montana, through Jersey, down here to Georgia. I’ve got a V8 F-150 with a Class III suspension, and I’m darn glad I spent the money for a ‘heavier’ truck.

The one piece of advice when either you’re starting out or doing it to move: slower speeds are your life!. For me, it’s all in the style of how you’re driving. Taking it easy and gentle around curves will save your load from shifting and be much easier on your suspension and engine. Let gravity slow you down instead of using the brakes. In other words, drive like your grandmother. Control, control, control! And learn to “read” traffic and the road conditions.

Tripler
Smaller may be better, but if you’re travelling 10+ MPH over and can’t stop, it ain’t gonna matter anyway.