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Old 06-03-2019, 07:00 AM   #1
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Trailing issue in Southern Georgia...STUCK...S.O.S.

Just bought a 2003 25 ft Safari Airstream in St Petersburg, FL.
Towing with a 15 ft UHAUL Box Truck.
The adaptor we bought from uhaul based on their off the cuff recommendation bent on us because it was only rated for up to 3500 lbs and we are 6300 lbs.

Trailing back home to Northern CA. Only 245 miles into our 3000 mile journey.

Have my Mom and I doing this, my first rv trailing and ownership experience.

No one will rent me a one way pick up truck with a 2" reveiver.

Will cost up to $6000 to put it on a back bed and ship it back.

There has got to be a better solution!

My friends...help! Any ideas???

Thank you,

Aron B
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Old 06-03-2019, 07:14 AM   #2
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Can you take a picture of the setup on the Uhaul? When you say adapter, is it a ball and receiver?
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Old 06-03-2019, 07:14 AM   #3
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Stuck

Buy a used pickup with towing package, have it set up at an RV dealer, tow your Airstream home. If you already have a tow vehicle sell this one after you get home.
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Old 06-03-2019, 07:17 AM   #4
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Old 06-03-2019, 07:21 AM   #5
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The adapter they sold you, is it 1 1/4" to 2"?
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Old 06-03-2019, 07:21 AM   #6
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Choices

Find a trailer supply store (where contractord and landscapers buy and get service on their trailers, not for tractor trailers). Have them set you up with a good 10K Reese with the right drop.

Can you rent a truck with a 2.5 inch receiver? There is a standard 2.5 to 2" adaptor sleeve that fits into the bigger one. Any trailer supply or auto parts store should have it in stock for $25 or less.

Seems you could buy a used pickup, drive it to California and sell it for less than $1000 loss.

Wait a bit - the next response will probably be from another member who lives 15 miles from your location and who will help you get underway again.
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Old 06-03-2019, 07:38 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by turk123 View Post
The adapter they sold you, is it 1 1/4" to 2"?
Oh, Good catch Turk!

If the U-haul came with a 1 1/4" hitch it isn't meant to tow anything much bigger than a jet ski and you are lucky to still have the Airstream.

My GMC 2500 Diesel has a 2.5" and I use a 2.0" adaptor sleeve for my Blue Ox WD hitch. Getting all the holes lined up is a PIA, but it is one trip.

Good luck.
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Old 06-03-2019, 07:44 AM   #8
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Welcome to the Forums...

Well, it really looks like you are jumping right into the deep end!

My first recommendation would be to proceed with extreme caution going forward, as you have the perfect combination (storm) of inexperience mixed with marginal planning and poor guidance from the supposed experts.

To start off, can you post a picture of this underrated "adapter?" It isn't clear what you are referring to. Who did you by the trailer from (an individual, or a dealer of some sort)? Did they include a weight distribution hitch?

Are your electric brakes hooked up? Do you have weight distribution? Even though it feels like you are in a big bind, things can get worse (ie., the trailer breaks loose on the highway and kills someone, you get in a big old accident and total the trailer, etc.). Do you have insurance on the trailer?

At this point, it sounds to me like you have several options:

1) Hire someone with a vehicle that can tow your trailer to haul it across country. I would expect this to be less than the $6k you quoted, but I would expect it still to cost you in the range of $.50-$1.00 per mile.

2) Go back to Uhaul and get your box truck outfitted correctly for the job at hand. I am actually surprised they even allowed this towing set-up, as it seems that the last time I looked into renting a tow vehicle from them they explicitely required that their vehicles only tow Uhaul trailers. A big reason for this might be that all their trailers are fitted with inertia (surge) brakes, and their vehicles likely do not have brake controllers installed in them to operate the electric brakes (like your trailer has). I don't think I would want to pull a 6300 lb trailer across the country without brakes.

3) Some of the rental companies (Hertz, Budget, etc.) have a "Commercial" division that rents things like F250s. If you haven't already checked into these, it is probably better than a Uhaul box truck.

4) Rumor has it that if you were to rent something like a Suburban or Tahoe from a conventional rental company, that they are already set up with a 2" receiver and the brake controller. The sticking point is that, last I checked, all of the standard auto rental places explicitely forbid you to tow anything with their vehicle. So if all the planets aligned, and you could rent what you need to do the pulling, you might be taking on an unaccepable amount of risk (as what you are doing probably voids your agreement with the company, and you are therefore not covered by insurance, etc.).

5) What do you intend to pull the trailer with when you get it back to California? If you have a capable vehicle out there, maybe an option would be to hire an auto transporter to pick it up and bring it to you where you are. This too, would cost you around $1000, plus it would probably take a week or more to happen.

6) Call some local dealerships and ask them if they have any advice or transport services.

Sorry to say, I don't have any options that are going to be cheap or simple, but above all, make sure what you are doing is SAFE. This may mean taking whatever you end up with to pull the trailer to an RV dealership, buying a weight distribution hitch, and having them help you get it properly dialed in. You are going to need one anyway, so don't look at this as additional cost to get the trailer home, it is just part of the cost of ownership.

Good luck!
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Old 06-03-2019, 08:07 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belegedhel View Post
. . .
My first recommendation would be to proceed with extreme caution going forward, as you have the perfect combination (storm) of inexperience mixed with marginal planning and poor guidance from the supposed experts.
. . .
^^^^^ x2 [and the rest of your comment is well said]


Aron, it might be a good idea to find a safe place to park the Airstream, take some deep breaths, and re-group here.

You appear to be in over your head, in my personal opinion.

No point in making matters worse, and worse and worse.



Good luck,

Peter
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Old 06-03-2019, 09:23 AM   #10
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Hi

Some basics about towing a (large) trailer:

1) They have a gross weight spec (like 6,300 pounds as loaded). Your tow vehicle and hitch needs to be rated to "pull" this much weight.

2) They put a load on the hitch in the "down" direction. This is called tongue weight. There is a number (like maybe 1,000 pounds) on this. Again, both the hitch and tow vehicle need to be rated for this load.

3) You have brakes and lights on the trailer. They run through a 7 pin connector. The lights run one way, the brakes run another way. The tow vehicle needs a "brake controller' (and it needs to be adjusted) to make the brakes run right.

4) There is a breakaway cable and chains on the trailer both need to be hooked up properly. The breakaway cable system *requires* that you have a properly charged battery in the trailer.

Those are just the basics. Sway and sway control are another set of issues that need to be understood and compensated for. Proper sway control hitches are roughly a $1,000 item once installed and adjusted. Sway can send you out of control in an eye blink if you don't understand what's going on. Without a proper brake controller ... yikes ....

=====

What is the goal of owning this trailer? Are you going to camp in it or is it turning into a "tiny house" never to move again? If you are going to tow it, you *will* need a tow vehicle. It's going to need all of the numbers checked off and a proper set of accessories. Might as well buy it now. If it is never going to move .... hire a hauler and let them deal with it. Your U-Haul (plus gas) isn't going to be very cheap anyway.

Bob
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Old 06-03-2019, 09:44 AM   #11
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It seems to me that the combination of equipment that you were sold (and rented) means that you have no working brakes at all on the trailer. You CANNOT drive this rig through the mountains to get home to California.



One alternative to explore is other truck rental companies, such as Penske. I believe they have trucks with 2" receivers and electrical hook-ups (not positive). Remember that you need to connect your 7 blade trailer electrical connector to the truck.


I think your first order of business needs to be to speak one-on-one with an actual towing expert. Is there a major RV dealership near you? Your problems are caused and compounded by free advice from people who don't know any better and / or just want to make a sale.
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Old 06-03-2019, 09:45 AM   #12
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Sorry for your trouble. I think I saw you (or someone else towing an Airstream with a U-Haul) yesterday on I-75. I was headed south.

If you do not have a Class III (2") or larger receiver it is not rated for the load you have put on it. U-haul should NEVER have set you up knowing what you were towing. If you have a 2" receiver, it MAY be suitable for the job, but you will need a brake controller to actuate the trailer brakes and the trailer breakaway system will not work unless there are charged batteries in the trailer. U-haul trailers that have brakes have surge brakes; no brake controller is required. I'd be surprised if their trucks have one. It is illegal, not to mention dangerous, to tow a trailer the size of yours without working brakes, particularly through mountains.

You should, as others have suggested, get yourself to an RV dealer/service facility and have them tell you what you need to be properly set up for a cross country trip. The list may include a truck.

Al
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Old 06-03-2019, 10:15 AM   #13
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Have it shipped!

Do yourself a favor and get your trailer home, then figure out your tow vehicle and other essentials.

We had our 2012 27FBQ delivered from Northern CA (Winters) to Virginia by FR8 (I think this is their website http://fr8-solutions.net/ )
Shipping was arranged by Vince at A to Z motors in Winters in case you need more info.
Cost to ship was $3k. It would have cost us that easy to drive across, pick it up, and tow home. They did not load the trailer on a flatbed - just towed itbehind a serious pickup, by pros.

Best of luck!
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Old 06-03-2019, 10:24 AM   #14
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We are NOT beating you up or.trying to hurt your feelings. All of us started out with zero knowledge and lots of naive ideas. We want to make sure you go from "newbie" to "expert" with the minimum pain possible.

Paula, fellow aluminitis sufferer.
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Old 06-03-2019, 10:35 AM   #15
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If it were me, if you were honest and aboveboard with the U-Haul company when you rented the truck, I would call the U-Haul person who worked with me, tell them the situation, and tell them they need to figure out a safe way for you to do what you need to do and implement it. If they were told of the load and the set-up and still recommended you the wrong adapter/equipment, it needs to be up to them to take care of the issue.

If that doesn't work, you might try hiring an independent through a site like Yesterday's Tractor: https://www.yesterdaystractors.com/cgi-bin/haulquery.pl. I have used them several times and been very satisfied with the results (I am not affiliated with them, just found them very helpful). Just always check out the references and make very sure the driver's insurance covers your load completely before you book.
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Old 06-03-2019, 10:54 AM   #16
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Hi

Just had another thought:

You mention "the adapter bent" ..... what exactly bent and what impact did it have? Was the receiver on the truck damaged ( = hope you signed for the insurance )? Was the trailer damaged ? ( = you have even bigger problems).

======

A bit more about brake controllers:

They need to be adjusted properly. What does that mean? Well, you want "just enough" braking on the trailer. To much braking and you wreck the brakes on the trailer. Not enough braking and the trailer may do alarming things when you (try to) stop. If there isn't an adjustment gizmo on the dash of the truck, you don't have the right setup.

======

A bit off topic, but possibly relevant: How did you wind up in South Georgia on a trip from St Pete to California? Judging from Mr Google, the logical route would have kept you on the gulf coast through Louisiana. Why ask? Well, depending on just where you are and what your next stop is, that might impact people being able to help or make suggestions.

Bob
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Old 06-03-2019, 11:01 AM   #17
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Many good tips from knowledgeable people here. Mainly be thankful you did not have a bigger problem. Stop, take a big breath and get to the nearest reputable RV dealer and sort things out.
Good luck and we are all here to help.
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Old 06-03-2019, 12:15 PM   #18
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It really is fortunate that you didn’t make it further with this setup. The mountains would have created some serious safety issues most likely. I’ve used trusted transport for my trailer, they deliver for Airstream. May be able to call them.
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Old 06-03-2019, 01:53 PM   #19
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We live in middle Georgia and my wife has been in contact with OP. They have selected a transport company to pick up their trailer this afternoon (Monday, 6/3/19) and drive it to California. Turns out the ball shaft bent. Everyone who responded provided great advice as usual. But I “gotta say”. WOW! What an exciting first step on the road to owning their first AS! I thought catching a rock and busting our windshield on our first ever trip last week to pick up our 1989 AS in LYH in Melbourne, FL in our new F250 was pretty exciting/frustrating, etc.?
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Old 06-03-2019, 02:25 PM   #20
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Your SOS

OK pal, step 1- keep rested and calm. This far you are safe!

Next, recognized that you are at serious risk of a calamity if you proceed on your current path. From what you have described, your tow vehicle is inadequate for your trailer. You must not try to
Navigate the Rockies workout functioning trailer brakes. That means brakes in the trailer, a trailer controller on the tow vehicle, and a tow vehicle rated for the size of your load.

Here is a suggested path:

Find a safe parking location/camp ground and park the trailer
The U-Haul box truck is not going to help you (it’s too small)... give it back to U-Haul

Get a rental vehicle with an active 7 pin trailer connection It must also have a brake controller.

If no brake controller is installed, you can buy a “wireless Bluetooth brake controller” from CURT (about $300). These work quite well and you will then hav a brake controller that moves with you across vehicles. You must have a smart phone. These are available on Amazon

HOWEVER, this approach requires that you have a vehicle RATED for your trailer load and tongue weight. There is no ‘work around’ on this.

Hope this is helpful and sorry you are being challenged. But this far, you are safe.... seek to keep it that way

PirateChris
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