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Old 09-27-2010, 03:05 PM   #1
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1965 22' Safari
Shelter Island , New York
Join Date: Aug 2010
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U-haul van for rental tow vehicle

I just used U-haul twice to rent a tow vehicle and it went great. Although I had read in various places that you couldn't rent a tow vehicle, I called uhaul in Kingston (near the P.O.) to get what I expected was the official rejection. To the contrary, they were fine with it. I was open about my use and they were helpful and great!

I rented a Ford F-150 at $29 +.59 per mile to get my new-old 65 Safari from the previous owner's yard on the side of a mountain near Woodstock to the Camper's Barn RV shop. The only wrinkle was the pickup had just a four wire connection for the umbilical so there wasn't going to be a brake controller. Since the pickup was rated for twice the weight of the Safari I felt comfortable going ahead for the short 20 mile tow. It went off without a hitch (pun intended).

After getting new tires and bearings at Camper's Barn (nice folks there, but expensive), I discovered having someone else haul the Safari 200 miles to Shelter Island was going to be too expensive.

Since U-haul doesn't rent their pickups for one-way rentals I rented a 10 foot U-haul van and felt the extra bulk would add to the safety of the trip, anyway. After discovering a problem with the truck's umbillical connection for the lights, U-haul switched me to a 14 foot truck. I had no worries now.
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I towed 200 miles, from Upstate New York, through Westchester and over the Tappan Zee bridge, across the Bronx and over the Throgs Neck Bridge (where do they get these bridge names?). Then down the Long Island Expressway, through the Hamptons and across the South Ferry onto Shelter Island. It was a great trip. I was a nervous tower to be sure, and having my wife following in our car both keeping and eye on the Airstream and blocking traffic for my lane changes made it much easier, but it really went swimmingly.
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The only headache really was the lack of sway bars or stabilizers. There were a couple of times I got some wiggle going, but nothing awful. It was probably just scary to me as a first-time tower. I definitely had a better handle on that by the end of the trip.

The U-haul details are that the trucks are equipped with a 2" ball. The pickup actually had a removable ball hitch that they issued to me at the time of rental. They keep it in the office so no one walks off with it. They even gave me my choice of balls so I could get the right drop to give me the correct hitch height. The 10 foot and 14 foot trucks had balls that were permanent, but the 14 footer had an extension past the ball that looked to me like you could use a different ball. The 10 footer might have had the same arrangement but I'm not sure.
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While the pickup was only equipped for a flat four-wire lighting connection, the larger trucks each came equipped for both four wire flat and 7 blade round. I don't know if the larger trucks had a break controller because I wasn't equipped to use my 7 blade round.
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U-haul was great and I would recommend this to others in a heartbeat!

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Old 09-27-2010, 03:43 PM   #2
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1973 27' Overlander
Southport (Panama City) , Florida
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Thanks for the info. it just might come in handy one of these days....SAM

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Old 09-27-2010, 03:53 PM   #3
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1965 22' Safari
Shelter Island , New York
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 89
Images: 20
Sure. You guys are a great resource and I'm happy to be able to contribute.

By the way, the aforementioned problem with the first truck's lighting connection wasn't an issue with U-haul. It was likely from an error on my part which is detailed elsewhere.
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Old 04-26-2011, 03:48 PM   #4
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1989 29' Excella
1998 34' Excella 1000
1982 31' International
Edmonton , Alberta
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Thanks for this post. I'm about to rent a 14 foot U-Haul to move my 31 International 400 km.

Was hitch height an issue ?

Does U-Haul supply different ball sizes ?
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Old 04-27-2011, 05:18 PM   #5
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1965 22' Safari
Shelter Island , New York
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 89
Images: 20
The hitch height was just fine, about 20 inches if I recall correctly. U-haul had several different ball sizes available for their pickup rentals, but the larger trucks just come with the 2" fixed ball and that worked just fine for my '65 Safari.

I didn't investigate this at the time, but looking back at my photos you can see that there is a tongue below the ball ;-) which I think is there to allow different size balls to be inserted. I do not believe U-haul includes those, so you'd have to buy one (U-haul sells them). If you have any concerns, swing by your U-haul and ask to look at the set-up. The shop I dealt with in Kingston, NY was super-friendly.
Come on a (1965) Safari with me!
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Old 04-27-2011, 05:36 PM   #6
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1968 17' Caravel
Battle Ground , Washington
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This is really good to know. I've always been worried about what would happen if our TV broke down in the middle of a trip. Good to know we could rent a UHaul and get back on the road.

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Old 04-29-2011, 01:15 AM   #7
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1989 29' Excella
1998 34' Excella 1000
1982 31' International
Edmonton , Alberta
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Emboldened by your success I hauled a 31 400 km with a 1 tone Uhaul cube today. Very smooth trip.
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Old 04-29-2011, 04:31 AM   #8
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2011 27 FB International
'03 F250 PSD , Airstream summers, Catalac winters
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This is really good news for me, too. We are planning to fly back up to Texas in two weeks to pick up our new 27 and haul it up to Dallas. I have been trying to find a pickup truck rental place that will rent me a truck, but they seem to want US drivers licenses. Cobbs especially. Nice to know UHaul is a backup plan.
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Old 08-26-2014, 12:19 PM   #9
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1971 31' Sovereign
Austin , Texas
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31' 1971 Sovereign - 14' U-haul Tow

This site has yet again proved to be such a valuable resource. I'm about to tow my 1971, 31' Sovereign at the end of the month from Austin, TX to Richmond, VA behind a 14' U-Haul box truck. I'm moving, so it's a one-way deal. The U-Haul rental is just under a grand. The pictures, advice and info I found on this thread was just what I needed to know. So useful! Thanx!

I'd also like to add a bit of info to the pool for future reference: Regarding our route - a friend and I will be taking the TX, AK, TN, VA route. I've called and spoken at length to all permit offices in each of these states.

To haul from Austin to the Tex/Arkansas boarder, we need a One-Tow Permit, which was $5 and can be handled online or via phone: 800-299-1700. They will email the permit straight to you before you're even off the phone with them.

Arkansas, Tennessee & Virginia do not require single tow permits for a 31' trailer towing behind a 14' U-haul. :-)

Once we're all hooked up on the 31st of this month, I'll take pictures of the set up and also of the trip itself and put them up here for reference.


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