OT: Tow hitch for Toyota and Mercedes and towing safety Q. (2024)

Spud

Diamond
Joined
Jan 12, 2006
Location
Brookfield, Wisconsin
  • Mar 31, 2014
  • #1

Will be travelling about 1500 miles.
Payload is 650 lbs.

2 choices of U-Haul enclosed trailers:

a) 900 lb single axel trailer
b) 1250 lb dual axel trailer

-
Vehicles I can use:

2004 Toyota Camry with 2000 lb tow rating
2007 Mercedes GL450 suv with tow rating of 7000lbs.

-

I prefer the Toyota due to much better fuel economy. If I pick the dual axel U-Haul , then my trailer+payload weight comes to 1900lbs, so I am close to Toyota's stated limit.

-
So considering I am gona be driving 1500 miles (half of which will be with a loaded trailer) , should I pick single or dual axel trailer?

-

What brands of tow hitches are best for the Toyota and the Merc?
Do I need trailer brakes?

Should I get a Class 1 or Class 2 hitch for the Toyota?
Class 1 hitch is rates at 2000lbs, which is the Camry's max rating.
Class 2 hitch is rated at 3500 lbs.

Is there any benefit in going with a Class 2 hitch even though I won't be using the extra 1500 lbs hitch rating as that would exceed the Camry's max rating?

T

tdmidget

Diamond
Joined
Aug 13, 2005
Location
Tucson AZ
  • Mar 31, 2014
  • #2

Where are you going that you can't rent one way?
With the trailer back there fuel economy will be a memory no matter what you pull it with. The Mercedes will likely do better than the Toyota with this load due to aerodynamics.
The Toyota will be maxed out and you don't want to know what that means in a hard braking Oh sh*t situation. In the lighter vehicle hard braking becomes Oh sh*t in the blink of an eye.
The single axle likely has no brakes and the 2 axle likely has surge brakes.
For me it's a no brainer. Rent one way. 2 axles behind the Mercedes = much more likely to get home cheaper without mishap.

As far as the hitch, I don't know and don't need to. My F 150's bumper is rated 5000 lbs and 500 tongue weight.

Spud

Diamond
Joined
Jan 12, 2006
Location
Brookfield, Wisconsin
  • Apr 1, 2014
  • #3

tdmidget said:

Where are you going that you can't rent one way?
With the trailer back there fuel economy will be a memory no matter what you pull it with. The Mercedes will likely do better than the Toyota with this load due to aerodynamics.
The Toyota will be maxed out and you don't want to know what that means in a hard braking Oh sh*t situation. In the lighter vehicle hard braking becomes Oh sh*t in the blink of an eye.
The single axle likely has no brakes and the 2 axle likely has surge brakes.
For me it's a no brainer. Rent one way. 2 axles behind the Mercedes = much more likely to get home cheaper without mishap.

As far as the hitch, I don't know and don't need to. My F 150's bumper is rated 5000 lbs and 500 tongue weight.

If I drop off the trailer at the same place I pick it up (Wisconsin) then my daily rate is $20 for the single axel and $30 for the dual

If I pick up the trailer at my destination (Kansas) and drop it off at home location ( Wisconsin ) then the daily rate is $222 for the single axel and $387 for the dual axel.

J

janvanruth

Titanium
Joined
Oct 27, 2013
Location
netherlands Asten
  • Apr 1, 2014
  • #4

since you put the question here i take it you dont have that much experience towing?

if so go for the heaviest combination, the safer and more relaxing.
a camry with a single axle trailer will do fine but wont be an easy ride.
camry with dual axle wouldnt cost much more and be a far better choice.

  • Apr 1, 2014
  • #5

I would drive the SUV, pull single axle trailer. Despite thoughts the car would get better fuel economy, you likely will be in a catalyst protection strategy in engine management due to a lot more load, thus in open loop enrichment.

Guessing also the SUV already has a trailer hitch, the price of hitch + installation + wiring the car is going to eat all your savings.

Pay attention to placing the load properly so there is some tongue weight so the trailer will trail and not "wander" which is hair raising and unnecessary. I hope you don't have to drag a 650lb machine into position inside the enclosed trailer. That will not be fun. If you do, make sure you block up the back bumper (frame area) of the trailer if you set a heavy load down on the back end of the trailer.

Keep your speeds down. 65mph is good enough IMHO.

Chip Chester

Diamond
Joined
Dec 13, 2007
Location
Central Ohio USA
  • Apr 1, 2014
  • #6

Like they said above... no Toyota.
The benefit of a class II/III hitch would be that all your accessories are standard 2" size. Bike racks, hitch platforms, collegiate hitch covers, handicap scooter lifts, etc. Adaptors from small to large have so much slop in them they're unusable.

Don't forget mirrors wide enough to see past the trailer.

Chip

H

howieranger

Aluminum
Joined
Jan 24, 2007
Location
Mountain Home AR.
  • Apr 1, 2014
  • #7

As stated the GL will be a much safer and easier drive. The suspension on the GL is much more suited to towing. It will reacct to sudden inputs like bumps, swerves and sudden braking in a much better manor.

N

Nmbmxer

Stainless
Joined
Jun 22, 2008
Location
VA
  • Apr 1, 2014
  • #8

Our local uhaul has a F250 you can rent for $20 a day, at least I think that is what the sign says.

I would tow with the biggest truck you can find if you've never towed before. Getting wagged by a trailer is not fun, esp in a car.

C

CWB

Hot Rolled
Joined
Mar 15, 2009
Location
Detroit
  • Apr 1, 2014
  • #9

Nmbmxer said:

Our local uhaul has a F250 you can rent for $20 a day, at least I think that is what the sign says.

+charge/mile at every location Ive used recently. In my area here its ~$1/mile.

Youre asking the wrong questions in the wrong place. I use U-haul fairly regularly in various locations, they wont rent you the dual axle trailers if youre using the Toyota and possibly not even the Mercedes. They dont rent trailers based upon what the customer says they are hauling, they rent based upon your vehicle's limit compared to the max trailer weight when loaded. Their average customer is an idiot with no conception of weight, they could hypothetically rent you a 7k capable trailer based upon youre claiming that the cargo is only 500 lbs, then when you load it for 7k, put it behind the Toyota, and have an issue theyre liable. On a related note, if you play "switcheroo" and the trailer is either too large for the vehicle and/or not the one on the rental form they can hold you personally responsible for damages and the insurance company might not cover you.

Big B

Diamond
Joined
Jun 26, 2009
Location
Michigan, USA
  • Apr 1, 2014
  • #10

It sounds like you are someone who is buying a machine and hauling it home. If that is the case, you will likely be buying more machines in the future and will be glad that you put the hitch on the Mercedes. The Toyota may be fine for hauling an aluminum fishing boat but that is about as far as I would trust it for pulling a trailer.

Big B

B

Joined
Apr 1, 2004
Location
Modesto, CA USA
  • Apr 1, 2014
  • #11

I rented a Uhaul Ford f150 pickup. 450 miles each way cost was about $450. I rented for one week. If I had wanted it for three days cost would have been over $700? Daily rate stays the same but cost per mile drops on longer time rental.
Bill D.
Modesto, CA

A

aspp

Cast Iron
Joined
Feb 25, 2014
Location
California
  • Apr 1, 2014
  • #12

Tow with the vehicle that has the biggest breaks.
The other thing people are not mentioning is that the transaxle in the car is not going to like towing, it was never meant to tow a load. Yes they have rated trailer loads, but that was an afterthought in design. The SUV will be the much better bet, you will have less problems, and you will likely get better fuel economy with it over the car. Just remember, when your towing with a load in the trailer turn the OD off and cruse at 55-60mph. All Uhauls have reduced tow speed recommendations of IIRC, 45mph.

Also, when you load the trailer, set the load so 60% of the weight is on the vehicle side of the trailer axle, and 40% is behind. At only 650lbs its not going to matter a whole lot, but proper loading can keep the trailer "whip" from happening, will be eaiser on both vehicles, and you will stop quicker.

Spud

Diamond
Joined
Jan 12, 2006
Location
Brookfield, Wisconsin
  • Apr 1, 2014
  • #13

matt_isserstedt said:

I would drive the SUV, pull single axle trailer. Despite thoughts the car would get better fuel economy, you likely will be in a catalyst protection strategy in engine management due to a lot more load, thus in open loop enrichment.

Guessing also the SUV already has a trailer hitch, the price of hitch + installation + wiring the car is going to eat all your savings.

It's a 2004 Camry, so not sure if engine has that catalyst protection thing you mentioned.

Merc has no towing hitch or wiring , so everything will need to be installed.

CWB said:

+charge/mile at every location Ive used recently. In my area here its ~$1/mile.

Youre asking the wrong questions in the wrong place. I use U-haul fairly regularly in various locations, they wont rent you the dual axle trailers if youre using the Toyota and possibly not even the Mercedes. They dont rent trailers based upon what the customer says they are hauling, they rent based upon your vehicle's limit compared to the max trailer weight when loaded. Their average customer is an idiot with no conception of weight, they could hypothetically rent you a 7k capable trailer based upon youre claiming that the cargo is only 500 lbs, then when you load it for 7k, put it behind the Toyota, and have an issue theyre liable. On a related note, if you play "switcheroo" and the trailer is either too large for the vehicle and/or not the one on the rental form they can hold you personally responsible for damages and the insurance company might not cover you.

I used U-Haul's online resource that tells you what trailers you can tow for the vehicle one has. For both the Camry and the Merc, it said I can tow the single or dual axel.

duckman

Hot Rolled
Joined
Aug 14, 2004
Location
Winchendon, MA USA
  • Apr 1, 2014
  • #14

I know a lot of people do it but your asking a 10 YO car with front wheel drive to pull a load 750 miles while pulling the trailer 1500 miles , whats it going to cost when half way home the tranny takes a dive and your stuck, if you have to put a hitch on the Cam put your money in the MB. I personally believe in over kill when towing, my choice now is my F150 EGOBOOST all my trailers have brakes (electric), bob cat trailer, 5X10 flatbed, and 16' RV. . JMPO but penny wise pound foolish, we don't want to see you on "you tube" under "dumb trailer tower".

Spud

Diamond
Joined
Jan 12, 2006
Location
Brookfield, Wisconsin
  • Apr 1, 2014
  • #15

matt_isserstedt said:

Guessing also the SUV already has a trailer hitch, the price of hitch + installation + wiring the car is going to eat all your savings.

Made a mistake earlier. Merc already has a Curt 3500 lb tow hitch (class 2) . The hitch was only used to mount a bike rack, so will need to get a pintle hitch for the trailer.

Will also need wiring , as U-Haul requires wiring . Forgot why U-Haul needs wiring, is it for brake lights?

So I suppose I am going with the Merc gl450 then.

Chip Chester

Diamond
Joined
Dec 13, 2007
Location
Central Ohio USA
  • Apr 1, 2014
  • #16

Uhaul won't have any trailers that require a pintle hitch. They will have 2" ball on a drawbar. Pick one that lets the trailer ride level, not nose-up. Wiring will be for running lights and brake lights. Trailer brakes will be "surge" brakes. If you already have wiring for lights, on a 4-pin flat connector, you're good to go. If not, there is probably a connector in the truck's wiring harness to which you can connect a pre-built lighting connector. That's the way to go. You may need a "yellow turn signal converter" that sums the signals from separate turn signal circuits. Be picky about whether you let Uhaul install it, though -- see if there's a "hitch center" shop nearby, and go there.

Chip

matt_isserstedt

Diamond
Joined
Dec 15, 2003
Location
suburbs of Ann Arbor, MI, USA
  • Apr 1, 2014
  • #17

Spud said:

Will also need wiring , as U-Haul requires wiring . Forgot why U-Haul needs wiring, is it for brake lights?

Brake lights, running lights, and turn signals. Personally I would research your vehicle some more. Very very likely there is a pre-made wiring connector that simply attaches to the factory wiring harness for your vehicle to give you the lighting "taps" that you need. The vehicle connector is probably hidden behind an access panel in the rear cargo area. I would NOT have Uhaul install the lighting despite the possible convenience factor. I would never want someone with a handful of scotchloks in one hand and a handful of butt splices in the other doing anything to my vehicle's electrical system...but maybe I'm being overly picky OT: Tow hitch for Toyota and Mercedes and towing safety Q. (11)

There are no trailer brakes on a single axle trailer. That's OK IMHO as you have enough vehicle there to handle that.....IF you keep your speeds down.

The last caution I have is about tying something heavy down inside the trailer. Enclosed Uhaul trailers absolutely suck for tie downs. Recall they are designed for the masses to haul cardboard boxes full of records (CDs?) and small couches. You have strips of wood glued to the inside walls. You have some D-rings but they are bent out of something approaching 1/8" dia wire.

So having said that, if you look thru all my adventures with Uhaul towing in the past, I always used the "AO" single axle open and "RO" double axle open trailers. The simple reason is they are built entirely of steel. They have D-rings that are around 5/16" dia wire and you can use chain binders within reason to tie things down. The other tactic I used was to measure the trailer first, cut some kind of cribbing that could thru bolt to the machine base, and be within around 1/4" to 1/2" of the ID measurement of the trailer. That took some coordination and prep with the seller to figure out whats in the base and have drill bits and carriage bolts (etc) available at the proper time. The downside of my method is that it could rain. I planned trips around the weather within best reason, I used LPS3 generously, and I used tarps with a pile of rubber bungy straps. It was a tradeoff but I felt a lot better with the all steel trailer. IIRC they are also daily-rental, return-to-where-you-picked-it-up.

Here is an example of what I am talking about.

OT: Tow hitch for Toyota and Mercedes and towing safety Q. (12)

My "rig" in those days OT: Tow hitch for Toyota and Mercedes and towing safety Q. (13)

OT: Tow hitch for Toyota and Mercedes and towing safety Q. (14)

YMMV, and hopefully its better than the trailblazer...OT: Tow hitch for Toyota and Mercedes and towing safety Q. (15)

G

Guest

Guest
  • Apr 1, 2014
  • #18

Don't know the implications how the computer will re-tune the engine with the load, but anytime you severely overburden a smallest engine with a heavy load the gas mileage can get chopped in half or worse. The gas mileage savings between the Camry and the SUV may not be as much as you expected as you will be straining to go 45 MPH up 4 lane Highway hills as loaded gravel trucks whip around you at 65 MPH. The SUV will go 65 MPH up those hills without drawing a deep breath.

Spud

Diamond
Joined
Jan 12, 2006
Location
Brookfield, Wisconsin
  • Apr 1, 2014
  • #19

Chip Chester said:

Uhaul won't have any trailers that require a pintle hitch. They will have 2" ball on a drawbar. Pick one that lets the trailer ride level, not nose-up. Wiring will be for running lights and brake lights. Trailer brakes will be "surge" brakes. If you already have wiring for lights, on a 4-pin flat connector, you're good to go. If not, there is probably a connector in the truck's wiring harness to which you can connect a pre-built lighting connector. That's the way to go. You may need a "yellow turn signal converter" that sums the signals from separate turn signal circuits. Be picky about whether you let Uhaul install it, though -- see if there's a "hitch center" shop nearby, and go there.

Chip

The Merc gets all the work done at the MB dealership, so the wiring connect up will be by them too.

Matt

So I should go measure the distance from ground to U-Haul's hitch , with the hitch being level ? Then have the MB dealership install/adjust the ball hitch to that height?

Can't use an open trailer , as item is an expensive printer. Don't want it to suffer cosmetic damage from road debris / gravel etc.. So I plan on securing with tie downs then pack the space between printer and U-Haul trailer with styrofoam or sponge.

S

sicero

Stainless
Joined
Feb 13, 2005
Location
Medway, Ohio
  • Apr 1, 2014
  • #20

You don't say what you are moving.
Put it in the SUV.
Kenny

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OT: Tow hitch for Toyota and Mercedes and towing safety Q. (2024)

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