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Hi All,

Hopefully I'm not being too redundant in posting this question here, but we are planning a coast-to-coast move and are very nervous about towing a trailer. The current plan is to tow a 4x6 U-Haul trailer, which weighs around 950lb empty. We anticipate loading 300-500lb at most (probably a high estimate, but trying to play it safe). This small size U-Haul does not come with trailer brakes, and from what I've read the load limit for an un-braked trailer is 1000lb (as opposed to the higher, 2,500lb+ limit when towing with brakes.)

I suppose my question is, should we even consider this? We would be driving in summer weather, and plan to take the flattest route possible. Given that we are towing only personal items (no large furniture, etc.) this is by far our cheapest moving option-however I'm concerned about the safety aspect.

Our car is a 2010 Subaru Outback, 2.5L Premium with approx. 80,000 miles on it.

I greatly appreciate any input-if nothing else to just hear other experiences. Thank you!
 

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The 4x6 tows pretty nice. Its not overly tall or wide. I’ve towed a few with my Legacy and OB.

My current camp trailer is 900lb empty and we run typically around 1300lbs on short trips and as high as 1700lbs on longer trips. The 2010 handles and stops anything in the 1800 and under range pretty well. Expect 18-16mpg tank averages.

If you have over 60,000 miles on your 2010 have the dealer service drain fill the cvt before you go. Also be sure your timing belt service is done.

On long tough climbs I use the manual mode to pick a gear that lets me plug along in the 3200-3500rpm range. These are climbs where big trucks are doing 35-45mph tops. Smaller or shorter climbs I simply let the cvt do its thing and keep RPMs under 4000. This keeps heat spikes down etc.

The only time you need to really keep close tabs on things is when outside temps get into the 85+ range and you have either very heavy head winds or a long climb thats when getting too hot is a very real possibility. Keeping to 3200-3500rpm on climbs helps mitigate temp spikes and still gets you strong pulling power. Speed is whatever it happens to be in those cases. Avoid cruise control any time it causes big increases in RPM beyond that 3200-3500rpm again to simply manage heat etc.
 

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I have also always run 10-30 oil in the EJ engine. Synthetic will help keep temps down also. If I were doing that trip I would simply just put some 10-30 synthetic like Quakerstate etc in it and go. Do not use Mobile 1. I ran Mobile 1 for 20yrs then they switched to a very cheap blend no longer Euro spec arpund 2007. All three of my cars had issues with it. Today I only run Chevron oils but this trip a synthetic pensoil or quakerstate 10-30 would make the old EJ happy.
 

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2016 Outback 3.6R Limited
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Here are some safety additions.

When towing anything... you are NOT in a hurry. Smooth and easy is the rule. Whenever you stop for a break or fuel, inspect your trailer's condition. (electrical connection and operation of lights, hitch ball lock, trailer tires, etc) The repeated inspections may seem excessive but preventing issues is less aggravating than fixing them on the side of the road.

First and foremost, pack your trailer with the proper weight distribution to get the target tongue weight. Too heavy and you stress your car's rear suspension and hitch mounting points. Too light and you get a wiggle-wagon.


Cheers!
 

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Not unthinkable- already good advice here. Load smart, stay flat, stay slow, use your transmission controls to prevent brake heat on downhills, inspect tires, lights & tow gear often, be realistic about travel time.

Call the actual uhaul dealer in advance, be clear that you want the 4x6. Often they wait until you get there and tell you that none are available but they'll give you the next larger for free. And the next larger is somewhat heavier and much taller; much more wind resistance.

If you talk to the local agent they can plan their inventory better. If you just trust the national website you'll get a bunch of excuses.
 

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4x6 is no problem.

A few things to consider:

When it's empty, it will want to bounce. Be careful when you pick it up and drop it off.

It tows so easily, you will be tempted to keep creeping up on your speed. Be aware of that and don't get complacent. Don't forget it's back there when you change lanes, merge, or come to a stop. Be careful pulling into traffic, too.

After a while you will forget you are towing it. Don't do that.

Other than that, the 4x6 is perfect for the OB. You will be fine.

Be careful when you load it. If it isn't connected to the car and you step inside, it may tip up on you. When it's loaded, try to lift the tongue. If it's too heavy to lift (watch your back!) then the tongue wt might be too high. If it's too easy to lift, the tongue wt might be too low.

Check your oil level often.

Have fun, and let us know how it went.
 

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Ooops.... One omission...


BEFORE you load up and push off.... take the (empty) trailer to a parking lot and get familiar with how to spot, aim, and push the trailer into a parking space. Building up a level of comfort ahead of your trek minimizes stress sweat later.


Cheers!
 

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About two months back, I rented a 5x8 uhaul to move a piece of furniture.
The trailer I got was set up to attach to any size ball hitch, up to 2-5/16. This meant it rattled quite a bit sitting on a 2in ball.
I don't know if the trailer you are planning to use is the same but if it is, consider switching to the larger ball hitch for your trip. 3000 miles is a long way to listen to a trailer rattling around.
 

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About two months back, I rented a 5x8 uhaul to move a piece of furniture.
The trailer I got was set up to attach to any size ball hitch, up to 2-5/16. This meant it rattled quite a bit sitting on a 2in ball.
I don't know if the trailer you are planning to use is the same but if it is, consider switching to the larger ball hitch for your trip. 3000 miles is a long way to listen to a trailer rattling around.
I bought my ball and drawbar at Uhaul.

The trick is you have to tighten the ball coupling as tight as you can, drive it a few minutes and tighten it again. And always check it. I know things rattle back there, but I'm not sure how much it's the trailer on the ball or the drawbar in the receiver.

A heavier loaded trailer is more quiet than a lighter loaded trailer, too. The suspension is pretty stiff on those trailers and they can bounce around and shake things more when they are light.

I've towed UHaul 4x6 and 5x8.
 

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A bit of a side note ...

I have a 2018 2.5 ... so I am not sure if this applies to the 2010 here in question ...

Folks talk a lot about heat management ... I get that.

I notice there is a small transmission cooler in front of the main radiator. Have folks tried replacing with a larger and/or running another in series to help keep things cooler?
 

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A bit of a side note ...

I have a 2018 2.5 ... so I am not sure if this applies to the 2010 here in question ...

Folks talk a lot about heat management ... I get that.

I notice there is a small transmission cooler in front of the main radiator. Have folks tried replacing with a larger and/or running another in series to help keep things cooler?

I thought about it but the issue is air flow bigger cooler covers up other stuff or relocated it may not be very effective. The newer Subarus are far far superior regarding cooling but they are still cars with smaller cooling systems vs say a truck. Heat management is simply smart when towing be it a car or a F150
 

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Back to the OP:

>>
950lb empty. We anticipate loading 300-500lb
<<

From the perspective of a '13 2.5 guy that doesn't know anything about the '10:

That's < 1500lb and will be OK. You'll notice it when starting and stopping, but once it's moving it's fine.

Wind resistance will be the biggest problem once you get moving, and the 4x6 is pretty low and will tuck in behind the OB. This is why I really liked towing the 4x6 vs the 5x8. The extra height and width of the 5x8, even when loaded to weigh the same as the 4x6, made it feel much heavier on the highway because of the extra aerodynamic drag.

You'll notice your MPG will be lower, so plan fuel stops more often. Be careful if you use cruise control, your RPMs will jump up when it tries to maintain speed. You might be better off without the CC, but 3000 miles is a long way. When I pulled a 5x8 1bout 1700 miles, I drove mainly by RPM instead of MPH. It worked out pretty well.

What kind of elevation changes are you expecting? Summer is getting closer, and long and hot climbs might start to cause some heat issues. Pay attention to whatever warning lights and gauges you have in your OB, and read the manual carefully on what they mean. Some are "things are about to get real" lights, and some are "oops, too late" lights.
 

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Personally, for that little amount of stuff to carry in the trailer, I'd pack it in boxes, take them and a 4'x4' pallet to a trucking company, shrink wrap them with plastic, and have them trucked out to wherever you are moving to - it would most likely cost about the same a the trailer rental and extra gas you would use towing it, and make the trip much less stressful as well as a bit faster and less stress on your car transmission. You could possibly send them Class 50, giving you the cheapest rate. Doing it this way, you can also set a specific delivery date ( or pick it up yourself at the trucking depot), again helping to reduce costs.
 

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The 5x8 is dramatically different than the 4x6 Ive hauled that one and the 6x12 which I hate with a passion. The 5x8 is a miserable trailer to tow behind the Outback. The 4x6 was actually very nice to tow. Very big towing experience differences between those two trailers. The advice about calling ahead to ensure you get the 4x6 is very good advice. Also when you return it take a photo of it returned Plate number and photo of the receiving paper work. I had Uhaul contact me a yr after renting a trailer asking me to return it? no joke!

They then sent a recovery agent after me! This trailer was a local only rental I by chance had my paperwork still. I stopped by the Uhaul yard and guess who was parked out in the brush in thd far corner on blocks? Yup the trailer they wanted back!! I took a picture and emailed the recovery agent and told them where to find it. I never heard a peep after that!
 

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A bit of a side note ...

I have a 2018 2.5 ... so I am not sure if this applies to the 2010 here in question ...

Folks talk a lot about heat management ... I get that.

I notice there is a small transmission cooler in front of the main radiator. Have folks tried replacing with a larger and/or running another in series to help keep things cooler?
I replaced the little stock transmission cooler with a good aftermarket unit about 3x the size on my 2018 2.5 Premium.
Total cost at my local shop just under $400 (parts + labor). Also replaced the original rear sway bar with the beefier 20 mm Subaru bar. I pull a 6x12x6.5' converted enclosed trailer camper. Expect 16-17 mpg @ 55 mph, mostly level grade.
 

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