Where can I find/rent a vehicle I can use for towing

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lbic2010
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Where can I find/rent a vehicle I can use for towing

Post by lbic2010 » Thu Jul 15, 2010 10:40 am

Hey,

I'm travelling to BM this year with my boyfriend, we are meeting two of our friends in SF and driving to BM where in Sparks NV, just off the main Interstate from the Playa to Reno we are supposed to be picking up a 15ft caravan/trailer and towing it to BM and then dropping it back on the way there. I had just figured ( foolishly) that I would be able to hire/rent a vehicle that has towing facilities or will allow me tow a caravan. It seems this isnt the case. I had planned on renting a pick up from Enterprise but they dont seem to allow it, I have contacted UHaul but they are pricey as you have to rent a truck (which wouldnt fit the four of us anyway) and they charge truck prices and we dont actually need the truck!

So basically, if anyone has any tips on places where I can rent a vehicle that will allow me tow, or if anyone has space for four people and there crap and wants to take us and pit stop with us? Or just lend me a a vehicle (unlikely I know)? Any help at all really. Would it be a BAD idea to rent a car, and rent a tow bar and tow it even if the rental company have said no?

Thanks.

:)

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Homiesinheaven
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Post by Homiesinheaven » Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:05 am

yes, i think you know that's a BAD idea. rental places usually rent trucks or vans for towing purposes as those are the types of vehicles that are better equipped for that. are you looking to tow this thing with a sedan? any Expedition, Tahoe/Yukon or Pathfinder that you rent is going to have a factory 2" receiver on the back. you just have to make sure that they're cool with you towing. also make sure you know how much weight you're pulling and if the vehicle can handle it.

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Token
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Post by Token » Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:26 am

Towing is dangerous business and most rental places do not allow it.

Trailers over 2000 lb. in the US must have breaks. These are usually electric breaks.

Your tow vehicle must have a brake controller with a manual brake feature for caravans.

Check out rental companies that cater to the construction business. The rates will likely be higher but they may have the gear you require.

I would suggest a One Ton Crew Cab truck.

Look up United Rentals and call them up to see what they can do for you.

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Post by slvrnmph » Fri Jul 16, 2010 12:27 pm

As Token said larger trailers have electronic brakes which require the tow vehicle be equipped with an electronic brake control device.

Just because a tow vehicle has a hitch receiver on it doesn't mean it is ready to tow, it also needs to have the correct wiring harness installed. Most vehicles that come with a factory hitch receiver do not have the wiring harness installed, you generally have to get it installed separately. If the trailer being towed has electronic brakes the tow vehicle will need to have the 7 way round wiring harness, if no electronic brakes it generally needs a 4 way flat wiring harness.

Make sure you know what connectors this trailer has so that when you call around to rent a tow vehicle you get one with the proper connectors.

Does anyone in your group have towing experience? It's hard work and it's much more tiring than normal driving.
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gyre
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Post by gyre » Fri Jul 16, 2010 8:33 pm

You can get wiring adapters, but make arrangements.

I put a hitch on a rental car and towed long distance, but it can get complicated.
Do your research.

No issues after the trip.

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Isotopia
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Post by Isotopia » Fri Jul 16, 2010 11:22 pm

If you rent a vehicle and then decide to tow anything outside of the specs for that particular vehicle you'll be absolutely fucked as far as any accident or engine problems you might end up experiencing.

Definitely ask yourself it it is worth the risk.

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Kinetik V
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Post by Kinetik V » Sat Jul 17, 2010 2:39 am

Officially Enterprise will tell you absolutely no towing. That being said I have rented an Enterprise Chevy Silverado, hooked up to a 5x9 cargo box trailer and off I went for a week to BRC. I don't know if you can find such a truck locally anymore but if you can, it's not a bad deal.

One request if you go this route and take a rental truck of any kind on the playa. Clean it meticulously before returning it. Penske flat refuses to rent trucks that might go to Burning Man anymore. One reason they gave me: They're fed up with cleaning filthy trucks and to the inexperienced playa dust is a bitch to clean.

One more thing someone else mentioned trailer laws and brake requirements. The laws vary wildly. Check it out here:
http://www.towingworld.com/articles/TowingLaws.htm

And as always, YMMV, plan accordingly.

And as I double check the thread, Isotopia is dead on. Even if you use their insurance, if you overload the truck and blow the engine or transmission you really are absolutely fucked. Been there, saw that first hand with a friend of mine, you really don't wanna go there.
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Token
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Post by Token » Sat Jul 17, 2010 8:05 am

Here, I gone done some Googling fo' ya'.

http://www.crescorent.com/media/pdf/CrescoCatalog.pdf

They got trucks, hitches and all you need for pretty cheap. Get the biggest full sized pickup.

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Post by ygmir » Sat Jul 17, 2010 8:21 am

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Token
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Post by Token » Sat Jul 17, 2010 8:43 am

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Captain Goddammit
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Post by Captain Goddammit » Sat Jul 17, 2010 10:09 am

Token's link is excellent, a place like that is what you need.
You do need a truck, no rental car is going to have a hitch, and "renting a tow bar" - I'm not sure what you mean by that but if you mean slapping a clamp-on trailer hitch to the car like the old days (25+ years ago) that simply doesn't exist anymore, the cars aren't constructed in such a way that that's possible and no such thing exists to rent.
I'm explaining what might seem obvious because your use of the term "caravan" suggests you're not from the U.S. (??)

A 15-foot "caravan" is a pretty small and light trailer, probably single-axle. Even a 1/2 ton pickup would have no problem with it, but a 3/4 ton will have much bigger brakes and I'm betting you aren't going to have the caravan's brakes hooked up to a proper trailer brake controller in the tow vehicle, if the caravan even HAS working brakes. Going to the playa means mountain travel and you NEED adequate brakes, so get a big enough truck!
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Token
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Post by Token » Sat Jul 17, 2010 10:24 am

All things considered, for a Reno to BRC tow; since a good sway control weight distributing hitch is not likely, stiff rear springs of a 1 or 3/4 ton crew/extended cab truck with the long wheelbase is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

The correct geometry may save a life out on the road.

If you do figure all this out, keep the truck in 3rd gear all the way and keep the speed at 55 MPH.

Please heed the advice of folks that have decades of combined towing experience.

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Post by gyre » Sat Jul 17, 2010 1:05 pm

True.
English caravans or their equivalent are quite a rarity over here.
Trailer weights vary considerably, especially if loaded with water.

You should try to find out exactly what model it is and the weight can usually be looked up.
They might know that too.

lbic2010
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Post by lbic2010 » Mon Jul 19, 2010 3:52 am

Hey everyone,

Thanks for the help, a lot to get my head around!! So the 'caravan' is a 15 foot Travel Trailer that I am renting from a fellow burner. Apparently it's light and easy to tow.
The person I am renting it from said:'' since the tow vehicle needs to be connected to the TT to charge the battery when parked and/or operate the running lights when moving, the tow vehicle would need to have a towing package. (I originally said you could rent a tow bar, but it would need a place to plug in the TT's connector.) They make adaptors to fit most plug-in connectors, so it wouldn't really matter what knd of connection it had. I have several adaptors and Wal-mart sells them if nothing else.'' and ''The pics have a good view of the electrical connection (from the tow vehicle), so you can get a good idea what you'll need to connect them. Perhaps an adaptor. Right now the TT has a 1 7/8 inch tow ball, but I also have the 2inch size, so that shouldn't be a problem.''

Thanks for the link to the Cresco Cataloge! Captin Goddamit you said a 1/2 tonne truck would do the job if it was a 15ft trailer- would a large pickup/SUV type vehicle do the job?

Lots of hlep, but still rather confused- need to try get my head around this a bit more!!

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Token
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Post by Token » Mon Jul 19, 2010 7:47 am

A 1 7/8 ball is rated for a maximum of 2000 pounds. The only travel trailers that light are teardrops and pop-up tent trailers.

Any hard side travel trailer will be at least 4000 pounds.

See here:

http://www.sizes.com/home/trailer_hitches.htm

You really need the maximum trailer weight (gross vehicle weight rating or GVRW) to select the correct parts.

Yes, a modern 1/2 ton vehicle can tow. I tow a 26' 7000# travel trailer with a 1/2 ton full sized chevy truck BUT I have top quality towing gear like a weight distributing hitch, sway control bars, digital brake controller, extra stiff progressive leaf springs on the truck rear, extra transmission cooler, 10 ply E rated truck tires etc.

The point is, I had to add a lot of good stuff to my truck to make it safe for the type of load I put on it.

You really need to get the GVWR. If the guy cant give you that you may want to rethink the whole situation.

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gyre
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Post by gyre » Mon Jul 19, 2010 10:54 am

There are ultralight trailers, but they are unusual.

Usually receivers or hitches, (the part on the car) are for sale and not rent.
A light one can be cheap enough.
Heavier ones aren't so cheap, but you often find them used.
And they can be custom built.

I've done all of these approaches.
I recently bought several receivers to put on a friend's trucks.
Paid around $50 each, medium to heavy duty, class 3.

Heavier ones with hardware and inserts may go as high as $200.
I've seen them sold with equalizing gear too, very reasonable.

You can resell the more costly ones when done, or have someone do it for you.

Can you find out a model for the trailer?
Details about fittings?


Trailer Life has some really good books on the technical aspects.
I don't know if they are easily available where you are.

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Post by archeolojust » Mon Jul 19, 2010 12:24 pm

Whoa, you sound like parallel universe me. I, too am driving to SF with my boyfriend to pick up a friend, then off to BRC.

However, we are coming from GA. We have been smart enough to ship most things to SF and we are planning on renting a cargo van here to fit everything in. Especially after reading this post...

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Post by Captain Goddammit » Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:35 pm

A large pickup or SUV usually is a 1/2-ton truck, and should have no problem with a 15-foot travel trailer.
"Tow Bars" - if you mean trailer hitches by that - don't have electrical connections, the vehicle has the electrical connection. Adapters are available for most newer trucks and SUVs that plug in between an electrical connector somewhere under the rear of the vehicle, otherwise it's a custom wiring job - an easy one - but best done by a shop if you're completely unfamiliar with such things.

Those wires are only going to operate the trailer's tail lights. If the tow vehicle isn't set up with a charge wire to it's trailer connector, that's another thing you better have a shop do if you want it done.

Mirrors are another issue. It really sucks to tow an 8 foot wide travel trailer with an SUV or a pickup with car-type mirrors on it. They aren't wide enough and all you can see is the front of the trailer. Lane changing is dangerous when you can't tell whether someone is in the way! The big pickups that are sold set up for trailer towing come with those nice big wide mirrors for that reason. You can find clamp-on "towing mirrors" to extend the useless but sleek little ones most other vehicles have.

The tow vehicle really ought to have an electric trailer-brake controller in it too, or the trailer won't have any brakes. You'll regret that if you have to do an "Oh shit!" stop, and so will the person you run into.

There's a lot to setting up a tow vehicle. You CAN skip most of it, but you'll be a hazard to yourself and the rest of the people driving around you.

Fortunately you're only coming in from Reno.
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Token
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Post by Token » Wed Jul 21, 2010 8:13 am

It is entirely possible that the trailer in question already has surge breaks. In that case all you need on the TV is the hitch receiver, 7 pin trailer plug and sufficient load and haul capacity.

Another way to do this is to find someone who already has a truck and room for a rideshare. Offer to pay for the gas and throw in a $100 for an oil and transmission oil change and you might get a bite.

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