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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Anyone ever done this?
I just made a deal on a '69 GTO convertible project car but the car is about 850 miles from me. The engine and transmission are out of the car.

I'd like to rent a tow dolly because they are inexpensive to rent 1-way and it would keep the weight down and be less stress on my 2014 Acadia that I'll be hauling it with. The engine and transmission are there but the engine is totally disassembled. I figured I'd load those into the back my Acadia.

The thing that concerns me with a tow dolly is that without the engine in the car, it there would be more weight on the rear wheels than on the front. Uhaul says cars being hauled with the dolly they rent should have more weight in the front than rear or it may cause whipping.
They also say it is not allowed to put the rear of the car onto the dolly and tow backwards.
 

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Roger I would rent a one ton panel van to haul that tow dolly, 900 miles hauling two tons is a job for a truck, not to mention better stopping control
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Btw, this is going to be from AZ to TX and I'm talking mid Oct to mid Nov sometime to make the trip. So the weather will be cooler. A Uhaul tow dolly is 750 lbs and the car without the engine should be about 2900 lbs. So that's a total towing weight of 3650 lbs and about 800 lbs in the back of the Acadia. Tow rating on a 2014 Acadia is 5200 lbs. So my combined cargo weight would still be less than what it's rated to tow. I think it should be able to handle that in cool weather and I'll take it pretty easy.
What I am concerned about is more weight on the rear of the GTO without the engine in it. Don't want to do it if it gets squirrely hauling one that way though.
 

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You do want the tongue weight to be right or she's going to wag back there. There might be enough adjustment on the dolly...or not Your Acadia was not intended for pulling another car through multiple states.
 

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I'm going to have to agree with everyone else on this and if the dolly does not have brakes, it's a definite no. Your Acadia has the same engine as my Colorado so it's not an engine power issue. The tow characteristics of a car and on a dolly is not the same as a trailer. Uhaul may not even rent it to you based on the tow vehicle and distance. Their dollies are really intended to be towed behind a much heavier truck that will not be affected near as much. While other options will cost more than renting a dolly, your safety is worth it. This just sounds like a bad idea.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks all! I really appreciate the advice and am listening closely.

I looked at a another option and right now feel it might be my best choice. Uhaul won't rent me a pickup one way but they will with this 10' truck. Better to put the engine in it anyway if it rained. I didn't know it would be this reasonable to rent both a truck and trailer. Wouldn't even have to pay more for the mileage or extra days.
It only leaves me with how I would get to Phoenix but I can figure that out. But that will add to the cost some.
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having nearly wore out a new tow dolly in 15 years back in the 80's 90.s
I found that without engine weight was fine,,,, I even towed em without any sheetmetal also
no issues,,, what I found,,,, and this is just me,,,
is
towing a car on a dolly ,,,, NO tight corners ... I snapped a strap or 2 ,,,, even jumped a tire off
over the front stop lip ... the inside turn tire gets alot of pressure,,,

very very nearly impossible to back up with the car on .... dont get cornered....
not even 5' ,,,really !!

some beech rattles and will drive you crazy with no load on it at 55 .....

gotta make sure you have NICE NEW tires on the GTO rear and correct lug nuts
AND good wheel axle bearings .....
oh AND differential lube,,, why you ask ??? well ... I live near Seattle

I purchased a 68 GTO 4 speed body ,,, from a known friend ,say '1988 ish,,, do the deal
load it up only 15 miles from home 14 on the freeway and a couple side roads....ez cheezy

wire the exhaust up ...look for loose bolts and anything thats going to fly off ..fall off ..fall out etc... make sure all is tight ... tie the steering wheel with the seat belt 68's the wheel will turn on you after a few corners NON lock column and on the 69 up
you leave the key on and unlocked to keep the turn pressure OFF the lock pin in the column
I broke the pin on a mint 69 GP tilt leavin a guys drive way on a tight turn....
so I
hop on the I-90 east from west seattle... feels like a brake is on ,, hmmmm just feels heavy
with no motor,,
anyways ,,,,, I am towin this 68 doin 55 with my 79 3/4 ton 4x4 gmc I feel a tug
then another tug ,,,, ok slow down a tad and wham???!!!! who threw the anchor out !!!!!look into the rear view and door mirrors and the car is skippin side to side with smoke rollin from the drivers side rear tire on the gto !!! WTF ???
barely get pulled over on a merge triangle on ramp area ,,,,,,cars honkin and smoke rollin
just as I get into the mercer island tunnel
whew ,,, safe ... try to pull forward ,,,, no go .... hop out and look at the 2 black hazed skid marks my brand new BF good rich TA radials just made for the last 250' on the freeway
well what caused the rear diff to lock up ??? NO LUBE I just toasted a 391 posi
dude drained the rear to play show n tell and didnt even bother to tell me he drained it and didnt refill it,,, well ... cops showed up they were cool they were all chuckleing,,,
unloaded it off dolly ... gave the ramp truck driver my address as there was nowhere for us all to park on the tunnel entrance,,,,, another 250' and I would have had nowhere to pull over ...

so
just so many things towing on 2 wheels on a dolly
NEVER tow backwards

write IN TOW with white shoe polish on the rear window for followers that are not
paying attention.... ADD EXTRA magnetic tow lights too its a long drive

rent a truck and car trailer pay the extra for safety
get one with a winch

never been 800 miles on a dolly in one trip one way but .....I think I would want it off the ground

Scott
 

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Thanks all! I really appreciate the advice and am listening closely.

I looked at a another option and right now feel it might be my best choice. Uhaul won't rent me a pickup one way but they will with this 10' truck. Better to put the engine in it anyway if it rained. I didn't know it would be this reasonable to rent both a truck and trailer. Wouldn't even have to pay more for the mileage or extra days.
It only leaves me with how I would get to Phoenix but I can figure that out. But that will add to the cost some.
View attachment 136632
Have you just looked into having it shipped? These days there's a lot more competition in that market with all the online car dealers and ebay etc. Probably competetive with renting that rig and flying to Phoenix.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I haven't looked into it but I did think about it. But frankly I'm more comfortable dealing with the seller directly and go through all the parts with him while we are loading it. Everything is out of the car on the inside too. He's got all the small parts in boxes and some new parts too. This is a sight unseen purchase for me but he has probably sent me 100 photos with many I requested specifically.
Plus, I think I need to make a trip to Tucson sometime this fall to drop off a car. Then all I would have to do is rent a cheap car to get from Tucson to N. Phoenix which is only 130 miles.
 

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I haven't looked into it but I did think about it. But frankly I'm more comfortable dealing with the seller directly and go through all the parts with him while we are loading it. Everything is out of the car on the inside too. He's got all the small parts in boxes and some new parts too. This is a sight unseen purchase for me but he has probably sent me 100 photos with many I requested specifically.
Plus, I think I need to make a trip to Tucson sometime this fall to drop off a car. Then all I would have to do is rent a cheap car to get from Tucson to N. Phoenix which is only 130 miles.
Sure thing. You might though still look into it just to know. Since you're going there anyway, you could examine the parts, then have it shipped (you'd be there to deal directly with the shipper), then get yourself back. You might be surprised at the price. I shipped a car from Maine to Tennessee several years ago, was about $800.
 

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What will cost you is mileage. U-haul also has a cost per mile that gets added to the rental - gets real expensive real fast.

I don't know if Enterprise Truck Rentals have a better deal as you can rent a pickup capable of towing. I always use Enterprise for car rentals as they do not charge mileage rates like others do. Rent the 24' stake body truck, remove the sides, find a towing company to lift the car up and place it on the bed and drive home! LOL Phoenix Moving Truck Rental - Enterprise Truck Rental

I used to flat tow many of my car "finds" with a bumper tow hitch. Some had engines, some did not. In figuring the weight, you are assuming that the car is 50/50 in weight distribution, which it is not. More on the nose with the engine than the rear, so with no engine/trans it may be closer to 50/50.

If it were me, I would do it, or at least give it a shot. If I went down the road and the car felt unstable or was wobbling all over the road, then I would have plan B ready, and return the car/dolly for another try. The most important thing is speed. It is when you start going too fast that the trailer or towed item can begin to sway. Improper weight loading is also a problem and will cause swaying - that's why you load more on the nose, but not too much either as that can be a problem. With a tow dolly, I don't think this is as much of a problem as the front wheels of the car are on top of the dolly wheels.

You may find that 50-55 MPH is the safe speed to travel at, so you just have to know that you are in no rush. The next consideration is braking. You will be braking for 2 vehicles. So this means you don't want to make any sudden stops, you want to give plenty of following distance even if you have to make it by slowing down a bit to get space. You want to ease into each and every stop and if you can, time it so your don't have to stop - if safe and you don't create a 5 mile back-up behind you. Pull over and let others pass just so they don't do stupid things like pass you when it is dangerous.

You also cannot kick back and relax - you want to be vigilant and drive defensively - always watching the idiots around you. The minute you lose focus could be trouble. I would not travel at night. You also want to make sure others can see your brake/turn signals. I don't know if you have a wire plug-in in the back of your vehicle as some come factory equipped for towing. You could wire up some rear lights. U-haul may have a "kit" to do this. You could rig a length of wire and a 3rd LED style brake light up to your vehicle and put the brake light up on the rear package shelf or simply duct tape it outside on the trunk so you have something out back.

I think BLK69JUDGE pretty much covered it as well. It's just a matter of how big your kahoonies are and if you like adventure. Take lots of pictures along the way. (y)
 

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Cant say much about the tow dolly. We moved from Ohio to FLA in 78 when I was a teen..Towed a VW on a dolly, it got wiggly so we added weight to the nose it 1300 miles is a long trip. Its always an adventure. Last car I moved they changed my location to pickup the truck, place closed be for I could get there. So I talked a friend into a 6 hour drive one way in his truck. Tried to pick up a trailer in DesMoines. Got to the place that was suppose to have it at 7 am. No trailer in sight so we went to the main uHaul downtown. My teenage son watches the show RoadKill. I laugh cause its like reliving my roadtrips. Give yourself extra time something always comes up.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
What will cost you is mileage. U-haul also has a cost per mile that gets added to the rental - gets real expensive real fast....
Thanks for the good info but you did miss one thing on that Uhaul quote. The quoted price includes 968 miles and it's only about 850 from Phoenix to home. So no extra mileage charges.
So the price for the truck and trailer is only about $700 more than a tow dolly would be.
 

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Look into Uhaul local rental by the day. Should be cheaper if you drive out and back with the truck and trailer. Rent for three days. All depends on what they charge for mileage on the truck
 

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Thanks for the good info but you did miss one thing on that Uhaul quote. The quoted price includes 968 miles and it's only about 850 from Phoenix to home. So no extra mileage charges.
So the price for the truck and trailer is only about $700 more than a tow dolly would be.
Yep, I did miss that on your quote. I have rented U-haul in the past and the mileage rate at that time was where they made their money - may have only applied to local rent.

The price for the rental is not terrible. But, it is sometimes about budget. If budget is not an issue, then the truck/trailer is the way to go. You won't be putting any wear/tear on your vehicle. The trailer will have brakes & lights. It may be more stable. You don't have to worry about tire condition on the GTO or having any break down issues to contend with because it'll be on the trailer. Engine and parts will go into the truck easier and less chance of mucking up your vehicle.

The only gliche I see might be loading the trailer. I don't think thy have any kind of winch, so I would use a come-along to pull it up on the trailer. The come-along will also be used to secure the car and hold it in place. You will also want a chain/straps as well so you can secure the car front/back. I don't know what the trailer has to secure a vehicle, but it may be equipped for this?

If it is a budget thing, or as I stated, you don't mind an adventure, the tow dolly may work out well if you are prepared and cautious in driving. So as I see it, it is a flip of the coin with one option costing a little more money and possibly a little less grief if any incidences with the GTO crop up while flat towing it.

Me, I am cheap. I could afford the truck/trailer, but I think I might go tow dolly and get my pen/paper & camera out to chronicle the journey for the movie release of my life's story. But, I think I would also make the drive to see the car in person so as to make a final call on how I would transport it home. (y)
 

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PJ is spot on. I rented a Uhaul car trailer a couple years back to pick up a Toyota race car project in NH. Their trailers do not have winches so loading may be difficult unless you have a few guys to help. They have built in front tire ratchet straps and a chain that would go from the frame of the trailer and wrap around whatever is close, front and back (rear axle would work on a GTO, I used a rear A arm on the Toyota and anything I could hook to in the front). I brought an extra chain and a huge pad lock as added insurance because I have a tendency to be paranoid about these sorts of things. This all being said, when you reserve a trailer from Uhaul, they ask a lot of questions about the tow rig which is why I suspect the dolly is a no go from the start. My original plan for the Toyota was a dolly and they said no to it.

My dad's buddy tried to rent a flat car trailer from them last year. He has the same truck as me (Chevy Colorado that has a 7000lb tow rating) and was not allowed to pick up the trailer. I know for a fact that the Colorado will tow a loaded car trailer since I've done it with mine, but they still rejected it based on size. The truck I used to tow the Toyota was an older GMC Sierra 4dr cab. That one was not a problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Decision made, I will rent the 10 ft van truck and full trailer.

Thanks a lot guys. It's been a lot of help to hear from people who have used a tow dolly before. Since I never have, I just didn't know. Yesterday I called a friend who I thought might have tried one with a car with no engine. He called me back last night and told me that in fact he had done it before. He said without the weight from an engine, he had bad bouncing issues and said it really slowed him down. He told me you definitely don't want to do it for a long trip like that.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Btw, I am going to restore this car myself and intend on doing a detailed build thread here on the forum. I always take a ton of good quality photos too of all my steps since I am also kind of into digital photography as well as cars.
I'm looking forward to getting to know you guys here.
 
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