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I have had my Outback for over a year now and love it. I am planning a move in a few months and am thinking of using it. Here's the deal. I moved here from Texas a year ago and played it safe. I got a huge uhaul with a ramp and just drove everything here. Problem is I am on a very tight budget now. So I went from seeing how to transport my stuff to realizing the bulk of it is not worth the price tag to move it across the country. My latest thoughts: sell all my big furniture, rent a small uhaul trailor for tv, records, a drawer, some paintings, bed fram detached, dishes. Small basics. Strap my bed to the top of my car and go! If I can make it work it'll save me like $1500 in moving costs. Only problem is I have no idea what works best with my car. Please recommend what kind of hitch I need, whether you think this is a good idea or not to begin with, any advice really. I don't want to kill my car making this move either so if there is any doubt let me know! My car is untouched btw, no attachments , accessories, nothing. I also change the oil every three months but have done nothing else in terms of maintenance. What should I take care of before the trip?

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Mechanically speaking - how much weight to you intend to tow?  I presume you have no idea? 

 

Get an actual cost estimate going, I'm all about DIY but it's easy to be penny wise and dollar dumb, i've done it 100 times:

Calculate Hitch, wiring harness, trailer rental, worse gas mileage. 

 

I'm just making up numbers here but for instance:  $150 hitch and wiring harness, (install costs?), $400 trailer rental, $50 gas, $100 additional hotel/meals for an extra day travel = $700. 

 

Additional days, hotels, meals traveling if it takes you longer because you're averaging 60 mph instead of 80. 

 

 

I get 12-14 mpg when traveling long distance/highway miles 6% highway grades with a huge boat that if it's not overweight (probably is) certainly tows like it since it sits above the car and pulls like a parachute. 

 

Rental places can be conservative with what they'll rent - ask them first what size trailer they'll rent and requirements. 

In addition to the hitch you'll need trailer wiring but that's pretty simple now - but an additional cost if you're on a tight budget. 

 

Car will be fine.  (weight question notwithstanding obviously).  

 

Drive in cool weather and watch RPM's and engine temps up steep mountain passes if you're really heavy. 

Subaru's consistent issue towing across multiple generations and models and engines and transmissions is cooling capacity.  When taxed while towing the first symptom and issue is overheating. 

 

The 2015 i think doesn't even have a temperature guess though does it?  Might want to get a free phone app and bluetooth OBD port device or something that allows you to monitor the engine temps.  Pretty sure you can get a cheap blue tooth and free app to do that. 

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I'll make it easy. U haul won't rent anything bigger then the little luggage trailer to you..  If you need more, they won't do it, and because of their liabilities, THEY have to make the hitch to your vehicle. At least that is how it has worked the multiple times Ive used them

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you might also consider shipping some stuff - if you have no friends/relatives at the new location, ship it 'will-call' or 'hold for pick-up' w'ever , to the nearest UPS facility near the new digs.

 

if you have clotes/bedding/pillows/cushions - check into those vacuum packing bags to reduce volume.

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Which engine do you have, the 2.5 or the 3.6.  The 2.5 will have trouble hauling much of a load over the Rockies.  It should be able to handle 2000# total, including yourself.  Carrying anything on top of the car will add a lot of drag, it is best to put everything in the trailer.

 

If you don't have a hitch, first check with a Subaru dealer about a hitch that is made specifically for your Outback.  It should be either welded to your body or bold to predetermined hard points on the body.  It also must have a 2" receiver if you want to rent from U-haul.  U-haul will NOT rent a trailer to you if they suspect that your hitch is a universal adjustable receiver or if it has a 1.25" receiver.  Also consider that U-haul trailers are heavy duty so they can weigh 800+ pounds empty which doesn't leave much capacity for your goods.

 

You could buy a utility trailer for around $700 and sell it at your destination.  They have good resale value.  You could also look to buy a used utility trailer but beware that often the tires on these have passed their "use by" date and could blow out along the way.  Shipping is an option but UPS will be kinda pricy.  Look for a freight company, their costs are usually far lower than UPS.

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Harbor Freight used to sell cheap 4' x 8' Utility trailers (~$200) but it seems they no longer sell them.  They were rated for 1000 lbs which probably would have worked for you. 

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the logistics seem like they could be a nightmare - but i have read of people packing their car super- tight, shipping it on a train, and meeting it near the destination. They took the bus or flew....not sure.

Edited by 1 Lucky Texan

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You could always rent a Uhaul truck (and car trailer if you didn't want to drive the outback as well as the truck) and move that way.

I don't know how much it'll cost. But then you have the box truck, plus your outback for space to pack stuff.

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I'll make it easy. U haul won't rent anything bigger then the little luggage trailer to you.. If you need more, they won't do it, and because of their liabilities, THEY have to make the hitch to your vehicle. At least that is how it has worked the multiple times Ive used them

U-haul will NOT rent a trailer to you ... if it has a 1.25" receiver.

 

If this happened, it was a location-specific thing. I rented the 5x8x6' enclosed trailer, and picked it up with our '03 4-cyl Outback. It had a Subaru 1.25" hitch on it, but they didn't check or ask (this was even at a main U-haul location, not a repair shop with a uhaul franchise or anything). They did notify me when I made the reservation that the trailer was capable of carrying more than the GVWR of the vehicle, but that's it. We definitely overloaded it...too. I've rented smaller trailers from them for use behind that car before as well. 

 

 

I googled "Uhaul 5x8", and quickly found this picture:

2572413731_7ebd0ac57f_o.jpg

 

 

Their website is pretty clear about what combinations they will and won't let you use.

 

 

 

 

I don't know what's up with all the skepticism here. This is a GREAT option. Renting the trailer alone is cheap. As soon as you rent a truck, you have to pay rental fee plus a mileage rate, which adds up FAST (usually like $.80/mile). The Outback has lots of space in it, 2700 lb towing capacity (assuming a 4-cyl, more for the H6). Throw a little enclosed trailer behind it, and you'll have a bunch of capacity.

 

Yes, you'll be very close to the max weight rating of the car, so you'll have to drive carefully. Take your time, limit yourself to like half throttle, and watch for a temperature warning (maybe even get yourself an OBD II reader of some sort so you can actually monitor coolant and transmission temperatures).

 

 

 

 

The OE Subaru hitch is very nice, and even though they dropped the price last summer, MSRP is still $372.95 for the kit (L101SAL013, includes wiring and draw bar). The end result is very clean, as it's all mounted behind the bumper cover, but that means install is more difficult. There's a company called ECO-hitch that offers a 2" receiver that mounts just like the Subaru one. Otherwise there are 3 or 4 other brands that make more traditional receiver hitches with a crossbar under the bumper which are cheaper and easier to install.

 

Assuming your Outback is a CVT, and not a manual transmission, I would recommend having a dealership change the transmission fluid before and after this trip. Those transmissions are pretty tough, but not cheap, so take good care of it.

Edited by Numbchux
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You could always rent a Uhaul truck (and car trailer if you didn't want to drive the outback as well as the truck) and move that way.

I don't know how much it'll cost. But then you have the box truck, plus your outback for space to pack stuff.

 

You could always rent a Uhaul truck (and car trailer if you didn't want to drive the outback as well as the truck) and move that way.

I don't know how much it'll cost. But then you have the box truck, plus your outback for space to pack stuff.

Golucky has a good approach. I did this a couple of years ago, moving my daughter from an apartment in Charlotte, NC to Indy. Rented a 26' moving box truck from Budget rent a truck. Rented a trailer to drive her car up on it to have all four wheels off the ground. The "moving" truck had a metal pull out ramp built into the truck's under carriage. Pull that out, and easy to walk up the ramp carrying things to load the truck. Moving pads can be rented to keep items from rubbing against each other. The moving truck worked out great. It was easy to drop off the truck at a Budget store in Indy. Box truck carried a ton of stuff, and was designed for the moving job. Budget had lower rental prices then U-Haul. Don't remember cost, but it wasn't bad. Call for a quote to find out.

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So I haven't been able to log on in a while. Thanks for all the advice! The big move is at the end of June. So thumbs up or thumbs down for the 5 X 8 uhaul attachment? Also I looked it up and strapping a matress to the top of my outback is in fact a HORRIBLE idea. dang it. But I also read somewhere that I can fit one and a box spring inside a 5 X 8. I wonder how much room that would leave me for other things like a tv. I won't be moving too many more things. Decided since they have an IKEA I'm going to have sell most of my furniture. Either way still have a queen mattress, two bikes, a 50 inch tv and kitchen appliances... Hmm....

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Also what's a good brand hitch. I'm currently looking at this one: draw-tite max-frame trailer hitch receiver class 3 - 2"

 

Much cheaper than the 450 dollar Subaru brand.

Thoughts?

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