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  1. Default Florida to NYC to Seattle towing a U Haul trailer!

    Hi there, my wife and I are about to move from New York city to Seattle and are planning a long road trip in order to move there. We will be driving a 07 toyota tundra 2wd pick up and towing an 8ft U Haul trailer. We have to travel from Florida first because that is where our car lives, and we must go to NYC to pick up the rest of our gear. This part of the trip doesn't bother me, its the next stage that I am a little nervous about. Firstly we will be doing this trip in mid feb and are in no real rush to get there, but im concerned that towing a trailer in winter through snowy and mountain states in a 2wd could be a bad idea? Has anyone out there had any experience with this type of trip in a similar vehicle? Also what advice do you have for supplies etc. I also heard that gas stations in N Dakota can be few and far between, so its a good idea to take a jerry can with extra gas in it. Is this true? Any help would be great.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    You won't need a gas can. Even in the middle of nowhere as long as you are on an Interstate highway, there are enough gas stations for even a thirsty vehicle with a small tank. Just use common sense and don't run the tank low.

    Take your time, and if the weather gets bad, find a hotel and take a break. The Interstates get cleared pretty quickly after a storm. Keep an eye on the weather and road conditions, and adjust your route accordingly on the fly. There are several options from NYC to Seattle. Each state's DOT has a website with road conditions, having a laptop that's wifi capable is a plus. is also useful.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default myths

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Bringing a gas can full of fuel is actually a very bad idea. At the best case, anything that is in the cargo area (presumably most of your stuff that doesn't fit into the trailer) will end up smelling like gasoline. Worst case, you get into some sort of crash, even a minor one, and end up throwing gas all over the place. While you may go 50 miles or so between gas stations in parts of the plains, thats certainly not a problem for any modern car or truck. If you're getting near the 1/4 tank mark, you should probably be looking to fill up anyway.

    2 wheel drive or 4 wheel drive isn't going to make all that much difference on a cross country trip like this. In any case, driving with a trailer is going to be a bit more challenging, and that's certainly true if you see bad weather. Make sure you give yourself extra space because of the increased braking time you'll need with the extra weight, and make sure your trailer is loaded evenly so you don't run into real big problems should you start to slip a bit. If the weather starts to turn for the worse, stop and let the plow crews catch up.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default One Other Thing

    I absolutely agree with the advice you've gotten so far: NO jerry can, take your time, sit out any weather bad enough to cause you discomfort, etc. But there is one more thing you should keep in mind as you pack your trailer and truck - weight distribution. Put some weight in the back of your truck, but don't overload it to the point where the springs and shocks of your rear axle are under obvious strain. When you pack the trailer, the object is to have the weight fairly evenly distributed both side to side and front to back. If packed properly, the trailer should naturally tilt forward to rest on the hitch/tongue, but you should be able to lift the tongue with modest effort. Having the weight properly distributed in your rig will help with vehicle stability, especially in cross winds and on braking.


  5. #5

    Default Truck preparation

    Hello Rob,

    I second, third, and fourth all of the above but will add one piece of advise not yet offered: Some pre-trip truck maintenance is in order.

    I will assume an 07 truck has fairly limited miles on it. That said, towing a loaded trailer for 3,000 miles is a very serious test of it's readiness and capability. If it were mine, and my trip was upcoming, here's what I'd do:

    Oil and oil filter change
    Air filter
    Fuel filter
    New wiper blade refills
    Carry a gallon or two of windshield washer fluid, some Windex, a roll of paper towels, and a squeegee. Winter travel in the Northern tier of states can cover your truck with salt spray all day, every day, and you should not rely on gas stations to clean up your windshield, door windows, mirrors, and headlights.
    If you've never changed the rear axle fluid, now's the time. Most new vehicles will leave small amounts of metal filings in the rear end fluid during break-in. While this is nowadays rarely a problem, you're about to put this vehicle's rear axle gearing through a torture test. I'd have it drained and refilled with top-quality synthetic rear end lubricant.
    Ditto with the automatic transmission fluid (ATF). Regardless of mileage and regardless of manufacturer-suggested maintenance intervals, I'd start with fresh ATF and a fresh ATF filter. Most automatic transmissions are made such that a simple fluid change only drains out what's in the pan and leaves large amounts of old fluid in the pumps and lines (sometimes more than half of the fluid remains in a "pan only" draining. Most lube shops offer a "full system flush" which employs pumps to force all of the old fluid out. I'd do that and would replace it with top-quality synthetic ATF and a new ATF filter. Certain vehicles, like my mother's BMW X-5, come with "permanent ATF" which the manufacturer says "never needs changing". I don't know if Toyota subscribes to such a theory, but it's balderdash. Heat buildup is the principal enemy of an automatic transmission and nothing heats it up like sustained highway speeds + towing a trailer. Fresh, top quality fluid is your first line of defense. Oh, and look carefully at your Owner's manual regarding towing. Some automatic transmissions have a "tow/haul" setting on the shifter or dashboard and you'd be wise to make yourself aware of recommendations related to towing.
    Cooling system flush/refill. Again, regardless of mileage, I'd start with fresh, new coolant. On most pickups, the regular cooling system also cools the automatic transmission fluid, and you want the best possible operation of the cooling system in that regard, as discussed above.

    Perhaps some of the above is overkill with a late model pickup. If it is, it represents fairly cheap insurance against very expensive rear axle gear and automatic transmission problems.

    Have a safe trip.


  6. Default

    Thanks for all the advice, its great to know that it is actually possible. I was also not planning on spending any time sleeping in the truck and will most likely be staying in roadside motels. Does anyone have any suggestions on the best roadside motel / hotels to stay in that allow pets and are cheap? Also what sort of price can i expect to pay per night at these kinda places.
    Many Thanks

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default prices

    A cheap motel will generally run $40-70 bucks a night, depending on the location, however, you'll probably also be looking at an extra fee/deposit for your pet.

    Pet policies tend to vary by individual location, although there are a few chains that tend to be consistantly pet friendly. You may want to look at one of the guildebooks that focuses on travel with pets for more specifics.

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