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  1. Default Need advice on cross country move


    Thank you to all who respond to this post. I need advice ASAP! I am living in Illinois and moving to San Diego in a month. My original plan was to get a 5X8 U-haul trailer and tow behind my car. I have a 2009 Dodge Charger. My dad is concerned about driving through the mountains. He is afraid that I might blow my transmission. Any advice, comments, concerns, ANYTHING as to what options I have. I am trying to spend the less amount of money possible. Moving this way will cost me about $800.00. I have family in Phoenix so the plan is to travel to Amarillo, TX the first day and from there to Phoenix, AZ then onto San Diego.Has anybody taken this trip before? Does anybody have experience towing behind a charger?

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Welcome to RTA!

    The 2009 Charger has a 2000 lb towing capacity. A 5x8 enclosed U-Haul weighs 900 lb empty. Do the math. If you have more than 1100 lb of cargo it's a no-go. If you stick to Interstates and keep it down to 55 mph and lock it out of overdrive you should be fine.

    Exactly where in IL? I think you are overestimating how far you can drive each day. It's probably going to take you 3 days to get to Phoenix, not just 2.

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


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    The first thing you need to know before we say anything about your car, is that you need to plan more time for this trip. Getting from Anywhere in Illinois to Amarillo in a single day is not safe or reasonable, neither is trying to get from Amarillo to Phoenix in a single day. That would be true in a best case situation, trying to do those kinds of distances while towing would be suicidal.

    If you're going to be towing, 500 miles a day should really be the maximum you are looking at for a daily drive. Even that is going to be around 12 hours a day on the road, once you factor in the slower speeds you'll need to safely tow. Uhaul recommends a maximum speed of 55 mph, and while you might be able to push 60, I wouldn't want to pull one of their trailers behind my car much faster than that. Even 500 miles/12 hours a day is pushing things a bit, because they will be stressful hours on the road.

    As far as the actual tow, it looks like you'll be pushing the limits of your car a bit. The maximum towing capacity of a Charger appears to be 2,000 lbs, and the 5x8 Uhaul is already 900lbs empty. That size trailer also does not have brakes, so that's another reason to keep the speeds down.

    On any long distance tow like this, you should stick to the Interstates. Without knowing your exact starting point, I can't recommend a specific route. However, if you're going to go via Phoenix, I'd probably dip down to I-10 for an lower elevation driver than the higher elevation of I-40, and relatively steep decent into the Phoenix area on I-17. I would also recommend you strongly consider purchasing a transmission cooler, which will help save your transmission from premature wear. Also, look at flushing the transmission fluid right before and right after your trip.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Another thought -- adding a transmission cooler and flush is a great idea, but it isn't cheap either. It might be less expensive to rent a U-Haul truck and trailer, and TOW your Dodge Charger. Check into it. If you have more than 1100 lbs of household goods, it is definitely going to be cheaper to rent the truck and trailer than it will be to replace your transmission, with or without a tranny cooler! Your dad is right in this case!

    Michael outlined my thoughts, exactly: head down for I-10, because that I-17 downgrade is at 6% for many miles.

    Welcome to San Diego, BTW. It's a nice place to live, but warning: housing is expensive here, especially compared to anywhere-Illinois.


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