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julesagogo 06-24-2011 05:25 AM

Newb with questions about UHaul :)
Hi - I'm looking at buying this 1985 UHaul 13' to pull behind a 2010 MINI Cooper non-S 6 speed (rated in EU to tow 1440 pounds; Curt hitch and 4 pin wiring installed and ready to pull). I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions because this would be my first RV (and first towing experience). This would just be for me and maybe the occasional buddy, and I'm pretty handy (remodeling and sewing are hobbies).

Some wisdom I've gleaned so far is:
  • Look before buying
  • Use the Buyers Check List linked to the left
  • Talk to people who have owned these
  • Tolerance for being upside down in cost is directly related to the owner's love of eggs

My thoughts on what is missing:
  • Stove - I prefer to cook outside and I have a propane coleman stove/grill
  • Heater - I have a SportCat propane heater and can get a small electric one
  • Water tank - nice to have? Not sure on this one.
  • Fridge or icebox - nice to have but also nice the a/c is hidden
  • Cushions - I can make some if I have the dimensions
  • Propane - heavy and would add weight to the tongue
  • Missing items - might make it difficult to sell in the future

I'd rather not buy something I couldn't also sell for nearly what I paid in case something unexpected happened in my life down the road - it's kind of the way I make most major purchases. Not looking for a money pit, in other words.

So I'm curious - what do you think of this one and would you drive 3 hours each way to see it and potentially spend $1800 - $2500 on it as is?

Photos and Info

Thanks in advance!

Kevin K 06-24-2011 06:02 AM

Tow with a Mini cooper, I would say NO.
But buy the Uhaul that's a great price.

julesagogo 06-24-2011 06:13 AM


Originally Posted by Kevin K (Post 256919)
Tow with a Mini cooper, I would say NO.
But buy the Uhaul that's a great price.

Thanks Kevin! Why no towing with the MC? Experience, stories?

Would $2500 still be a good price for this one?

Panoz77 06-24-2011 07:19 AM

I don't think a Mini would be able to handle that CT-13 even without the added weight of the removed items. I'd pay $around the $2000 range for that one, for me it would be missing some important features and it has some leaking window and fiberglass issues but nothing too serious. I'd check the AC install and areas that were modified by the previous owner for water leaks/issues. It looks to be in pretty good cosmetic shape, check the frame for rust/rot. Cushions are expensive to have made.

julesagogo 06-24-2011 07:26 AM

Thanks James - I was also thinking they'd be expensive to have professionally made and wondered what that price range would be if anyone would know.

I'm kind of interested in trying to tow something of this size with the MINI to see how it feels. It's quite the little powerhouse. I posted that question on a MINI forum here. If it won't handle it, I definitely won't get it.

Donna D. 06-24-2011 07:52 AM

There's towing, there's stopping too. I'd worry about the length of the mini too. It maybe the trailer is too big in overall physical size, not just weight. I know Jeep CJ folks have that concerns as well.

julesagogo 06-24-2011 07:56 AM

Ah good point on stopping, but I don't understand the size issue very well other than wind resistance due to height...

Paul Chet 06-24-2011 08:57 AM

hi Jules,
i agree with Kevin here. your allowable towing weight will quickly rise with additional passengers and gear. the U Hauls are around 1200 pounds - but as soon as you add all the fun stuff, the weight starts to pile on quickly. for example, our new spare tire and spare tire mount add an additional 25-30 pounds right there. i took everything out of the U Haul in prep for a major renovation and was amazed how much 'stuff' we had packed in there! so technically you can do it with the Mini, but for the sake of safety, you may wish to err on the opposite side of the extreme. i pull my U Haul with an old Tacoma 4x4. cant even tell its back there, and i can also bring bikes, kayaks, dive gear, etc. and still be well under my max allowable safe weight.

coming in at around 1400 pounds would be ideal if you are driving on long flat highways.
if you are going downhill fully-loaded and there is an emergency situation, thats when being on the risky end of the extreme could not be a benefit.

as for price - its looks well cared for. i think you will always find a few head scratchers as virtually all of the eggs have been modified (they cut out the rear bench on mine and put the battery outside - but also installed a bathroom up front which is why i bought it). they all pretty much need window work as the window seals have simply degraded after 25 years. i think $2500 is a decent price but start at $2000 ...

in the end, as they say, its really about how much its worth to you. the handful of trips we have already taken in ours has been the topic of so many great stories already - and those are priceless memories. good luck!

CindyL 06-24-2011 10:19 AM


That is the Uhaul on ebay that I talked to the hubby about as being suspicious about. The description read that the bearings were just repacked. Uhauls do not have bearings that need repacking. They have sealed hubs.
The hubby pointed out that the axel might have been changed.


julesagogo 06-24-2011 10:28 AM

Paul and Cindy - thanks for the info! :)

Larry Tenhage 06-25-2011 10:03 PM

One reason I'd hesitate about pulling a Uhaul, or other similar camper with your Mini is not due to the car's power or stopping ability, but wind resistance. If you get a stiff side wind, you need a decently weighted tow vehicle for stability. The mini doesn't have that; you don't want to end up overturned somewhere. The trailer will act like a big sail in windy conditions. That can spell trouble!

Donna D. 06-25-2011 10:07 PM

I'm with Larry. In a critical instance, the whole setup could end up being the tail wagging the dog. Any 13' trailer is about 4-5 feet longer than the Mini which is already a pretty lightweight tow vehicle.

Larry Tenhage 06-27-2011 05:06 PM

To reinforce what Donna just mentioned about "the tail wagging the dog", here's a link to a video which shows the danger of pulling a large trailer with a small car. Although this video shows the effects of gravity, not wind, but you get the idea.....

YouTube - ‪Car Pulling Trailer Fail‬‏

Erin C 07-01-2011 04:55 PM

for the mini you might consider a teardrop - nowhere near the amenities but you can do it.

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