Friday, August 9, 2013

A day of hell...

We knew today might be problematic.  But holy crap.  It was a bit more horrid than even I, the optimist, expected.

Last night we determined that there are a few bits missing from out towing package, namely a relay and one or two fuses.  According to our owner's manual,

"This relay and the fuses power up the trailer towing option.  See your Dodge dealer for further information"

Okay then - simple enough, right?  When we plugged the trailer into our Durango last night, the lights didn't work.  We hoped we could get it sorted pretty quickly today, but that was not in the cards.  Or the stars.  Or whatever hocus pocus you prefer.  We prefer figuring out the problem and taking care of it.  However, that's a bit hard to do when you're not fully sure of what you need and some of your "experts" don't quite have it right either.

I spent too much unproductive time here today

I spent WAY too much time here today. This store is usually great, but today they failed us and didn't particularly add to the forward momentum of our endeavors.  In the end I visited here three times.  I hit the Dodge dealer twice, and the second time proved much more fruitful than the first.  We figured out exactly which part we need, and that the dealer close to where the trailer is at the moment has it in stock.  AND THEY ARE OPEN ON SATURDAY.  Hooray!

There's no guarantee that the parts we get from the dealer will solve the electrical problem, but chances are good.  We'll report back tomorrow.

But no, no, that was not the end of our woes today.  Shortly after 5:00 pm, Michael was out cleaning up the electrical hookup and otherwise tidying the hitch coupler, when a horrible discovery was made!  The hitch that comes with the trailer (which we thought would at least get the trailer home), WON'T FIT our much more modern vehicle.


In case you're wondering, not too many places are open after 5:00 on Friday, and if they are they don't carry the weight distribution hitch we really wanted anyhow.

Which brings me to the U-Haul debacle.  For your viewing, please see exhibit one.  I'm pretty sure this is a picture of your typical U-Haul call center employee:


Wait - I'm not actually talking to somebody located here in my town?  That chipper little bippy that told me the parts were in stock and they were open until 8:00 pm (NOT TRUE) was actually one of THESE minions?!!!

That girl with the twinkling voice doesn't just live on the other side of town?  WHY did she tell me they were open until 8:00?  WHO is open until 8:00?  The BBQ Joint?  Taco Bell?  GameStop?  We quickly drove over to the local U-Haul and it was closed.  CLOSED.  I tried calling again, and got the same "helpful" fellow I got on my first call (which was disconnected in a transfer, before the call with the little bippy), and tried to determine if there was another location we had somehow missed.  I told him we were at the rental place and it was closed, and he said the shop is located "1/2 mile south of the Naval Air Station on Goldie Road" and I asked if it was further up the road and he said "YES."  Turns out Mr. Helpful probably had no clue what he was talking about, since he probably live in Topeka Kansas!  We drove around a bit, and nothing made sense, so we called again - THEN the truth finally came out about the call center and the fact my calls to the local number were being routed to the call center - and most U-Haul locations close at 5:00 pm.


Once I got home and drank a big glass of wine, I started in on the research to find an actual living person who also happened to have a trailer hitch in stock (and wasn't 50 miles out of our way)

I'm so glad I'm a librarian, and know how to use the internet, and have knowledge of THINGS.  It didn't take long to find a possible source in Burlington, and a phone call determined the hitch we wanted is in stock and we can pick it up tomorrow.  We'll get what we need (and then some) and towing will be a lark. 

As long as those electrics work.  Crap.  I practically forgot about those in the quest for a hitch.

Tomorrow will be interesting.


  1. I'm sure you didn't think this was funny,but the way you write it funny as hell...I'm not quite following along about your electrical problem with the tow vehicle....or the hitch for that matter.most of the older trailers require a2 inch ball and at times the older ones inch and 7/8 if you have a receiver on your vehicle you just need to change the ball.I do look forward to reading your dentures from tomorrow as itwill most definitely be an adventure... Make the best of it this is a story you can tell around the campfire when you get to use your little will laugh at this later on, as I'm sure it doesn't seem too funny now. Good luck and enjoy.

  2. When I made an 800 mile tripto Eastern New Jersey to pick up the Scotty Hilander known as BARNEGAT, I had a 2 inch ball on my Suburban and the reciever is tightly rusted in place after 25 winters out in Michigan salty roads. Only option is to try to change the ball to inch and 7/8 -- much easier said than done. That ball was tightly rusted in place also. We ended up cutting the old 2 inch ball off with a grinder which took at least an hour. Then we were able to hitch up the trailer and head west to Michigan, arrived home at 5:00 AM on Monday morning, time to go to sleep! I hope that the rest of your project goes better!

  3. I suppose I wasn't totally clear - we have never towed anything, and our 1999 Dodge Durango seems not to have towed anything in the past - we bought it in November, and had no thoughts of getting a trailer until very recently.

    There is something missing in the electrics, we're not sure what. The trailer lights work fine, the previous owner hooked up his truck and it was all good. So the problem is definitely in our rig. We have an appointment Monday morning to get it sorted.

    We also only had the hitch attachment on our car, but not the actual hitch and ball. The hitch that comes with the trailer is way too long, but we were planning to upgrade to a nice weight distribution hitch anyhow. The RV shop where we got it very kindly refitted the structure with a 2" ball.

    We'll get there!