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Towing uhaul trailer with 2002 s10

I’ll try to keep this from being long winded. Essentially my sister wants me to swap cars with my dad so he can use my truck to move her from NYC to Cleveland. Catch it she has a lot of crap and will need a trailer to accommodate it. I don’t know if my sis or my dad have ever pulled a trailer. I have, but it wasn’t my setup. It was a 2500hd diesel.

My question is what can she tow with my truck without doing any harm to it. I have the owners manuel, but I don’t understand all the numbers. Does anyone out there know what uhaul trailer a 2002 s10 pu 4cl 5sp can tow. Also, I don’t have a hitch installed, just the bumper hitch. Will I need to install a real underbody hitch. If you need to me to post numbers let me know and I will. I just don’t know what you need. so specify.

Thanks in advance.

Tell them to hire a moving company. This is what they do.

Towing a trailer is not something that should be done by someone who has no experience. Your 4-cylinder truck won’t take kindly to this adventure.

Let your sister figure this out for herself, and stay out of it. Don’t volunteer your truck. If anything goes wrong you will be liable.

A 4 cylinder 5 speed vehicle isn’t set up to tow anything of substance for a long distance.

I have a 4 cylinder 5 speed pickup and when I hauled a load in the bed that weighted a 1,000 lbs for just twenty miles, I had all I could do to prevent the clutch from slipping.

Rent a real truck to haul the stuff.


I think the tongue and tow weight will be listed on the bumper. If you need more than the ball on the bumper forget it. I ended up with a ford ranger with a 2.4 in 03 after driving the s10, The chevy was seriously underpowered in comparison as I was looking for some short term boat tows. It will probably not be damaged but any big hills you may have to fight to get up. I did end up towing the boat on a 500 mile trip, 1400 lbs, 50lbs tongue weight. It was survivable as a 1 time trip.

I agree that the cost of a properly installed hitch and the wiring as well as renting the U-Haul will come very close to renting a U Haul TRUCK, which is the right thing to do.

Prior to any move one should carefully go over one’s posessions and decide what is JUNK, what is of no use and can be sold at a garage sale or donated, and what is essential to take with you.

I went through 3 company paid moves and they loaded everyting up in my absence; the last move was 7.5 tons of “stuff”.

Your sister should go over her belonings carefully, and rent a U Haul truck or have a moving company drop of a box which she fills and they deliver it at the destination.

There are many ways to move, but using your truck, although theoretically possible, is not a good idea. Your dad may not be experienced in handling a trailer and a strange vehicle, as pointed out.

The last move I did with a U Haul was with my 1965 Dodge Dart V8, and with a proper trailer hitch. I had no trouble pulling but I had 273 Cu inches and lots of torque.

Don’t give them your truck. A bumper mounted hitch is virtually worthless for this kind of towing. You would need a hitch mounted directly to the frame, and you would need a more substantial tow vehicle.

Tell your sister to rent a U-Haul truck, not a trailer. Small trucks like the S10 weren’t made to handle this kind of heavy duty use.

If your sister is anything like mine, she is bossy and doesn’t understand all of the issues at hand. Don’t let her ruin your truck.

Since they will be driving through PA, they are gonna encounter a lot of steep hills. I don’t see a 4 cylinder engine pulling a trailer over that kind of terrain.

Thanks for all the input so far. I failed to mention this is a college dorm move ( don’t know if that makes a difference.) So it’s lots of clothes and a gigantic entertainment center (the reason for the trailer) and some other college stuff. Based on what you are saying though I should tell her “to stuff it?”

@Whitey: My sister is exactly like yours.

The other thing is. I may someday want to tow something so while I have you all here, I was wondering if you could help me make sense of the numbers so I KNOW what my vehicle is capable of. I put a lot of work into this truck and want to be able to use it, but not injure it. Like I said I have numbers, and I can post them. I just don’t know what they mean.

Go ahead and post the numbers. We will do our best to help you make sense of them.

I assume this 5 sp is a manual. If the weight is ok (which is doubtful) your clutch could still be in trouble unless they’re very careful with it.

I failed to mention this is a college dorm move
If there are books involved, books can be often shipped economically by freight. How valuable is the entertainment center? It may make more sense to sell this one and purchase another one when needed. Also, big items such as the entertainment center can sometimes be hauled by movers to make up a full load. You will have to wait until the mover has a partial shipment going to your destination, but the rates are often reasonable.

vehicle: 2.2l 4cl 5sp Manual trans. axle ratio: 3.73 Max. Trailer weight: 1,700lbs

Max weight calculated assuming 2 pass &all required trailering equipt. Any additional weight must be subtracted from max trailer weight.
From OM:

Tongue weight should be 10-15% of trailer weight.

MY bumper hitch has a placard that says 500lbs. Is this the max tongue weight or the max towing weight? It is not specified in the OM. If I need to get a hitch to do this then it is off the table right off the bat, unless my sis is paying for it.

It also says if trailer weighs more than 1000lbs loaded breaks are needed on the trailer. Then gives specs on weather they can be hooked up directly to the existing system or need a separate controller.

End From OM

Manuel specifies that wires are included stock and their location. I haven’t looked for them yet.

These are the trailers uhaul says are available for my vehicle. The pics are on fb, but you don’t need to be a member to view them. The problem is it doesn’t have the empty weight listed, which has to subtracted from the total load right?

So in summery, as I understand it. The max tow cap. is the weight of the trailer and the cargo combined (1700lbs in my truck.) The tongue weight is the weight the trailer imposes on the truck strictly vertically speaking (ideally 10% of the loaded trailer weight.) If this is all correct, then I need to know the weight of the trailer and the weight of all her crap. Then I need to find out what the 500lbs refers to on the bumper hitch.

Feel free to correct me at any time. Like I said I have experience towing, but I never did any of the setup and it is ambiguous if my father has ever done any towing. That may end up being the deal breaker. let me know.

A 4cylinder, 5 speed manual shift pickup truck should not be used as a tow vehicle.

I’m pretty sure that 500 lbs is total trailer weight, so unless the loaded trailer is VERY light, you’d need to install a new hitch.

I think you underestimate the vehicles, as stated I had many a happy year with a 1400 lb boat a 2.4 ranger w 2wd and manual trans, sure smoked the clutch a few times and had to have bar buddies sit in the back for traction sometimes, but when I sold it at 100 k original clutch, though many times I wished the floorboard was 2 inches lower.

I’ll call the dealer tomorrow. Thanks.

I am pretty sure that 500# number is the towing capacity of the bumper hitch, and I haven’t seen any U-Haul trailers that have brakes. If they had surge brakes, that would be in your sister’s favor, but they don’t. If they had electric brakes, you would have to buy and install a brake controller.

The main problem as I see it is that you won’t know the weight of the loaded trailer without taking it to a truck stop and weighing it on the scale the truckers use, and by then, it will be too late.

U-Haul trailers are hefty and sturdy. Loaded, one will definitely weigh more than 1,000 lbs.

I lied. The bumper hitch says it’s rated for 3500lbs, with a max tongue of 350lbs. I saw this article and went back out to check.

I also found out that the 4x8 uhaul weighs in at 850lbs

And the 5x8 at 900lbs

So with these new #'s could it feasibly be done?

P.S. the entertainment center will be disassembled for shipping, some of the pieces are just long.

I have seen too many small pick-ups with bumper-mounted hitches where the rear bumper looked like it was overloaded and about to fall off. I insist a frame-mounted hitch would be necessary. Also, remember that U-Haul trailer doesn’t have brakes. If it weighs more than 1,000 lbs. loaded (which it definitely will), it would need trailer brakes to be safe.

So I forwarded this thread to my Dad and convinced him that it was not such a good idea. I may have told him a white lie that my truck wasn’t rated to tow as much as it really is. The bonus being that he will now take care of the sis for me so I don’t have to deal with her. They will be getting the uhaul TRUCK for this move.

Thanks to everyone who helped me out. I really appreciate it.

P.S. Feel free to keep arguing about if a small truck can tow heavy things, it was very entertaining.