Moving far...need suggestions about towing. - Nissan Murano Forum
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post #1 of 40 Old 04-13-2015, 03:40 AM Thread Starter
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Moving far...need suggestions about towing.

So, I will be moving from Chicago to California in the beginning of June and have a little bit of a dilemma with moving. The car is an '04 SE AWD with all the bells and whistles, but it also has a little bit of mileage...167k at the moment to be exact. Other than regular maintenance and common problems in the past, the car has not been giving me any major issues. I have been planning on keeping the car at least another year and the move was expected but not guaranteed until recently.

Anyways, we do not have much to move to be honest. Pretty much all of the furniture will be purchased in Cali, once there. The plan was to drive the car 1,700 miles, but a little bit will need to be towed with us (TV, clothes, 3 bicycles, childs bed and a few other misc things). I DO NOT want to spend roughly $2,000 on a Uhaul box truck, as we do not have enough to even throw into it. So, I have looked into possibly getting a Uhaul trailer (4' x 8') which should be enough for our needs...roughly $400 for trailer plus $135+ for tow hitch, which I dont currently have but would purchase.

Here is my main concern...THE CVT!...Even though the car does have a ton of miles, it has been holding up well and the CVT was replaced at 96K miles through Nissan, without any issues since. I understand that our cars do not want to see over 3,000 lbs while towing and I do not believe this would be exceeded, but not all of the driving would be on a flat surface (would have to get through Colorado with the trailer). I prefer not to ship everything over there via UPS, like the bikes for example, the other belongings we do not mind.

Any faith out there in the vehicle? I am mainly concerned about the CVT and the the long distance towing, even though its a small trailer. I have driven long distances in the past, but never did any towing. I understand that I have a ton of miles but I do maintain my car pretty well and don't have a issues with it. I plan on keeping the car a bit longer but would like to get situated in Cali first. Our other vehicle will be donated to our family member, along with a ton of other stuff, which is why we have such a small move. We have weighed out most of our options, but any other ideas would work as well. THANKS!
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post #2 of 40 Old 04-13-2015, 04:27 AM Thread Starter
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Here is the link for the trailer...appears to weigh 850 lbs. We would only dump in a few hundred more pounds in there.

U-Haul: 4x8 Cargo Trailer Rental
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post #3 of 40 Old 04-13-2015, 04:54 PM
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There is NO ISSUE with your CVT. None. It's rated to pull much more than you plan to. Just don't try to go 90 MPH up steep hills. I've towed 700+ miles in a day with a U-Haul 16-footer weighing close to 1.5 tons and an 07 Murano.

My recommendation is to get a double-axle trailer, as they pull better than the smaller ones and have nicely functional trailer brakes actuated by movement of the tongue as you begin to brake. Use the extra space for all the light but space-consuming stuff that will spring out at you from long-forgotten corners.

Read the threads here for info on trailer towing - you have a total of 3500 pounds including the load inside the Murano. Make sure to load the tongue heavier then the tail of the trailer - otherwise it will not tow safely and fishtail when you brake.

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post #4 of 40 Old 04-13-2015, 07:19 PM Thread Starter
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Wow great info thanks. So you're saying that the CVT should not be an issue even though they tend to go quite often? I will look for the double axle trailers, if possible. Otherwise, if I have to stick with this one, I'll make sure to load up heavy in the front of it, as you mentioned. Also, I forgot but just realized that I would have to get the entire tow package set, as my '04 would need to be wired up for the brakes/signals on the trailer. Any idea if this is a pain to wire up? I don't mind wiring stuff up and most of it looks plug and play, but I hope that it is easier thAn I'm thinking it to be.

*Also, CVT was replaced by Nissan in 2011. Not sure if that makes any difference but I thought I heard someone mention that even the factory replacements should be slightly better than the older original 04's due to their components in the later years made?*
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post #5 of 40 Old 04-14-2015, 03:29 AM
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Dude I towed my girls Murano from va to NY and had her drive her car back. It was a journey. From people cutting me off to squeezing through tight corners and such. Definitely get that uhaul and tie down things tight and watch out for the other guy.
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post #6 of 40 Old 04-14-2015, 04:33 AM Thread Starter
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Dude I towed my girls Murano from va to NY and had her drive her car back. It was a journey. From people cutting me off to squeezing through tight corners and such. Definitely get that uhaul and tie down things tight and watch out for the other guy.
Im confused... Did you do any towing or just drive long distance? I have driven long distance plenty of times.. First trans I made it to Florida and back, without any issues. Once I replaced the trans in 2011 (after the first one blew up on me), I have driven to Colorado and back, also without any issues. I just never did any towing with it.
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post #7 of 40 Old 04-14-2015, 12:04 PM
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Wow great info thanks. So you're saying that the CVT should not be an issue even though they tend to go quite often? I will look for the double axle trailers, if possible. Otherwise, if I have to stick with this one, I'll make sure to load up heavy in the front of it, as you mentioned. Also, I forgot but just realized that I would have to get the entire tow package set, as my '04 would need to be wired up for the brakes/signals on the trailer. Any idea if this is a pain to wire up? I don't mind wiring stuff up and most of it looks plug and play, but I hope that it is easier than I'm thinking it to be.

Note: your Murano has the tungsten lamps, my 07 has the LED taillights. I think the LEDs are more problematic with aftermarket units, but don't buy trouble - get the Nissan harness.

*Also, CVT was replaced by Nissan in 2011. Not sure if that makes any difference but I thought I heard someone mention that even the factory replacements should be slightly better than the older original 04's due to their components in the later years made?*
The only way to go on towing wiring is to get the Nissan OEM wiring harness. It plugs into the interior harness in the spare tire well and there's even a rubber plug on the wiring which inserts into the floor and replaces the plain plug in the same spot. People have had all kinds of problems with aftermarket wiring units - **get the OEM** version and it's "plug and play"...NOT difficult at all. Just keep it away from the exhaust because it comes through the floor in the area above the exhaust. Cable ties are your friends.

A newer CVT may indeed be stouter, but who knows?

"Heavy" is a relative term. You don't need to put all the weight up front and drag the rear end of the Murano down, but the tongue should be heavy enough that it takes at least two people to lift it.

And don't forget to secure the trailer chains to the hitch with a stout padlock or two. The smart thing thieves do now is steal the whole trailer while it's parked overnight.

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post #8 of 40 Old 04-14-2015, 11:01 PM
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Im confused... Did you do any towing or just drive long distance? I have driven long distance plenty of times.. First trans I made it to Florida and back, without any issues. Once I replaced the trans in 2011 (after the first one blew up on me), I have driven to Colorado and back, also without any issues. I just never did any towing with it.
I towed the car because the motor was blown and would not go past 15mph. I towed it through this year through the blizzard and all. On the 4wheel dolly from uhaul with the uhaul truck. From Va to Ny and back to Va to return the truck.
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post #9 of 40 Old 04-15-2015, 02:01 AM Thread Starter
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The only way to go on towing wiring is to get the Nissan OEM wiring harness. It plugs into the interior harness in the spare tire well and there's even a rubber plug on the wiring which inserts into the floor and replaces the plain plug in the same spot. People have had all kinds of problems with aftermarket wiring units - **get the OEM** version and it's "plug and play"...NOT difficult at all. Just keep it away from the exhaust because it comes through the floor in the area above the exhaust. Cable ties are your friends.

A newer CVT may indeed be stouter, but who knows?

"Heavy" is a relative term. You don't need to put all the weight up front and drag the rear end of the Murano down, but the tongue should be heavy enough that it takes at least two people to lift it.

And don't forget to secure the trailer chains to the hitch with a stout padlock or two. The smart thing thieves do now is steal the whole trailer while it's parked overnight.
Great info, thank you. I will look into getting the OEM harness, possibly from the dealer if necessary. What I did not know is that the OEM harness would plug right into a plur or unit that is already in my car at the moment. I though that the entire setup would have to be wired up from scratch...just like the aftermarket wiring (I guess I never took a good look at the spare tire compartment). Anyways, I will look into it and try to avoid the aftermarket stuff most likely. Also, thanks about the tips for weight distribution and locking down the trailer/chains to prevent anyone from stealing it, we would be staying a night in a hotel for sure.

EDIT: Not sure if this would be the same or similar for the OEM 2004 installed, but I have found this great how-to on installing a tow harness. Here it is:

http://www.nissan-techinfo.com/asist.../S/N/1SN24.PDF
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post #10 of 40 Old 04-15-2015, 02:02 AM Thread Starter
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I towed the car because the motor was blown and would not go past 15mph. I towed it through this year through the blizzard and all. On the 4wheel dolly from uhaul with the uhaul truck. From Va to Ny and back to Va to return the truck.
I will be towing WITH my Murano, not the actual Murano itself.
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post #11 of 40 Old 04-15-2015, 08:52 AM
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EDIT: Not sure if this would be the same or similar for the OEM 2004 installed, but I have found this great how-to on installing a tow harness. Here it is:

http://www.nissan-techinfo.com/asist.../S/N/1SN24.PDF
I have what looks like a hard copy of the same document right here. Very helpful - I used it to install the harness on my 07. I presume the wiring setup is the same on your 04, as there's no reason they would have changed it.

Try online sources for the wiring harness - may be able to save a few bucks.

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Is this actually going to be cost effective to do what you are proposing? You are going to have to purchase the hitch and wiring harness, and have it installed, and I'd want it done professionally so I knew it was right. Then you will be renting a trailer and trying to drive the thing 1700 miles with a Murano that is 11 years old and has 167,000 miles. That would worry me, and my main concern wouldn't just be the CVT, which is actually relatively new. It would be the entire 11 year old car.

And now you have a trailer hitch you paid for and may never use again. There has got to be a better solution to this move than what you are proposing.

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post #13 of 40 Old 04-15-2015, 04:06 PM
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I believe the hitch is under $130 and takes only a couple of hours to install. Having done one, I can attest that there are not many bolts involved...and you really can't get bolts in the wrong places. Just torque them to thoroughly tighten them. Easy.

It has been a couple of years, but it seems to me that the wiring harness was around $100 or a bit more, and was not difficult to install either.

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post #14 of 40 Old 04-16-2015, 02:25 AM Thread Starter
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Is this actually going to be cost effective to do what you are proposing? You are going to have to purchase the hitch and wiring harness, and have it installed, and I'd want it done professionally so I knew it was right. Then you will be renting a trailer and trying to drive the thing 1700 miles with a Murano that is 11 years old and has 167,000 miles. That would worry me, and my main concern wouldn't just be the CVT, which is actually relatively new. It would be the entire 11 year old car.

And now you have a trailer hitch you paid for and may never use again. There has got to be a better solution to this move than what you are proposing.
Trust me, I have thought this through but would really like to avoid purchasing a new car here in Chicago just for the trip there. I prefer to buy something once out there..(a California condition car).

You are very right, the car does have high mileage and is old now but I know the car and maintain it myself...as best as possible. Sure, anything can go wrong but that could happen at any second. I have just though about the CVT, more only as I do not trust them much, to be honest. I see that people have faith in them but I had a bad experience with my first one.

The hitch and wiring I have found would run me a little over $200... + $400 for the rented trailer. I will be doing the install myself, as I consider myself to be mechanically inclined and do almost all of the work on my own. So yes, it is the most cost effective thing in my opinion, as long as the car gets there in one piece...of coarse. Obviously this is a pretty big dilemma for me, which is why I'm posting this thread and focused more on the CVT originally, but I do understand that everything else does require full attention.

Overall I cant complain. I drive far to and from work daily and dont have much to complain about in the past, other than your regular maintenance and the one bad experience with the CVT shutting down on me in 2011. It's all a bit of a risk but I am very aware of that.
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post #15 of 40 Old 04-16-2015, 02:31 AM Thread Starter
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I believe the hitch is under $130 and takes only a couple of hours to install. Having done one, I can attest that there are not many bolts involved...and you really can't get bolts in the wrong places. Just torque them to thoroughly tighten them. Easy.

It has been a couple of years, but it seems to me that the wiring harness was around $100 or a bit more, and was not difficult to install either.
Yup, that is roughly what I have also found with a little bit of research online. Local dealers have the harness for $100 as well.
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