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Shoddy U-Haul hitch install

4714 Views 12 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Crawdaddy
Friday I had a heavier trailer hitch installed on my 1991 Suburban. My factory hitch was rated at 4000 pounds dead tow and 9500 weight distributing. U-Haul listed a 10000 pounds dead tow and 12000 weight distributing hitch on their site, so I ordered it and waited a week for it to come in. Friday rolls around and I get a call from U-Haul saying their was an issue with the booking because they thought I was coming in Saturday when I scheduled the install for Friday. They agreed to let me come in and get it installed.

So I drop it off and wait for the install to be done. They didn't tell me there was a charge to remove my old hitch and tacked on an extra half-hour of labor to remove the hitch. I pay and walk out to the truck and check out the sticker on the hitch. It says 7500 pounds dead tow and 10000 weight distributing. What? I went round and round with the manager stating I never would have ordered a 10000 pound hitch when I already had a 9500. She kept arguing that the hitch was 10000/12000 despite what the sticker said and pulled up the specs on her computer. Well ma'am, I'm not arguing about the specs on the computer, but rather the label on the hitch from the hitch manufacturer. Later in the day I called Draw-Tite, the hitch manufacturer and learned that over that hitch's life, it was re-rated a couple times to a higher rating and I must have one that has a label before it was re-rated. So, I know I'm good for 10000/12000, the hitch label just doesn't agree.

I went back outside to take a picture of the tag to show her since she had no inclination to go outside to see it herself. When I did that, I took a peek under the truck. While the installation instructions from the manufacturer clearly call for 8 bolts into the frame, the installer only used 4, and they were the 4 that were already there for the factory hitch. So, back inside I march to inform her that the tech only installed it with 4 bolts rather than 8. She replies that it's U-Haul's policy to not drill holes in customers' vehicles. OK...let's get this's U-Haul's policy to install hitches not to manufacturer specifications? What if I didn't know to check your work and slapped a trailer on the hitch and while driving down the road the hitch falls off? You better believe I'm suing over an improper install.

She then tells me that the installer can drill the frame to put the other 4 bolts in, but I declined. If your U-Haul tech couldn't be bothered to install the hitch the right way in the first place, I'm not gonna let you touch the truck again and possibly drill through my fuel tank or something. I asked for the rest of the install hardware and left. When I got home and inspected the hardware, I'm not sure I got all of the install hardware; I think I'm missing a couple parts.

Friday I placed a call into U-Haul corporate to lodge my complaint with them. The customer service rep said that I should be getting a call from management in a couple days. At a minimum, I intend to try to get a refund for the labor I paid for (around $70) and new hardware to install the hitch with. I am also not going to accept going to that or another U-Haul dealer to have the hitch installed right; if anything, I want them to pay to send it to a more competent shop to do the work. I think I will do the install myself just to make sure it's done right. And of course I'm never going to them again for a hitch. I guess I should check the one they installed on my car to make sure it was done right.

Anyone else have a horrible experience with getting a U-Haul hitch installed?
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Well, I do want the hitch, and that model of hitch has been long made obsolete so demanding they find one with the right sticker would probably be very hard and not worth anyone's time. I can live with the sticker not being accurate to the latest re-rating, so I can't fault them for selling me the wrong hitch. But, I definitely fault them for the incorrect installation.
"from the manufacturer clearly call for 8 bolts into the frame, the installer only used 4, and they were the 4 that were already there for the factory hitch."

We have been down this road before...your truck is not rated to tow that much equipped from the factory, thus is the reason for only 4 bolts.

I wonder if U-Haul is going to figure out they are putting a heavy hitch on a 1/2 ton vehicle that will exceed the manufacturers tow recommendations?
You keep saying that, and you keep being only partially correct. While it's a safe general assumption that a half-ton cannot tow that kind of weight, there are plenty of half-ton vehicles capable of towing over 10,000 pounds from the factory; the 2014 Chevy Silverado 1500 with the 5.3L and 3.73 gears for example. So, it is fundamentally wrong to say it can't, because it absolutely can, has, and is backed up by official GM data. And while my improvements make 0 changes to the label on the door, they do make the vehicle stronger and more capable.

With a properly sized weight distributing hitch platform and bars, I can make all the weight ratings work without exceeding them. You are also incorrect in your assertion of the reason of there only being 4 bolts. Had there been no hitch at all there would have been no bolts present, yet it's perfectly capable and able to within its weight ratings support a hitch. Oftentimes, no bolt holes are furnished at all by the manufacturer for hitch installation, yet are capable of towing loads.

Then of course you get into U-Hauls insanely conservative ratings for towing. Try renting a tow dolly or car trailer from them and claim the vehicle you are towing weighs more than half of your towing vehicle's weight. They won't rent you the equipment, period unless you lie about the vehicle that's getting towed. This same thought process is put into their trailer hitch sales.
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I am more than capable of doing the install myself, but the lure of not having to worry about it for $35 plus a $5 lifetime warranty that includes abuse of the hitch got me to have them install it. That was definitely a mistake, since I'm gonna end up having to do it myself anyway.

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@CKNSLS, you appear to have PMs off. Can you turn them back on temporarily or PM me an email so that I can talk with you briefly?
Tomorrow will be 1 week since the fateful event and my complaint to U-Haul and I have yet to hear word 1 from them. Tomorrow morning I'm settling in for an unhappy, but civil call to corporate not only to get resolution for the bad install, but also the lack of a response that I was promised would be made in 48 hours of the complaint.
Well, I've got a resolution now. I spoke with Corporate today who gave me the local owner/managing company number. I spoke with the CEO's assistant who's going to refund me the labor to install the hitch. Granted, the labor was a measly $35.00, but it's the principle of the matter.

As for being able to get that hitch from somewhere else for cheaper, I'm not so sure. The hitch is a Draw-Tite 41900 which hasn't been made for a few years and cost me $243. A quick search for that hitch was giving me prices closer to $300. I think I made out pretty good on the hitch itself, just the installation wasn't worth a darn.

Another pro to getting it from U-Haul is that as far as I know, I still have their unconditional warranty against failure of the hitch including any collision, corrosion, accidental overload, jackknife, or theft of vehicle. Sounds like a winner to me... Downsides...I still have to do the install myself, but I should be able to get it done in an hour, maybe more since I'm going to drop the tank to do the install which technically isn't required.
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