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Old 07-23-2004, 10:22 AM   #1
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Towing a motorhome!

Please understand my question. I need to tow a motohome that I purchased. Has any one seen a motorhome being towed? Is there such a device to accomplish this? I do not want to hire a tow truck with a low boy, as these are going to send me to bankruptcy court. Any ideas?
Hidalgo
It is a 1977 20ft Argo with 9,500 lbs GVW.
I have a 2004 Dodge 3500 with towing cap of 16,000.
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Old 07-23-2004, 10:41 AM   #2
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Do the brakes work? Tail lights and turn signals? How far?
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Old 07-23-2004, 10:48 AM   #3
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Yep there are tow trucks big enough to handle it and they come with an equaly big bill. You should hear the horror stories of them slamming the rear bumper into the gorund and damaged the body work.

Find you local grading company and see if they have a low boy and could move it for a $200 and you would be doing good.

And the brakes are run off engine Vacuum and I sure as hell wouldn't try tow roping a 12,000 lb vehcile. Now if it's a blown tranny and your only talking a few miles and can run the engine so you have full brakes and power steering....Yeah I would try it then.
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Old 07-23-2004, 11:28 AM   #4
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Towing

The motorhome has been sitting for years and I am hoping to revive it.
I am thinking of using a trailer hefty enought to do the towing.
It is going from Mo to Ca.
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Old 07-23-2004, 11:57 AM   #5
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If you're going to use a trailer pulled with your truck there are two things I can think of off the top of my head...

Clearance. You'll have to make sure the height of the trailer bed doesn't leave the Argosy too high in the air - hard to know if you'll encounter any low clearance issues over such a long haul. Trailer will have to be pretty low-slung, a la lowboy.

Weight. Have to make sure the combined weight of the Argosy, coupled with the weight of the trailer beefy enough to haul it doesn't exceed the capacity of the truck.

There may be other things that I'm not thinking about as well...
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Old 07-23-2004, 12:42 PM   #6
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Clearance

I have checked with the CHP, our California Version of the CHIPs, and they tell me that 14'5''. I think that the argo's height is somewhere between 10-11 ft, this leaves me with a trailer that can at most is 2-3 ft of height.
I will keep an eye open.
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Old 07-23-2004, 12:46 PM   #7
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Towing on a Trailer

I think you may find that a trailer low enough to give you the clearance will not allow the unit to be driven up and onto the trailer. (Low Boy for things like construction equipment, etc.). See this link about a blown motor on a TD 310: 310 turbo blown engine

Also, here is a pic of a rig big enough to tow an AS MH. (that is a another member's MH BTW). Is there any chance of reviving it enough in MO to drive it home? (PS - I would suggest the southern route to CA if possible)
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Old 07-23-2004, 12:53 PM   #8
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Costly

Swebster,
Thanks for the link and the picture.
The rig showing towing the motorhome, is quite an expense.
I got a couple of scary numbers, when considering such a move.
I think my limps are worth hanging on to!
Thank You,
Hidalgo
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Old 07-23-2004, 01:26 PM   #9
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Oh yeah, and safety

The other thing would be the effects of stiff crosswinds on such a high-profile cargo. Might be iffy if you encounter any severe weather....

So what's the story on your new baby? How bad off? Will it just not run at all? Depending on what's what, you might spend less money in Missouri making it roadworthy enough to get home, than it would cost to tow or haul it there.
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Old 07-23-2004, 03:00 PM   #10
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Abosolutely!

Cor.
You are absolutely right!
I am heading out there with a co-pilot and an open mind. Should I find it in a state that only requires tires, battery and a tune up, I may just force the wife into driving one of the two back.
The thought occurred to me that may be a tow-bar, big enough for such an item, what do you think?
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Old 07-23-2004, 03:10 PM   #11
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Should you go that route, I would really try asking no more of the Argosy's engine and drivetrain than to get itself home. Adding a toad might or might not be too much. That said, if it were me I'd drive one vehicle out, and two vehicles back. Depending on the second vehicle, you might spend less on the gas to drive it both ways than you would for the cost and installation of a towbar.

Of course, if you're thinking of pulling the Argosy with the truck using a towbar - well I just don't know. I dont know of any that are rated to tow something that large... Plus there would be the brake issue that 59Toaster mentioned...
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Old 07-23-2004, 03:22 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hidalgo
Cor.
The thought occurred to me that may be a tow-bar, big enough for such an item, what do you think?
Not ready made, but maybe could be done. See the front bumper is only held on with 4 screws. Take them off and you have the ends of the frame rails right there. Find a welder that is willing and a mobile home delivery guy any you should be set. The mobile home delivery guy cannot lift the mh, but can pull and stop.
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Old 07-23-2004, 04:22 PM   #13
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Just an idea worth considering!

Thenewkid,
I have to say that your input has proven to be too good to pass up. I will find an old style tow bar, just like the one that Uhaul used to rent ( as these were and are as heavy duty as I have ever seen) and make an adaptation to suit the need. It seems to me that if I strip the bumper and have a direct connect to the chassis, I can easily tow a vehicle that is within the rated limits. What do you think?
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Old 07-23-2004, 04:51 PM   #14
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keep in mind you will be towing 9000 - 15000 pounds depending on the model (not sure I know which one you are looking at). I'm not sure about the old style UHAUL bars but I think most bars designed to pull a car are only rated up to 5500 with a few going to 7000. If you can't find a rated bar you may be in the "custom fabrication" department....Bretts idea about towing the MH down behind a tractor rig could work if you could use the same towing setup that the mobile home guys use.

<soapboxon>This is not the time to use "good enough" engineering. The people traveling behind the rig will thank you for being safe.</soapboxoff>

Just my 2 cents
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Old 07-23-2004, 05:07 PM   #15
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I am going to dig into this one.

I am going to look for a ideas at various shops and take it from there. I think that this will fly, as I believe that once you have the proper pieces you can safely tow this one. Thanks for the opinions.
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Old 07-23-2004, 06:58 PM   #16
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Anything is possible

When I was young and really stupid, I once pulled a 1942 GMC 2 1/2 ton bobtail from the Bay Area to Cheyenne, Wyoming, with a 1969 Dodge Charger. Used one of those same towbar assemblies. Should have heard the truckers on the CB when I passed them going up the mountain grades on I-80 at 65mph. The 440 Mag certainly did not lack for power. Luckily it was pretty much a straight shot and it followed along just fine, even though it looked like the truck was pushing the car.
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Old 07-23-2004, 07:38 PM   #17
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My post was a suggestion. I do think it is a much better plan to try to drive it home and find a mechanic if needed. Or do some research ahead of time and have a few mechanics chosen along the route. Unless you can park it if it breaks down and start the negotiations from a non-desperate position I fear it will be a very costly tow job.

If you want to read a thread that is a worst case scenario go to The Adventures of Brett and Edie I

It has been a year and we still love the coach, but I was not even going to contemplate towing it home. If you are going to tow it remember to disconnect the rear U joint form the differential. Not doing so will guarantee you need a new transmission.
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Old 07-23-2004, 08:38 PM   #18
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What stories!

Safari,
I tip my hat to you, must have been really, really young... Thanks for the visual.
Newkid,
It is all in the exploratory stage, I do not think that I would expose myself to a disaster. Should I come across a dissenting vote, I will look for a mechanic. The only concern there is the time. I am limited on time. But considering the possibilities, I may just ask for extra vacation time.
Thanks for your advice.
Hidalgo
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Old 07-24-2004, 09:42 AM   #19
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This is a dissenting vote.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hidalgo
... I do not think that I would expose myself to a disaster. Should I come across a dissenting vote, I will look for a mechanic....

Hidalgo --


Like 71_safari I pulled some really hairy loads in my youth....

I urge you to go the "drive it home" route.....

If the engine or transmission goes belly up on the way home, well, you will be that much closer to home....

Just find a secure place to leave it and start to negotiate non-emergency repairs.

After much reflection on my part this is my contingency plan.....if the tranny quits rebuild it, and if the engine blows buy a new one.......

Please don't do anything unsafe....

Note to anyone planning to pull a 16,000 lb plus P-3X chassis.....without power steering it is almost impossible to turn (I know)...the power brakes are assisted by the power steering pump, and 16,000 lbs needs every bit of "power" available to stop safely......

Good luck.
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Old 07-24-2004, 09:53 AM   #20
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20' is short. I like the remove front bumper and attach a custom tow bar idea. Have it made. Better bring some grinding/cutting tools in case the 4 bolts holding the front bumper on are rusted. Don't plan on using those 4 points to attached the tow bar, they are tiny. You will have to dream some other attachment up. Got a portable welding rig? Check the capacity of your truck's hitch and ball. Have someone ride in the motorhome in case the hitch breaks. He can operate the brakes as well, even if the engine is not operating. It's better than no assit at all. Might be a good idea to get new motorhome tires before departing. I wonder how a blowout would be while being towed?!?

Second idea: Have a tow dolly made rated to handle the weight of the front of the motorhome. Have surge brakes on the custom dolly. Have big straps holding motorhome to dolley.
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