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Old 06-27-2012, 03:36 PM   #1
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Interstate towing small car trailer, long-term travel

So I have been reading these forums for a while and finally signed up today. I really wanted an Airstream trailer but it is just not possible for me to safely tow anything in the Airstream range with my MINI JCW. A teardrop trailer behind the MINI is just not going to work according to my spouse (the MINI can handle it - my spouse cannot!).

The exterior design and the more recent modern interior designs of Airstreams really appears to me. This would possibly be for some long-term living as we attempt to visit many locations across North America (2 people + dog) for months or more. Having an RV of some sort would be ideal as we plan to avoid big highways, spend a lot of time along the coasts, etc. and we need a place for pit stops, somewhere safe (heated/cooled) for the dog when we are out, place to park and stay for several days at a time, etc.

The class-B really appeals to me as it is relatively small, efficient, etc. and the Interstate is quite a looker (especially in black).

Anyways, my car is very important to me. We love taking fun day drives and my hobby is to get more into autocross among other types of racing. And since this is a long-term thing, I don't want to be driving the RV everywhere (such as if we stop for 2 months in a Vancouver condo for example). Are there any members who have towed a small car on a trailer long-term with their Interstate? I know that having a class B with a car might defeat some of the benefits of a Class-B.

The car weighs about 2600lbs + trailer which seems well within the tow limits of the Interstate.

Any suggestions, pitfalls, comments? I have read a supplementary transmission cooler may be a good idea?
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Old 06-28-2012, 11:01 AM   #2
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I towed on a dolly with a B190 for years. A transmission cooler, if it doesn't already have one, is a good thing; it's not going to hurt. If it doesn't have a transmission temperature gauge, I'd consider installing one.



Biggest down side: You cannot back up while towing a car on a dolly or flat towing it. Keep that in mind. I almost got into a situation once where I would have had to unload the car, unhook, turn everything around, then reload. Fortunately I was able to avoid that fate, but a friend of mine did have it happen. That said, it's a pretty rare scenario where it's a problem as long as you pay attention and plan ahead; I did several dumb things in a row to get myself into that situation.

If you're only going to be towing one car, definitely look into the flat towing option. Dollys are quite a PITA, and I was never really happy with mine. Loading and unloading cars on the dolly is not much fun.

Brakes on the dolly/towed vehicle are a good thing to have.

I'll post more as I think of it. If you have questions, feel free to ask. I haven't done it with an Interstate, but I did tow the Cougar (mostly) ~10,000 miles on a dolly, in various weather and even one accident.
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Old 06-29-2012, 09:07 AM   #3
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Thank you Skater for the comments.

I have towed a car with a dolly once behind a truck and I also made a stupid mistake that almost got me stuck. I will not consider a dolly or flat towing as I must be able to back-up and be fully maneuverable. I would be going with a flatbed trailer for sure to provide some level of protection of the car and I don't mind it I have to load or on-load once in a while.

Something like this likely as I a low front end/low suspension... It is fully customizable (assuming the guy still makes them) and designed to be nice and short, with a tilt bed and six foot long ramps:

mini2.jpg (image)
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Old 06-29-2012, 10:39 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by walk0080
Thank you Skater for the comments.

I have towed a car with a dolly once behind a truck and I also made a stupid mistake that almost got me stuck. I will not consider a dolly or flat towing as I must be able to back-up and be fully maneuverable. I would be going with a flatbed trailer for sure to provide some level of protection of the car and I don't mind it I have to load or on-load once in a while.

Something like this likely as I a low front end/low suspension... It is fully customizable (assuming the guy still makes them) and designed to be nice and short, with a tilt bed and six foot long ramps:

mini2.jpg (image)
The issues with those are extra weight and finding a spot to keep it in some campgrounds. If those aren't issues for you, then that's the right way to do it.
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Old 06-29-2012, 02:45 PM   #5
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Hi Walk0080

In very general terms, the broader (non-Airstream) motorhome crowd has generally concluded that 4-down towing is the way to go even though it often means selecting a car specifically for the purpose, and then modifying it with a brake actuator, oil pump, wiring harness, and baseplates. Minis reportedly tow 4-down just fine as long as you have the manual transmission.

The main problem with a trailer is the question of the total space required for RV + Trailer + Car which exceeds what is available or allowed at many campsites. I have encountered widely varying campground attitudes with regard to parking extra vehicles in my travels. At most places I've visited it wouldn't be a problem. On the other hand, Corps of Engineers campgrounds have a fairly strict policy on extra vehicles, and there are some places that due to space constraints wouldn't allow it. Most places would probably make an exception as long is there is room but on busy weekends or holidays there may not be.
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Old 06-29-2012, 05:34 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by walk0080 View Post
Any suggestions, pitfalls, comments?
Welcome. There is no shortage of the above around here

If you do go with a trailer, I suggest considering an enclosed one. I just bought a 16' 2012 Haulmark, 8' wide. It is the Transport model that has an easy load ramp for the car. The 8' interior width is enough to open the car door and squeeze out after loading. 6 1/2 feet of headroom lets me use it for a temporary workspace.



I used to use an open car hauler or a small double door cargo trailer when needed. Now I only need this one. The only downside with the rear ramp door is that a fork lift cannot load from the rear. But for most everything else I haul, it is good.

I'll never use it for camping... but with only a Mini inside it would have lots of extra lockable space for camping gear, kayaks or even tools and tires for the autocross . Wheel tie down baskets can be mounted anywhere on the floor with E-tracks.

You can find used ones on Craig's list. Mine was used only a few times and I paid $4500. Study brands a bit because quality varies alot. Wells Cargo and Haulmark are good ones.
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Old 07-03-2012, 07:54 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Jammer View Post
In very general terms, the broader (non-Airstream) motorhome crowd has generally concluded that 4-down towing is the way to go even though it often means selecting a car specifically for the purpose, and then modifying it with a brake actuator, oil pump, wiring harness, and baseplates. Minis reportedly tow 4-down just fine as long as you have the manual transmission.
It is much easier to hook and unhook them, that's for certain. Also, just to clarify - most cars that have a stick shift can be towed 4-down out of gear.

Quote:
The main problem with a trailer is the question of the total space required for RV + Trailer + Car which exceeds what is available or allowed at many campsites. I have encountered widely varying campground attitudes with regard to parking extra vehicles in my travels. At most places I've visited it wouldn't be a problem. On the other hand, Corps of Engineers campgrounds have a fairly strict policy on extra vehicles, and there are some places that due to space constraints wouldn't allow it. Most places would probably make an exception as long is there is room but on busy weekends or holidays there may not be.
Yep. With the dolly, at a campground, I was able to put the tongue down, then back the B190 over the dolly, so the dolly only added a couple extra feet to the length of the rig (the length of the tray + ramps) while actually camping, and I never had a problem with space. But I can think of a couple campgrounds where a full car trailer would be a serious problem.
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Old 07-03-2012, 09:10 AM   #8
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I didn't notice the notification emails in my spam folder. Thank you for all the replies. They have been very helpful.

If only I could tow a modern AS Bambi with my MINI.

I am keeping my options open right now and that includes putting the MINI away in storage for a while and going with an AS trailer and TV or even considering my MINI with small teardrop mixed with hotel/motel and short-term rental homes/apartments along the way.
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Old 07-03-2012, 09:29 AM   #9
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If only I could tow a modern AS Bambi with my MINI.
Call Can-Am - he can probably make it work.

(I hope I didn't start a Can-Am "discussion" here. There are plenty of threads about what they do, if you aren't familiar with them.)
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Old 07-06-2012, 09:19 PM   #10
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If only I could tow a modern AS Bambi with my MINI.
Now you're tah'kin.

The Cooper can do it! You'd probably just need to sort out the suspension. hitch. and trannny cooler.

Call CanAm and get started. That would be an awesome rig!




This Argosy is 2880lbs UBW. About the same as a 16' Sport.
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Old 07-12-2012, 09:17 AM   #11
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Call Can-Am - he can probably make it work.

(I hope I didn't start a Can-Am "discussion" here. There are plenty of threads about what they do, if you aren't familiar with them.)
The thing I worry about with that setup is towing such a heavy trailer, then having the car or trailer loaded... Would I be forced to tow dry and empty? Anyways, I've seen the pics about the Ontario dealership MINI Clubman with the Argosy and I suspect that it is used dry and not for any real travel use.


If a Class B were to be used, I think it would make most sense to tow 4-down. All the comments about having to find space for the trailer, etc. are very valid. Do the dollies have brakes? Seems to me that leveraging the powerful brakes on the MINI with 4-wheels down would be the best option. One thing I wonder is that I have never seen a MINI JCW towed 4 down before - I would have to look into how the rigging would be setup with the JCW Aero Kit.

Perhaps the biggest limitation would be the B van trying to pull all that extra weight. I know the Interstate has 300+ ft lb of torque (let's say up to 11,000 lbs GVW for Interstate + 2,600 lbs MINI)... that seems fairly small compared to some TVs I could look into that would have 425-500 ft lb of torque (for a 11,000 lbs GVW of the TV plus an AS 23' for example).


I have lots of time to think about this - so my mind is all over the place considering the options.


I did find out recently that I unfortunately cannot import a Class-B Airstream from the USA to Canada. So that is a significant limitation in terms of availability and cost. If I were to go with the AS TT route, I would have a huge selection of new and used units throughout Canada (and especially the USA). Not to mention a large selection of new and used TVs that appeal to me (BMW X5 50i, X5 35d, X5M or Merc ML350 or Toureag TDI).
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Old 07-12-2012, 12:46 PM   #12
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Just drive over to London, ON to CAN AM RV. You're next door for Pete's sake. Read all of Andrew T's different posts and threads on AIR first, if you want, and then read his columns as available online in Hitch Hints.

Yes, there is a picture of a Mini used as TV on this board as well as commentary by Mr. Thomson.

Mini and Airstream Argosy.swf - YouTube
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Old 07-13-2012, 10:16 AM   #13
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Just drive over to London, ON to CAN AM RV. You're next door for Pete's sake..
Yep, I am aware of CAN AM RV's location and have been in brief contact with Andy. I will be checking them out next time I visit family in London.
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Old 07-13-2012, 10:29 AM   #14
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Now you're tah'kin.

The Cooper can do it! You'd probably just need to sort out the suspension. hitch. and trannny cooler.

Call CanAm and get started. That would be an awesome rig!
Something to think about
That 16' Sport has an awful tiny bed though!
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