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Old 12-03-2015, 08:48 AM   #15
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Thanks everyone for the input. I think we have decided on a Mini Cooper . Now we just need to find the right one and pick the tow bar, etc. any advice?
First you have to pick the configuration you want. Two choices: (1) towbar mounted on the hitch receiver, baseplates on the toad; (2) towbar mounted on the toad, connecting to a standard hitch ball. Choose option 2 if you're also going to be towing other trailers on a semi-regular basis and not just towing a toad all the time. Choose option 1 if your primary towing will be your toad, because the towbar can stow on the back of the van where it's out of the way while you're camping. The towbar proper is the heaviest part you'll have to handle on a regular basis so stowing it on the van is easier for weak and feeble people like me. Side note for owners of twin-bed Interstates only, option 2 is better for you as well because the stowed towbar will interfere with using the rear doors as entry doors.

Top brands are Blue Ox and Roadmaster, but Stowaway also makes some good ones. Blue Ox and Roadmaster use custom-fitted baseplates for most models of toads, so you can go to their websites to see if they offer baseplates to fit your chosen toad.

You will also need supplemental brakes and supplemental brake lights/turn signals/taillights on the toad. For supplemental brakes, again you've got two options: (a) portable unit that sets on the driver's floorboard and presses the brake pedal of the car when you press the van's brake pedal; (b) permanent unit that mounts under the driver's seat and is tied into the brake system. I'm partial to (b) since I intend to keep my toad as a toad for a long time. The Roadmaster Invisibrake I have includes a vacuum pump that ties into the toad's power brakes, so even while being towed the car uses power brakes, and activates whenever the van's brake lights come on so that I don't need a separate brake controller in the van.

For supplemental lights, again you've got two options: (i) separate bulbs in the brake light housing wired independently of your toad's wiring harness; (ii) blocking diodes tied into the car's wiring harness, allowing you to use the car's existing taillights/brake lights. Which works best in your case depends on the size of the taillight housing; some are too small to add bulbs in the existing housing, which leaves you with the electrically more complex blocking diodes to use existing lights.

A caveat on the lights, the seven-pin connector on your van will not support amber turn signals and red taillights/brake lights on the toad. Even if your car has amber rear turn signals, while you're towing the car, the red lights will have to flash for turns. The amber lights will still work when you're driving the toad, though. Yes, the van has amber turn signals, but the seven-pin connector for your umbilical cable doesn't care— standard trailer wiring has one bulb for turn/brake/tail lights on each side, so the toad has to be set up that way as well.
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Old 12-03-2015, 11:05 PM   #16
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Protagonist---
Your simple explanations for complex decisions continues to amaze me. If I'd had professors in college that could teach like you, learning advanced mathematics or physics, or engineering would actually been FUN. You are the kind of teacher our high schools and colleges need, not the publish or perish ego driven ones on the public payroll. AEW
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Old 12-04-2015, 12:20 AM   #17
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The Honda Fit or HR-V are towable with the 5 speeds transmissions. The CR-V only has a CVT so not towable.
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Old 12-04-2015, 04:31 AM   #18
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This thread will give you an idea of what you will need to do.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f240...re-133686.html
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Old 12-04-2015, 09:39 AM   #19
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Smart Toad

We towed the SmartForTwo for 15,000 miles, 4 down, using the Blue Ox baseplate and Blue Ox Aventa hitch. At 1800 lbs, perfect toad, and we had lots of fun driving it!
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Old 12-04-2015, 11:59 AM   #20
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all great info but the more I learn the more questions I have. has anyone used a tow dolly and any opinions versus towing flat?
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Old 12-04-2015, 01:57 PM   #21
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all great info but the more I learn the more questions I have. has anyone used a tow dolly and any opinions versus towing flat?
There are pros and cons to tow dollies.

Pros—
No modifications needed to the toad— that's a big one because it doesn't affect the resale value of the toad;
You can back up a toad on a dolly same as you can back a trailer;
Ideal for any front-wheel-drive toad, including models that can't be flat-towed;
If you have multiple cars that could be used as toads, one dolly fits all so no need to buy separate equipment for each toad;
Hooks up to the van just like any other trailer.

Cons—
Not ideal for toads with a long rear overhang;
Not usable at all for most four-wheel-drive toads;
Only two brakes instead of four so potentially less stopping power;
Usually doesn't come with a spare dolly tire;
Needs to be licensed and inspected as per your state's trailer regulations;
Brake lights and turn signals are mounted low and can be difficult for following drivers to see;
Adds to the weight being towed so not ideal for heavy toads;
Bounces and is noisy when the dolly is towed without a toad on it;
Needs to be stored somewhere when not in use, both at home and at the campsite.
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