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Old 11-11-2013, 08:58 AM   #1
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1995 34' Land Yacht LE
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Towing dilemma...

Hello,

We're looking into towing one of our vehicles with our 1995 Land Yacht. It says the towing capacity is 2000lbs. First problem, our 2000 Ford Explorer 4x4 can only be towed all wheels off the ground...which def places it out of weight range. Our 2010 Honda Odessey minivan can be pulled 2 wheels off the ground or all wheels with a tow bar. If we pull using a tow bar..I assume that means the total weight of the van 5000lbs+ will be on the motorhome? So if we pull using a tow dolly with 2 wheels off the ground, does that mean half the weight of the van is being towed?
I just want to be safe and there doesn't seem to be a clear cut answer.

Any suggestions where I can get help?

Dorothy in MD
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Old 11-11-2013, 09:15 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by dotnang View Post
Hello,

We're looking into towing one of our vehicles with our 1995 Land Yacht. It says the towing capacity is 2000lbs. First problem, our 2000 Ford Explorer 4x4 can only be towed all wheels off the ground...which def places it out of weight range. Our 2010 Honda Odessey minivan can be pulled 2 wheels off the ground or all wheels with a tow bar. If we pull using a tow bar..I assume that means the total weight of the van 5000lbs+ will be on the motorhome? So if we pull using a tow dolly with 2 wheels off the ground, does that mean half the weight of the van is being towed?
I just want to be safe and there doesn't seem to be a clear cut answer.

Any suggestions where I can get help?

Dorothy in MD
Either I'm confused or you're confused along the way here:

When you say a towbar, I assume you mean that the vehicle has all 4 tires on the road, and a towbar on a bracket that hinges to allow the bar to go up and down freely, which often happens when you are towing. If that is what you mean, then there would be close to zero weight (just half the weight of the bar) on the motor home in a vertical sense (i.e. tongue weight). However, IMHO 5000 lbs would still be too much for your LY. It's a long distance from you rear axle to the towball, and 5000 lb is a lot of weight with a lot of leverage on the chassis, in a lateral, that is side to side, direction. I am sure that others will share opinions that differ from mine, but I feel that a towed vehicle weighing somewhere near 3000 lbs would be the maximum safe weight to tow without having your chassis/tow hitch sturdily reinforced by someone who knows what they are doing and is willing to assume the liability for doing the work. I have seen towed vehicles thrashing around behind a motor home in the past, putting huge strain on the structure. If you look at a bunch of motor homes of the lighter weight van chassis type (like ours) you will often see that they are drooped behind the tag axle, and the cladding shows signs of warping and flexing, and this is from towing too heavy.

As to a tow dolly, you then have the whole tongue weight issue, and vertical leverage on the MH come into play, as well as the lateral forces. With a tow dolly, about all you could safely tow would be a Smart Car......
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Old 11-11-2013, 09:26 AM   #3
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If one tows a a four wheeled vehicle with all four tires on the ground, no weight whatsoever is placed on the towing vehicle.

The tow bar apparatus is hinged at the connection point on the towed car, so no weight can be transferred to the motorhome.


As far as sway and lateral movement, the steer axle of the towed vehicle is left unlocked, to allow the wheels to follow the path of the motorhome.

I don't see that the towed car can exert much force on the motorhome.

Regards,

JD
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Old 11-11-2013, 10:59 AM   #4
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I would take towing capacity to mean that is the maximum weight of the towed car plus trailer or dolly. You need a Miata or pt crusier or VW or something small that can be towed with all 4 wheels on the ground.
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Old 11-11-2013, 10:59 AM   #5
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No matter what you do, you are still towing all the weight of the vehicle

With different approaches you are only changing the amount of weight the motorhome is carrying.
With a towbar you are not carrying any weight. With a dolly ( or trailer) there will be some tongue weight.

Either vehicle exceeds the tow rating of the motorhome by quite a bit.
If you tow with a dolly you then have to find a place to park it as well as the towed vehicle. Most people I know give up the dolly approach fairly quickly and get a vehicle that can be towed 4 down.

I have seen larger ( 1/2 ton pickups) towed by Airstream MH but don't know if they were ignoring the tow ratings or not
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Old 11-11-2013, 11:00 AM   #6
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By putting two wheels on a two dolly you have not decreased the tow weight. In fact, you have increased the tow weight by the weight of the dolly.
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Old 11-12-2013, 04:40 AM   #7
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Dorothy didn't say which Land Yacht she was towing with. I think the gas models have a lower tow rating than the diesel pushers, her 2000 lbs must mean it's gas.
Ours is a diesel pusher with a tremendous hitch arrangement that hooks to the frame and goes way up beside the radiator. We tow close to 5000 lbs with a car trailer (with 4 wheel brakes) and it does just fine. With our "toad" which is a Saturn Vue, we're at 3500 and hardly notice it. (But it's equiped with it's own air brake)
So far all the advice has been good.
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Old 11-12-2013, 06:22 AM   #8
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Tow dollies have a low tongue weight even when loaded. I saw a guy lift a tow dolly off the ball with a car loaded on it, one handed. The front wheels of the car are over the wheels on the dolly, so not much tongue weight.

That said, I've come to the conclusion that tow dollies are the worst option. If you're always going to use the same vehicle, a tow bar is better. Putting the vehicle on a full car trailer is by far the best option (but now you have to watch tongue weight). I rented a U-Haul full trailer to move my Cougar a few months back, and it was night and day compared to having the Cougar on a dolly - they just tow that much better, and you can back up.
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Old 11-12-2013, 08:22 AM   #9
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Tow dollies have a low tongue weight even when loaded. I saw a guy lift a tow dolly off the ball with a car loaded on it, one handed. The front wheels of the car are over the wheels on the dolly, so not much tongue weight.
.
When you are braking, the tow dolly has a LOT of tongue weight. Funny thing that!
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Old 11-12-2013, 05:13 PM   #10
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ok--obviously I'm clueless when it comes to towing! LOL Thanks for all the replies. We're a family of five so towing a small car that would not carry us is no good. The tow bar seems the way to go if I feel safe enough. Now to figure out if our 2000 ford explorer with AWD can be towed all 4 wheels down. Ford dealer couldn't give us a straight answer and the manual is misleading. I Love my airstream motorhome but thinking in the future the way to go may be a travel trailer.
And yes, my rig is gas. thx again!
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Old 11-19-2013, 05:35 PM   #11
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We tow a 4000lb Taurus X with the 6sd automatic transmission four wheels down with a blue ox tow bar assembly. We have put several thousand miles on our Gas 454 LY and my wife (who does all the driving) says apart from the camera she hardly knows it is back there. You will want to use a digital braking system for the TOAD as well. A Banks system (exhaust headers, tuned exhaust and cold air induction) will give you a bit more "grunt" pull the extra weight.
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Old 11-19-2013, 07:51 PM   #12
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You know your 2000 ford explorer with AWD weighs more then 4000lbs and is more then double your tow capacity.
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Old 11-19-2013, 08:57 PM   #13
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You know your 2000 ford explorer with AWD weighs more then 4000lbs and is more then double your tow capacity.
Wazbro, what you say is just going to fall on deaf ears, I'm afraid. There are a lot of people who tow heavy vehicles and trailers behind their Airstream Classics and LY's. I went to look at an '88 345 that had towed a 4500 lb vehicle behind it for thousands of miles, and you could clearly see distortion of the body behind the tag axle. But common sense ain't gonna win if Airstream's own guidelines are being ignored, let's face it.
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Old 11-20-2013, 11:59 AM   #14
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My deaf ears were pricked. My 2000 30 LY maxim towing weight, according to A/S, is 4000lbs. My Taurus X weighs 4012. My hitch is rated at 5000 pounds and my Blue Ox tow assembly is rated at 10,000 pounds. Using the SMI Stay-in-play duo proportional towed car brake system I stand by my "common sense" contribution to this thread.
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