Originally Posted by unhooker
We sold our 2006 20' Safari. We purchased a 1984 310 MoHo and a 2013 Fiat 500. We have only ever towed the trailer behind the vehicle. Now this is reversed. Can anyone direct me to info or a forum on what I need to do to get them connected?
Thank you in advance for the help,
A few months ago I modified my new Honda Fit to tow behind my Airstream Interstate.
You've basically got three options for towing:
1 - Put the Fiat up on a flatbed trailer;
2 - Put the Fiat on a two-wheeled towing dolly;
3 - Flat-tow the Fiat on its own four wheels.
Knowing that I'll keep both vehicles for a long time, I went with the third option, flat-towing. I assume you will, too.
If you flat-tow, then you've got two more options to choose from:
1 - Use a towbar mounted to the Fiat, and attach to a standard hitch ball on the MoHo;
2 - Use a towbar mounted to the MoHo, that connects to a crossbar mounted on the Fiat.
I went with the second option. In a campground, the towbar is less in the way mounted on the MoHo than it is mounted on the toad. It's also less strain on my back to hook up. I'll assume you also want to go this route.
The two main manufacturers of toad-towing kits are Blue Ox and Roadmaster. I went with Roadmaster for two reasons: The conversion kit did not require any holes to be drilled in the frame (Blue Ox would require two new holes be drilled), and the Roadmaster baseplates mount directly in line with the bumper, at the same height as my Interstate's hitch (Blue Ox would have put the baseplates below the bumper, requiring me to use a 2-inch drop hitch). Go online and check out both systems for your Fiat, because the geometry may work out differently than it did for my Honda. Each company makes a custom-fit unit for the fiat 500.
Depending on the laws in your state, you may need an auxiliary braking system for your toad, based on the GVWR of the toad, compared to a trailer of the same GVWR. My Honda has a GVWR of 3500#, and in Louisiana trailers over 3000# need brakes, so I had to install supplemental brakes. There are several options here, too. I went with a permanently-installed Roadmaster Invisibrake, that mounts under the driver's seat, and includes a vacuum pump that splices into my Honda's power brake system. This gives me the same power brakes while towing that I have while driving it. And there's nothing to remove when I want to drive. Other systems are temporary, and install in the driver's foot well, and just apply pressure to the brake pedal, but don't give you power brakes.
Then you'll need supplemental lights, for taillights, turn signals, and brakes. You can either go with a magnetic mount, like tow trucks use, or a permanently-installed system that uses relays to activate the Fiat's own taillights, turn signals, and brakes. Since I already modified the Honda to include the permanently-installed supplemental brakes, it made sense to use the relays and the car's own lights rather than the magnet-base lights.
The final bits are a breakaway switch for the supplemental brakes, and an umbilical cable with a seven-pin connector on the MoHo end and a six-pin connector on the toad end. Though depending on the system you use, you may be using a four-pin connector on the toad end.
Total cost for everything on mine, professionally installed by my Airstream dealer, was about four grand. I could have saved a bit by going with a temporary supplemental brake system rather than a permanent install, and using magnet-base lights rather than relays. Or by getting a towbar that was entry-level rather than top-of-the-line. But for me, it's money well spent, not only for camping, but for the next time I have to evacuate for a hurricane. The more stuff that's permanently installed, the less stuff I have to spent time hooking up each trip, and the less stuff I have to store between trips.
Finally, after you install everything, tell your insurance company; anything that's permanently installed on your car is covered under your auto policy, and if they have a record of the install, there will be less hassle later if you have to make a claim.