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Old 10-11-2017, 08:44 AM   #1
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1991 35' Airstream 350
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Toads

No the kind you kiss - the kind you pull behind your moho.

I am thinking about buying a new car, and would like to get one that can be towed behind the motorhome. I really don't know anything about this subject (i.e., tow dollies vs. four down) and need some guidance. I already know that I need to re-work (i.e., strengthen) the hitch - and am going to get that done in the next few weeks.

So, my question: What do you tow behind your classic moho? Do you use a tow dolly or tow four down? What is the preferred set up? Can you point a brother in the right direction?

I thank you in advance for your assistance.

Dave
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Old 10-11-2017, 11:10 AM   #2
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Some need a dolly and some can be towed with all 4 on the ground. I'm sure with a little research you can narrow down the list. A friend just bought a Chevy Traverse and most Jeeps can be towed on the ground.
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Old 10-11-2017, 12:21 PM   #3
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Saturn S class. Cheap, easy to maintain. Ubiquitous parts. 30+ mpg, and only weigh 2,500 lbs so you can retain your MPG at 8-9% loss. They are not without their flaws, but due to the simple nature of the cars, easy of access in engine compartment, and plethora of forum discussions on Saturnalia, I would recommend them.
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Old 10-11-2017, 12:53 PM   #4
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The secret of towing with all four wheels on the ground is found in the way the transmission is lubed. Some are lubed by the rear wheels turning a pump, some are lubed by the engine turning a pump. Obviously, if the engine is not running, then the toad cannot be flat towed without modification. A company, Remco, makes aftermarket lube pumps that work off 12v. power.
The best solution is to consult the owner's manual under "recreational towing" or "flat towing".

If your vehicle is rear wheel drive, you can buy a "drive shaft disconnect", basically a extra gear engaged on your drive shaft, and you can slide it out of the way so the rear wheels spin freely. (sounds like a lot of work)

If you already have a car you love and it's not approved for flat towing, you can strap the front wheels to a tow dolly. Or you can buy a flat bed trailer and carry the car on it. (I had both, anyone need a nice Featherlight flat bed?)
I digress.
Beyond that, some manufacturers allow flat towing with rules. "Every 200 miles, start the engine and run it in neutral for five minutes." That would make me crazy. Or, "Never exceed 55 mph."
Ditto.

Look and see what's being towed by others. That will give you an idea.
Sometimes, it makes no sense. The Honda CRV is a popular tow vehicle. I had a Honda Element which has the same drive train and it was not approved. I called Remco about a lube pump and they told me they've never found any reason to NOT flat tow the Honda Element.

Lastly, NO vehicles are approved to tow with the REAR wheels on a tow dolly. (although you see it.)
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Old 10-11-2017, 01:15 PM   #5
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Thanks

I appreciate the enthusiasm of the trailer folks, but I was hoping to get some real world feedback from the Classic Motorhome people. The classics are underpowered compared to modern motorhomes, so it would seem that weight of the toad would be a concern.

Vycan - thanks for the tip on the Saturn. I was wondering how long its been since those were made. Turns out the answer is 2002. That would be an appropriate (classic) toad, for sure.

How about the rest of you - what are you towing?

Dave
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Old 10-11-2017, 03:12 PM   #6
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https://www.autobytel.com/car-buying...orhome-129029/

Google is our friend

Lots of the Classic Motorhome folks tow. I don't yet but may in the future. That link has quite a few recommendations.
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Old 10-11-2017, 03:16 PM   #7
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https://www.motorhome.com/download-dinghy-guides/

Another
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Old 10-11-2017, 04:42 PM   #8
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Dave

Just in the process of getting our toad on the road so to speak. I chose a 1992 Geo Metro convertible at 1750 lbs (3 door hatchbacks can be had at 1650 lbs); 5 sp manual, can be towed four down and are as about the simplest modern car with an airbag you can buy.

Buying the lowest weight car is the way to go, especially in your case, as your 454 is already pulling along almost 16,000 lbs; so reducing the toads weight is critical to motor and transmission longevity.

The problem with new cars is all the safety stuff and electronics, which add up for weight. Heck, a modern day subcompact weighs more than a compact car did 25 years ago.

We had to get some work done to the rockers, and a new convertible top is on the way to be installed by John and I, but for less than $2,500, on the road, not bad. Little Suzuki 3 cylinder 1.0 liter of awesome pep and gusto.

Believe or not, the trailer weighed more than the car, and yes, I've had my hitch beefed up considerably.

Cheers
Tony
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Old 10-11-2017, 05:10 PM   #9
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You may guess from my name that I tow a smart. It would be a good guess.
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Old 10-11-2017, 06:23 PM   #10
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Tony - do you tow four down or put the car on the trailer. I am thinking about using a trailer. Seems more straightforward than towing four down.
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Old 10-11-2017, 07:29 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dspaw View Post
Tony - do you tow four down or put the car on the trailer. I am thinking about using a trailer. Seems more straightforward than towing four down.
Dave

I had hoped to a get a tow dolly to get her home but U-Haul only had the trailer; just as well as any car on a tow dolly needs to be plated and insured. The owner was anxious to get her out of his garage, and it was a weekend when the deal went down.

I need to tow four down to reduce my overall curb weight; which will be something you'll have to consider; if the highways people pull you over, ask to see your GVWR and find you over your GVWR; you'll be parking the trailer and car.

FYI. The trailer weighed 2000lbs so I had 4,750+ lbs behind her. It wasn't a bad haul but I knew I had something big behind me and I wouldn't want to scale any big hills with that kind of load.

Be prepared with any vehicle over 2,500 lbs to unhitch and drive separately from the coach in hilly terrain; especially steep down hill grades.

Towing four down is easier than a trailer with a good tow bar. Drive close to the coach, release tow bar legs, hook up car, place car in neutral with key in assessory to keep steering unloacked, drive a little down the road and the towbar legs will automatically adjust and lock up when straight. I'm installing a permanent buddy braking system in the car that will not require any disassembly or recalibration when unhooking or hooking up.

Cheers
Tony
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Old 10-11-2017, 07:51 PM   #12
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Interesting - Iíve never heard of anyone in a motorhome getting pulled over and weighed.
Do people actually unhitch and drive the cars down hills separately? I would be surprised.
Trailer weighs 1400. Car might weigh 2500. Towing less than 4K. Trailer has brakes on both axles. Actually more worried about going up hills than coming down.
At this point, I prefer the thought of a trailer vs. 4 down. As I understand it, with four down I need to not only have a tow bar, but also a controller to actuate the brakes on the car.
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Old 10-12-2017, 07:11 AM   #13
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LOL....brings back memories of towing the Volt on the dolly down to Lancaster PA. and back....I can remember cresting some of the hills in PA at 5 MPH. Thank God I had switched to full synthetic trany fluid or I'm sure thew C6 Ford Trans would have burnt up for sure. Regards, Bob
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Old 10-12-2017, 08:24 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dspaw View Post
Interesting - Iíve never heard of anyone in a motorhome getting pulled over and weighed.
Do people actually unhitch and drive the cars down hills separately? I would be surprised.
Trailer weighs 1400. Car might weigh 2500. Towing less than 4K. Trailer has brakes on both axles. Actually more worried about going up hills than coming down.
At this point, I prefer the thought of a trailer vs. 4 down. As I understand it, with four down I need to not only have a tow bar, but also a controller to actuate the brakes on the car.
When I had the 454 powered 84 310 we towed a Triumph Spitfire racecar on a flatbed trailer. The trailer had brakes on one axle and the estimated loaded trailer weight was around 3500 lbs.

The 310 was more than up to the task. We towed through the mountains of Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Maryland and as far north as Toronto. Never had trouble with hills going up or down. Average speed up the hills was around 45 mph and coming down was probably about the same. Fuel mileage wasn't that bad considering. The mileage was definitely better than when we towed with a flat front Winnebago.

I'm not sure how well a 345 would have performed towing the same load considering it's about 4,000 lbs heavier than a 310 in stock configuration.
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Old 10-12-2017, 04:37 PM   #15
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I hear you Brad.

3,500 lbs total gross isn't too bad for a 310 weighing 14,000 loaded,..........but Dave's 350 isn't 14,000lbs loaded and there isn't a car made today that weighs the same as a Triumph Spitfire race car.

Even todays Smart for-two weighs over 200 lbs more than my Metro. Remember the old equation....for every 100 lbs of added weight to an automobile, you must increase horsepower by 10 hp to maintain the same performance level.

I won't even feel that little pixy of a Metro behind us.

Cheers
Tony
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Old 10-12-2017, 08:08 PM   #16
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You must be talking about the new bloated smarts Tony. My old 450 smarts weigh 1609 lbs. with fuel tank 90% full.
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Old 10-12-2017, 08:45 PM   #17
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You must be talking about the new bloated smarts Tony. My old 450 smarts weigh 1609 lbs. with fuel tank 90% full.
Dan

Since Dave had posted that he was interested in purchasing a new car to be used as a toad, I had to go with the newest curb weights. The Mitsubishi Mirage manual is the next svelte new car at just over 2000 lbs.

Until we start building all electric cars with induction charging direct from the road or guard rail, will we start seeing vehicle weights reducing.

Cheers
Tony
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Old 10-13-2017, 12:44 AM   #18
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To me it seems the manufacturers are doing everything they can to strip off weight with all the plastic fittings but the problem is they keep adding all the bells and whistles to pack weight back on.

I was just reading an article about how much power is required to operate all the systems in a self driving car. With todays technology it is certainly not a fuel efficient set up.

I guess I'll have to stick with the old relics. Did I mention I now have Collector Vehicle Plates on my moho?
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Old 10-13-2017, 03:56 AM   #19
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Collector vehicle plates are another subject....

Part of the issue is that I want to get a car that will be my daily driver, and that I can tow behind the motorhome in some fashion.

I am, quite frankly, not manly enough to drive a Smart car. Its too tiny, and I need to compensate. I can't ride a Vespa scooter either

The metro is now too old to be considered for daily use. I'm in Cleveland, and the road salt has made all of the local ones disintegrate.

I have been thinking about a Honda Fit - small, but not too small (need room for the dogs, you know). Weighs about 2500-2600lbs, which should be manageable. I can drive it every day, and will probably last me 15 years.

I prefer putting the car on a trailer, but have decided that the trailer is too much of a hassle at the campgrounds, so I am down to choosing between four down towing and using a tow dolly. It seems that the tow dolly "should" be the easier way to go, even though it is an obstacle at the camp site.

I am still trying to get my head around this. If I may ask the people that tow four down - why did you go that route? Why didn't you use a tow dolly instead?

Dave
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Old 10-13-2017, 04:38 AM   #20
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Toads

You see a lot of jeep wranglers behind motorhomes. I bought a 2014 a couple years ago. Sometime prior to that jeep stopped putting steering column locks in the Wrangler. No requirement to have the key in the ignition. You can lock the vehicle and put the key in your pocket. You donít have to pull any fuses or disconnect the battery as you do with many. Just put the transfer case in neutral and the transmission in Park. The towing instructions are very specific about the transmission being in park.

The tow hitch kit that installs on the Wrangler is very easy and unobtrusive. Due the the mounting bosses on the frame for many bumper options and winches.

I used the invisibrake system. It permanently installed and works great. I used the blue ox tow bar.

It truly toed like it wasnít there. About a 1-2 mpg hit. Got 10.5 mpg for the whole 3 week trip to the classic Moho get together via Bar Harbor. We ran the speed limit all the way. (65 70) About 3000 miles.

No trailer or dolly to deal with easy hook up.

Before you discount the Wrangler for ride comfort and driving characteristics, test drive a new one.

https://www.rvupgradestore.com/Jeep-...e-p/bx1126.htm

https://www.etrailer.com/Tow-Bar-Bra...xoCv7gQAvD_BwE
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