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Old 06-18-2009, 11:07 PM   #15
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Thanks for all the responses. Based on the feedback as of last night, I towed the 4Runner to Cummins Yakima and back from Tacoma, without the shield and had no noticeable damage. I think the height of the vehicle, as mentioned earlier, helps. I'll try towing the Tundra once we get it finished and ready to tow and see if it makes a difference. Since I'm using Roadmaster XL brackets on it, I'll have to use something like Protect-a-tow if I decide to use a shield because those brackets are similar to Blue Ox and don't have a crossbar to attach a shield.

Once again, all these responses gave me the courage to try towing without the shield, which is a pain in the butt, so thanks for sharing your experience. I think I'll be able to continue doing without the shield, unless we decide to go back to Alaska again. Our experience on the Cassiar highway on a rainy day was one in which we were glad we had the shield. Toad was so cloaked in mud and gravel it was hard to see the original color (picture attached).
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Old 06-18-2009, 11:43 PM   #16
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Wow! Is that what we should expect in Alaska??

How in the world did you get that clean while you were traveling? Do they have "two-bit" car washes?
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Old 06-20-2009, 08:56 PM   #17
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We are in Alaska now and have the blue ox type of curtain that stretches from the coach to the front bumper of the toad underneath the two bar and also a full mud flag/guard in on the rear coach bumper. Have used it for a number of years, towed the car almost 60,000 miles and no damage since I put it on. Did have some paint chips before I attached it. Today over the "top of the world road" collected a cup of gravel in the curtain, but no damage to the car. One of my coach fog lights took a hit on gravel and broke so now I have duct taped the good one and the broken one and all is fine.
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Old 06-20-2009, 11:46 PM   #18
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Gail & John:

We found a "two-bit" (more like "two dollar") car wash the next day and got the 4Runner clean enough until we go home where I could really clean it. The car washes are around in the major towns; may be a day or two until you get to one. I've done the Alaska trip twice and both times found it had about 100 miles of gravel if I added it all the various miles of road work up. Both times we also did the Cassiar highway on the return trip and one time it was dry and just gravel and dusty; the second time it was rainy part of the way and we had the issue in the picture.

You need to be prepared to have some road under repair and it will be gravel or fresh chip seal, which also requires slow driving. You will also have frost heaves which will require slow driving if you want to keep most of your stuff in your cabinets.

I believe the trick is just have a lot of patience, don't try to do too many miles in a day; watch the weather and move when the weather's good and sit still when it's bad. Also, I would have a shield on for the gravel, as jetar did, and as I did on the 4Runner. The Alaska trip with all the side trips is fun to do in the summer; take your time and enjoy it, and go prepared for some gravel damage. For a lot of people it's a cracked windshield or a big rock chip on the windsheid (which we also had).
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Old 06-21-2009, 08:52 PM   #19
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OldForester, thanks so much for the words of wisdom. We're really excited about going, and this is just the kind of info we need to make sure we are prepared for the trip.
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Old 06-26-2009, 05:09 PM   #20
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One more addition to my previous Alaska post. Even with the protector we have as stated above had a big rock chip on the top passenger side of the tow car on the top of the world highway from Dawson City to Tok. Believe it could have been from a passing vehicle. Just had it fixed in Fairbanks, but have seen a pad on a windshield on another tow car and that would have probably saved the chip which almost penetrated the windshield. Next week we do the Dalton Highway to Prudhoe bay in the tow car and will see what happens then.
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Old 07-16-2009, 08:51 PM   #21
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We've towed a Liberty and a Wrangler over 30,000 miles and have not had any problems without a shield. Last summer we did Alaska and drove a lot of gravel on the way home, the Liberty got awful dirty, but no damage.
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