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Old 10-05-2007, 04:18 AM   #1
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We are seriously considering the purchase of a new or certified used vehicle in the Spring. It will, of course, have to have the ability to be towed.

I am aware of the many things that can be done to a car to make it towable but want to make an informed decision before we make the jump. Convinced there is a plethora of knowledge here, I ask:

What vehicles are available that require little more than the hitch mechanism before they can be safely and securely towed?

Also, what is considered too be the best Hitch assembly?
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Old 10-05-2007, 04:18 AM   #2
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We are seriously considering the purchase of a new or certified used vehicle in the Spring. It will, of course, have to have the ability to be towed.

I am aware of the many things that can be done to a car to make it towable but want to make an informed decision before we make the jump. Convinced there is a plethora of knowledge here, I ask:

What vehicles are available that require little more than the hitch mechanism before they can be safely and securely towed?

Also, what is considered too be the best Hitch assembly?
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Old 10-05-2007, 04:56 AM   #3
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MOTORHOME MAGAZINE has a list of vehicles that are factory approved for towing without modification.

There are 3 makers of towbars and baseplates;

Blue OX
Roadmaster
Demco

I prefer Blue Ox, with Roadmaster in second place, but they all will get the job done.
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Old 10-05-2007, 05:19 AM   #4
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R66,
Thank you.
Good information all and saved.
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Old 10-05-2007, 06:51 AM   #5
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Another tow bar manufacturer is Night Shift Auto. They build an excellent tow bar that can be ordered with fittings for either Blue OX or Demco baseplates. We just returned from an 8000 mile, trouble free trip to Alaska using their system to tow a 1999 RAV4 (manual trans) behind our motorhome.

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eastfizz
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Old 10-05-2007, 06:59 AM   #6
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We have towed a 2002 4 wheel drive Jeep Liberty for at least 30k miles. No special equipment required, just shift the transfer case to neutral, shifter to park, release parking brake and turn key to accessory. We use a Stirling non binding tow bar. The Liberty is a good all weather, all road/ off road veicle whichitself is rated to tow 5000lbs. Of course, it is kind of ugly. Jerry
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Old 10-05-2007, 07:22 AM   #7
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First you must decide what you want to do and where you want to go with the Toad.
We purchased an 06 Toyota Matrix Stick - it was great for just driving around + 35 mpg.
But if you want to get a little off road (I wouldn't trust it for serious off road), you can't go wrong with an Liberty - that's what we now have - 07 Liberty - seems to be the most popular Toad but not great gas mileage - 16+ mpg.
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Old 10-05-2007, 08:03 AM   #8
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"What vehicles are available that require little more than the hitch mechanism before they can be safely and securely towed?"

This is where I started when researching towable cars:
http://www.motorhomemagazine.com/din...uide/index.cfm

"Also, what is considered too be the best Hitch assembly?"

Everyone you ask will have a different answer. If you are talking about tow bars, etc, I use all Blue Ox products and an EvenBrake for the toad.
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Old 10-05-2007, 08:37 AM   #9
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Bob & Peg,

When we purchased Michele's latest car, we wanted it to be both her daily commute car and a 'toad'. I looked in the owners manual of the 2004 Honda CRV and it specifically talks about towing it behind a motorhome and gives directions (start the CRV engine and place the gearshift in each position (P-R-N-D-2-1) over the course of 3 minutes every 8 hours when towing. If you tow for 5 hours and sightsee for 3 hours, that's your 8 hours and you have to start it up for another 3 minutes of going through the gears. The CRV accumulates no odometer miles when being towed 4-down.

Since the car was brand spanking new, my marching orders regarding the baseplate installation were "it better not look bad when I get home tonight!" That's the main reason I choose the Blue Ox baseplate and Aventa II towbar. The Blue Ox baseplate is virtually invisible when you're not towing. By comparison, every toad I see at RV Parks with the Roadmaster system seems to have a horizontal steel bar about 30" long just in front of the front bumper. I think that looks bad. I've been told that you can remove it and store it but I wouldn't want to bother with the extra work. So, the choice of Blue Ox was based on the main factor of "looks" while it did have the necessary [rated weight] capacity to be safe.

You might want to go to the two manufacturers websites and look at the various photos of baseplate installations on many different models of cars. As I recall, Blue Ox had both "visible" and "invisible" baseplate options.

The choice of the Aventa II was based on it having the necessary capacity. There's a lighter weight model made of aluminum that I considered but didn't buy. Michele used the motorhome with toad one time without me and pulled the pin without holding up the towbar which dropped the towbar on her toe. She may have been wishing for the lighter weight towbar that one time!

One possible negative about the Aventa II is that if you come to a stop while making a curve (think of the curved entry into some RV Parks) it sometimes seems to get into a bit of a "bind". But, no matter the angle or the curve, it's never failed to release. One of the Roadmaster towbars is advertised as being less suseptible to getting "bound". Keep in mind that there are adapters that may allow you to use one brand of towbar with the other brand of baseplate.

You didn't mention "toad brakes" which is quite another subject with lots of right answers. We choose the US Gear Unified Tow Brake mainly since, when it's installed, all you have to do is hookup a 2-wire umbilical from the motorhome to the toad. There's no "installation of a lunchbox sized unit (think Brake Buddy) and having to clamp it onto the brake pedal and having to plug it into the cigarette lighter and checking for communication with the remote in the motorhome." There's also no need to store it when you reach your destination and before you can use the toad. With the US Gear, you go from "toad" to "driving" simply by disconnecting the single electric connector. Depending on how many wires go thru your light cord between the motorhome and toad, you might even be able to run the US Gear wires thru your main light cord.

Caveat: We had the US Gear system installed and working fine on our Safari Trek. In July/August this year we sold the Trek and bought the Alpine and haven't towed yet and haven't installed the US Gear system either. But others on this forum have mentioned using the US Gear system so I'm confident it'll work just fine in the Alpine.

I do have some photos of the Blue Ox system going from looking like a 'daily driver car' to a toad. I'd be happy to send them to a personal email address if you would like.

Best of luck!
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Old 10-05-2007, 08:47 AM   #10
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If you want a 4x4 it's true Jeep vehicles are easily towed with little hassle. You can also do the same with a Chevy Tahoe or Suburban if you want a bigger machine.

We tow two different vehicles depending on what we need to do - a 2002 VW Beetle with a manual transmission in neutral; requires no special modification, and a 2006 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4x4 - V6.

Most of the time we tow the 4Runner, and really like it. It's very comfortable to drive, has all the leather and power accessories we need, has more space than the Jeep Liberty, and does fine for our kind of off-road work, which is mostly big game hunting on muddy roads and snow sports. It's also a Toyota, so its reliability has been great. We've towed it about 40,000 miles and driven it another 30,000 miles in 1 1/2 years with no problems. It weighs about 4500 lbs and averages around 19-20 mpg for us.

We did have to add a Remco driveline disconnect for $1300 and it has worked well -- just pull out a knob connected to a cable when stopped in neutral(from the front seat), shift into drive to make sure it's disconnected, and then shift into park. Turn the key totally off and leave it in the ignition so the steering wheel's unlocked. Reverse process for re-engaging. The good thing about the driveline disconnect is that nothing is turning in front of the u-joint on the rear differential, so there's no other wear to deal with.

If you decide on a 4Runner, make sure you get the V6 with selective 4WD; the V8's are AWD and they don't tow.

We have used a BrakePro (like EvenBrake) for 2 years and it works fine, but we did have to replace the first one on warranty, and it was no hassle. On my next toad we will put in a US Gear brake so we don't have to keep putting the box in front of the driver's seat. I found it worked best when I ran a power wire to it directly from the battery; sometimes connecting to a 12V power port or cigarette lighter, the connector would keep coming loose. Plus it allows me to tow with the key turned all the way off with a direct wire to the battery (I use a two-pronged trailer wire connector to make a quick connect). Otherwise I have to leave the key on accessory to get power to the 12V connector.

There are a lot of good tow vehicles out there as listed in Motorhome Magazine but I wouldn't let a driveline disconnect or a lube pump for some FWD automatic stop me from getting the vehicle I really liked, especially if I planned to use it for a long time.
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Old 10-05-2007, 08:53 AM   #11
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I tow a 2006 CRV that we purchased new. The reason I went with the EvenBrake is the dealer told me anything I installed that modified the brake system or lights would void my warranty.

You might want to check with the dealer about warranty issues if you choose to "modify" the braking system of any car you choose as a toad.

Just my 2 cents worth.
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Old 10-05-2007, 06:13 PM   #12
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Well, We spent the last at least 3 yrs looking, researching etc on a TOAD and a motorhome. In June we purchased our 1st coach a 1999 Alpine coach. However, in January in anticipation of a motorhome we had purchased a Chevy Trailblazer for this big day. Based on many forums and talking with individuals at RV parks we knew the Blazer was for us.
We just simply hook it up and forget it. No running after several hours towing etc. Plus we installed the M & G Engineering car braking system. It's great just plug in the air line and put the Blazer in neutral. We are very satisfied with the whole package system coach, car, brakes.
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Old 10-05-2007, 11:42 PM   #13
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Bob,

After doing the research, we decided on a Honda CRV. It is Cheryl's everyday car so an automatic was a requsite. It takes about 4 minutes to get ready to tow, three of which are the vehicle idleing in nutral. Like Dave and Colleen, I have the M&G Engineering break. It installs in front of the master cylinder. Hooking up to tow is a matter of connecting an air hose to the tow at one end and the coach at the other, 30 seconds tops. Additionally, I had the break-away system installed. It takes about the same amount of time to connect as the break itself. As for the towbar, Ive got the Roadmaster Sterling All Terain. IIRC it can be attached to the Blue Ox baseplate. I opted for the Roadmaster baseplate, it does come off easily enough but during the travel season I leave it attached as I'm to lazy to take it off and and put it back on. One additional item to keep in mind, on the '99's we have a 10,000 lb hitch but the coach's rated towing capacity is 5,000 lbs.

Happy shopping.
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Old 10-06-2007, 03:28 AM   #14
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Bob, I would definitely check the capacity of your hitch on the motorhome. If I remember correctly some of the older units were rated at 2000#. I am not certain of that, but I would definitely check.
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