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Old 07-10-2010, 10:01 PM   #15
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But there are an amazing number of people who mistakenly think you do not need a braking system if towing 4 down.
Because the sales literature doesn't mention the need.

Despite my (former tow company owner) brother insisting that a dolly was the ONLY way to go... I was real close to making an '06 Focus I had into a toad this spring... had all sorts of estimates and research literature and almost pulled the trigger when some comment (in a forum) referred to a brake buddy.

Still toadless (and thinking I made the right choice).
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Old 07-11-2010, 04:54 AM   #16
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They sure are.
Products (and services) sold to or for the RV market will be high priced.
In all instances grossly higher.
In some exorbitantly higher.
And in a few... criminally higher.

(To be fair... similar happens in other industries with product crossover)



nope. just bolt onto the frame.

Thanks, the only reason I bring it up is I may be coming into a second auto finally, a 2000 Ford Taurus, and was debating the possibility of adding a removable tow bar kit on it so that the misses and I could bring it along when doing more large city related trips so that we could take the smaller, easier to park car around town and simply leave both the truck and camper back at base camp vs separating and taking the pickup (who tends to be a tad harder to find parking for in places like Seattle or San Francisco) into town.

I'd seen a few ads for tow bar kits for relatively cheap from harbor freight, but given the quality of the welding work on alot of harbor freight products, I decided I'd stay the heck away from their $100 chinese jobs other than for reference.

I was figuring I'd take a gander at some of the more name brand towbar kits (thinking that the whole do-dad couldn't cost more than $300-400), but there's no way I'm going to spend what the car costs for a tubular steel a-frame and a base plate, when I can simply go to a dealer, measure one of their display units and have a custom one made for a 1/4 of the price that's in all realities stronger than what they're peddling.
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Old 07-11-2010, 09:31 AM   #17
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Thanks, the only reason I bring it up is I may be coming into a second auto finally, a 2000 Ford Taurus, and was debating the possibility of adding a removable tow bar kit on it so that the misses and I could bring it along when doing more large city related trips so that we could take the smaller, easier to park car around town and simply leave both the truck and camper back at base camp vs separating and taking the pickup (who tends to be a tad harder to find parking for in places like Seattle or San Francisco) into town.

I'd seen a few ads for tow bar kits for relatively cheap from harbor freight, but given the quality of the welding work on alot of harbor freight products, I decided I'd stay the heck away from their $100 chinese jobs other than for reference.

I was figuring I'd take a gander at some of the more name brand towbar kits (thinking that the whole do-dad couldn't cost more than $300-400), but there's no way I'm going to spend what the car costs for a tubular steel a-frame and a base plate, when I can simply go to a dealer, measure one of their display units and have a custom one made for a 1/4 of the price that's in all realities stronger than what they're peddling.
I think the main reason to buy the fancy/expensive tow bar is the ease of hooking it up. I have used a solid bar and it could be a real pain to line up by yourself (especially on rough, uneven or inclined ground). You have to line it up almost perfect and that,s hard to do when you can't see the hitch from the drivers seat. About 30 yrs ago I towed a 1/2T PU behind a piece of equipment from job to job. I also saw the importance of a brake on the toad. Sometimes I towed it with my 3/4 T PU and almost lost it while stopping on a gravel road.
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Old 07-11-2010, 10:04 AM   #18
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I'd seen a few ads for tow bar kits for relatively cheap from harbor freight, but given the quality of the welding work on alot of harbor freight products, I decided I'd stay the heck away from their $100 chinese jobs other than for reference.
Don't confuse my editorializing about the prices of things with an indictment of the quality of them.

If I were to do a tow bar there is no doubt in my mind that I'll do it using one of the better known units and with **everything** associated to the project sourced from ONE company.

That would most likely be Blue-Ox.
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Old 07-11-2010, 04:16 PM   #19
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I think the main reason to buy the fancy/expensive tow bar is the ease of hooking it up. I have used a solid bar and it could be a real pain to line up by yourself (especially on rough, uneven or inclined ground). You have to line it up almost perfect and that,s hard to do when you can't see the hitch from the drivers seat. About 30 yrs ago I towed a 1/2T PU behind a piece of equipment from job to job. I also saw the importance of a brake on the toad. Sometimes I towed it with my 3/4 T PU and almost lost it while stopping on a gravel road.
What exactly makes them harder to line up than your average trailer? I've towed a fair number of different trailers behind my rig in the past and none of which I could see directly behind me when backing up to hitch up to, so I'm coming up short on what would make hitching up an auto with a A-frame tongue attached to the front of it a greater or lesser challenge vs a regular trailer.

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Don't confuse my editorializing about the prices of things with an indictment of the quality of them.

If I were to do a tow bar there is no doubt in my mind that I'll do it using one of the better known units and with **everything** associated to the project sourced from ONE company.

That would most likely be Blue-Ox.
Little confused here, what exactly are you implying? 99% of towbars are on par quality wise with the harbor freight towbar, and are just astronomically priced in the usual fashion that anything with the word "RV" attached to it tends to?

Also, let me out with this right now, I'm not trying to be confrontational here, but tow bars are about as basic of technology as you can get, and for the amount of work that goes into the building of one, I'm just having a little trouble swallowing the huge price differential.

Also, for the record, I'm not including brake assist units into the equation here, I'm just talking about the tow bars.
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Old 07-11-2010, 04:37 PM   #20
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Little confused here, what exactly are you implying? 99% of towbars are on par quality wise with the harbor freight towbar, and are just astronomically priced in the usual fashion that anything with the word "RV" attached to it tends to?
With all due respect there is almost NOTHING sold under a HF label that I would own. Name brand stuff at cheap prices? sure. Single function no moving parts (eg big honking screw driver?) OK

But something like a tow bar that puts me and the entire motoring public at risk... is just too critical to trust to a home brew fabricator (which I have been) let alone some cheap Chinese knockoff.

So no, I don't even approach accepting the assertion that 99% of tow bars are "on par" with HF. No way... no how.

I may be wrong but the incremental cost difference isn't enough to outweigh that very real risk.
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Old 07-11-2010, 04:55 PM   #21
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With all due respect there is almost NOTHING sold under a HF label that I would own. Name brand stuff at cheap prices? sure. Single function no moving parts (eg big honking screw driver?) OK

But something like a tow bar that puts me and the entire motoring public at risk... is just too critical to trust to a home brew.

So no, I don't even approach accepting the assertion that 99% of tow bars are "on par" with HF. No way... no how.

I may be wrong but the incremental cost difference isn't enough to outweigh that very real risk.
Given that we're not talking about a "home brew", which would imply me welding it up, vs having a Master Fabricator construct it. The point I was raising is I can duplicate a blue ox tow bar made twice as beefy for $300 (Mild steel prices are in the toilet right now, and that figure includes his labor costs) by a guy whose been certified in every form of welding out there, runs his own fabrication business, which he's been doing for over 20 years, plus teaches the art of it at the local college.

My 48" tow extension assembly (A beefed clone of the SuperHitch) has been faithfully serving me safely to tow uhaul double axle enclosed trailers, boats, and various other towables behind me for over 4 years now without issue. It was also built by him.

Back to the HF tow assembly, I wouldn't trust it either, hence why I said I was going to stay the "heck away" from it. I raised the point on the quality from this line:

Quote:
Originally Posted by InPursuit
Don't confuse my editorializing about the prices of things with an indictment of the quality of them.
Hence my confusion, since you only named Blue ox, I was uncertain if you were implying all name brands other than Blue ox were no better than a HF towbar, or that all of them are about par quality-wise with Blue ox only being marginally better than the rest.

Anyway, to keep from dragging this too far off topic, let us agree that I will disagree on the price of after market towing components being disproportionate to the amount of cost that went into their production, and continue on to my other query in regards to difficulty in hitching up a toad using a rigid towbar assembly vs a multi-point adjustable model.

This is all extremely useful information to me as it will help me decide if I should go with finding a used tow dolly of some kind or tow 4-down on the taurus.
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Old 07-11-2010, 05:08 PM   #22
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Anyway, to keep from dragging this too far off topic, let us agree that I will disagree on the price of after market towing components being disproportionate to the amount of cost that went into their production...
We don't disagree on that point. Not at all.

I didn't spell it out but my concern has more to do with the liability aspect of (God forbid) having to defend the design and construction of a homebrew rig.

And yeah even from a local fab shop with all the tools it is still "home brew" in the context of Tort Law.

Quote:
and continue on to my other query in regards to difficulty in hitching up a toad using a rigid towbar assembly vs a multi-point adjustable model.
going rigid is just crazy talk.
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Old 07-11-2010, 05:19 PM   #23
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We don't disagree on that point. Not at all.

I didn't spell it out but my concern has more to do with the liability aspect of (God forbid) having to defend the design and construction of a homebrew rig.

And yeah even from a local fab shop with all the tools it is still "home brew" in the context of Tort Law.



going rigid is just crazy talk.
I can understand the liability concerns, its why we have the software to perform the stress analysis on the design before a single piece of metal is cut (Its nice having engineers for camping buddies ), and to be honest, I usually don't resort to custom construction unless I can't find the name brand product at a good discounted used price somewhere first.

Now, please tell me about the downsides of a rigid A-frame tow bar vs a multi-point adjustable? I can understand getting it aligned to lock the pins in place on the base plates would likely be more challenging than the flexible design of a multi point, but I've already dealt with that in the past with both my front cargo basket assembly and a friend of mine (The engineer I was referring to) who designed and had fabricated an A-frame based hitch extension that uses 4x4 tubular steel that was made so that you could break it down for ease of removal.

EDIT:

Okay, I'm confused now, what model of blue ox towbar are you guys looking at, the Aventa LX Tow Bar or the Aladdin? Reason I ask, is the Blue Ox Adventurer is only $249, and the EAZ-Lift version of that tow bar is a $100 less.

EDIT 2:

Okay, now I'm really confused, where are you guys getting these high prices, I can get a tow bar and baseplate for around $500 from etrailer and tweetys. The car weighs 2200lb, and most of the towbars are rated at minimum 5000lbs, what are you folks towing????
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Old 07-11-2010, 05:43 PM   #24
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You ask what makes a solid tow bar harder to line up than a standard trailer

If you have a solid "A" type tow bar you need to be exact, if you are one inch off to the right, or left you need to jog it over

If you are too far forward or back you may be able to rock the car a bit.

If you use a proper self-adjusting tow bar like a blue Ox Aventia .. you can be way the heck off and no problems

With a full trailer,, It is easier to line it up

With a dolly it is easier

But you still have to be lined up

But with the telescoping or self adjusting tow bars you can be way off, I mean WAY off. and still hook up


Oh One argument FOR a fully enclosed trailer

AKA: Garage
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Old 07-11-2010, 08:04 PM   #25
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You ask what makes a solid tow bar harder to line up than a standard trailer

If you have a solid "A" type tow bar you need to be exact, if you are one inch off to the right, or left you need to jog it over

If you are too far forward or back you may be able to rock the car a bit.

If you use a proper self-adjusting tow bar like a blue Ox Aventia .. you can be way the heck off and no problems

With a full trailer,, It is easier to line it up

With a dolly it is easier

But you still have to be lined up

But with the telescoping or self adjusting tow bars you can be way off, I mean WAY off. and still hook up


Oh One argument FOR a fully enclosed trailer

AKA: Garage
Oh yeah, the garage thing is something I've been thinking about, but on a much smaller scale, given that my fulltiming lifestyle is quite different than most folks.

I guess I'll have to experience dealing with a tow bar assembly first hand to really grasp the new difficulties, I think I'm just missing the challenge of it using the telescopic tennis ball poles and driving the car up to the tow ball.

I'm a bit more optimistic now about toading, given that the towbar assembly can be had for around $500 vs the $1500-2000 some folks were mentioning.
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Old 07-11-2010, 08:45 PM   #26
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Being I own a 97 Storm a tow dollie was my only option due to weight BUT my dad has a beauty diesel pusher and with fuel cost and weight a non issue his trailer is by far better than any dollie.

His trailer is large enough to do damn near any repair, he stores all his extra goodies, parts, cleaners, jacks etc.
It's air conditioned, lighted, compressor and even has a fridge for more beer.
When we go quadin or PWCing it all goes in the enclosed trailer. It's all locked and protected from the elements, you can't beat that with any dolly, toad etc.

I can't wait to get a DP just so I can get a kick ass enclosed trailer.
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Old 07-12-2010, 11:14 AM   #27
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What exactly makes them harder to line up than your average trailer? I've towed a fair number of different trailers behind my rig in the past and none of which I could see directly behind me when backing up to hitch up to, so I'm coming up short on what would make hitching up an auto with a A-frame tongue attached to the front of it a greater or lesser challenge vs a regular trailer.

Your point is well taken and you are right to a point. Most trailers are as wide (or nearly so) as the TV so that you can line up to the sides. Not so with a car and especially a small car. That's when it is easier to move the car and deal with problems I mentioned before.



Little confused here, what exactly are you implying? 99% of towbars are on par quality wise with the harbor freight towbar, and are just astronomically priced in the usual fashion that anything with the word "RV" attached to it tends to?
My experince with HF quality is I won't buy something that I want to last with some hard use or if someone's life or body is at stake.
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Old 07-12-2010, 12:34 PM   #28
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My experince with HF quality is I won't buy something that I want to last with some hard use or if someone's life or body is at stake.
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I'd seen a few ads for tow bar kits for relatively cheap from harbor freight, but given the quality of the welding work on alot of harbor freight products, I decided I'd stay the heck away from their $100 chinese jobs other than for reference.
See above
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