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Old 03-31-2010, 03:29 PM   #1
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Which is safer? Tow Bar or Trailer

I've seen a lot of questions about towing using a Tow-Bar and some prefer to use a trailer.

Which is safer?

I've seen a few mishaps lately with people using Tow-Bars where the vehicle came loose or something else. I think one person turned too sharply or attempted to backup.. Oppss.

One person told me just happened to notice a broken weld before something happened.

I went with a Blue Ox Aventa 10k tow bar with some room to spare. Manufactures strongly suggest and in some cases a requirement to match the tow bar with the base plate.
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Old 03-31-2010, 04:03 PM   #2
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I'm sure that you will get opinions on both. I personally think that from a safety standpoint that it would be a tossup. I would worry more about someone like me that is subject to forget something or just not know the proper way to use it.

If not connected correctly, not used correctly or not the right size, any number of problems could occur with either.
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Old 03-31-2010, 04:56 PM   #3
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Tow bar rigs outnumber trailers: 100:1

So I figured there must be a reason and it's not initial cost.

A car hauler trailer 16 footer with all straps, cables, brake control, etc can easily cost the same or more than a high end tow bar. An enclosed auto trailer is nice, but they too are not cheap and get real heavy (MPG loss), Storage, moving it around, etc

Open Trailers: 16 foot car hauler, tandem axle, one axle brake: $2,000.00 - $2,500.00 starter price.
Closed Trailers: 16 foot car hauler, tandem axle, $5,000 - $6,000 Starter price.
Brake Control: $100.00

Tow Bar: Blue Ox or Falcon: New $700.00 - $1,000.00, Plus base plate ($400 plus install) = $1,500.00
Wiring kit $300.00 -$400.00 plus install = ~$500.00
Total (No braking): $2,000.00
Braking: Add another $1,000.00 to $2,000.00
Tow Bar: Everything: $4,200.00
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Old 03-31-2010, 05:27 PM   #4
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I just purchased my base plate, Alladin towbar, Patriot brakes, cables, locks and cover for $2,100 so the cost isn't that bad. Remember that you have to add the trailer's weight if using one. Plus having to register it and store it was enough to forget that idea.
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Old 04-01-2010, 09:53 AM   #5
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Your towbar cost estimate is somewhat high - should not exceed $2600 paying list price for everything and regular shop rates for installation. With some shopping around you should be able to get to the $2100 like Abnmarine.
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Old 04-01-2010, 10:31 AM   #6
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Did the $2,100 (base plate, Alladin towbar, Patriot brakes, cables, locks and cover ) include installation for everything?

I had the US Gear Unified brake system with install priced out about $1,300

Are we getting ripped?

RV Labor rates are running $95.00/hr to $109.00/hr

The Brake system kit is around $1k.
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Old 04-01-2010, 08:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Batman_777 View Post
Did the $2,100 (base plate, Alladin towbar, Patriot brakes, cables, locks and cover ) include installation for everything?

I had the US Gear Unified brake system with install priced out about $1,300

Are we getting ripped?

RV Labor rates are running $95.00/hr to $109.00/hr

The Brake system kit is around $1k.
The price didn't include installation. I'll be installing it myself. Someone else should be able to post a fair price for having it installed.
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Old 07-10-2010, 07:01 AM   #8
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Installation is getting high. But I have an Aventa LX from Blue Ox. One thing I like about them is whenever you are at a rally you can get it completely serviced for only $25 and it's at least a 30 minute job... very detailed! I had that done last summer and watched as it was done. You don't see other companies doing this kind of service!
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Old 07-10-2010, 05:17 PM   #9
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I don't want to derail this topic too much, but the price of tow bars seems a tad high. Are they custom in that they connect in some fashion to the steering assembly on the toad vs simply having two base-plate assembles bolted to the vehicle's chassis and a A frame connection with the tow coupler branching off from them?

I ask, because, everyone I've looked at seems to built out of about $50-100 worth of mild-steel that could be had at any iron yard.

I'm not trying to downplay the importance of good towing equipment here, but the price just seems really disproportionate to the amount of welding/metal involved, and for the record, I've had quite a number of custom towing related items made for me that are 2x beefier than their over the counter counter-parts but even with the hourly rate of a skilled, certified fabricator and the materials added in, I'm only coming to a 1/3-1/4 of what some of these parts are selling for.
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Old 07-10-2010, 08:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Batman_777 View Post
I've seen a lot of questions about towing using a Tow-Bar and some prefer to use a trailer.

Which is safer?

I've seen a few mishaps lately with people using Tow-Bars where the vehicle came loose or something else. I think one person turned too sharply or attempted to backup.. Oppss.

One person told me just happened to notice a broken weld before something happened.

I went with a Blue Ox Aventa 10k tow bar with some room to spare. Manufactures strongly suggest and in some cases a requirement to match the tow bar with the base plate.
Hey Batman,

Safety issues seem to be inconsequential between the two methods. Properly installed and properly used should make little difference in safety as long as you have good equipment. It really gets down to what inflates your windsock. The trailer will require additional PM, axles, tires bearings etc., on top of your 4 wheeler. The towbar system requires inspection and cleaning, that is about it. On the road you might have some trailer sway in winds and truck ruts with a large trailer. On the other hand you can back the trailer, cannot back the toad, and will have a garage. I'd think from a safety standpoint you could go either way with relative assurance.
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Old 07-10-2010, 08:18 PM   #11
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When we got our first motor home, we got a trailer to tow car, and for that winter in Fla, I could not get home quick enough to GET RID OF THE TRAILER, and get a car that we could tow on wheels. Hooking up with a car on trailer takes a few minutes, with our tow bar, it is done very quickly, and I feel a lot better with it.
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Old 07-10-2010, 08:32 PM   #12
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Quote:
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I don't want to derail this topic too much, but the price of tow bars seems a tad high.
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)

Quote:
Are they custom in that they connect in some fashion to the steering assembly on the toad.
nope. just bolt onto the frame.
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Old 07-10-2010, 08:58 PM   #13
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I think a lot depends on several things

I have seen trailers come loose

I have seen tow bars come loose

The biggest difference I see is not the towing gear breaking or coming loose..

It is the one part both of 'em have... The "Loose nut" behind the wheel.

With Trailers, everybody (Far as I know) agrees you need trailer brakes.

But there are an amazing number of people who mistakenly think you do not need a braking system if towing 4 down.

You do... US GEAR Unified Brake Decelerator is the one I suggest.. Or the M&G air/hydraulid if it will fit.
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Old 07-10-2010, 09:47 PM   #14
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we have a trailer.....which is great because we just switched out TOWee's,


this friday coming home i decided to watch and I saw a record number of class A's pulling car hauler trailers, with everything from nice jags to little old cheby pickups.


to each is own...
but our trailer plus tie downs and e-track was under 3500.00

18 ft, 8k gvw brakes on both axles
my only complaint is my ramps are heavy, but i did find a set of alum (16lbs ea.) i just need to order em.
biggest draw back so far is load up time, it does take us about 1/2 hr to load and tie down and recheck.
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