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Old 06-27-2015, 07:18 PM   #1
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4 Down Towing Basics?

I need the basics of 4 down tow. I am not looking for info about GVW or hitch rating but basic procedures (kind of 4 down for dummies). I would appreciate any info provided.
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Old 06-27-2015, 07:51 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hoakken View Post
I need the basics of 4 down tow. I am not looking for info about GVW or hitch rating but basic procedures (kind of 4 down for dummies). I would appreciate any info provided.
If you are new to this, I suggest you buy your equipment from a reputable dealer who SHOULD be able to walk you through how to hook up, unhook and maintain the system. Some on this forum will extoll the virtues of buying used off EBay etc but unless you are familiar and know what your looking for, go for good servicing hitch dealer to supply and install. Very Important. Money well spent.

I use Blueox all the way. I'm sure there are other good makes but I like my Blueox. It's simple to hook up/unhook and Very Good customer support.

See attached video on the basic set up.
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Old 06-27-2015, 07:59 PM   #3
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In addition to simplicity, I also like the clean look when the pins are removed and not towing. Some brands have a humongous bunch of metal hanging off the front end that looks ugly, IMHO,,,
I also use a couple of 1 7/8" Trailer Ball Covers that I slip on when the pins are moved to keep out debris and bugs.
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Old 06-27-2015, 08:12 PM   #4
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This is not an easily answered question. It depends on your TOAD.
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Old 06-27-2015, 08:26 PM   #5
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Toad will be small car with manual trans yet to purchased (used). Mechanical condition and equipment maintenance are within my abilities ( ASE dual master and automotive instructor) I am looking for info like wheel locked or unlocked ,is backing possible?, hitch/unhitch procedures, equipment recommendations-used is good with me- doesn't have to be latest greatest. I am most definitely not new to rvs or trailer towing, just the first time for me to flat tow a car.
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Old 06-27-2015, 08:37 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hoakken View Post
Toad will be small car with manual trans yet to purchased (used). Mechanical condition and equipment maintenance are within my abilities ( ASE dual master and automotive instructor) I am looking for info like wheel locked or unlocked ,is backing possible?, hitch/unhitch procedures, equipment recommendations-used is good with me- doesn't have to be latest greatest. I am most definitely not new to rvs or trailer towing, just the first time for me to flat tow a car.
Backing up a Toad is not a good idea, you could easily bend the bars on your hitch. But in a few instances I have backed up, but only when the Toad was lined up with the MH. As far as wheels locked or unlocked, the wheels should be unlocked so that they can turn with the MH. Most car manuals will tell you about towing in Section 5. BTW, locked front wheels will eventually cause damage to your car front end, and as you turn the tires will skid along, this will shorten your tire life. Depending on your State requirements and the weight of the Toad you may need to install a braking system for the Toad.
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Old 06-27-2015, 08:41 PM   #7
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1. Never ever back up with the toad attached. No exceptions.
2. Make a check list for connecting and prepping the tow; and use it!
3. Who ever handles what portion of the process have your partner double check.
Always double check each other's work.
4. After everything is connected the tow bar arms will most likely not be locked. We manually push the car back until one arm locks. This tells us that the car is in neutral and the brake is not set. Others will have the driver pull slightly forward as the copilot is outside watching the arms lock and wheels move.
5. Check your turn signals and brake lights. Copilot stands behind coch and toad and signals driver.
6. The toad follows the coach so well that if the coach clears an obstical on a turn the toad will also clear. There is no need to make any special allowances when making a turn. Even though I know this I still can't help myself from watching the toad in the mirror in tight turns.
These are some of the basics that come to mind. Others may have more to add.
Forgot to add. We tie a white rag to the top dead center of the steering wheel so I can see the toad steering wheel turn in the camera when first starting out.
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Old 06-27-2015, 08:47 PM   #8
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Never having towed before, we purchased an inexpensive Saturn tow vehicle (automatic) and then found a used Blue Ox Alladin tow system and base plate on ebay for only a few hundred dollars; had our mechanic install the baseplate and we've towed many thousands of miles since. Its very quick and easy to hook and unhook, little maintenance needed.

We choose to use magnetic tow lights, which take about 30 seconds to install and remove and have been quite satisfactory. We also bought a used Blue Ox Apollo brake system (ebay again), which takes a few minutes to install each time but also works satisfactorily.

Admittedly, we are frugal and don't need to have brand new anythings, so this has worked fine for us. Others will give you different recommendations.
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Old 06-28-2015, 07:43 AM   #9
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I lost my vanity when I retired. Before that, my Roadmaster Stowmaster looked ugly on my Saturn. Now that we are retired and the Stowmaster is on my Wrangler, and in tip-top shape after 15 years (yes, they are cheaper), I think my hitch is a proud emblem of having arrived in our golden years with the easiest and strongest hitch made!
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Old 06-28-2015, 08:48 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Selah View Post
1. Never ever back up with the toad attached. No exceptions.
2. Make a check list for connecting and prepping the tow; and use it!
3. Who ever handles what portion of the process have your partner double check.
Always double check each other's work.
4. After everything is connected the tow bar arms will most likely not be locked. We manually push the car back until one arm locks. This tells us that the car is in neutral and the brake is not set. Others will have the driver pull slightly forward as the copilot is outside watching the arms lock and wheels move.
5. Check your turn signals and brake lights. Copilot stands behind coch and toad and signals driver.
6. The toad follows the coach so well that if the coach clears an obstical on a turn the toad will also clear. There is no need to make any special allowances when making a turn. Even though I know this I still can't help myself from watching the toad in the mirror in tight turns.
These are some of the basics that come to mind. Others may have more to add.
Forgot to add. We tie a white rag to the top dead center of the steering wheel so I can see the toad steering wheel turn in the camera when first starting out.
As newbies with a Class A, we have towed our Jeep every mile we have traveled, which is now 5 trips, and over 2000 miles. I'll just reiterate on 2 points above that I think are critical, but not necessarily top of mind.

In making a very tight turn (hopefully something you can generally avoid, but may run into at gas stations for instances) I am very cognizant the toad and tow bar, and if possible have my co pilot outside on a walkie talkie watching though the tight spot.

On the hook up process, I stay with the toad on a walkie talkie as my wife slowly pulls away and ensure the bars lock, and that all the wheels are turning freely. If possible, I'll walk a good 50-100 yards going side to side, and closely looking at the wheels and listening. And, I'll watch the mirrors to see the toad wheels turning as well on my first few turns.

And while I agree with no backing up, my Jeep manual simply says you'll damage the drivetrain, so that ends any debate right there.

As for what bar and braking system, I just let my RV dealer use what they were most comfortable with for my Jeep which was a blue ox and SMI stay n play brake system (~$3k installed).

Regards
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Old 06-28-2015, 09:00 PM   #11
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Thanks to all! This is the type of info I am looking for. Now to just find the right car and good used towing and brake equipment as soon as I finish this trip.
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Old 06-28-2015, 10:30 PM   #12
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I found this to be a good resource for toad selection http://www.edmunds.com/car-buying/wh...ind-an-rv.html
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Old 06-29-2015, 01:24 AM   #13
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I am currently pulling my 2015 Jeep Wrangler with my Class C, 2015 Forester, Chevrolet 6.0 V8. I had a 2001 29' Tioga that was Ford V10 based. Overall I have found the Chevy to be much better riding and much quieter with more leg room. I have the SMI Stay and Play Brake System, Diodes for my lighting and a Falcon II Tow Bar. So far I have been very pleased with the entire setup. Having the SMI and Falcon II installed here in Northern California was more expensive than others have experienced. Total install was a little over $4,200.00. JH


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Old 06-29-2015, 06:26 AM   #14
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You've asked a very nebulous question. Each of these answers have been given in the hundreds of threads on this forum. But here is my shot at keeping this short:

1) What type of tow bar will you use? Basically two types, solid or collapsible. The collapsible stays with the MH and hookup is reasonably easy. The solid usually stays with the TOAD and looks like a large "A". You may have seen these folded straight up on the front of a jeep or car driving down the road. Hookup process requires more precision, the TOAD must be precisely positioned so the the hitch is directly over the ball.

I use a solid, mine doesn't fold up vertically when I'm driving around. I completely remove the bar and pins when not in use and store them in the trunk of the TOAD. Connecting up requires I reinstall the pins, connect the bar to the pins, then the TOAD driver lines up the bars hitch with the MHs ball.

2) TOAD Brake systems are something that needs to be considered carefully. Do you absolutely have to have them, maybe. To me, the heavier the TOAD, the more important the brake system becomes. IMO - My TOAD weighs 2200 lbs, I don;'t have a brake system. If it weighed 4,000 lbs, Yes, I would definitely get a system.

3) Break away brakes -Stop the TOAD in the event it breaks away from the MH. A more important option is to prevent this from happening in the first place. Put systems into place that will prevent the break away from happening, i.e. safety cables / chains, inspection process, etc. More specifically, how/where are safety chains attached to the MH and the TOAD. My DW inspects the TOAD tow bar , pins, and chains at every stop. (as so I) this provides dual redundancy in the inspection process.

4) Backing a TOAD. If you can back a trailer, you can back a TOAD (maybe). I routinely back my TOAD, even into tight back-in spots at truck stops, RV parks, etc. Not a problem, its just a trailer. HOWEVER - before you do it, you need to find out how your TOAD behaves when backed. Do this in a large open parking lot, looking specifically for how the wheels caster and TOAD turning radius limits.

Check with your tow bar manufacture to see if they have a problem with backing. If they do, find out why. I cannot see how the forces on a tow bar while pushing or pulling on a TOAD while moving forward are any different than if pushing or pulling on a TOAD while going backward. But the Tow Bar manufacture may want to limit you if their design is not capable of handling backing a TOAD

5) Turning Radius - Know what the turning radius is and could the MH hit the TOAD (or bar) in the turn? Probably not a problem with long wheel base MH, but this is another piece of information you will need while on the road, How sharp can I turn? Find out - find a big parking lot and do a hard full turn complete circle, get out and look and see for yourself where the TOAD is when you make this turn.
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