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Old 03-04-2010, 01:05 PM   #29
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Dr4Film-
Great, everyone should have corner weights of their rv. I had my motorhome weighed at each corner by RvSafety last month and next week I will have them weigh it again at Yuma, Az Gypsy Journal Rally after I move stuff around and fill the fuel and fresh water tank. My front is 150 lbs heavier on driver side and 425 heavier on the passenger rear side so I want to see how balanced I can get it. Of course weights are always changing, food in refer, fuel, water, etc but the more balanced the better. I have or had at last weighing a safety margin of 2745 lbs of which most was in the front.
My motorhome has a 10,000 tow rating and a tongue rating of 500 lbs, probably because of heavy rear. It has a 24" tail swing. I was wondering if your tongue weight was around 500 lbs. Thanks!
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Old 03-05-2010, 08:25 AM   #30
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Actually, Jerry, you can increase your tongue weight capacity by using an equalizing hitch. That's what came with my Pace trailer that I bought used last October. It came with 1000 lb. tension bars.

Dr4Film ----- Richard.
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Old 03-05-2010, 11:10 AM   #31
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I had thought about a stabilizer or such with a trailer. Another complication. No doubt something being towed at that weight should have an equalizing hitch. It sure makes towing 4 down seem a lot simpler.
I did have a Hensley before with a travel trailer I had previously. Maybe I should have kept it.
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Old 03-05-2010, 11:21 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by chasfm11 View Post
I guess I'm one of the ones that consider it to be a piece of cake to tow 4 down. We bought the RV in January and by March of that year (2004) we had a 4 down toad. In the time since, we've put about 40K miles on and there have been only a couple of occasions where we were in a pickle and had to unhook to get out of it.

Before you got your RV, were you away for overhead obstacles? Have you learned to look ahead and determine if you have a height problem? I'm not talking about bridges and tunnels but about tree limbs, overhead signs, roof canopies, etc. Over time, you develop a sense for what is going to work and what isn't. To me, it is the same for putting us into places with the toad that we cannot get out of without backing my. DW would tell you about a very tight RV center lot where we stopped to get propane. I took the best possible route in and, with the help of an employee there spotting for me, got out without having to unhook the toad. Yes, there are places at the fuel pumps that could be a problem but we just don't try. We look at the small vehicle island and bypass to the truck island if we don't like what we see. Flying Js were always tight. Most Pilot car islands were impossible with Loves being a mix of the two. Outside of the fuel stops, we've had little problem just by looking ahead. Spending time in an empty mall parking lot, seeing how tight you can turn is a great learning experience.
Thanks Chaz, we're just now at the point you describe of yourself above. Bought it in January and are pretty sure we're going to get everything we need and modify the toad so we can start bringing local transportation with us. Rented, borrowed cars, and called for cabs enough times to realize we have to make the jump. I am also to the point you describe of "looking ahead" to situations that might propose a problem and adjust accordingly. So 4 down it will be for us..
Thanks
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Old 03-06-2010, 10:29 AM   #33
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3 Ways to tow.. Let me describe (Actually 4 but one of them I'll only mention)

4-Down with an A-Frame ball hitch tow bar.. I do not recommend

4-Down with a good tow bar such as the Blue-Ox Aventa or the Roadmaster system:

Hooking up: Pull up fairly close. Extend bars to vehicle, insert tow pins and lock pins. Hook up light, brake and emergency and safety cables Total time, a couple of minutes.. Drive motor home SLOWLY forward for a few feet till tow bars lock (I feel it when mine lock) and you are good to go.

NOTE it is NOT necessary for you to pull up exactly on target, If you are angled a bit or off to one side or the other a bit, Not a problem.. A few inches too close or back, not a problem.

Now, full trailer (most of this applies to dolly towing as well)

Drive up, it is very important to be SQUARE and properly aligned Pull up till the drive wheels or front wheels are in the stop area.. Now strap it down, hook up the safety chains and such.. Drive a few miles.. Re-check straps and safety chains.

Unhooking:

4-down: Unhook light, emergency, safety cables, Depress release levers on tow bar, pull lock pins and tow pins, Telescope tow bars down and move to the "Storage" position, apply cover (optional but recommended)


Trailer/Dolly.. Unhook safety chains and unstrap wheel straps.. Back off. Stow straps till next use. Find a place to stow the trailer or dolly

Advantage full trailer.. You can back up the rig with a full trailer.. Can't with the other options.. (unless you drop the towed that is)

NOTE: that is a lot more work than unhooking the cables and pulling pins.

Advantage 4-Down: Less weight to tow.. In my case even a dolly would put my towed vehicle weight over my hitch rating and the CGVW is already on the high side so not only is it easier to stow, easier to hook up and unhook but it is easier on the motor home as well.

Final note: On many vehicles to tow 4 down you have to do something special.. Some you just put 'em in Neutral (or put the transfer case in neutral, Drop in a aux-braking system (PLEASE USE AUX BRAKES) and pull the speedometer fuse (or add a switch)

On mine (A front wheel drive) I added an Axle lock, this "Breaks" one of the half axles so the wheels spin freely

On others a Drive Shaft Disconnect (Used on Rear Wheel Drive)

Another option is a lube pump.. Keeps oil circulating in the tranny so you tow in neutral (I tow in park)

These mods do cost money.. But considering how easy it is to tow.. it is worth it.

Brakes.. Many folks like 'Brake in a box" systems like Even Brake.. I do not, You have to install them every time you tow (WORK) and stow them every time you drive the towed.. They can (And sometimes do) grow legs if not properly stowed when "parked"

I have the US-Gear Unified Brake Decelerator.. IT's progressive (The harder I brake the harder it brakes) Porporitonal (Adjustable gain) and transparent (Well, nearly so, My size 13 gunboats do hit the adjustment screw if I'm not careful) and when I had a major incident.. it stopped my towed.. EXACTLY where it should be, Never mind that the only thing hooking it to the motor home was the wires for the brake controller.. IT was right where it belonged.

No damage

(Well, the hitch was broke but that was the major incident)

I know of no better system.. Though there are a few others that come right close
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Old 03-23-2010, 08:31 AM   #34
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Robsons tow dolly experience update

Hi all,

I haven't been on IRV2 much lately due to a lot of driving. We've been on the road for two months solid driving the kids around this great country of ours.

I thought I'd give an update on our experience with a tow dolly so far. We are pulling a 2009 Town & Country minivan which is about the widest thing you can fit on the dolly which is a MasterTow with brakes.

It definitely took a week or two of using the dolly to get "in sync" with the various steps and tricks to get the van on and off without trouble. At first I had a terrible time getting the straps properly lined up on the tires since they are kinda big and wide compared to other commonly towed vehicles. But I spoke with the fella we bought the dolly from and he gave me some pointers and, more importantly, reassured me that I didn't need bigger straps or anything like that.

Our reason the use a dolly instead of 4-down was that we are only going to be RV'ing for 6 months. So, I didn't want to sink all the money into outfitting our van and then taking it all out when we get back in order to try to sell it on Ebay or something. Now when we get back I just have to clean up and sell the dolly.

If I were going to be owning and operating my rig and toad for a long time, I'd probably switch to 4 down though.

We have had a few mistakes along the way that fortunately haven't cost us anything but time and a bit of embarrassed blushing on the side of the road... the biggest were that one of the straps once fell off and another time I forgot to put the locking pin back into the ramp pivot lock. thankfully it only cost me some scuffing on the strap (the other strap held the car without trouble) and $20 for a locking pivot pin that I bought at and Ace hardware store while on the trip.

hope that helps...
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Old 03-24-2010, 05:26 PM   #35
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wa8yxm...

As a previous (since 1999 until 2009) four down towable owner I have recently changed to a full trailer hauling a small car. As such I'd like to add a few things I feel should be mentioned regarding a full trailer.

1) More choices of vehicles and transmissions since one doesn't have to worry about whether they can be towed four down or not. Although I am typically referring to lighter and smaller vehicles.

2) Brakes are simpler and cheaper on a trailer then the after market ones that should be installed on every four down towable. Oh, and tire monitoring systems would be less expensive.

3) One can chose the right trailer and vehicle which combined are lighter then many four down towed vehicles. In my case my car and trailer weigh 2300 lbs together.

4) One after thought. When one gets some where for extended stays one will have a trailer to haul things with if necessary by rigging the vehicle to tow the trailer. Obviously I'm not referring to large 4 or 5 thousand pound dual axle enclosed trailers that are more then just vehicle haulers.

You are correct in that it does take a little longer to load the vehicle on the trailer and tie it down securely. However you mentioned, under trailers, after a few miles stopping and checking the tie downs and safety chains. This is something that should be done on anything being towed.

Just FYI, on the last five trips I've taken including multiple stops during each trip I've only had to unhook once. Most of the time the trailer stays connected to the motorhome.
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Old 03-24-2010, 05:57 PM   #36
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We have a Master Tow Dolly and tow a 2006 Ford Escape Hybrid. The main reason is I didn't want to modify the car. The brakes are proportional on the dolly and are really out of sight and mind. There is no hookup and they just work. Since the Ford is front wheel drive the rear wheels free wheel and it really is ideal. I bought magnetic lights to add to the car but it really wasn't necessary since the dolly has lights. If I change cars in the future I don't loose the investment of a base plate and light modifications and I don't need to mess with TOAD brakes. Also the Ford isn't a slam dunk for four down towing. There are varied opinions about reducing the amount of tranny fluid to avoid damaging the transmission.

I haven't had a problem with stowing the dolly at our destination but we mostly camp in state parks and have plenty of room.

We aren't full timers.
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Old 03-25-2010, 08:15 AM   #37
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Quote:
2) Brakes are simpler and cheaper on a trailer then the after market ones that should be installed on every four down towable.
Brakes on a trailer need a control box installed in the tow vehicle and wiring run all the way back to the trailer.
Oh, the after market brakes can be transferred to any new vehicle.
The wheel bearing's on the trailer need to be packed for extra maintenance job. And to keep those electric brakes working can be a PITA.
OH, don't forget those extra tires that will have to be replaced.

Quote:
Oh, and tire monitoring systems would be less expensive.
Only if you buy a signal axle trailer. A double axle the same. Oh, now two extra tires to replace.
Quote:
One can chose the right trailer and vehicle which combined are lighter then many four down towed vehicles. In my case my car and trailer weigh 2300 lbs together.
About the only car that light is the Smart Car at 1,800 lb.
And they are not many car trailers around that light. It fact most Tow Dolly's with brakes that only carry 1/2 of a car, weigh in over 500 # empty.
Quote:
One after thought. When one gets some where for extended stays one will have a trailer to haul things with if necessary by rigging the vehicle to tow the trailer.
If you had a big enough 4 down car to start with. It will be big enough to haul anything necessary. And you don't have to mess around hooking up a trailer then a parking space big enough to park it.
Quote:
after a few miles stopping and checking the tie downs and safety chains. This is something that should be done on anything being towed
4 down, they are no tie downs to check or tighten up. Oh, the safety chains can be seen from the rear camera monitor.
Quote:
on the last five trips I've taken including multiple stops during each trip I've only had to unhook once
That is 20% of the time.

Oh, don't forget to buy those license plates every year for the trailer.

Trailer, Dolly or 4 down. Get what works best for the towed vehicle you have or want to tow. They all have their own + or - for using.
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Old 03-25-2010, 12:36 PM   #38
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Recently came up with another advantage of 4-down

Right now my car is dead... I'm going to try to work on it later today a bit (Got a clue this AM) but... I can back the motor home up to the car, drop the pins in, unlock the axle and go (ok I also hook up a few cables)

Can't do that with either a dolly or a 4-up trailer.. Have to winch the car onto the trailer and frankly..... don't have a winch that can do that.
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