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Old 03-03-2014, 05:36 PM   #1
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4 down vs. trailer

Besides storing a trailer at a CG, what are the negatives of a car trailer for the toad vs 4 down? In looking at a couple of things; besides the costs of purchasing a car or jeep that can go 4 down there is the cost of the lights, hitch and brake system + installation. I can by a new open side trailer for 3K, but so many seem pro 4 down for the toad that I am unsure of which way to go.

I know it will be a pain to store at the camp ground, just not sure how much of a pain.

The trailer on the other hand in more flexible in that the car can tow it and the MH can back it up. I also have the option of towing different cars.

Really appreciate any pros and cons.

best regards,


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Old 03-03-2014, 05:45 PM   #2
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The two biggest reasons for me to use a car hauler is that since I tow a Jeep that is used off road, I can still take the vehicle home if I break something that would inhibit it from rolling along on the wheels and I can haul stuff on the trailer like firewood, spare tire, gas, etc. But from a pure towing standpoint, I think 4 down is the way to go.

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Old 03-03-2014, 05:54 PM   #3
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You don't mention the RV you intend to use(?)

The biggest down side to car trailers/carriers besides storing it when not in use, is weight. An open carrier will probably run about 1500lb and more.

So the RV needs to have a Class IV towing ability (excess of 5000lb) for the car and carrier - which is over the max for many gas RV's.

Get a big engine in the RV and you'll enjoy the ease of using the trailer, that you can take along any car with no miles run on the lower drive-line, how it protects your car up high and free of road debris, and how it back-ups nice and easy.

Best luck
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Old 03-03-2014, 06:17 PM   #4
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My experience is that most current 50A full hookup sites are pull thru or big enough to allow for 2 vehicles or rig and towed (object). I wouldn't have a concern for leaving unloaded trailer at CG, on a site or in their storage area.
I think it would be easy to find a place that could accommodate.

As far as 4 down or trailer-ed, I am going to watch this thread and decide for myself. So far, I'm leaning toward trailer-ed. Many advantages pointed out so far. And, an open trailer is usable for many more things.

Cost is a major factor for me. That also depends on how often it's used. Ideally, I would have the dream toad custom painted to match the dream coach, whether I use it or not.
In the real world, I have to decide first, for each trip, if I need a toad, or a rental or a cab. Then if I need a toad, I can decide if I need it often enough to justify a toad, or trailer for toad, or a rental trailer.

EDIT: Thanks for the tip on going over weight limits. Also, I could see where it could exceed length limits with a trailer vs 4 down.
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Old 03-03-2014, 06:32 PM   #5
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been doing it with a auto hauler trailer since 2009
GCVWR and tow rating are not to be abused

pros: not limited to one vehicle for use as a toad. You can bring along which ever vehicle suits your needs for the trip. or you can buy a vehicle and not have to worry if its four down towable
set up is about the same amount of time as hooking up a tow bar and chains, aux brake etc.
folks don't cut close to the rear of the coach when they enter the highway
tailgaters are fewer
trailer cost me just over 3k, i use wheel straps and e-track to secure the truck to the trailer
no aux brake device needed, a simple brake controller is all thats needed
replacement tires are less costly
no wear and tear on the toad

you can back up if you get in a tight spot at a fuel station or such

cons:everynow and again its a pain to store the trailer.
you cant move it with a vehicle, trailer must be unloaded while hitched to the bus
takes about 20 minutes to off load and re-spot
i have been through two sets of tires and a set of springs, got to love the great roads i have travled
sometime folks at cg's get upset if i block the drive for more than a few minutes while unhooking
i am just over 65 feet long all loaded up so fuel stops have to be planned or at least looked at very close as you pull in, but this is the same if the toad was four down as well
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Old 03-03-2014, 06:37 PM   #6
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In a survey of FMCA members a few years ago, it was
reported that over 90% tow four down. It is easier by
every measure. The costs are about the same.
But if your vehicle can not be towed
4 down then you'd have get a different toad, or
go for the dolly or trailer.
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Old 03-03-2014, 06:59 PM   #7
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I don't know what kind of motorhome you are using but you'll have to take the weight of the trailer into consideration when looking at what to tow, and car trailers are not light weight trailers. You also have to have a place to store them when not using the motorhome. I've never used a car trailer but I am certain that after seeing some users load their car on a trailer and strap it down that it took them much longer than what it takes me to hook up our toad and tow bar. But with that said there are some RVers that like using a trailer to tow their car and wouldn't want to do it any other way.
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Old 03-03-2014, 07:35 PM   #8
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Another thing to think about is the tongue weight of the trailer/toad. If your rv is close to your max weight like mine is, the tounge weight adds to that weight. 4 down doesn't add any tongue weight.
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Old 03-04-2014, 05:19 AM   #9
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I use a trailer. it is long enough to also put my golfcart or rhino on the front. the golfcart has a hitch on the back to move the trailer in the campground. like others have said you can take what ever car or truck suites your needs for that trip.
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Old 03-04-2014, 07:38 AM   #10
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First 3K is in line with the cost of making a JEEP towable 4-down by the time you add tow bars, braking system and lights. And you do need a braking system.

And you have covered part of the problem with trailering... (Storage at CG) some even charge for storage of the trailer... Plus it's more trouble to strap the Jeep to the trailer than it is to hook up to tow bars.

PLUS you have between 1 and 3 thousand pounds of trailer to tow along with your jeep.. In my case that would put me WAY over the weight limit.
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Old 03-04-2014, 09:14 AM   #11
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I wouldn't rely on pull thru sites as a way to store the trailer. Some campgrounds don't have pull thrus and a lot of CGs have them taken up by the time you get there, unless you've made reservations. I heard from some that say they've had to store their trailers off site.

I do like the idea however of being able to take a different car then the one I'm set up to tow 4 down.
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Old 03-04-2014, 09:46 AM   #12
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My Jeep Cherokee is set to tow 4 down. After recently purchasing a golf cart, I'm on the market for a (enclosed) trailer. I have a few collector cars, and with the trailer, I can bring whichever car I want (not just limited to the Jeep) plus the cart. My Jeeps tires are a little over $200 each. Trailer tires, $100. I'll still take just the Jeep, towed 4 down on short weekend trips, but the trailer when I want to take a little more.
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Old 03-04-2014, 09:55 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by powerboatr View Post
cons:everynow and again its a pain to store the trailer.
you cant move it with a vehicle, trailer must be unloaded while hitched to the bus
takes about 20 minutes to off load and re-spot
They make swing down jack stands, permanently mounted to the back of the trailer that allow you to off-load the trailer while disconnected. You could also use portable ones, as I have done many times.
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Old 03-04-2014, 10:12 AM   #14
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I have always towed 4 down, but have thought about some of the advantages of a trailer. For longer trips, I often thought of maybe renting a car hauler from U-Haul.

I also saw a really nice small aluminum trailer with a Wrangler on it in another post on here. Checked on their price and they were around $8000, so you would have to use it a lot to justify the cost or get a good used one.

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