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Old 04-17-2005, 07:10 AM   #1
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I have imminent delivery of a 36ft DP with GVWR of 33,000 lbs. GCVWR of 43,000 lbs and tow hitch rating of 10,000 lbs. Even though only 36ft the DP has a long wheelbase (252 inches). Am I really going to notice a significant difference in the handling of the coach with the towed jeep behind it (4000 lbs)?

I read somewhere that newbies should get used to the handling of the motorhome before towing anything behind it. Well that's just not an option for us. We need the towed! I don't see how we can get through our initial shakedown cruise without it. I am NOT interested in taking the big Class A into grocery store parking lots etc.

I have towed a 17ft 3000lb trailer behind a Toyota SUV (4Runner, then Sequioa) for a couple of years now. I am very used to that kind of towing. It seems like after that experience I wouldn't even notice the jeep behind the motorhome.

Comments and advice?

Thanks!

Audrey
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Old 04-17-2005, 07:10 AM   #2
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I have imminent delivery of a 36ft DP with GVWR of 33,000 lbs. GCVWR of 43,000 lbs and tow hitch rating of 10,000 lbs. Even though only 36ft the DP has a long wheelbase (252 inches). Am I really going to notice a significant difference in the handling of the coach with the towed jeep behind it (4000 lbs)?

I read somewhere that newbies should get used to the handling of the motorhome before towing anything behind it. Well that's just not an option for us. We need the towed! I don't see how we can get through our initial shakedown cruise without it. I am NOT interested in taking the big Class A into grocery store parking lots etc.

I have towed a 17ft 3000lb trailer behind a Toyota SUV (4Runner, then Sequioa) for a couple of years now. I am very used to that kind of towing. It seems like after that experience I wouldn't even notice the jeep behind the motorhome.

Comments and advice?

Thanks!

Audrey
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Old 04-17-2005, 08:54 AM   #3
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Audrey,

You are right, considering the weight and wheelbase of your coach you won't notice the toad, but that makes it even more importand to be aware that it is there and allow for the extra length when passing and making sharp turns. Happy traveling with your new rig.

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Old 04-17-2005, 08:55 AM   #4
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Audrey, now seems like a strange time to ask when it is apparent that now you seem to have to go forward. But, more relevant to your question you appear to be ok with GVW vs. GCWR. However, what kind of engine did you get, i.e. if you have 330 hp diesel and above obviously there will be no strain on the MH. Three major differences in towing the Jeep vs. the boat and trailer; first, is that backing up now will be nigh to impossible and the second is that you must be absolutely sure that the Jeep steering wheel is free via the ignition key setting otherwise what you will do to the front tires will not be pretty. The third issue is visibility. When you were towing the boat you could probably see it at any time via the side view mirrors and now your visibility will be pretty much limited to what you can see via the back up camera--- this is one of those little gettting used to things that eventually comes as second nature. Certainly you can do what ever feels right for you; but, I for one have always been a subscriber to using supplemental brakes when towing our Blazer 4 wheels down. You also need to realize that aerodynamically the "squareness" and size of the MH will kick up more dirt and debris to the Jeep than you had probably experienced before with the SUV towing a boat. The biggest danger is "not even noticing" the Jeep behind you, as complacency can be disastrous. Remember a MH towing a car is a whole lot longer than an SUV towing a boat and the GCW is probably at least double of what you had on the road before. Good luck, be careful and have fun, Ken Roberts,'04 DSDP towing a 20' enclosed trailer....
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Old 04-17-2005, 11:27 AM   #5
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It's a 400hp engine, so plenty of hp I think.

I was towing a 9' tall travel trailer (RV), so actually my rear visibility was totally blocked and I could barely see behind the trailer at all with the side mirrors. I was extremely careful when passing a vehicle and merging back into the right lane because it was difficult to judge the distance by looking at the passenger side mirror. With the backup camera I think I might have better visibility in the MH.

Of course the total length is quite different and I have to get used to that - whether with toad or without!!

We do plan to install supplemental braking for the toad even though in TX it is not required. I don't think we'll have it right away, but we will before we take any long trips.

Audrey
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Old 04-17-2005, 12:16 PM   #6
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Audrey,
I recommend driving your new MH around town for about 30 minutes... making corners, changing lanes, etc. Then hook up your toad and do the same. Important to remember that when turning right, go forward into the intersection as far as you can, then turn tight to the right. I try to get to where my rear wheels are in the crosswalk before beginning my turn. That way you won't go over any curbs. Your toad will follow wherever your rear wheels go. The backup camera is a great help.

Our MH is lighter than yours, so I do feel the toad when a large semi passes me. But you shouldn't have any problem.

Tow vehicle brakes are definately a good idea.

Good luck with your new MH... Judy
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Old 04-17-2005, 03:01 PM   #7
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Thanks for the tips on the right turns. We've done a test drive without the toad and we'll do some more in the vicinity of the dealer's before hooking up the toad.

The dealer has a customer camping area, so we'll do some practicing there pulling the toad before heading off.

It's definitely the right turns that I am most nervous about, but I'll practice them a lot!

But yes, I figure if I can get my rear wheels in the right place when turning, the toad will follow along inside of their track.

Audrey
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Old 04-18-2005, 06:35 AM   #8
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I presume your rear camera is adjustable on the back of the coach. It should tilt up or down. I wasnt real happy with the location on mine when I got it. It was tilted down too much and although I could see everything right behind the coach, I could only see the front part of the car. So I tilted it up to where I could see the back end of the car. Then I had my wife walk around behind the car at different lengths from the back of car so I could watch the camera and get an idea of what I was seeing. Remember that the camera may distort the true distance you "think" you are see. This way, when I pass someone, I know when it is comfortable to merge back into that lane. I lost alittle bit of view directly behind the coach, so I have to be careful when backing the coach into a campsite and watching what might be right behind me. But hey, that is what the copilot is for!!
I used to have a fifth wheel and you really had to allow room for right turns with that. I dont see that much problem now with the motorhome and toad. The toad tracks right behind the coach. Yes, still allow turning room, but you might find that you dont need a large amount of space.
Mike
P.S. There have been lots of posts about supplemental braking. My two cents worth is this. I dont care if a state says you need it or if they say you dont. If I am hauling 4000lbs. behind me, it NEEDS it's own brakes!!
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Old 04-18-2005, 01:18 PM   #9
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ISLAPP - thanks for the hint on camera position. The unit we test drove gave a great view of the road behind us. But thanks we'll check this on our unit.

Audrey
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Old 04-18-2005, 08:03 PM   #10
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I drive a 36' DP and pull a F150 Super Crew. The M/H has a 250hp Cummins and it is hard to tell the truck is there (except when initially starting off). I have gotten into situations where the truck just had to run over the curb, as some intersections are tighter than others and some auto drivers are less forgiving than others. Utilize the rear camera and get used to pulling the jeep in an area you are familiar with before heading into untested territory. Good luck and don't wait too long to get the supplemental braking.
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Old 04-23-2005, 06:27 PM   #11
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After we bought our MH in January '04, we took it to a mall parking lot early on Sunday mornings for several weeks in a row. My DW practiced stopping and turning and I practiced backing up. After we we comfortable with the coach itself, we drove the toad to the mall lot and hooked it up there for the first time. Then, DW could practice turning and stopping with the toad while I stayed outside, communicating with her via FRS radio. I watched to make sure that the safety chains and the light cable were moving correctly through the turns and not binding up.

We both felt a lot more confident after the practice sessions. A couple of hours at a time and regularly over several weeks will help you learn how hard to turn the steering wheel to make a corner as well as what to expect of the toad when you make those manuevers. We leave our backup camera on all the time when towing periodically glance at it to make sure that everything is OK. I also check all the connections and the tow bar every time we stop. Many would say that is overkill but you just never know when something might have gone wacky on you.
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Old 04-23-2005, 10:23 PM   #12
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We need to pull our towed right away. Our dealer is 2 hours away and we are planning on spending a couple of nights camping in the dealer area for a "shakedown" before returning home. Can't imagine trying to manage without a toad. Also we need to pull the toad back home with us.

We don't really want to have one person driving the motorhome alone and the other following with the toad. I need my copilot while I drive the motorhome.

We can practice for a few hours around the dealer's parking lot and camping area, but that's about it.

Audrey
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Old 04-27-2005, 05:56 AM   #13
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The perspective (everything seemed very far away) really bothered me for awhile until I found a plastic sheet to place on the monitor that had feet up one side & meters on the other. Now I can look at the foot scale & tell how far the object is behind the Motorhome. I checked the scale by using a tape measure to an object from the back of the motorhome. Very accurate.
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Old 05-07-2005, 07:10 PM   #14
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Just checking back in to thank you folks for all the good advice and let you know how it turned out.

We really tried to have the supplemental braking system in place before MH pickup, but it was not to be. We'd been working on the tow bar plus braking system for a whole week, it turned out to be much more work to install ourselves than anticipated (surprise, surprise!), and just as we were about to complete it, a vacuum check valve went flying out of my husband's hand never to be found again. Many hours of searching - no luck. No local parts stores - nada. We just had to do without the braking system.

Also when we finally got the toad hooked up to the motorhome, we noticed an excessive drop between the two vehicles (> 4 inches). We needed a drop bar, but again not to be found the day we needed it.

So, we towed it home with a definitely less than optimal system.

Did a little practice driving without the toad, then the next day hooked up the toad for some more practice and noticed there was a slight difference - the toad tended to swing a foot or two wider than the motorhome on turns.

However, even with just a little experience, I was able to drive the setup and not run over any curbs. I checked the toad wheels when turning and somehow I managed to stay within (or maybe on) the lines.

So we got back to Austin safely, and we were finally able to get our missing check valve and finish the installation of the SMI braking system. The drop bar should be here next week and we should be at our optimal towing setup for maximum safety.

Also, one time, distracted by the "parking help" from the RV park and feeling rushed, my husband started to disconnect the toad without putting the parking brake on! Suddenly realizing this I came running out of the motorhome to stop him. I've had a couple of nightmares about this since - woke up in the wee hours the other morning saying "honey, what's the first thing you do before disconnecting the toad?" Poor guy - but that really scared me!

Audrey
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