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Old 02-01-2016, 03:39 PM   #1
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Question Dilemma – Rental RV/Tow Dolly or Trailer?

Here's a slightly off-beat challenge!

We’re renting a Winnebago Grand Tour for 9 daysand plan to tow our ’13 Mini Cooper (6 speed manual). My dilemma is if I should use a Tow Dolly (Lower cost, smaller to store at camp) or a car carrier (slightly more expensive, but no wheels on the ground, built in braking system).

I'm a little unclear if a Tow Dolly (rental) has any sort of braking system into the dolly, but we don't plan to add supplemental braking for such a short period when we aren't climbing any grades and are only driving roughly 500 miles. Dealer approved the dolly, but I'm a little concerned with damage to the car. The Mini has pretty extensive front flairs, but I don't have problems with speed bumps, so I think it would load onto the dolly okay.

Obviously the car carrier would keep it off the road, and the ones we've seen have a braking system that ties into the coach's. But then there's where to store it...which probably wouldn't be an issue. Do I understand correctly that you CAN back up easily with a car carrier, but NOT with a tow dolly?

Any insight would be greatly appreciated!!!
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Old 02-01-2016, 03:46 PM   #2
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You can't back up at all with a tow dolly. They are relatively easy to use and store however. You can unhook the car and slide the front of the dolly under the rear of the coach.

Look to see if you can find a dolly with a surge brake. Surge brakes are completely mechanical and are built into the trailer, no special hook-ups required.
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Old 02-01-2016, 03:48 PM   #3
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If there's room to store a car carrier at the spots you're going to be at I'd be inclined to go that way. Whatever a 9 day rental is in terms of price.
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Old 02-01-2016, 04:57 PM   #4
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A Grand Tour is not your everyday rental unit.........

In any case, if you are only driving 500 miles, and only for 9 days, why not just have one person drive the car following you, or leave your car at home and rent one at your destination.
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Old 02-01-2016, 05:15 PM   #5
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you most certainly can back up a car on a tow dolly, if the steering wheel in the car is locked and the tow dolly had fixed wheels that do not pivot
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Old 02-01-2016, 05:19 PM   #6
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One issue with a car carrier, i.e., trailer, is going to be the much higher tongue weight. A dolly, or towing 4 flat, has almost no tongue weight where as a trailer will need 10% of it's weight on the tongue to be stable plus this may also require a weight distribution hitch. This will take away from the available GVWR of the motorhome. In addition you may overload the motorhome tongue weigh specification when towing a trailer where that won't be a problem with a dolly or towing 4 flat.

So unless one wants to pull a full car carrier for some reason I'd stay with a dolly or tow 4 flat.
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Old 02-01-2016, 05:19 PM   #7
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you most certainly can back up a car on a tow dolly, if the steering wheel in the car is locked and the tow dolly had fixed wheels that do not pivot
I've yet to see a dolly where the car can't pivot on the dolly. This causes the car to jackknife very quickly. Locking the steering wheel doesn't make a difference there.
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Old 02-01-2016, 05:21 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Betr2Trvl View Post
A Grand Tour is not your everyday rental unit.........

In any case, if you are only driving 500 miles, and only for 9 days, why not just have one person drive the car following you, or leave your car at home and rent one at your destination.
This.^ It's good to remember that Enterprise "will pick you up".
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Old 02-01-2016, 06:20 PM   #9
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Years ago when I used a dolly I could back it up. There was a locking pin I installed on the dolly which locked the wheels so they wouldn't turn. It wasn't something I would do for a very long distance but a short distance it was ok. W/o a doubt backing up a trailer is easier!

As stated a dolly you can move yourself once it's unloaded and disconnected. Easy to just walk the dolly to whoever you need and can usually easily fit on a campsite.

A trailer you will need to back up with the RV. Some camping areas will allow you to put trailer on site while others ,Igbo require a second camping spot or store the trailer elsewhere.

With the small size and weight of the mini to much tongue weight isn't a issue.... And with as small as the back end is on the min scraping the exhaust on speed bumps or other dips in the road shouldnt be a issue with a dolly. However for me I still preferred using a trailier and keeping all four wheels off the road. Especially if wherever you are going to stay has pull through sites long enough where you don't have to disconnect.
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Old 02-02-2016, 08:51 AM   #10
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I see you own a Country Coach, do you intend to tow the mini with this?. Asking because some people (like Technomadia | Adventures in Nomadic Serendipity ) flat tow their Minis, and this would justify the cost of a base plate & tow bar for use with the Grand tour and Country coach.
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Old 02-07-2016, 06:38 AM   #11
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Thinking outside the box on this why not rent a car for a week when you get where you are going. My parents took a trip in there class C last summer and did exactly this. If they were in an area for a certain amount of time they rented a car. Some rental places will even deliver to the site. I actually plan to do this in November when I go to Florida. By the time I tow a vehicle and pay for extra fuel and such from NY I think it will be worth it.
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Old 02-08-2016, 10:14 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Betr2Trvl View Post
A Grand Tour is not your everyday rental unit.........

In any case, if you are only driving 500 miles, and only for 9 days, why not just have one person drive the car following you, or leave your car at home and rent one at your destination.
That would be the practical person, but my wife hasn't been in a RV since the 70's...and hated the "Winnebago Brave where-have-we-broken-down-now" experience. This trip is designed as a familiarization trip, just to test the waters on if we want to do this on a more regular basis. I absolutely want her inside the coach, enjoying the beautiful scenery through that iMax-like windshield.

And you are right, the Grand Tour isn't an everyday coach, but it's been almost impossible to find a high end coach to rent in S. CA (i.e. Country Coach Magna) This was a close to it as I could get...and I've been looking for a long time!
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Old 02-08-2016, 10:36 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by George Schweikle View Post
I see you own a Country Coach, do you intend to tow the mini with this?. Asking because some people (like Technomadia | Adventures in Nomadic Serendipity ) flat tow their Minis, and this would justify the cost of a base plate & tow bar for use with the Grand tour and Country coach.
We actually don't yet own a coach, though a 2008 Magna Rembrandt is what I keep looking for. I've regularly kept up with Technomadia's blogs and they just did a review on towing their mini ~ I think it's a perfect tow car, and ours is a convertible to boot, with all the extra's they said they wished they had.

It looks like a simple fix, but we didn't want to spend the money until we were sure we were that committed to RVing, but you are echoing my thinking!
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Old 02-08-2016, 10:40 AM   #14
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Thinking outside the box on this why not rent a car for a week when you get where you are going. My parents took a trip in there class C last summer and did exactly this. If they were in an area for a certain amount of time they rented a car. Some rental places will even deliver to the site. I actually plan to do this in November when I go to Florida. By the time I tow a vehicle and pay for extra fuel and such from NY I think it will be worth it.
Two challenges. First, where we're going doesn't have much, if any rental car services. Two, it only costs $45 for the entire trip for a tow dolly and $55 for the carrier...and we'd love the experience of using our car, and seeing first hand what it's like to pull it (The Grand Tour is only running 450 hp, significantly less than the 600 or 650 hp in the CC Magna).

But it is a great idea.
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