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Old 02-25-2011, 07:23 PM   #1
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Exclamation Dinghy Towing

Hi, I have a Forest River Windsport 35' gas on a heavy duty frame. What are your recomendations for a auto to tow? What about braking systen and Tow Bars.

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Old 02-25-2011, 09:58 PM   #2
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When towing a vehicle, you must continue to be aware of the fact that you have added weight, and that in the event of a very sudden stop, that weight in most instances might/will try to pass you, even with auxillary brakes. I.e...Tractor Trailers when the Trailers have good brakes. Many times they still jack-knife during emergency stops.
I have towed a full size pick-up behind a 22 foot Class A MH. I was aware of my limitations, and I didn't try to exceed the posted speed limits. With that particular setup, I drove around 55 mph. Even now, while towing an Enclave(4700+ lbs) with a 40 foot MH w/o auxillary brakes, I try to be aware of my surroundings, and not get in a situation of having to make an emergency stop at highway speeds(65 mph) Interstate, and 60+ on other roads, depending on the width, etc.
You on the other hand will have a little less braking capacity based on your particular MH than maybe I do, but I would not be afraid to pull a vehicle that weighs 3500 + lbs w/o auxillary brakes with your unit. A person has to use common sense when driving a MH or any vehicle that is top heavy.
As far as a Tow Bar, any Tow Bar will work as long as it's rated tow capacity is more than the weight of what ever Toad you elect to tow.
I own/have collected and use various tow bars that are rated from 3,500 to 6,000 lbs. I use which ever tow bar that will safely pull the particular Toad that I am using at the time.
In your case, if you don't have a vehicle that you can tow, you might look at the many listed vehicles in the FMCA January issue. Hopefully, you might be able to find a used Toad that already has the base plate on it. That would be desirable. Then, depending on the amount of money you want to spend, you might be able to find a used tow bar on Craigs List. I found one at a yard sale, and one on Craigs List, and earlier, I had purchased a straight tow bar from the local U-haul dealer. Hope I haven't bored you, but good luck with your search.

2002 Monaco Diplomat Triple Slide PST
2011 Buick Enclave(AWD);88 Ford Must. GT(Stick)
1970 Home built 11.5 ft Slide-in Cabover
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Old 02-25-2011, 10:22 PM   #3
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Hi Spino and
Here is a link to help you find a towable dinghy from Motorhome Magazine.
It's pretty much personal preference on what vehicle, tow bar, and brake system you would like to have.
I really like my ReadyBrake elite tow bar with integrated surge brake.
It was very easy to install and one of the least intrusive on the market.
Try using the search feature on the irv2 tool bar (upper right area of any page) and enter in your search terms and you will find many answers to your questions.
Good Luck,
'98 Gulf Stream Sunsport 325, 7.5L Banks Power Pack, Koni FSD's, Air Bags, ReadyBrute Elite,
2000 Honda Accord

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Old 02-25-2011, 10:35 PM   #4
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We tow a Jeep Liberty Ltd 4x4, Brake Buddy braking system & Roadmaster Falcon tow bars. Very happy with this set up.

My opinion on 1 thing differs from the previous poster. I would not tow any vehicle without an auxillary braking system. Almost all states require brakes on towed vehicles. It's not only for your, your family's safety & the safety of those travelling the roads with you, but should you get into an accident because you couldn't stop & the lawyers involved found you did not have a supplimental system, they'd have a field day w/you. Roadmaster has an easily understandable map.

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Old 02-26-2011, 03:28 AM   #5
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I own a 2003 Alpine MH and am considering buying a new 2011 Jeep Sahara Unlimited as a tow vehicle. What tow bar and or tow bar braking system would be easiest, safest and have best appearance? I am much more concerned with ease of use, safety and reliability than I am cost. Thank you for any replies.

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Old 02-26-2011, 04:18 AM   #6
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Know your weights, your rig, what you are carrying and the weight of your toad. When I was shopping for my rig I had a saleasman trying to get me into a class B that was only a few hundred pounds from max. His comment was "Those are only guidelines!" My Honda Fit is only 2,500 # and I had about 4,200 # to play with. I don't like being at the max. I also went with the Ready Brake system, seems the least intrusive, and cost was very good. What ever you decide, get a braking system of some type. The day you need it will be the day you're happy you got it!

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Old 02-26-2011, 05:39 AM   #7
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At request of DriVer, this is an elaboration of a portion of the seminar I presented at the 2007 iRV2 National Rally in Branson, MO. This is technical information and I've tried to present as simply as I can, but what makes sense to me may not make sense to you. So, feel free to ask for any clarification.

I will start out with one of the illustrations used to introduce the topic. A man and his wife were traveling though Texas in a Diesel pusher pulling a Jeep Grand Cherokee. He was traveling at the speed limit and was maintaining a safe distance when traffic suddenly shut down. He immediately jumped on the brakes at full bore. As he began to rapidly decelerate, he could feel the Jeep begin to push harder and harder on the back of the coach. At the last second before impact, he swerved to the left to avoid a collision with the tractor trail stopped in front of him; but only half of the motorhome cleared the trailer. The trailer cut through the passenger side of the coach like butter, taking his wife's life on impact. Since there had been numerous accidents of this type in a relatively short period of time, Michigan State University's accident reconstruction team was dispatched to see the cause of the accident, as well as to see if there were any measures that could have been taken to prevent this tragedy. The head of the project (who was in contact with SMI) concluded that if the towed vehicle had been using a supplemental braking system, the coach would have stopped at least one foot before impact rather than four feet after impact.

I am sure that the first question that comes to mind is "Why couldn't a forty-footer with air brakes and an exhaust brake handle the weight of a 4000 lb. towed? It is still well under my GCWR." I believe the definitions of the weight ratings will help clear up some of the confusion.

Dry Weight- The basic weight of the coach. No fuel, water, passengers, cargo, etc. just the "nuts and bolts"

Curb Weight- The "ready-to-roll" weight of the coach. Includes all fluids and a full tank of fuel. Does not take into account passengers or cargo.

Gross-Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)- The maximum amount of weight the coach's chassis can handle (air bags/springs, shocks, brakes, etc.). This weight includes fuel, water, passengers, cargo, trailer tongue weight, food, and everything else. Most of the time your engine can comfortably pull more than you GVWR.

Gross Trailer Weight Rating (GTWR)- The total loaded-down weight of a trailer. The GTWR includes the weight of the trailer as well as all cargo and fluids on board. The static tongue load must be 10-15% of the total GTWR. This is the number used to determine which class of hitch and tow bar (Class III, Class IV, etc.) is necessary.

Gross-Combined Weight Rating (GCWR)- The combination of the GVWR and the GTWR.

*To find the maximum towable weight rating subtract the GVWR from the GCWR.

Here are some common misconceptions:

1) While it is true GCWR minus the GVWR is the maximum amount of weight a vehicle can pull, it is not the amount of weight the vehicle's chassis can stop. A SAE Class IV hitch has a weight rating of 10,000 lbs., but most chassis manufactures specify that any trailer over 1,000-1,500 lbs. (depending on the manufacturer) must be equipped with a braking system.

2) Supplemental brakes are necessary even if the total combined weight does not exceed the GVWR.

Common logic would say that 3500 lb. towed vehicle would put 3500 lbs. of force back of the coach. Remember, the 3,500 lbs. is measured vertically, not horizontally. At rest on flat ground, the 3,500 lb. vehicle is putting 0 lbs. of net force on the coach. So what is all the fuss about? A 3500 lbs. vehicle does not always put 3500 lb. of net force on the back of the coach. The amount of direct force is directly proportional to the rate of motion.

Newton's laws of motion explain this phenomenon. Here is how the laws are normally summed up:

1) The Law of Inertia An object in motion will stay in motion until it is acted upon by a net force.
Application- The towed vehicle will stay in motion until something stops it (e.g. friction, gravity, brakes, brick wall, etc.)

2) The Law of Acceleration The force of an object is equal to the mass times the acceleration
Application- The force of the towed vehicle on the back of the coach is the weight times the rate of deceleration.

3) The Law of Reciprocal Forces For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction
Application- The inertial mass generated by the towed vehicle will equally increase the braking effort of the coach.

Law number two is the key to understanding what happens to the coach in a panic stop. Newton stated it like this (translated from Latin): "The rate of change of momentum of a body is proportional to the resultant force acting on the body and is in the same direction." Think of it like this, would you rather get hit in the face by a baseball that I tossed at you, or a MLB fastball? According to the "I don't need a brake" mentality, they should feel the same. It is, after all, the same ball, isn't it? What changed? The rate of motion.

This law states that the force of an object is equal to its mass times its acceleration (F=ma). Another common misconception is the definition of acceleration. If a object is traveling at 60 mph at point A and 60 mph one second later at point B, its acceleration is not 60 mph, it is 0 mph per second. If an object is traveling at 60 mph at point A and 40 mph one second later at point C, its acceleration is 20 mph per second. Acceleration is defined as "the rate of change of velocity per unit of time." The faster you try to stop, the higher the value "a" (acceleration) is multiplied by the static mass "m," making the force "F" much higher. The ability to decelerate depends on the coach, the towed vehicle, and the weather conditions, but an average value would be 2.7 times the static weight of towed vehicle in a panic stop starting at 60 mph. This means the afore mentioned 3,500 lbs. towed in a panic stop towed has the same amount of force as a 9,470 lbs. towed in a medium stop.

Simply stated, it comes down to this: When you are trying to stop in a panic, you are not only trying to stop faster, but you are also trying to stop more weight.

Brent Schuck
Research and Development
Graphic Design
SMI Manufacturing, Inc.

No brakes, not smart at all.
Mike, Janet & Duchess (cavalier King Charles)
2008 35B windsport, Brazel's rear TracBar, Koni shocks & Safe T plus steering
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Old 02-26-2011, 06:35 AM   #8
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Re 2011 Dinghy Towing Guide, Jeep Liberty 4 WD, it says to disconnect the battery. Why? Will damage occur if battery is not disconnected?

I currently have a Brake Buddy, which requires 12V DC, and do not disconnect the battery on my 2000 Cherokee.

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Old 02-26-2011, 07:20 AM   #9
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My humble opinion - this depends on you:
Toad - the lighter the auto the better - The Eco boxes like the Honda fit or Chevy Aveo5 have lots of room and are easy on gas, but this method doesn't support off roading.
Methods - 4 down, tow dolly or tow trailer all work, but the toad you choose will drive your decision. Eco boxes are front wheel drive and 4 down isn't usually an option for most. No matter what - Brakes/stopping are more important than tow capacity.
If you choose to go with a tow dolly, I am very pleased with the one advertised on this site @ towbartowdolly.com. (I'm a customer - not affiliated with the company.) Don’t go with the cheapest you can find. Look at safety first.
Also, I found most used tow dollies were usually over used - worn out - and being ‘dumped’ to buy a new dolly. Skip right to buying new if you can.
Tom and Amy from Northern Virginia.
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Old 02-26-2011, 07:42 AM   #10
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Dingy towing

Also rember most state laws requires brakes an tow vehicles over 3000 lbs. Some states are down to 1500 lbs. Canada also requires tow brakes.
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Old 02-27-2011, 10:10 AM   #11
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I would like to thank all of you for your responce to my last request. I would like to ask if anyone has towed a Saturn VUE? How did it work out?
Thanks Ron
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Old 02-27-2011, 10:00 PM   #12
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I have towed a car behind our motor home for 11+ years, always with a tow brake. I have only really needed it a few times. But, it only needs to save your bacon one time to be worth every penny paid for the two systems I have had. The problem with going without, to me, is not my ability. I drive carefully, etc, etc. The problem is usually totally off the wall actions by the idiots around you. Personally, I want all the advantages I can get. I don't need the cost, inconvenience, injury, and possible death because I was too cheap to do it right.
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Old 03-01-2011, 10:59 AM   #13
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Is there any tow vehicle that is the best? Please provide the make and model.
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Old 03-01-2011, 11:18 AM   #14
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There is no "best". What's best for you may not be best for me.

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