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Old 03-25-2014, 11:42 AM   #1
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Flat tow versus Dolly

Seems like each question I ask generates more. I'm absolutely new to the RV world and looking to pull a car. My initial thoughts were to flat tow but as I look into this it seems the cost of a tow bar, base plate, lights, brakes, etc really adds to the cost plus the list of vehicles that can be flat towed is limited. After the initial cost of the dolly it appears it also gives me more options for cars to buy. Thoughts, plus, minus for the two options. I don't have room to store a trailer but could push a dolly up against the rear of the RV to store it. Bottom line is I'll need to buy a car to tow, the method of towing just opens up additional possibilities.
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Old 03-25-2014, 11:52 AM   #2
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Lots of variables
1;. will this vehicle be used on a day to day basis or mostly when RVing?
2. how many people will the toad need to hold
3. how handy are you ie can you do the work of attaching the tow plate etc
4.. consider may not be able to store dolly behind MH in some CG

Our answer to the above were 1. just the two of us 2. only use the vehicle as a Toad 3. I,m not handy at all. We therefore bought a used 2 dr Jeep Wrangler with automatic can tow 4 down then spent $4000 to get it ready to be towed

Jim
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Old 03-25-2014, 12:04 PM   #3
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Either way you will need to spend money. Nothing wrong with either choice, just what fits you and your purpose.

The dolly takes a few minutes longer to load and unload and we need to push and pull it into place when camping. Even though I can fold mine, (great feature for camping!) at home I store mine partially underneath the rear of the MH. Just one extra step when getting ready to leave... No biggie for me.

My DW and I are not full timers and have many choices when it comes to towing vehicles. For my family right now, a car dolly made the most sense. I have towed four different cars depending on where I was going and who I was going with.

If I was camping/traveling more frequently I think I would choose to flat tow.

Good luck!

PS
I bought a used Kar Kaddy SS for under $2,000. Works for me!
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Old 03-25-2014, 12:04 PM   #4
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I went the dolly route to avoid modifying the Toad and the cost involved. Added a trailer hitch to the Toad in the event I had to move the dolly at a problem campground. I also added a homemade light bar to my hitch ball with wiring long enough to plug into the dolly light. Total investment less than $1300.
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Old 03-25-2014, 12:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brockx View Post
I went the dolly route to avoid modifying the Toad and the cost involved. Added a trailer hitch to the Toad in the event I had to move the dolly at a problem campground. I also added a homemade light bar to my hitch ball with wiring long enough to plug into the dolly light. Total investment less than $1300.
Looks like a very elegant solution! ...And it can be moved to another vehicle, too!
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Old 03-25-2014, 12:50 PM   #6
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Car will be main transportation and we prefer SUV so we sit higher and can haul small items. Retired and wife does not drive so really don't want two cars to maintain and insure. Ability to hold four is sufficient. Looking for combination of ease and expense. Are their cars that don't need base plates and other significant mods for flat tow? Really don't want to crawl under a car to hook up. Preference is to hook onto and go.
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Old 03-25-2014, 12:55 PM   #7
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I suggest you look for a vehicle that someone else set up as a Toad. Perhaps put a 'Wanted' ad on Craig's List or the like. The only vehicle that needs little prep for towing is a Jeep. Were you referencing 'crawling under car to hook up' to using a dolly? I don't crawl under to flat tow, just attach a few pins and safety cables in front of the car.
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Old 03-25-2014, 01:15 PM   #8
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I've done both, and now I tow flat down. I actually got a cheap Jeep Liberty off of ebay... Well below estimated book price. When the auction ended, I was high bidder, but not above the reserve. A little later I got an e-mail from ebay stating that the seller had lowered their reserve, and that my bid was reduced to 1$ below the reserve. I ended up getting it for $200 less than I originally bid...

One thing to watch out for, some 4wd vehicles can not be towed on a dolly.
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Old 03-25-2014, 01:24 PM   #9
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A dolly is mostly for front wheel drive vehicles. We both like RAV4s. If you get something like an Acme Eze Tow there is absolutely no vehicle modifiction required. And being it uses a centrifical brake system there is no cockpit controller required. Only need the light system for the dolly.
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Old 03-25-2014, 04:22 PM   #10
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I think the decision on a dolly or tow 4-down usually comes down to how deep your pocket is.
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Old 03-25-2014, 04:29 PM   #11
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Quote:
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I think the decision on a dolly or tow 4-down usually comes down to how deep your pocket is.
Not really. Some sight 'inconvenience' of loading/unloading/storing dolly, others suggest it allows flexibility in being able to dolly varied vehicles. 4 downers sight no dolly to store, faster hook/unhook, etc. If you are a bit handy and shop for used parts, 4 down can be pretty cheap...so can a used dolly. $$ has little to do with it, it's a personal choice.
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Old 03-25-2014, 05:10 PM   #12
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When we started out we had to go with a Dolly so we found a slightly used KarKaddyss because our car we wanted to use was front wheel drive so we really didn't have a option. I couldn't see towing a 4x4 so we sold the truck. Its really not that hard to hook one up, we just throw a old Blankee down.
Good luck with what ever you decide.
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Old 03-25-2014, 09:44 PM   #13
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Spent the day looking at cars and think I've decided on a Ford Edge FWD which according to the list in Motorhome Magazine is flat towable. Anyone know of any issues with it or suggestions, insights? Hate to let go of my Lexus Go but need to make a sacrifice somewhere if I want to tow and not trailer. One tow bar better than another, base plate, etc. Shopping for a toad seems harder than selecting the motorhome. Hey you have a RV virgin here so suggestions from the pros is welcome.
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Old 03-25-2014, 10:13 PM   #14
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I have no experience with Ford Edge. I went with the Blue Ox base plate due to it was easier to install than the Roadmaster on my Jeep.imho I use the ReadyBrute Elite tow bar and happy with it. Advantage of ReadyBrute it has a surge brake system built in. Or get separate brake system, and there are several available and can be expensive. You do want and need some type of braking for your toad.

Check online for the base plates and look at the install instructions which are also online. Reading the instructions you will be able to determine which will be easier to install on your Edge. I think it is individual preference which base plate brand you choose. You need to know what base plate you want so you can purchase towbar with fittings for your brand. As far as I know all towbars have fittings available for all base plates.

Forgot to mention Demco as another brand available.
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