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Old 02-11-2015, 09:56 AM   #1
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Help! Totally Confused About Towing

My husband and I are real newbies to the world of MH. We purchased our 2015 36LA last August and have made several successful weekend trips around Florida. However, we are now planning our summer vacation and are looking into towing a car. I have been reading up and am now totally confused as to what is needed. We were going to tow our 2013 CMAX Energi, but found out that there is an issue with draining the battery, the electric vacuum pump brakes and modifications needed to attached the plate. We are now looking for a second car. So my questions are:

1. If you were buying a toad, what would you recommend?

2. Could you please provide a short summary of what is needed and what you would recommend to tow? In other words, I saw a great deal posted about the Blue Ox towing system, charge lines with fuses and diodes, adding tail lights and braking systems. Don't understand it all.

3. My husband has basic electrical knowledge, but hates working with electricity. Could our dealer (Lazy Days-Tampa) install everything needed on both the MH and toad and do you have any idea as to what would be reasonable price to do so?

I know these questions may be basic to most of you, but we are really green and need all the help we can get. Many thanks.
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Old 02-11-2015, 10:03 AM   #2
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We bought a 2012 jeep liberty - has to be 4 wheel drive so you can switch transfer case to neutral. Just put in neutral and away you go. The tow bars are a little work to install but not terrible. Worst part is taking off the front cowling. I had a body shop remove for me so I did not break the clips . Easy to wire tail lights and tows easy. I bought a set up on amazon that plugs into the rear wiring and a wire runs to the front to plug into the Motor Home.
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Old 02-11-2015, 10:14 AM   #3
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IMHO, Jeep Wrangler is easiest tow vehicle. get a Currie front skid plate with tow connectors (fits Blue OX perfectly, without the ugly spreader bar), I used an air based brake system by Roadmaster (9160) which was the hardest part to install. For lights, I bought a Harbor Freight magnetic tow light system. When I'm towing the lights go on the rear fenders, and work off the MH light system. The Jeep brake lights also come on when the MH air brakes are activated, and the Roadmaster presses the brake pedal. I have NO electrical connection to the Jeep system this way. To tow, just hook up the air line, break-away, and tow lights, put the tow lights on the fenders, hook up the air piston to the brake pedal, connect the tow bar, pump the jeep brake pedal 3 or 4 times, and pump the air brakes 3 or 4 times (to fill the break-away system). With the Jeep you just leave it in gear and put the transfer case in neutral. Then drive off. I usually stop and check before I leave the campground to see if the tow bar locked and that all the connections are ok. I can see the lights in my mirrors. As with any tow, walk around and check at every stop to be safe.
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Old 02-11-2015, 10:37 AM   #4
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A good source of information is the Dinghy Towing Guide by MotorHome magazine.There is a new one published each year listing the current year vehicles that are suitable for towing four wheels down. It also has several articles on what is required (lights, tow bars, tow plates,aux brakes, etc) and why they are needed and some sources. It is a good reference for newbies. The best part is most of the downloads are free. Just Google “Dingy Towing” and look for the “MotorHome”link.

I’m sure your local dealer can do all this work, but I can’t speak to costs. I did it myself.
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Old 02-11-2015, 11:01 AM   #5
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[QUOTE=DRosado;2420823]My husband and I are real newbies to the world of MH. We purchased our 2015 36LA last August and have made several successful weekend trips around Florida. However, we are now planning our summer vacation and are looking into towing a car. I have been reading up and am now totally confused as to what is needed. We were going to tow our 2013 CMAX Energi, but found out that there is an issue with draining the battery, the electric vacuum pump brakes and modifications needed to attached the plate. We are now looking for a second car. So my questions are:

1.
Quote:
If you were buying a toad, what would you recommend?
We just bought a 2013 Honda CRV EX-L AWD. We wanted a 4WD vehicle for light-duty off-roading. The CRV is highly rated as a toad! You only have to do a simple gear shift procedure before towing.

2. C
Quote:
ould you please provide a short summary of what is needed and what you would recommend to tow?
We bought the Roadmaster 521567-1 baseplate (Amazon $365.42) and the Roadmaster 154 lighting kit (Amazon $76.62). We have been using the ReadyBrute Elite towbars with built-in ReadyBrake, and the ReadyStop breakaway kit. We use the UltraGuard solid rubber flap on the rear of the MH and the Protect-A-Tow shield between the MH and the toad.

3. My husband has basic electrical knowledge, but hates working with electricity.
Quote:
Could our dealer (Lazy Days-Tampa) install everything needed on both the MH and toad and do you have any idea as to what would be reasonable price to do so?
I'm sure LazyDays would be glad to do it, but you might find someone else less expensive. We found a local truck accessories shop that did our last Honda Accord and only charged $350 labor for the complete installation!
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Old 02-11-2015, 11:08 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DRosado View Post
2. Could you please provide a short summary of what is needed and what you would recommend to tow? In other words, I saw a great deal posted about the Blue Ox towing system, charge lines with fuses and diodes, adding tail lights and braking systems. Don't understand it all.
You need:

1. Tow bar - multiple vendors such as Blue Ox, Roadmaster, Sterling

I use and recommend Blue Ox.

2. Baseplate - usually same vendor as the tow bar. Custom for each vehicle. Usually professionally installed unless you're very comfortable with automobile work.

Also Blue Ox.

3. Lights - same vendors have light kits. Can use the toad's OEM lights (with diodes), bulbs added to OEM housings, or external lights (magnetic mounts, usually).

No real recommendation. My installer makes up his own bulb/diode kits. Unless you want external (mag mount) lights, go with whatever your installer recommends for your vehicle.

4. Aux Brake system - some argue about the necessity of these, but I don't think there's any question about it. Required by law in many places, and required by common sense in all places (IMO). Tow bar vendors sell systems, plus other manufacturers. Two main types - permanent install or portable. Which is better depends on if you're going to be switching between multiple toads and how often you'll be towing (and therefore installing/removing the system).

I use an SMI Air Force One, and I highly recommend it if you want a permanent install and your RV has air brakes. If you don't have air, or want a portable, I can't help.
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Old 02-11-2015, 11:30 AM   #7
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We bought a 2014 Honda CR-V FWD to use as a toad because it can be towed 4-flat, got great reviews from MH owners and ease of towing. We are also searching for the right towing system. 2014 was the last year the CR-V can be towed 4-flat. We found The Dingy Guide a great resource online (free download). Also make sure to read the specific vehicle manual about towing; don't take anyone's word for it . . . Find it in the manual! Happy Traveling!
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Old 02-11-2015, 01:31 PM   #8
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Here is what I did and it solved all my problems about base plates tow bars etc. For the time being, I bought a 18' Big Tex car hauler and drive my wife's Mustang GT convertible on it and tie it down in four places. If we decide to haul our pickup we drive it up and haul it. The car hauler is easy to back, you can't really back a toad (don't get this started on the thread) and it saves on the expensive GT tires. Problem solved. They cost about $3000 and you can sell it easily enough if you finally decide to pull with four wheels down (flat tow) After reading the threads about backing a toad, I am glad I am using a car hauler.
There are some disadvantages such as you need longer camp areas and some campsites have a designated area for the trailers but we have not run into that problem yet. That problem is usually in state parks.
So Pull what you have now with the car hauler, search around and buy your next toad when you are good and ready to trade.
Good luck
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Old 02-11-2015, 02:01 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the great ideas. We have not towed anything before so we are novices. QUESTION: How do you protect the vehicle from rocks and damage?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 02-11-2015, 03:58 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by austx View Post
Thanks for all the great ideas. We have not towed anything before so we are novices. QUESTION: How do you protect the vehicle from rocks and damage?

Thanks in advance!
Leave it at home and in the garage and hope a tornado does not hit!
Of course that would mean not having it with you! Truth is, there are a number of ways to reduce damage from things that the RV may throw at the toad, but first you must decide how you are going to tow the vehicle. Using a tow bar or putting it on/in a trailer the conditions change.
I know that some in above posts recommended Blue ox, and they are great, as is Road Master. Unless you intend on installing everything yourself, any dealer that sells them should be able to provide you with your options.
I use Roadmaster products including the invisa brake. The place that sells hitches and towbars in my town was also able to wire everything properly. By the time I purchased the base plate, tow bar, brake system, light diodes, and installation my cost was a bit beyond $3000.
Buying a good trailer that can haul a variety of vehicles would start at somewhere near that same price and go up from there. You would still need lights and some type of brakes to stop it as well. It is true that backing a toad is nearly impossible, but loading and unloading, then finding a spot to store the trailer while unhooked can be a problem also. Also you still need to maintain the brakes,bearings, tires, and hitch components on them as well.
There are a number of ways to divert road debris from what you tow behind your RV, A good set of mud flaps is the first place to start. Both Roadmaster and blue OX sell rock guards. Others sell Bra's and screens that fit between the RV and the Toad. Some RV'ers will tell you that they have never had a problem, such as a chip in the window. I have not found that to be the case so I use Blue oX's rock guard adapted to my Roadmaster tow bar.

Good luck with your new adventure, just be prepared to spend a buck or two to get it where you want it to be!
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Old 02-11-2015, 04:12 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by austx View Post
We bought a 2014 Honda CR-V FWD to use as a toad because it can be towed 4-flat, got great reviews from MH owners and ease of towing. We are also searching for the right towing system. 2014 was the last year the CR-V can be towed 4-flat. We found The Dingy Guide a great resource online (free download). Also make sure to read the specific vehicle manual about towing; don't take anyone's word for it . . . Find it in the manual! Happy Traveling!
Our 2014 CR-V tows great. Can't tell it's there. Roadmaster Sterling All Terrain - Roadmaster base plate and Roadmaster Invisibrake.

Not sure what we'd get now that the CRV isn't towable 4 down. Probably a Cherokee.
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Old 02-11-2015, 05:08 PM   #12
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I think you will find that the recommended best tow vehicle will almost always happen to also be the vehicle the recommender is currently using as a toad. After all, why would they buy that vehicle to tow if they didn't really like it?


Looking at the Motorhome Magazine Dinghy Towing Guide is a very good idea, there are a lot of towable vehicles made by various manufacturers listed in that guide.


I'm sure Lazy Days can get you set up.


If you haven't joined any RV clubs yet, I'd recommend that you do. There will probably be members in the club that are towing that will be able to help you sort out what is needed and have their own ideas and recommendations.


Good luck and have fun with the process!
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Old 02-11-2015, 05:21 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by austx View Post
Thanks for all the great ideas. We have not towed anything before so we are novices. QUESTION: How do you protect the vehicle from rocks and damage?

Thanks in advance!

We use the UltraGuard solid rubber flap on the rear of the MH, along with a Protect-A-Tow mesh shield between the MH and the toad. I think this gives as near total protection as it's possible to have!
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Old 02-11-2015, 05:46 PM   #14
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We have an older 2001 Honda Civic with automatic tranny that is in excellent condition that we tow behind our 30ft Mirada.

We searched e-bay and craigs list and found a used Civic base plate for $100. We bought a Tow Ready tow bar from e-trailer. For electrical, we simply tapped into the Civics turn signal and parking lights.

The Civic tows great, takes about 3 minutes to hook it up or disconnect, throw the tow bar in the trunk of the car and we're on our way.
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