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Old 09-02-2013, 02:20 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Bridgeport CT
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Know nothing bout towing a car

Please advise , have a 2000 Damon Intruder, Ford chassis- set up to tow a vehicle, I never have towed before. What the least costliest way to tow a vehicle , tow dolly , tow bar ,etc. etc
Was quoted 3000.00 dollars for tow bar setup for my manual
trans volks jetta,seemed outrageous , that didn't include a brake buddy.
I'm in the New Haven CT area. Not alot of RV establishments arounds.
Thanks ,Al

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Old 09-02-2013, 02:47 PM   #2
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Hi and welcome to the forum.

I've moved your thread from the trailer/tow vehicle forum, here to the motor home/toad forum.

That does sound a bit on the high side, but towing four down isn't cheap. It's not too hard to set up yourself if you're handy and I think you should be able to do the entire thing, including Brake Buddy, for near $1K less than that.

I'm sure some of our experts will be along soon with ideas for you.

Best of luck.


Rick, Nancy, Peanut & Lola our Westie Dogs & Bailey the Sheltie.

2007 Itasca Ellipse 40FD
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Old 09-02-2013, 02:52 PM   #3
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The best, easiest, and I think safest way to tow is 4 down. Setting up your Jetta should be around that price with a brake system. I suggest you look and get quotes from different shops. The most expensive things (because of labor costs) are the base plate and lights but they are the least expensive in terms of acquisition costs. The most expensive remaining items are the tow bars and brake system but there really isn't much installation required.

Ask the shop(s) for a quote on the baseplate and lights and do the rest yourself.
Roger & Mary
2017 Winnebago Navion 24V
2014 Tiffin Phaeton 36GH (Sold)
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Old 09-02-2013, 03:03 PM   #4
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Try http://www.hitchtrader.commaybe a used setup for sale.
OKrver 2002 HR Ambassador
2003 Dodge Dakota 4X4
2012 Polaris ESP 850 Tour
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Old 09-02-2013, 03:30 PM   #5
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I'm no expert, but I have been researching towing an Equinox 4 down. Since it is leased with only 2 years left, the 4 down option is way to expensive for me. A friend just bought a used tow dolly for $400. I just found a real nice one (originally a U-Haul) for $500 in super shape. I will use that until we pick a more permanent vehicle. It will always be worth $500 when/if I ever sell it.

I know 4 down is more convienient and I know the minor hassles of a dolly. But we just do Fl 5 months over the winter in one GC, so I just may use this one forever
John & Clare Lyon
2007 43.5' Monaco Dynasty Palace III (All Electric)
Towd: 2011 Chevy Equinox
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Old 09-02-2013, 06:01 PM   #6
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$2500 to $3000 would be about right, but including a brake system. Without brakes, that sounds way high.

Just as comparison, I spent $1500 to have the Air Force one brake system installed in our Jeep. There are less expensive systems, like the Brake Buddy. A tow bar for your Jetta will cost maybe $550 to $750, depending on the weight class you decide on (Buy a heavier one and you'll not have to replace it if/when you decide to change toads, plus I like the extra margin for safety). We chose a 10k lb unit that was on the high end of that. Then you have the cost of the base plate (the part that bolts to your car, behind the front bumper/grille), lets guess around $450, plus three or four hours of labor to install it, if you don't want to or can't do that yourself. You still have to do something about tail & brake lights. Figure $50 to $100 for that harness, depending on application, plus 30 minutes to an hour to install.

You can see how you can quickly get to $3000, especially if you pay someone else to do the install for you.

If you're confident you'll be keeping this car for the long term, this is how I'd personally proceed. If you're not sure what you might do in the short term, one of those used tow dollies might be worth considering until you settle on something more long term. I like not having to deal with the dolly at my destination, or at home.
Jay & Peggy Monroe with Dolly
Can't take it with you - don't plan on leaving any behind
2016 Newmar London Aire 4553, Spartan chassis
2017 GMC Acadia toad
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Old 09-02-2013, 10:29 PM   #7
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We were wanting to tow our VW Passat 4 down, but soon discovered we would be spending much more that we had planned with tow bar, fixtures and brake. We decided to purchase a tow dolly with a surge brake for $900. Been happy with it so far.
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Old 09-02-2013, 10:40 PM   #8
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Cheapest way is with a dolly.
2004 Monaco La Palma 36DBD, W22, 8.1, 7.1 MPG
2000 LEXUS RX300 FWD 22MPG 4020 LBS

Don't know where I'm going, spose I'll get there anyway.
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Old 09-03-2013, 02:53 PM   #9
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Tow bar used 300$ Base plates new 400$ Readybrake new 300$ About 4 hours labor 400$ About 1500$ or install your self 1100$.Everything can be found on e-bay.
charlie 62 - 2007 Four Winds Windsport - 2010 Ford Flex
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Old 09-03-2013, 05:38 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by 00DAME View Post
Please advise , have a 2000 Damon Intruder, Ford chassis- set up to tow a vehicle, I never have towed before. What the least costliest way to tow a vehicle , tow dolly , tow bar ,etc. etc
Well the base plate (Car portion of the tow bar) cost me 560 dollars installed, The motor home part you put on yourself, I have long forgotten the price.

READY BRUTE tow bars come with the Ready Brake (I do not know if it is optional) which is a surge brake system that looks very very interesting as Artie used to say.

I plan on using a competitor's system on my "new" car .. It's just a matter of putting the money together BEFORE I hit the mountains.

Ways to tow, there are basically 3

4-Down, is the best in my opinion provided it is possible.. it may or may not be least costly again depending on the towed.

Dolly is usable for some vehicles that can not be 4-downed and will be less expensive on some that can with modification.. Mine for example (I will tow 4-0down)

Full Trailer, either open or enclosed, not recommended with your motor home.. But this can be used on ALL cars, no matter, though there is a hidden switch you need to flip on some models.
Home is where I park it!
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Old 09-03-2013, 06:35 PM   #11
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I use a dolly...and have a suggestion. Why not rent a U-Haul dolly to see if you like it -or- hate it.
*If you like it, buy one of the many dolly's available based on your wallet and preferences - new can run from $1200-$5000 (used is a fraction of that).
*If you hate it, then you have not wasted much money and you can start building your set-up to flat tow.

Here's why I use a dolly...
~A dolly will carry any front wheel drive car/mini-van with no mods to the car.
~I can change cars to tow with no add'l costs.
~My car sits up high away from any rock strikes.
~My car has no wear and tear on the car's lower drive-line.
~There will be no issues at re-sale for those hidden miles on the driveline.
~My dolly has automatic and infinitely adjusting disc/surge barkes...no adjustment - no equipment to add to the RV - so EZE to use!

~Base plates of tow-bars sometimes need modifications to the car's front bumper to be installed.
~Getting brakes on a flat tow set-up is an additional cost with pieces/parts in the RV and the car.

Finally, I have friends that flat-tow and we hook-up in about a similar amount of time, but your experience may be different.

Best luck
Kim and Steve, Mustang LCDR (USCG Ret), Outlaw #1193
"I have seen gross intolerance shown in support of tolerance", S.Coleridge 1797
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Old 09-03-2013, 06:49 PM   #12
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Lessee here if I can remember what I spent. My used MH from eBay came with a towbar locked on. The dealer probably would have taken it off and sold it separately if he had the key for the hitchpin. Cost = $0

My son had an extra hitch which I modified to fit the front of my GMC Sonoma. I welded a couple of lugs on it to fit the towbar. I can also use it to put a hitchball on to launch a boat. Cost = $0

I bought a set of magnetic trailer lights at Harborfreight Tools on sale. Cost = $20

Another eBay purchase was a used Brake Buddy. Overspent on that one, because I never use it unless I'm headed over a mountain pass. I keep it set so it only comes on under hard braking. Cost = $200

If you are unable to do a bit of welding and fitting yourself, look around your neighborhood and find a handwritten sign on a post that says something like, "Welding and used tractor parts". Also, start looking on eBay for the towbar and brake buddy type unit. Be smart and only buy from people with perfect feedback.

Good luck!
'99 Trop-i-cal 6370 37' / Ford V-10
'92 GMC Sonoma 4.3L 4WD toad
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Old 09-03-2013, 08:29 PM   #13
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It really is a personal preference based on what is important to you.

If you opt to tow 4 down, you can buy a new tow bar from $500-$800. Exercise caution if buying one used, it can be difficult to detect damage due to improper use. In particular, the T-Bolts on the tow bar can seize up which can result in major damage. Installation of the tow bar is pretty basic and simple.

Base plates run around $350-400. Depending on the vehicle it takes around 4-5 hours to install. Bracket installation can require some custom drilling in the car's bumper which can make it difficult for do-it-your-selfers.

Brake Systems are all over the board and really depend on your coach and what you want out of a brake system. Roadmaster has the BrakeMaster ($1095,) Invisibrake ($899,) and Even Brake ($1249.) Do you have air or hydraulic brakes? Are you looking for a portable unit or do you just want to put it in and not have to worry about it? Personally, I like the BrakeMaster in part because it is a direct proportional braking unit. This means that if you step on the brakes hard, the breaking system will brake in sync and apply the same pressure. Other units are proportional breaking systems that aren't true direct proportional systems and just brake incrementally. Units that are not proportional - called progressive braking systems - brake at a set rate once you step on the breaks. This doesn't allow for as much control as a true, direct, proportional unit. You kinda just have to decide what is right for you. All provide emergency braking and comply with the US and Canada's braking requirements.

Install time varies from 1-2 hours for the Even Brake, 4-5 hours for the Invisbrake, and 4-8 hours (depending on the brakes for your coach) so you will want to factor that in as well, but they basically come within a couple hundred dollars of each other. Think of your braking system as an insurance policy - you might not think that you will ever need it, but you will be awfully glad you have it if you do
Tiffany Shine
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Old 09-03-2013, 08:54 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by 00DAME View Post
Please advise , have a 2000 Damon Intruder, Ford chassis- set up to tow a vehicle, I never have towed before. What the least costliest way to tow a vehicle , tow dolly , tow bar ,etc. etc
Was quoted 3000.00 dollars for tow bar setup for my manual
trans volks jetta,seemed outrageous , that didn't include a brake buddy.
I'm in the New Haven CT area. Not alot of RV establishments arounds.
Thanks ,Al
I just paid just under $3000 for Demco baseplate installed and tow wired plus Demco tow bar with accessories and a Blue Ox Patriot brake with breakaway wired.
Baseplate was around $300 and $300 to install and wire. Should have shopped more for the Patriot.

Kenny and Joan with Westie Sophie
2013 34' Tiffin Allegro RED
Freightliner, Cummins ISB6.7 340
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