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Old 01-18-2012, 04:56 PM   #1
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Never towed anything before. Questions

We are considering a small vehicle to take with us. I have never towed anything before behind a RV; not an auto, Red Wagon or shopping cart.

I sometimes get caught in an awkward position at a gas station where I have to back up, either to get closer to the hose or to make a tight turn to get out of the gas station. Not to mention going down a street and finding it is a small cul-de-sac.

It sounds from reading posts that two down/four down backing up is a real concern. Not so much with a trailer that holds the entire vehicle.

Is there hope for me? Thanks
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Old 01-18-2012, 05:22 PM   #2
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Trust me, you will get into some spots where even backing up with a trailer will not help you.

With a tow dolly, you have to unload the car, and then either try to back up with just the dolly or take the dolly off too and move it by hand. Unfortuneately, I speak from experience...

With 4-down, you more easily unhook the car, drive it out of the way, and then turn the MH around and quickly attach the car now in the right directlon. Just 'practiced' this maneuver in November in NY state off the Northway.
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Old 01-18-2012, 05:46 PM   #3
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When you are towing 4 down you will not be able to back up. You will start to use more truck stop locations for gas. In the past three years I think I have only had to unhook the truck 2 times to get out of on area.
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Old 01-18-2012, 06:00 PM   #4
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We always fuel at Flying J and use the RV lanes. So far have never had a problem getting out. With some practice you'll get the feel of where the fuel fill is. I know exactly where ours is and when entering the fuel lane I generally open the driver window and gage that position on the coach to the pump I'm going to use. Works every time for me. Shouldn't be much different if you want to use car lanes in a regular gas station but you have to remember that those areas are much tighter for turning out of.
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Old 01-18-2012, 06:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scooter View Post
We are considering a small vehicle to take with us. I have never towed anything before behind a RV; not an auto, Red Wagon or shopping cart.

I sometimes get caught in an awkward position at a gas station where I have to back up, either to get closer to the hose or to make a tight turn to get out of the gas station. Not to mention going down a street and finding it is a small cul-de-sac.

It sounds from reading posts that two down/four down backing up is a real concern. Not so much with a trailer that holds the entire vehicle.

Is there hope for me? Thanks
I too have been considering a TOAD. Backing up is not an option, but renting a car when you get to your destination might be an easier alternative. That is if you are not boondocking in Siberia.
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Old 01-18-2012, 06:44 PM   #6
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I have NEVER had a problem at fuel pumps with my toad attached....BECAUSE I choose wisely. Do not pull into tight places...period...if you are thinking it might be tight as you approach it probably is to tight. Drive off to the next service station. I also DO NOT run the MH down to empty and then start looking for fuel. I get fuel at 1/2 tank level...most of the time. LoL.
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Old 01-18-2012, 07:04 PM   #7
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Scooter, towing a vehicle is not a big deal with the proper equipment. Takes about 10 min. to hook up and be gone. True you have to pay attention where you stop for fuel, and unhook before you go to your camp site. And you can back straight up if you have your wife hold the wheel in the vehicle. Once you get use to it it's no big deal. I couldn't imagine renting a car every time we get somewhere for a week but thats just me. One more thing before you jump in depending on what vehicle you choose, and how handy you are it can cost you $2k+ for the tow set up and installation.
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Old 01-18-2012, 07:06 PM   #8
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I have been pulling 4 down since 1993. I have only had to disconnect three times since 93. just plan ahead. I always walk around the fuel station and look before pulling away if there is a doubt. Remember you can't back up over about three feet. Never make a u turn on a street unless you are positive you have enough room. I always go around the block if there is any doubt.
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Old 01-18-2012, 07:12 PM   #9
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It takes lots of practice to get into a gas station and not have to back up when you have a toad. Trust me, I know. I have had to unhook a few times. With practice, you will be fine. If I pull into one of these new stations where the pumps are not the right way, I may have to go around the back and come back to the outside pump.

Now, on the towing question. I have been towing four down for many years and have never regretted it. Most of the time, when I stop overnight, I ask for a pull through, then I don't have to disconnect the toad. If you don't tow and plan to rent a car, you will spend lots of time finding a rental agency and time returning it, not to mention the cost.
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Old 01-18-2012, 07:53 PM   #10
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I too have been considering a TOAD. Backing up is not an option, but renting a car when you get to your destination might be an easier alternative. That is if you are not boondocking in Siberia.
Renting is not always as convenient or cheap as you might think. When we first started RVing (1998) we thought it would be easier and more cost effective to rent rather than tow our car along. After 1 year of renting we changed our minds. There were times when we had to drive an extra 80 miles each way because that was the car rental agency closest to our destination. We also quickly found out the $99.00 weekly rates advertized only exist in a small number of high volume areas.

The next few years we towed our Buick LeSabre behind us on a dolly. The combination worked fine but we still rented a Jeep everytime we wanted to go off roading. Finally in 2004 we bought a Jeep Wrangler to tow 4 down. Somehow it seemed counter productive to tow a Buick half way across the country just to leave it parked in the campground while we rented a Jeep. We've towed the Jeep 4 down over 65,000 miles with no problems.

Both the car on the dolly and the Jeep 4 down work fine. If we hadn't been into off roading we probably would still be towing a car on the dolly. The original Buick is long gone but we still have the dolly. Should we ever decide we don't want to go off roading we'll probably take the new Buick along on the dolly.

If your car isn't towable 4 down and you don't want to spend the money for one that is a dolly is a fine alternative. If you're like us and happen to enjoy the off road experience a Jeep is an excellent choice. It can be towed 4 down eliminating the need for one more expensive piece of equipment.
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Old 01-18-2012, 09:43 PM   #11
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Backing up is only part of the equation. Remember that the toad is not as wide as the tow vehicle so don't forget it is there when you are pulling in for fuel or at a cg. If you are passing on the interstate allow for the extra length. I don't like towing anything I can't see in the mirrors.
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Old 01-18-2012, 10:04 PM   #12
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It's not the tow so much as the whoa!! Need a brake on the tow.

I always look for my way out before I pull in. My rig has a rear camera and I can see the pump when I get to the correct spot---if you have one then the problem should be solved.

Stuff happens and a few times I have had to get out and unhook-----I don't think having a trailer would have prevented either situation.

4 down is basically an easy deal.
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Old 01-18-2012, 10:12 PM   #13
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I am with the majority. 4 down easier to hook and detach. Plan ahead an don't backup. Also consider a rear camera... helps reassure the DW that it is still there.
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Old 01-18-2012, 11:00 PM   #14
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Had to unhook the toad once.

You'll get pretty good at eyeballing gas stations along with streets and roads that look like they would be a problem while pulling a toad.
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