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Old 09-01-2013, 12:13 PM   #1
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new RVr Toad ???

new to RVing and soon found that a tow vehicle is needed. First trip New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, South Dakota, that my 2013 Chevy 31ft. C-class does not fit in many places, like museum parking lots & etc. So wife and I were restricted to camp grounds, Renting vehicle is a pain and not always possible. Also riding bikes in some places is not possible.
Read that the2004 Honda Element is under 5000lbs and can store 2 bikes $$$ inside vehicle for security and weather. Found only 3 within 125 miles in the internet, must be made of gold, too much$$$. Next looked at the Chevy Colorado pickup reg. cab 4cly. std. trans. right at 5000lbs. by the time I install camper top and towing equipment well over 5000lbs. Next a 2003 Ford Ranger ext cab. 4cly. std trans. can tow unlimit miles but not over 55mph. I travel at 60 or 65mph. WOW!! What now?
HELP!!! what can I Tow?
Thanks, riche
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Old 09-01-2013, 12:36 PM   #2
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Dodge Grand Caravan with stow and go. Requires a trans lube pump, but there are a few of them running around so the purchase price should be within reason. Ton of interior space for storage. Just saying.
Even with cargo , should be under , 5,000lbs.
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Old 09-01-2013, 12:46 PM   #3
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Riche,

I suggest starting with Motor Home Magizine's dinghy guide. The word "dinghy" came from sailing and is normally the small boat tied behind a larger sailing vessel. Anyway, the dinghy guide will suggest options what is necessary for them. Another term is "toad" which is a play on the word "towed".

Here is an approach that I might suggest.

1. Carefully examine what your MH is capable of towing. Many have limitations on how much weight the hitch can pull. There is normally a frame extension on the back of the MH chassis and I think it is a big factor on hitch capacity. My guess is that will narrow your dinghy list down a lot when you look for ones below your maximum curb weight. I doubt that Hummers will be on that list.

2. Look at the requirements for towing. Some vehicles limit speed, how long that they can be towed or require specific procedures with the dinghy/toad. I know that some Hondas require you to go through a specific shift pattern with their automatic transmission. Personally, I didn't want that extra risk so I selected a manual transmission car. My requirements are to let the car warm up for 3 minutes, put it into neutral, pull a fuse and leave the key in the "ACC" position to allow the wheel to turn. From experience, about 50% of the time that you are trying to hook up, there is a distraction. All it takes is one misstep while going through your hookup checklist and you have created an expensive problem for yourself. For me, simple is better.

3. Now, you need hardware to hook your new dinghy to the MH. Before you confirm the purchase of the dinghy, I suggest shopping for that hardware. There are several different companies that make it. What you want to be sure of is the "base plate" - the part that remains on the dinghy at all times and is typically bolted to its frame. Some base plate installations are worse than others. A friend had a Ford Explorer and the base plate install required the removal of a lot of the front end of the vehicle. It took an experienced installer a full day to do. Can you imagine the cost? The base plate and tow bar by themselves will not be cheap. When you add in the costs of installation, which has to include lights, dropping $3,000 is not out of the question. On the other hand, my base plate was $400 and I did the installation and wiring myself on our latest toad. There are different tow bars and associated costs. Shopping for all this before buying is smart, at least to me.

4. I like having toad brakes. Some will say that it is legal requirement in some States. For me it is a safety requirement and that is more important than any government. My brake package works with my MH's air brake system and has been flawless in the nearly 10 years that I've had it. I personally shy away from brake systems that make their own decisions about when to brake. I like being in control of that.. The brake system almost always also gives you a breakaway brake. That is another good thing to have and may also be a legal requirement. I want every once of braking power that I can get.

5. We picked a crossover Saturn Vue. It has towed very well for us since we got it in 2008 but, of course, those are no longer made. I installed a trailer hitch on our Saturn and then bought a bike rack that mounts on it. I could easily have gotten one for 4 bikes. Good bike racks start around $130 but to me are worth it. I use that bike rack a lot even when we are not traveling in the RV. I personally like the models that hold the bike wheels, not the ones that suspend the bike from its center frame. For me a cable lock is sufficient security but I understand that you would prefer inside storage. That may be an area that you want to think about a compromise.

Everyone goes about picking out a vehicle a different way. I just thought I'd share my steps and the reasons for them.
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Old 09-01-2013, 12:55 PM   #4
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A light weight option is a older Chevy tracker 4X4. They can be purchased very cheaply and meet all your weight needs.
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Old 09-01-2013, 01:39 PM   #5
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Old 09-01-2013, 01:46 PM   #6
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Have you looked at Honda CRV? About 3500 lbs, fits two bikes in the back easily, a very popular toad. You are limited to 65MPH when towing and have to stop and run it through its gears about every 300 miles or so.
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Old 09-02-2013, 08:45 AM   #7
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Given all the places you plan to visit, I'd second the Jeep recommendation. Easy to set up for towing and capable of visiting scenic back road areas you'd not be comfortable taking any Honda to. If you're worried about security, buy one with a hard top.
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Old 09-02-2013, 11:12 AM   #8
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A used HHR at 3,200 lb. Pull one 2 AMP fuse or put a switch on it. Put it in "N" and go for days at a time. Good MPG and many available at low price.
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Old 09-02-2013, 06:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triker56 View Post
A used HHR at 3,200 lb. Pull one 2 AMP fuse or put a switch on it. Put it in "N" and go for days at a time. Good MPG and many available at low price.
Ill look at one here at a dealership. Is this what you tow?
Thanks, riche
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Old 09-02-2013, 07:08 PM   #10
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I think a jeep is a great toad, they tow easily just throw it in park, put the transfer case in neutral and you're good to go.
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Old 09-03-2013, 08:17 PM   #11
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Honda Fit with a manual trans. Very lightweight, great mileage, and a very versatile / spacious interior for the size of vehicle...
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Old 09-03-2013, 09:32 PM   #12
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ID:	45385Jeep is the only way to go . . . . We usually head to the forest or the hills and what better way to explore with the top down. Pull ours with a Class C, don't really know it is back there.
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Old 09-04-2013, 12:26 AM   #13
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We enjoy our 2003 Chevy Tracker. Picked it up for a song and enjoy the places it takes us with no guilt of damaging our nicer rig at home.
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Old 09-04-2013, 03:08 AM   #14
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Jeep is the only way to go . . . . We usually head to the forest or the hills and what better way to explore with the top down. Pull ours with a Class C, don't really know it is back there.
I agree jeeps are best they give you more options for exploration.
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