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Old 07-07-2011, 10:35 PM   #1
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newbie to dinghy towing questions

Hello,
We have a 2000 Winnebago Adventurer 37G with the v-10. We need a toad. I have no experince with toading whatsoever, and am looking at what are some of the best cost effective options for us. We do not have a vehicle to tow yet.
Since we have a larger MH with a gasser, our fullsize trucks are to heavy to tow. So we need a smaller type car, yet needs to have enough room for a childs car seat and room for the 80lbs dog. But while looking for this car, I need to figure out if Im going to be towing 4 down or with a dolly.

So that leads me to the question. What is cheaper initially, and in the long run? Tow Dolly or a Tow Bar set-up? Im not looking for the cheapest of the cheap, but Im not looking to have the best of the best either. Just a nice, solid, dependable set-up.

Im not to worried about lack of space at a campground with the dolly. Im also not worried about how hard it is to hook anything up, or how heavy either might be. Im 36 years old and a little bit of work is fine with me.

So what do ya think? Thanks for any advice, Bret
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Old 07-07-2011, 10:53 PM   #2
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I am all for all four down but you will find members that disagree. I have a friend who put his car in a trailer and tows the trailer, he loves it. But for me the less you have to handle the better. JMHO
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Old 07-08-2011, 11:55 AM   #3
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If you are considering weight when choosing a vehicle, remember a dolly will add something over 500 pounds to the mix. I suspect a four down rig would add 100 or so.
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Old 07-08-2011, 12:35 PM   #4
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Whatever you decide, make sure it has brakes. If you go with a tow dolly, you can tow almost anything that has FWD.
Here is a link to the Dingy towing guide. This may help you if you decide to tow 4 down.
I opted for 4 down towing with a Readybrute elite tow bar. If you have some basic mechanical skills you can install it yourself. You will need to buy a model specific baseplate and tow bar adapters along with it. I did all my own installation and cost me about $1275, near the same price as a tow dolly, but IMO many more benefits. Easy to hook up, not much additional tongue weight, easy to store, also if you get in a tight spot and have to back up, just unhook the toad.
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Old 07-09-2011, 08:25 PM   #5
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We went with a Honda CR-V for it's ability to run 4 down easily, it's light weight (3300lbs), good gas mileage, sporty handling, and ability to cruise comfortably when running longer distances. The all wheel drive and good ground clearance means it will stay out of most trouble if wanting to do some 2 tracking, but I wouldn't expect much in deep mud or sand from it. Our 2 kids have 4 legs and they love it!
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Old 07-09-2011, 08:39 PM   #6
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We bought a Cheepo Beater for towing. The tow bar, base plate and brakes cost about $1700 but you can do better looking for used, even if you decide to go with a dolly. We used a dolly to tow our 2006 Escape Hybrid for about two years and sold it used to go four down with a 1997 Sidekick, I just got tired of stowing the dolly both here at home and while traveling. It worked fine but was a hassle

Now we tow about 2500 pounds which is about three times the weight of the dolly alone. And the car only cost $2700. We’re doing a bit of off-roading now that we have the Zuk. BTW it has a back seat and we take our two 60 pound Bulldogs along.

I wish I had gone this way two years ago. Education can be expensive

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Old 07-09-2011, 08:40 PM   #7
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Tow dollys add two more tires, 4 more bearings, and two more lights to the mix. You have to undo the car and undo the to tow dolly, to me it just adds a lot more potential for problems.
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Old 07-09-2011, 08:52 PM   #8
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I can highly recommend the Chevy HHR. Lightweight, towable four down without trans pump or other modifications except tow bar and lights. I tow mine without brakes because it is light. It drives well at highway speeds, has plenty of pep, good gas mileage and plenty of room for what you want. It has eight airbags and all the safety equipment.
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Old 07-09-2011, 08:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dajudge View Post
I can highly recommend the Chevy HHR. Lightweight, towable four down without trans pump or other modifications except tow bar and lights. I tow mine without brakes because it is light. It drives well at highway speeds, has plenty of pep, good gas mileage and plenty of room for what you want. It has eight airbags and all the safety equipment.
Yep I would agree the Chevy HHR, gets great fuel mileage and tows four down. I have the all terrain tow assembly and the SMI brake..very quick and easy to use..
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Old 07-09-2011, 11:49 PM   #10
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CR-V 4 down---or anything 4 down. I'm 68 years old and do not mind a little work either----but why----when you do not have too?

My CR-V has been towed for 7 years, I bought it new, it has never faultered. Runs silky smooth, lots of room, easy to hook up (a simple proceedure), comparitively light, there is a good used market, these cars are highly rated by consumers reports a best buy every year and do not dissappoint.
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Old 07-10-2011, 11:23 AM   #11
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Another happy CRV owner and know others that are just as satisfied. All tow 4 down.
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Old 07-10-2011, 12:53 PM   #12
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We have done both 4-down and a dolly. The 4-downs with a dinghy braking system is more expensive and is limited to the vehicles you can tow 4-down. Also when you trade vehicles, you will have to set the new one up for towing as well.

The dolly with a braking system is less expensive initially and you are open to more vehicles. If we were to go back to a motorhome, I would go with a dolly myself.

Ken
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Old 07-10-2011, 01:21 PM   #13
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Dick why did you use a dolly with the Ford Escape Hybird? Mine I can tow with all four down. The manual just says not to exceed 75 mph. Am I missing something?
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Old 07-11-2011, 08:30 AM   #14
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One

I really had two reasons not to tow the Escape.

First I didn't want to modify the car because for once in my life I bought a car that has held it's resale value. I owned two Oldsmodiles before this and really took a bit of a beating on them.

Secondly I had read too many threads about keeping the transmission fluid as low as possible or blow the CV Transmission. There is on going now http://www.irv2.com/forums/f85/2011-escape-86620.html. I'm not sure it all applies to a 2006 Hybrid but two years ago nobody seemed to know very much about the problem and in light of reason one I chose to Dolly.

I did buy a good dolly a Tow Master with Surge Brakes and other than storing it, the only problem I had was the width it added behind the coach. I sure seemed like it was as wide as the MH.

Perhaps there is a reason three I bought the ZUK for towing, but you'd be hard pressed to get me to say it's a reason out loud. The Coach is, except for maintenance, a done project. We have it where we want it now and the fun stuff is over. I've had a good time with the Sidekick adding power windows, power door locks, changing the radio, adding the base plate, reworking the lights and buying decals and such. So it's a fun little car that is easy to tow and we can take off road in Moab, UT besides providing interesting projects to keep me out of DW's hair and sleeping soundly at night instead of the day.

Thanks for Askin!

Pictures of our New (OLD) Suzuki Sidekick.
https://skydrive.live.com/?cid=ae67f...2766057%212908

Dick
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