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Old 03-07-2010, 06:55 PM   #1
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Thing's I Should Know.

Hi All,

This year I will be towing a vehicle when traveling instead of renting. I have everything pretty much finished on my towing setup and will be making our first trip to Florida in a few weeks towing.
What are some of the thing's I need to know before making that first tow and while I'm making that tow?

Thanks
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Old 03-07-2010, 07:25 PM   #2
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These are ones that came to mind when we first toad-d...

1. You are at least 20 ft longer than without a toad. Take this into account when making turns, changing lanes & merging into traffic.
2. Check your connections before pulling out by doing a brake & lights check. In checking lights, verify running lights, flashers, turn signals, brake & back up lights.
3. Tie a small strip of white cloth to the toad steering wheel. When pulling out, you can see if the toad wheels are turning in your back up camera monitor. You want to be sure the toad wheels are turning & not locked up. Locked up means you are dragging your toad, not towing it. Ask me how I know.
4. When leaving your RV w/toad connected at a rest stop, travel plaza or anywhere you will be out of eyesite of it for a period, when returning, do a quick visual of connections when you return. It has not happened to us, but I have read where "pranksters" have unhooked connections & the RV-r's didn't notice until pulling away or, worse, several miles down the road & they notice their toad isn't showing on the back up camera monitor anymore.
5. Backing up with toad attached is not advisable. You can easily damage your toad & tow bars when the toad steering jerks one direction or the other. Better to go around the block or even unhook & drive away separately. I have read where some have been able to back up, for short distances, successfully, but I wouldn't want to do it unless there was no other alternative (& there's always another alternative).

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Old 03-07-2010, 07:43 PM   #3
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Adjust the mirrors to get the most rear vision out of your mirrors! and if you donot have some convex mirrors on the lower portions of your mirrors, get some, so you narrow your blind spot area when people pass you on the left or right. Do not follow too close as you now have a vehical pushing when you use the brakes. If the auto being towed is over 3500 lbs, you may want to consider getting a break buddy system..........Good Luck!
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Old 03-07-2010, 07:57 PM   #4
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Everything Lori says plus make up a checklist. Every connection whether electrical or mechanical should be on the list. I touch each connection as I go through the checklist. Another one of those - don't ask. Also, don't try to carry on a conversation as you go through your checklist.

Include the toad setup on the check list. In my case, with a Jeep Liberty, emergency brake off, transfer case in neutral, transmission in park, and key in off position, not the lock position. I also turn the volume up on my rear view camera so I can hear the Jeep tires squeal if I haven't set it up properly. Again, don't ask how I know.

Every pin on my tow bar has a padlock instead of a pin to guard against tampering. And, after leaving the vehicles for any reason I recheck all connections.

I use a marker on the steering wheel as Lori suggests and watch it through the rear view camera as I make slow speed turns immediately after hooking up. I also stop after a short distance and check all connections one final time.

Depending on the rear overhang on your motor home, the front wheels of the toad may swing wider. When you make a turn, the first thing the toad does is turn in the opposite direction before it follows the motor home through the turn. I have had my toad front wheels hit a curb in a rest area that did not have a wide approach into the parking lanes.
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Old 03-07-2010, 08:22 PM   #5
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As another beginner preparing his first Toad I want to thank all the contributors to this thread, very helpful!
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Old 03-07-2010, 08:32 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phays View Post
...Every pin on my tow bar has a padlock instead of a pin to guard against tampering.
Yes, I agree here. We use these barrel locks

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Old 03-07-2010, 09:29 PM   #7
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Thanks for all of the replies, they will be very helpful. Any other tips on driving and gas stations. Before purchasing the MH 4 years ago I did tow a TT (32') with a 250 Ford SD crew cab for many years and many miles so i do have some experience with length.
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Old 03-08-2010, 12:23 AM   #8
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... Any other tips on driving and gas stations.

The easiest gas stations to get into/out of are travel plazas. Never had an issue when we used those. All have separate truck diesel fuel lanes which most DP owners find easy & convenient. Many have 1 or 2 gas RV pumps away from the car islands (i.e. Flying J/Pilot) often in close proximity to the propane refill tank. Some might even have a dump station & flushing water. We'll go to those whenever we can.

Second, would be where the pumps are parallel to the store. Easy to pull through & back out onto the road. There are fewer & fewer of these, most now are perpendicular to the store. Perpendicular makes it easy for the clerk to keep tabs on the pumps & also for cameras to see license plate numbers in case a gas-n-dash occurs.

If you have to use a station with perpendicular pumps, try to choose the pumps on the outside ends of the islands. Regular vehicles tend to park in front of the middle of the store & can block your exit. They can block your exit on the ends too, if they park out that far, but not as often. Still be aware of space available to you.

Watch for clearance on canopies. I've found, smaller, local stations have lower canopies.

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Old 03-08-2010, 07:50 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by legryz View Post
Thanks for all of the replies, they will be very helpful. Any other tips on driving and gas stations. Before purchasing the MH 4 years ago I did tow a TT (32') with a 250 Ford SD crew cab for many years and many miles so i do have some experience with length.
A 5th wheel or TT is a lot easier to maneuver in tight places than your motorhome and toad will be. For one thing, you can back up a TT, but most tow bar manufacturers recommend against backing up a motorhome with a toad attached.

I have a gas MH so I can't use the truck lanes, but NLOVNIT is right - you have a better chance of finding more room is you stick to travel plazas rather than gas stations. I sometimes use MSN Gas Prices or gasbuddy.com to locatate gas stations where I am planning to travel, then I use Google Maps satellite view to try to get an idea of how much room a gas station might have.

I will gladly pay more per gallon if I know I can easily get in and out of a station without taking a chance of getting stuck. Not only that, but stations with more expensive gas will tend to be less crowded so there's less of a wait to get to an end pump and there's also less chance of getting blocked in.
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Old 03-08-2010, 07:43 PM   #10
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Don't try to back up with the toad hitched. It may be possible to back a few feet in an emergency, but with most toads it won't go far at all without it jack-knifing. And the tow bar companies warn against it too - it can really stress the tow bar.

This means you should be very careful about where you pull in, e.g. gas stations and such, to avoid getting into a position where backing up is the only way out.
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Old 03-13-2010, 04:19 PM   #11
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Thanks for all the replies, I will most definatley take note of them all and I'm sure I'll learn some new one's. Hopfully not the hard way.

thanks again
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