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Old 09-12-2009, 11:23 AM   #29
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We have a TOW Master Dolly with proportional hydrolic brakes. I just didn't want to modify the car. It's a 2006 Escape Hybrid so I could have gone four down. I have mag light kit so didn't even need to mod the Ford's lights. Stowing the dolly can be a pain but overall I'd rather leave the car alone. About the only brake system that would have worked in the hybrid was a ToadStop II. The cost was about the same either way.
Dick
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Old 09-13-2009, 08:31 PM   #30
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Daily towing - does this change anyone's decision?

let me add a personl situation wrinkle to the dolly vs 4 down discussion. My family and I are getting ready to take a 6 month trip around the country. So, we'll be hooking and unhooking the toad pretty regularly. Maybe not everyday but definitely numerous times per week. My sense has been that many full timers don't travel that frequently and of course weekenders or week-long trippers are not doing it nearly as often.

This brings me to the question: If you were me and my wife and you had to hitch and unhitch the toad 4 times a week for 6 months, what would you choose??

I'm leaning toward 4 down but am feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the decisions we have to make: tow vehicle (for 2 adults, 3 kids), tow bar, tow brake, lighting package, etc, etc. Oy!!
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Old 09-13-2009, 09:01 PM   #31
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With a Wife and 3 Children, I would say "C" none of the above. I would just let my Wife and three Children follow me in the car.

Just kidding!

Four down, Ford Flex, Roadmaster Stowmaster, Brake Buddy Classic and Towmate Light Bar.

Ford Flex, good for 5, plenty of room, tows four flat with no mods, put in nuetral and turn key to first position, current heavy discounts.

Roadmaster Stowmaster, easiest bar to hook up, anyone can do it, inexpensive.

Brake Buddy Classic, easy to use, easily removable, does not have to activate in normal braking, no vehicle mods, inexpensive.

Towmate Lightbar, relatively inexpensive, no mods, no wiring connections.

From the time you pull up behind the MH, takes 5 minutes or less and you or your Wife could do either end.

Well, I know you only asked a simple question, but I was bored and in the mood to type!
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Old 09-13-2009, 09:03 PM   #32
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That sounds like a wonderful trip!

We have taken several multi-week trips with similar hook-unhook frequency, and we were glad we towed 4 down.

If you are going to purchase a toad, you can get one that specifically allows towing 4 down (the owners manuals will have a section on towing, don't take the word of the salesman or even the service manager, get it in writing).

I would get a baseplate that does not look bad even if the tabs are left in (you may want to do that with the daily use).

As for tow brake and lighting package, I'd get a permanently installed tow brake and lighting package so hookup will be easy. For example, I have an SMI Stay-in-Play that only requires two connections, the brake light signal from the standard 4-way towing plug you need anyway for lights and a breakaway cable.

JMHO

Good Luck!
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Old 09-14-2009, 09:33 AM   #33
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Tow Dolly

It is nice that you are going to take a trip and connect and disconnect your car. I have a tow dolly and it is no real problem loading and unloading the car. After you do it a few times it is a cinch.

With a Tow Dolly you can tow any front wheel drive car that is in the weight limitations of your Motorhome. In another words you couldn't tow a 7000lb vehicle behind a 24 Class C with a 5000 lb hitch.

I returned recently from a 2 1/2 month trip out West and had to load and unload all the time. I always asked for a pull thru site and there were plenty of them. Once in the site I unloaded the car which meant 2 straps and 2 chains and pull a lever. To load it was the reverse. When there were no pull throughs available I unloaded car and disconnected tow dolly and with the use of the 3rd wheel(mounted on tongue of dolly) I pushed the dolly either in the rear of the RV where I then reconnected it to RV or alongside the rv.

The Tow dolly has electric brakes so nothing needed there except a brake controller in the rv and checking of straps is no big deal as whenever you stop you walk around and check everything anyhow including tires on a toad. This trip I didn't use the add on brake lights that I normally use but just used the lights that are on the tow dolly.

One final point and that is if you make a sharp turn towing a toad four down how much damage do you do to tires and front end alignment? What happens if you forget to unlock the steering wheel and leave the key on? How about fuses? With the dolly you drive the car on the dolly, put the gear selector in park, remove the key and lock the car. DONE.

Have a safe trip and enjoy this wonderful cvountry of ours as there is a lot to see. BTW get a Roadmaster Tow Dolly (the one with the compartments for the straps which are lockable) with brakes .
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Old 09-14-2009, 01:02 PM   #34
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Great feedback!

Thanks very much guys. This is really valuable input you're giving me.

Another option that was suggested to me by an RV dealer here is to tow a trailer and have the entire tow vehicle off the road. He mentioned that this is what he always does and listed the following benefits:
1) can tow any vehicle (within reason) that will fit on the trailer
2) Can back up with the trailer still attached if ever needed
3) can use the trailer for other towing chores
4) no wear and tear on the towed vehicle

Seems like i'd be towing around quite a monstrosity though!

Thoughts?
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Old 09-14-2009, 02:18 PM   #35
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Trailers are also a great option. It really boils down to personal preference. Each method has its own plusses and minuses. I believe you will find an equal number of people on this forum who swear by each way.

While I was making my decision I was torn between a tow dolly and 4 down (didn't consider a trailer as the coach doesn't have the capacity). Like you are doing now, I gathered as much info as I could through these forums and manufacturers websites, made my decision (with substantial input from DW) and have been happy with it.

If I could have considered a trailer I'd get one of those nice, light aluminum ones.

And yes, Tom, we do have to check and double check that the steering wheel is unlocked, parking brake off, car out of gear, etc. Sometimes we have triple-checked a couple of miles later, fortunately with no problems.

Whatever your choice, have fun on the trip!

Stewart
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Old 09-16-2009, 04:38 PM   #36
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It's been mentioned already, but to reiterate. Either way your only talking about a few minutes difference in time to hook up four wheel down or hook up using a dolly. What difference does the time to hook up and unhook make. None of us are in a race to see who can hook up quicker. It's just personal choice.

I towed four-wheel down since 1999 to present. Now I'm using one of those nice light aluminum small trailer's and haul a Smartcar on it. The time to hook up either setup has never entered into the equation. I do like the fact there are less concerns for me on towing the trailer then towing four wheel down. In my case I had to use a drive-shaft disconnect. The brake system was a US Gear Unified-brake system. Which is the easiest and quickest once it's been installed. I always worried about did I remember to disconnect the drive-shaft? Did I release the emergency brake? Are the pins still in-place in the tow bar? So on and so forth.

A lot of these concerns went away with the trailer. Oh, and by the way the trailer and car are only 2300 lbs, compared to 4000 lbs on the pickup I used to tow four wheel down.
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Old 09-16-2009, 05:04 PM   #37
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As always-----to each his own
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Old 09-23-2009, 07:15 PM   #38
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I purchased a used dolly last year for my Toyota Corolla behind a Class A. I have towed it for about 700 miles this past summer. The 700 miles seemed to be very hard on the tie down straps. They show what I think is a lot of wear. Anyone have any comments or suggestions?
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Old 09-23-2009, 07:20 PM   #39
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I've towed a Toyota Avalon on a dolly over 12000 with little visible signs of wear on the straps. If you aren't tightening the straps sufficiently, this could be the cause for the wear. Too loose...movement equals wear.
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Old 09-23-2009, 07:30 PM   #40
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Thanks, I was suspicous of that. I also read your 9/23 blog and agree with you politically!
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Old 09-26-2009, 04:23 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theberrys View Post
About the only brake system that would have worked in the hybrid was a ToadStop II. The cost was about the same either way.
Dick, I was just wondering why a brake like SMI, M&G, or USG would not work?
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Old 09-27-2009, 10:30 AM   #42
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DriVer

I did some research and because the Ford Hybrid doesn't require the engine running to have power assist brakes the pressure on the pedal from most brake systems is just too high and can't be reduced enough to avoid locking the brakes on the car. I don't remember looking at the ones you mentioned so the may have worked. I did call Toad Stop to find out about this special requirement and of course they said thers was the only one that worked. It's possible they weren't telling the entire truth.

Anyway about that time Ford sent me a letter begging to buy the car back at 85% of MSRP and I decided if it's that much in demand then I'd not do any mods to the car. Perhaps Ford wants the 2006 models because of the newer transmissions who knows.

So I may have miss represented the facts because I wanted to believe a salesman, a dangerious combination.

Dick
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