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Old 01-16-2011, 03:45 PM   #1
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To dolly, tow, rent or do without?

Current family barge is a 2003 Kia Sedona, our only regular "car". We don't need wheels with us that often when in the RV, but we're beginning to think we should get ready for towing.

The Sedona is towards the top of the weight range, at 4700 pounds and can't be flat towed. If I get a dolly, it would have to have brakes, so we'd probably be above the hitch rating. According to Reese, it's a 5000 pound hitch.

Looking at replacements for the Kia, I've studied the Motorhome Magazine listings. Mandatory are automatic transmission, a/c and enough room for two Labradors.

I've narrowed it down to either Honda (CRV or Element), Jeep Liberty or a Saturn L wagon.

Since funding is an issue (not much to spare over what we get for the Sedona), I'm leaning towards the Saturn, though V6 LW models are hard to find. Whatever the final choice, it would be our daily driver when not out in the RV, so we're not interested in the Cavalier and its siblings. Neither is the HHR an option. I think it's the ugliest thing to come along since the Aztek, and they're too new to be down to my price range anyway.

I was under the impression that the Cadillac Catera was the same vehicle under the skin as the Saturn L series, since I thought they were both based on the same Opel/Vauxhall platform. Catera is not mentioned as a towable, and someone said it was RWD, not FWD like the Saturn.

I'd be interested in any feedback.

Renting is also an option, if we only need a dinghy on one or two trips a year, and for short periods. We've used Enterprise for cars quite a lot over the years.

We sometimes stay out in the sticks (though at State Parks -- we aren't boondockers). How well does the "We'll pick you up" promise work out.
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Old 01-16-2011, 04:16 PM   #2
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Toad Vehicle

I think there's some other threads here about tow vehicles. We are in the same situation as you, although we can postpone the decision for another year or two (until a car has to be replaced). We rent the few times we need to - it works fine for us. Our favorite place has a car rental company about 10 minutes away, and they always pick us up., and in South Dakota, Rafter J Ranch has car rentals on site! We do plan ahead, check locations, make phone calls and plan for it.

ps I didn't like the HHR when we rented it in FL. The trunck was way too small for us.
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Old 01-16-2011, 05:00 PM   #3
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There are a number of threads on what to tow. If you are happy with the Kia, why not look for a used dolly with surge brakes.

We have flat towed as well as towed on a dolly. In either case you need brakes on the towed load along with a break away system. There are pluses and minus to both systems.

Personally, If I were to go back to a motorhome, I'd go with a dolly since it does not tie you to towing only one vehicle. If you trade vehicles, you do not have to set up another one with tow brackets and brakes.

Ken
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Old 01-16-2011, 05:21 PM   #4
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Remco indicates your Kia is towable 4-down with a lube pump.

You might want to contact them.
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Old 01-16-2011, 05:29 PM   #5
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I purchased a 09 HHR a year ago and it is the best tow vehicle I have ever towed. No driveshaft disconnect, lube pumps, tow dolly to mess with. Just hook it up, put it in neutral and go. It is also comfortable and carries four adults in comfort and style.
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Old 01-16-2011, 07:30 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXiceman View Post

Personally, If I were to go back to a motorhome, I'd go with a dolly since it does not tie you to towing only one vehicle. If you trade vehicles, you do not have to set up another one with tow brackets and brakes.

Ken
I am also looking into the towing issue, and I reached the same conclusion as you did. The cost between a dolly (with brakes) and the equipment needed for towing all 4 down is very similar. However, I can use a dolly for all vehicles I own, without doing any costly and involved changes to their front.
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Old 01-16-2011, 08:27 PM   #7
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TOW or TOW Dolly

We tow a 2007 Honda CRV and haven't had any problems. Tried the tow dolly, while it is a little cheaper and gives the flexibility of being able to use different cars, the dolly was another thing I had to store.
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Old 01-17-2011, 09:03 AM   #8
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You might consider doing what I did back in 2001. I went to Carmax and found a really nice 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited with QuadraDrive. Leather, heated seats, CD Changer, the works. Good price. I still tow it. 100100 miles and still going strong. When I need to replace it, I'm going back to Carmax.
By the way, I have no association with Carmax, nor does any of my family or friends.
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Old 01-17-2011, 11:21 AM   #9
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My main concern with the dolly for the Kia is that the hitch is rated for 5000 pounds. The Kia weighs 4700 (according to the owner's manual) so I'm concerned that a braked dolly would push me over the limit.

I need to get an actual weight on the Kia before we decide, and on the RV to be sure we're well within the max GCWR.

I will talk to the Kia dealer and to Remco about a lube pump, Dirk. If that's feasible, it solves the problem.

Thanks, folks.
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Old 01-18-2011, 06:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
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I will talk to the Kia dealer and to Remco about a lube pump, Dirk. If that's feasible, it solves the problem.

Thanks, folks.
IMO, now your on track. If you have any doubt about that decision, wait 'tll this summer and watch folks deal with a dolly/car load/unload and connect/disconnect in the heat. I made my decision based on what I saw...4 DOWN 4 me! Retired and lazy. Bob
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Old 01-19-2011, 10:55 AM   #11
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Having done the research and found out what the various options would cost, we're down to a new EZE-Tow dolly, a used braked dolly or renting. Of the new dollies, only the EZE-Tow keeps the towed weight within the 5,000 pound hitch limit and can hanlde a 4600 lb car.
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Old 01-19-2011, 11:20 AM   #12
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Hi Frank,

I use a Roadmaster 2000 tow dolly with electric brakes and I am extremely happy with it. The best part about it that the wheels are steerable and they track where the RV tires go. I have made 2 changes to the dolly and that is I added a spare tire and a third wheel to move it around in case I have to disconnect.

When getting a campsite I usually ask for a pull through site that way I can leave dolly connected to RV and just have to unload car. If I can't get a pull through site than after I unload the car I disconnect the dolly from RV and push it alongside RV or in back of it but not connected. It is really no hassle and can be done rather quickly.

I would NOTunder any circumstances purchase the EZE Tow trailer as it has very small tires and not steerable. It does have brakes but I still would not use it. There are a few other tow dollies out there for you to choose.

Lastly I towed my Honda on our tow dolly to Alaska and back with no problems either finding a campsite with pull throughs or loading and unloading the car. As of late I will be towing our 2011 Ford Escape (which can be towed four down) on the tow dolly.

Good luck with your choice of tow dollies.
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Old 01-19-2011, 11:52 AM   #13
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If the tow vehicle you use is rear wheel drive, you won't be able to rent a dolly. They will not allow a car to be towed backward. That's why I sold my Rodeo and bought a Jeep. I couldn't rent a dolly for the Rodeo.
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Old 01-19-2011, 01:34 PM   #14
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Joe:

When I said "rent", I meant renting a car at a destination not renting a dolly.

Tom:

When I looked at Roadmaster, I didn't see anything on their web-site that could handle my Sedona's 4600 pound weight. The wall I'm up against is that my hitch is only good for 5000 pounds, so a dolly of more than 400 pounds unladen weight would put me over the hitch limit. Even the EZE-Tow is slightly over.

Moddifying the Sedona for flat towing gets very expensive. Not many vendors make base plates for it. I added up all the things we'd need and it was north of $3k. On a vehicle that's already 8 years old and only worth about $3800, it hardly seems worth it.

I think we'll be using Enterprise instead!
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