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Old 09-09-2010, 06:58 PM   #1
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To Toad or Not to Toad?

I am going FT in July of 2011 - I am, at this moment, considering NOT having a toad and just relying on rentals, cabs, shuttles (at least for the first part of my journey until I am more comfortable driving the rig.) I am going to get a used diesel pusher 36-38'. I know I won't "feel" it back there, but it is still an extra 15' or so on the back end, ya know?

But - if I was to get a toad, I have 2 questions:

1. Any suggestions for the "best" vehicle to use as a toad.
2. What equipment will I need? (other than the tow bar, I would only do 4-down towing)

Thank you.

Full time as of 6/4/2011
2008 Dodge Ram 3500 Laramie Quad Cab Dually 4x4 and 2011 Rushmore RF35CK.
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Old 09-09-2010, 07:32 PM   #2
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Hi, Wheels. I have towed many vehicles, but by far the best and most trouble free is the one I tow now. It is a 09 Chev HHR. All you have to do is install a baseplate and a suitable tow bar. I recommend the Blue Ox that stays on the motorhome when not towing. The HHR is light, about 3100pounds. It has lots of safety features, like six or seven air bags, electronic skid control,and room for five people and a rear cargo area that is quite large. I am comfortable driving it and I am over six feet tall and weigh about 250. It is available for about $20k well equipped. It drives and ride like a larger car. It holds the road remarkably well at highway speeds. All you have to do to tow is put ignition in acc, trans in neutral, hook up tow bar and lights and tow away. To keep the battery from going dead, I installed a hot wire from the motorhome to the toad battery.

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Old 09-09-2010, 08:25 PM   #3
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1). I tow a Ford Escape Hybrid. Put it in neutral and tow for hours. Some vehicles require you to stop every so often to start the motor but the Hybrid does not.

2). Tow bar and Aux brake system.
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Old 09-09-2010, 08:29 PM   #4
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Hi Sherri...

I've used a Jeep Grand Cherokee and loved everything about it except for the gas mileage...15. I now tow a Ford Explorer. It's just "ok". My wish list toad may well be a Honda CRV.

I like my Blue Ox tow bar and my Brake Buddy Classic is also just "ok"... but probably one of the best for the money. Count on something over $1500 to get your toad ready. Maybe even up to $2500.

I know you're concerned about focusing on becoming familiar with your coach before complicating your task with a toad but with your experience towing trailers I'm sure you wouldn't have a problem at all and you're right... "you won't even know it's back there". That's probably the biggest problem... you just need to remember it's back there. My guess is you'll tire of rentals and public transportation after a month.

Rick, Nancy, Peanut & Lola our Westie Dogs & Bailey the Sheltie.

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Old 09-09-2010, 08:40 PM   #5
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Thanks Ricko....seems the honda CRV is a popular tow vehicle??
Full time as of 6/4/2011
2008 Dodge Ram 3500 Laramie Quad Cab Dually 4x4 and 2011 Rushmore RF35CK.
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Old 09-09-2010, 08:40 PM   #6
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And judge!!! Fancy seeing you here. LOL. Thanks to you and korry, too.
Full time as of 6/4/2011
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Old 09-09-2010, 08:57 PM   #7
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While passing a vehicle I use my rear camera for my clearance of that vehicle while returning from the passing lane. This is not a problem if that is one of the things you are worried about.
1997 Triple E Empress, Freightliner Chassis, CAT 3126 w/ 275 horse's.
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Old 09-10-2010, 04:59 AM   #8
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As full-timers, I can't imagine not having a toad. There are times when we just decide to run to Walmart, go out for lunch, or do some extra sightseeing that we couldn't do if we didn't have a toad. Rentals work if you're near a town or city, but what about if you're camping far away from everything? We wouldn't want our choice of campgrounds to be limited by whether or not we had easy access to a car rental agency.

I can't remember where I saw it (don't know if it was a thread on a forum or a magazine article), but someone who had kept accurate cost records (insurance, depreciation, gas, maintenance) decided to get rid of their toad. For the next year they rented, used public transportation or shuttles, etc. They calculated their savings without a toad was only $300 a year. They decided the inconvenience of being without a toad wasn't worth $300 a year, so they bought another toad.

There is no such thing as a perfect toad. Life is full of compromises, and you'll have to decide for yourself what's important to you. The good news is a wide range of vehicles that can be towed 4-down. See Motorhome Magazine Dinghy Towing Guide on the right side of the page. There are also guides available for past years in case you want to buy used.

For towing 4-down you will need a tow bar (I recommend one that stays on the motorhome), a base plate on the toad to which the towbar attaches, a light kit so the lights on the back of the toad operate in tandem with the motorhome lights, safety cables, and a supplemental brake system for the toad.
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Old 09-10-2010, 08:26 AM   #9
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If you decide to tow, which I believe is your best option, I would suggest you research towable vehicles with the least amount of towing restrictions. Some require you stop and "exercise" the transmission every so often, and some have speed restrictions (55 MPH).

I'm partial to GM since their vehicles are ready to tow with no limitations. I happen to tow a Malibu, very nice car and you can tow it all day long.
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Old 09-10-2010, 08:48 AM   #10
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Sherri, check out Remco Towing website it has lots of information.
Home | Remco Towing I tow a Dodge Ram 1500 4x4 with an Allegro Bay 37DB gasoline and don't even know the Ram is there. You will have no problem towing with a DP.
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Old 09-10-2010, 08:55 AM   #11
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We went without a toad for five years and rented cars. This worked fine for a 3 to 5 week vacation due to the cost and trouble with owning another vehicle. Tried a utility trailer with our Harleys one year. It was fun but they are not much good for groceries or when it rains.

This year we bought a used vehicle to tow for the first time since we are (fingers crossed) going to be retired before December. The used one was already set up for towing 4 down and a good stop gap until we see if it will be another vacation or a permanent one. I will start a new thread on the what we are calling "the clown car" due to its size when I get some photos.

What we would really like is a Wrangler. It is the choice of many RVers to tow because you can just put the transfer case in neutral. It is also a fun machine to drive. Mileage is not so good for it's size but for a grocery getter and site seer that doesn't bother us. Four wheel drive could be a lot of fun depending on where you are too.
Mark & Nancy
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Old 09-10-2010, 10:35 AM   #12
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I strongly recommend a toad - we have tried with and without - the convenience of a tow vehicle is (well, I'll never go again without one.)
We researched many toads - there are several good ones - however, we had friends who strongly recommended the Honda CRV, which is what we have. You can hardly see the Blue Ox mounting brackets installed on the CRV - the tow bar stays on the MH. Honda states you can tow approx. 8 hours then, restart engine - shift thru all gears to lubricate transmission - then switch to accessory position and you're ready to go again. We normally stop after 200 miles to start engine to lubricate the tow transmission to be on safe side.
Enjoy your travels.
Curt, Joan and Jovi our Shih Tzu
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Old 09-10-2010, 11:07 AM   #13
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We tow a 2006 CRV with a Blue Ox Aladdin Tow bar and a SMI Stay-n-Play auxiliary braking system. About $3500 invested in towing equipment. Can't imagine traveling without a tow car.
Wayne & Roberta and Maggie the Miracle Dog
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Old 09-10-2010, 02:04 PM   #14
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Hi Wheel:
Since you are used to driving a larger toad, then you have many other choices available to you including 4 wheel drive vehicles by Ford, GM or Jeep. Friend, Nana is towing a Lincoln MKX??

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