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Old 05-06-2009, 09:31 AM   #1
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To Toad or not to Toad that is the question

Not so sure that this topic hasn't been covered before, but here goes. How many, if any, do not use a toad for their RVing? Is it possible, depending on the type of touring I do, to not use a second vehicle?

The reason I ask is that there seems to be so much involved in towing the extra vehicle is it really a must? Once again let me qualify the question by referring to "the type of touring, camping" that I do. We are new to MH camping and need some expert input.

Thanks...Jack&Rita
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Old 05-06-2009, 09:45 AM   #2
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we were not going too tow and just rent cars when we got to where we are going. Then we found out our Prius can not set for more then a month so i guess we have to get a tow dolly and tow and see how that works DW will not give up her Prius
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Old 05-06-2009, 10:46 AM   #3
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I'll be eager to read the replies. We decided to hold off for now though I am sure we'll need to do it after I retire and have more long trips planned.

I just finished making arrangements for our first remote trip (Smokys in July) and I am already having trouble finding a rental agency either nearby or at least on the way not too far from our destination. The combined cost of set-up, tow bar, brake controller etc. would cover quite a bit of rental expense.
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Old 05-06-2009, 11:35 AM   #4
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Depending on your life style and many other things that is a very good question, I will address pros and cons and a few other things, and do not think for a minute I will get all of either side:

On the "PRO" side, towing a towed gives you some additional "Storage" space, I keep my Internet and Television antennas in the towed for example. along with an air compressor, jacks, road flares and 25 pounds of bicarbonate of soda under pressure (Fire Extinuisher) and my wife's go-cart.

It means you have a car when you get where you are going, no need to rent or to drive the rig (Story follows) You set up and stay set up,

And with my class A I get about 8 MPG on level ground, towing or not (it makes next to NO difference in MPG) I get closer to 20 on the Lumina APV (I need to re-paint the APV green with black polka-dots.. Get it.. Toad)

On the con side: I had to install aux brakes (I won't tow w/o 'em) and tow bars and lights. I have to spend a couple of minutes hooking and unhooking and of course you can't back the motor home with the car attached

All in all.. I tow

Short story promised:
Couple flew into Las Vegas to pick up a new class "C", parked next to me, sticker still in window, Went to Sam's Town for lunch, pulled into parking structure, sign on the pipe said clearance was enough, pipe hangs LOWER however and caught the Winegard "Flying saucer" Omini directional TV antenna, ripped it off the rig, pipe then flew up and bounced down on the bathroom roof vent.. Smashing the cover.

THEY SHOULD HAVE TOWED (MY Lumina APV makes it in and out no problem, even with the big antenna on it)

Ways to tow:

4-Down: Light weight, lowest cost, easy hook up and nothing to store at campsite (Just fold the tow bar either onto the towed or onto the rig, rig in my case)

Dolly, Much harder to hook up and you have this big thing to park when you camp also heavier (Would exceed towing capacity of my rig with Lumina attached)

Full trailer The only option you can back up, but hardest to hook up, is best for the towed however for several reasons. Also heaviest.

Braking systems:

BOX: this is an assortement of systems you put in front of the driver's seat. These are great in that you can move 'em car to car quickly and easily, but... They so can someone else if you don't secure them when driving the car. Also mistakes mean a major brake job

Surge brake: There is a system where you hook a cable to the brake pedal and it goes through the firewall and hooks to the tow bar, Ready Brake as I recall.. This is actually a good and inexpensive system.

M&G and it's ilk, air/hydraulic, good if you have air brakes on the towing vehicle and it will fit.. it won't fit my 92 Lumina APV There are some others that would however

US-Gear Unified Brake Decelarator... THE BEST in my not very humble opinion and the one I use.

This is a purportional system (you can adjust the POWER to the towed brakes) and progressive (The harder you stop, the harder IT stops) and works well, Once the initial install is done there is NOTHIGN visible inside the car less you know where to look. It is transparant to the car's driver, thus it's bolted in and though it is not easily moved car to car, it's not likely to grow legs and walk off either.

Most active systems (The cable operated job I mentioned earlier is the exception) use vehicle battery power.. US_Gear inclcudes a "Towed-charge" system so you don't run out of vehicle battery power

I mean, how good can it get?

Answer: 2am, Jan 2, 2006, I hook up and pull out of my drive, do the walk arouind and guess what NO TAIL LIGHTS ON TOWED Diagnostic tool showed no power from Motor home to tail lights

it's 2am, Jan 2, odds of getting it fixed quickly are negative

Remember that "Towed charge" line...... I pushed the parking light button on the towed's dash and off we went, 2,000 miles later I got it fixed
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Old 05-06-2009, 05:08 PM   #5
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If you are just going "camping" for a week, just to camp, you don't need a toad. If you do like we do and travel for weeks or months at a time you need a toad.
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Old 05-06-2009, 07:09 PM   #6
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Our first MH was a Class C 30', no toad. We never had a problem taking the unit out of the campground to lunch, etc., other than having to roll the awning in, unhook, etc.

Depends on how you use your motorhome.
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Old 05-06-2009, 07:16 PM   #7
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I think like everything else the answer is "it depends". We went without a toad for over a year. Mostly we were to overwhelmed with everything new to learn to add towing to the mix. We did rental cars and grabbed rides from friends in the campground. With Walmart everywhere you can park and get what ever items you need but you have to really plan ahead. We never found an item that we needed so bad that we would break camp for it. (did get dangerously low on beer a few times)
If you just camp, this works fine. If you want to explore an area while you're parked there your out of luck or you contact a rental car company. We passed up chances on lots of flea markets, local museums, and other fun places to visit because we didn't have a tow and it was worth a rental.
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Old 05-06-2009, 07:31 PM   #8
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Just bought our very manuverable Triple E 27 this January. It turns on a dime... well a toonie at least... So far so good, we enjoy travelling the roads and stopping in the tourist locations so we are doing quite well.

I doubt we would drive the roads we do with a rig much larger. This one is like a very large pickup, with a very large camper on the back...and then a bit more. We have turned around in places we shouldn't have gone into but with care and a keen eye, it does manage quite well.

We like to travel the paved roads for the very most part. Some like to get into the back country, and know their vehicle and it's capabilities. Our's is a cream puff compared to most.
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Old 05-06-2009, 09:36 PM   #9
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It would be helpful for you to tell us a little more about what "touring" means to you. Let me try a couple of stories on you.

Before we bought a Class A, we rented Class Cs twice. The first time was up the eastern seaboard from NC to the approach to the GW bridge in NYC. It broke down near there.

The second rental was from Texas through Kansas and Nebraska on our way to SD. That one broke down in Grand Island.

Our first trip in the Class A was to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, then onto Las Vegas. The closest full hookup CG was 50 miles from the North Rim lodge but now we had a toad. We drove back and forth every day for several days. When we got to Las Vegas, we left the MH, used to the toad to get to the other end of the strip and to work our way back. Parking was often tight, even for the toad.

We went to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons and spent two weeks. The MH was parked in 3 different CGs but we didn't use it at all for daily travel. The roads are tight in spots and there was always someone wanting to pass us, even in our toad.

Last summer, we went to Niagara Falls and put the MH at a CG on the Niagara River above the falls. No WAY would I have wanted to drive the MH down to the sights on the Canadian side.

We often travel by ourselves so we cannot depend on rides from others. We find parking a major attractions like Hoover Dam, Gettysburg, Williamsburg, Grand Canyon, etc. tight enough with just the toad. It is easy to get in someplace then to have some "goober" park you in. People don't take kindly to MHs taking up several spaces when parking is limited in the first place. The breakdowns taught us that having a toad to get parts (I do many of my own repairs) can mean the difference between hours and days waiting. We like camping at the State Parks, which can be off the beaten track and not being able to get food or medicine easily without breaking camp isn't where we want to be. The only thing that we haul with our toad is firewood for local camping. BTW, we had a water heater failure on New Year's weekend. I diagnosed the problem, used my cell phone to locate the part and was back in 2 hours (70 miles round trip). While we could have done that with the MH, it gets 10.5 mpg where the toad gets 30mpg.

Works for us.
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Old 05-07-2009, 07:58 AM   #10
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Not many rental agencies in Big Bend and MH can't go on many of the roads. Also DW (like most) thinks that roughing it is the Holiday Inn therefore MH MUST be as large and have a means of transportation other than "the room" we're staying in. The Blue Ox hitch and the US Gear brake take all of 2 minutes to hook/disconnect. Yes, there is some money involved but as is said in the airplane biz "If ya gotta ask how much gas cost" then probably owning one should be overlooked.
Above said somewhat "tongue in cheek" but certainly something to consider when some of the maintainance items can be thousands of dollars and out on the road - "to fix or not to fix - immediately" is not a consideration.
We vote for a toad
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Old 05-07-2009, 08:09 AM   #11
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We tryed without a toad, didn't work. we were going to rent until I called down to AZ for a rental for the winter, the best they could do ? was 1,000.00 mo. We pull a Jeep Cherokee Sport, and really like it, used it in the desert and in the snow on our trip south this year, good luck , shop around you can find some good deals out there. Denny
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Old 05-07-2009, 09:33 AM   #12
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We also tried it with no toad and used rental cars. That lasted one season with our 31' class C. We soon bought a tow vehicle and tow bar, brake buddy etc. Now we winter for 4 to 5 months in the south in our 35' class A and would not leave home without our toad.
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Old 05-07-2009, 03:27 PM   #13
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Many thanks to all who shared their knowledge and experiences. Chasfm11 asked for more "touring type" info. Most of your responses have convinced us that our type of travel does not warrant a toad vehicle. Super market and discount store parking lots are large enough to park us and with a little planning we should be able to survive without said toad. Hopefully that will not prove silly after a few more trips. We'll see.

Again thanks to all. Best...Jack&Rita
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Old 05-09-2009, 08:22 AM   #14
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We usually only go out for three or four days but having a toad means we can see more of the surrounding areas. Longer trips we always drag the toad along. Hadly ever leave home without it.
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