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Old 07-04-2015, 09:34 AM   #15
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Traveling from Alaska to the 'lower 48' as often as we do, we now find having a TOAD is worth the cost and what little hassle it is. For years we did not have a TOAD and rented vehicle where ever we were staying. That is Ok, some what, but it was still a hassle. We also travel with our Labs and most rental companies do not like having pets in their vehicles.
Our Class A MH does not really know that it is pulling anything.
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Old 07-04-2015, 09:45 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KarenS144 View Post
We made it one season without a toad. That was enough!
For us as well!
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'96 Safari, 107k miles towing.
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Old 07-04-2015, 09:55 AM   #17
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We lasted about 2 trip, when we first started RVing, with out a tow car. We thought bikes were the way to go. WRONG!! It was costly to set up the first car a used Saturn, but we have been able to use all of the same parts on the following cars, except the base plates. After wearing out 2 Saturns we are now on our 3rd tow car a 2014 Honda CR-V. We love the Honda and hope they return to making them towable again. We use the Blue Ox System with a Brake Buddy for the require supplemental braking. NYS require anything tow over 1000# having it.


Would never leave home without my tow car.


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Old 07-04-2015, 10:33 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KarenS144 View Post
We made it one season without a toad. That was enough!
Same here. That first year we did 21 trips and 6200 miles, and decided that a toad would be handy sometimes.

The next year, we did 21 trips and 8700 miles, and towed for 6 of those trips (but towed 4600 miles.) So we only took the toad on longer trips, not simple weekend outings.

The usage of the toad started dropping, and now it's about half to a third of the time: we take it if we know we will need to go somewhere once we've arrived, we don't take it if we know we won't need it (or if there are other situations like last weekend where there were a lot of steep twisty hills.) Other than that, it's a flip of the coin if we will take it.

It really depends on how you travel and what you need. Everyone is different, you need to decide how important it is to you. I will say, even though we don't always take it, it's very reassuring to know we have it if we want to take it.

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Originally Posted by Skeetobite View Post
At first we thought it would be easy to just get a rental car once we arrived at our destination. We tried that twice on short "Trial Run" trips to northern Michigan. Both times we had to go about 40 minutes out of our way or past our destination to retrieve and return the rental car. The cost of the two rentals of 3 days each, plus Sunday since their offices are closed, so 4 days each, was greater than a payment on a toad. Plus, I am a big fan of independence and rapid schedule changes, which a rental car will not always allow.
That sounds like our first year. We rented in a couple places, and it quickly turned out to be more hassle than it was worth.

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I've had the RV break down and very glad I had a toad, then I've had the toad break down and glad I had the RV...
Yep, had that happen as well. Went to leave Lowes, and the truck wouldn't start. DW picked me up and brought a few tools, but I couldn't immediately fix it. So she took me home and later that evening I went back with the MH and towed to toad home (more maneuvering room in the empty parking lot since I had to back the MH to the toad, being unable to drive the toad to the MH.) Got the toad home, and it was a relatively easy fix once I had the proper tools to diagnose and repair it.
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Old 07-04-2015, 11:37 AM   #19
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I've had the RV break down and very glad I had a toad, then I've had the toad break down and glad I had the RV...
Ted

Very few things are as useful as a "spare" vehicle.
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Old 07-04-2015, 12:03 PM   #20
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To tow or not to tow!?

We tow a 93 Camry (305000 miles) on a dolly behind our 42' DP. Have been from the Midwest to the northwest and back with it. Couldn't imagine not having the car along. Freedom is the name of the game.

We are about to upgrade to a 24' enclosed car hauler. Need space for the car, motorcycle and 10' Jon boat. Going with 8' interior height.


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Old 07-04-2015, 04:31 PM   #21
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We've been motorhoming for 20 years. We're on. Our 3rd coach and 3rd toad. Didn't have a toad with the 1st coach because it was a weekend warrior and maybe one long trip per year so we rented cars. Bought the 2nd coach and decided it was time to bite the bullet and get a toad. Best thing we've ever done. We've had 2 Saturn's and just purchased a Chevy Colorado 4X4 crew cab. All towed 4 wheels down. I also have the Cummins 350 ISL engine and it doesn't even know the pickup is back there @ 4300lbs. Fuel mileage drop is next to nothing. Just plan on using truckstops for fuel. One other thing to consider. If you break down or God forbid have an accident and your rig winds up in the shop for an extended time and you're a long way from home, you have a vehicle to get you there. I have used Blue Ox on all my toads because of it's simplicity and the SMI Air Force One breaking system also because of it's simplicity. Great customer service from both companies I might add.
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Old 07-05-2015, 03:40 PM   #22
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Dolly behind the barn

Quote:
Originally Posted by Waiter21 View Post
We wouldn't leave home without it. The Civic is light and I don't even know its back there. We had a dolly, but since we started flat towing the Civic, the dolly sits behind the barn.

On our last trip, the MH spit out an O2 sensor from the exhaust manifold. We backed into a truck stop and after I figured out what happened, we disconnected the TOAD and I went into town and found a new O2 sensor, got the MH fixed, and we were back on the road. Its nice having spare transportation in case something goes wrong.
Dear Waiter21....(Mod Edit). I am the own who posed the original question....so am trying to determine the best route for us. But a dolly seems to me the better way....can use about any rear wheel car....and appears one can backup some.....are their any disadvantages?
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Old 07-05-2015, 04:15 PM   #23
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But a dolly seems to me the better way....can use about any rear wheel car
Actually, you can use most any FRONT wheel drive car.
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Old 07-05-2015, 07:10 PM   #24
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Dear Waiter21....(Mod Edit). I am the own who posed the original question....so am trying to determine the best route for us. But a dolly seems to me the better way....can use about any rear wheel car....and appears one can backup some.....are their any disadvantages?
daryl989mich
IMO the only disadvantages of a dolly are the hassles of:
1.) Buying A dolly
2.) Connecting a dolly every time you do.
3.) Loading a dolly every time you do.
4.) Unloading a dolly every time you do .
5.) Finding a pace to park it every where you camp.
6.) Parking the dolly every time you do.
7.) Maintaining a dolly
8.) Trying to sell the dolly when you realize that 4 down towing is the way to go.
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Old 07-05-2015, 08:14 PM   #25
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Extending thanks to Mel S for that reply...so want to add some info...because some things are not as they appear...

1.) Buying A dolly.
Buying/Installing the gear for flat towing is SO much more complex...which baseplate? How much cutting is needed on the car fascia? How will a tow set-up effect the critical crush zone on my car? Etc.
And dollies can cost less than the gear needed to flat-tow (comparing new vs new or used vs used) and dollies can be equipped with integral brakes. Brakes are not required in many places, but is obviously safer and for RV's, travelers most probably will enter/cross areas that require brakes along their travels.

2.) Connecting a dolly every time you do.
Connecting a dolly is a minute long 1 time task per trip to hook to the ball, safety chains, lights - done.
Flat towing involves connecting the tow bar everytime you load.

3.) Loading a dolly every time you do.
Loading a dolly means you drive onto the dolly then add straps to the front wheels and safety chains. Takes us less time then our flat towing friends because the brakes require no connecting/setting. Hope you have brakes

4.) Unloading a dolly every time you do .
Unloading is almost exactly like flat towing...unhook and drive away.

5.) Finding a place to park it every where you camp.
We have never needed to park the dolly off-site. But, it has gone under the overhang of the RV when we are staying somewhere more than 1 night. If required to park a dolly off-site, then the campground would probably offer a spot for it.

6.) Parking the dolly every time you do.
Same as above. And, our dolly can stand-up on its end against a wall for off-season storage.

7.) Maintaining a dolly
There is maint on flat tow gear too. A dolly is just like a tiny trailer...just check the tires, hubs, and hitch - simple.

8.) Trying to sell the dolly when you realize that 4 down towing is the way to go.
Folks that do this make getting a dolly just that much easier.
On the flip side - see what a dealership or private buyer will say about buying a car that was cut-up for flat-tow baseplates and about the unknown miles on the chassis and lower drive line.

Unlike what some say, I submit neither way to tow is better...there are reasons for both methods and both work well

Best luck to the OP and thanks again to Mel S.
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Old 07-05-2015, 10:20 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scarab0088 View Post
Extending thanks to Mel S for that reply...so want to add some info...because some things are not as they appear...

1.) Buying A dolly.
Buying/Installing the gear for flat towing is SO much more complex...which baseplate? How much cutting is needed on the car fascia? How will a tow set-up effect the critical crush zone on my car? Etc.
And dollies can cost less than the gear needed to flat-tow (comparing new vs new or used vs used) and dollies can be equipped with integral brakes. Brakes are not required in many places, but is obviously safer and for RV's, travelers most probably will enter/cross areas that require brakes along their travels.

2.) Connecting a dolly every time you do.
Connecting a dolly is a minute long 1 time task per trip to hook to the ball, safety chains, lights - done.
Flat towing involves connecting the tow bar everytime you load.

3.) Loading a dolly every time you do.
Loading a dolly means you drive onto the dolly then add straps to the front wheels and safety chains. Takes us less time then our flat towing friends because the brakes require no connecting/setting. Hope you have brakes

4.) Unloading a dolly every time you do .
Unloading is almost exactly like flat towing...unhook and drive away.

5.) Finding a place to park it every where you camp.
We have never needed to park the dolly off-site. But, it has gone under the overhang of the RV when we are staying somewhere more than 1 night. If required to park a dolly off-site, then the campground would probably offer a spot for it.

6.) Parking the dolly every time you do.
Same as above. And, our dolly can stand-up on its end against a wall for off-season storage.

7.) Maintaining a dolly
There is maint on flat tow gear too. A dolly is just like a tiny trailer...just check the tires, hubs, and hitch - simple.

8.) Trying to sell the dolly when you realize that 4 down towing is the way to go.
Folks that do this make getting a dolly just that much easier.
On the flip side - see what a dealership or private buyer will say about buying a car that was cut-up for flat-tow baseplates and about the unknown miles on the chassis and lower drive line.
Unlike what some say, I submit neither way to tow is better...there are reasons for both methods and both work well
Best luck to the OP and thanks again to Mel S.
Scarab0088
I agree that neither way to tow is better.
I'm happy you are happy will a dolly, (not everyone is).
Mel
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Old 07-05-2015, 11:06 PM   #27
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To tow or not to tow!?

If you use a dolly first, at least you will not be out a lot of money if you decide to upgrade. The only benefit I found with a dolly was that it did cost less. So, if your biggest concern is the cost, then this may be an option for you.

Experience will tell you which method is best for you. I started with a dolly, then upgraded to flat towing. From my experiance, I'll never go back to a dolly, unless there is no other option.

I'd rather trade in my car then have to return to using a dolly. In my honest openion, a dolly was far more cumbersome, especially for me. I have a bad back and have already had two operations, and don't want a third.

I found the dolly very difficult to handle. It was far more difficult to hook up and disconnect. Then you have to wrestle it around and locate a suitable place to park it each time you stop. It was very hard to tighten the car down to the dolly and it was the rule, versus the exception that the straps were lose after a few miles when starting a trip. I'd always stop after a few miles to retighten the straps. It was very scary when I would find that the straps had loosened up and I knew that the car could have easily come off the dolly if I had not stopped and checked it out after starting each leg of a trip.

I have flat towed a Ford Escape Hybrid and now a Honda CR-V. Neither car required any modification to fit the base plate. Once the equipment is installed, hooking up the car is very simple and far easier than the dolly. Once I hook up, I never worry that it will loosen up. When I get to my destination, it is very easy to unhook and there is nothing to mussel around or to find a place to store this large separate unit with an extra axel and another set of tires.

With the Stay-N-Play auxiliary braking system, I hook up the car and flip a switch and I am ready to go. With the Honda CR-V there is one more step to set the transmission into the towing mode, which takes three minutes of running the car. I did not have to do that in the Escape.

Again, starting out, I made the mistake of taking the cheap way out and going with the dolly. You may find, as I did, that after a few trips you will upgrade to flat towing. I was lucky that when I upgraded to flat towing, the shop put my dolly out on their lot and sold it for me. I told them what price I wanted and they sold it and gave me what I asked for it. Therefore, the overall cost for my learning experience was just a few hundred dollars.

Regardless, it is almost certain that you will be very happy you have a toad along.


Ted
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Old 07-06-2015, 12:07 AM   #28
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Thanks to TedGard01 for more information.

Three things caught my eye...

Strap tightening... With now over 15,000 miles on our dolly, the straps no longer stretch...new ones stretch. Having said that, we still stop after completing a full left and right turn, to check everything. I hope you check your tow set-up after initial start too...lots of locks, pins, and other moving parts in the self latching tow bars.

Moving the dolly at destinations... why did you unhook and move the dolly at destinations? We have never done this...but we have on occasion put the dolly under the RV overhang if we didn't want to see it.

Towing a Ford Escape Hybrid... That is our toad...LOVE the 30-34 MPG in a SUV and our best is 65MPG driving (slow and steady) around Yellowstone. But, ours is specifically not approved for flat towing and will grenade the CVT I read that some 2010 models were approved to flat-tow, but after some blew (I knew an owner that went through 2 transmissions) Ford recanted the approval. If you successfully flat-towed a Hybrid Ford Escape, you were very lucky We are not risking it...the new Escape is not available in the hybrid.

So, barring the purchase of a car just so an RV'er can tow a dingy flat, wouldn't a dolly be a reasonable alternative?

Safe travels
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