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Old 09-12-2007, 06:48 PM   #1
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DW and I are almost halfway through our first major (95 days, 9500 miles) Road Trip in our new (to us!) 33' 1990 Airstream Land Yacht.

We are having a great time, and the thought, time, money and effort I have expended to ensure a safe, trouble FRee trip seems to be paying off. The motorhome is performing very well, and we are quite pleased.

The problem is, we do not have a toad, and are renting cars in places we need wheels. This arrangement is not working out to our satisfaction, so we have decided to look for and purchase a toad when we return to Jacksonville in November.

The problem is, my LY cannot pull a large, heavy toad, and I need recommendations for a lightweight car that will serve as DW's "go to market" car when not a toad.

I'm not keen on towing 4 wheels down because of the expense of the towbar and brake buddy installation, so have decided to use a two wheel dolly, with brakes. Unless I'm talked out of it, of course!

I'm open to your suggestions.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 09-12-2007, 06:48 PM   #2
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DW and I are almost halfway through our first major (95 days, 9500 miles) Road Trip in our new (to us!) 33' 1990 Airstream Land Yacht.

We are having a great time, and the thought, time, money and effort I have expended to ensure a safe, trouble FRee trip seems to be paying off. The motorhome is performing very well, and we are quite pleased.

The problem is, we do not have a toad, and are renting cars in places we need wheels. This arrangement is not working out to our satisfaction, so we have decided to look for and purchase a toad when we return to Jacksonville in November.

The problem is, my LY cannot pull a large, heavy toad, and I need recommendations for a lightweight car that will serve as DW's "go to market" car when not a toad.

I'm not keen on towing 4 wheels down because of the expense of the towbar and brake buddy installation, so have decided to use a two wheel dolly, with brakes. Unless I'm talked out of it, of course!

I'm open to your suggestions.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 09-12-2007, 08:03 PM   #3
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I had a tow dolly once. I made one trip with it and immediately was frustrated with getting on/off and stowing same. Also, it dropped the MPG significantly. Towing 4 down increased the MPG by 1-2.

I'm partial to Honda products. However, there are a number of vehicles that are below 3000 lbs.
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Old 09-12-2007, 08:07 PM   #4
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If you use a dolly, you can tow practically any front wheel drive auto, and if you use the magnetic tail light bar you can do it without any modifications to the vehicle. So, you probably need to look for something below 2500 lbs.

If you want to tow 4-down, this link MH Mag Dinghy Guide will be a good place to start gathering data.
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Old 09-12-2007, 09:13 PM   #5
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I started with a dolly a few years ago but didn't like the additional hookup and storage nor having all of it behind me. I much prefer my 4-down.
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Old 09-13-2007, 01:32 AM   #6
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Taxman:
DW and I are almost halfway through our first major (95 days, 9500 miles) Road Trip in our new (to us!) 33' 1990 Airstream Land Yacht.

We are having a great time, and the thought, time, money and effort I have expended to ensure a safe, trouble FRee trip seems to be paying off. The motorhome is performing very well, and we are quite pleased.

The problem is, we do not have a toad, and are renting cars in places we need wheels. This arrangement is not working out to our satisfaction, so we have decided to look for and purchase a toad when we return to Jacksonville in November.

The problem is, my LY cannot pull a large, heavy toad, and I need recommendations for a lightweight car that will serve as DW's "go to market" car when not a toad.

I'm not keen on towing 4 wheels down because of the expense of the towbar and brake buddy installation, so have decided to use a two wheel dolly, with brakes. Unless I'm talked out of it, of course!

I'm open to your suggestions.

Thanks in advance. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Rent a dolly from Uhaul or Rentz, I believe they are among those that will rent you one without a truck rental, and see how it works for you. You can save several thousand dollars by purchasing a used dolly afterwards if it suites you.

I have considered towing a vehicle but after counting the cost I can't justify it. On our last tip renting a dolly would have cost $400 plus the 15 to 20 percent extra fuel costs ($200) which which combined comes to $600. We ended up renting a car for one day and only could have used one for two days at max so car rental at $39 a day when we got to our destination was much less than the cost of dolly rental and still less than the cost of the $200 extra fuel to pull it along the entire trip.

You can find a rental agency just about everywhere that will pick you up and drop you off at your site and even a few that will deliver the car to you and pick it up from the campground when you are through with it.

When I retire I may be staying at one destination for more than a few days at a time so the econimics could swing but for now neither a dolly or tow bar setup rented or purchased gives me a cost benefit over car rental at our destination.
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Old 09-13-2007, 04:08 AM   #7
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Taxman, as you mention, the benefits of the dolly are that you can tow a wider variety of vehicles, you don't need a tow bar, and you can get a dolly with surge brakes and lights. However, the cost of the dolly will probably more than offset the cost of the toad brake, lights, and tow bar. That is unless, of course you can find a good used dolly. If you find a used dolly, check the condition and age of the tires. Just like RVs, the tires of the dolly will deteriorate and oxidize when not used and should be replaced after 5-7 years regardless of the amount of tread left.

We have never towed with a dolly, and the biggest reason we don't is having to find someplace to put the dolly when camped. Many sites simply don't have room for a dolly AND an RV AND a car. Some campgrounds don't even have a decent overflow parking lot where you could park a dolly and they don't allow parking on the grass either. Just something to think about.
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Old 09-13-2007, 05:28 AM   #8
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Look around for an older Saturn, many were used as toads, very light for their size. You might find one with base plates and a tow bar. If not the base plates can be found separately.

It only cost me about $1000 for the base plates, tow bar, Brake Buddy, did my own installation and wiring. You will have a hard time finding a decent dolly with brakes for $1000.

Loading/strapping down on the dolly or hooking up the tow bar are close enough to be a wash in my opinion. But you do have to do something with the dolly unless you get pull thru sites every time you stop. A good one is heavy, it can be a pain to manhandle on rough ground.
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Old 09-13-2007, 06:47 AM   #9
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Hi Taxman,
By my signature you can see I currently use both a dolly and the 4 down method of towing. A couple of years ago, I upgraded the dolly to a Demco Kar Kaddy SS. Go here to see the Demco dollies. Scroll down the left margin of the screen to get to the RV product choices. There is a cost for both methods. Purchasing new equipment, they are about the same. There are tasks involved to hookup and unhook the toad. They are different tasks. You must determine the tasks you can live with.

There are many different manufacturers of components for dolly or 4 down towing. They all work. For me it comes down to how I interact with each product.

My recommendation is for you to find dealerships that sell the products you are interested in. Have the product demonstrated and then you do what the saleman demonstrated. Are the tasks associated with each product something you can/will do?

I have never had a problem with CGs and the dolly, never. I mention my overall length when making the reservation. I ask if their site can accomodate my length without unhooking. This is especially important for a one night stay. I have found CGs to be very accomodating if they know in advance what your requirements are. If they can not accomodate, they tell me and I call the next CG. It's when one shows up with a "surprise" situation the CG may not be prepared to handle that can be a problem.

When looking at the dolly you are considering purchasing, make sure you can handle the weight and mass of the dolly. Also, consider a spare tire and tongue jack (with wheel) to help move the dolly when it is not connected to the coach.
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Old 09-13-2007, 08:03 AM   #10
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I do agree with those that say "Check for a used set-up." I got the whole thing for under $1000.00 and it was for the second car. Lots of places on the internet to look. If you need the car then make sure you check out the guide as someone else has mentions, then go looking for the towing equipment that you need. It is fun!!
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Old 09-13-2007, 12:42 PM   #11
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If you get a dolly, dont get surge brakes.

Electric brakes are much better.


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Old 09-13-2007, 05:11 PM   #12
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All,

Thank you very much. Lotta food for thought, here.

Probably will wind up towing 4 down.

All we have to do now is decide which car is the right car.

Safe travels.

FRank and Susan
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Old 09-14-2007, 04:03 AM   #13
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Taxman, you can add me to several who have tried the tow dolly thing and went to the 4 wheel down system. I would suggest you look at Motor Home Magazine to see what specific vehicles you can tow. Also in our area (I am about 60 miles south of you, in Palatka, you should be able to get a weekly publication called Coastal Trader. It is less than a dollar. It comes out late on Thursdays, you can get it in most stop and robs (gas stations with little stores). It is like a mini newspaper that has 4 sections one of which has campers, motor homes etc and motor home equipment. You can find some great deals on tow bars etc. bill
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Old 09-14-2007, 05:16 AM   #14
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You can also check out hitchtrader.com for used equipment. If you can't find it used, check out our sponsor RVUpgrades for Blue Ox tow bars, base plates, and accessories.
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