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Old 08-19-2011, 07:40 AM   #1
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Toad Options - Need Opinions

Looking for your recommendations/thoughts based on experience!

We have a newer to us 2005 Newmar MADP 4301. After taking three trips so far we really see the need to have a tow vehicle…at least on some of the trips. The quandary is which vehicle and which method. Here’s our options, ranked in order. We plan on towing 2-3 times a year for 1-3 weeks at a time. Other trips will be sans tow vehicle.

1) 2005 HD Diesel Pickup (4WD, CC, SB) This would be 4-wheel down using a 10K bar and either SMI or M&G for braking. I figure all said and done ~$2.5K.
2) Purchase tow dolly to haul our car. I think this would be similar in cost, maybe a bit more @ $3K.
3) Replace the car with something 4-wheel down friendly. This is high cost and highly undesirable, especially given the limited use. We already have a 4WD…
4) Purchase a dedicated toad. Not going to happen…high cost, maintenance, insurance, storage…etc.

The truck is paid for and is basically a winter/work vehicle used to haul stuff. We will keep it forever. It’s not a beauty queen so road debris and modification for being towed isn’t of any concern. We think it’s stupid to tow a 7,500 lb, 20 foot truck around but also see the pain of having a tow dolly. Watching people navigate campgrounds with a dolly behind a 40’+ RV doesn’t look like fun…even less fun in rain/dirt…etc. It would be much easier to simply un-hook at check-in. I also worry about damage to the car, either by the road or mistakes loading and un-loading. Initially I was worried about parking such a large truck at campgrounds but after seeing so many 5th wheels with similar trucks I’m not sure.

After extensive searching I found a few out there towing HD trucks…but very few. Maybe those doing so can give me some advise on cons. I already know it’s long (20 feet plus the bar putting me just over 65’), and heavy…that’s obvious. Do you run into a lot of situations where you wished you had a car/dolly instead. Has parking been a problem? What about overall driving such a long rig?

One more thing…the type of camping we do has an impact on this. We usually never spend more than two nights in one place. We stay at both private and state/gov, some with pull-thru and others without. Basically this means lots of hooking and un-hooking. Another plus we have realized with a truck is the ability to haul wood, trash and other “dirty” stuff outside of the RV or car for that matter.

Thanks!
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Old 08-19-2011, 08:16 AM   #2
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Faced with similar options, we went the way you'd rather not and bought a used CR-V to haul 4 down. Previously not a big "foreign" car fan, we weren't even sure we would like it. It was purchased on pure speculation after having done a ton of research on this site and a few others, based on it's reputation and it's utility. To shorten a little, we love the CR-V and are now STILL trying to decide which of our other 2 vehicles (both nice, a pick up and a car) that we will sell. We figure selling either well more than offset the purchase price of the Honda.
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Old 08-19-2011, 08:28 AM   #3
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I went thru those same choices a few years ago. We had a Suburban, but thought it way too big and heavy to drag around. I bought a tow dolly for towing our Honda Accord, used the dolly once and sold it. Entirely too much nuisance when unhooking every day or two. If you were merely driving straight to Florida and staying for three months the dolly would be ok. I bought a Roadmaster Sterling tow bar four years and 30k miles ago and have never looked back! I can unhook it by myself in 90 seconds and hook up again in four minutes. I like small, agile and versatile for a toad. We first used an old Toyota RAV(manual) then traded up to a Honda CR-V. Plenty of room to haul stuff, a large dog, and even four people of necessary, and barely noticeable on back of the DP.
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Old 08-19-2011, 08:41 AM   #4
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We are towing a Colorado Crew and it's being replaced with a GMC 1500 Crew. It's bigger but it also allows us to put the Golf Cart or WHATEVER in the bed and take whereever we go.
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Old 08-19-2011, 10:12 AM   #5
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We bought a used 2003 CR-V and love it. It's light and easy to tow.
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Old 08-19-2011, 10:34 AM   #6
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One solution seems to me given your restrictions on solving this----is to fall out of love with the larger pick up and sell it to get a comparable smaller pick up of the same value which will accomodate your needs, haul stuff, easier to tow, not so pretty as you mind modifying it for towing. Dollars to doughnuts you may just find one in the used market already equipt to tow from another RV'r. Or maybe with the sales price of your larger pick up you could get a nice smaller used one and have enough money left over to equip it for towing.

Other than that I give the CR-V a big nod.
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Old 08-19-2011, 01:23 PM   #7
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I towed 2 GMC Yukon XL's (Suburban) with no problems. (not at the same time)
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Old 08-21-2011, 08:23 AM   #8
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Thanks to those that replied. I cannot downgrade from the HD truck as I won't be able to haul all my other toys. After living with and burning up 1/2 ton gasers I need the diesel/tranny setup.

I have made the decision to forget about a dolly...it just won't work well for how I use the motorhome. Having to buy a tow bar anyway I will just setup the truck and see how it goes. If I hate it, I will work on getting something to replace the car when the lease is up. This way I'm really only out the cost of the baseplate and braking system, which is roughly $1K.
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Old 08-21-2011, 08:43 AM   #9
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We have pulled our GMC 2500 HD 25k miles over the past couple years with scooters and bikes. Works perfect for us.
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Old 08-21-2011, 08:45 AM   #10
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Thanks for reporting back ----the one with the most toys wins!!!

I wish you well.
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