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Old 07-19-2014, 05:15 PM   #1
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Tow dolly or 4 on the ground which is better

I am new to RVing and wanted to know what I should go with. I am looking to buy 2015 Leprechaun w/a ford f450, Class C. I need to buy a vehicle in either case. Looking at weight, safety and convenience. What vehicles are some of you towing and which method. Can I even pull a vehicle with this RV?

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Old 07-19-2014, 05:35 PM   #2
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Welcome to iRV2.
The difference between the GVW of the coach and the GCVW. Will give you the factory tow limit ( weight ) Probably 3500>5,000 lbs.
Tow dolly might add a little more weight to the rear axle than the tow bars for 4 down. If you find a vehicle that can be towed 4 down , without special pumps for automatic transmission, that's a $$$ savings.
Securing a vehicle to a dolly may require more crawling around & time.
Depending on local laws a dolly may require it's own licence .
Some parks will not allow you to park a dolly in your site.
A lot to consider.
JMHO: I'm happy with my 4 down set up , hook up and disconnect times , under 5 mins. If DW is around to help 2 mins.
My toad required a trans fluid pump , $1,100, and I installed it myself along with the tow plate . $600. Tow bars $800. Aux Brake system, $1,300. But I had the low mileage unit so it wasn't worth looking for another vehicle.

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Old 07-19-2014, 06:00 PM   #3
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If you are going to buy a "new" unit, look at the Jeeps. Wrangler if you're going to do some off roading and Grand Cherokee if you want a more plush ride. Towing 4 down is simple and as Skip said the hook up time is very fast. No dolly to store or the added weight of the dolly.

Good luck with your choice
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Old 07-19-2014, 06:10 PM   #4
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We tow a wrangler and it didn't require anything besides a tow bar. Of course you will need to wire up auxiliary lights and sort out brakes. The new Jeep Cherokee can also be towed four down if you buy the right option. Personally the only advantage I can see to a dolly is that you can back up but I think it would be a pain in the rear to deal with while traveling.
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Old 07-19-2014, 06:25 PM   #5
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Towing a dodge ram 1500 crew cab 4x4. Also we tow our jeep wrangler. No dolly but did spend some money on the tow bar and plates. Good luck

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Old 07-19-2014, 07:30 PM   #6
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Towing 4 down is the easiest and best way. No question about it.
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Old 07-19-2014, 07:47 PM   #7
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We tow a Honda Fit 5 speed manual 4-down. Very easy to hook up and disconnect too. Weighs in around 2600# but is in no way an off road vehicle. If you like to explore and get off the beaten path then a Jeep Wrangler is the way to go. Had considered a tow dolly too, but very glad we went with 4-down. Installed the base plate and wired the auxiliary lights and braking system myself to safe on cost.
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Old 07-19-2014, 08:23 PM   #8
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If you are the type of person who only keeps a car for a few years, or has several vehicles then you may be ahead "cost wise" using a tow dolly. Keep in mind that there are vehicles which also can not be towed on a dolly. For instance the Jeep Wrangler is probably the RVers favourite but has to be towed four down or on a trailer. If your handy and are able to install the base plate, aux brake, and lighting your self, then IMO 4 down is the way to go. The other thing to look at, is some vehicles can be towed 4 down, but that would be only the manual transmission of that make. Your better half may not want to drive/learn to drive a manual transmission. I know from experience because I have gone through that. I have towed a Chevy Cobalt and a Jeep Wrangle with my class C.
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Old 07-19-2014, 10:44 PM   #9
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Thanks for your help, I feel the 4 down is the best way to go. I did look into the equipment needed to tow 4 down and the cost is right at $3,000.00 installed for a jeep. NOT CHEAP! Good info on the tow dolly parking in a park!
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Old 07-19-2014, 11:25 PM   #10
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Dolly owners will tell you why they use a dolly...not so much about dolly towing being better. But, for sure, flat towing is not better, only different.

So, here's a few facts besides the obvious price issue already discovered by the OP.

On a dolly:
There are no miles added to you car's lower driveline.
Your car is safe up high away from rock strikes.
You can buy any of hundreds of front wheel drive cars and tow with no issues with the car.
There's no mods made to the car.
You can change cars in the future without having to obtain any new parts.
Brakes are most often part of the dolly and therefore are an intregal part of the set-up (no swapping in/out).

I have never had any problems with my dolly even though I have the entire set-up to flat tow (long story), it slides right under the RV's rear overhang in tight campgrounds, which is easy to move around with only a 50lb unloaded tongue weight (Eze-tow) or a small moving dolly will carry the tongue for you - and like already found, a dolly costs less to obtain (used or new) than the equal flat tow equipment...unless you forego the brakes.

And, no matter which you pick PLEASE get brakes. They are not required in many states, but having brakes is safer and smart.

Best luck
Kim and Steve, Mustang LCDR (USCG Ret), Outlaw #1193
"I have seen gross intolerance shown in support of tolerance", S.Coleridge 1797
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Old 07-20-2014, 08:48 AM   #11
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We tow 4 down. The only advantage of a Dolly that I can think of is you can back- up if you have to. If you think ahead, that shouldn't be an issue.
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Old 07-20-2014, 08:51 AM   #12
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Tow dolly or 4 on the ground which is better

Watch craigslist for towing equipment and confirm it is in good condition. For example, there is a Roadmaster Even Brake supplemental brake system on our local one for $400 and many tow bars ranging from $150 to $500.

Don't forget that towing 4 down requires a supplemental brake system in most states and is the right safety thing to do in all states. Same is true for a tow dolly (many have built in surge brakes).

For us, when we bring a toad it is an '03 Chevy Tracker 4x4 automatic @ 2,800 lbs, using a Roadmaster Falcon All Terrain tow bar, Roadmaster base plates and EvenBrake supplemental brake system. I went with Roadmaster due to a good reputation and manufactured 30 miles from my home.

I started out with a dolly towing an '03 Focus but decided that I prefer saving several hundred pounds in dolly weight and the faster hook/unhook process.
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Old 07-20-2014, 09:03 AM   #13
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We tow 4 down I like easy and less stuff to store. We use Blue Ox so it stores on MH. We have towed a Saturn, Wrangler and now a Dodge Dakota. Your unit easy tow most units up 5000 check manual and tow bar label.
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Old 07-20-2014, 09:10 AM   #14
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I use a kar kaddy dolly. Never had a problem in a Park with the dolly. Some parks have storage areas where you can unload/load your car/truck and store the dolly. The reason I chose the dolly is that I can tow either my car or truck without any issues. For me hook up is easy and just about as quick as 4 down units. In fact I have loaded my car in a shorter period of time than the guy in the spot next to me towing 4 down. I will admit that is an exception but once you get experienced with the dolly it's not that hard to do. I bought the dolly on Craigs list for $300.00. The guy said it belonged to his grandson and he wanted it gone. Unit was 3 years old, replaced the tires and I've been using it for 4 years. It's made 2 east coast to west coast trips and never an issue.

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dolly, tow, tow dolly

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