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Old 03-20-2014, 06:58 AM   #1
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Towing behind a 40' motorhome for newbie

We are purchasing a 2002 - 40' monaco diplomat next week. It is in great shape with many extras so hope we are making a good choice for our first time. We are experienced campers, but not motorhomers. One concern is not having something to drive after we are at our destination. Husband is an experienced large rig driver. Will be mostly doing 2 or 3 day trips initially. Suggestions welcome on whether to add a tow unit to the mix (cannot use a dingy with my car.)

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Old 03-20-2014, 08:02 AM   #2
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This forum has a section for towing and toads (aka towed vehicles). I would start there and read a lot. I would find a vehicle that can be towed 4-down, i.e. 4 wheels on the ground without a tow dolly or trailer. There are a lot of opinions out there, but you will figure it out. Good luck!

2004 Tiffin Allegro 27.5 ft. P32 18,000 lb GVW. 8.1 liter. Workhorse chassis built May 2002. 21,000 miles. 2012 Jeep Liberty Toad. RVi2 brake unit.
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Old 03-20-2014, 08:04 AM   #3
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You will want something for sure, unless you just rent at a long term destination. I'm not sure what your statement cannot use a dinghy with my car means, but I assume it won't tow four down. Front wheel dollies may fix that. I'veeven seen some being towed backwards...
We have grown used to buying a car that can be towed four down...
Revolution LE 38X C9 Cat
2011 Scion TC toad
1985 KLR 600 as a backup...
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Old 03-20-2014, 08:14 AM   #4
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In addition to what Full. Monte said you can search the internet for articles regarding towing. Go to a dealer where you will buy and install your tow package and they should be able to start you in the right direction. Specific recommendations and product info can easily be found in here. There are many that will voice their opinion.
Good luck with your new NH and happy traiils!
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Old 03-20-2014, 08:44 AM   #5
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Thanks for quick towing response

Our cars are not 4 wheels down. Thank you for the quick input. Just learning my way around this forum too.
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Old 03-20-2014, 11:16 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by sstehman View Post
Our cars are not 4 wheels down. Thank you for the quick input. Just learning my way around this forum too.
First, welcome to the forum, second, welcome to new adventures in RV types and uses. Motor homes are a very nice way to enjoy traveling, some sight seeing and camping etc. But, they do present a problem in terms of mobility after you get setup at a campsite or RV park. So, yes, it would be very advisable to have a "dinghy" or, "toad" to be able to be real mobile and, run and get groceries or, sight see or, just about anything.

Now, having said that, the method for "dragging" along a toad, varies from person to person. I've not taken any polls but, I'd just about bet my house that, over 90% of the RVers out there that tow a toad, FLAT TOW IT, with all four wheels down. That by far, is the easiest, fastest setup, most mobile, less complicated and, cheapest.

Just about any other way, is opposite of all those things. A tow dolly, which allows for one end of the vehicle, usually the front, to be driven up on and then secured. It's like half-a-trailer sort of thing. The primary reason most people use a dolly is because the vehicle they either already have for use as a toad, or, are planning on purchasing to use as a toad, is not authorized to be flat towed with all four wheels down.

The second way is, a trailer. With that setup, the entire auto/truck/jeep/whatever is loaded onto the trailer, secured and, you're off and running. Many people like that method due to the fact that, they think there's less wear and tear on the toad and, also because many of the toads loaded onto a trailer are also not authorized to be flat towed.

The problem with both of those methods is, you're now toting along an extra piece of equipment, every where you go. And, upon arrival at any destination, campsite, RV park site, anywhere, you now have to FIND a place for that extra piece of equipment. Many parks/campgrounds etc. do not provide "extra" space for that type of equipment. So, you're on your own to do so. For some, they don't mind the issue of trying to find space for their dolly or trailer, for many, it's way too much hassle. Not to mention, you've got to have room for it at home, where ever that is. And, they are not "problem free". They have tires that need to be replace every so often, wheel bearings that must be maintenanced, lights, brakes and more that must be either maintenanced or at the very least, inspected on a periodic basis.

The third way is to do a "Drive shaft disconnect" install. That method utilizes a mechanism by which the main drive shaft is disconnected from the rest of the drive train via a lever inside the toad. But, the toad must be on the "list" of types of vehicles for which the drive shaft disconnect is made for. Some are happy with such a device but, there's very many out there that have had lots of problems with those devices and will never go back to them.

A forth method is, the addition of a "Remco" transmission pump into the toad's transmission plumbing system. Those pumps are used to electronically pump the transmission fluid of the toads transmission all throughout the transmission so there's no damage to it while being towed. I've never been a fan of those because you're depending on a small, electric pump, to keep anywhere from a $2,000 dollar to a $5000.00 transmission from being damaged during towing. Many have used them and are happy. Your choice there.

The old and last method is, physically getting under the car/truck/vehicle with your trusty tools and physically disconnecting the drive shaft. You now have to tie it up or, store it in some sort of "fail safe" method so you will be happy knowing it won't fall while you're in the middle of nowhere or, in the middle of a metropolis freeway during rush hour. Now, I'd also bet my house that, that method, is by far the least preferred and most pain in the a$$ there is and, about 99.999999999999% of the "Older" RV people out there, are not about to climb under there vehicles, each and every time and disconnect or, re-connect a dirty, greasy driveshaft. Imagine trying to do that in a late arrival at a camp ground, at night, in the rain, just so you can park your RV. Not me.

So, those are some of the things to consider. As stated, by far, the flat-tow method is the most preferred. You drive up to the back of the coach, the tow bar, which is one of two types, either stowed on the coach, or, stowed on the front of the toad and, swung into position and connected. Then, the umbilical/electrical cord is plugged in and, the safety cables/chains(chains not preferred) are connected. As a supplement, some (like me) use the Ready Brake system for brakes on your toad so, an additional cable is hooked between the toad and the coach that pulls on the toads brake pedal when the coach is slowing or stopping.

Hope this wasn't too long for you but, I kind of wanted for you to get the whole picture of what's available out there. In any case, the towing of a toad, is invaluable. You can break a $4.00 part on the motor home and put it out of commission anywhere, anytime. Then, you're stuck. But, having that toad will allow you to be mobile and either find a repair center, get to an area where there's cell phone service or, any other important use.

If we were in your position, and our present vehicle is not flat towable, I'd sell it in a heartbeat and go find one that's flat towable of your liking. There's plenty of them out there. The Dinghy Towing guides, put out by Motorhome and Trailer life magazine, have pretty good information as to all the manufactures of flat towable vehicles/trucks/etc. available. Good luck and have fun.

2004 ITASCA HORIZON 36GD, 2011 GMC Sierra 1500 4x4 Toad '08 GL 1800 Gold Wing
Retired-29.5 yrs, SDFD, Ham - KI6OND
Me, Karla and the Sophie character, (mini Schnauzer)
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