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Old 08-09-2013, 02:57 PM   #1
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Trying to make the best decision

Hi all,

I am trying to research the best decision for our towing setup and would appreciate your thoughts. We have a 2005 Itasca Suncruiser 37B with the 8.1L engine and can tow up to 10,000 #. We (and the bank) own a 2008 VW New Beetle that is automatic. Because the VW is automatic, we would need a tow dolly to handle the bug. I am trying to decide if that is acceptable with the hassles of the dolly, driving it on and off, lights, etc. or in the long run, change cars and get something that can be towed 4 down. Since I will need to add a tow package to the new car, that cost could out pace the tow dolly setup.

If you can get through my rambles, I would appreciate feedback on which way to go.

Thanks
Rick
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Old 08-09-2013, 04:17 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by osgoor View Post
Hi all,

I am trying to research the best decision for our towing setup and would appreciate your thoughts. We have a 2005 Itasca Suncruiser 37B with the 8.1L engine and can tow up to 10,000 #. We (and the bank) own a 2008 VW New Beetle that is automatic. Because the VW is automatic, we would need a tow dolly to handle the bug. I am trying to decide if that is acceptable with the hassles of the dolly, driving it on and off, lights, etc. or in the long run, change cars and get something that can be towed 4 down. Since I will need to add a tow package to the new car, that cost could out pace the tow dolly setup.

If you can get through my rambles, I would appreciate feedback on which way to go.

Thanks
Rick
osgoor, a couple things..
1) A primary limiter to tow capacity is your hitch rating. Your is 5000lbs, which means your towed vehicle can't exceed that weight fully loaded.
2) Towing with a dolly does not require any modification to the towed vehicle in most cases. The dolly will either have surge brakes, or electric brakes. If electric, you"ll need a breaking solution that includes a unit in the towed vehicle and controller in the MH..

You will get lots of opinions on dolly vs 4 down towing. If you have a need to tow different vehicles, maybe a dolly is best for you. If one car will be the toad all the time, I prefer the 4 down solution.
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Old 08-12-2013, 06:19 PM   #3
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I tow on a dolly and don't mind it at all. The only downfall is if it rains. However that coach is rather big and unsure what the GCVW of that chassis. You should be ok but there are some coach manufactures that build the coach close to the GVW and not much room for the GCVW. 10K seems rather high for a gas coach of that size.
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Old 08-13-2013, 08:46 AM   #4
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Thanks guys. I do have a 5,000# hitch, my bad.
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Old 08-13-2013, 09:18 AM   #5
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I agree that it is really a personal preference. I prefer 4 down because...well..I do. LOL I think it is a little less complicated when connecting and disconnecting.. However, it is more complicated and adds to the cost when setting up the whole system after you toss in brake and lighting needs.

If you already have a vehicle or plan to get one that can be towed 4 down, then it might be worth the investment for the tow plate, tow bar and other stuff needed to be safe. If not, then tow dolly could be just the ticket.

Keep in mind that your towing weight with a dolly is both the vehicle you plan to caddy (as you would load it) plus the weight of the dolly. So, make sure you get your vehicle weighed with full fuel and and "stuff" you will put into it instead of the coach.

In the end, a 4 down tow set up weighs less than if you use a dolly. 4 down towing *MIGHT* help a tad in MPG and perhaps in big climbs, HOWEVER...for the most part the difference is not enough to make it a decision on what you choose solely for that reason.
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Old 08-13-2013, 03:17 PM   #6
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Thanks Sky_Boss,

We own a 2008 VW Beetle that is automatic. That is why we are trying to decide which is a better way to go.
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Old 08-13-2013, 03:40 PM   #7
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osgoor,
While you already have a "known" good vehicle, (at least I'm assuming your VW is and has been "Good") the problems with a dolly are two fold. One, you have to deal with it, each and EVERY time you arrive at a campground/RV park etc. What to do with it, where to put it, is there space enough in the camp site you're in, if not, then what, EVERY TIME! All that plus, you have to have room for the car (Your VW) too, at each and every camp spot. Some, put the dolly under the rear of the coach. Well, I've never even handled a dolly so, I have no idea just how awkward they are to manipulate by hand, in a tight camp space etc. so, I'm not sure just how hard it would be.

But, towing four down, would be that much easier just because you have one less object (a rather large one at that) to deal with, each and every time. Now, first, you have to consider that, your VW will not work and, you'll have to head out and purchase one that can be flat towed. Second, setting it up, that is, base plate, tow bar, lights etc. can be somewhat frustrating depending on your level of expertise in "do it yourself" intentions or, simply just pay someone/out fit to do the setup for you.

But, when it comes to setup for towing, I've never done a dolly and I can tell you that setting up with a tow bar on a flat tow vehicle has got to be considerably easier and quicker. I know that even when I'm not in any sort of a hurry, which I'm normally not, it as the DW drives the truck up to get hooked up to the tow bar, from the time I signal her to stop, to the time we're both getting into the door of the coach, it's right at about 2 minutes. And that includes the tow bar, the cables, the electrical plug, and, a Ready Brake cable.

Now, some have dealt with a dolly for quite a while and are happy. It's just always looked like more of a pain in the a.. then it was worth. Flat towing has always been very easy to us. It's up to you, your choice.
Scott
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Old 08-13-2013, 08:25 PM   #8
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osgoor,
While you already have a "known" good vehicle, (at least I'm assuming your VW is and has been "Good") the problems with a dolly are two fold. One, you have to deal with it, each and EVERY time you arrive at a campground/RV park etc. What to do with it, where to put it, is there space enough in the camp site you're in, if not, then what, EVERY TIME! All that plus, you have to have room for the car (Your VW) too, at each and every camp spot. Some, put the dolly under the rear of the coach. Well, I've never even handled a dolly so, I have no idea just how awkward they are to manipulate by hand, in a tight camp space etc. so, I'm not sure just how hard it would be.
It really is not that hard to move around. I had my wife move ours and she was very surprised how easy it was to move. She is 5'4" and average sized girl.

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But, towing four down, would be that much easier just because you have one less object (a rather large one at that) to deal with, each and every time. Now, first, you have to consider that, your VW will not work and, you'll have to head out and purchase one that can be flat towed. Second, setting it up, that is, base plate, tow bar, lights etc. can be somewhat frustrating depending on your level of expertise in "do it yourself" intentions or, simply just pay someone/out fit to do the setup for you.

But, when it comes to setup for towing, I've never done a dolly and I can tell you that setting up with a tow bar on a flat tow vehicle has got to be considerably easier and quicker. I know that even when I'm not in any sort of a hurry, which I'm normally not, it as the DW drives the truck up to get hooked up to the tow bar, from the time I signal her to stop, to the time we're both getting into the door of the coach, it's right at about 2 minutes. And that includes the tow bar, the cables, the electrical plug, and, a Ready Brake cable.

Now, some have dealt with a dolly for quite a while and are happy. It's just always looked like more of a pain in the a.. then it was worth. Flat towing has always been very easy to us. It's up to you, your choice.
Scott
I would have to imagine that 4 down is much faster. It takes me around 10 min total to set the car up. Not a big deal for me however some with some limited mobility or strength may have a more difficult time. The part that takes me the longest is to make sure the straps are exactly where I want them. I don't have to stop every 50 miles or so to retighten because I think I get them in a good spot. Just tighten and go. The first trip I stopped a few times due to the strap stretching but don't seem to be an issue at all now. Even had to back up with the Escape on. Challenging but did it.
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Old 08-13-2013, 08:49 PM   #9
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Having towed the same vehicle both four down and on a dolly behind the same motorhome I can say that I actually prefer the dolly.
Less chance of damage to the towed from road debris
Less wear on the towed, especially the CV joints and brakes.
Don't need to buy new brackets and have or install it yourself wiring
Dolly will or should have it's own brakes.
I can load the dolly just as fast as installing the bracket end pieces, hooking the towbar up and installing the BrakeMaster unit to tow four down.
In only one spot have I ever had to store the dolly off my site.
The dolly seems to tow easier and follows the MH better.
Towing the Ody four down requires a charge line to the MH, the dolly doesn't.
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Old 08-13-2013, 10:31 PM   #10
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Having towed the same vehicle both four down and on a dolly behind the same motorhome I can say that I actually prefer the dolly.
Less chance of damage to the towed from road debris
Less wear on the towed, especially the CV joints and brakes.
Don't need to buy new brackets and have or install it yourself wiring
Dolly will or should have it's own brakes.
I can load the dolly just as fast as installing the bracket end pieces, hooking the towbar up and installing the BrakeMaster unit to tow four down.
In only one spot have I ever had to store the dolly off my site.
The dolly seems to tow easier and follows the MH better.
Towing the Ody four down requires a charge line to the MH, the dolly doesn't.
Interesting points Mr. D,
I have watched other folks using a dolly and always thought, "no way I'm going this route" hook up seems like a pain. I see people jockeying up and down the dolly to get it centred just right and then crawling around to get it strapped down. Not disagreeing, just my observation.
My first toad was my Taurus. I use Blue Ox equipment throughout. Hook up and disconnect has been a snap with the exception of the Patriot which used to drive me nuts getting it through the Setup process.
Then, I traded the Taurus off on a CRV. Had the Honda set up by a Hitch Shop for (in my opinion) a reasonable amount and it works Superb. The whole thing takes only a few minutes and we are on the road. Patriot set up is now a snap because the seat has a plastic rib on the front so it is not soggy like the Taurus.
When I think about the gong shows I have seen with folks towing on a Dolly, I just shake my head and say "Why?"
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Old 08-13-2013, 10:45 PM   #11
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Great feedback. Thanks to everyone that replied. You have given me good input to think about.
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Old 08-13-2013, 10:47 PM   #12
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Used a dolly then switched 4 down. Could not tell the difference while towing but getting set up is much easier with 4 down. Have you looked into a lube pump? I don't know if it will work with your bug but worth a look.
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Old 08-14-2013, 03:07 PM   #13
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some vehicles just do not tow 4 down, so a dolly is the only choice. we have a Kia van and it is not to be towed 4 down so a dolly was our only choice as we have 3 dogs and need the room for them when we go exploring or to the store.
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Old 08-15-2013, 06:19 PM   #14
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Go 4 down if it's not to late.When my wife crashed the toad that required a dolly we went with a vehicle that could be.Best mistake she ever made.I had never used anything but a dolly and never realized what a hassle they are.
Good luck.
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