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Old 07-07-2015, 12:17 PM   #1
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What is the cost for four flat towing?

Hi guy's my wife and I are already towing our Jeep Grand Cherokee with a tow dolly. We went that route due to finding a really good deal on the tow dolly, but have not considered towing Four Flat. I would like to first under stand the cost and how associated with four flat towing.

Let's consider a vehicle similar to the Grand Cherokee, What all is required equipment wise? Is it easy to hook up and un hitch? Anything else you might want to add? As I stated we have never done this or have spoken to anyone that does this so we a fact finding.

Alan and Terry

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Old 07-07-2015, 12:51 PM   #2
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It ain't cheap! IMO you will need: a base plate + installation, a tow bar, a brake system, and possibly wiring for the lights. As far as using after ready, we find it really easy. Takes about 5 minutes, or less, to hook up or unhook. In our case we have Roadmaster Sterling Tow Bar and base plates with SMI Duo braking system.

2011 Monaco Knight 36', MaxForce 10, 350HP, 1150 lbs. Torque.
2008 Saturn Vue Toad, SMI Duo Brake, Roadmaster Sterling Tow Bar
San Antonio, TX Home Port
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Old 07-07-2015, 01:05 PM   #3
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Correct it ain't cheap but doing it correctly is important. You're looking at $1,800 to slightly over $2,000 depending on what you choose to use. We have the Ready Brake inertia brake system. There's nothing to put on the floor inside the TOAD. The system uses inertia to actuate the TOAD brake pedal. Our TOAD is around 3,200 Lbs. That fact and the coach brakes stop it well. Other systems may apply more pressure to the TOAD brakes because they are getting close to the 5,000 Lb maximum of most RV hitches and need the extra braking.

There's a lot of information on these forums. Just do a search and you can read for hours and hours. You will probably find someone with your exact combination of TOAD and coach.

TeJay Auto Instructor/4-yrs USAF/ Liz: RN/ WBGO 2014 Vista 30T/ F-53/CHF/5-Star/Koni * Bella & Izzy * Golden /Cocker mix/ Louie The Cat* All Retired
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Old 07-07-2015, 01:13 PM   #4
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Shop around for instance I gave $749 for a all terrain 10,000 tow bar new on Amazon.
2007 Fleetwood Revolution LE 40V
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Old 07-08-2015, 07:01 AM   #5
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Tow dolly on a Grand Cherokee? Didn't think you could do that, so I am a bit confused. Do you have 4wd with the active drive 2 tranny/transfer case that can be put into tow mode?

Cost about $3k for our Chreokee including all equipment and installation, including a "stay n play" braking system. We got a discount since we had it put on by our dealer as part of our coach purchase. I just let them pick the equipment they were most comfortable with for the Jeep.

We have towed the Jeep basically every mile we have driven the coach (2500 miles, and 5 trips in 4 months so far). Very easy to hook up, just the 2 points on the bars, connect the electric cord and the brake breakaway cable, and the safety chains, and flip one switch on the brake controller.

Putting the Jeep Into tow mode takes 2 minutes, just don't pause on the shift between N and P. I do a walk around while my wife pulls away slowly in coach for 50-100 yards, and make sure the bar locks and all the wheels are turning freely.
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Old 07-08-2015, 08:59 AM   #6
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As others have said, $2000 to $3000 is a good budgetary number. Less if you do some serious shopping for bargains and do a lot of work yourself, more if you just drop it off at a dealer like Camping World and give them a blank check telling them to set it up and do all the work. Others already mentioned the equipment (tow bar, brakes, lights, etc. and there are many options for each category.)

Installation is a fair amount of work, but it's work that can be done yourself if you're mechanically inclined. But there are a lot of people who won't want to get their hands dirty and want it professionally installed. The labor to get it installed is a significant portion of the cost. To get an idea of the work involved, I wrote a rather detailed series of posts when I converted my current toad: Setting up to flat-tow an F-150. Of course the details will be different, but the general idea is the same for just about any toad.

How easy it is to hook up depends on how much work you do ahead of time. My thought was that since I was putting in some work up front to install things, I wanted a braking system that was permanently installed and required no effort at hook-up time. You can save some installation time by using a commonly available brake-in-a-box system, but then you have to install and remove it every time you hook and unhook, so that will take some additional time.

Basically, hooking up involves driving close to the back of the motorhome. The tow bar is usually left on the motorhome hitch, so all you have to do is lower the arms, activate the latches and collapse the arms, and then hook them to the car (usually with some hitch pins or something similar.) With the collapsible arms, you just have to get the car close, it doesn't have to be lined up exactly like a trailer with a rigid hitch A-frame. With the bar connected, hook up wiring (I put the lighting and braking in one cable, some others may be more involved) and connect the break-away lanyard and safety chains. With the exception of not having to carefully line up the hitch, that portion of it is similar to hooking up a bumper pull trailer. Then the vehicle has to be prepared for towing, which will vary by vehicle: transmission in neutral, or transfer case in neutral, run through a series of gears, pull fuses or flip switches, etc. -- it all depends on the specifics of your vehicle. I hear Jeeps are pretty easy. Then just check that the lights are working, pull forward to extend and latch the tow bar arms and make sure things are rolling freely, and hit the road. I like to stop at the first opportunity and double check that everything is tight, and the tires/wheels aren't overheating because the brake is on or some other silly setup error. (So far, everything has been good, but I still check.) It sounds like a lot of steps, but in reality it only takes a couple minutes.

It's a bit overwhelming with all of the options and the things to learn, but once you have it figured out and set up, it's a pretty easy way to go. There's nothing wrong with using a dolly, but a lot of people find flat towing to be more convenient (once the initial setups are done.) But there is a significant initial cost.
Adam and Sue, and a pack of little furballs
2007 Holiday Rambler Endeavor 40PDQ Limited Edition - Cummins ISL 400
2013 Ford F-150 FX4 toad - USGear Unified Tow Brake, Roadmaster Blackhawk II Tow bar, Blue Ox baseplate
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Old 07-08-2015, 09:32 AM   #7
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Just finished mine up and tested it today for the first time. Works great. Hook up and go, less than 5 minutes. Unhook and stow, less than 5 minutes. No heavy lifting once the tow bar is installed on the RV.

Here are the real numbers for the parts I chose to get a 2015 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited ready to tow four down. Total cost: $2,047.58
  • Blue Ox base plate: $394.99 (ebay - no tax, free shipping)
  • Roadmaster universal diode light kit: $84.94 - (etrailer - no tax, includes $6.99 shipping)
  • SMI Stay-In-Play Duo supplemental brake system: $839.96 (Dyers - no tax, free shipping
    Blue Ox Avail tow bar (10,000 lb.): $727.69 (rvupgradestore - no tax, free shipping

I was able to install all of the components myself with no drama whatsoever. I'm not a mechanic, but can follow directions well.
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Old 07-08-2015, 09:48 AM   #8
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Approximate costs:
Tow bar (mount to coach) $10-1200
Base plate (mount to car) $5-600
Aux brake (in car) $10-1200
Misc accessories (opt) $10-1500
Some accessories may not be required. Up to you for the most part. includes hitch riser, hitch locks, umbilical cord, breakaway switch, toad rock/grit protection, all install labor, etc.

Probably closer to the low figures. Once done, hookup and disconnect are easy beans.

Fulltiming since '12
2002 DSDP 40, FL, Cat 3126
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Old 07-08-2015, 11:03 AM   #9
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All I can say is shop around. I found a local trailer shop that matched a camping world sale and I got base plate and lights, installed for $850, bought a ready brake for $150 installed for $100. I already had the tow bar, but that had been purchased at $450 4 years before.


2006 Sea Breeze LX 8341 on a Workhorse W22 Chassis with 22.5 Alcoa Alum wheels,
2011 Chevy Colorado 4X4 with Ready Brake
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