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Old 03-15-2016, 08:12 AM   #1
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What's the cost?

We have been discussing the pro's of towing a vehicle, as of now we just rent or drive the rv. We watched and read alot on towing and it comes down to it looks like it would be very expensive to get all we need to tow a vehicle. We would also have to buy a jeep or similar for a toad as our vehicles we own are not going to work. I guess what I am asking (besides the initial cost) are the people towing cars retired people or full timers or did you slowly aquire all the stuff (vehicle first)and go from there? Thank you
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Old 03-15-2016, 08:45 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by roxy13019 View Post
We have been discussing the pro's of towing a vehicle, as of now we just rent or drive the rv. We watched and read alot on towing and it comes down to it looks like it would be very expensive to get all we need to tow a vehicle. We would also have to buy a jeep or similar for a toad as our vehicles we own are not going to work. I guess what I am asking (besides the initial cost) are the people towing cars retired people or full timers or did you slowly aquire all the stuff (vehicle first)and go from there? Thank you
roxy13019
We purchased our coach in '01, (2 years before I retired).
That fall we traveled from WI to CA and back without a toad.
In the spring of '02 I bought a used tow bar and a used base plate to fit my tow-able '96 Saturn.
We towed that Saturn 'til '09... (for over 60k miles).
In '09 we upgraded to a '07 Saturn ION, (and a new base plate).
Currently, (7 years... 52k miles later), we are still towing that '07 Saturn with the same towbar.
Mel
'96 Safari, leaving Salt Srings, FL, (heading to WI), tomorrow.
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Old 03-15-2016, 08:47 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by roxy13019 View Post
We have been discussing the pro's of towing a vehicle, as of now we just rent or drive the rv. We watched and read alot on towing and it comes down to it looks like it would be very expensive to get all we need to tow a vehicle. We would also have to buy a jeep or similar for a toad as our vehicles we own are not going to work. I guess what I am asking (besides the initial cost) are the people towing cars retired people or full timers or did you slowly aquire all the stuff (vehicle first)and go from there? Thank you
We already own the toad. Hard costs to convert and setup for towing is ~$2500-$3500 depending on which system and whether I do the work or pay someone else to do the install.

We are not retired... yet. Quite often my wife has to drive to either meet me, or leave early from where we are camping to go to work. That is our reason for wanting a toad. If we plan a longer range trip we will probably rent. I did the cost analysis on hauling the toad from NC to IA for a one week stay. It is actually cheaper just in fuel saving to rent a car for a week while in Iowa. Every person's needs and trips are different. Do what works for you.

Aaron
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Old 03-15-2016, 08:52 AM   #4
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You can usually get a used tow dolly from $800 and up. Make sure you get one with brakes. Preferably surge brakes so you won't have to a add a brake controller. I have used a dolly and it can be a pain sometimes. Swapping over to flat towing a Focus. IMHO flat towing is more convenient, but comes with an increased cost.
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Old 03-15-2016, 08:58 AM   #5
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Is a car carrier trailer (open or enclosed) ever a consideration , what would be the disadvantages, you could haul any car right? That would just require trailer brakes right?
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Old 03-15-2016, 09:05 AM   #6
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First, having a toad is a must if your gong to travel much. We don't travel to an RV park to see the park; the park just happens to be near sites and places we want to see and we need a toad to do that.
If you are trying to keep costs to a minimum then I agree with 66Stang. A used tow dolly is probably your best bet.
IRV2 has a "for sale" forum as to several other sites.
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Old 03-15-2016, 09:05 AM   #7
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Is your MH capable of towing that much weight? A car trailer would be worse then a tow dolly when it comes to moving it around and storing it. There are people that use them though, so it's possible.
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Old 03-15-2016, 09:24 AM   #8
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Thank you all very much, alot to think about
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Old 03-15-2016, 09:33 AM   #9
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Our first toad was and still is sometimes, a Honda Element. Total cost to convert to 4 wheel towing was $200.00 for a base plate, about $50.00 for the wiring and turn signal/brake/running lights that I installed in the existing turn signal lens bypassing all the existing vehicle wiring and electronics and a few hours doing the installation. Our coach came with a Demco tow bar and a Brake Buddy, but those can generally be purchased in good condition used on craigslist for less than $1,000 and can be used for most vehicles. We upgraded to a GMC Canyon 4x4 pickup, can be towed 4 on the ground by putting the transfer case into neutral, installing the brake buddy and hooking up to the same tow bar. Total cost of setting it up for towing (since I already had the tow bar and brake buddy) was less than $300.00, and once again, an afternoon of my time to install.

We would not be without a toad. That is a personal preference, and "other opinions may vary!" That doesn't make ours right or theirs wrong, it is just what works for us and them.

On a tow dolly, make sure that your vehicle can be towed with only one set of wheels off the ground. Most AWD vehicles CANNOT be towed this way without running the risk of damage to the drive train.

Good luck in whatever you decide, then YOU TO can have an opinion on the subject! Safe travels
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Old 03-15-2016, 10:48 AM   #10
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We bought a 2 door Wrangler and set it up for towing. We like to hike and leaving our former Class B at trailheads wasn't an option. So we always rented a high clearance SUV. In addition to the rental cost many state parks charge additional for a non-legally towed second vehicle. In some CA beach state parks it is almost $15/day. The tab runs up quickly.

I called about having a shop set the Jeep up and was quoted $3500. I was expecting $2500. Since the Jeep was brand new I didn't want to do anything that might affect the warranty. I purchased a LoD aftermarket bumper with Roadmaster tow points, RVi2 auxiliary brake and Towmate wireless lights. I ending up spending around $2500 dollars.
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Old 03-15-2016, 10:48 AM   #11
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We're not retired, not full timing, did not hit the Lotto numbers, no rich Uncle passing or such. We're weekend campers with a couple of weeks on the road during summer vacation. Already had a towable vehicle when we acquired the coach. Set up was the cost of a base plate at $300 and the tow bar at $750 a few years back. I installed the base plate and rear lighting myself. Braking system is built into the tow bar so I dodged that additional cost. If I didn't have the car I would have opted for a dolly rather than buying something just for vacation use. A dolly has both pros and cons just like anything and I advocate using a dolly rather than buying something just so you tow four wheels down A bit more work at the campsite or at home getting the dolly stowed but considering the cost of a replacement car would pay for a lot of coach fuel and camp ground fees.

Although not every vehicle made can be towed there are plenty of makes and models that can be towed besides Jeeps and if you're willing to buy used even more available at good prices. My original was a 98 Honda Accord Coupe that I wore out at 225,000 miles on the original engine/transmission. Replace two years ago with a 05 Honda CRV that needs 125,000 miles to match what the Accord did. Both were also used daily for work and such and are not dedicated just to tow behind the coach.

Having a vehicle along for the ride, when we do take it, makes the outing much simpler regarding getting out and away from the camp ground. It was a one time cost to set the car up but I opted to take that hit then rather than the cost and logistics of a rental at our destination or using the coach to sight see. We would get by not having a car with us but visiting Rushmore, Yellow Stone, Acadia, North Shore of Lake Superior or other out of the way places wouldn't be nearly as enjoyable without.
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Old 03-15-2016, 11:12 AM   #12
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Each person's RV life (or style) is different of course. We considered setting up one of our Jeeps for towing, and then decided against it. Several reasons for that.

I like maneuverability of the coach without a toad.

We don't stay in RV camps (we park in the city, and use cabs to move around). If we are enjoying nature, we are so far from any city that we would hate driving a toad back and forth.

Mainly,......we drive to a city of interest, pick a spot, park, and go dining/sightseeing/shopping with the cab. When we visit friends, we plug in at their home, and use their cars if we want to (as they do when they stop by at our place).

In national parks, state parks/beaches, etc. we stay put, and don't drive around at all (mainly hiking, playing with dogs, barbecuing, and chilling).

If we were "destination type" RVers (people that drive to RV resort/camp, and stay there for some time), we would have a toad. Since to us driving to... (wherever!).... IS the destination, and the stops in between are just "breaks", we don't want to tow.

Out of last ten days spent on the road, we were in Las Vegas for two nights, one night in Idaho State park, four nights at the friends horse ranch, two nights on the beach, and one night on the road driving. That's the way WE like to RV. No toad needed.
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Old 03-15-2016, 11:44 AM   #13
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Honda CRV Base plate ~ $400
Toad Lighting wire harness ~ $40
Blue Ox Acclaim Tow Bar ~ $500
M & E brake system ~ & $500

Totals = $1,440
I performed all the labor
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Old 03-15-2016, 11:55 AM   #14
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Look at the classifieds on this site and see all the toads, already set up to pull, for sale...
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