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Old 04-24-2019, 04:30 PM   #1
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1997 Suzuki Sidekick w/ Roadmaster Tow Bar

So...funny how life works sometimes.

I have been sorta on the lookout for an affordable toad that would be lite enough to pull behind my 1997 RexAir with the 460 on a Ford F53 chassis.

And my wallet sort of has me limited on what I can swing so haven't been looking all that hard.

Well today I was at a store looking for a cam latch (The one that holds the dog house lid down) and as I came out I saw an older gentleman heading towards a car that had a tow bar on the front. COOL! I thought, another RV'er. So I went over and introduced myself and asked about his RV, turns out he sold it after his wife had passed away back in 2010. Long story short, he said his 1997 Sidekick was for sale and gave me a ballpark figure of $1790.00.

So..a couple of questions:

1. In my limited research on 1997 Sidekicks, over all I see good reviews. There appears to be one recall which I'll check into. Has anyone here used a Sidekick as a Toad? (I'll include a picture). He said it had 160K miles on it, but that 45K were towed miles. Any pro's and con's on this rig is appreciated.

2. The cover on the tow bar says Stowmaster, but when I attempt to research it all I see is Roadmaster info. Are they one in the same? What should I know about the tow bar? I'm guessing I should ask how old, has it been rebuilt or serviced? Anything else?

I'm VERY excited about this as I have wanted to have SOMETHING to pull behind us, but with limited funds and we're right in the middle of TRYING to get the house ready to put on the market (downsizing in preparation of retirement next year or the next???)

I for sure will test drive it and put it through my usual scrutiny but I just thought if any of you fine folks have experience with either of these two items (questions) I would greatly appreciate your input.

TIA for all your help!

BTW: According to the Dinghy guide, it's just under 3K pounds...SWEET!

https://photos.app.goo.gl/jRea1BniMHoGDv3K8

https://photos.app.goo.gl/k2qvCqQaPfTux4UB7
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Old 04-24-2019, 05:19 PM   #2
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Pertaining to #2, yes, Stowmaster is a "Car-Mounted" tow bar made by Roadmaster. The majority use a towbar that is connected to the receiver on the motorhome. A car-mounted tow bar will be mounted on the toad and use a ball mount hitch attached to the motorhome.

Here is a description and page from Roadmaster pertaining to the Stowmaster


I posted this awhile back as to what to inspect on a towbar and could come in handy when inspecting a used towbar. I'll attach it again. It's from Roadmaster. It may or may not help.
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File Type: pdf How to inspect your tow bar.pdf (277.0 KB, 4 views)
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Old 04-24-2019, 05:32 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theroc View Post
Pertaining to #2, yes, Stowmaster is a "Car-Mounted" tow bar made by Roadmaster. The majority use a towbar that is connected to the receiver on the motorhome. A car-mounted tow bar will be mounted on the toad and use a ball mount hitch attached to the motorhome.

Here is a description and page from Roadmaster pertaining to the Stowmaster


I posted this awhile back as to what to inspect on a towbar and could come in handy when inspecting a used towbar. I'll attach it again. It's from Roadmaster. It may or may not help.
TheRoc! Thank you so much for the info! I've printed it out and will certainly use it for checking out the tow bar.

Yes, I wish the tow bar was mounted on the RV rather than the car, but I guess that's a small issue, and for the price of everything I think I can live with it. Hopefully it's not too big of a job to remove the bar when we're using the car as a daily driver for work.

Again, thanks for the info!
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Old 04-24-2019, 05:53 PM   #4
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Owned two Suzukis. First was a 98 Sidekick Sport. Great little car. Noisy as heck, but a fun driver and totally reliable. Bought a brand new Grand Vitara in 2007 drove it until last August when grand daughter got it. Only issue we ever had was a failed fuel pump. Neither failed me except the one time. Both were light, cheap and fun especially if you like to drive back roads. With a true transfer case switching them to neutral and tour ready to go.
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Old 04-24-2019, 06:02 PM   #5
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Owned two Suzukis. First was a 98 Sidekick Sport. Great little car. Noisy as heck, but a fun driver and totally reliable. Bought a brand new Grand Vitara in 2007 drove it until last August when grand daughter got it. Only issue we ever had was a failed fuel pump. Neither failed me except the one time. Both were light, cheap and fun especially if you like to drive back roads. With a true transfer case switching them to neutral and tour ready to go.
Thanks Don, That's exactly what we enjoy doing (driving back roads). I have a 2000 Rodeo (which can't be towed four down) and took it to a place up by Priest Lake. It was the 1st time I had done any four wheeling. My wife was hanging on for her life as I carefully went up a ridiculous road FILLED with big rocks. That little Isuzu handled it like a pro. When we got to the top there were nothing but JEEPS up there.

Later on while hiking on the trial, some folks passed us and asked if that was our Rodeo. I said Yes Sir! (so proud) and they were like, HOW IN THE WORLD did you get that thing up here?! I had no idea I shouldn't have tried it. I love that thing and it's built like a tank. BUT...I am willing to trade it just so we can have something to pull behind the RV.

Sure hope it checks out tonight. Other than making or buying a cable to go from my RV to the toad for the electrical, there's nothing I would need to do, I think...other than look into a braking system I guess.
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Old 04-24-2019, 06:15 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by TriMoot View Post
TheRoc! Thank you so much for the info! I've printed it out and will certainly use it for checking out the tow bar.

Yes, I wish the tow bar was mounted on the RV rather than the car, but I guess that's a small issue, and for the price of everything I think I can live with it. Hopefully it's not too big of a job to remove the bar when we're using the car as a daily driver for work.

Again, thanks for the info!
Hi Trimoot. No, it's not difficult at all to remove. They call it a quick-disconnect system (explained in the video below). And remember, it can be "stowed" without removing just like the motorhome-mounted towbars can. Therefore, you don't have to actually remove the entire towbar while you're traveling and want to use the car as a toad. You can keep it folded or stowed on the toad.

Here is a video from etrailer showing how it works ...go HERE
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Old 04-24-2019, 07:01 PM   #7
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First year we had the 07 Zuki we ended jp with about 2-1/2 feet of snow in front of the garage door. With srick tires mind you I was able to get out. Took me a few back and forths, but that little car did it.
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Old 04-25-2019, 09:51 AM   #8
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Samurai here, 1987, paid $800. for it 12 years ago....The best decision ever to tow behind my '88 Winnie Super Chief...
The only issue was a failed rear wheel bearing. I noticed some noise before it was able to self destroy itself..
Ride-on!!
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Old 04-25-2019, 10:39 AM   #9
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Wow! Thanks folks! These all sound great.

We drove it last night and it has 130K miles, the owner said 45K of them are from being towed. There was nothing negative that I could say, everything worked, and while it certainly isn't in the 'plush' category, I think it will work just fine.

So he was asking $1790 which is actually a great price, but of course, you NEVER pay the asking price right? So we sat down and just chewed the fat with this gentleman, and actually had a great time talking about some of his trips he and his late wife used to take. And finally it was that uncomfortable time to make an offer, I said, "Well, feel free to say no...", and he interrupts me and says, "Hey, let me take a couple hundred off and we'll call it good". EXACTLY what we were going to offer. SWEEEEEEET!

One of the more enjoyable 'haggling' experiences I've had.

So, tonight we'll take over the cashiers check and I'll drive home an older car than the one I'm driving now......anyone need/want a 2000 Rodeo? HA!

Pretty excited actually as we have a two week trip planned over to the Oregon coast in July so that will give me some time to go through the rig and make sure everything is working correctly AND to take some practice runs pulling the little thing around. I'm used to pulling a 25' boat but that was behind a much shorter 'truck'. Should be interesting. Any tips are greatly appreciated.

And again, thanks for all the input. Now I have to look for a receiver hitch for the Sidekick that will accommodate the 2" bike rack receiver. I did a quick look last night and can only find 1 1/4" receiver although I did email Curt (the major hitch maker) and see if they can help me out. I guess the workaround is an adapter where the 2" receiver sits on top of the 1 1/4".

Also, I noticed this Sidekick doesn't have any rails on top to attach a rack to, anyone have suggestions for that? I need to be able to carry a couple of kayaks while being towed.

Okay, once again I've managed to make this WAAAAAAAY longer than I needed to.

Out.
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Old 04-25-2019, 10:56 AM   #10
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Attachment 243485
Quote:
Originally Posted by 450Donn View Post
First year we had the 07 Zuki we ended jp with about 2-1/2 feet of snow in front of the garage door. With srick tires mind you I was able to get out. Took me a few back and forths, but that little car did it.
450Donn: Thanks for that info as I was wondering how it might work in the snow, being that it really doesn't have much weight to work with. My Rodeo was amazing in the snow. I used to go out and look for people to help pull out of the snow as it was amazingly agile and most always I was able to get folks going.

However, in this photo I was out of my league. This truck was stuck in a drainage ditch and the Toyota had already broken a tow strap trying to get him out and when I went over to see if I could help I about fell on my rear end. I looked down and the road was completely covered in ice from all the blowing snow.

A few minutes later a 1 ton Dodge Ram came over and hooked on a big chain and was able to pull her out a few feet but even his 4x4 was slipping all over the place. So the Toyota driver and I got in the back end of the Dodge and man oh man did he YANK that truck! I was surprised the airbags didn't deploy!

Here's the funny part. He got her pulled out as you can see in the 2nd photo, but as I started driving away I watched in my rearview mirror as she backed right into the 1st drift and got stuck AGAIN! I just shook my head and figured the Toyota could handle it.
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ID:	243484   Click image for larger version

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ID:	243492  

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