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Old 01-22-2020, 05:09 PM   #1
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Best methods for towing

Hey All,

I'm weighing in your opinions here. I have a Class A MoHo. I want (Need!) to tow my mini cooper behind me. We're headed for Alaska from the East coast this Summer and will be traveling some rough roads. I can purchase the gear for a flat tow (Toad) for about $4-$4.5k or I can purchase an enclosed trailer for about the same. Besides the obvious, which will make me 50 feet long all the time with an enclosed trailer, what are the pluses and minuses of each type of tow. I'd hate to drop the cash then say, "Oh well, I should have, would have and could have!" Its always better to know others experience up front to make an informed decision. I thank you in advance......Eric
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Old 01-22-2020, 05:39 PM   #2
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The downside of an enclosed trailer or tow dolly is what are you going to do with them when parked. Many resort parks will not allow them to stay on your site. I have always flat towed and did so on our Alaska trip without problems.
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Old 01-22-2020, 05:48 PM   #3
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$4 to$4.5k sounds pretty high to prep a vehicle to tow 4 down....even if so, some of the components are transferable to future tow vehicles [eg, tow bar, aux brakes, mag or free-standing tail-lights, etc.]...4-down towing can be hard a towed if road conditions are rough...trailer might be good if you have other needs for it or for residual re-sale value...but in effect, you are dealing with three vehicles on the road [eg. tires, brakes, suspension, storage/parking and mechanical, etc.]....
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Old 01-22-2020, 06:39 PM   #4
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weight is a concern. your MH may have a maximum tow capability that is less than the combined weight of your car and trailer.

the quick way to get an idea of your max tow weight is to subtract the GVWR from the GCWR. that will give you a rough idea.

the best way to determine the amount of weight you can safely tow will be the lesser of the following:

- the gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of the MH minus the actual weight of the MH as it is loaded and configured for travel. actual or rolling weight is determined by loading the MH as you would for a trip. fill the fuel, fresh water and LP tanks. add clothes, food, supplies, etc. don't forget people. find a scale and get individual axle weights at a minimum. compare the actual axle weight to the axle weight rating (GAWR) for that axle. each axle will have a different weight rating. for every pound your mh exceeds its gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) you lose a pound of available tow weight. don't guess or assume...know.

- the weight rating of your hitch. the amount of weight your hitch is engineered to carry should be in your owner's manual.

- the weight rating of your tow bar. check the specs of your tow bar if you already have one. if not i'd look for one that is capable of towing 8000-10,000 lbs.

also keep in mind when flat towing you’ll have negligible tongue weight since there is no downward pressure on the MH hitch receiver. not so with a trailer. you’ll need to check the hitch specs bit generally max tongue weight is 10% of the hitch weight rating.
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Old 01-22-2020, 06:52 PM   #5
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Alaska Trip = Enclosed trailer if you value your paint!
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Old 01-23-2020, 05:51 AM   #6
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I had towed a Jeep Wrangler 4 down until April 2019. In June, I headed out on a 10,000 mile trip in the lower 48 states and wanted take a different car that can't be towed either 4 down or by dolly. That limited my choices to an enclosed or open trailer.

My shopping took me to open trailers due to weight and cost being lower. I purchased a 1997 U-Haul auto transport that has 4 wheel disc brakes, 12' wheel decks and a 7' tongue, for a total length of 19 feet and is 99" wide at the fenders. The trailer weighs just under 2,000 lbs and can carry 4,000 lbs.

This became more of a project than I anticipated. These trailers are built like tanks. I dismantled the trailer, removing the fenders, brakes, tires/wheels and all of the wiring and lighting. I sandblasted and painted the trailer, serviced the wheel bearings, installed new disc brakes, new wheels/tires, new wiring and LED lighting. I installed E-track on the wheel decks to accommodate multiple tie down configurations.

Now, after 8,500 miles into my journey, I can say that this was a great decision for me. I can tow any of my two cars or my Jeep on the trailer. Both cars are unable to be towed 4 down or dollied due to being low, lower and no tow bar adapters for either.

These are a few things that I have liked about the trailer vs 4 down.

- The trailer tows better than my Jeep in my opinion.
- I can see the fenders in the mirrors rather than only in the camera.
- I can back up and maneuver.
- The tongue is longer than enclosed trailers that I saw, allowing the trailer to be angled at nearly 90 degrees without touching the motorhome.
- I can back up into parking spaces at truck stops.
- The left fender folds down for driver door clearance.
- I have never unhooked the trailer in a campground pull through site or back in.
- The trailer has 4 wheel surge brakes that work very well. I like that they are all mechanical and the trailer can be towed by any vehicle that can tow 6,000 lbs, without any electrical brake controller or special wiring.
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Old 01-23-2020, 07:24 AM   #7
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We've done both, trailer and towed 4 down. I like the trailer much more. Being able to backup is a plus in tight spots. The trailer also gives you some space for other stuff. Unfortunately, as mentioned previously, not all camp grounds will have room for your trailer, so we don't use ours very often.

I guess it would just take a little extra planning to be sure you select campgrounds that would accommodate you. It's been a couple years since we went to AK. We towed 4-down there, but I'd have to say that only about half of the campgrounds we enjoyed would have had room for our trailer.

Lastly, We've found that desk personnel at campgrounds may not be completely knowledgeable about the space on their facility. After getting jammed up once, we now only use our trailer when going to known facilities. Towing the jeep 4-down is for exploring.
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Old 01-23-2020, 03:51 PM   #8
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I used to Trailer, then went flat tow. Much prefer the flat tow to be honest.


Trailer was always an issue with storage, I couldn't store at home so had to pay to store it. Storing at Campgrounds was never an issue in the 2-years I had it (in that they never charged me), but usually I had to take it to the boat trailer area or some storage area.


Loading and unloading was always an issue, just seemed to take so much time, especially if I had to retrieve the trailer from some storage location first. Strapping down took time.


Flat Tow is very easy. I can be hitched in less than 5-min and unhitched in the same time. I have the ReadyBrute Elite and leave it on the Motorhome most of the time. Hitching is drive up to the back of the motorhome (I'm pretty good at judging the distance), connect the arms, connect the brake and breakaway cables, connect the emergency cables, stick the Jeep in Neutral and Park and test the lights and I'm done.


Tows very well, follows the motorhome.


The trailer was convenient when I off-roaded, not worried about breaking anything and it was nice to be able to reverse into spots. I've reversed the Jeep very short distances (6ft or so), I once had to disconnect because I'd misjudged a turn in a Gas Station, that was a bit embarrassing, but I was moved and hitched back up in no time.

Saying all that, you could still try the trailer, if you get a good used one, you can pretty much sell it for what you bought it for.

Steve
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Old 01-23-2020, 04:30 PM   #9
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I thank you all for the insight. I don't know which way we'll go yet. A lot to consider here. The quote from a Mom & Pop RV center was just over $5k for flat tow equipment installed, (Blue Ox) and just under $4k from Camping World for Road Master equipment. Is this a good quote or should I keep shopping? Also, isn't there a bra or barrier for your car so rocks don't take out your paint or worse yet, your windshield?
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Old 01-28-2020, 06:49 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherpa Vern View Post
I had towed a Jeep Wrangler 4 down until April 2019. In June, I headed out on a 10,000 mile trip in the lower 48 states and wanted take a different car that can't be towed either 4 down or by dolly. That limited my choices to an enclosed or open trailer.

My shopping took me to open trailers due to weight and cost being lower. I purchased a 1997 U-Haul auto transport that has 4 wheel disc brakes, 12' wheel decks and a 7' tongue, for a total length of 19 feet and is 99" wide at the fenders. The trailer weighs just under 2,000 lbs and can carry 4,000 lbs.

This became more of a project than I anticipated. These trailers are built like tanks. I dismantled the trailer, removing the fenders, brakes, tires/wheels and all of the wiring and lighting. I sandblasted and painted the trailer, serviced the wheel bearings, installed new disc brakes, new wheels/tires, new wiring and LED lighting. I installed E-track on the wheel decks to accommodate multiple tie down configurations.

Now, after 8,500 miles into my journey, I can say that this was a great decision for me. I can tow any of my two cars or my Jeep on the trailer. Both cars are unable to be towed 4 down or dollied due to being low, lower and no tow bar adapters for either.

These are a few things that I have liked about the trailer vs 4 down.

- The trailer tows better than my Jeep in my opinion.
- I can see the fenders in the mirrors rather than only in the camera.
- I can back up and maneuver.
- The tongue is longer than enclosed trailers that I saw, allowing the trailer to be angled at nearly 90 degrees without touching the motorhome.
- I can back up into parking spaces at truck stops.
- The left fender folds down for driver door clearance.
- I have never unhooked the trailer in a campground pull through site or back in.
- The trailer has 4 wheel surge brakes that work very well. I like that they are all mechanical and the trailer can be towed by any vehicle that can tow 6,000 lbs, without any electrical brake controller or special wiring.
What you have is all great and dandy; however this will not work with Gas MH's. They can only tow 5klbs if you are lucky. You stated the trailer weighed in at 2klbs, that leaves 3klbs for a car. Well good luck at finding anything bigger than a SMART car these days. Seats 2 and 2 bags of groceries.
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Old 01-28-2020, 11:33 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperGewl View Post
What you have is all great and dandy; however this will not work with Gas MH's. They can only tow 5klbs if you are lucky. You stated the trailer weighed in at 2klbs, that leaves 3klbs for a car. Well good luck at finding anything bigger than a SMART car these days. Seats 2 and 2 bags of groceries.
By looking at the profile of the original poster, I learned that their motorhome listed is a 2011 Monaco Vesta and the vehicle that they want to tow is a 1969 Fiat 500. Their motorhome, depending upon how it is loaded, should have the capacity to tow the 1969 Fiat 500 on a trailer.

The 1969 Fiat 500 has a curb weight of about 1,200 lbs. A 14' Featherlight car trailer weighs about 1,300 lbs. This combination would weigh about 2,500 lbs.

My response only shares my experience and preferences. It was not intended to be an answer to every motorhome, engine type, towing capacity or type of car being towed. This is what worked for me, giving me the flexibility to tow any of my three vehicles.

It is important that the everyone calculate their actual towing capacity and make their decision according to their specific situation.
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