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Old 07-25-2020, 02:45 PM   #1
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Do you lock the Toad steering wheel-Newbie

Okay we just bought our first MC. We have a 2003 Saturn Vue front wheel drive auto trans. Was wanting to use is as our Toad car. My Thought was to purchase a dolly and tow the front wheels. But thought about if I could tow it 4wheel down. I really don't see a lot on this subject. Do you have to have a brake assist in the car when towing 4 down? Can you tow without one? Do you have to unlock the steering wheel when towing. Tow dolly seems simple. Just drive it onto the dolly, strap it down and hit the road. Our MC has a brake controller on it.
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Old 07-25-2020, 03:15 PM   #2
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If you can tow it four down that is the easiest way. Tow dolly is more then drive it up strap it down. Once at campground unstrap drive it off, unhook tow dolly back MH into site, find a place to park tow dolly, now do you have room to park the toad?. Get ready to leave pull MH out of space drag dolly to MH hook up now drive toad onto dolly hook toad up again on dolly. Now try the same in the rain.
4 down drive up behind MH hook up tow bar hook up wiring lock the toad doors drive off. OK it's a little more than that but lot easier and faster than a dolly. Dolly is good if you have more than 1 front wheel drive car you want to use as a toad.
4 down you will need brake assist which would include a break a way that would put the toad brakes on if it became detached from the MH. The steering wheel would have to be unlocked to tow 4 down. Is your Vue flat towable? look in the owners manual it should be listed under towing
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Old 07-25-2020, 03:17 PM   #3
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Some auto transmission cars can NOT be towed 4 down. That's the first thing you need to find out. Look in the owners manual for a chapter on recreational towing.

You should have brakes when towing 4 down and yes the front tires must be able to steer or you will wear them down real fast.
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Old 07-25-2020, 04:16 PM   #4
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I just pulled up the 2003 Motorhome Dinghy Towing Guide and it says your Saturn Vue with auto transmission can't be towed 4-down!
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Old 07-25-2020, 04:17 PM   #5
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Your Vue may very well be able to be towed 4-wheels down as many Saturns were. But you need to do some homework. For sure you need to read the details of towing in your Saturn Owner's Manual, including speed limitations, fuses to be pulled and any requirements to periodically run your Vue's engine. You also need to find and purchase appropriate towbar and baseplate for your Vue. And as already stated, you'll need auxillary braking. Lots of details to tow safely, but when you educate yourself, you'll be prepared.
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Old 07-25-2020, 05:43 PM   #6
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I have a 2003 Saturn Vue with Manual Transmission that I pull four down. I'm not sure about the auto transmissions. Obviously, when I tow four down, the steering column must be unlocked. I physically removed the locking paw in the column so mine is always unlocked.

When I tow on a dolly, locking the column depends on the dolly type. When I had my old dolly, the pan that the front wheels were tied to actually swivel a little, so I would lock the column. On my Acme, it doesn't have a pivot pan, so I MUST leave the steering column unlocked.

As for brakes, I tow without brakes on my Saturn Vue.

My Acme dolly has surge brakes.

IMPORTANT- Before you get to much invested in the Saturn Vue, I'd recommend looking at the front engine cradle mounts, especially if the vehicle has lived its life in winter weather where salt is used on the roads. I just repaired mine. you can see photos and a writeup on my blog site:

TOAD – 2003 Saturn Vue – 1999 Southwind 35S

Sadly this is a car killer. the vehicle could be in excellent condition, but if these mounts are gone, this presents a huge safety risk. A visual inspection is a starting point. If there are ANY signs of flaking rust, use a screwdriver and poke around. Panic if the screwdriver goes completely through the frame mount point.

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Old 07-25-2020, 06:15 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by MSHappyCampers View Post
I just pulled up the 2003 Motorhome Dinghy Towing Guide and it says your Saturn Vue with auto transmission can't be towed 4-down!
The Remco site says no for the Auto as well. Sorry. Four down would be easier, but it appears for that car a dolly is your only option.

Search this site for "tow dolly", and you'll find all sorts of recommendations. We use one because I had not intention of buying another car; some people just can't deal with it.

FWIW, I do not lock the wheel on our RAV4 and don't recommend it.
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Old 07-26-2020, 05:02 AM   #8
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Wow thanks all for the info. Good stuff. I did read where you can pull the main fuse for the PCM, unlock the wheel to tow 4 down. But when you stop is tricky part. Have to cycle the trans a certain way or damage the trans. Saturn is my daughters old college car. So the frame is good being in the South. I am going to dolly first until I can find a car that I can tow 4 down. More of a pain to deal with. Probably use it 2 times and get rid of Dolly has electric brakes which is a plus and has a spare tire. $850 I see to two 4 down is alto more. Specially the brake system for the car. Holly cow! Price to pay to be safe. Say if you have a manual trans car do you still have to have a trans cooler or anything special?
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