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Towbars, Hitches and Braking Systems for your Toads, etc. Questions, concerns, or suggestions regarding what equipment to use to tow your Toad with are discussed here.

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  #1  
Old 02-11-2008
wanderlodge3208
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Default Tow Dolly or all 4 down?

I have a question that I hope someone can answer. I'm trying to decide the easiest/best way to tow my Ford escape SUV with a manual Trans. I realize I currently can purchase a tow bar and tow all 4 wheels down, but I'm considering trading for an automatic. Would the tow dolly be satisfactory for cross country towing of a front wheel drive escape SUV, if I trade? Or- should I just keep the manual and tow on the ground. Hopefully someone with some experience can chime in and give some advise. In case it helps, I'm going to be looking for a PT40 to tow with most likely.. Maybe even a SP..
Thanks
Stephen Hare
Bird less for now
Plant City, FL
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  #2  
Old 02-11-2008
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Bill Pape Bill Pape is offline
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Stephen,

I am not expert in which trans. can be towed 4 wheels down.

But, tow dollies are a major PITA. They must be maintained, they are wider than
the car, they need stored, they need pushed around the campsite, by hand or the tow car. they always need moved by a strong person.
Tow dollies are a good idea, if several different toads are used, or if leasing different toads.
Find a car that you can live with, that can be towed four down.

Bill's opinion, others may differ.
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  #3  
Old 02-11-2008
tjseitz tjseitz is offline
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I agree with Bill. I had never used a tow dolly but a buddy of mine did and he was always complaining about it. I towed an 01 suburban four down behind my SP. Worked great. Get a good tow bar,pull the pins and light cord and your off. Just my opion for what its worth. Oh yeah make sure you get a good brake system. I used the M&G, worked great... Tom
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  #4  
Old 02-11-2008
Kurt Achenbach Kurt Achenbach is offline
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Default Tow dolly

Stephen,
I have towed a Frontwheel drive Hyunday twice cross country and most recently from NH to Quartzsite and back without major problems.
There are some drawbacks and some must does such as tighten the wheel harness within the first 20 miles of the trip. Keep the platform and wheels greased, have the proper (fresh) tires and airpressure. Backing up is a problem and may involve taking the toad off and manouver the dolly manualy once it is unhooked. In most camp sites no unhooking in pull through. The advantage is that one is not limitd to one vehicle. Like in the summer I tow a VW Thing backwards among others.

4 down is easier
Good luck
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Old 04-04-2008
Bruce Bruce is offline
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I agree with Bill. Dollies ( the kind you tow) are a majot PITA. I cannot count the number of times we have seen a MH on the side of the road with the toad gone and the dolly jacked up. Sometime it is a flat. Often it is bearing troubles. Think of the following scenario. You are making a cross country trip and have been driving late. It is dark. You get to the CG and they either do not have a pull through or it is too short. You want to leave early in the a.m. but that will require you to retieve your dolly from some storage area, hook it up and then load the car. We have been towing 4 down for more than 23 years. Never had any real problem. Both FMCA and Motorhome magazine have lists of towable cars online.
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  #6  
Old 04-05-2008
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Yup, what they said. Dollys are not worth the trouble. Keep the manual or at least a manual transfer case toad.
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  #7  
Old 04-05-2008
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Stephen, I agree with Bill & others; tow 4 down, your manual transmission should not be a problem. The FMCA has a listing of vehicles by year & make that can be towed 4 down. I strongly believe your current Escape should not be a problem. There are some restrictions, some vehicles can only be towed a certain number of miles & others can be towed only at certain speeds. This is because of the internal lubrication system of the transmission & front differential. Check with the FMCA to see where your vehicle falls in line.
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  #8  
Old 04-06-2008
TZScales TZScales is offline
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Stephen,

Make sure you review your owner's manual first, if you haven't already, to find out if you can tow four wheels down if that is your decision. If so, it will tell you if there are any restrictions such as whether or not there is a mileage limitation before you have to start the engine to lubricate the transmission, etc. If not, you are okay.

Ensure you have a good braking system for the toad as well if you decide to tow the vehicle.
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  #9  
Old 04-06-2008
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Default Been towing 4 down for years

Had a flat deck for a bit - never again - even worse than a Dolly.

We've been towing VW Jettas (standards) 4-Down for years. They aren't on the list anymore - more due to manufacturer liability concerns than anything. Look at the list first, and then talk to a knowledgeable service manager for the model of toad you're considering. They often know of lots of folks towing.

If memory serves the manual Escapes can be towed, and most GM SUV's right up to the suburban are no problem even with automatics so you may want to look there as well.

The only issue with towing anything is you can't backup. Limited ability to backup with a dolly, and none with a toad as the wheel caster causes the tires to go right over. Makes you plan a bit more where you park!

Many states and provinces require a summplmental breaking system - overkill, but a BIG liability issue if you ever had a breakaway and didn't have one. We use a break buddy and love it. Goes in to the Jetta in 2 minutes flat and requires NO mods to the car.
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  #10  
Old 12-03-2008
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I know I'm in the minority, but I use a dolly. I can tow any of our cars, depending to what the need is. Yes, it's a PITA, but it works for us (so far) and I don't worry about what car to buy.
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