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Old 02-16-2016, 12:07 PM   #11
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I used to flat tow a 4 door sidekick, it towed great. I wouldn't use a tow dolly for the reasons above plus that is another item to be licensed and to store in your campsite.

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Old 02-16-2016, 12:42 PM   #12
Join Date: Jul 2015
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Let me suggest a 3rd option. I have over 60,000 miles towing behind my motor home and have used a tilt bed, steel deck trailer. The trailer is licensed and has excellent brakes. I welded what I call "wheel stops", a flat piece of plate with a 6 inch piece of plate on the front and a piece of two inch angle on the back. I bolt that to the deck because I anticipated using the trailer for other vehicles and wanted to be able to re-position the wheel stops for longer or shorter wheel base to balance the load more evenly.
I drive the toad up onto the steel deck until I hit the front of the wheel stops and lower the deck. Than, I throw a logging chain on the back to the stake pockets on each side, set a load binder and down the road we go. I simply plug the trailer lights and brakes into the motor home using a 7 way plug and I have lights and brakes on the trailer.
No problem with the towed vehicle, it just rides on the trailer. I can back up without unhooking. I got the idea from people who run their off road vehicles some distance to 4 wheel in the dirt. I saw that most of them did not tow flat or use a dolly. They used trailers. I asked a couple and they generally said it put too much strain on the running gear of the towed vehicle to tow flat -- hard on tires, hard on front ends, brakes may or may not work on toad, rocks and debris thrown up from tires on the motor home hitting the toad, etc. Trailer saves most all of that.
Camped from Oregon to Florida, but not a whole lot in the east. I have never had a problem parking the trailer anywhere except once in Florida. The park wanted to charge me to park the trailer. I went to another park and did not have that problem. Generally in the west, especially the northwest, no problem parking the trailer.
I feel safer since the trailer has two 8,000 pound axles, big brakes, running lights, a steel deck that I can rattle can if there is a ding that might rust and a cop in Tennessee said he would much rather see a vehicle on a trailer than towed flat. I did not ask him his reasons.
For me, loading is about a 10 minute operation once the trailer is attached to the motor home. I have trailer hitches on the toads and I put a plug of 2X2 steel in the hitch receptacle on the back of the pickup. In the 2X2 steel plug, I drilled a hole and use a large clevis. I run the chain through the clevis on the back to the two stake pockets and snap on the binder. The front wheel stops keep the vehicle from going forward and the chain on the back keeps it from going back. Never saw the toad move once it was chained down.
When we get to the destination, I simply unhook the chain, throw it in the back of the toad and back the toad off the trailer. We can be ready to run to dinner in about 10 minutes after we arrive. Most western parks have long pull throughs and I have always fit in them with the trailer attached -- even though the combined rig is almost 68 feet long. Once in a while, I have to park on the trailer when I return but usually I could fit diagonally in the same spot as the motor home and trailer. With close to 65,000 on the rig, I have had "zero" problems except the one park in Florida. Since I resolved to never go east of the Mississippi again -- too many people and not enough open space -- I expect to continue. Think maybe I saved some money because three different vehicles have ridden on the trailer -- a full size SUV, and two different crew cab 3/4 ton 4WD pickups-- without having to buy any different gear. Just moved the wheel stops between the SUV and the pickups and that was a matter of drilling 8 new holes in the steel deck and moving the wheel stops.
Works well for me and seems like I have heard, or read, of problems others have had with either flat or dolly towing.

2003 Monaco Executive, Cummins ISX, manual Jacobs compression brake
27' Outback toy hauler & ATV's
2013 Chevy 2500 HD Silverado, crew cab, short box
18' (deck) dual axle 24' (0verall) tilt bed steel deck trailer

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Old 02-16-2016, 12:43 PM   #13
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Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 108
I'm reading about vehicles that have been 'lifted'. Be sure on flat towing that the pivot point on the mh is equal to or higher in height than the pivot point on the toad. Else, the toad can jump up on a panic stop.

Flat towing is harder to set up but oh so easy in and out of campgrounds.
2015 FR3 30DS
2010 Ford Escape Toad -or- 2012 Ford Focus Toad
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Old 02-16-2016, 12:50 PM   #14
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Location: West Des Moines, IA
Posts: 323
Using a dolly to take a 2008 Nissan Sentra over 6,500 miles behind our motor home last summer was a good test. The final straw in deciding to get a Jeep Cherokee for 4-wheel down towing this year was feeling (and surviving) a hot skin experience laying on wet ground in Canada. Just could not get motivated to unload to use the car as we will be with our new arrangement.
"Lurch" = Georgetown 2011 330TS
Jeep 2016 Cherokee
Pilot = Bob
Navigator = Xiangbing
Crew = Shikibu
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Old 02-16-2016, 12:58 PM   #15
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How is the ease of backing up using a Blue Ox vs. a dolly? I'm considering the Blue Ox system for ease and as I travel solo, no spotter with me. I haven't attempted towing behind my Solera yet. I'm a great driver but lousy w/ towing UHauls in the past.
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Old 02-16-2016, 01:06 PM   #16
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Location: West Des Moines, IA
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Read info on Blue Ox website that says you can not back up. My navigator always gets out and lines me up at gas pumps. Idea: Mount a holder for small light or laser pointer at gas fill and watch for it on pumps.
"Lurch" = Georgetown 2011 330TS
Jeep 2016 Cherokee
Pilot = Bob
Navigator = Xiangbing
Crew = Shikibu
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Old 02-16-2016, 01:40 PM   #17
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For any Veterans go to Patriot Store you.can order less than dealers cost. I used dolly several years big headache loading unloading storing dolly now flat tow 2015 Jeep I can hook up in 3 or 4 minutes not have to worry about straps loosening which will happen no matter how tight you put them.
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Old 02-16-2016, 01:56 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Kenny kustom View Post
Pros and cons of flat towing vs dolly.
Assuming both can be flat towed to begin with.
We bought the Acme hydraulic disc brake dolly around the same time that our "W" was delivered. The dolly, spare tire, and spare wheel nets was about $1,700.

Why did we chose a dolly?

1. The TOAD: We change cars fairly often and I don't want to constantly upgrade cars for flat towing. And I'm not willing to buy a "dedicated vehicle" for a TOAD.

2. Warranty Issues: Our cars are under the manufactures warranty. Using a dolly means I don't risk warranty issues by modifying the vehicle for flat towing. Our current TOAD, a Ford C-Max, would require modifying the electronic grill shutters to install a bar. That isn't as much concern as installing a brake controller. I'd have to run power for that as the interior power points go off after 15 minutes. I would also need to run a 12VDC feed to keep the TOAD battery charged as Ford's hybrids will kill a battery in a few hours. Nothing huge here just a lot of hassles. I suggest you go to the forum for your TOAD to check on these issues as they may not be covered here at FRF.

3. Possible Accident Issues: I've read several times where the installation of a tow system negatively affected the air bag system deployment. I've also read the installation of a tow system can cause additional vehicle damage due to interfering with crumple zones. That I confirmed my local dealers body shop foreman. Also replacing the tow system may be an issue with the insurance company as it is considered an add-on accessory.

4. Cost: Our Acme dolly was, for me, more cost effective than a flat tow conversion. and as previously mentioned I only buy it once.

5. Flexibility: I can loan out the dolly, I can use it for towing classic cars behind my other vehicle or what ever else comes up...

6. TOAD Choice: The number of new vehicles that can be flat towed gets smaller every year. Just look at the FMCA list for this year. Just about any FWD vehicle can be dolly towed.

I chased around all over the web reading and discussing the options with a lot of folks before going with the Acme dolly. For our particular case a dolly made the most sense. I don't dislike flat towing, it just didn't fit our requirements.

Hope this helps....
Wayne and Christine
2019 Sunseeker 2500TSF Pending Delivery...
2018 Ford Focus SEL Hatchback TOAD
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Old 02-16-2016, 02:00 PM   #19
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Southwest Virginia
Posts: 31
ACME tow dolly

We were thinking of getting a flat tow vehicle and getting rid of our '07 Prius after reading the fairly negative reviews of using some tow dollies, but then we heard about the ACME tow dolly with surge brakes made in Kernersville, NC. Its web site, in fact, shows a video of how to put a Prius on the thing, and after adding the costs of a good tow system, a good brake system, and a new or even late model toad vehicle, we decided to give the ACME a try.

Hated it the first time we set it up -- about 90 minutes and a lot of up and down. Liked it better the second time, about 30 minutes. Then we figured out how to do in a little under 15 minutes to put it on, and less than 10 minutes to get it off. Then we took it on a 2,000 mile trip to Florida in January. Towed like a dream. Barely knew it was back there. No mishaps, no problems. Total investment, including spare tire, about $1,700. We put it on and took it off on the Florida west coast, in Orlando, in Jupiter and in St. Augustine. Worked like a charm.

Still might get that flat-tow vehicle with the Blue Ox and some fancy brake module, but in the meantime we're enjoying not having to shell out for the car and equipment -- and even in this era of low gas prices, still enjoying 47 mpg with that Prius, too!
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Old 02-16-2016, 02:13 PM   #20
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Ridgefield, CT
Posts: 81
Flat VS Doll

I have had 3 motorhomes before going to a 5th wheel. I used a tow dolly with each of them. The reasons for my decision were 1) not every car can be flat towed (yes, yours can). Those that couldn't would need to have the automatic transmission modified. 2) The vehicle itself must be modified by adding a base plate, electrical and brake controllers. All of which cost money that would not be recovered (I am a cheap B***tard.)
That said, My first tow dolly was an ACME. That device almost caused me to reconsider my decision. It was difficult to load, the ramps were not attached and had to be stowed, the wheels/tires were small and wore out quickly, the tiedown system was awful and the thing was heavy. Not to mention that when you asked difficult questions or pointed out obvious defects, the mfg simply would not respond. Subsequently I purchased a MasterTow (there are other similar brands) and it was a completely different experience. I could load in 10 minutes or less and offload in under 5. So right or wrong, these are my observations.
Good luck with whatever decision you make.

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