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Old 03-20-2010, 11:34 AM   #1
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Flat tow vs dolly tow

Trying to decide......taking delivery of a georgetown 357qs and the toad will be a 2009 hhr. We will probably on bring the car a couple of trips a year. Several trips we won't need it. So I'm trying to weigh cost of a used dolly vs setup of the car. I'm not too concerned about dolly hookup and storage. What can I expect to pay for a towbar setup and brake controller system????
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Old 03-20-2010, 12:33 PM   #2
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Better check and see if an HHR can be flat towed. That will make the decision, and cost won't matter. I've seen tow dolly's around $1000 here, brake controller around $125, al that plus labor if you're not a do it yourself person.
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Old 03-20-2010, 01:18 PM   #3
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HHR can be flat towed. You can get into a flat tow setup for around $1000 if you do the install yourself. Once done you'd never go back to a dolly.

Demco baseplate $330 (Blue ox $430)
Readybrute towbar w/ integrated breakaway kit. $865
http://www.readybrake.com/tow-bars.html
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Old 03-20-2010, 02:38 PM   #4
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Flat Tow is the way to go. An extra 4 wheels of proportional full power braking makes emergency stops MUCH easier.

Here is the system I installed on my Saturn Vue.

http://www.usgear.cc/unified_tow_brake.htm

The stopping distance chart (shorter with the TOAD) is accurate. I feel much safer / more comfortable with my TOAD attached.
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Old 03-20-2010, 04:16 PM   #5
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I'll offer up the tow dolly as the better solution. Many have brakes, which will save on your vehicles brakes and give just as good of stopping power.
If you change vehicles often (front wheel drive), you won't have to do any additional costly set up (bracket kit and possible trans cooler). The tow dolly can usually cost more up front (to the tune of $2500), but in the long run it's well worth it.
Now, lets say you for some reason get out of RVing entirely. What will be easier to sell? The tow package for a 2007 HHR, or a tow dolly for any front wheel drive vehicle?
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Old 03-20-2010, 05:11 PM   #6
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I'll offer up the tow dolly as the better solution. Many have brakes, which will save on your vehicles brakes and give just as good of stopping power.
Watch the weight... The higher end tow dollies with the brakes are well over 500 lbs. The 2009 HHR is over 3500, so combined you are over 4000. Load some gear and gas in the HHR and you get the picture.

Most of these Ford Chassis can only handle 4000 on the hitch.

The US gear system is easily removed from the vehicle. Granted it took me a solid day to install (just me working), but I can move it to another vehicle without problems.

Also watch where you store that tow dolly. Keep it dry, clean, away from animals, keep the tires out of the sun, test it often and make sure nobody can steal it. I test my Saturn 5 days a week on the way to work and it has a handy security system.

My opinion...

The tow dolly is the only way to go if your unable / unwilling to modify the TOAD. Otherwise 4-wheels down (with the good braking system that uses full power brakes on the TOAD & keeps the TOAD battery charged) is the all around best option.
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Old 03-20-2010, 06:12 PM   #7
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I will only tow 4-down, don't wanna mess with the dolly, just another piece of equipment (and a large one at that ) to store and take care of. Many of the parks we have been too only have just enough room for an RV and the Toad and they are very picky about parking anything on the grass. I see a vehicle that is set up for 4-down towing (braking system and lights wired) to be a good selling point to another RVr looking for a good toad if you decide to sell in the future.

That said I also only look for vehicles that can be towed 4-down without modification to the drivetrain. Thus the reason I bought a Jeep Liberty for the wife. We either take my Wrangler if we are doing a Jeepn' weekend or the Liberty if we just need comfortable transportation when we get where we are going. With the Jeeps we just put the transfer case in neutral, unlock the steering and we're good to go. Real easy to disconnect and get out of the way once we get to the park too.
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Old 03-20-2010, 06:24 PM   #8
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With the Jeeps we just put the transfer case in neutral, unlock the steering and we're good to go. Real easy to disconnect and get out of the way once we get to the park too.

Same with my Saturn Vue. Emergency brake off, trans in Neutral, key on to unlock the wheel and your good to go. And it doesn't register mileage while you tow! No fuses to pull and such. I just have to start the engine every 6-8 hours of towing to circulate the trans fluid. I usually start it before we head out and at mid day if we are driving all day.
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Old 03-21-2010, 08:51 PM   #9
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Thanks everybody.........still on the fence about this one
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Old 03-21-2010, 09:31 PM   #10
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Thanks everybody.........still on the fence about this one
What type of driving will you be doing? Lots of steep hills / long mountain passes?

Towing flat will definitely provide better braking (less weight / 4 more disc brakes vs. 2 or none), but maybe you don't need the better braking.

Sounds like you have a lead on a used tow dolly. Maybe buy the dolly if the price is right and if you don't like the setup, sell the dolly and spend the bucks to put the 4 wheels down.

Keep in mind that many states require a braking system for the TOAD, so a used dolly that doesn't have brakes may be a bad idea.

http://www.towingworld.com/articles/TowingLaws.htm
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