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Old 12-20-2009, 02:45 AM   #1
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Towing a vehicle

I'd like to start towing one of my vehicles but I don't know much about it. We have a Honda CR-V and a Honda Civic. I was told that for most vehicles you have to get a "tow package" that goes on whatever vehicle you are going to tow. I've also been told that the cost is around $3,000 to $3,500.

Can anyone tell me if both of my vehicles would require such a package to be put on for towing? This is quite an expense but seems necessary unless I'm just always going to have my wife drive behind me in the car which is annoying if we were to drive very long distances.

Is Camping World a good place to get this done?
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Old 12-20-2009, 08:27 AM   #2
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Towing the vehicle is definitely worth the investment. Improves the whole RV experience.

Installing a system isn't easy. If your going to have someone else do the work, make sure they are installing the system you want and make sure all the the equipment meets your specs. For example, they could "skip" the 12V line from the RV to the car and the battery in your Honda will be ruined quickly.

I would be happy to walk you through the details, but at a high level here are the things to keep in mind.

1) Get the towing guide from motorhomemagazine.com Great resource. and READ the manual that came with your car/SUV. You might find it's easier to trade in a car for one that is "tow friendly". (I have no experience towing Hondas)
2) How many pounds is your hitch rated at? Should be a label on it.
3) How many pounds is your chassis rated to tow? Should be on the label in the RV with the tire pressures / weights
4) Can your vehicle tow with all 4 weeks down? If not, the weight of a flat bed trailer or a tow dolly + the car can't exceed the chassis rating. 4 wheels down is the best in my opinion.
5) What type of braking system do you want? (I went with the UTB from USgear.com)

My setup is the following:
- USGear UTB braking system
- Roadmaster tow brackets on a 2008 Saturn Vue
- Roadmaster tow bar (rated to tow 6000lbs) with a Blue Ox drop receiver
- 2007 370XL Georgetown rated to tow 4000lbs (came with a 5000lb hitch)
- Magnetic tow lights on the Saturn
- My cables from the RV to the Saturn are a 12V to keep the battery topped off, a blue wire to send the braking signals to the UTB system, a 4 wire cable from the 4 pin on the RV to a 4 pin that I installed on the Saturn to light up the towing lights and a breakaway cable that clamps the Saturn brakes down if the Saturn ever separates from the RV.

I would guess that I spent about $2500 on everything, but I did the install myself. $3500 sounds reasonable if some else is installing.
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Old 12-20-2009, 09:01 AM   #3
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We agree with Tulsasteve. 3500 is about right. WE have simular equiment and our Saturn dealer installed the towbar, the motorhome dealer installed the braking system. A friend of ours used to tow a Honda CRV and I know he didn't have to do much to it.
even brake
Blue ox towing bar
blue ox hitch for 2007 Saturn Aura
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Old 12-20-2009, 09:25 AM   #4
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The biggest expense I would say, and I don't tow but am a mechanic, is if you're towing a stright drive transmission, you don't have a problem. Put it in neutral and hook and go, with brakes and lights and others have said. If you're towing an automatic, then you should have a way to disconnect the transmission. Automatic transmissions don't like to be towed, and most owner's manuals will state this somewhere. Check your manual for each vehicle. Maybe a cheaper way to go is to put the Civic on a car dolly. Just a thought.
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Old 12-20-2009, 10:00 AM   #5
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I think you can probably find a reputable shop that specializes in setting up towed (toad) vehicles for RVs. We have one of the best in the northwest just 20 miles from us. Camping world is NEVER my first choice for anything! Not because they are incompetent but because they are usually higher priced for what you are getting.

Our friends tow both a CRV and their Jeep (depending on where they are going) with their motorhome. The CRV is a manual transmission and the Jeeps which are equipped with a transfer case (Wrangler, Cherokee, 4x4 Liberty, etc.) can be towed 4 down with the transfer case in neutral as can a lot of other 4x4 vehicles. This is a reason you will see so many Jeep Wranglers as toads. If you have an automatic transmission vehicle without a transfer case then you may want to weigh the cost and inconvienince of a tow dolly or transmission disconnets with just replacing the vehicle with something more suitable for "all down" towing.

We prefer to use an umbilical cord from the RV to the toad for the lights. I install a 6pin round socket in the front bumper of the toad and use a cord with male ends on both sides to link the RV lights to the toad, I never have liked the idea of the coiled up tow wire under the hood of my toad and having to lift the hood to get at it and run it to the RV like some do. I always wire directly to the lights on the toad using diodes so we don't have to carry around magnetic lights. A good shop can set you up like this but it does cost a little more. I am not a good judge of what the prices run as I always do my own work.

We almost always have a vehicle in tow, whether it's our Jeep Liberty or the Wrangler if we are going Jeepn' It's great to have the abillity to get out and explore the countryside from your RV "home base".
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Old 12-20-2009, 10:04 AM   #6
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All depends on the vehicle. My Saturn is an automatic and tows without issue. All depends on the transmission / engine package. The Saturn brand was always known for cars that could be easily towed flat. Sad to see it go...

I also looked at a couple Chevys before I bought the Saturn. Two "identical" cars on the lot.. One with a "sport package". The sport package could tow flat.. Had a different transmission. The other could not. The salesman had NO clue... They were reading the manual with me.
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Old 12-20-2009, 10:08 AM   #7
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I should also mention that my Saturn is an auto, FWD. No 4x4.. I just turn the ignition on and slip it into neutral.
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Old 12-20-2009, 10:13 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TulsaSteve View Post
I should also mention that my Saturn is an auto, FWD. No 4x4.. I just turn the ignition on and slip it into neutral.
This explains why we see as many Saturns as we do Jeeps behind RVs. Good info to know...
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Old 12-21-2009, 01:41 AM   #9
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Thanks. I will have to take a look at the owner's manual of my CRV and see what it says on towing. It's just frustrating to have to spend this much money on it.
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Old 12-21-2009, 11:11 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by georgetown50 View Post
Thanks. I will have to take a look at the owner's manual of my CRV and see what it says on towing. It's just frustrating to have to spend this much money on it.
If the CRV is a manual transmission then no problem, if it's an automatic then there might be an issue. If you can turn a wrench and follow some instructions you can save lots of money. Our friend bought the mount system for the front of their CRV (Roadmaster I think) and it came with good instructions. We had the whole thing mounted on the car in about an hour. Use a towbar that stays with the tow vehicle like the Falcon5250, then it's as easy as inserting the towbar in the TV hitch and your done. The only thing to figure out after that is how you want to actuate your lights and a brake system if you want one.
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