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Old 01-27-2015, 11:57 AM   #1
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Dinghy towing with an Axis/Vegas

I know that there are just a few of us Vegas/Axis owners on here but I figured I'd ask: Has anyone done any towing with it at all? Especially towing a "dinghy"/toad?
We've been thinking about how to bring along a 2nd vehicle since we purchased our Axis last year. The original plan was to get an aluminum car trailer (since one of our vehicles cannot be towed with any wheels touching the ground) but that proved to be prohibitively expensive. The result was that for last years trips we simply rented a car at the destination.
Weight was also an issue as our Axis only has a 5000 lb hitch (Vegas/Axis models built after 10/1/2014 have an 8000 lb hitch lucky dogs!) and the trailer + car would have been very close to 5000 lbs.
Fast forward to this year and the new plan is to pick up a dolly. Specifically the Acme one:
Car Tow Dolly -The Lightest and Toughest Tow Dolly For All Car Towing Needs - Acme Car Tow Dolly Company
That one has a lot of people praising it on irv2 and is almost 1/10th the cost of a trailer.
Just curious if anyone has pulled anything with their Vegas/Axis? If you did, did you have any issues with the plug? We had the dealer put a brake controller in ours and they found that the trailer plug was all mis-wired--I picked up a plug tester afterwards to make sure it got fixed correctly.
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Old 01-27-2015, 12:25 PM   #2
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I have been keeping my eyes on the New Elio car due out late this year or early next year, looks ideal to flat tow and at 6800.00 the cost is not too high
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Old 01-27-2015, 12:56 PM   #3
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So for I have only pulled my Can Am Spyder which weights a little over 1000 pounds using a 800 pound trailer. The Axis had no problem handling the trailer even without a break assist.
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Old 02-01-2015, 09:24 PM   #4
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I'm towing a Honda CRV with my 2014 Axis 24.1. The CRV weighs approx. 3200 lbs., and I'm using a Blue Ox Aventa LX tow Bar and a SMI Stay-In-Play Duo Braking System. I've made two trips with the toad, the first being 450 miles and the second 950 miles. Both were on relatively flat highways and without the rear camera, I wouldn't have know the toad was there. Averaged 9.5 mpg with the toad.

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Old 06-04-2015, 08:27 PM   #5
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I tow a 2015 Subaru Forester four wheels down. You have to have the 6 speed manual transmission. At 3500 pounds you don't know it's there. Works great with RoadMaster InvisiBrake. Just plug it to the Vegas and go.
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Old 06-04-2015, 10:26 PM   #6
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Forgot I started this thread! LOL

We now tow a 2014 Ford Escape on the EZE-Tow Acme Dolly:

So far we've pulled this combination (it totals a shade under 4000 lbs) for 400 miles. There are times when I do notice it back there, but not often.

In addition I honestly didn't realize that the Escape's colors matched the highlights on the Axis! LOL
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Old 06-05-2015, 11:39 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by JamieGeek View Post
Forgot I started this thread! LOL

We now tow a 2014 Ford Escape on the EZE-Tow Acme Dolly:

.....cut.....
Jamie, not to change the subject too much, but was your Axis loaded down a lot when you took this picture? It seems so low compared to others that were empty I've seen at dealers. Or is it just an optical illusion?

I know it's likely not much tongue weight from dolly (do you know how much that is?) as pictured, but wonder what a car trailer with significant tongue weight would do. Or would a weight-distribution hitch be recommended to tow a car trailer with an Axis?
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Old 06-05-2015, 12:23 PM   #8
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No more loaded down than usual. The GVWR on the Axis is 12,500 lbs and when I had it weighed ready for travel (with us in it) it came to 11,400 lbs.

It could be a perspective trick given that we're on a court and the front wheels are most likely closer to the camera than the back wheels and the Escape.

If I look at other images of our Axis (such as the one below) its sitting at the same height with or without a car on a dolly.

(That height is about 14" from the ground to the bottom of the hitch which has a 3" drop--had to measure to get the height right for the dolly. That pic was before we had a dolly and simply drove the car to the campground.)

The dolly only has a 50lb tongue weight when empty and hitching it up to the Axis causes no noticeable drop on the camper. Even when I drive the car up on the dolly there is no noticeable drop.
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Old 06-05-2015, 01:08 PM   #9
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Jamie, your vehicle stable looks much like ours... We got an Escape early last year and really like it. Then later in the year got a Focus partly because it was a 4 down towable automatic. After consideration for making it 4 down tow ready (long story) ... we ended up looking for a small 4x4 like Samurai/Tracker, older Liberty, CJ, Wrangler, etc...
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Old 06-05-2015, 01:47 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TyCreek
Then later in the year got a Focus partly because it was a 4 down towable automatic.
Alas our Focus isn't towable unless its on a trailer with all 4 wheels off the ground (at least that is what the owner's manual advises). I guess when Ford (ok Magna) put the electric motor in they didn't consider someone might want to use it for "recreational towing". (If you look closely at the picture you can see it plugged into the campground, charging.)
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Old 06-05-2015, 03:02 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by JamieGeek View Post
No more loaded down than usual. The GVWR on the Axis is 12,500 lbs and when I had it weighed ready for travel (with us in it) it came to 11,400 lbs.

.....cut....
Thanks for info. Sounds like you have plenty of cargo carrying capacity.

I guess Axis/Vegas just sit low which is part of what makes them handle well and achieve good fuel economy. With a car on a trailer, if it weighs nearly 5,000 pounds, you'd likely need in the range of 500 to 750 pounds of tongue weight for stability. From the first picture it seemed that much tongue weight would make the rear suspension sag a bit unless a WD hitch was used. In the second picture the Axis looks more level.

By the way, other than the higher cost for a trailer you mentioned in OP, would you still want a trailer or are you OK with dolly or flat-towing? Any Pros and Cons you'd like to share to each.
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Old 06-05-2015, 04:06 PM   #12
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My desire for a trailer was simply due to the fact that I would really like to bring along the EV which can't be towed any other way.

Doing the research, though, a trailer was just too much of a pain: Much higher cost, a lot more weight, have to find a place to store it, etc. While the dolly poses similar issues (cost, have to store, etc.) it being smaller reduces that pain significantly (I can store the dolly with the camper in the storage lot underneath the rear of the camper and not take up any more space).

With flat towing, obviously there isn't anything to store other than the tow bars but you also have to have the car for it (neither of our vehicles can be flat towed). It is much easier to hook up: just pull up the car and hook up the tow bar. The car does get beat up a little more since it is rolling and there is nothing protecting the front.

With dolly towing its a bit more expensive ($1.5k or so more in my case) but you don't have to modify the car, you can tow just about any FWD car so your toad options open up a bit more and the toad is slightly protected from road debris by the dolly. Oh yeah and getting ready to go takes a little longer.
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Old 06-05-2015, 05:55 PM   #13
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JamieGeek, what about backing up? That's one I don't see much written about but concerns me personally.

A trailer can be backed up easily. With a dolly or flat-towing I'm assuming you can't back up if/when needed without first disconnecting car. Is that right? And if so, is it a major issue or am I thinking it's worse than it is?


I agree that trailer storage, both at home or at site while camping, could become a pain. I'm guessing this subject has been discussed extensively in this forum already, so I should probably do a search to learn more. On the surface I like the idea of either towing a compact manual transmission flat, or a small trailer. The advantages of a dolly, while extremely popular, have not been as clear to me.
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Old 06-05-2015, 06:14 PM   #14
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Based on Jamie's reply I would like to also make a couple of comments.

When I first started looking into towing a few years ago I considered trailer, flat, and dolly. Although I am not as eco friendly, my vehicle fleet at the time consisted of 4 Fords. I had 3 Fusions and a Flex and all are front wheel drive. I am now down to 1 Fusion and a Flex.

At the time to outfit any one of the vehicles with base plate, tow bar, accessory kit and supplemental braking would have set me back around 3K plus tax and installation charges. That would enable me to tow one of the two vehicles.

My Master Tow 80THDSB with surge brakes and spare tire (with mount) cost me 1299.00 plus tax (no installation or assembly required). Without the spare tire and mount the cost was 1199.00. I purchased it from the RV dealer where I bought my last coach.

Storage of the dolly for me is no problem. My house sits on 2.5 acres of land which is zoned agriculture so space for storage of the coach or dolly is not an issue.

Ease of use for me is not an issue. I rally with a couple of FMCA chapters and we are getting ready to depart I can have my car on the dolly and be rolling down the road before some folks have there tow bars and braking systems setup for towing.

With that said, there have been 2 occasions when flat towing would have been easier. The first was in Crossville, TN at a campground that had back in sites only. I had to disconnect my car and dolly before backing into the site. Took less than 5 minutes. The second was Disney world and the same situation applied. Again it took 5 minutes.

Now with that said I do currently have an issue. With the 252 inch wheelbase of the Challenger, I believe the entrance to my driveway is too narrow for entering or exiting with the car on the dolly. The wheelbase on my prior coach was only 202 inches to turning radius was not a problem. Would this be an issue if I was flat towing? I honestly don't know. This coming week I will have my driveway entrance widened by 8 feet at a cost of 468.00. Even with this expense I am still below $2,000.

If you are concerned about the ride of the coach towing a dolly I highly recommend a set of rear air springs. They came as a standard feature on my SunSeeker and whenever I towed the dolly I went from 70 to 75 PSI in the springs and I never noticed the dolly unless I monitored the rear view camera. Air Springs are the only chassis item I have on my list of mods for Challenger.
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Old 06-05-2015, 06:30 PM   #15
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Good points Dave.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chance
JamieGeek, what about backing up? That's one I don't see much written about but concerns me personally.

A trailer can be backed up easily. With a dolly or flat-towing I'm assuming you can't back up if/when needed without first disconnecting car. Is that right? And if so, is it a major issue or am I thinking it's worse than it is?


I agree that trailer storage, both at home or at site while camping, could become a pain. I'm guessing this subject has been discussed extensively in this forum already, so I should probably do a search to learn more. On the surface I like the idea of either towing a compact manual transmission flat, or a small trailer. The advantages of a dolly, while extremely popular, have not been as clear to me.
I didn't mention backing up: You are correct: To back up with a dolly and a 4-down toad you have to disconnect the car. So far with only 400 miles under our belt towing the car I haven't had to do so and I really don't expect to need to do so given how maneuverable the Axis is (25ft + 20 ft car+dolly is easier to steer around stuff than Daves 37ft + 20ft car).

At the campground I store the dolly just like I do in the lot: backed up underneath the rear of the Axis:
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Old 06-05-2015, 07:24 PM   #16
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....cut....
Being new here I haven't seen those windshield and front window covers before. They look very nice, and functional too. Do they come with Axis or did you have them custom made? Do these go up easy? Tools required? Do you require ladder or step? Any downside? Is it for privacy or reduce heat load, etc....? I thought Axis had interior curtains so I'm a little surprised to see these covers.

If already discussed, please let me know. I've used similar with Class C and B and like their purpose.
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Old 06-05-2015, 07:26 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieGeek View Post
Good points Dave.



I didn't mention backing up: You are correct: To back up with a dolly and a 4-down toad you have to disconnect the car. So far with only 400 miles under our belt towing the car I haven't had to do so and I really don't expect to need to do so given how maneuverable the Axis is (25ft + 20 ft car+dolly is easier to steer around stuff than Daves 37ft + 20ft car).

At the campground I store the dolly just like I do in the lot: backed up underneath the rear of the Axis:
So far I have not put myself in a situation where I have had to backup other than the 2 back in sites at the campgrounds (and that was with my 31 foot Class C). At the campgrounds if I have a pull thru site I unload the car, keep the dolly connected to the coach and level it out. When I leave the campground I retract the jacks then load the car on the dolly.

From my experience I would say that in the two "back in" situations I experienced a trailer would have been a royal PITA. Those two sites would not have accommodated my Class C and a trailer long enough to haul a car. In both sites the car had to be parked perpendicular to the coach or it would have stuck out into the road. In fact at Disney World, when you enter Fort Wilderness there is a parking lot that is full of trailers that folks have disconnected before continuing on to their site.

Think about this, trailer with car on board approaching a back in site. Questions to answer:
1. Where does the trailer get parked?
2. Where does the car get parked?
3. Do I unload the car before parking the trailer?
4. How much crap is loaded around the car that has to be moved before the car can be unloaded? I saw one in this category that fit "Ripley's Believe or Not" at a campground in Wytheville, VA last July 4th weekend.

You can probably see where this is going and it is Friday afternoon and time for the brain to start slowing down for the weekend.
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Old 06-05-2015, 08:41 PM   #18
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Jeep Grand Cherokee- too heavy??

Just got a "used" 2015 Axis 24.1, with 1600 miles on it-- don't think it's nearly broken in yet.
My car is a Jeep Grand Cherokee (2012) Overland which is supposedly 4600-4850 lbs. When towing, it feels like there's a lot of extra movement back there (I used to pull this Jeep with a Bounder 36U, never even noticed it was there.)
Is this car too heavy for the motorhome?
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Old 06-05-2015, 09:35 PM   #19
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Chance: the window covers are discussed in the following thread:
Busy day with the Axis

car54md: If you pull it four wheels down you should have no issue (you likely have the 8000lb hitch as well).
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Old 06-05-2015, 10:21 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by car54md View Post
Just got a "used" 2015 Axis 24.1, with 1600 miles on it-- don't think it's nearly broken in yet.
My car is a Jeep Grand Cherokee (2012) Overland which is supposedly 4600-4850 lbs. When towing, it feels like there's a lot of extra movement back there (I used to pull this Jeep with a Bounder 36U, never even noticed it was there.)
Is this car too heavy for the motorhome?
If I were a betting person, my money would be on you experiencing the effects of changes in aerodynamics between the towing coaches and the impact of those changes on the towed vehicle. Your bounder was longer and taller than the Axis and my bet would be the wind forces have changed the way they impact the Cherokee as it is being towed.
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