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Old 08-13-2015, 02:58 PM   #1
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: windsport 27k
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THOR #2451
Need advice from Experienced RVer , what is best dolly or flat

Hello Everyone,
We can't seem to decide weather to purchase a third vehicle that can be towed with a dolly or all four down or purchase a flat to tow , one of the vehicles we own that can not be dolly or all down. My better half feels that the flat would be difficult in the parks where do you put it? Has anyone any advice?? Open to all suggestions.
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Old 08-13-2015, 03:28 PM   #2
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general consensus with full timers
4 down is the way to go. It's easier, simpler, etc...
but there is a cost to set up brakes, etc....

The dolly makes little sense unless
- you tow multiple/different cars
- don't do it very often to justify the expense of setting up a flat tow
- have a car that can't be flat towed.

I haven't done it either way, so just repeating what I have learned from research
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Old 08-13-2015, 03:53 PM   #3
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I have done both. I much prefer the 4 down. Either DW or I can hook it up without assistance. I would never have been comfortable loading our car on the dolly by myself. In addition, getting the straps tightened properly on the dolly was a real chore. Also, the need to move the dolly around in the campground can be a problem... if you can even find a place to put it. However, as mentioned by blw2, the cost of a car that can be towed 4 down can be the deciding factor. We actually bought a used Jeep Liberty so that we could flat tow. I don't regret the decision.
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Old 08-13-2015, 04:03 PM   #4
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Another advantage of a dolly:
  • If you frequently change cars (e.g. 2 or 3 year leases) you don't want to be always setting up the new car for flat-tow (the mods may even not be permissible for a lease).
  • You'll have a larger selection of cars available for dolly towing than flat-towing as well (pretty much just about any front-wheel drive car can be dolly towed).

Yeah we have a dolly. I do agree flat towing is much easier, though:
  • Easier to hook up, just drive up to the camper
  • Don't have to store the dolly somewhere

Our dolly isn't that hard to move around, it even has a handle next to the hitch for just such a purpose (although I think it is too heavy for the DW to move around).

I usually can hook up the dolly without assistance but it does take a little bit longer.
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Old 08-13-2015, 04:09 PM   #5
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Two sides to the question and neither one is right or wrong. When making the decision it is just a matter of weighing the pros and cons and doing what is best for you. It really a matter of personal preference. I was fortunate that I was able to buy a very good used dolly. We tried it and didn't like it. Sold it for what I had in it. The reverse is not true. If you are undecided then you are better to start with the dolly and see if it fits your RV lifestyle.
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Old 08-13-2015, 04:26 PM   #6
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Thumbs up Towing thank you

Thank you all for your advice/suggestions. We will be full timers eventually so we really will need to discover what is best. All suggestions are good. One person suggested until we become full timers rent a vehicle when needed something to consider as well , however the cost may not be financially sound for us. ahhh......
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Old 08-13-2015, 05:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by windsport27k2015
One person suggested until we become full timers rent a vehicle when needed something to consider as well , however the cost may not be financially sound for us. ahhh...
We rented before we got the dolly. Just remember that the cost of a dolly or a 4-down setup can pay for a lot of rentals (unless you're renting for more than a week here or there).
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Old 08-13-2015, 06:31 PM   #8
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jamiegeek

Thanks for the view. How much does it cost for a dolly or doing a four down??
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Old 08-13-2015, 07:06 PM   #9
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The dolly we use costs $1600: Acme "EZE-TOW" dolly.

Towing four down setups can easily match or exceed that amount.
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Old 08-13-2015, 07:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by windsport27k2015 View Post
Thanks for the view. How much does it cost for a dolly or doing a four down??
As with everything is all depends on what you want.

My tow dolly is a Master Tow 80 inch with rotating bed, hydraulic surge brakes and spare tire and wheel and cost 1200.00 assembled. To outfit one car for flat towing would have cost 2500 - 3000 depending on the tow package selected.
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Old 08-13-2015, 07:32 PM   #11
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THOR #2656
I spent the following on my 4 Down setup:
Towbar = Falcon II 5,000 lb capacity: $ 850
Base Plate = Jeep Wrangler; $ 380
LED lighting system = portable $ 75
Auxiliary Brake system = Brake Buddy $1,000
Safety chains, direct 12v electrical, etc. $ 75
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Old 08-13-2015, 08:21 PM   #12
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Love my little Toad! It will cost you about 2,000 to do it, but a lot easier then messing with a dolly. IMHO!
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Old 08-14-2015, 04:09 PM   #13
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Daveht , Jamiegeek

Toad, I shall look that one up. Thank you everyone for your advice it will be well taken. Jamiegeek I think we may rent for this year until we actually hit the road as a way of life to see the U.S. Good suggestions
Daveht, Love your dogs Name. I named our Windsport Bella need to get a sign made anyone know where that can be done?
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Old 08-14-2015, 04:55 PM   #14
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Do flat-towed Smart cars require brakes? Base weight is under 2,000 pounds. It seems a large part of cost is the toad braking system.

I'm curious because while driving from Texas to Florida a couple of weeks ago I saw two different Smart cars being flat towed behind motorhomes for the first time ever. I wasn't aware they are even rated for flat towing.
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Old 08-15-2015, 09:49 PM   #15
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I agree that there is no right answer. The way we travel, the dolly would have been a major PITA for us. Rental cars might be a viable short term option, while you do your homework.

I tend to buy cars I really like, and keep them a long time. I have flat towed the same small car for the last 8 years. I installed a Blue Ox baseplate and US Gear system on it, and we moved the controller from our last coach to our Vegas. If I changed cars, the next one would have to work with the US Gear system.

I would want any car I towed to have a brake system of some sort, even a Smart Car. I have a friend that towed one for years. A Brake Buddy will set you back about $1K. That's cheap insurance. You won't have to worry about various state requirements. If you quit rving, somebody would want to buy that brake unit from you.
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Old 08-15-2015, 10:41 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Sunshine View Post
I agree that there is no right answer. The way we travel, the dolly would have been a major PITA for us. Rental cars might be a viable short term option, while you do your homework.

I tend to buy cars I really like, and keep them a long time. I have flat towed the same small car for the last 8 years. I installed a Blue Ox baseplate and US Gear system on it, and we moved the controller from our last coach to our Vegas. If I changed cars, the next one would have to work with the US Gear system.

I would want any car I towed to have a brake system of some sort, even a Smart Car. I have a friend that towed one for years. A Brake Buddy will set you back about $1K. That's cheap insurance. You won't have to worry about various state requirements. If you quit rving, somebody would want to buy that brake unit from you.
How do these brake controllers that push on brake pedal work around the need for vacuum for the power booster? Do they provide a vacuum pump, or some other way? And if vacuum pump, what powers it?
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Old 08-16-2015, 01:22 AM   #17
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Yes, this system uses a pump for the vacuum, and an actuator that pulls the brake when you step on the coach brake. It runs off the coach battery, so that it doesn't run down the toad battery.
Here's the web link: Unified Tow Brake
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Old 08-17-2015, 03:02 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chance View Post
How do these brake controllers that push on brake pedal work around the need for vacuum for the power booster? Do they provide a vacuum pump, or some other way? And if vacuum pump, what powers it?
I have the Blue Ox Patriot brake system. It operates on a motion activated switch. When you step on the brakes in the coach the brake system senses the decrease in speed and will activate as needed. A small decrease won't activate it. It has a wireless control in the coach that you can use to set the gain if it does not seem to be sensitive enough. So far it has worked just great.
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Old 08-17-2015, 09:06 PM   #19
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I have seen a few campgrounds that charge for a trailer. Dolly might be considered a trailer by those campgrounds.

Also the Dolly will add some tongue weight that goes against your CCC. I donít think 4 down will count against this. Only your GCWR.

KC
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Old 08-17-2015, 10:45 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by pstandiford View Post
I have the Blue Ox Patriot brake system. It operates on a motion activated switch. When you step on the brakes in the coach the brake system senses the decrease in speed and will activate as needed. A small decrease won't activate it. It has a wireless control in the coach that you can use to set the gain if it does not seem to be sensitive enough. So far it has worked just great.
Does your Blue Ox Patriot also have a vacuum pump? And since it sounds like your brake system is not connected to coach directly, if it uses a vacuum pump, how is it powered? From toad or coach?
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