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Old 06-16-2015, 01:31 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by JamieGeek View Post
Wow! I hope you're feeling better.

I'm surprised: Looking at that total cost I would have figured dolly towing would be more expensive than flat towing. After all you don't have the big expense of the dolly.

I think my total cost for the dolly setup was about 1/2 of that.
Well I did go with a premium system.

Some people do not install a braking system, don't need a tow switch or battery charger, and you can buy a budget non-adjustable hitch-mounted towbar for $200 or less (and you don't need a drop receiver with many of those). So you could probably get by for half the price I paid for a dinghy solution.

On the other hand, if you went with a premium Demco Car Caddy SS, which possibly may be the best dolly (and includes a folding tongue, disc brakes, and is galvanized), you are in one of those for three large, so in that instance, there is not much cost differential between dolly and dinghy setups.
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Old 06-16-2015, 02:21 PM   #22
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I agree one needs to make an informed decision and folks such as REMCO should not be used to make that decision. As the "towing experts" I find it interesting that backing is a con to dollies, however, on their web site backing is not listed as a con to tow bars. Seems rather biased to me.

An experienced driver that can back a trailer can back a dolly enough (short distance) to get out of a jam if the dolly has a stationary bed. If, however, like my Master Tow the dolly has a rotating bed it cannot be backed any distance without possible damage to the dolly. Trying to back a rotating bed dolly, even one foot, could cause the bed to try lifting off the dolly structure at the rotating pin/bolt.

Next, as to the strong back some have mentioned, a trailer jack installed on the dolly makes that a non-issue. Although not recommended, a good trailer jack can possible be used in a pinch to disconnect the dolly while the car is still loaded. Doing this however depends on the tongue weight of the dolly when the car is loaded, the position of the car's front wheels in relationship to the dolly axle and buying a properly sized/rated trailer jack. This is no different than disconnecting a loaded trailer from a pickup truck. Here is the link to the trailer jack I installed on my dolly.

http://www.basspro.com/Bass-Pro-Shops-1000-lb-Big-Wheel-Galvanized-Trailer-Jack/product/44919/

One additional note, as to the effects of towed vehicle sway, on my dolly with the rotating bed, any time the back end of my towed vehicle begins swaying due to heat related ruts on asphalt highways that sway is transferred to the rotating bed on the dolly and is not transferred to the trailer hitch. The wheel positioning of the dolly (at least one foot wider on each side than the car) will oftentimes allow the dolly wheels to skirt the ruts with no sway impacting the drivability of the coach.

Want to have some fun. Go to a REMCO dealer and ask them how they can configure a 2015 Honda CRV for towing. After they tell you about adding a trans pump or whatever else they will have to do ask them to see their assumption of liability for power train warranty repairs. When they tell you they don't do that, ask them to see the formal letter from Honda stating that their modifications are factory authorized and will not void the manufacturers warranty. When this cannot be provided ask them to see their sales contract and look for the disclaimer that says they are not responsible for repairs to the drive train in the event of a failure. Then ask them why they would need that disclaimer if their components do not violate manufacturer's warranties. About this time you can expect to be escorted out of the building by security personnel. If not, this next one is sure to work. Ask them to show you how that tow bar and base plate can be used to support the front end of a vehicle while you are performing undercarriage repairs, an oil change, or inspecting an exhaust system.

Again, make the decision that is best for you but make that decision based on facts and your preferences and not on someone else's biased opinion. Above all remember, a dealer does not realize a labor profit from the sale of a dolly, they do however realize that labor profit from the sale of a tow bar setup.
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Old 06-16-2015, 02:32 PM   #23
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Above all remember, a dealer does not realize a labor profit from the sale of a dolly, they do however realize that labor profit from the sale of a tow bar setup.
Unless of course you are like me and install the baseplate yourself.

Some baseplates are pretty difficult to install (the Roadmaster baseplate for my 2002 Pontiac required removing the engine bolts), but others are fairly easy (the Blue Ox baseplate for my 2002 Pontiac was simply bolt-on).

However, Remco probably puts more effort into dinghy towing solutions as that is where the market is. I don't typically see a lot of dolly tow setups.

What ultimately led us to going with a dinghy solution is that on occasion, I have had to back my motorhome out of a gas station. Disconnecting the toad nearby, then driving over to a gas station is a lot easier if you are dinghy towing than dolly towing in my opinion.

But with enough planning and forethought, you can avoid many situations whereby you may need to do this.

I suppose I see the major disadvantage though of dolly towing is the added un-sprung weight of the dolly. But again, that depends a lot on your individual situation.
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Old 06-16-2015, 03:17 PM   #24
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We recently went from dolly tow to 4 down towing. I called etrailer.com for pricing. The parts came to $2100. Since we live close to their warehouse I asked if they do installs. They said yes they do. I asked the cost. They said NO CHARGE. They have a lot of videos on their web site to show people how to install the products. Apparently they wanted to video the install on my 2005 Jeep Liberty. I'm not sure if the install is free in every case but if you live close to Wentzville MO it would be worth calling to find out. After having done both dolly and now 4 down towing I would never go back to dolly. Big thing is that one person can hook up the Jeep. I would not be interested in putting a vehicle on a dolly with only one person. No regrets on my part.
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Old 06-16-2015, 03:46 PM   #25
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Unless of course you are like me and install the baseplate yourself.
Ah, but what was the "opportunity cost" of installing that base plate yourself. I am sure your time is valued at something higher than 0 and as such what was the true cost of you installing that base plate yourself. Something else got put to the side while your time was otherwise consumed so what is the cost associated there as well.

Although it may not be measured in dollars and cents there is a cost associated with doing anything oneself. It may be measured in leisure time lost, costs associated with shifting priorities, or some other indirect or non-monetary cost.

Installing that base plate yourself cost you something, the question you must answer is what was the value of that time spent. The same would apply to paying a delivery and setup charge for an appliance or furniture vs picking it up and installing it yourself.

Again, one must consider all the facts. Opportunity costs are a fact of life as well as a factor in all economic decisions we make. Unfortunately few folks consider them when making decisions and often wonder where the time went or why they didn't get something else done.

As a note, I try to plan ahead and my travel planning includes fuel stops. The use of the satellite and street views of Google Maps has, for me, identified numerous gas stations to avoid and those that appear to provide easy entrance and exit. Using this method, as well as Pilot Flying J locations with dedicated RV lanes, I have never had to disconnect the car or dolly to get fuel. And yes, I was knocking on my wood desk while typing this paragraph.
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Old 06-16-2015, 04:30 PM   #26
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After reading these costs, risks, and limitations, like not being able to back up with flat towing or dolly, I'm wondering again if a small trailer wouldn't be a better solution for me as I evaluate options. Some very small trailers (limiting car size) don't seem to take up much more room than a dolly.

Regarding Honda CR-V, I had first generation and loved it. Great vehicle and perfect size for us (was not a toad). Newer CR-Vs have gotten bigger and heavier. Honda just came out with HR-V that is smaller than CR-V, and also comes with FWD 6-speed manual. I'm assuming the 6-speed manual is probably flat towable. Anyone seen data for the manual HR-V? I'm guessing the CVT auto version of the HR-V, like the CR-V, is not flat towable. The manual HR-V, on the other hand, may be a great choice.
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Old 06-16-2015, 04:47 PM   #27
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After reading these costs, risks, and limitations, like not being able to back up with flat towing or dolly, I'm wondering again if a small trailer wouldn't be a better solution for me as I evaluate options. Some very small trailers (limiting car size) don't seem to take up much more room than a dolly.

Regarding Honda CR-V, I had first generation and loved it. Great vehicle and perfect size for us (was not a toad). Newer CR-Vs have gotten bigger and heavier. Honda just came out with HR-V that is smaller than CR-V, and also comes with FWD 6-speed manual. I'm assuming the 6-speed manual is probably flat towable. Anyone seen data for the manual HR-V? I'm guessing the CVT auto version of the HR-V, like the CR-V, is not flat towable. The manual HR-V, on the other hand, may be a great choice.
The manual for the HRV is located here:

Owner's Manual | 2016 Honda HR-V | Honda Owners Site

The automatic can be towed with front wheels raised (dolly) and the manual can be flat towed with some additional actions required.
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Old 06-16-2015, 05:00 PM   #28
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Thanks Dave. I can't seem to open owner's manual so I'll stop by Honda to find out what the towing required actions are. If it's not very simple and straight forward I wouldn't want to mess with it. I've been meaning to test drive an HR-V anyway, although the manual transmission is not all that common yet.
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Old 06-16-2015, 05:06 PM   #29
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Installing that base plate yourself cost you something...
I am retired, so it's not like I had anything else to do.

However, I am finding out that being retired and doing nothing is a full time job.

It probably did cut into my nap time though...

Of course there are many intangibles here; some positive and some negative. While there is time involved, I have the satisfaction of doing the job myself, and did a more thorough job than the installer would have done (since I did corrosion control and other things to the vehicle). As well, I did learn a few things along the way.

... and tools. I did get a few new tools performing the installation.
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Old 06-16-2015, 05:10 PM   #30
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After reading these costs, risks, and limitations, like not being able to back up with flat towing or dolly, I'm wondering again if a small trailer wouldn't be a better solution for me as I evaluate options. Some very small trailers (limiting car size) don't seem to take up much more room than a dolly.
A trailer is an option, but I see the limiting factor may be tow and tongue weight. A trailer can add as much as 1,000~2,000lbs. If you have a diesel pusher with a 10,000lb towing capacity, probably not much of a deal, but for those of us that have a 5,000lb capacity, it might not be the best solution.

Last year we stayed at a campground that one rig was a 40 something ft diesel motorhome, with a tandem axle trailer carrying a 9 passenger full sized E series van... they had a big family.

Thing is, there are many options, and self-education as to which option is best for you is the best approach.
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Old 06-16-2015, 05:15 PM   #31
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[QUOTE=Chance;12853]After reading these costs, risks, and limitations, like not being able to back up with flat towing or dolly, I'm wondering again if a small trailer wouldn't be a better solution for me as I evaluate options. Some very small trailers (limiting car size) don't seem to take up much more room than a dolly.QUOTE]

Depending on what type of camping you do you may be asked to pay for a second camping space for the trailer or have to pay to put the trailer in the campgrounds storage lot while you are there.
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Old 06-16-2015, 05:23 PM   #32
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A trailer is an option, but I see the limiting factor may be tow and tongue weight.Thing is, there are many options, and self-education as to which option is best for you is the best approach.
Also size of your towed comes into play. We previously had a 30 ft. TT and towed with a Ford F350 diesel 4x4, 4 dr, long bed. That also meant that was what I drove every day. Not always fun when going to the grocery store, etc.

I picked my Dodge Dakota because I used to own a 2000 and I liked the size and with 4x4 I can place the transfer case in neutral and the auto trans in park and tow it behind the MH.
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Old 06-16-2015, 06:11 PM   #33
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Thanks Dave. I can't seem to open owner's manual so I'll stop by Honda to find out what the towing required actions are. If it's not very simple and straight forward I wouldn't want to mess with it. I've been meaning to test drive an HR-V anyway, although the manual transmission is not all that common yet.
Ah, patience young man. It took about 3 minutes for the manual to download on my system and my system is in no way antiquated.

On interesting tidbit to consider, the warranty booklet states that repairs are not covered if accessories are installed that are not "Honda Authorized Accessories". The question to ask is whether or not the base plate for a tow bar is a "Honda Authorized Accessory".
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Old 06-16-2015, 07:05 PM   #34
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Ah, patience young man. It took about 3 minutes for the manual to download on my system and my system is in no way antiquated.

On interesting tidbit to consider, the warranty booklet states that repairs are not covered if accessories are installed that are not "Honda Authorized Accessories". The question to ask is whether or not the base plate for a tow bar is a "Honda Authorized Accessory".
Thanks again Dave. Waiting a while worked since it's over 400 pages long.

I guess that up to 65 MPH the manual transmission HR-V, which only comes as FWD, is flat towable. Being that I've had great luck with prior Hondas I'll certainly put it on my list if I end up with a Class A motorhome instead of Class B.

Here is picture of required actions to save others having to open page. Procedure seems easy enough.
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Old 06-16-2015, 07:24 PM   #35
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....cut....

Thing is, there are many options, and self-education as to which option is best for you is the best approach.
So very true. And the number of choices makes decision that much harder.

I use to think my two main choices would be a small motorhome pulling a small car/SUV, or a pickup/SUV pulling a trailer.

Then during a trip out west to visit National Parks I saw a huge diesel pusher flat towing another RV in the form of a 4X4 Sportsbobile Class B. A little too much for my taste but I suddenly saw the benefits of splitting the RV into two units -- but on smaller scale.

If I get a Class B I want it to be able to tow a small camping trailer for when we travel with family, or for longer trips. The trailer can be a base camp while we drive around in Class B with many of the comforts of home. The problem is that newer vans can't tow much -- except Sprinters which I don't want.

Another option would be an Axis/Vegas towing a restored VW camper or something similar. Depending on trip, we could go out in either, or both together.

Lots of choices and combinations. A Class B van I can park at home that can serve as a second car seems almost perfect if only it could tow a 3500- to 4000-pound small trailer.
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Old 06-16-2015, 07:39 PM   #36
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I am retired, so it's not like I had anything else to do.

However, I am finding out that being retired and doing nothing is a full time job.

It probably did cut into my nap time though...

Of course there are many intangibles here; some positive and some negative. While there is time involved, I have the satisfaction of doing the job myself, and did a more thorough job than the installer would have done (since I did corrosion control and other things to the vehicle). As well, I did learn a few things along the way.

... and tools. I did get a few new tools performing the installation.
Oh contraire dear sir, you are not retired until they plant you in the ground. Until then, you are experiencing a shift in priorities, interests and a change in the entities that control your time. I retired twice, didn't like the demands others were placing on my time so I went back to work.

As to the cost: Nap time for me is valued at 150.00 per hour. So if it takes me three hours to do something that is a 450.00 cost resulting from lost naps that must be factored into the overall cost of a do it myself project.
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Old 06-17-2015, 01:06 PM   #37
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Depending on what type of camping you do you may be asked to pay for a second camping space for the trailer or have to pay to put the trailer in the campgrounds storage lot while you are there.
I've towed vehicles flat or on trailers before but never as a toad behind an RV. These kinds of issues are all new to me.

From what I keep reading, parking space for a trailer does seem to be a major issue against use of a trailer, if not the biggest one provided the total weight is not too high.

I'm wondering if many campgrounds would apply rules like the one stated above regardless of equipment size?

Specifically, if a couple has a small Axis/Vegas that is around 27-ft long, and is pulling a short trailer with compact car so total length is less than say, a 38-ft MH with toad, are they likely to apply some type of blanket rule even though it was inequitable based on space?

How do they handle Smart cars on trailers, or folding trailers, or people passing through that leave car on trailer?
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Old 06-17-2015, 01:16 PM   #38
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I've towed vehicles flat or on trailers before but never as a toad behind an RV. These kinds of issues are all new to me.

From what I keep reading, parking space for a trailer does seem to be a major issue against use of a trailer, if not the biggest one provided the total weight is not too high.

I'm wondering if many campgrounds would apply rules like the one stated above regardless of equipment size?

Specifically, if a couple has a small Axis/Vegas that is around 27-ft long, and is pulling a short trailer with compact car so total length is less than say, a 38-ft MH with toad, are they likely to apply some type of blanket rule even though it was inequitable based on space?

How do they handle Smart cars on trailers, or folding trailers, or people passing through that leave car on trailer?
Generally if the campground has pull thru sites you should not have to worry about a trailer. The majority of issues I have seen is when a campground does not have pull thru sites available. Fort Wilderness at Disney world is a prime example. There anyone with a trailer has to disconnect it in a parking lot before proceeding to their site.

I have stayed at another campground will back in sites only but that was because the rally organizers selected that location. Those sites were long enough to back a trailer in attached to an RV (depending on driver's skill level).
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Old 06-17-2015, 02:02 PM   #39
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For the most part, I think that a dolly might mostly fit under the rear overhang of the motorhome when at the campsite, so I would not be too worried about one of those. A trailer, on the other hand may be an issue in some campgrounds.

You will find campsites that vary from having plenty of room, to almost no room. Many of the State Park campsites in my state for example have been around for 50 years or more, and the largest RV back then was probably a 18ft trailer, and the campsites were sized accordingly.

So sometimes the campsites have little extra room; especially the ones in prime areas - such as along the Lake Michigan beach state park campgrounds.

You just have about enough room in those campsites for your motorhome and a small towed car (and no room for even a dolly). But that is somewhat of an exception, and those places usually have a side lot though that you can store your dolly or trailer.

Newer campgrounds typically have more space though, and no problem with a towed vehicle, trailer, or dolly.

Private parks in my area typically have more room, especially if they are pull-through, but it also varies depending on the "scenery" of the site.

So I would say that on the whole, you will find an occasional campsite with not enough room for a trailer or dolly. So plan on that eventuality, as rare as it might be, buy outfitting your toad with a trailer hitch.

It is a lot easier to move a dolly/trailer around in close quarters behind your car than with a motorhome, and you can simply disconnect everything at the entrance or staging area of the park (disconnect the toad and put the dolly/trailer on it), and put things where they need to be put. You won't need to do this every time, but for those few times you may need it, you will be glad you have that option.

We put a trailer hitch on our toad, not because of the need to transport a dolly, but for our hitch-mounted bicycle rack.
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Old 06-17-2015, 02:30 PM   #40
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At the state park we were at last weekend they were all small sites but people still found ways to fill them up. A couple of the sites had very large 5th wheels on them (35+ ft), the pickup truck, and one or two visiting cars parked there. This left barely enough room for the picnic table that was already on site!
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