Why would you buy something you can`t tow? knowing you have an RV and you need a toad, would have been a big time requirement when looking at cars.
Not much you can do without a full car trailer. and those little dollies are not meant for extended use.
Well let's see...I put over 20,000 miles on my daily driver. Twoing doesn not even equate to 10% of that.........
..Very well said, Brian, all of it. Your situation shows why it does not always necessarily make sense to get a car that is flat towable, and spend all the $$ to set it up for such. No doubt flat towing is the easiest and most preferred method, but sometimes it just ain't realistic or practical.
Like I've said before: Not Everyone wants (or can afford) to buy a Jeep, Honda CRV, or a manual shift vehicle to allow for flat towing. Sometimes, life circumstances, finances, needs, preferences, etc. can require that we find a way to make it work with something else that may not be easily flat towable.
Brian, I definitely understand your predicament. Tough to justify buying a car specifically for towing, when it will spend such a tiny percentage of its lifetime being towed.
As many have said, using dollies like tow trucks use is probably not going to be a good option. And, since you said you don't want to modify the car, that rules out options like a Remco lube pump or driveshaft disconnect.
There is one other flat towing alternative you may want to look into, that is a bit unusual and not usually done, although some do such and swear it works great: Leave the toad vehicle's engine running, idling when towing it, throw the tranny in neutral and tow it that way. Engine running keeps tranny lubricated, so you could, in theory, tow it all day all you wanted with no limits, as long as engine stays running OK.
I know this has been done successfully with FWD vehicles, but not sure if it could be done with AWD? Only question with AWD would be if the transfer case would be getting the lubrication it needs when towing this way?
The other 'cons' to this approach you need to think about are:
1. You have no way of monitoring the toad's engine 'vitals' when towing, and could do some major damage if engine develops overheating or other condition or stalls out and you don't know. However, I think you could take care of that by setting up some kind of wireless camera pointing at your toad's dashboard, and the monitor for such up on the dash in your Motorhome.
2. Miles will be logged on your Subaru when towing
3. You will burn a bit extra fuel, since Subaru will be idling whole time you tow it.
With this approach (assuming it will work OK with an AWD Subaru), you would not have to modify your Subaru hardly at all, and could flat tow it pretty much as it is. May well be worth the extra mileage and extra fuel burned, to be able to tow your Subaru without having to modify it or fool with a trailer or dolly.
Anyway, just wanted to throw that out as one other thing to maybe look into, as I'm not seeing much other alternative for you given your circumstances. Trying to help a fellow North Carolina guy, too. :)
Nobody will like my advice on this and I'll probably get flamed on this, but here goes anyway:
Our solution to this issue is simple: We don't bring the four-legged pets with us when camping, ever.
They either stay at a friends, get boarded, or stay at the house and we hire a pet-sitter to come by every so often to check on and play with them (usually the latter). We find this is much, MUCH easier and less stressful on all involved.
Bringing them along just causes way too many difficulties that we do not want to deal with (most of which have already been mentioned in this thread).
I know I'm in the minority, and I know a lot of RV owners get an RV specifically so they can take their pets with them. That is not us, though. I like the freedom of not having to worry about the pets when we travel.
Happened to us once several years ago, back when we had a Ford Excursion (with the huge mirrors) and a 34' TT. Wasn't on the road and wasn't a truck, though, it was another RV and happened at a campground front office.
We were sitting, parked at the front office at Ocean Lakes CG in Myrtle Beach, SC. Had just got there and finished paying for our site, was fixing to head to our site. I walk out of office, right as this big MH is passing by us on the left. It starts to turn to the left, swinging its back end to the right, toward our truck. DW is freaking out, saying he's gonna hit us. Before we could stop him, say or do anything, sure enough, back end of his MH caught the truck's drive side mirror.
He got it much worse than we did! Did ZERO damage to the mirror or the truck. The mirror just pivoted forward (those mirrors on the Excursions will pivot forward or backward, great mirrors!). It was able to pivot forward enough to keep from doing any damage to the mirror at all. All I had to do was put the mirror back in place. However, the contact left a nice long black streak across the right side of that Motorhome!
I never could get the guy's attention, nor ever saw him again. He left off into the CG sporting a nice long black streak across his Motorhome. May well have washed, buffed out, I don't know. I'm sure it made for some 'interesting' conversation when he got to his site and found out what he'd done. :)
Ever since then, we always use Ocean Lake's 'express check-in' service whenever we go there, so we never have to stop at their front office to check in. Just soooo many RVs coming through there all the time at that place (its a huge, very busy CG), very easy for that to happen.
..Even when we're passing through and staying just 1 night, we still hook up electricity and water, at a minimum. Any more than 1 night, and sewer gets hooked up, too (assuming our site has such).
My gang likes their 'creature comforts' waaaay too much, to do it any other way. Especially here in the South, where most times, places we camp, air conditioning is a must or you'd burn up. Also, like already said, If I'm going to pay for the convenience of those hookups, I'm going to use them. Otherwise you might as well dry camp somewhere and save yourself a good bit of $$. :)
Only time I can recall that we ever did not hook anything up was when we were 'dry camping' for a night in relative's driveway, and hookups were not an option. In that case, I had to run the generator all night to power the air conditioner. Done that a couple times and it works great, but I'd really prefer not to do that if I can avoid it.
There is only one reason to dislike the front door and that is passing in front of whomever is sitting there and that is only for gas/diesel stops.
There are other disadvantages to a front door coach as well.
Like already mentioned, a front door means that your door doesn't go out under the main awning as is the case for mid door coaches. There is always a gap between the small doorway awning, and the main awning outside. Some people really do not like this, and prefer a door that opens out under the main awning.
There is also the fact that a front door coach can make one feel like they are driviong a big school (or Greyhound) bus. The few times I test drove a DP like this, I felt like I needed to turn on flashing lights and swing out a 'stop' arm when opening the door, haha. With a door in the middle, it feels more like you're in a real camper or RV and not so much like a bus.
Like has been said so many times, 'There is a rear end for every seat'. That is why they make soooo many different models, designs. :)
LOL, it never fails. Right around big holiday weekends, we see several posts, threads like this, talking about inconsiderate things campers do. Like already said, this is because the holiday weekends are when there is are a lot more of the shall we say, less experienced, and less considerate people out camping.
This is one of the main reasons we avoid camping on holiday weekends like the plague, like others have said. Just is not worth it to us for the extra day you get, for all the other stuff you frequently have to deal with on those weekends.
Unfortunately, though, that isn't a very realistic option for many. For many folks, the holiday weekends is the only time they can get away to go camping.
As to what I'd do in that situation: Asking to move to another site is not a good idea, IMO. You risk going to a site thats even worse in other ways. That, and frequently on busy weekends like that, IF there are even any sites still left, you will not want them, haha.
I would have told the guy something like this: "Look, I know you have a power issue, but generator hours in the park are 8-11 (or whatever they are). I'm not going to say anything as I understand your predicament, but somebody else may complain or the ranger may notice, and I'd hate to see you get thrown out and your weekend get ruined. How about you go into town, get you a new battery, and I'll try to help you put it in and get your power situation straightened out?"
..If they refuse your help and continues to run the genny, THEN it may be time to go talk to the ranger.
This way, you don't come off as the bad guy, so hopefully you won't make any enemies regardless what happens.
As was pointed out, most new RV's don't come with a spare and there's a reason. First, unless you have a good impact wrench with you, getting the wheel off is going to be nearly impossible. Getting the lug nuts torqued back on after changing is going to be even more challenging. All of this plus the weight of that monster wheel assembly your handling (or two wheels you get to handle if you blow the inside dual) is simply not something you want to do on the side of the interstate....
..This is mostly true, for larger Motorhomes that have 22" wheels/tires. However, the original poster here has a gas rig, with 19.5" tires. Not the same ballgame at all. 19.5" tires are lighter and easier to handle, not to mention less expensive (which are two of the reasons I'm glad my MH has such).
I can tell you from personal exerience, that it most certainly IS possible for an owner to change a 19.5" tire by themself. I've done it. All you need to carry with you is a good bottle jack, torque wrench, socket, wrench, and breaker bar/pipe (3' long is plenty) to go on the wrench to break the lugnuts loose.
Like already said, 19.5" wheels typically only require 150 ft-lbs of torque. You can apply that much torque pretty easily with the right torque wrench, that you can buy from Harbor Freight for around $30. If somebody has put lug nuts on tighter than that, then the breaker bar I mentioned and appropriate wrench, socket can be used to break them loose. Another option is to carry an air impact wrench and portable compressor to run it, which makes it even easier (but not necessary). The breaker bar also can be used to help you maneuver the tire/wheel into place, and pry it up onto the lug bolts.
Anyway, I know the original poster said he didnt want to turn this into a debate of whether or not to carry a spare, and I don't want that to happen, either. I just wanted to point out that 19.5" tires are much easier to handle, change, and indeed CAN be handled by the owner with minimal tools, if they so choose.
Wonder if they'll re-introduce the UFO rear engine gas chassis?:h
Now, that would be cool! That 8.8 V8 in a pusher chassis, would give the diesel pusher manufacturers some good competition. And, like already said, competition is good for ALL of us. Somebody needs to give Ford some competition in this (gasser MH chassis) market, they've had it cornered for too long.
Still, though, I would not want to buy a MH built on this chassis, until they've had them out for a few years and got the bugs worked out. I don't like being anybody's 'guinea pig', haha. :)
This too was a problem for us, and I concur that it is related to the low oil level switch. When we were having the problem I was using 5W30 oil in the generator as I could use it year round. However, I switched to straight 30 weight oil (per the manual) for the warmer months and this problem seems to have been eliminated....
Hmm, interesting, hadn't thought about the weight of the oil making this (shut-off during sudden moves) issue more or less likely to happen.
I actually run Onamax straight 30 weight oil year round in mine. It stays warm enough here to allow that. Still even with 30 weight in it year round, this issue still happens every once in a while.
We have 3 on the dinette and 3 on the sofa. Very comfy to travel with 6 + 2. We, however, will never see over 10mpg. Actually, 7-8 range.
To each their own, and I guess it depends on the 3 on the sofa and the size of the sofa itself, but....Most sofas I've seen in RVs, I would not consider 3 people on them as anything like 'comfy' for long trips (even if 1 or 2 of them were children).
That was why I indicated only comfortable way to do this, would be with dual sofas.
To do that (comfortably!) in a Class A, IMO you need one with dual sofas and a dinette, minimum. That's going to put you in the 38-40' range, or bigger (and probably in the realm of diesel pushers, for which the price goes up substantially).
Or a very few select gassers. ;) Ours is 36'. We've slept 4 adults, 2 teens, 3 kids and an overweight golden retriever. We used an air mattress and sleeping bags to supplement the sofas, dinette & bed. We could'a handled 2 more if anyone wanted to sleep in the driver & passenger chairs. :) A bit crowded, but not bad if everyone is friendly. :)
Hehe, noticed that I said, to "comfortably!" do this. :)
Yes, there are a few gassers out there with dual sofas and a dinette, but not many (yours is indeed one of the few). Most units with dual sofas are going to be 38' or longer, and on a diesel pusher chassis.
This is absolutely fine, it was designed to work this way. 'Tis one of the main reasons why motorized RVs have a generator, and towable RVs don't: You have to keep everyone comfortable when on the road with a motorized unit, but not with a towable.
We do this all the time when traveling in the summer. The dashboard A/C will keep things cool enough up front for me and DW, but it will not even begin to cool the rest of the coach. Our kids would be very hot and unconfortable if we didn't run the generator and overhead AC unit.
One downside to doing this that I really hate: Like already said, genny cuts off when you get down to only 1/3 or 1/4 of a fuel tank. This limits how far we can go before refueling in the summer.
Oh, one other thing I've learned with our Onan genny about running it when on the road: It will shut off if you make a very sudden movement, like a 'panic' stop, sudden swerve/turn, etc. I think its the low oil switch that kicks it off in a sudden movement, as too much oil sloshes away from the sensor. I've tried putting a little more oil in, doesn't seem to matter. It rarely happens and takes almost a 'panic' type movement to cause this, but it is something to be aware of. Not a big deal, if I see after such a movement that the generator has shut off, I just reach over on the dash and hit the 'start' button to re-start it.
6 adults, 2 children, and 3 dogs while traveling? Wow, thats a lot. To do that (comfortably!) in a Class A, IMO you need one with dual sofas and a dinette, minimum. Thats going to put you in the 38-40' range, or bigger (and probably in the realm of diesel pushers, for which the price goes up substantially). Good thing is that with a unit that size, you could probably sleep that many as well if you wanted to (although it may get a bit crowded).
Oh, and yes, as already said, 10 mpg ain't going to happen with ANY Class A you get that will meet your needs outlined here. 7 or 8 is a bit more realistic.
That, or maybe get you a pickup to tow the 5er (keep the 5er), and have some folks ride in the pickup, the rest ride in your Navion or follow in their own vehicle? That would be much more cost effective. Pickups that can handle a large 5er aren't cheap, but are much, MUUCH cheaper than a Class A unit that will do what you want.
I guess its a question of how much its worth to you, to have everyone riding together in the same vehicle. No doubt, there is no better way to travel than with everyone together in a big Class A. Just can't be beat it, as most any Class A owner will tell you. However, traveling that way is also very, very EXPENSIVE all around.
..Since it sounds like you haven't bought any of the towing hardware yet, I highly, HIGHLY recommend you look at the tow bar and integrated braking system offered by NSA, the Readybrute Elite tow bar and Readybrake braking system package.
You basically get a very nice tow bar AND braking system, for almost the same $$ as you'll pay for just a tow bar alone from anyone else. That alone right there, will save you several hundred $$ (close to $1k) from what you'll pay for a tow bar and separate braking system of any other type. And, you get a very simple, reliable, no-nonsense cable operated braking sytem that simply works, and works great.
As to your specific question about installation cost for a braking system: Really depends a lot on the braking system and the vehicle involved. Can range anywhere from $0 for a 'brake-in-a-box' system like Brake Buddy that you have to put in and take out every time you tow, to right up around $1000 for installation of the more complicated electronic systems.
The Readybrake system I mentioned is somewhere between those two extremes, again depending on the vehicle involved. It is a pretty simple installation, though, since it only involves installing, routing a physical cable from the brake pedal out to front of the vehicle.
A good point was made earlier, too: Are you asking about strictly the cost of installation with regards to a braking system, or installation of everything required for flat towing? There is a huge difference, as there are other installation costs for flat towing that you have to do regardless whether you use a braking system or not: Base plates, tail light wiring, etc.
I think the Prius is front wheel drive in both electric and gas. Of course when running electric it is different setup. I wonder how all of these only electric cars might tow.
..In the case of Ford's C-max and Fusion hybrids (as well as the full electric 'energi' version of both) that use the eCVT transmission, they flat tow great, with full factory support from Ford.
'Tis one huge advantage, IMO, that Ford's hybrids have over Toyota's Prius. You can flat tow any of Ford's hybrids all day with almost no restrictions. The Toyota Prius has to be towed either on a dolly or a flat bed trailer.
If the GPS fails then use a voice activated route service. It's called a Wife. It will roll down the window automatically and ask for directions. It's free and doesn't need any cell towers or satellites. :)
However, anyone that thinks a 'wife' is anything REMOTELY like 'free'....Welll, they either live in a serious dream world, or haven't been married very long. :)
Generally speaking, backing up when flat towing is a bad idea that should be avoided. It is usually best to just avoid getting into situations that require backing up. Failing that, just unhook, back up, re-position, and hook back up.
HOWEVER, contrary to what many will tell you, in many situations it CAN be done as long as you are cautious, go slooow, and use your head.
A lot depends on the specifc toad and its front suspension design, The suspension on some vehicles is much more forgiving than others when being pushed backwards. Jeep Wranglers in particular, even though they are very popular as toads, they seem to be the most unforgiving when it comes to pushing them backwards. Their front wheels will slam to one side almost instantly, and tear something up. I guess, 'tis one of the downsides to a vehicle built so well for off-roading.
OTOH, I've seen some FWD vehicles pushed all the way across a parking lot without a problem. I personally once pushed our Kia minivan a good 30-40' backwards when experimenting in a parking lot. It worked OK as long as I was on a smooth surface and kept the MH wheels straight.
The Motorhome involved plays a role, too. Generally speaking, the more rear overhang the Motorhome has, the more potential 'swing' it could have when backing, making it more difficult to back without jack-knifing the toad.
Personally, I've never yet had to unhook and back up (except of course, at back-in campsites). There were a few times I just 'coasted' backwards (sloooowly) a few feet to clear an obstacle, but other than that, we've always managed to avoid having to back up. However, we've only been doing the flat towing thing for 'bout 3 years. I'm sure one day it'll happen to us; when it does, we'll just deal with it. Good thing about flat towing is that when/if this happens, unhitching and hitching up is so quick and easy, its really not that big a deal.
Could be as simple as while driving down the road you let your fuel gauge go below 1/4 tank. The geneator fuel inlet will not suck gas below a 1/4 tank as a safety feature. If between 1/4 and 1/2 and you were going up hill or down hill on a long grade it will also be below the genny inlet tube in the gas tank and cause the same problem.
I'm betting this is the cause. Original poster said that this happened when they took their first real long trip with it, so I bet they got down close to or below 1/4 of a tank of fuel, resulting in the generator running dry on fuel.
I know why they are built that way, but I still don't like the fact that generator can only run on first 3/4 of a tank of fuel. When traveling in hot weather where you need your generator and air conditioners running, it severely limits your range between fill-ups when you lose your generator and air conditioners at 1/4 of a tank. I've thought a few times about trying to change this, and make the generator fuel pickup feed from ENTIRE fuel tank, not just the first 3/4 (anyone ever done that?)
Glad someone looked up the trouble code involved here, 36, which it turns out is a fuel related issue, not overheating. Does not appear overheating had anything to do with what happened here. Also, is kinda funny how folks with diesel generators swear that these Onan generators are water-cooled, since theirs is. Onan GAS powered RV generators have almost ALWAYS been air cooled, and still are. :)
Be sure you have a good paper map as a back up. Sometimes I am dumbfounded at the errors they display.
..If you don't take any other advice on this subject, heed this advice!
GPS devices are a great tool to help with navigation, but you cannot rely on them 100%. They are not always very accurate, and only know what is in their database, which may or may not be 100% up to date and correct.
I use a Garmin RV 760 LMT. Its a great unit, I highly recommend it. But, regardless what GPS you get, get in the habit of using paper maps, maps.google or other tools as a backup so you know your route and generally where you're going beforehand. Relying on a GPS alone/blindly can get you into a world of trouble.