Someone pass me the popcorn? :)
..This subject NEVER fails to bring up all kinds of 'entertaining' reading. :)
If so many braking system companies didn't spread so many flat out LIES about what the state laws are in this regard....IMO this issue wouldn't get beat to death so much.
..Only system like this I've ever seen on a Motorhome that you can still get today, is the one Power House Coach offers, their Ultimate Vehicle Tow System.
Of course, when you build a custom coach on a Volvo HDT chassis, you can build a tow vehicle lift like that on it. They even offer some coaches with a built-in garage that will store your car for you. :)
Got to have pretty deep pockets, though, to afford something like that. It ain't something I'll ever be able to afford in this life, haha.
There *USED TO BE* one other option like this that was much less expensive: The short-lived Electric Tow Hitch. A completely custom hitch setup that supposedly could be set up for any vehicle and Motorhome. However, they went out of business a few years ago. I can make some pretty good guesses why that happened.
Does anyone have any negative comments about:
a Roadmaster with the Invisibrake? CW has a good sale on complete installation now. I wonder about the Invisibrake.
I bet, no matter what sale Camping World has on this, you could get a ReadyBrute Elite tow bar and their included Readybrake braking system, for a fraction of what you'd pay for that Roadmaster and Invisibrake.
My vote is for the Readybrute. You just can't beat it, IMO.
We did something very similar - Towed a 4600 lb Kia Sedona minivan behind our 36' 2012 Georgetown Motorhome (see signature) for 'bout a year before we got another toad vehicle. Only major difference is that our MH has the newer more powerful 362 HP V10. Ours handled the van just fine when we towed it, I never had any complaints as far as towing power was concerned.
Anyway, your new (to you) Southwind with the 310 HP V10 will handle the van just fine. You won't win any races going up through mountain passes, but it will handle it OK.
Which mini van are we talking about? There aren't many mini vans that can be towed 4 down without some modifications. Or, were you planning on using a dolly?
I would get the base plate installed on your PT Cruiser and do some measuring on it and the RV before you decide what drop receiver to use. Sometimes, the measurements they give on the height can be a bit off from reality. :)
Also understand, contrary to what some say, it does NOT have to be perfectly level. As long as you come close, you'll be fine. I would agree that you'd never want the RV end lower than the car end, but it is OK if RV is a little higher.
Also keep in mind, there is a huge downside to using larger drop receivers. The more the drop and the longer your MH's rear overhang is, the more likely you are to s****e or drag the back of your MH when going in and out of driveways, gas stations, etc. Too much 'drop' can put you at so much risk for tearing up your reciever or tow bar, you're better off to live with the tow bar not being quite as level.
With ours, I use a 4" drop, and it is not level (MH is maybe 1-2" higher). However, there is NO WAY I will use any lower of a drop. I already s****e a little when backing into our driveway and other places. if I went any lower, I'd probably tear the hitch receiver or tow bar clean off (or get it stuck).
Bobbo is right - Pulling the fuse should remove the need for a charge line.
However, there are a few vehicles out there that when flat towed with ignition in ACC position, will draw down the battery no matter what you do. One way to make sure your vehicle is not one of them, is to do a test like I did: Put vehicle in neutral, ignition in ACC position, turn everthing off inside just like you would when you're hitching it up to tow. Then, attach a clip-on ammeter on one of the main wires going to the battery, watch it for a minute or two and see what kind of amp draw you get. If its less than 1 amp, you're probably good, and don't need a charge line. Any more than that, and you might should consider one.
I found with our Ford Fusion Hybrid, there was an average of a 3 amp draw ALL the time. Something about the electronics on Ford's hybrid vehicles, there are some electrical components that stay on when ignition is in ACC position, that draw down the battery. Only solution was a charge line, so thats what I did. 'Tis a very easy and inexpensive thing to add, though, if you do need it.
As to how to wire the charge line: Yes, tying into the 7 round plug on the MH will work, and is the easiest if you have such plug. I used 8 gauge wire IIRC, would not recommend going any smaller. Also, make CERTAIN that you install a fuse on that line next to where it connects to + terminal of your toad battery. I used a 15 amp fuse IIRC. You absolutely need to fuse that line, to protect it. A diode, like WyoTraveler mentioned, isn't a bad idea, either, although I have not done that.
There is also a few products you can buy that provide toad battery charging for you. I like THIS one from RVibrake. A little bit more expensive than just simply running a line, but this unit would manage your battery's charging much better.
Well, let's see. In a panic stop, a 4000-lb car presses against the towbar in the way the towbar was designed to work. And hopefully with not all that much pressure since the toad should have a supplemental braking system.
But when the rig backs up and the front wheels of the toad jam into their stops, a 14000-lb motorhome presses the towbar in a crooked way that it wasn't designed for.
And, oh, the same thing happens to tie rods, tie rod ends and rack/pinion in the toad.
Indeed, if the front wheels jam off to the left or right when backing, and you continue backing up that way...Yep, you're going to break stuff very quickly, one of which could be your tow bar.
HOWEVER, most folks would have enough sense to STOP backing well before that happens. That is why if you must back up, you do so slooowly, only in as straight a line possible, and watching the toad carefully. Soon as front wheels on toad start to turn, you pretty much have to stop.
As long as you take that approach, you are not going to break a tow bar or anything else. Despite what the gloom and doomers say. :)
Popsie made a very good point, too, that frequently gets overlooked when this discussion comes up - Not ALL cars have positive caster. Some cars are much better suited to allow this backing than others. Jeeps, and other vehicles with older suspension setup with positive caster, are the WORST for this, and front wheels will slam to one side very quickly with these. Its kind of ironic - Jeeps are one of the most popular toads, yet they are the absolute worst for backing up when towed 4 down 'cause of their suspension design.
However, newer vehicles with more modern suspension designs that don't have a lot of positive caster, will let you push them backwards a little more. Its another case where folks are sooo used to saying 'NO, YOU CAN'T DO THAT', they don't realize they could be giving extremely out-dated advice.
My advice: Go to a large parking lot, a smooth surface with your toad hooked up to the Motorhome. With someone watching your toad closely, try backing up slooowly, as straight as you can. If toad wheels start to jam off to one side or the other, STOP and pull forward to straighten back up.
After some practice like this, you will know just what YOU and YOUR specific rig can and can't do. You may find (like I did) that you can easily back up as far as you need to, so long as you stay straight and go slowly. Or, you may find that it will not work at all. Better to have that information beforehand, than to try and find out the hard way when/if you ever get stuck in a tight spot somewhere. :)
I just received this message back from RV Direct regarding whether or not you get a warranty.
"Yes. We are a Jayco dealer like your dealer down the road, no different. All Jaycos are covered by a two year warranty good at any Jayco dealer.
National Sales Manager
RV One Superstores, Inc"
..Ask him if you have an issue while under warranty and no local Jayco dealer will help, if he has a service department capable of handling any warranty issues you may have. Since he's just like any other Jayco dealer, that shouldn't be a problem, right? :)
From what I have found, RV Direct has very little if any service department. They push that off on other dealers. They're all about sales, thats pretty much it.
It is true, that you still have the manufacturer warranty. However, like already said, getting warranty service can be more of a challenge when you don't have a local dealer that you bought from.
Great feedback willald, thank you. I feel like you understand my needs.
Unless we go with a 5th wheel toy hauler, we'll have a 4x4 toad for getting to trailheads in the middle of nowhere. We have a hitch-mounted rack which is great for transporting the bikes, just not great for storing them long-term.
I'd be ok with a tarp to cover them from the elements, but I worry about leaving my bikes outside in the middle of nowhere, easily accessed, while I'm off backpacking for 4+ days.
Problem with a 5th wheel toy hauler, is that the garage in the back takes up a lot of space you could otherwise have as nice living space, that you will want for full-timing. That, and you'd have to have such a massive pickup to tow it, you may not like having to wrestle a 1 ton dually pickup into locations where your trailhead may be for biking or hiking.
I like the 4runner idea, provided you can find one that is flat towable. A 4 runner might even be light enough, that a big diesel pusher MH may not be necessary to tow it.
..Since you're going to be full-time, I'm betting no matter how much basement storage you have, you will fill it up with other stuff and will not want to tie a bunch of it up with bikes. Also, being full-time, you sure aren't going to want the bikes inside, either. Since you don't want the bikes outside, that pretty well rules out keeping the bikes anywhere on or in the MH. :)
Given your requirements, I think you're limited to two choices, already mentioned: Either a large enclosed trailer to carry both bikes and your toad (and maybe a small shop), or get you a toad large enough to carry bikes inside back of toad. As mentioned in previous post, a good size SUV or pickup truck with a shell should allow such.
I vote for getting a pickup with a shell as your toad. Depending on the shell you use and the pickup, you might could fit the bikes in the back without even having to remove the front wheel. I agree that an enclosed trailer could be difficult to deal with at some campgrounds, I wouldn't want that, either.
Also, going with this approach would allow you to take the bikes with you to off-the-beaten path places with your toad, that you would not want to take the MH. From what it sounds like you want to do, I'm thinking this would be something you'd want, right? :)
When we towed a TT with a large SUV (Ford Excursion), that's what we did - all 4 of our bikes fit in the back of the Excursion. A pickup would be even better, that way you wouldn't be getting the inside of your vehicle dirty when you have to put bikes away dirty. Now, we carry our bikes on the back of our toad with a hitch mounted rack, but I do sometimes miss being able to store the bikes inside like we used to.
..Only downside to the pickup or large SUV for a toad approach: With a toad that heavy, your MH choices will be limited somewhat. Most all gasser MHs will not have a hitch receiver capable of handling a toad that big. You will probably have to go with a diesel pusher of some variety, which will mean a bunch more $$.
We looked at RVdirect a few years ago, seriously considered buying a unit from them. Yes, their prices are sometimes soo much lower than local dealers, it seems too good to be true.
Their pricing is so low, because they have almost no service department to pay for. There is very little if any PDI done at all when you buy from them. They get it from the factory, and its yours. Period. You pretty much own the unit, sign all the papers, etc., before you even can SEE it.
Ultimately, that just did not sit well with us. The idea of having full ownership, responsibility, insurance, etc. for a unit before I even see it, just would not work for me. You could show up to get it, the unit be a complete mess, and it is YOUR unit, your problem by then. Not happening, at least not for us.
(..And thats not to mention, they really don't seem to want trade-ins, as they won't give you squat for them.)
Only way we MIGHT would consider purchasing from them, is if there was no tradein involved, and they had a stock unit like what we wanted, in which case we could look it over real good before signing any papers. Never would I order one, and make 100% financial commitment to it before I even see it. An RV is way too large an investment, too much risk, to do that.
Anyway, we ended up buying from a local dealer, and got a deal very close to what RV Direct was offering. Very glad we did, too, 'cause we've had a great relationship with that dealer, and they've been very helpful for anything we've needed.
Like already said, the one thing RV direct is good for, is using their prices to make local dealers a little more competitive. :)
...I slightly exceeded the 70 mph limit once when trying to finish passing a truck and cresting a hill. I got up to 71, 72 tops.
That happens with me from time to time, too. The speed can sneak up on you on the highways, especially when you're trying to pass a slower vehicle and get back over out of the left lane quickly. I don't think there is any harm from that at all, so long as you don't get too far over for too long.
I can't say for sure that it was in neutral the entire time, but I'm sure it was in N when I discovered the problem and got in the car to press the brake pedal and make sure it started. I had traveled 300 miles that day but only 12 miles were logged. Maybe some bumpy stretches of the highway bounced it into gear and then bounced it back into neutral.
I wasn't suggesting, that you accidentally left it in drive or a gear other than neutral (or that it would have shifted out of neutral on a bumpy road). If that was the case, I think you would have had much more immediate and catastrophic transmission damage.
What I am wondering, is if maybe you did not get the engine/drivetrain turned off as it should be, and it was still active? Just a completely wild guess on my part, but if that did happen, it could explain what happened here.
Another completely wild guess: Does your vehicle have the remote start capability on the FOB? Could somebody have accidentally pressed it at some point in the trip, causing the C-Max drivetrain to turn on?
I'm taking it to the dealer this week for regular service anyway, so I'll ask them to check everything out.
Great idea, I would, too. Do post back on here and let us know what Ford tells you. I'm curious to see what may have caused this.
Agree with previous poster, something is definitely amiss here. I own a Ford hybrid (Fusion) as well, and know a little 'bout them.
With a Ford hybrid vehicle being flat towed, there is no way the gas engine (or electric motor for that matter) should EVER be able to come on, let alone come on and run enough to get the gas engine that hot! My guess is one of the following:
1. Something is seriously, seriously wrong with your C-max, and needs to go to the dealer ASAP to find out what.
2. Some how, some way, a blunder was made when hitching up, and the engine/drivetrain was accidentally left ON when towing.
If #2 is what happened, this could kind of make sense, why mileage was logged for the last 12 miles and overheated. With Ford Hybrids, generally the gas engine only turns on when either:
A) demand for power exceeds power electric motor and battery can provide, or
B) the batteries deplete low enough that gas engine engages to re-charge batteries.
If you accidentally left the engine/drivetrain ON when you hitched up, its possible the gas engine would not come on until the last 12 miles - That might have been the point where the batteries were depleted enough that it forced the engine to come on.
As to how/why the engine over-heated when it turned on for last 12 miles: Not sure on that, but given that Ford does NOT intend for that engine ever to come on when flat towing, nor do they intend for regenerative braking or most other electronic systems to be on when towing (and they may have been)....I can see how overheating might could occur under the conditions described.
Either way, whether you think you may have accidentally left drivetrain on when towing or not, I think I'd still take it to a dealer to be checked out.
Why do you have a filter if you don't drink the water?
..Because the rig we have now (see signature) came standard with the filtration system. We didn't really have a choice in the matter, unless I wanted to remove it. :)
I've not been a big proponent of filtration systems in the past, because we don't typically drink the water. However, after seeing this, I won't be without one, whether we drink the water or not.
I did not intend to start a long debate about water quality and various filtration systems. I just wanted to show a clear, concrete example of why such systems are a good idea.
As to turtlenpeeps comments/insults: LOL, I learned a long time ago that with public internet forums, posts like that are just the kind of thing you have to deal with from time to time. There are those that just like to insult and stir up cr*p, no matter the subject. Any time I post on here, I fully expect (and am prepared to answer) posts like that. :)
So they had rust in their water system? It's not going to kill you. What are you going to complain about? Bad tasting water?
Just what is so bad about drinking rusty water (iron water)?
Wasn't going to call to complain necessarily, as it really didn't impact us that much. I was just thinking it might be a good idea to let them know about it, that this might be something they need to look into.
I agree its not going to kill anyone, I'm just not used to seeing a water filter get THAT dirty that quickly. Like I said, normally I only replace that filter at the end of every season, and it has never before even looked like it needed replacing then.
..We just got back from a week of camping up in the mountains around Pigeon Force, TN. Had a great time up there, in spite of how hot its been.
Anyway, we heard some campers talking about how the water at the campground was not very clean. Seemed OK in our camper, so didnt think much about it. Then, just before we left to come home yesterday, I looked at the filter on our RV's filtration system. For the first time EVER, that thing was completely brown inside! Have never seen that happen before, usually I only change that filter at the end of each season, and it is still completely white/clear when I change it. Not this time. Just 1 week at this campground, and filter was completely brown, bad enough I replaced it as soon as we got home!
Just for kicks, I snapped a picture of the filter before I removed it. Check this out:
http://i571.photobucket.com/albums/ss154/willald/RV%20stuff/Georgetown%20351DS/2393DEC3-A779-4216-A11B-14CCAFF65ADE_zpsvpth7uej.jpg height=400 width=300
Upon examining the water spigot closer when we were unhooking yesterday to pull out, it looks like that is all rust contamination, coming from the spigot itself. I'm seriously considering calling the campground and having a word with them about it. Not to ask for a refund or anything like that, but more to let them know of this situation, as someone that drinks this water without using a filtration system...Yikes!
..The lesson we learned, that can be learned from this: If you don't have a filtration system of some kind...GET ONE. I've not been a big proponent of such in the past, and this is actually our first rig that has a 'whole house' filtration system. Now, though, I am very, very glad we have such after seeing how bad the water can be. We rarely ever drink water we're hooked up to when camping, we typically bring our own drinking water (in gallon jugs). Sooo, fortunately we didn't drink any of this water, even filtered. However, we do use the water for showers, washing dishes, etc. Filter did its job as water seemed clear, OK inside.
Also keep in mind with this vehicle (Focus), the towing procedure requires you to disconnect the battery whenever you are towing it. That being the case, you have to reset some things in the car when you unhitch and hook battery back up.
Not disconnecting the battery when towing it can lead to major transmission damage. Do a search, you'll see some cases where that has happened.
This battery disconnect thing was what made us scratch the Focus off our list, did not want to have to mess with disconnecting and re-=connecting the battery every time we tow. 'Tis why we went with a Ford Fusion Hybrid instead. Would recommend you look into such. Much, much easier and more simple to tow, and the mileage is unbeatable.
Its important (and difficult, as already said) when making this comparison, that you truly and as objectively as possible, compare 'apples to apples'.
Its very difficult to compare the two as a true apples to apples comparison, for the reasons already said.
One thing I see very often when making this comparison that completely fouls it up, is folks compare an entry level TT that costs maybe $15-20k brand new, to a $500k top of the line diesel pusher. This approach is why sooo many folks make the asssumption that a MH costs obscenely more than a TT or 5th wheel, when that is NOT necessarily true in all cases. There are some cases where the cost for a MH is not that much greater than what you'd pay for a similar level of quality in a TT and truck.
You must compare entry level with entry level, mid range to mid range, or top of the line to top of the line. New to new, or used to used. Mixing that up, quickly makes the comparison worthless.
As to what the OP specifically asked for, a MH to comparable to a Sprinter 319MKS: I think something like a Fleetwood Bounder, Forest River Georgetown, Thor Hurricane, or Coachmen Mirada model around 36-37' would be the closest you could get. Tough part would be finding a floorplan that is most comparable to that Sprinter 319MKS. The nature of a MH with the cab up front drastically changes the way a floorplan has to be done vs how it is done in a TT or 5er.
What would NOT be a fair comparison, would be any diesel pusher MH, many Winnegago models, or any Tiffin Allegro models. Those would all be considered more of a step up from entry level, whereas the Sprinter TT is basically entry level. Again, we must compare apples to apples.
Anyway, I think you will find that overall the MH usually is a bit more expensive to own and operate, but a LOT depends on just how much MH, quality you must have. You can get into a nice MH for not much more $$ than you'd put in a comparable truck and trailer, as long as you don't have to have a 45' Diesel Pusher with every amenity you can dream up, haha. :)
There are typically more systems on a MH that can potentially require maintenance/repairs, which is why maintenance can be more expensive (hydraulic leveling jacks, built-in generator just to name two). However, as many have already said, you do get a lot more luxury, convenience with that extra cost. You just got to decide, for you, if that luxury and convenience is worth the extra cost.
We've always mounted the break-away actuator in front of or just above the base plate, never below. Can see how putting it below could lead to a problem on some vehicles.
The Kia van we used to have, the breakaway actuator was actually just glued in place with strong epoxy. Was glued to the bumper fascia, was not mounted to the base plate. Worked fine that way, except that it was not easy to get off when I removed the actuator before we traded it. You think about it, the actuator would only get pulled real hard on ONCE at most, after which you'd probably be re-mounting it anyway. Soo, it doesn't have to necessarily be bolted to the frame with 10" titanium bolts. :)
We just traded the van I just spoke of, for same vehicle you have, a 2014 Ford Flex (just last week actually, haha). Am curious to hear how you solve this, as we haven't yet set up the Flex for towing, and not sure yet if we're going to or not. We presently tow my 2013 Ford Fusion, the new Flex will be DW's everyday driver. Very nice car, BTW, we love our new one.
..We just traded one of our vehicles, a Kia Sedona minivan, that is set up for flat towing. It has base plates, tail-light wiring (diodes), as well as a Remco transmission lube pump installed. I removed the Remco lube pump monitor panel from the Motorhome, and am leaving it and the Remco instruction manual with the vehicle. Its been a while since we towed the vehicle (we now have a Ford Fusion we tow), but far as I know, the lube pump, tail light wiring, etc. all works great.
Anyway, this is NOT a 'for sale' post, please do not interpret it that way. I have already signed the paperwork to trade the vehicle and got the tradein allowance $$ for it. I benefit nothing from the dealership re-selling this vehicle.
I'm only mentioning this, to possibly help anyone that may be in the market for such a vehicle around the NC area. If you are looking for a vehicle completely ready to flat tow with 7 passenger seating and don't mind a somewhat used vehicle (2007, 60k miles), might want to give Montgomery Motors Ford in Troy, NC a call. Ask them about the 2007 Kia Sedona they recently took in on trade.
If you are interested in such and want more info about it, please feel free to PM me.