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Topic: Towing an automatic

Posted By: i_am_spartacus61 on 07/12/10 10:43am

I know you can’t just hook up an automatic transmission vehicle to a tow bar behind an RV and tow it with 4 wheels down. Is there something I can do before hand to make it possible? I read online you can disconnect the drive shaft and it will be fine. Is this true? If so, is it hard/a pain to do? Also, how do you hook up its braking/signal system to your coach?

Bottom line, should I just fork over the extra money for a car dolly, or is it worthwhile to take some time with the tow bar?

Thanks!


Posted By: JFG on 07/12/10 10:45am

What brand. model and year car are you wanting to tow?


Fred



Posted By: Big Katuna on 07/12/10 10:48am

There are a number of cars you can tow four down with automatic transmissions without any mods. Honda CRV's, FIT, some Chevy's, Fords, etc. Almost any 4WD with a transfer case can be flat towed.
ALmost all older Saturns could be flat towed and you can pick up a decent used Saturn for $2500 or less.

There is company called REMCO that sells trans pumps, etc. Driveshaft disconnects are around $1000 as are the pumps as are the dollys.

I did not like using a dolly but it does let you tow almost any Fwd car.

Motorhome MAg website has a listing of towables.


My Kharma ran over my Dogma.


Posted By: JFG on 07/12/10 11:39am

yes.. look under recreational Towing section... also link to below is very good. click on year under Dighy Towing

link


Posted By: Dutch_12078 on 07/12/10 11:42am

i_am_spartacus61 wrote:

I have two cars. One is a 2010 Scion XB, front wheel drive and a 2005 Pontiac Vibe, front wheel drive. Will it tell me in the owner’s manual if it could be towed 4 down?

You can check the requirements for towing four down here:

Remco Towing


Dutch
1995 Coachmen Catalina 322QBXL
F53 chassis, 460 V8, TST TPMS
Quadra Bigfoot EZE Levelers
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox baseplate



Posted By: i_am_spartacus61 on 07/12/10 11:00am

I have two cars. One is a 2010 Scion XB, front wheel drive and a 2005 Pontiac Vibe, front wheel drive. Will it tell me in the owner’s manual if it could be towed 4 down?


Posted By: bsinmich on 07/13/10 06:39am

Another big difference is the transmission on the car. Do you have automatic or manual trans? Having had a tow dolly for several years and towing 4 down for the last 8 years I wouldn't go back to the dolly. I just bought a great used Saturn Vue to replace my 8 year old PT that is going up for sale. The Saturn is a car that has automatic and can be towed without any extras except a brake system.


2003 Newmar Mountain Aire, Workhorse W22, 2008 Saturn Vue, Falcon 5250, & US Gear Unified Tow Brake


Posted By: Big Katuna on 07/13/10 06:56am

i_am_spartacus61 wrote:

Sounds like it's a lot of hassle and I should just get a car dolly.


Its how a lot of people start. I did. I grew to dislike it more and more but it got me through finding out if we really wanted to RV or not and it bought time to use up the car we were driving at the time until we bought something new that could be towed. Sold the dolly for not a whole lot less than I paid for it.


Posted By: Big Katuna on 07/13/10 09:23am

i_am_spartacus61 wrote:

So what is the main attraction to towing 4 down instead of with the dolly? Is it just more convenient?


Why I disliked a dolly;

The dolly does not track within the footprint of the motorhome so in tight corners eg fuel stations, tight city streets, the dolly can hit things that the motorhome went throuogh ok. With a four down, if the motorhome went thru, the car will go through.

Loading in the rain. The tires can spin going up the ramp and the car can slip sideways and fall off the ramps or hit the fenders. Might slide off the front, too. Much dirtier to hookup and disconnect, esp in the rain/mud.

Once disconnected, you have to store/move the dolly somewhere. Not fun on a rough venue.

One time on an overnight stay, older park, I had to take the car off the dolly, unhook and move the dolly to the storage area, drive the RV to the space while wifey followed in the toad, and then reverse the process in the AM. I won't even bother telling you about the nightmare at Disney.

Extra spare tire and wheel bearings to deal with.

Worrying if someone is going to steal it.

So yes, convenience among other things.


Posted By: 69RoadRunner on 07/13/10 08:21am

Four down is more convenient if you have a vehicle (like my 08 Ford Taurus X) that can be towed 4 down.

Tow dollies aren't bad, but it's just one more thing to store/deal with.

I also tow my Road Runner on a trailer, and that's a lot less convenient.


09 Newmar Ventana 3942
Bunkbeds for the munchkins



Posted By: I am still wayne_tw on 07/13/10 07:12am

i_am_spartacus61 wrote:

I know you can’t just hook up an automatic transmission vehicle to a tow bar behind an RV and tow it with 4 wheels down.


Some vehicles you can!!!!


Posted By: i_am_spartacus61 on 07/13/10 06:36am

Sounds like it's a lot of hassle and I should just get a car dolly.


Posted By: i_am_spartacus61 on 07/13/10 07:10am

So what is the main attraction to towing 4 down instead of with the dolly? Is it just more convenient?


Posted By: i_am_spartacus61 on 07/13/10 09:16am

One more question, is it pretty much a bad idea to pull a vehicle behind an RV (4 down or dolly) that doesn't have their own brake system, or is it perfectly fine to do it without and just be extra careful?


Posted By: bsinmich on 07/13/10 07:04pm

We went many years with a dollie while our daughter was travelling with us. She is living with her family now and it is only 2 of us in the MH. My wife is not the best driver in the world. Putting the car on the dolly with her directing me was next to impossible. We switched and she drove once. It is very difficult to get a car back over the front of the dolly. It would take us at least 15 minutes to hitch up in the morning and we wouldn't speak for the next few hours. Then we would have to unhitch at night and start over again. I can hitch up in 3-4 minutes, alone, and that is rain or shine. The proper hitch is very important. Most chassis makers require brakes on any toad that is over 1500#.


Posted By: DougE on 07/14/10 01:11pm

As a general rule you can flat tow vehicles with manual transmissions and four wheel drive vehicles with manual or automatic transmissions. Most manual transmissions and transfer cases will self lubricate when in neutral. However, be sure to confirm this with information found in the owner's manual specific for your vehicle.
My 4wd Suzuki Sidekick w/automatic must run the engine every 200 miles to keep the transfer case adequately lubed for flat towing.


2010 Chevrolet Express/10' Cargo Camper/2006 Honda Big Ruckus


Posted By: mowermech on 07/13/10 10:24am

i_am_spartacus61 wrote:

One more question, is it pretty much a bad idea to pull a vehicle behind an RV (4 down or dolly) that doesn't have their own brake system, or is it perfectly fine to do it without and just be extra careful?


An auxiliary braking system is a fine idea, to be sure!
However, there are a LOT of towed vehicles on the roadways every day which do not have one, and very few accidents. This has been true since the very first "road patrol" operator put a home-built towbar on his pickup and hooked it to his road grader so he could drive from the jobsite to lunch!
Some will tell you that THE LAW requires such systems, and in a few states that is true, sort of. Some states have a "Performance Standard", which states you must be able to stop in so many feet from such and such a speed. If you can, you are good. If you can't, you need to fix the problem to be legal. At least one state seems to have a toad brake requirement, but such a braking system MUST be "approved by the Administrator". I haven't been able to find out which systems have that approval. Any that are NOT approved would obviously not be legal for use in that state!
Some will tell you that if you ever hit them without toad brakes, they will sue you for everything you have, and win, because they have the best and nastiest attorney money can buy.
THE LAW in YOUR state may not require you to have toad brakes, but what about entering another state? Reciprocity does not apply to equipment.
The morality, fear factor, common sense, etc. is purely up to you.
Good luck.


CM1, USN (RET)
2002 Fleetwood Southwind 32V, Ford V10
Toad 1: '06 PT Cruiser, Kar Kaddy dolly
Toy (and Toad 2): 2001 Dodge QC SWB, 360 Magnum, Auto, 4X4
"When seconds count, help is only minutes away!"


Posted By: tatest on 07/13/10 11:00am

i_am_spartacus61 wrote:

I have two cars. One is a 2010 Scion XB, front wheel drive and a 2005 Pontiac Vibe, front wheel drive. Will it tell me in the owner’s manual if it could be towed 4 down?


Both are Toyota, by another name (Vibe is fundamentally a Matrix). Toyota, unfortunately, has resisted approval of flat towing their automatic transmission vehicles, and even their manual transmission trucks, since 2000 or so.

There may be transmission lube pump options.


Tom Test
Itasca Spirit 29B



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