We just use a Toyota Yaris standard behind the bounder on a TINY dolly. It's very simple to load and unload. NO brakes or anything because the car is micro small.
We could do it 4 down, but the steering an complications make it blah.
4 whopping cylinders on Toyota RV's. Talk about great getting good MPG. Also I have a very light foot on the pedal. I followed some MPG advice on Livingpress.com and I now get 22 MPG! Not bad for a home on wheels.
Not everything should be $$$$ based and, IMHO, this is one of them. The hassle of having to unload the toad and drop the trailer somewhere before entering the site would drive me bonkers.
Not many sites can accomadate a MH, trailer, and the toad. Plus, in quite a few RV parks you need to unhook just to get to the site.
Sorry, but when you are on a fixed and/or limited income, everything DOES become $$$ based sooner or later!
I read about all the "hassle" of this, that, or the other thing, and I have to wonder about people.
Tow dolly: Too much "hassle"? I have used them, and for the vehicle I am currently looking at, may have to again (no baseplates for a towbar available, and custom fabricated ones would be VERY $$$$!) I never found it to be all THAT much of a "hassle".
Fixed arm adjustable width towbar: Too much "hassle", and it can't be hooked up by yourself? Right! I have used one for years, and I often hook it up and disconnect it by myself. No "hassle" at all, IMO. And, it only cost $145 many years ago, brand new!
Flatbed trailer: Weight issues (true). Too much "hassle"? I have one. Not much "hassle" at all! Put the ramps down, load the vehicle, tie it down with ratchet straps, put the ramps away, and go.
Maybe I will use the trailer instead of buying a dolly if I get the vehicle that has no baseplates available.
In the few "commercial" RV parks I have patronized, I had to drop my Jeep (towed four down) before I could go to the assigned site. They all had storage areas for dollys and trailers.
To the OP, only YOU can weigh the monetary aspects against the perceived "convenience" or "hassle" aspects. What many of us are willing to live with others may find totally abhorrent! The decision can only be yours, in the final analysis.
* This post was
edited 08/07/12 11:08am by mowermech *
CM1, USN (RET)
2002 Fleetwood Southwind 32V, Ford V10
Toad: 2006 Jeep Rubicon LJ
Other toad: '06 PT Cruiser, Kar Kaddy dolly
Toy: 1977 Dodge W100 CC SWB, 3/4 ton axles & springs
"When seconds count, help is only minutes away!"
I have used both systems, with several cars and I have always gone back to towing 4 down. The dolly is only usable with front wheel drive cars, and there is the problem of storage, both at home and at the campsites. I also found it unpleasant to install and remove the tiedown straps, since I have had both knees replaced and kneeling is uncomfortable. i recently set-up a new-to-me toad (Saturn Vue) and the cost was less than $500 for the baseplate and tail-light wiring systems. I installed them myself in about 6 hours. I will have to buy an auxilary braking system, but that should still get me in at around $1000.00 total. But I already had a Blue Ox towbar. I suggest you rent a dolly from UHaul or another rental agency and see how much you like it before making a decision.
With a Dolly you add hitch weight to rear of MH. With 4down no hitch weight to MH.
Are you sure? I think that the tongue weight of the dolly would be negligible. If the car wheels are sitting centered on the dolly axle, there would be no additional tongue weight on the dolly coupler.
And to the OP, I tow four down. I set up my system by purchasing piece meal on E-bay and other on line sources. Was able to find a brand new Blue Ox 10,000 tow bar with safety cables, new base plate, and used ReadyBrake all for under $1000, and that includes base plate installation. I already had the wires for the lighting, which I wired up myself. It can be done!
JMHO, but if I was starting out with a vehicle that was already 4 down towable without any modifications needed...It would be a no-brainer for me, I'd go 4 down.
For same reasons you're alluding to, we started out using a dolly. In our case, the cost difference was even more substantial - dolly costed around $1400, setting up our van to tow was going to be around $3500 total (needed tranny lube pump, base plates, tow bar and brakes, wiring, etc). $1200 vs $3500, and versatility to tow pretty much any FWD vehicle we'd ever own with no modification necessary with the dolly...Seemed like an easy decision, so we bought the dolly.
Turned out to be a case where something that looks good 'on paper', for us just did NOT work out well in reality. It took all of one trip for us to realize the dolly was NOT for us.
Ironically, it was not for the reasons most talk about. The dolly we had was very easy to store under the MH at our campsites, storage was not an issue. And, I did not mind the extra work hitching up and unhitching. Two main reasons we did away with the dolly, that nobody has really mentioned:
1. Those wheel straps - They have to be checked/tightened a LOT, and no matter how often you check them, I'm here to tell you that a wheel can work its way loose from those straps. After that (wheel getting loose from straps) happened to us once, I never could trust those straps again, and I was sooooo stressed towing that way (constantly worrying about a wheel getting loose can causing damage), it had taken most of the fun out of camping. Perhaps its because I'm a 'control freak', but fact is I could never trust those straps on the dolly, and they stressed me out way too much.
2. Tracking/towing - A dolly is very wide, and tracks inside of your MH tires. I found myself constantly worried about hitting curb or other parts of the side of the road with those dolly tires. Much less stressful with 4 down towing - Pretty much you just have to watch the MH wheels. If they clear, your towed vehicle will easily clear as its much more narrow.
Anyway, our dolly went up for sale on Craigslist after just one trip, sold a few weeks later, and we spent the $$ to set up our minivan for 4 down towing. We've taken several trips since then, and must say I like 4 down towing much, MUCH better. It cost us a LOT of $$, but IMO was and will be well worth it.
Anyway, thats just our story, take it FWIW. There's tons of folks happily towing with dollies, just as there's tons happily towing 4 down. Either one has its good points and bad points.
However, I think you'll find that most people that start out with a dolly, eventually end up going to a 4 down setup when it becomes practical/possible for them (next vehicle they buy is 4 down towable). if you already have a vehicle that is 4 down towable and can start out that way, I think you'll save yourself a lot of $$ in the long run if you go 4 down from the get-go. Thats definitely what I'd do in your situation.
Will & Angela
2 children that love camping, Stephen & Allison
2012 FR Georgetown 351DS on F53 (V10) Chassis Our Rig
This also varies greatly depending on your own ability to turn a wrench.
I went through the same decision process.
Purchased an HHR. Bought a used Blue Ox tow bar on Craigslist in great condition for $200. I bought the Blue Ox base plate from Blue Ox, and installed it myself. Took me about 3hrs, and it's NOT complicated. The directions were very clear, and the materials clearly labeled and easy to work with. I had to drill holes, and Blue Ox told me exactly where and how to mark in their instructions. For the braking system I went with ReadyBrake, as it was caveman simple and no installation other than running a steel cable through the engine compartment and attaching it to the brake pedal. Again, very simple install, and no where near as costly as what you've outlined.
2005 Pace Arrow 36D
Very Understanding Wife