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Open Roads Forum  >  Class A Motorhomes

 > Four Down vs. Tow Dolly Cost

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bhivetravels

Chattanooga

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Posted: 08/07/12 09:48am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I've been batting this around for three months and can't come to a decision. I have a 4-down towable 05 Honda Element manual transmission. To put the necessary tow bar/brackets = $1300. Brakes run $600 - $1500 with installation. Easily this whole project will run me over $2000. On the other hand I can purchase a new 2012 STEHL Tow Dolly with electric brakes for $1250. Now am I wrong to think that 1.) less wear on Honda brakes 2.) less wear on Honda front tires and 3.) saves me at least $750 to begin with?


Jim and Monica
Maj. USAF Ret. -- High School Teacher Ret.
2007 Coachman Epic - 05 Honda Element
Full-Timing with Meiko and Marlie

winepress

Santa Barbara, CA

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Posted: 08/07/12 10:07am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'm sure you will get varied opinions, but I went through the same dilemma. I have a 2012 Explorer and was undecided as to go with 4 down or a dolly. The dolly was going to be cheaper. I talked with a lot of other campers and found that those who use a dolly say it is the best and those who tow 4 down said their method was the best. Never talked with anyone who regretted their method of towing.

I was not thrilled with Ford's method of towing with having to leave the ignition on and then having to start the vehicle every six hours to make sure the oil in the transmission was circulated. Then again, I didn't want the hassle of an extra dolly trailer when I arrive at a campspot.

I decided to go with 4 down, but not with the Explorer. I found a used Trailblazer four wheel drive and set it up for 4 down towing. No regrets. Yes, it all cost more, but I don't have to worry about towing my new car and possible transmission issues, yet have the convenience of the 4 down towing.

Since you can tow 4 down without the transmission issues, I would go that route.

Also, if you read through the forum, dolly's are not without their own set of problems.
Good luck


Try to live up to your dogs opinion of you.

rr2254545

Minnesota

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Posted: 08/07/12 10:10am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have not had any brake wear to speak of on my Honda Fit it has 25K actual miles and 26K towed miles. Yes I just replaced all 4 tires but that is 3 years and over 50 K miles as above.

I personally have seen by neighbors using dolly's what a hassel and storeage problem in alot of campsite. $750 would not infulence my decision if I was laying on my back in the rain straping my tires to a dolly.


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JcoFS3500

East Central OK

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Posted: 08/07/12 10:12am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Yes and no. The tire wear just transfers to the tow dolly tires and brakes so you have to account for that expense. Add to that the difference in hookup effort and you have to decide what it's worth to you.

I use a dolly but they aren't right for everyone.


'93 Jayco FS3500 TT behind a '92 Dodge D250 powered by 5.9L Cummins

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CG Dawson

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Posted: 08/07/12 10:14am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I started with a dolly in the early 90's and had it for about 4 years.
Personally, I decided to go with 4-down to get away from the hassle of storing the dolly at home and at campsites. Also the dolly adds some additional steps to hookup and unhook. So having done it both ways, I prefer 4-down.


Happy RV'ing!!

Greg & Jackie
2003 Bounder, 32W / Ford V10 / 2 Slides
Toad: 2004 Saturn L300, Brake Buddy


Altern

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Posted: 08/07/12 10:17am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If I had a dolly, I'd give it to you for free.
You'll probably feel the same after using one for awhile....

Dale.Traveling

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Posted: 08/07/12 10:24am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I look at this as a Pepsi-Coke thing. I tow four down but only becuase I had a car at the time that was four down towable. Using a ReadyBrake tow bar I didn't need the added expense of the in car braking system so overall the bar and base plate for me was less than a dolly. That being said, if I didn't have a four down towable I would have gone with a dolly.


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jk31668

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Posted: 08/07/12 10:26am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

just curious...with 4 down towing, does the odometer continue to register?

nelson

Clio,Mi USA

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Posted: 08/07/12 10:26am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I started with a dolly and towed it many trouble free miles. I still have it, Its just handy to have. I now tow 4 down and will tell you for Me, it's 6 of one and a half dozen of the other. I see pros to each and cons to each.


2002 Damon Challenger 348 Ford V10
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Maddawgs

central MA

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Posted: 08/07/12 10:32am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

bhivetravels wrote:

I've been batting this around for three months and can't come to a decision. I have a 4-down towable 05 Honda Element manual transmission. To put the necessary tow bar/brackets = $1300. Brakes run $600 - $1500 with installation. Easily this whole project will run me over $2000. On the other hand I can purchase a new 2012 STEHL Tow Dolly with electric brakes for $1250. Now am I wrong to think that 1.) less wear on Honda brakes 2.) less wear on Honda front tires and 3.) saves me at least $750 to begin with?

If when starting out I had your situation I would have got the tow bar set up just because it is a bit easier than a dolly and you don't also have to tow the weight of the dolly. My car was not 4 down towable so I bought the Demco KarKaddy 460 SS. This is a great dolly that is is easy to load, tow, and unload. It has surge brakes ans a break away cable for safety. When at camp or at home it folds to half it's size for storage.
Todd


Todd, Shirley, and the "Maddawgs" min-pins Precious and Buster Brown
2011 Itasca Cambria 30C
2011 Demco KarKaddy 460SS
TST 507 RV TPMS
"if there is anything left when we are gone, then we miscalculated"


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