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Open Roads Forum  >  Dinghy Towing

 > Setting up a TOAD

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magicbus

Nantucket Island, MA

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Posted: 08/01/21 06:16pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Oddly enough not everyone is able to do this themselves. Forget the dealer, most small auto repair shops will do this for less than half the price.

Dave


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bighatnohorse

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Posted: 08/02/21 07:55am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I installed a proportional braking system - purchased all parts and did the install myself.
That's base plate, tow bar, electronics, etc.

To do the work properly EVERYTHING must be secured and protected - as good as or better than factory wiring.

I estimated my labor would have been around $1000. for the install.
Parts were in addition.
I would not let some kid or shade tree mechanic do this work.

That said, I think your quoted price is too high. They must be tripling the price on parts and adding labor too it.
I would look for a parts and labor price of closer to $3,000+ Under $4K for sure.


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F1bNorm

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Posted: 08/02/21 12:00pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We used an NSA Ready Brute listed dealer/installer and have been happy with the work and price. See: https://www.readybrake.com/dealer-locator.html

They may do other brands, other brands may also have a list of approved installers.

NormF


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Alex and Tee

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Posted: 08/04/21 02:25pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'm sorry. I just went through this discussion in another thread but somebody is going to have to explain to this newbie why towing 4 down is soooo much better than dolly towing. Dolly towing seems to me to be infinitely less expensive (assuming you can't install it yourself and I can't) and less hassle to hook up/unhook.

I just moved and dolly towed a car behind the U-Haul to my new, temporary living quarters while awaiting for the arrival of our motor home and it was so easy a caveman can do it. I just don't see the downside.


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Y-Guy

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Posted: 08/04/21 03:03pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Alex and Tee for some it works great. The downside is that you have to store the tow dolly at the campsite, and not all vehicles can be towed on a dolly. The ever popular Jeep Wrangler is just one of many that can't be dolly towed. It's one thing to do it once or twice, but if you are going to need to get down on the ground to hook up straps and chains that may make a flat tow better. But as with many things, it's great to have options. To each their own.


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hughesjm21

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Posted: 08/11/21 12:44am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The DIY route is definitely cheaper, more time consuming, requires some mechanical and electrical skill and tools that the average homeowner may not have. Check around in local area for shops that do car repairs. I think you should be able to find one that will do the job.

willald

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Posted: 08/13/21 01:30pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Well, as one that started out dolly towing and very quickly realized it was not for me, let me see if I can break this down as to why 4 down is sooooo much better:

1. Ease of hook-up: With 4 down, you just pull the car up behind motorhome, slide out the tow bar legs, attach to base plate, hook up the wires and safety cables, and go. That is it. Takes two minutes.
With a dolly, you first have to hitch the dolly to back of motorhome (frequently requires wrestling the dolly in place, and some of them are not light). Then, pull out ramps on dolly. Drive car (carefully and cautiously!) up on the dolly. Then, secure the front tires to the dolly with straps (can be very muddy and messy, especially if its raining or muddy out). Secure the ramps. Hook up safety chains. By the time you do all that, it takes a LOT longer than it would to hook up when 4 down towing.
I've done both, I'm here to tell you, 4 down is MUUUUUUCH quicker and easier. Frequently much cleaner, too, in that you ain't crawling around in the mud and rain like you may be with a dolly.

2. On the road: With 4 down towing, you can pretty much take turns as tight as you want or need to in tight spaces (provided you set up the tow bar and towed vehicle right). You are not going to hurt anything.
With a dolly, you have to worry about tight turns causing the dolly fenders to make contact with side of the car. You have to worry about large bumps causing the ramps to hit bottom of the car. You have to worry about one of the tire straps wearing out, breaking, and causing a nightmare.
Overall, I found my level of stress on the road is significantly less with 4 down towing as it was when dolly towing.

3. At campground: With 4 down towing, you can unhitch where ever you want in 2 minutes, and go straight to your campsite. Tow bar folds up, don't have anything else to deal with, really.
With a dolly, you have to back the car off the dolly, then find somewhere to unhitch the dolly, and unless you have a pull-thru site, you have to wrestle that thing (dolly) to where ever you're going to put it. May have to even drop it off in a parking lot or storage space.

4. At home, when not camping: With 4 down towing, tow bar stays folded up on back of Motorhome. Nothing to do, really, except maybe occasional lubing, cleaning, etc.
With a dolly, you have to find somewhere at home to store that dolly. You have another set of tires to maintain, wheel bearings, etc. to take care of.

All that said....There is no denying that dolly towing is less expensive overall. Especially if you trade vehicles often and/or can't do any of the install work yourself. However, nearly anyone that has done both will quickly tell you that 4 down towing is muuuch easier and more fun, overall.


Will and Cheryl
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Alex and Tee

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Posted: 08/13/21 01:38pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for your insight.

My truck has a hitch so I don't have to hoss the dolly around and the truck also has tow hooks on the front so I don't need to get under the vehicle to put safety chains on. I'm not concerned about saving 5 -10 minutes for hooking and unhooking and I personally don't want those unsightly additions on my MH or vehicle. I suppose once I do it a few times I may change my tune but all my CG reservations to date have been for pull through lots so for now, I'm going the dolly route until I convince myself otherwise.

willald

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Posted: 08/13/21 02:26pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Alex and Tee wrote:

....so for now, I'm going the dolly route until I convince myself otherwise.


Nothing wrong with that, either. That is exactly what I did, about 9 years ago. Was less than a year later that I realized I'd made a mistake, and went to 4 down towing.

Good thing is, if you change your mind, you'll be able to sell your dolly fairly easily and use that $$ toward going the 4 down route if you so chose.

bighatnohorse

Gig Harbor - Cave Creek

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Posted: 08/14/21 08:35am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

willald wrote:


1. Ease of hook-up: . . . Takes two minutes.


We've timed ourselves - it takes four minutes.

Though it maybe faster now that we've done it a thousand times.

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