willysgasser

Flat Towing Versus Trailered

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Welcome to the forum willygasser. An answer to your question will be better with more pertinent information about your proposed tow vehicle. Many vehicles can not be towed 4 down at all, in this case a trailer would be necessary, or a two wheel dolly, and some of the vehicles can't be towed even on a tow dolly. Most but not all on the forum will tell you that 4 down is the only way to go, while others prefer trailers, and some tow dollies. So please give us some more info about what you already have or would like to get. Many informed answers will surely come after.

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Welcome to the forum. This is an often discussed item. If you do a search you will get plenty of things to read. Personally there is no comparison, 4 down wins every time. I have used a dolly. I now tow 4 down. I never considered using a trailer open or enclosed.

Bill 

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2011 Newmar Ventana 3962 (40 foot) I tow my race car with a 24 foot enclosed trailer, the whole package is 68 feet long. We travelled from NH to CA last fall and experienced some of the drawbacks with the long total length.,   Thinking about buying a 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee, and maybe flat towing it behind the coach, or towing it on a shorter open trailer.Planning on 3-week vacation trip to Montana next summer. Will be using the Jeep to check out some ghost towns and other tourist traps.

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wolfe10   

Actually three options, again depending on vehicle:

1.  Flat tow

2. Tow dolly

3. Trailer

 

And that is basically their order from least to most hassle.

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f442485   

I usually trailer when we (my wife and I) go boon docking. We do a lot of off roading, so when or if I break the toad, I need a way to get her home.

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8 hours ago, f442485 said:

I usually trailer when we (my wife and I) go boon docking. We do a lot of off roading, so when or if I break the toad, I need a way to get her home.

I agree for special purposes (off road/special purpose vehicle ) using a trailer may make sense. But for general travel I can't recommend it. 

Bill

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dkreuzen   

I have done both trailer and 4-down over the last 13 years. Trailer exclusively for the first 9 years and then started 4-down when I got a toad that could be towed that way. The choice is based on what your toad is, the capacity of the MH, overall length, and other personal preferences like storage for the trailer when not in use. In my opinion the 4-down is only slightly easier to deal with but I prefer to use the trailer for the ability to backup. For my setup the overall lengths are identical so I always try and get a 57'+ pull through site either way. The overall cost to start is about the same but the trailer will require more regular maintenance.

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I believe you would have a much better experience towing the Jeep 4 wheels down.  The trailer adds an awful lot of unnecessary weight and sometimes you won't be able to park the trailer where the RV is parked adding additional inconvenience.  Hooking and unhooking a towed vehicle takes less than 5 minutes.  The same can't be said for trailering a vehicle especially if you have to go get the trailer first!

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I have always trailered since my first motor home back in 1979. There are some hassles to trailering , but in my case the pros far out weigh the cons. We have a nice vechicle which I would hate to put on the open road behind a coach. Being a disabled veteran we take a golf cart for those times this old body says it is time to ride instead of walk. By watching where you go the length has never been an issue. One time years ago I did have to back out a residental street for five blocks. It was a narrow street with cars parked on each side.

I am waiting to pick up my new enclosed 8.5 X 20 with 5 ft V nose. Being full timers it gives me a lot more options. Having it built with 5200 Lb. drop axles which gives me a lot more room and GVW than I need. The best thing about hauling enclosed is your car can be spotless after driving thru any weather or road conditions. In my neck of the woods we said different strokes for different folks & whatever blows your dress up

 Who says you can't take it all with you - at least to the grave

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manholt   

I tow my Jeep EV Wrangler 4 down.  Look under my first name.  If I decided in my older years to take my 1972 Bentley, yes it would be in a enclosed trailer, but at 74 I'm not there yet.  Started taking a 4x4 in 1985, 4 down and 2 dirt bikes (Hondas) on a custom lift in front of a 1983 Apollo. 

Carl

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Back in the 70s I towed a trailer for one summer, some 5k miles.  That was the first and last time for using a trailer.  The problem is that you need to have a place to park it when you camp.  Since then I towed 4 down and about 3 years ago on short trips used a dolly for my Prius. 

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TBUTLER   

We used a tow dolly for our first year out.  I sold it and have been flat towing ever since.  There is one negative for flat towing that I see mentioned only once.  Your "toad" will take a beating.  I've used a custom canvas cover (Coastline Cover Company, 10096 6th St Ste L, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730 · (909) 484-6592) and a Guardian (front of car barrier from Brakemaster) and the car will still take a beating.  Think what it would be like if you were stuck to the back of a tractor-trailer rig.  We keep our cars until they are well worn and just live with the chips, etc.  Our trade in value when we are ready to change vehicles (ten years old, 120,000 miles in tow and another 120,000 under power) is virtually $0.  Well used and money well spent but definitely spent.  I have a friend who trades his toad every two or three years, I don't know what kind of trade-in he gets.

I agree that trailers are a challenge to deal with and they definitely are not in our future.  We move frequently when traveling.  If we didn't travel frequently then finding a place to park the trailer wouldn't be a constant hassle.  That might make it a better choice for people who move only two or three times a year.

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I must be lucky. I tow 4 down now and I can't find any damage chips etc that can be directly attributed to towing. I would never tow a toad with any kind of cover on it. dust and dirt will get under it and destroy the paint. The buffeting of the cover acts like a big sander.

I knew up front I didn't want to use a trailer. Watching people struggle with them in different campgrounds only reaffirmed that opinion. Trailers also limit what campgrounds you can use.

Bill

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I can not disagree with any of the cons about trailer towing. It does take some advance planning for sites. I have towed open trailers for years. It is amazing how many bikes and such I have hauled over the years along  with my personal vechicle. With seven kids and 17 grand kids you just make it work. I am certain many times people have said there goes the Beverly Hillbillies. The memories we made are worth every penny spent doing it though. My older kids were teenagers before they spent theirr first night in a hotel. We took a few trips so our kids found out how the deprived kids traveled and were cooped up in hotels.

Now it is Mimi and my time, so our policy is our tiny home on big wheels only sleep 2 people. No they do not borrow it. I still have my old gas coach which they use.

The enclosed trailer will allow me to carry a lot of stuff inside it, to free up bay space in the bays so Mimi can move some of the stuff from the coach down there

Homeless & happy with 2 tiny homes on big wheels. I told the kids if Mimi kicks me out I will take the old coach back so I don't have to sleep under a bridge

Just do whatever fits your live style and enjoy the ride. We are only passing thru life once so don't have regrets when it is your time to stand before The Good Lord

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5 hours ago, BALDEAGLE1949 said:

We do move around a lot. We just locate a site and use our personal vechicle to explore the surronding areas. A lot easier to get around in it than dragging 66 Ft of rig everywhere   

That is the way I do it. Park the "Condo" and go explore. One trip last year we did 14 National parks, 5 presidential libraries and stayed in 35 different campgrounds in 28 states. I put over 8,000 miles on the couch and over 10,000 on the toad. I still can't imagine the hassle of fighting a trailer. Well I have seen it and it won't be me. 

Yes I can see taking extra bikes ect to a campground and back home but for extended travel not so much. 

Bill  

 


 

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TBUTLER   
On 5/19/2017 at 6:35 PM, WILDEBILL308 said:

I must be lucky. I tow 4 down now and I can't find any damage chips etc that can be directly attributed to towing. I would never tow a toad with any kind of cover on it. dust and dirt will get under it and destroy the paint. The buffeting of the cover acts like a big sander.

Bill

You are correct about the cover.  When we got a new toad a few years ago I didn't do the cover.  The first was installed prior to a trip to Alaska.  I put a bra on the front of the motor home for that trip as well. 

As to the chips, I'm not easy on my equipment.  I'm in it to get the most out of the travel.  The current toad has been to Newfoundland and around the horn in Labrador.  Newfoundland wasn't a problem but Labrador is a route that I really wouldn't recommend for the faint-hearted and would never do again until they have paved the entire route.  We stirred up a whole lot of gravel and some of it pelted the toad.  We did get to see a whole lot of wilderness scenery and learned a lot about Labrador in the process.

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Well here are my two bits. I tried the dolly and sold it right after returning. The car was really beaten up!  Trailering, I have two, one open 17 foot and one enclosed 24 foot and will use either and without reservation. I use a TRAILER TOAD which adds 3 more feet to remove the vertical load from the coach. I like the additional toys that can be available like the ATV, the canoe, and the car and all three will fit on the open trailer. Yes it requires some planning but we are not RV Park campers but BLM chasers. I have hauled trailers racing Porsches for decades. The one concession I have made to that, is an electric tongue lift and hookin up to the coach, Janet has it pretty well figured out. The enclosed trailer, yes a lot longer and for hauling one of the pretty cars I do not want to wash and clean. For me it all boils down to options.

My last comment, I just bought my first towable, I do not care 4 wheels down Chevy Tracker. It's 4 wheels down, may spoil me, but it has limitations and not all the toys can go. I might have an issue with "toy withdrawal". This method makes perfect sense if one is RV Park oriented and or traveling East especially. I might add on Janet's behalf she hates the trailers but really enjoyed the ATV, the canoe with the electric motor, the Honda CT 90 trail bike and all the other stuff I hauled to Arizona for our first snow bird outing this last winter... Summing it up for me "if I want to play I must pay"

Bill

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Going full time, if I don't carry it with me I don't have it. I do have a lot of tools locked up in security cabinets. which I will probably never use again. After spending your whole life buying tools, I had a problem getting rid of them. We do have some stuff stored in a storage building that I built at my son-in-laws house. If we ever decide to shift gears and stop being on the road all the time, we have it. You never know what is around the next curve or over the next hill. Our goal is to find out though

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FromNH   

I flat tow a Silverado 2500HD and hookup takes me under 5 minutes. It gets messy but no chips as it sits up much higher than a sedan would. I like the convenience of flat towing vs. having to deal with a trailer once you get to a campground. Most New England campgrounds are pretty tight and limited in extra storage space anyway. 

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qoajim   

I have a Subaru CrossTrek AWD hybrid. I have not found anyone that can tel me how to flat tow it? Can it be done? 

I am looking at getting a covered trailer to tow it in. Does anyone have any comments? Pros? Cons? 

 

Jim 

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