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Author Topic: To tow or not to tow. That is the question.  (Read 2892 times)
Awilson
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« on: July 20, 2013, 06:37:34 am »

I am wanting to buy a tow bar for the new Honda CR V we bought last weekend. I am getting a lot of pushback from DW.She is not relishing the thought of dragging that much money across the country behind a MH to possibly come unhooked, chipped up by rocks and basically costing several thousand more to get set up for towing. We have a PC 2400 which is really small enough to drive and sightsee by itself.  ThumbsUp We have done just that since we got it five years ago. I anticipate buying a larger MH in the future so I was making some plans for that now. Example: I have my eye on a Roadmaster Sterling tow bar that has less than 2,000 miles of use for less than half the cost of a new one. It includes some extras that do not come with the tow bar that are needed but are bought separately. I want to go ahead and get it whether we tow this year or, most likely, next. She prefers to wait and see if we really even want to tow because we like this PC so much and it is so handy. Soooo, my question; is it worth the cost to set up a toad and does it have an adverse effect on the performance of your MH? I have installed a tune on the engine from Brazels RV which really made a big difference in the performance and drivability of the MH, especially the transmission. Currently we do not travel that much but I/we want to travel a lot in the next few years. Coast to coast and border to border and then some Mexico and Alaska. (My reasoning for buying a bigger MH) Let me know your thoughts, good or bad.
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ron.dittmer
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« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2013, 08:56:57 am »

We tow a 4x4 with our 2350 to be more adventurous taking primitive roads and for improved mobility in crowded national parks.  But if you manage well without towing, then don't go there.  If you think you'd like to tow on a trip to Alaska, don't.  Alaska is a trip on the move.  You won't be setting up base camp for days at a time which is where a tow vehicle comes in handy.  Then there are the ferry charges...by the inch.  You'll regret towing up there unless you tow an off road vehicle with plans for true adventure.

« Last Edit: July 20, 2013, 09:01:03 am by ron.dittmer » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2013, 09:24:21 am »

We just bought a Honda Fit to tow. As a matter of fact, George is hooking it up now for our trip West. First time towing this vehicle.

We bought a bra for the front to try to prevent dings and one of those rock shield things for the rear of the PC

Now that we have the 2910, we can set up and tour areas without unhooking the PC from the site. We also are using it to store a couple of chairs, an additional cooler and other "stuff".

We did not tow with the 2350--towed a Tracker with the 2551--and now the Fit.

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« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2013, 10:01:21 am »

We tow a 2013 Honda CRV with a Ready Brute tow bar on our 2551.Heading out to Eastport Maine and O'Leary,Prince Edward Island on Mon. morning.Don't think it adds that much more to the mpg,but like having the car with us for side trips.
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TomHanlon
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« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2013, 10:21:42 am »

Some times yes, some times no. It all depends on where we are going and if we might need it for side trips. When on longer western trips we don't tow but sometimes will rent a car for a day or two. If we (read DW) wants to go shopping while we are staying at a campgroung for a few days, then I will tow. Also good for taking her out to dinner without having to break camp.

When towing remeber that not only will your gas milage go down a little, but any tolls will be much higher. Some turnpikes count it as four axles, which is higher than a motorhome and a seperate car.

I doubt I have been of much help with this reply because it all depends on when and where we are going. If it was me, I would buy the tow bar and brake, get it all set up, then you have the option to tow or not in the future.
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« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2013, 10:28:52 am »

We tow a 2004 Chevy Cavalier using a Blue OX aladdin tow bar.  It is very easy to use and takes about 5 minutes to hook everything up.  We towed with our 2008 2350 and now with our 2551.  We do not even know the car is back there.  We do not use any special type of protection for the toad.  It still looks like a brand new car.  The only ding we have on the hood was when the original owner had it. 
When we first had the 2350 we thought we could go without towing but our camping (traveling) style is to find a campground for a few days and then do everything in the area that we can.  It is alot easier to keep the PC in the base camp and just take the car when we sight see.  Our wintering in Florida keeps us at a campground for a minimum of 2 weeks at a time so the car comes in very handy.
When we go somewhere and know we will  not need the car then we just don't take it.  We like the option to tow or not tow!!

« Last Edit: July 20, 2013, 01:21:23 pm by Barry-Sue » Logged

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Bruce and Sharon
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« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2013, 01:01:01 pm »

Here is another reply from folks who like the option to tow or not.  We've been towing our 2003 Honda CR-V on most of our RV trips since we purchased it new.  We've never used any special type of protection for the toad (such as a bra or a shield attached to the tow bar), and the CR-V still looks like new with very few nicks or dings (maybe because we mostly drive on clean roads and highways).  The only visible dent on it happened while we were driving it totally separate from the PC.  We usually stay in one location for at least a few days and explore the area in the Honda.  During these side trips we often comment that we're very happy not to be driving the PC due to the terrain in the mountains, desert, narrow city streets, etc.  It is so much easier to run out for grocery shopping, a restaurant meal, etc. without needing to break camp.  That's our take on it.
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« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2013, 02:52:06 pm »

  I have been towing a 2006 Saturn Vue for the last 7 years, six with my former mH and just since December with the PC and I have had no problems and like to convienence of having the car for side trips. I get 24 miles to the gallon with the Saturn and the thoughts of breaking camp for side trips, especially when you get the MH level, is not always great.  I have a brake system  since the Vue is about 4000 lbs and use a roadmaster hitch.  It tows with no problem and always have to check to see if it is still there since it tows fine.  Taking the MH on side trips can be daunting since you don't know if there will be enough space to park plus using all the gas when you could be using your car/tow.  Gas mileage is not that bad in PC when towing. I get better mileage on the PC than I did with my former 33ft Gulf stream yellowstone, with 2 slides towing the car.   Now if you were staying for a long period it might be justified to rent a car but it is up to the campers and where and how long your are camping. There is no right or wrong .
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Bob Mahon
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« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2013, 05:38:38 pm »

Don't forget about an auxilliary braking system. Sure, the E series has good brakes. But I can tell you from experience; they ain't good enough when some fool dodges a car in front of you and jams on his brakes to make the exit. The results aren't good.
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« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2013, 05:59:36 pm »

Very good question and I have been very interested in the responses to your post   Earlier this year we added a tow bar to our 2013 Honda CR-V that we pull with our PC 2350.  I can share why we wanted to tow the CR-V and some of the things we learned: 

Why: 
Prior to our 2350, we had a class B RV that we liked very much.  At only 20 ft long, we could take it anywhere we wanted.  We just did not like the inconvenience of breaking up camp to go anywhere.  So we knew once we had a larger RV that had the power to tow a vehicle, we wanted to have the option to tow a smaller vehicle.   


What did we learn:
We really like to use our PC as a base camp staying several days at a time and then exploring a 60-100 mile radius with our CR-V.  We go on more spur of the moment trips while camping, whether it is simple trips shopping, out to eat, or sightseeing.  Plus when we do, we get the 25-30 mpg of the CR-V. 

It was costly to get set up to tow a vehicle.  We started from scratch so we needed:
-  Base plate for the CR-V (Blue Ox)
-  Tow bar (Blue Ox Aventa LX)
-  Brake Buddy to brake the CR-V
-  A wiring kit for the rear brake and turn signals
-  A switch to be able to turn off the CR-V displays and navigation so the CR-V's battery does not run down
-  A tire pressure monitoring system (Tire Minder) so I would know while driving the RV if any of the tires on the CR-V were low or blown.
-  Front bra for the CR-V.  Not sure I would buy this again.  It is a hassle to put on and off.  I only put it on for long trips.  I don't like leaving it on as it gets wet and dirty, I did not think this was good for the paint.

In our case, the CR-V was big enough that it negatively impacted the handling of the RV.  The RV would now wander going down the highway and be impacted by passing trucks.  It became a chore to drive the rv especially on windy days and on busy interstates with lots of tractor trailer trucks.  This started me down the path of doing several suspension improvements:
-  Safe-T-Plus steering damper
-  Rear sway bar (Roadmaster)
-  Rear Track-bar
-  Front Sway Bar (Hellwig)
-  Quiet hitch (eliminates any side to side play in the tow bar/reciever connection
All this has helped quite a bit.  On my last trip I could not even feel a thing when the large trucks passed me by.  You may not need any of this, it really depends on your rv and what you are comfortable with.  If I were to do it over again, I would have started with a good front end alignment as some debate that that can make a world of improvement by itself.  Then I would go from there. 

The Ford V10 has plenty of power for the CR-V.  I love having that power as our class B only had a 5L V-8.  There is a button on the gear selector that you can push when towing that helps expecially on hilly roads. 

Surprisingly our MPG when pulling the CR-V was not impacted that much.  It depends if you are doing more start/stop vs. highway travel.  I don't have alot of data on this yet, but I would say the impact is less then 1 mpg.  We have been averaging 10 mpg. 


For us, we are glad we now have the option to tow our CR-V.  It was alot more expensive to get set up then what we first atticipated.  We hope and plan to have many years of RVing in front of us.  Over time as we purchase new vehicles to tow or upgrade our RV, we will not have the expense of the tow bar, brake buddy, or TPMS as we will just transfer to the new set-up.  Hope this helps, keep us posted on what you decide is best for you.
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ron.dittmer
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« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2013, 09:15:24 pm »

Since we are sharing....

I installed the tow bracket hardware on two vehicles now, our previous 2000 Toyoya MR2 Spyder, and our current 2006 Jeep Liberty.  The Spyder was more in-depth but happy to have done both vehicles myself.

Wiring the tow vehicles, I did both myself.

Braking system, we got by without one for the Spyder given it weighed just 2100 pounds, but admitted it was marginal at best.  For our Liberty I myself installed, a Unified by US Gear.  I really like how the system works, it's effectiveness/performance, and seamless hooking up and unhooking.  But it is expensive to purchase, and if you hire a pro to install it, that too will run you some serious money.  It is a near permanent installation, not a project for the novice.  If or when we change tow vehicles, if the Unified is still working well, I will move it over to a new tow.  But I would not look forward to that challenge.

We tow with a 2007 2350 which was given a lot of suspension upgrades which makes towing a breeze.  My wife is not intimidated driving the PC with tow on the open road.  Passing trucks,  cross winds, uneven road surfaces, and all is still well.

When we take our bicycles, they go on a bike rack on the back of the Liberty, nice to take them out for the day with the tow.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2013, 09:25:35 pm by ron.dittmer » Logged

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Awilson
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« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2013, 10:02:38 pm »

Wow! I am so happy to get so many great responses! I would never have dreamed that Alaska would not be a good place to bring a toad like ours. All the replies were totally the reasons I want a toad so tomorrow I /we are going to buy the tow bar as I think it is a good buy no matter if I use it or not. I believe I will be using it.

So DW and I had some dealer stuff put on the crv today and when we finished we decided to go MH shopping. Her opinion was that if I am buying a tow bar then we are getting a bigger MH. We looked at big class A gassers, even bigger DP, some smaller MB and an Itasca or two. We didn't find anything better than what we have and I didn't spend $100k. I think we will use our PC and set the crv up to be towed and use for all the reasons you guys have named. There are times we won't take it if we are just getting from point A to B. No matter what I will have a tow bar and a toad whether I need to use it or want to use it I will have it.

Thank you all for your really great responses.

Alan
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« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2013, 10:16:14 pm »

As Ron says, "Since we are sharing":
Since 2006 we towed a Ford Edge behind an Alpine Coach DP, A Mercury Cougar and now a 2013 Ford Focus behind a 2552. All had the Blue Ox Baseplate, Blue Ox Aventa II bar and employed a Roadmaster Even Brake.
In all truth, the Even Brake is a PitA to install, test and later remove. However, it has worked well and there have been a few times (although I leave a lot of room in front of me) it may have saved us from an accident. It is somewhat sensitive to altitude though (I can explain that in more depth if asked).

I did not tow when we had the 2350 because it was handy enough to use casually. If we had, I would have never considered towing without an auxilliary braking system because the E350 doesn't have the brakes the E450 has.

Regardless of what others say, I would never consider towing without some kind of auxilliary braking system (it only has to save your bacon once to pay for itself).

As the saying goes, pay me now or pay me later.
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« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2013, 10:43:04 pm »

Ron, if I were a younger man I would probably attack the install myself. I no longer have the big shed to work in and the knees hurt just thinking of rolling around on the concrete.  Help I will do things that don't take a lot of getting up and down on concrete.

Soooo what is everyone's preference in brake controllers? I have read about the ones that sit on the floor and push the pedal in the car but that sounds like a pita. I have also heard of some that are somewhat permanent and you never see it. i think that is what i want. I have had another guy on IRV2 that has given me a lot of heads up on tow bars as well as setting up my crv for towing. I am always open for suggestions and improvements.

Btw Ron, I have added the suspension upgrades to my 2400 as well. The rear stabilizer made a big difference in the handling. Mine is close to needing new tires so if we keep it I plan to do the line up on the front to help some of the wandering it still has. I believe it was you that lined your MH up and it corrected that problem.

Thanks again everyone!

Alan
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« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2013, 10:55:06 am »

  As far as the braking systems, I have had US Gear in my previous and now my PC. When I traded to the PC I had the mechanic take out the system in the Yellowstone and installed in the PC.  In the beginning when I had it installed in the MH and the tow vehicle, it was expensive, as I am not mechanically inclined, but it has been worth the $$.  Once it is installed you don't have to remove anything like you do with Brake Buddy, etc.  I have heard some good and bad stories about removable brake systems.  If and when I decide to change my tow vehicle I will make sure the componant parts are removed and the mechanic can order the wiring. as they did when they removed the parts from the MH to install in the Phoenix. 
 It is so important to have a braking system for if you were ever in an accident, which I hope no one will be, It is for your assurance that you will be safe from any legal problems.
  Sure hope this helps as this has been quite a discussion and sharing on this topic.  It is so important to be safe and not sorry.

   Happy camping!!!
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