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Author Topic: Toad shopping  (Read 994 times)

RVMommaTo6

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Toad shopping
« on: January 10, 2019, 06:37:10 PM »
I'm ready to buy my toad! I'll be using a tow dolly so I know I need front wheel drive. I've settled on a used Dodge Journey. Other than making sure it's fwd, is there anything I need to look for beyond what I would look for on any other car? Anything tow specific or things to keep in mind for someone who has never towed a car before? Thanks!
Amanda
Mommy to 6 great kids who love camping and traveling
July 31, 2019- begin our 10 month cross country trip
2015 Thor Motor Coach A.C.E. 30.2
2010 35ft Springdale bunkhouse TT
2001 Jayco Pop-up

grashley

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Re: Toad shopping
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2019, 08:14:39 PM »
Why do you want to dolly tow???  Most folks who have done both  much prefer flat tow, or 4 down tow.  It is easier and quicker to connect and disconnect and there is no dolly to find someplace to store while parked.

According to Remco, ALL 2018 Dodge Journey models, including AWD, are towable 4 down with a lube pump.   

  http://www.remcotowing.com/Towing/Store.php

Simply stated, the problem with some models being towed is the transmission gears get turned by the drive axle without getting proper lubrication.  Result: transmission destroyed.  You can add (have your mechanic install) a "Lube Pump Kit Assy"  ($1800 at Remco) to the Journey and safely tow 4 down.

The link above lists everything you need to tow the car 4 down.  While this is quality stuff, you may find other options you like better at lower prices.

I like the      http://www.readybrake.com     This combines the tow bar and the toad brake in one package.  You install the toad brakes once.  Then, when you connect the toad, simply clip two cables (primary and safety ) to the tow bar and the brakes are ready to go.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2019, 08:16:28 PM by grashley »
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RVMommaTo6

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Re: Toad shopping
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2019, 08:25:03 PM »
Thanks for the info, but I'm looking to know if there is anything I need to look for in the car above and beyond what I would look for in a car not being towed.

I am going to be using a tow dolly, not towing 4 down. My reasons for it are 1- I don't want to spend the money on installing the necessary equipment to tow 4 down. 2- I will only be towing for 10 months and then selling the motorhome while keeping the car to drive.
Amanda
Mommy to 6 great kids who love camping and traveling
July 31, 2019- begin our 10 month cross country trip
2015 Thor Motor Coach A.C.E. 30.2
2010 35ft Springdale bunkhouse TT
2001 Jayco Pop-up

kdbgoat

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Re: Toad shopping
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2019, 08:31:42 PM »
Cost could be part of the issue. She may already have the dolly, or a line on a reasonably priced one. $1800 for lube pump,  then a baseplate and installation of same, towbar, lighting system safety cables, brake device, breakaway, etc. It all adds up quick. $1800 buys a new dolly with lights and brakes. Hook up, plug in, load up and go. Just have to remember to check the straps.

Just saw her reply, but I already typed this, so I'm posting anyway.
I know you believe you understand what you think I said,
But I am not sure you realize what you heard is not what I meant

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Arch Hoagland

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Re: Toad shopping
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2019, 10:18:27 PM »
http://www.remcotowing.com/Towing/Store.php   

That site will tell you what you may need for any car.

Do you already own a dolly?
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RVMommaTo6

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Re: Toad shopping
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2019, 10:29:22 PM »
http://www.remcotowing.com/Towing/Store.php   

That site will tell you what you may need for any car.

Do you already own a dolly?
Thank you, I'll check that out!
I do not own one yet.
Amanda
Mommy to 6 great kids who love camping and traveling
July 31, 2019- begin our 10 month cross country trip
2015 Thor Motor Coach A.C.E. 30.2
2010 35ft Springdale bunkhouse TT
2001 Jayco Pop-up

Arch Hoagland

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Re: Toad shopping
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2019, 10:45:42 PM »
There will be times when you are going to have to push that trailer around the RV park by hand so I'd suggest when looking to buy one that you push it around the sales lot.

Also find out if the wheel bearings need maintenance after X amount of miles.

2004 Monaco La Palma 36 DBD
W22, 8.1 gas,  Allison 1000 Transmission
7.1 MPG over 90,000 miles

2000 Lexus RX300, 4020lb
U.S. Gear Braking System

Ernie n Tara

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Re: Toad shopping
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2019, 10:15:54 AM »
I can certainly understand the desire to save money, will respectfully suggest that you will really regret using a tow dolly for a trip like yours. You will be stopping frequently and I suspect often late in the evening. A tow dolly is simply a PITA and you will grow to hate it.

The modifications to pull four down do not negatively affect the vehicle in normal use and the cost may well be recovered on resale, particularly in a package sale with the mh. Also, they need not be that expensive:

a. A used tow bar probably $250; plenty of time to shop.
b. Modular braking system less than $1000; no installation except breakaway.
c. Lighting ~$50 for magnetic base lights.
d. Base plate installed SB about $5-600.
The above totals perhaps $500 more than a tow dolly; money very well spent!

As to your original question, there are no characteristics unique to most vehicles dolly towed. Do check the owner's manual if you get an all wheel drive vehicle and be sure it can be dolly towed.

Ernie

I'll note that my cost was about $1,200 higher, but I'm including the cost of an integral light system and winch bumper (but the tow bar rings were only $90 since they mount on the bumper ), plus a new tow bar.

Ernie 'n Tara

2011 Winn Journey 34y
2012 Jeep Rubicon - Dozer (orange - kinda)
2006 Jeep Wrangler

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Toad shopping
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2019, 11:44:31 AM »
If you go the dolly-tow route, you want a front drive vehicle and some conclusion about locking steering wheel (or not). The cheapest dolly brands have fixed "table" or plate that the car wheels rest on, while the better ones have a swiveling table or plate. The front car wheels must have the steering wheek unlocked with a fixed table dolly, but the steering wheel must be fixed (unmoving) for the swiveling type.  Vehicles with a locking steering column for anti-theft can be locked or unlocked with the ignition key. Vehicles without a locking steer column may need some sort of strap if it is necessary to immobilize the steering wheel. Often the driver seat belt can make do for that, but it's something you should look into before you buy either car or dolly.  It's not a deal-breaker either way, but it's wise to consider options ahead of time (since you haven't bought anything yet).

Used tow dollys are usually readily available. Online resources such as autotrader.com, Facebook Marketplace, Craigs List, etc. are good sources for finding them.


You will definitely want a tongue jack/wheel for the dolly to facilitate moving it around. They are cheap.


I have to agree with Ernie, though.   4-down towing is going to be a lot easier for a Mom with kids and maybe worth whatever extra it costs.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

RVMommaTo6

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Re: Toad shopping
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2019, 12:30:38 PM »
So realistically, how much will it cost to get everything I need for 4 down towing? Everything. Because I've seen tow dolly sales on FB or Craigslist for $800. My 16 year old son would be the one hooking up or unhooking. I've never towed anything and wanted to go the less expensive route, but if 4 down is really that much easier that everyone seems to think I should reconsider, I guess I can look into it. We will only be using this for 10 months. After that, I will be selling the MH but I will be keeping the car.
Maybe I should watch YouTube videos of hooking up and unhooking cars towed both ways.
Amanda
Mommy to 6 great kids who love camping and traveling
July 31, 2019- begin our 10 month cross country trip
2015 Thor Motor Coach A.C.E. 30.2
2010 35ft Springdale bunkhouse TT
2001 Jayco Pop-up

kdbgoat

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Re: Toad shopping
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2019, 01:00:19 PM »
Do those dollys for $800 have brakes? You will want brakes.
I know you believe you understand what you think I said,
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Joezeppy

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Re: Toad shopping
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2019, 01:37:32 PM »
There will be times when you are going to have to push that trailer around the RV park by hand...


"Kids, I added one more chore to your list."  ;D
Joe & Kim
Upstate NY - Kuyahoora Valley
2010 GMC Sierra 2500HD - 6.0L
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RVMommaTo6

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Re: Toad shopping
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2019, 01:57:41 PM »
I have no idea about the brakes. I don't understand that for the life of me. I've heard it many times, like a TT having brakes, but it doesn't make sense to me.

In case anyone else is trying to figure this all out, here's a pretty basic video explaining tow systems...
https://youtu.be/Uk5HT3wmaOY
Amanda
Mommy to 6 great kids who love camping and traveling
July 31, 2019- begin our 10 month cross country trip
2015 Thor Motor Coach A.C.E. 30.2
2010 35ft Springdale bunkhouse TT
2001 Jayco Pop-up

IBTripping

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Re: Toad shopping
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2019, 02:21:07 PM »
What year Dodge Journey are you considering and do you want all-wheel-drive or 2wd? BTW - I'm envious about your planned trip. I took my 2 kids on a lot of road trips. Some of the best experiences of my life.

As an aside, one of my most memorable trips was from Montana to Disneyland in California. We tent camped in an RV park that was filled with orange trees. Management allowed campers to pick and eat the oranges. In addition to Disneyland and other attractions, we also went to a 5 screen drive-in theater. My kids loved it.
1996 Coachmen Catalina 230BH

nvrver

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Re: Toad shopping
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2019, 04:01:25 PM »
Gismo has a Dolly for sale on For sales and wanted »
Private for-sale and wanted items »
Stehl Tow Dolly
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RVMommaTo6

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Re: Toad shopping
« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2019, 05:00:12 PM »
IB, I was looking at 2010 Journeys through 2014 but I don't have to stick to those parameters. They seemed to be in my price range for an extra car. I was only looking at fwd because I planned on towing with a dolly. BUT, now that I'll be towing 4 down, because I'm not dumb enough to ignore many years of experience lol, idk lol I'm starting from scratch now!
We've done some great road trips, I'm really thankful to be able to do this with them, I hope it's as amazing as I'm expecting it to be!
Amanda
Mommy to 6 great kids who love camping and traveling
July 31, 2019- begin our 10 month cross country trip
2015 Thor Motor Coach A.C.E. 30.2
2010 35ft Springdale bunkhouse TT
2001 Jayco Pop-up

John From Detroit

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Re: Toad shopping
« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2019, 05:22:11 PM »

b. Modular braking system less than $1000; no installation except breakaway.


one correction that "Modular" system you talk about I call "Box in the driver's seat" has to be Installed by the user EVERY TIME YOU TOW. they say No installation but mean NO PROFESSIONAL installation.   And every install is a chance to screw up something as others have reported and I experienced (Mine was done professionally and... Screwed up)
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
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grashley

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Re: Toad shopping
« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2019, 07:16:06 PM »
Thanks for the better explanation  for dolly tow.  I know you NEED to keep most family information private, but I had imagined a bunch of kids under 10 years old!  Knowing one is a 16 YO son helps.  If he is mechanically inclined and loves to "play" with cars (like me when I was 16), then the dolly may work.  Hooking up and unhooking would be HIS job.

If you do go 4 down, here is what I would buy (with only some research) to tow as 2012 Dodge Journey FWD 6 cyl.
Remco Lube Pump Assy        $1800
Remco (blue ox) Base Plate     $529
Ready Brake system, receiver and break away kits   $670
Hercules tow bar                   $1100
Drop hitch, Safety chains        $ 230
TOTAL                          $4329

Note there will be some installation charges for the lube pump, base plate and Ready Brake cables, but this makes a simple hookup process.
All prices are for NEW parts.  Tow bars, safety chains and drop hitches should be readily available used at considerable savings on those items

IF you go with a tow dolly, may I suggest a hitch on the Journey so you can back the car off the dolly, remove the dolly from the RV and hitch it to the Journey to move it around the campground and make parking the RV easier.
Preacher Gordon, DW Debbie
09 Grand Junction 35 TMS  Progressive HW50C
Andersen Ultimate hitch
2013 F350 Lariat LB SRW Supercab diesel 4X4   TST TMS  Garmin 760
Nimrod Series 70 popup (sold)
It's not a dumb question if you do not know the answer.

grashley

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Re: Toad shopping
« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2019, 07:47:52 PM »
Now let me respond to your brakes question.

The RV in your case or the truck in mine is designed to stop the fully loaded RV or truck ONLY.  In my case, the truck is designed to stop 11,500 lbs of loaded truck, and NOT the extra 14,000 lbs of FW I am towing.  Will the truck stop the entire rig if the camper brakes are not working?  Yes, but it will take longer and you will go farther before you stop.  Although not as dramatic, the same is true of a 20,000 lb RV and a 4,000 lb toad (and 500 lb dolly).  That is why trailer brakes are required in most states.

Trailers and FW have  drum brakes with electric actuators in each wheel assembly.  When I step on the truck brakes, a built in trailer brake controller knows it and sends an electric signal to the FW to apply the brakes.  There is also a lever so I can apply the trailer brakes independently if needed. That brake stops the trailer and the truck brakes stop the truck, or something like that!

RVs with a toad usually use some form of surge brakes.  Basic systems have a receiver tube within a receiver tube.  The outside tube is firmly attached to the RV.  The inside tube to the toad.  When the RV accelerates, the inner tube moves backward (within limits!) and pulls the toad.  When the RV slows down, the inner tube slides forward, activating a lever which applies the brakes on the toad or dolly.  Ready Brake has a simple video of this process.  When the RV slows, a cable apples pressure to the car brake pedal to slow or stop the car.
Some toad brake systems have an inertia switch which recognizes this slowing down and converts it to electrical / mechanical actions to press the toad brake pedal. 
Acceleration or stopping releases the brake in both systems.

Hopefully, this helps you.
Preacher Gordon, DW Debbie
09 Grand Junction 35 TMS  Progressive HW50C
Andersen Ultimate hitch
2013 F350 Lariat LB SRW Supercab diesel 4X4   TST TMS  Garmin 760
Nimrod Series 70 popup (sold)
It's not a dumb question if you do not know the answer.

GeorgeandTheBear

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Re: Toad shopping
« Reply #19 on: January 11, 2019, 07:54:10 PM »
I just had my Ford Edge that we already owned, set up to tow behind our MH. The prices are off the top of my head, but I think I'm pretty close.

Roadmaster base plate - $425
Stay-n-play duo braking system - $1000
Ready-Made wiring harnesses for toad lights - $75
RVI Towed battery charger - $55
Installation by moonlighting Ford tech - $400
Roadmaster Falcon 2 tow bar (came with MH) - $625 at e-trailer

That's about $2600. I'm sure I forgot an odd or an end, and installation cost will vary, but if you allow $3000 for this you should be I the ballpark.
Voted most likely to end up working at a car wash.
2009 Fleetwood Terra 34B - Ford V-10 running gear.
2007 Ford Edge - Toad

IBTripping

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Re: Toad shopping
« Reply #20 on: January 11, 2019, 11:37:49 PM »
IB, I was looking at 2010 Journeys through 2014 but I don't have to stick to those parameters.

I think the Journey is a good option for you unless it won't work as a toad. It is a good kid hauler, gets decent gas mileage for a crossover, and has a decent amount of horsepower for merging onto interstates and passing slow pokes. Looks like you've done your research.
1996 Coachmen Catalina 230BH

RVMommaTo6

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Re: Toad shopping
« Reply #21 on: January 12, 2019, 12:26:25 AM »
I really appreciate all the information. I have to sleep on it.
Amanda
Mommy to 6 great kids who love camping and traveling
July 31, 2019- begin our 10 month cross country trip
2015 Thor Motor Coach A.C.E. 30.2
2010 35ft Springdale bunkhouse TT
2001 Jayco Pop-up

kdbgoat

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Re: Toad shopping
« Reply #22 on: January 12, 2019, 06:11:57 AM »
While pondering whether to tow 4 down or not another towbar/ brake system to consider is a ReadBrute Elite towbar. A few here use them and really like'em.
I know you believe you understand what you think I said,
But I am not sure you realize what you heard is not what I meant

2012 Redwood 36RL
2016 Leprechaun 319DS

Ernie n Tara

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Re: Toad shopping
« Reply #23 on: January 12, 2019, 07:48:49 AM »
If you go 4 down, there is no reason tn to buy a Journey that requires a $600 lube pump. There are plenty of cars that don't require one.

Ernie
Ernie 'n Tara

2011 Winn Journey 34y
2012 Jeep Rubicon - Dozer (orange - kinda)
2006 Jeep Wrangler

Alfa38User

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Re: Toad shopping
« Reply #24 on: January 12, 2019, 09:05:53 AM »
How many will be traveling in the Journey when used? A Mom and 6 will be very tight, my 2017 will seat only 4 comfortably!! You need a Grand Caravan for that gang!!!
Stu
Montréal, Canada 🍁
Snowbird, Naples Florida
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PancakeBill

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Re: Toad shopping
« Reply #25 on: January 12, 2019, 09:51:29 AM »
My thoughts for pondering.   If definitely towing with dolly, consider a Grand Caravan.  FWD, and has the stow n go seating.  We have one and love it.  However, what is your RV rated for towing?  typically for a gas A 5000 lbs.  The tow dolly adds about 4-600 lbs. 

I do not tow mine, I tow a car that can be flat towed, although we kind of miss having our van with us. 

Buying used, check with the local RV dealers, they often take in cars in trade that are set up for flat towing, make a friend in sales to keep an eye out for you, offer a finders fee.  Watch local ads.  My toad I found on Craigslist and was all set up.  Also watch eBay or local for a brake buddy type system,,  easy to use, no mechanic needed. 

If you find a car you like that fits your needs, but no baseplate, decide whether or not you want to make the investment in one.  Install should be done by pro, it is quite involved.  I work as a tech in a dealership and have watched the job.  Some cars can take a full day.  This is why I suggest getting a car with it installed.  (dealerships usually wholesale the cars out, they aren't in car sales business, but will sell if you can get that in with someone. 

4 down is so much easier than dolly.  I work mainly in new owner instruction and one of my customers just bought a dolly.  Nice one, but he could not move it.  On pavement, not bad but in gravel just about impossible.  You would ned to carry along a dolly-dolly.  A wheeled device so you don't have to lift the tongue by hand. 

The issue of where do you store the dolly when you get to destination, where do you put it.  Some places you have to store off your RV site, some you can keep it with you.  If you do go the route of a dolly, be sure to set the car up for towing so you can move it around.

Brakes on the dolly, there are surge, where the weight of the dolly pushing against the hitch as the rv brakes, will apply braking to the dolly, and there is electric brakes, requiring wiring in a controller on the dash of RV.  These run about $100 - $200 plus install.

Used units are out there, make sure to check tires and overall condition, especially the straps.  Plus check straps after a few miles of deriving, they almost always will loosen up a little, and check every 100-200 miles as well.

Good luck in your search.
Bill & Jolene W & Koda

Retired from Old Faithful, On The Road for a bit
2000 Winnebago Adventurer 37G
2000 Suzuki Grand Vitara.
2012 Dodge Grand Caravan
FMCA F-401354
1995 OMI Dobro F-60
WA1RI

RVMommaTo6

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Re: Toad shopping
« Reply #26 on: January 12, 2019, 10:58:45 AM »
My head is spinning! I just don't know what to do. I really didn't want to spend the money on the towing equipment for 4 down just to use it for 10 months. I guess I could always sell the Journey afterward and rebuy one without the tow package. If this were something I would be doing long term, I would do it in a heartbeat. But that's so expensive for just a 10 month trip.

As for the journey or a caravan, the Journeys I'm looking at are 7 seaters. I chose it due a combination of weight, seating capacity, gas mileage, and life expectancy. I'll look to compare the van to the Journey and see if they're comparable. I really was hoping for as small as possible because my plan was to keep it as a second vehicle (actually third) after the trip.
Amanda
Mommy to 6 great kids who love camping and traveling
July 31, 2019- begin our 10 month cross country trip
2015 Thor Motor Coach A.C.E. 30.2
2010 35ft Springdale bunkhouse TT
2001 Jayco Pop-up

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Toad shopping
« Reply #27 on: January 12, 2019, 11:27:25 AM »
The cost is a big factor for just a year of use. A good tow dolly is cheaper upfront vs 4-down and it can be resold more easily than the full set of 4-down gear. A tow bar and portable brake unit are an easy resale, but the base plates and lighting stuff is essentially a write-off.  A 16 YO boy should be able to manage the dolly load/unload well enough as long as Mom can convince him to be rigorous about the procedures.  A mistake or shortcut could lead to an expensive or dangerous event!  I think the tow dolly is viable for your needs, but the load & unload is enough of a chore to be termed a pain for an overnight stop or a quick run to the grocery store.

The more frequently you move to a new site (load & unload), the more you appreciate 4-down, so that's a major parameter.  There are inexpensive, A-frame  type tow bars, but they lose more than a little of the convenience advantage, so I'm going to restrict my thoughts to the RV-mount type that stays on the motorhome.  This article gives  brief but comprehensive overview of what is needed.

https://www.etrailer.com/faq-towing-a-vehicle-overview.aspx


IF you can find a used RV-mount tow bar and a portable brake (Brake Buddy, RVI, etc), then the additional cost for 4-down is the cost of the base plates (the car adapter to connect the tow bar) and the toad light wiring, probably about $600 or so.  You should be able to get a nice tow bar and brake unit for about the same cost as a decent used dolly ($800-$1000). Used dollies are fairly common, though, while used 4-down equipment is rarer and gets snapped up quickly when it comes on the market.  An all-new 4-down towing system is probably more than you can cost justify for a limited time use.

Here are a few tow bars on Ebay:
https://www.ebay.com/bhp/tow-bar
« Last Edit: January 12, 2019, 11:30:41 AM by Gary RV_Wizard »
Gary
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Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Arch Hoagland

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Re: Toad shopping
« Reply #28 on: January 12, 2019, 12:59:39 PM »
" I guess I could always sell the Journey afterward and rebuy one without the tow package."


No need to do that, just keep driving it. The tow package doesn't hurt anything. Besides you are going to be thoroughly hooked on RVing and will need all the stuff you've purchased.

RVing is worse than drugs. 
2004 Monaco La Palma 36 DBD
W22, 8.1 gas,  Allison 1000 Transmission
7.1 MPG over 90,000 miles

2000 Lexus RX300, 4020lb
U.S. Gear Braking System

RVMommaTo6

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Re: Toad shopping
« Reply #29 on: January 12, 2019, 02:37:48 PM »
"
No need to do that, just keep driving it. The tow package doesn't hurt anything. Besides you are going to be thoroughly hooked on RVing and will need all the stuff you've purchased.
My point is that if it's more valuable for having the tow package, I would rather sell it and buy another equal car for $3,000 less, therefore getting the money back for the tow package. I just think that's an absurd amount of money to spend for a 10 month trip.

I already know I'll want to keep it but I can't Radford to do that, I took everything out of my savings account to buy it for this trip. I'll be selling it after the trip to replenish my savings. We actually have 2 other RVs as well, a TT and a pop up.
Amanda
Mommy to 6 great kids who love camping and traveling
July 31, 2019- begin our 10 month cross country trip
2015 Thor Motor Coach A.C.E. 30.2
2010 35ft Springdale bunkhouse TT
2001 Jayco Pop-up