Flat towing or a dolly?

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Sportdog

Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2005
Posts
9
Location
Door County, Wisconsin
Greetings,

We have recently upgraded from a travel trailer to a class A, 2004 39' Newmar Northern Star and are going to be towing a 2005 Chrysler Town and Country. I am torn between adding a lube pump. brake system and a tow bar for around $5,000 or getting a dolly and bi-pass all the add-ons to the toad.
My questions are:
Which is easier to hitch up?
Is one safer than the other?
How failsafe are the lube pumps?


Thanks,
Sportdog
 

Tom

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Jan 13, 2005
Posts
48,729
I can't speak for the reliability of lube pumps, but I think you'd be happier going that route than having to deal with a dolly at campgrounds.
 

Ron

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Jan 29, 2005
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18,082
Location
Home is where we park it
When we had our first MH we also had the misfortune of getting a tow dolly.  Take it from one that has experienced the tow dolly they are just not worth a hoot.  Easier and less trouble to tow 4 wheels down.

Oh did I mention that we DO NOT recommend a tow dolly unless you like to give yourself much frustration.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Feb 2, 2005
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At our Silver Springs FL home
Go for the lube pump - flat towing is by far the most conveninet way to go. And yes, it is reliable.

I would think you could do the whole set-up for a bit over $3000: roughly $1000 for a top notch tow bar & base plates, $1000 for lube pump (installed) and about $1000 for a brake unit (e.g. Brake Buddy).
 

Jim Dick

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Feb 11, 2005
Posts
7,651
Location
Titusville, FL
Sportdog said:
Greetings,

We have recently upgraded from a travel trailer to a class A, 2004 39' Newmar Northern Star and are going to be towing a 2005 Chrysler Town and Country. I am torn between adding a lube pump. brake system and a tow bar for around $5,000 or getting a dolly and bi-pass all the add-ons to the toad.
My questions are:
Which is easier to hitch up?
Is one safer than the other?
How failsafe are the lube pumps?


Thanks,
Sportdog

I would opt for the lube pump and tow four down. Just imagine pulling into someplace like a fuel stop and finding yourself in a position where you have to disconnect. Undoing a car from a dolly, moving it, moving the dolly, and then moving the coach will quickly convince anyone towing four down is much easier. Never mind the more than irate individuals that might be waiting for you to do all of this. :)

If you purchase a lube pump from a reputable outfit such as REMCO I would think it would be very reliable. Obviously any mechanical gadget can fail but REMCO has a great reputation.

I have no idea which is "safer" but would tend to believe eliminating the dolly would be a safer way to go. Safety comes from doing the hook up with the utmost concentration. Don't let anyone distract you from your routine, once it's established, regardless if it's four down or a dolly. A good habit many of us have adopted is we won't try to speak to anyone hooking up or unhooking until the job is completed.
 

legal-eagle

Member
Joined
Feb 6, 2006
Posts
5
My vote is for the lube pump or a car that is towable four down.  I went the dolly route first and ended up going four down, so save your money buying a dolly and go four down.
 

John From Detroit

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Apr 12, 2005
Posts
24,948
Location
Davison Michigan
When I got my Class A I did a bunch of the same looking around you are doing now.

Advantages and disadvantages of the different systems

Some vehicles are designed so they can be towed "4 wheels down" Generally (But check with the manafacturer) this includes all vehicles with a MANUAL transmission or transfer case (many 4x4s have transfer cases) but generally (Again CHECK WITH THE MANAFACTURER) does not include automatics of any kind,,, there are exceptions to both generallys however.

Now you have 4-down, modified, and there are two or three, depending on how you count, ways this is done, contact REMCO (logical url if memory serves, my main computer is in shop so I don't have my url memory handy) for information on vehicles that can be towed this way

1: Lube Pump: Simplist of all mods just plug it in, hook it up and you are good to go.... So long as the pump does not fail, transmissions start around 3,000 US dollars and are NOT covered by the REMCO warranty when the pump fails

2A: Drive Shaft Disconnect.  This is for rear wheel driver vehicles (I think your Town and Country is such, but not sure) goes between the drive shaft and the rear end if I have seen the drawings properly.... You pull a lever in the driver's area and the drive shaft "Disconnects" (Spline clutch) from the rear end, you now have a 4-wheel trailer, there is no connection between the transmission and the road... Though in theory this type of device can fail... Well, this type of device is used on most every farm from the north pole to the south and baring customer damage, I've never heard of a failure... Even Amish use this type of clutch on some horse drawn stuff.

2B: Axel lock,  This is based on the same type of technology used in the old Wagner Locking Hubs (manual) For Jeeps way back when, (many companies make simular hardware now) and also has a very, very, very, very low failure rate (Again, baring customer abuse/neglect, should outlast your car) to disconnect you have to reach behind the right front tire and twist a collar  Again, once you do this there is nothing connecting the transmission to the road

With both 2a and 2b you tow with the transmission in PARK

NOTE: Do make sure it disconnects (I rock the car a bit by hand normally), if locked it won't rock)

WIth all the above you simply unhook your tow bar (For me that's two pins) and stow it (Fold it up and latch it on the back of the rig or fold it up and latch it on the front of the car depending on the model) or "Toss" the "A" frame under the rig (or fold it up on the car)

One person hook up and storage

Now we have trailers and dollies

Trailer-advantage-Any car that is under it's maximum weight (and your rigs when you add the trailer in) can be towed, ANY car, including rentals.friends, family, etc.  YOU CAN BACK SUCH A TRAILER IF YOU KNOW HOW (I DO)  Disadvantage: Weight, over 1,000 lbs (closer to 2,000 lbs) plus it's BIG and you have to do something with it when you park  (my rig I could likely shove it under the back of the bus as it were,  My Damon Intruder has a lot of rear ground clearance.  That said, such a trailer would put me overweight for towing).  You have to do a bunch of work to lock the vehicle to the trailer

Dollies.... Great for FWD cars but not so good for 4x4 or RWD's  Smaller and lighter than a trailer, easier to stow (Espically if your rig has the clearance to push it under the rig) and often movable by one person..  However.... You have to do a lot of work to lock the car to the dolly, and you can't back up with these rigs (Same for 4wheel down by the way,, dno't back up, or at least don't back far or around corners)

I choose 2b above, axel disconnect

What ever means you choose to tow, make sure ALL wheels which contact the road have brakes  As it happens in most every state brakes on the towed are required (Some cars can be towed w/o brakes in Texas, up to 4,000 lbs, my car is 4,000 lbs so I need brakes in all 50 states) (other states have different, lower, weight limits) but it truly is a safety factor,  I've already been glad the towed brakes are active when it's being towed (As some jerk cut off nearly 30,000 lbs of MH+Towed)

Brakes good... No brakes = (If you have a front engine vehicle) Leaky radaitor  (NOT GOOD)

My brother's rig (In his case it's a semi,deffently class "A", plated for 160,000 lbs, hauls steel) got one of those leaky radiators, (Suzsuki truck bounced off the median and landed crosswise in the road in front of not-so-little brother's Kittywomper, ur, Kennworth)

His share of the damage, that's what he has to pay to get his truck back (never mind the insurance share) 20,000
 
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