Hitch / Tow Bar Question

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DBarton02

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NOW that I have the AC issues in the rear view mirror, the next thing the Mrs. and I were figuring on would be either a 3rd vehicle to flat tow, or a tow dolly that could pull our minivan.
After some reading, our Chrysler Town and Country has a GVW of just over 6,000lbs. I verified the bar currently on our Winnebago ('02 Adventurer 35u with the 8.1L Vortec) and the tow capacity is only 5,000lbs. By this, we'd have to either find something lighter to tow, or upgrade the bar itself to be able to handle the weight of our minivan (we have a Mini Countryman as well, but its AWD, so any kind of towing is out).

Also looking at a Mini Convertible as an option (either a manual for 4 down, or automatic to use with a tow dolly).

Questions I have here are:

  1. Are there beefier tow bars available for sale that would fit my current model? (Current bar is bolted on - not welded).
  2. Is there much of a difference between 4 down towing and utilizing a tow dolly (In everyone's experiences?)
  3. What other "fun cars" (preferably convertible - to seat 4) would you recommend as a possible option? I know Jeeps are popular, but I figure at that point, the cost to even buy a high mileage used vehicle + the flat tow kit would be far what I would exceed in just a tow dolley + upgraded bar + vehicle itself.
Thanks!
 

donn

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My guess the hitch matches the tow capacity of the chassis. First thing you need to do is determine towing capacity, then determine what's what.
 

John From Detroit

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most gassers have 5,000 pound rated tow receivers. And darn few can tow that much as you will go over the max combined gross vehicle weight (Tow Limit is MGVVW-GVW (actual weight of the motor home) in my case that was 4000 pounds. Exactly a 1992 Chevy APV mini van.
If your plan is to tow one with the motor home and drive one separate What is the lightest Tow it. i would recommend flat tow (make sure it can be flat towed. Vehicles fall into 3 groups
1: Flat towable as delivered
2: Flat towable with modifications
3: DO NOT TOW. Trailer only
 

Ex-Calif

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Questions I have here are:

  1. Are there beefier tow bars available for sale that would fit my current model? (Current bar is bolted on - not welded).
  2. Is there much of a difference between 4 down towing and utilizing a tow dolly (In everyone's experiences?)
  3. What other "fun cars" (preferably convertible - to seat 4) would you recommend as a possible option? I know Jeeps are popular, but I figure at that point, the cost to even buy a high mileage used vehicle + the flat tow kit would be far what I would exceed in just a tow dolley + upgraded bar + vehicle itself.
Thanks!
There are more considerations than the tow capacity of the trailer hitch. It is the capacity of the RV brakes to slow and stop the rig and also the engine to pull the rig and transmission to survive it all. I have a 3500 lb tow hitch. I am sure that the RV could tow 5,000# but the tow bar is very "articulated(?)" from the frame of the RV - like 3 feet after the frame rails. It would need to be a beefy build of framing to put a 5k hitch on.

I prefer to dolly tow but people here have their preference. I like dolly tow because my dolly has lights (some dolly's you need a light kit) and after the expense of the dolly I can pretty much tow anything that the truck or RV will tow. 4 down towing will require modifications for each vehicle that is intended to be towed. Drive the car onto the dolly, strap it down and away I go. 5 minutes tops.

I am also a car guy and have wanted/needed a dolly for years. I inevitably rent a dolly like 2X per year. I just delivered a car 250 miles to my kid so that's another plus for dolly tow for me.

In terms of "what fun vehicle" - With flat towing (and to an extent dolly towing) you have to make sure the intended vehicle can be flat towed and under what conditions.

Pretty much any front wheel drive vehicle can be dolly towed. Most classic manual shift cars can also be dolly towed. It's the AWD and 4WD stuff you have to be careful about.
 

Isaac-1

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The GVW is of the mini-van is it fully loaded down with passengers and cargo, what you need to know is the weight of it more or less empty as it would be while towing.
 

Ex-Calif

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Never assume your tow capacity, please look at the sheet with your unit's weight limitations, it should be on a wall somewhere in your RV.

I get all that. You need to read the whole message again in context. My RV is specifically rated for 3500#. My assessment is that it is not to do with the engine/tranny/brakes but with the structure of the hitch and overhang.

Anyway, that's my assessment as an engineer but I get all your points. There is a MCGWR, of course, and when one modifies trailer hitches from factory, one then becomes the engineer that still has to make sure the MCGWR is not exceeded.
 

Isaac-1

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On a somewhat related topic, I saw something yesterday that is likely a great example of ignoring GVWR. I stopped in at Dollar General to pick up something, and there was a guy in the parking lot in the process of loading down a mini van with soft drinks, and I do mean loading down. I am not sure exactly how many he was trying to fit in, but it did look like he was trying to play tetris getting as many in as possible, and had one of those bellhop style stock carts loaded down with 20 can packs of Coke, stacked 7 cases wide and 8 high, which my math puts at 56 cases. So roughly 1120 cans of soda, google says that a full can of coke weighs 13.5 ounces so nearly a thousand pounds of cans of soda going into a modern minivan. Actually it was more than that as I could see he already had some number of cases of Sprite and Diet Doctor Pepper loaded in the back seat area of the van, and was working on loading the Coke when I drove up. He was still loading when I left 5 or so minutes later.
 

Ex-Calif

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I read your message, my comment did not overlap or conflict with yours.

Oh, that's cool. I took it wrong that you were admonishing me to check out the tow capacities of my RV.

Anyone deviating from manufacturer's specs, including me, becomes engineering, design, quality and "liability" department...
 

Ex-Calif

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On a somewhat related topic, I saw something yesterday that is likely a great example of ignoring GVWR. I stopped in at Dollar General to pick up something, and there was a guy in the parking lot in the process of loading down a mini van with soft drinks, and I do mean loading down. I am not sure exactly how many he was trying to fit in, but it did look like he was trying to play tetris getting as many in as possible, and had one of those bellhop style stock carts loaded down with 20 can packs of Coke, stacked 7 cases wide and 8 high, which my math puts at 56 cases. So roughly 1120 cans of soda, google says that a full can of coke weighs 13.5 ounces so nearly a thousand pounds of cans of soda going into a modern minivan. Actually it was more than that as I could see he already had some number of cases of Sprite and Diet Doctor Pepper loaded in the back seat area of the van, and was working on loading the Coke when I drove up. He was still loading when I left 5 or so minutes later.

Why make two safe trips to the little league park when 1 out of control crazy one "might" work - LOL...

You didn't see him stop at the gas station and load 30 bags of ice on the roof rack - LOL...

Oh... And he had to pick up the outfield so 3 12 year olds can share the front pax seat, right? We can bungee your ball bags to the bike rack on the trailer hitch...
 

Laura & Charles

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Could be anywhere. Originally from Ohio. Go Bucks!
The GVW is of the mini-van is it fully loaded down with passengers and cargo, what you need to know is the weight of it more or less empty as it would be while towing.
While I agree with your definition of GVW, I wouldn’t assume anything about what’s in it when towing. Our toad is very loaded while towing. We carry most all our outdoor ‘stuff’—lawn chairs, tables, grill, smoker screen house, poly rug, and such. Back seats flipped down and cargo area pretty well filled. Receiver-mounted bike rack carrying two bikes and a rooftop Thule carrier filled with relatively light items.
We’re not exceeding our toad’s GVW, and not coming close to any weight limitations for the coach or hitch. But our toad serves as an auxiliary cargo trailer when we’re underway. (We could fit most of what goes in the toad in the basement or in the coach itself if we wanted, but it’s much easier to load up the car.)

To the OP about dolly vs flat towing: As Ex-Calif said, many opinions here. I personally sought out our current toad (as well as the one we had before this one) so it would be flat towed. Keep in mind, the dolly’s weight, to your coach and hitch, is in addition to the vehicle you’re towing. Also, the dolly is another vehicle you’ll need to park when your destination is reached.
Some lightweight cars that can be flat towed: Honda CR-V before 2015; Saturn Vue, any year… I believe the last year they were produced was 2009.
There’s many others, of course but, as you can see from the beginning of this post, I was seeking a lightweight toad that could double as an enclosed cargo trailer and small SUVs fit that for us.
 

John Canfield

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I sent a message to the OP asking for his participation in this thread as it's now going around in circles. If he's not interested in being involved, I'm going to close this thread and move it to the proper board.
 

Ex-Calif

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??? I Don't really care one way or another but there are lots of threads where the OP disappears that don't get closed.

It will be interesting if the OP chimes in. Sometimes folks also aren't at their computers every day like a lot of us.
 

DBarton02

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??? I Don't really care one way or another but there are lots of threads where the OP disappears that don't get closed.

It will be interesting if the OP chimes in. Sometimes folks also aren't at their computers every day like a lot of us.
You are absolutely correct! :p

I wish this would be an easy finger snap decision - and the input here is great. Curb weight on my T&C is just over 4,000lbs, so my current bar would be sufficient even factoring in the dolly weight.
I'd add a double hitch adapter to keep my bike rack on, but even with that, I'm still under the capacity of the installed bar.

The Mrs. agrees as well - gives us more options down the road to tow instead of being locked into whatever vehicle has a flat tow config on it.

I guess now we play the order and wait for delivery game!
 

Ex-Calif

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I saw a guy with a front mounted bike rack on his (probably) F250. He had two electric bikes on it.

This can be a good choice to even out the load on the tow vehicles front and rear axles considered any bed payload and tongue weight of a trailer.

Of course all axle weights and GWs should be adhered to.
 

Isaac-1

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To get back onto the topic, we have a 2002 coach with 8.1L Vortec engine with 5,000 pound towing capacity. We also have a 2017 Jeep Cherokee that weighs in at 4,300 pounds mostly empty, and a 2007 Toyota Yaris that weighs in a 2,300 pounds empty. When towing the Cherokee I KNOW its back there and it lowers my max comfortable top speed by perhaps 5-8 mph, with the Yaris while I can sometimes feel it is back there, I really need to check to rear view camera to be sure it is.
 

DBarton02

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Just ordered an EZ Haul Tow Dolly with surge brakes. After some checking, my T&C at around 4k curb weight will suffice. Added a dual receiver hitch adapter (10k lb capacity) so I can put my bike rack on and still pull the trailer as needed - and have piece of mind that I've got one beefy-a$$ adapter to handle it.

Hoping to be in about the same boat - still looking for a Mini Cooper Convertible that we could take with us (destination depending) or the van if we're planning a more kid-focused trip.

At least gives us the options and not having to be latched to one singular vehicle to tow.
 

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