Inexpensive Toad suggestions

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Buddy Tott

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Jul 25, 2006
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North San Diego County, CA.
I have a Class C with a Ford 450 and I have a Roadmaster 'stowaway' tow bar, now all I want is an inexpensive toad to fit betwwen the two,  to tow four down.  I want something sub-compact, lightweight - around 2000lbs, four door,  four seats and preferably a hatchback.  Any year is okay, but for what I want to spend  (about $3K)  I'm thinking late 80's to mid 90's.  I don't much care for Saturns and a VW bug is out of the question  - according to the missus. Though that would be my choice.  Also, being that I have the tow bar which fits on the front of the toad, ease of installation without additional cost or modification to the vehicle should also be a consideration.  I'm thinking along the lines of a Honda Civic,  VW Golf/Rabbit or Geo Metro but open to anything.

Anyone have any other suggestions and/or experiences with any of the above?  Your help is greatly appreciated, thanks.

Buddy Tott
 

Will

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Jul 30, 2006
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Mississippi
But you'd look just gosh darn cute in a bug.  VWs, unfortunately, are quite heavy and only get heavier as you get newer.

It is my understanding that any car with a manual transmission should be towable 4-down.  Automatic transmissions that can be towed 4-down are in the few-and-far-between catagory.  Too bad you don't like Saturns - they made a lightweight compact stationwagon that is the towcar of choice among many RVers.

Geo Metro, very small (too small) and light.  They tend to age poorly.  I don't believe its automatic likes being towed.

Honda Civic, small (but better than the Metro) and Light.  These tend to age well **so long as you don't buy a former rice-racer**.  Again, I don't think its auto tranny likes being towed 4-down.

Either one of those cars can probably be fitted with an auxiliary tranny pump, or be towed on a dolly just fine.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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I want something sub-compact, lightweight - around 2000lbs, four door,  four seats and preferably a hatchback.  Any year is okay, but for what I want to spend  (about $3K)

I think you are looking for the Holy Grail of toads. Very few vehicles weigh that little or, or that matter, cost that little. And it sounds as though your wife has ruled out some of those few that might meet your specs.  Add 4 doors to the equation and I doubt seriously whether such a vehicle exists. A 60's vintage Beetle weighs about 2000. Older Jeep CJ models (e..g Wranglers) might also, if not equipped with metal roof and such.  But you want 4 doors and a hatchback, so...

You might check out a Ford Fiesta/Festiva/EXP  hatchbacks. Should be the type and price you are looking for, but will probably exceed the weight by 500-800 lbs.

I'd vote for an older Honda as the best vehicle for what you want, but it will weigh more than 2000#.  Under 3000# would be a more realistic target.  A late 80's  Suzuki SUV might fit your bill nicely.

Just for the record, not all manual tranny cars are flat towable. Some front drive models with hydraulic clutches depend on circulating/splashing hydraulic fluids for lubrication and can suffer excessive wear when towed with the engine off. From what I hear, sometimes this can be circumvented by overfilling with fluid to get the level up higher.
 

Buddy Tott

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North San Diego County, CA.
Thanks for the responses, Guys.  I had a senior moment re. the 'four door' requirement.  I'd be happy with two and a hatch.  It doesn't have to be  2000lbs or so,  just a light as possible.  I think I'll give that Saturn Wgn a look.  I have a contact at a Saturn dealership nearby, I'll see what he can do for me.  I am considering the Suzuki and Geo Tracker, but already owning one SUV (auto, heavy  and not really towable) and the missus'  objections (again) that choice is on the back-burner.  As to manual or auto, manual seems the way to go and that's fine with me. 

Anyone else have any other ideas????

B.T.
 

Will

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Ford Aspire.  Available as a 4-door hatch.  Should be towable with the Manual.  Downside: basically a rebadged Kia
 

Jim Dick

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Buddy,

I have owned two Geo Trackers, now Chevy, and two Grand Vitaras. They are excellent tow vehicles. The Trackers weighed just over 2500 lbs and the GV is around 3100 lbs. I would look for an older tracker. They were all 4X4s so towing 4 down was no problem. The Trackers were convertibles but the GVs were 4 door. I just traded my GV for a pickup and I know I'm going to miss it!! They are great off road vehicles as well.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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At our Silver Springs FL home
We had a manual tranny Aspire for a short while (until I drove off one day with the transmission still in 1st gear and blew the engine!  ::)).  Makes a very practical toad, though the seats are thin and the ride fairly harsh and noisy.
 

Dan Walters

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Jun 15, 2006
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Bellville, Texas
The Chevrolet Cavalier and Pontiac Sunfire in manual or automatic transmissions can be towed 4 down without modification.  They are fairly light, come in 2 or 4 door and used ones are fairly cheep.

Dan
 

Buddy Tott

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North San Diego County, CA.
Thank you one and all for the suggestions.  Some of the vehicles mentioned were ones I hadn't thought of  and certainly gives me more of a range to find the 'right one' for us. 
Jim...I'm very interested in the Tracker...Were the ones you towed, manual or auto.  If auto did they require any modification?  My other possible alternative is putting my Chevy S10 Ext. cab  into service.  Though I'll have to check the weight, but it can't be that much.  It is, however, automatic and would require modification. which would probably cost about the same.  At least that would save me having to buy yet another vehicle, just for use as a toad, hence the need for something inexpensive.  Anyone have any thoughts on the S10?

Thanks again. 

Buddy
 

Jim Dick

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Buddy,

The Trackers were standard shift but the GVs were automatic. If I remember correctly the automatics on the Trackers were towable without modification. There were two requirements which didn't seem to make any difference if you did them or not. One was to stop every 200 miles, put the transmission in drive and run it for a couple of minutes. This I did but I know of others that didn't and never had a problem. The other is not to tow over 55mph. I never paid attention to that on four vehicles and never had a problem.
 

KodiakRV

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Aug 19, 2006
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Florida
Will said:
...Honda Civic, small (but better than the Metro) and Light.? These tend to age well **so long as you don't buy a former rice-racer**.? Again, I don't think its auto tranny likes being towed 4-down...

I tow a 2002 Honda Civic with automatic transmission 4-down.  You just have to follow a particular shift sequence prior to ending up in neutral for towing.

My guess would be that era Civic weighs 2500+ lbs.
 

Bob Buchanan

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Mar 3, 2005
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Philadelphia, PA
Buddy Tott said:
I think I'll give that Saturn Wgn a look.? I have a contact at a Saturn dealership nearby, I'll see what he can do for me.

Just returned from a Holiday visit to my brother's place in San Jose -- and found that they had bought a new "2nd" car. They had used their Toad while RVing, but now wanted more of an UNtoad vehicle. They sold the MH already.

Anyway, they have a Saturn wagon for sale now. About all I know about it is that is White -- and as a car owned by my brother, has had pristine maintenance. After he sends me the details, I had planned to put up a notice under the proper "for sale" section of the forum. If interested, contact me by PM and I'll get you in touch with him.
 

Buddy Tott

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Jul 25, 2006
Posts
499
Location
North San Diego County, CA.
Bob,
Thanks for the offer.  I'm sure the Saturn is a clean toad and would fit the bill but I  prefer to buy something locally to me, I live in San Diego.    I think I will settle on a Tracker and look for a nice one in my neck of the woods. Thanks again for thinking of me..

Anyone have comments on the Chevy S10 p/up alternative?

Buddy






 

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