My Kingdom for a Toad!

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Ray D

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Boise, Idaho
Or, Kiss Me and I?ll turn into a handsome prince!

We travel in our motorhome, bare - no way to get around except on foot. Both of us are USAF vets, rather challenged. We can sightsee from the coach, and walk around camp, a little. So far, that?s been pretty good, from our point of view. Beats what went before, by a mile. But, both of us are chaffing at the bit.

Can?t stop at cute little souvenir shops with small parking lots. Even shopping center lots may be crowded, and if not, have to park too far away for the walk to the stores. Can?t find street parking in some small towns, so we just drive through, slowly. Some nice highway restaurants have challenging parking, for a 36 footer, or nothing that big, at all. Can?t get far, off of the paved roads.

On a good day, I can walk a couple hundred yards, rest and then go again, but not so far. Can?t get too far from the MH, for fear I can?t get back. Three or four walks a day, is a good day. She can probably walk a mile or more, but shouldn?t be too far away, when she hits her limit. I?d have to decamp, go get her, and park and connect, again. That is, if I could get the rig to where she has stopped. Bad Carma!

We?ve considered scooters, but we are not severely disabled, enough, for the VA system to qualify us. (When I see a vet that has one, VA supplied, I just think ?Wow!? No wonder I don?t qualify! Things have to be pretty bad!?) I have considered just biting the bullet and paying for them, anyway. But, for the money two rough terrain scooters would cost, we could get another car that we could tow, four down, and extend our range, quite satisfactorily.

Came close to buying a new (used - 05) car, a couple of weeks ago. My mechanic read me the riot act! ?Ray, you get that car and in a few years you?ll need another one. Someone else will still be driving your old Volvo! Don?t do it!?

He advised getting a trailer - hauler, and putting the car of the moment on it, for travel. That would push us to the limit, on weight. And, I would have no way to maneuver the trailer except in a pull through. No room in the back yard for it, so would have to store it, go get it with the MH to go on a trip, and take it back when through. Neither of us are strong enough to push it, and I would not be able to lift the tongue. (Pretty much 40 lbs or less.) Not acceptable.

Dani, (Jasper?s Mom on this forum,) has a 98 Ford Mustang convertible. It has 24,000 miles on it. She loves it. Obviously, she has limitations on driving, and doesn?t drive it much.  According to every place I have checked, including Ford dealerships, the Mustang cannot be towed, at all. (Except backwards on a dolly.) It can only be carried. Unless someone knows something, here, the Mustang is out, as a candidate.

My Volvo is a 96 - 850. That?s front wheel drive. It has 75,000 miles on it, just barely broken in at 10 years old. Can?t be made towable, I am told. No frame to hook the tow-bar to. No kits for the tranny. Can be towed on a dolly, or so the RV dealer tells me. My Volvo mechanic sez don?t tow it on a dolly. He sez turning, with a dolly, will eventually tweak the body of the car, ruining it and irreparably so. There will be small wrinkles in the uni-body frame from the turns.

Have I made my quandary clear? Now, what?

Ray D.
 

Tom

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Jan 13, 2005
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Ray,

I'd recommend not putting a car on a trailer because of the hassle of dealing with the trailer at a campground. In many situations, there won't be a place to park the trailer. Some campgrounds have additional parking slots, but I've watched too many folks struggling to man-handle the trailer.
 

DougJ

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Joined
Mar 7, 2005
Posts
549
Ray,

We're in a somewhat similar situation.  My wife's bad eyes (from birth) has never allowed her to qualify for a drivers license.  Now arthritis, osteoporosis, etc, has her quite hobbled--sort of your 100 yard situation.

We've just bought a Rascal AutoGo 550 for my wife (Google it) for the reasonably local travel.

We don't pull a vehiclle; instead, if we're staying at a place for two weeks, we may well rent a car on the weekends for doing the tourist stuff.

Ciao,

Doug
 

Ray D

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Joined
Jun 4, 2006
Posts
1,963
Location
Boise, Idaho
Thanks, Doug. I'll check out the Rascal, AutoGo 550. We camp in State Parks, mostly. Some hills, there and some rough terrain as compared to sidewalks, for example. How is the Rascal in that kind of environment?

We thought of renting a car, and decided that would be the preferred method. But, so far, have not camped where we could rent a car! We tend to stay away from big cities.

Both of us clean up, pretty good, but we started out as hillbillies from the Ozarks. Can't get it out of our systems. Big cities just don't do our thing very well.

Ray D.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Feb 2, 2005
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74,305
Location
At our Silver Springs FL home
Many vehicles can be converted for towing with the addition of a driveline disconnect or transmission lube pump.. Don't know if the Mustang is one of them, but you can find out from the folks at Remco, who make that sort of thing. See Remco Towing for help - they will be glad to give you the stright scoop if you call them and ask.

Otherwise, there are plenty of vehicles that are readily towable without modifications.  So while I sympathise with the predicament, I can't help you with it. If the Volvo can't handle it, you will need a different vehicle or will have to continue to do without.  None of us can help with that decision - it's your beloved Volvo and your budget that has to take the strain of a second or replacement vehicle.  Outfitting for towing isn't cheap either, probably on th eorder of $2000 for a nice, lightweight tow bar, base plates and an auxiliary brake for the toad.
 

Kenneth

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Nov 21, 2005
Posts
438
Ray D said:
Or, Kiss Me and I?ll turn into a handsome prince!


My Volvo is a 96 - 850. That?s front wheel drive. It has 75,000 miles on it, just barely broken in at 10 years old. Can?t be made towable, I am told. No frame to hook the tow-bar to. No kits for the tranny. Can be towed on a dolly, or so the RV dealer tells me. My Volvo mechanic sez don?t tow it on a dolly. He sez turning, with a dolly, will eventually tweak the body of the car, ruining it and irreparably so. There will be small wrinkles in the uni-body frame from the turns.

Have I made my quandary clear? Now, what?

Ray D.

Ray,

They make a dolly that the wheels turn with the coach, which would not put the strain on the uni-body like most of the dow dolly's out there.Here's one of them;http://www.demco-products.com/Pages/rv.html#Anchor-Kar-Kaddy-30797 or this one;http://www.roadmasterinc.com/towdolly.html
 

Ray D

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Jun 4, 2006
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1,963
Location
Boise, Idaho
RV Roamer: The Mustang is a pet, a member of the family. The Volvo is just a very reliable car that will probably outlive me. If I find a way to tow it, I will. That would almost certainly be a tow dolly, as I understand it. Kenneth has suggestions about dollies with turning wheels.

Kenneth, thanks for the suggestion. I will definitely look at that, again. I will also double check my Volvo mechanic about potential damage, when the wheels on the dolly turn. Months ago, I checked locally for dealers for tow dollies. None had them in stock, and none were expecting, at that time. I see on one of the sites you mention that there are supposed to be a whole stack of dealers here. I'll try that again! Several were places I haven't been. Might get lucky.

Ray D.
 

Ned

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USA
If you have trouble walking more than a few hundred yards, you will definitely have problems wrestlilng with a tow dolly.  Just the work involved in loading and unloading the car from the dolly is more than I would care to do.  That is in addition to the problem of storing it when you park the RV in a campground.  Many parks just don't have room for a dolly, and don't even think of trying to back up with it attached.
 

Ray D

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Boise, Idaho
Ummmm!? Gee thanks, guys!  Let me try another angle.

I have been trying to avoid buying a third car. We already have two cars and a MH, and we don't put a lot of miles on those, as you can see form above and from other posts.

I have had the passing thought that I could buy a "beater" with a standard transmission, and solve quite a few problems. I would have to buy more insurance, but my rates are pretty low. We would have to deal with a clutch, and both of us wear braces on our left legs. Left foot could go for the clutch, and miss. The right will still find the brakes and the car would stop. But, both of us think we could do it, if we had to, and didn't do a lot of it at any given time. At least, one or the other of us should be able to handle it, at any given time. So - - - .

If I got a beater, any brand, with a standard tranny, my understanding is that I can tow to my heart's content, oblivious to all concerns, without a worry in the world. Is there anything wrong with my understanding, there? What did I miss? Why do I have this feeling that I haven't found Nirvana?

Ray D.
 

Tom

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Ray,

There are some automatics that can be towed with all 4 wheels down. The Honda Accord used to be that way, although I don't believe that's true for their latest model year (or two). So you could get an older Accord and it would work and you wouldn't have to deal with a clutch.

The Motorhome Magazine web site has some lists of cars that can be towed, but they only go back to 2002.
 

Ray D

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Posts
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Location
Boise, Idaho
Looked at Honda. Came within a whisker of buying one. They told me that the recent models of Accord and Civic can be towed. Prior to that, no tow. I hear on the local grapevine that the previous years can be towed, as well, but Honda has concerns about liability, so won't say so.

For a late model or new, I would have to trade. I could afford an older model with little difficulty. How would I know if it could be towed? I've looked up reference sites til I'm blue in the face. They seem to go on manufacturers recommendations.

Is there a short cut to the issue, for the older cars?

Ray D.

Disregard! Tom, I just re-read your last sentence. I'll go there and check it out. 2002 is far enough.
 

Ned

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We've towed our 1997 Honda Accord LX for nearly 70,000 miles with no problems.  Yes, it's an automatic.
 

Tom

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Ray,

We used to have a sort of list around here somewhere, but I can't seem to find it. While I'm looking, maybe some forum members will jump in with details of older cars they've towed.

Another answer would be an older four wheel drive, assuming your coach can tow it. Almost all 4WD can be towed by putting the transfer case in neutral.
 

Ray D

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Posts
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Location
Boise, Idaho
I sure hope there are others following this thread that can use the advice I'm getting. It would be nice if several peoples issues could be dealt with at once, in a thread this involved. Lot of issues centered around mobility, and the how of it. That's the name of this game, isn't it?

Ned: I appreciate that. My "grapevine" friends tell me that any, or nearly any Honda automatic and any or nearly any Saturn can be towed, as well. 70,000 miles is conclusive, as far as I am concerned. Accord is a good model.

Tom: I printed out the list, this time, from Motorhome Magazine. I have seen it before, but didn't know where. Unfortunately, it uses manufacturer's recommendations and therefore misses a lot of towable cars. There are plenty of cars, there, however. I guess I am going to go car shopping, again!

Worse, still thinking about Personal Mobility Vehicles. Quite a quandry. Do I want to get further from camp, or around the campsite?

Need all of the above, and a larger motorhome to carry and tow all the stuff! Has anyone else ever had this problem?

Ray D.  ???
 

EelKat

Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2011
Posts
10
Location
Maine
Ray D said:
My Volvo is a 96 - 850. That?s front wheel drive. It has 75,000 miles on it, just barely broken in at 10 years old. Can?t be made towable, I am told. No frame to hook the tow-bar to. No kits for the tranny. Can be towed on a dolly, or so the RV dealer tells me. My Volvo mechanic sez don?t tow it on a dolly. He sez turning, with a dolly, will eventually tweak the body of the car, ruining it and irreparably so. There will be small wrinkles in the uni-body frame from the turns.

Have I made my quandary clear? Now, what?

Ray D.

My toad is a 1992 Volvo 240 GL RWD 174,000miles. I was told all the same things. No tow bar, no tranny kit, no dolly, it's a RWD so don't even think about it as a toad, etc. My solution? Put it on a flatbed, tow the flatbed. Not a common solution, most folks would rather get a more toad friend car than deal with a flatbed, but I like this car and I'd rather have it than a more "toad friendly" model, so it's a flatbed for me.
 

John From Detroit

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Apr 12, 2005
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25,092
Location
Davison Michigan
If you can not dolly it, go with a full trailer, either flat bed or enclosed.

Advantage enclosed: NO GRIME, and you have a garage to park it in when it rains!!!
 

therealsimpsons

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Aug 23, 2009
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1 mile south of the Cheddar Curtain
Ray,

We tow a 2006 Honda CR-V with automatic transmission, 4 wheels down. NO modifications, except a cut in the grill for the hookups for the tow bar to go. We can tow for 8 hours straight without having to run the car while stopped.

It took us quite a few times practicing before we could hook up correctly. The time now runs from 10 minutes to 20 minutes depending on how straight we pulled up behind the coach. I would say however, there is some physical work to hooking up, and you literally have to get on your knees to install the Brake Buddy which is the axillary braking system for the car. There are probably other systems out there. You have to do some shopping.

Good luck.

Stan
 

Utclmjmpr

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Sep 14, 2009
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5,256
Location
Cedar City, UT
A great little tow car is a Ford Festiva,, no longer made but one heck of a car. I've owned two of them, either the four or the five speed stick is towable 4 down,, weighs only 1400 Lbs. and gets 45-48 miles to the gallon. 1300CC engine and runs forever!!, my current one has 224000 on the clock with only a water pump replacment. This car can be had for about $500.00 in my area give or take,, worth a look.>>>Dan
 
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