Toad Question

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motojavaphil

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I have a 1999 Dodge, Ram 2500 Sport, SB, V10, 4X4.  I want to tow this behind a 2002, 40' Travel Supreme which is rated at 10,000lbs towing capacity.  Seems like almost any other pick up in the world can be towed as both Roadmaster and Blue Ox have the equipment.  My truck is the exception.  We like the truck despite its thirst as it has low miles and is set up for offroad.  I have looked at the internet and cannot seem to find a towbar system that fits.  Having no experience with this setup I was wondering if I am not looking in the right place or is this just not doable?  My question is:
1.  Camping World quoted me $3468.39 to make the MH and truck tow ready.  Is this a decent quote or are we a bit on the high side?
2.  Towbars and plates.  Are there any out there for my truck.  Blue Ox refuses the 99 Cummins Sport but said nothing about my V10.
3.  Having never towed with a MH I was wondering about the plus and minus's of towing this truck.
Sure appreciate the help, thanx, Phil
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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The Motorhome Magazine Dinghy Towing Guide lists all Ram 4WD trucks as towable with no exceptions noted, so yours should be fine. Call Remco Towing to be sure, though, they are the experts and will give you straight answers. [REMCO is 1 800 228 2481]

As for base plates, the major towbar manufacturers build them based on customer demand and I suspect few have asked for base plates for your model of truck.  There are often differences in baseplate design for different engines, suspensions, front fascia, etc., so the availability of a base plate for one model doesn't necessarily mean it fits  a similar appearing one. Contact Blue Ox and Roadmaster via their website email contact form and inquire about yours - they will tell you what they have or if anything is under development or potentially close in fit. They might be willing to build/modify one for your model if you take it to the factory - sometimes the only reason they don't have a "fit" is that they never had a sample to look at and devise a solution. Blue Ox is in Pender, NE and Roadmaster is in Washington state.  For a newer model they usually give you the hardware to compensate you for access to your vehicle, but for a 99 I suspect they will have little motivation to do so. If there was much market for that base plate, they would have it by now.

I'm not sure what you mean when you say Blue Ox "refuses" the 99 Cummins Sport. Does that mean they say nothing is  available or that there is a technical reason why none can be built for it?

$3500 for everything depends on what everything includes. A top end tow bar is around $700-800 retail, many base plates run $300-$400, running light hook-up gear maybe $50-100 and labor for all that could easily run $500-1000 at typical shop rates. If they have included a supplemental brake system, that likely adds another $1000. Throw in sales tax and you are in the ball park. It can be done for less and much of it can be done yourself if you are reasonably competent do-it-yourself type. I've never paid anyone to install any of that stuff, but some vehicles are more difficult than others. Usually nothing requiring a lot of skill, though. Just time and some tools.

I can't see any reason not to tow it, assuming you can get the necessary gear. Where was CW going to get base plates? They don't make them - they buy from Blue Ox or Roadmaster.

Did you check with Demco? They are the other towbar manufacturer after Roadmaster & Blue Ox. They generally have less selection of vehicle types (they are less inclined to build for small volume vehicles) but oncein awhile they have one the others do not.
 

motojavaphil

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Sure appreciate the reply.  I called Remco and am awaiting a call back.  Blue Ox and Roadmaster have given a definite no to the diesel version of my truck but have said nothing about the V10.  $3500 covers the whole thing so I guess they are in the ballpark.  We will be driving to the dealer with the truck to take delivery and will be asking them to hook it up.  I guess Blue Ox can do the V10 with hitch number BX 1949.  Just got the email.  Is the 4 down configuration better than the dolly?  I was beginning to look at that when I got the email.   

I was just sort of curious about the impact on fuel consumption, handling and general safety issues.  I have never driven a MH, much less towed with one.

In any case it is all very exciting and thank you for the help...Phil
 

Ned

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4 down is infinitely preferable to a dolly.  Avoid a dolly if at all possible.  Our toads have been bought with a prime criterion of towable 4 down.  We wouldn't even consider any vehicle that couldn't be towed that way.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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I was just sort of curious about the impact on fuel consumption, handling and general safety issues.  I have never driven a MH, much less towed with one.

Impact on fuel economy when towing will be between 0 and 1.0 mpg for all motorhome and toad combinations. With the Travel Supreme, I would guess in the 0-0.5 range.

Safety? Obviously you want to hitch up properly, but there are really only two safety issues when actually towing. The obvious one is that your rig is 20+ feet longer, a factor you must remember when merging with traffic. It's not a factor when making turns because the toad will follow the back end of the motorhome nicely. The other issue is toad tires: a toad tire failure is essentially unobservable and can cause major damage if undetected. A tire pressure monitoring system that has a monitor in the coach can solve this problem (more $$$, right???). Pressure Pro is one; Smart Tire is another. The risk of a toad tire failure is fairly low, but the consequences are high.

Last, for practical purposes you cannot back up when towing a vehicle 4-down. Sometimes it can be done for very short & straight distances (2-8 feet), but basically you should assume you cannot back up at all. Plan your route through fuel stations, parking lots, etc. accordingly.
 

KodiakRV

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RV Roamer said:
[snip]
Safety? Obviously you want to hitch up properly, but there are really only two safety issues when actually towing. The obvious one is that your rig is 20+ feet longer, a factor you must remember when merging with traffic. It's not a factor when making turns because the toad will follow the back end of the motorhome nicely. ...
[snip]

Not true for all combinations, however.  If your MH has a tight turning radius (some do) and a long rear overhang (most do), then you can turn too tight and "jack-knife" the front corner of the car into/under the rear corner of the MH.  That happened to me the first time I towed.  Fortunately, the rear bumper/frame of the MH was high and the front end of my Honda Civic was low enough that there was no contact even though about a foot of the car's front corner was underneath the MH.  :eek:
 

BernieD

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Phil

I've been towing with my 2002 40' TS for nearly 5 years now (ISL 400hp engine-you may have or looking at a 370, but the torque is the same). I pull a 4500# SUV and haven't noticed much difference in mileage or climbing ability. I have averaged about 8.8mpg since new and now have 69,000 miles on it. I couldn't find a phone number for them, but if you can fit an M&G brake for your truck, I would highly recommend it.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Not true for all combinations, however.  If your MH has a tight turning radius (some do) and a long rear overhang (most do), then you can turn too tight and "jack-knife" the front corner of the car into/under the rear corner of the MH.

Yes, it can happen in some combinations, though the risk is all but non-existent in the 40 foot TS that Phil is talking about. It would take an extremely short tow bar to allow that.

Could you tell us, mfa, what make, model, length & wheelbase motorhome that was, and what tow bar you were using?  It would help guide us when advising others if we had details of rigs that have exhibited problems in the past.
 

KodiakRV

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RV Roamer said:
Yes, it can happen in some combinations, though the risk is all but non-existent in the 40 foot TS that Phil is talking about. It would take an extremely short tow bar to allow that.

Could you tell us, mfa, what make, model, length & wheelbase motorhome that was, and what tow bar you were using?  It would help guide us when advising others if we had details of rigs that have exhibited problems in the past.
Sure...  It's a 32.5-ft Gulfstream Super-C on a Kodiak C5500 chassis.  The Kodiak has a tight 35-ft turn diameter compared to 50-ft+ on a Ford F450/550.  Towbar was a standard Blue-Ox Aventa II.
 

motojavaphil

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Bernie,  You have the model we are looking at and really like.  Sounds like a very good rig to tow with.  What sort of towbar etc., are you using?  Anything I need to look for specific to the TS overall?  How does it do in cold weather?  Many questions, do you mind me dropping you an email from time to time? 

Thanx, Phil
 

chrpennings

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Phil,

I assume if your truck is set up for off roading it may have a lift kit and or large tyres which will bring the baseplate of the truck where it connects to the towbar at a much higher level then the hitch at  the motorhome. This may require that you need a step up hitch  from the motorhome to the base plate in order to have the towbar parallel with the road. This should not be a problem as long as you get the right hitch.
Our son tows his jeep with a 6 inch lift and giant tyres behind our motorhome with no problems. I need an elevator to get in the jeep :D

chris


o
 

BernieD

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motojavaphil said:
Bernie,  You have the model we are looking at and really like.  Sounds like a very good rig to tow with.  What sort of towbar etc., are you using?  Anything I need to look for specific to the TS overall?  How does it do in cold weather?  Many questions, do you mind me dropping you an email from time to time? 

Phil

I have a Blue Ox Aventa II, IIRC about a 7k# capacitiy. It may come in a 10K version now. I think that either the Roadmaster or Blue Ox would work well depending on the base plate fitting and the dealer you are working with. Anything to look for is very general. Could you narrow it down? Overall, I think the TS is a great coach and offers a lot. As with all manufacturers, problems develop here and there but nothing that I know of ongoing. My religion prohibits me from being north of I-10 in cold weather, so I don't have too much cold weather experience. We have been very comfortable in the coach when caught in 20 degree overnites. Feel free to contact me at any time.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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It's a 32.5-ft Gulfstream Super-C on a Kodiak C5500 chassis.  The Kodiak has a tight 35-ft turn diameter compared to 50-ft+ on a Ford F450/550.  Towbar was a standard Blue-Ox Aventa II.

Thanks for the info and I'll keep that  in mind in the future. I'm surprised you had the problem on a 32 footer - it usually doesn't happen unless well under that length, but there are several variables that combine to affect how the toad tracks. It is so difficult to generalize about anything in this game... every rig is different.
 

KodiakRV

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RV Roamer said:
Thanks for the info and I'll keep that  in mind in the future. I'm surprised you had the problem on a 32 footer - it usually doesn't happen unless well under that length, but there are several variables that combine to affect how the toad tracks. It is so difficult to generalize about anything in this game... every rig is different.

I would think the potential "jack-knifing" problem is a function of three things:
1)  The turning radius of the MH.  Tighter is worse for this problem.
2)  The distance from the rear axle of the MH to the tow hitch pivot/ball.  Longer is worse.
3)  The distance from the tow hitch pivot/ball to the toad's rear axle.  Shorter is worse.
 

motojavaphil

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Chris, About the only thing I have done to the Dodge is put bigger wheels on it and have since replaced them with the stockers.  I suspected height might be a problem and even stock it is a very capable offroader.  Thank you for the advice on that.

Bernie, Carol and I are about as excited as kids on Christmas morning.  We have been looking at Newmar products and came across this orphaned TS.  We immediately liked the floorplan and appointments.  The next test, RVCG, pretty well sealed the deal.  We will be looking over the summer and into the fall for such a rig.  Low miles and use would be a plus.  Towing the truck with bikes will be another bonus and the TS sounds very capable.  The fact you have stayed with the TS over the years speaks well of it.  We will apprciate your advice in the future and thank you.  Phil
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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I would think the potential "jack-knifing" problem is a function of three things:
1)  The turning radius of the MH.  Tighter is worse for this problem.
2)  The distance from the rear axle of the MH to the tow hitch pivot/ball.  Longer is worse.
3)  The distance from the tow hitch pivot/ball to the toad's rear axle.  Shorter is worse.

Probably all true, but those principles are of little or no value in predicting whether any given rig will have a problem or not. "Longer" or "shorter" is of no value unless there is a yardstick to measure against and there is no rule of thumb I know of that helps estimate when any of these factors are too much or too little. And the combinations are innumerable, since the factors offset each other. 

Few rigs will ever have a "strike" problem with the hitches in use today, but unfortunately "few" is not "zero".

 

KodiakRV

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RV Roamer said:
Probably all true, but those principles are of little or no value in predicting whether any given rig will have a problem or not. "Longer" or "shorter" is of no value unless there is a yardstick to measure against and there is no rule of thumb I know of that helps estimate when any of these factors are too much or too little. And the combinations are innumerable, since the factors offset each other. 

Few rigs will ever have a "strike" problem with the hitches in use today, but unfortunately "few" is not "zero".

Sounds like a good challenge for my engineering mathematics background.  Given a little free time, I could probably come up with a spreadsheet that could calculate the degree to which this might be a problem, given specific input variables.  That might be a good addition to the library.  Of course in this litigous age, it would have to be peppered with plenty of liability disclaimers.   :(
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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If course in this litigous age, it would have to be peppered with plenty of liability disclaimers.  Sad
Yeah, would have to test it with a zillion rigs to determine if the factors were reliable predictors of behavior. I suspect we would find there are additional small factors as well, e.g. toad wheel caster, which affect how quickly the front wheels react to steering input from the tow bar.

But you might be able to come up with some factors that suggest when an owner ought to look more closely at actual turning capability and test further for the possibility of a strike. That would be goodness, though I doubt if many people would actually make the required measurements and pump them into the algorithm.
 
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