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RVMommaTo6

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I'm ready to buy my toad! I'll be using a tow dolly so I know I need front wheel drive. I've settled on a used Dodge Journey. Other than making sure it's fwd, is there anything I need to look for beyond what I would look for on any other car? Anything tow specific or things to keep in mind for someone who has never towed a car before? Thanks!
 

grashley

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Why do you want to dolly tow???  Most folks who have done both  much prefer flat tow, or 4 down tow.  It is easier and quicker to connect and disconnect and there is no dolly to find someplace to store while parked.

According to Remco, ALL 2018 Dodge Journey models, including AWD, are towable 4 down with a lube pump. 

  http://www.remcotowing.com/Towing/Store.php

Simply stated, the problem with some models being towed is the transmission gears get turned by the drive axle without getting proper lubrication.  Result: transmission destroyed.  You can add (have your mechanic install) a "Lube Pump Kit Assy"  ($1800 at Remco) to the Journey and safely tow 4 down.

The link above lists everything you need to tow the car 4 down.  While this is quality stuff, you may find other options you like better at lower prices.

I like the      http://www.readybrake.com    This combines the tow bar and the toad brake in one package.  You install the toad brakes once.  Then, when you connect the toad, simply clip two cables (primary and safety ) to the tow bar and the brakes are ready to go.
 

RVMommaTo6

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Thanks for the info, but I'm looking to know if there is anything I need to look for in the car above and beyond what I would look for in a car not being towed.

I am going to be using a tow dolly, not towing 4 down. My reasons for it are 1- I don't want to spend the money on installing the necessary equipment to tow 4 down. 2- I will only be towing for 10 months and then selling the motorhome while keeping the car to drive.
 

kdbgoat

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Cost could be part of the issue. She may already have the dolly, or a line on a reasonably priced one. $1800 for lube pump,  then a baseplate and installation of same, towbar, lighting system safety cables, brake device, breakaway, etc. It all adds up quick. $1800 buys a new dolly with lights and brakes. Hook up, plug in, load up and go. Just have to remember to check the straps.

Just saw her reply, but I already typed this, so I'm posting anyway.
 

RVMommaTo6

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Arch Hoagland said:
http://www.remcotowing.com/Towing/Store.php 

That site will tell you what you may need for any car.

Do you already own a dolly?
Thank you, I'll check that out!
I do not own one yet.
 

Arch Hoagland

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There will be times when you are going to have to push that trailer around the RV park by hand so I'd suggest when looking to buy one that you push it around the sales lot.

Also find out if the wheel bearings need maintenance after X amount of miles.

 

Ernie n Tara

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Ft Myers, FL
I can certainly understand the desire to save money, will respectfully suggest that you will really regret using a tow dolly for a trip like yours. You will be stopping frequently and I suspect often late in the evening. A tow dolly is simply a PITA and you will grow to hate it.

The modifications to pull four down do not negatively affect the vehicle in normal use and the cost may well be recovered on resale, particularly in a package sale with the mh. Also, they need not be that expensive:

a. A used tow bar probably $250; plenty of time to shop.
b. Modular braking system less than $1000; no installation except breakaway.
c. Lighting ~$50 for magnetic base lights.
d. Base plate installed SB about $5-600.
The above totals perhaps $500 more than a tow dolly; money very well spent!

As to your original question, there are no characteristics unique to most vehicles dolly towed. Do check the owner's manual if you get an all wheel drive vehicle and be sure it can be dolly towed.

Ernie

I'll note that my cost was about $1,200 higher, but I'm including the cost of an integral light system and winch bumper (but the tow bar rings were only $90 since they mount on the bumper ), plus a new tow bar.

 

Gary RV_Wizard

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If you go the dolly-tow route, you want a front drive vehicle and some conclusion about locking steering wheel (or not). The cheapest dolly brands have fixed "table" or plate that the car wheels rest on, while the better ones have a swiveling table or plate. The front car wheels must have the steering wheek unlocked with a fixed table dolly, but the steering wheel must be fixed (unmoving) for the swiveling type.  Vehicles with a locking steering column for anti-theft can be locked or unlocked with the ignition key. Vehicles without a locking steer column may need some sort of strap if it is necessary to immobilize the steering wheel. Often the driver seat belt can make do for that, but it's something you should look into before you buy either car or dolly.  It's not a deal-breaker either way, but it's wise to consider options ahead of time (since you haven't bought anything yet).

Used tow dollys are usually readily available. Online resources such as autotrader.com, Facebook Marketplace, Craigs List, etc. are good sources for finding them.


You will definitely want a tongue jack/wheel for the dolly to facilitate moving it around. They are cheap.


I have to agree with Ernie, though.  4-down towing is going to be a lot easier for a Mom with kids and maybe worth whatever extra it costs.
 

RVMommaTo6

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So realistically, how much will it cost to get everything I need for 4 down towing? Everything. Because I've seen tow dolly sales on FB or Craigslist for $800. My 16 year old son would be the one hooking up or unhooking. I've never towed anything and wanted to go the less expensive route, but if 4 down is really that much easier that everyone seems to think I should reconsider, I guess I can look into it. We will only be using this for 10 months. After that, I will be selling the MH but I will be keeping the car.
Maybe I should watch YouTube videos of hooking up and unhooking cars towed both ways.
 

RVMommaTo6

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I have no idea about the brakes. I don't understand that for the life of me. I've heard it many times, like a TT having brakes, but it doesn't make sense to me.

In case anyone else is trying to figure this all out, here's a pretty basic video explaining tow systems...
https://youtu.be/Uk5HT3wmaOY
 

IBTripping

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Virginia
What year Dodge Journey are you considering and do you want all-wheel-drive or 2wd? BTW - I'm envious about your planned trip. I took my 2 kids on a lot of road trips. Some of the best experiences of my life.

As an aside, one of my most memorable trips was from Montana to Disneyland in California. We tent camped in an RV park that was filled with orange trees. Management allowed campers to pick and eat the oranges. In addition to Disneyland and other attractions, we also went to a 5 screen drive-in theater. My kids loved it.
 

nvrver

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Fallon Nevada
Gismo has a Dolly for sale on For sales and wanted ?
Private for-sale and wanted items ?
Stehl Tow Dolly
 

RVMommaTo6

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IB, I was looking at 2010 Journeys through 2014 but I don't have to stick to those parameters. They seemed to be in my price range for an extra car. I was only looking at fwd because I planned on towing with a dolly. BUT, now that I'll be towing 4 down, because I'm not dumb enough to ignore many years of experience lol, idk lol I'm starting from scratch now!
We've done some great road trips, I'm really thankful to be able to do this with them, I hope it's as amazing as I'm expecting it to be!
 

John From Detroit

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Davison Michigan
Ernie n Tara said:
b. Modular braking system less than $1000; no installation except breakaway.

one correction that "Modular" system you talk about I call "Box in the driver's seat" has to be Installed by the user EVERY TIME YOU TOW. they say No installation but mean NO PROFESSIONAL installation.  And every install is a chance to screw up something as others have reported and I experienced (Mine was done professionally and... Screwed up)
 

grashley

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Thanks for the better explanation  for dolly tow.  I know you NEED to keep most family information private, but I had imagined a bunch of kids under 10 years old!  Knowing one is a 16 YO son helps.  If he is mechanically inclined and loves to "play" with cars (like me when I was 16), then the dolly may work.  Hooking up and unhooking would be HIS job.

If you do go 4 down, here is what I would buy (with only some research) to tow as 2012 Dodge Journey FWD 6 cyl.
Remco Lube Pump Assy        $1800
Remco (blue ox) Base Plate    $529
Ready Brake system, receiver and break away kits  $670
Hercules tow bar                  $1100
Drop hitch, Safety chains        $ 230
TOTAL                          $4329

Note there will be some installation charges for the lube pump, base plate and Ready Brake cables, but this makes a simple hookup process.
All prices are for NEW parts.  Tow bars, safety chains and drop hitches should be readily available used at considerable savings on those items

IF you go with a tow dolly, may I suggest a hitch on the Journey so you can back the car off the dolly, remove the dolly from the RV and hitch it to the Journey to move it around the campground and make parking the RV easier.
 

grashley

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Now let me respond to your brakes question.

The RV in your case or the truck in mine is designed to stop the fully loaded RV or truck ONLY.  In my case, the truck is designed to stop 11,500 lbs of loaded truck, and NOT the extra 14,000 lbs of FW I am towing.  Will the truck stop the entire rig if the camper brakes are not working?  Yes, but it will take longer and you will go farther before you stop.  Although not as dramatic, the same is true of a 20,000 lb RV and a 4,000 lb toad (and 500 lb dolly).  That is why trailer brakes are required in most states.

Trailers and FW have  drum brakes with electric actuators in each wheel assembly.  When I step on the truck brakes, a built in trailer brake controller knows it and sends an electric signal to the FW to apply the brakes.  There is also a lever so I can apply the trailer brakes independently if needed. That brake stops the trailer and the truck brakes stop the truck, or something like that!

RVs with a toad usually use some form of surge brakes.  Basic systems have a receiver tube within a receiver tube.  The outside tube is firmly attached to the RV.  The inside tube to the toad.  When the RV accelerates, the inner tube moves backward (within limits!) and pulls the toad.  When the RV slows down, the inner tube slides forward, activating a lever which applies the brakes on the toad or dolly.  Ready Brake has a simple video of this process.  When the RV slows, a cable apples pressure to the car brake pedal to slow or stop the car.
Some toad brake systems have an inertia switch which recognizes this slowing down and converts it to electrical / mechanical actions to press the toad brake pedal. 
Acceleration or stopping releases the brake in both systems.

Hopefully, this helps you.
 

GeorgeandTheBear

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SW Indiana melon fields.
I just had my Ford Edge that we already owned, set up to tow behind our MH. The prices are off the top of my head, but I think I'm pretty close.

Roadmaster base plate - $425
Stay-n-play duo braking system - $1000
Ready-Made wiring harnesses for toad lights - $75
RVI Towed battery charger - $55
Installation by moonlighting Ford tech - $400
Roadmaster Falcon 2 tow bar (came with MH) - $625 at e-trailer

That's about $2600. I'm sure I forgot an odd or an end, and installation cost will vary, but if you allow $3000 for this you should be I the ballpark.
 
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