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tdugan

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We just bought our first RV and are now looking for a good vehicle to tow. We didn't do proper research at the beginning of this, and are stuck with a car we cannot tow without disabling the drive train. Obviously this is too big a hassle for me, so I need to get something I can tow. I would prefer to tow four down, but already have a tow dolly, so it is not essential. I am on a limited budget, so anything I get would have to be pretty cheap. We have a 2005 Allegro Bus with a 400hp diesel so should be able to tow almost anything. I have no idea what would the best toad to get. There are four of us, including the four-legged children. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Since you already own a dolly, the cheapest way to get going would be to buy a front-wheel drive car. Most can be towed on a dolly. Pick what you like and/or can find used, then check with the mfg'er to confirm it can be dolly towed before buying it. Avoid rear wheel, 4-wheel, and all-wheel drive vehicles.

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There are lots of folks who tow Honda CR-V's; both front-wheel drive and AWD models for the past ~6 years can be towed 4-down. Even though the 2015 models can't be flat-towed, it doesn't sound as if you are likely to buy a new one and there are lots of used CR-V's available. Even though your start-up costs for 4-down towing are a bit higher, IMHO it beats dolly or trailer towing hands-down for convenience. I know there'll be people who jump in and say that dollies aren't all that difficult to use, but with 4-down towing you don't have to worry about storing your dolly or trailer when you park. I wouldn't tow any other way, JMO.

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We have had two tow cars.

 

Saturn - We bought a Saturn LS300 to tow about six years ago as I used to rent these in Europe all the time when I went for work and liked them a lot. The Saturn towed great and had very few problems. We finally gave it to one of our daughters before we got another tow car. Saturn is not made any more but Chevy dealers fix them and we had few problems with ours. Nearly all Saturns can be towed four down and many can be bought at low prices. Saturn also made a great little SUV called the View. One of our friends tows one of those.

 

Jeep Wrangler. Most Jeeps are very easy to tow. Those with the neutral in the transmission are easier than the Saturns. You just move the level into neutral, put the transmission into gear or park and you are off. 20 seconds. We have towed our 2013 4 door Wrangler about 20,000 miles so far. The Wranglers hold their value well and are not cheap even used. There are a number of models of Jeep. Any of them with a neutral in the transmission can be towed four down as described above. I really like my Jeep. If you like going off road then Jeep is the best way to go.

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We started out using the tow dolly for 3 yrs. It worked well for our front wheel drive vehicle but got to be a hassle at the RV parks. I found it hard to move around the site for storage and often pulled it by hand. Trying to get it over a curb I fell down once and the wife said "that's it, we get rid of that." We changed cars and got a CRV which we now tow via Blue Ox tow bar. After doing both tow bar & dolly, I can now say that for us the tow bar is far easier. Dave.

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Back in Wi. I had no problem selling my tow dolly. I put it on Craigs List and had numerous calls from people who wanted it. I bought it for $600. 3-4 yrs. earlier and sold it for $600. easily. Then we traded our front wheel drive car for the Honda CRV that could be towed 4-down. That worked out for us as we were ready to trade in the car anyhow. Dave.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for all the advice!

When I contacted a couple of RV dealers in this area, I was told NOT to get a REMCO as they were extremely unreliable, and that the two dealers that used to handle them stopped carrying them due to the fact the "uncouplers" would slip and the transmission would be re-engaged. My car is a 2006 Toyota Highlander (AWD) and cannot be towed, according to the Toyota dealer.

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REMCO sold the drive shaft part of their business a few years ago, and no longer makes them. The REMCO transmission pumps on the other hand, have a very low failure rate. The pump on our 2011 RAV4 was originally installed on our 2002 RAV4, and is still going strong about 40,000 miles later. If your Highlander is a 4-cylinder AWD with a U140 transmission, or a V6 AWD with a U151 transmission, REMCO has a pump kit for it.

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We towed our 2006 Kia Optima (front-wheel-drive) on our dolly with no drama. Doesn't seem much more difficult to do than 4-down on our Jeep Wrangler. We simply pushed the tow dolly part way under the motor home while we were parked. One very nice thing about the dolly was that brakes were included (and worked). And lights simply plugged into the coach.

 

Downside to a tow dolly is that it has to be wider than the vehicle and it was about the same width as the coach.

 

Upside is that it's very handy to tow the kids' cars when they inevitably run out of gas or it won't start somewhere. Just hook it up to the pickup and haul 'em to the mechanic (or to my shop).

 

However we love to do Jeep exploring so we tow our 2-door soft-top 1999 Wrangler 4-down. Just use a Harbor Freignt $80 tow bar and a brake-buddy in the vehicle. Also attach magnetic LED rear lights to the Jeep.

 

WDR

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Don't rule out all "All Wheel Drive" vehicles. Subaru manuals can be towed 4 down and have a good reputation for reliability.

We have a Forester and really like it for it's ride and handling, in addition to it's fold down rear seat. It came from Craig's List.

Good luck, good health and safe travels!

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January issue of Family Motor Coaching magazine by FMCA lists the toads approved for 4 wheels down by their manufactures. This list continues to be reduced every year. The move to continous velocity transmissions has eliminated more and more toads with 4 wheels down. This year Subaru Outback and Honda CRV are out. We have been actively looking for a lighter weight toad. Our '93 Toyota PU with +250,00 and + 75 towed is about to fail. Sabaru Forester with manual is capable of 4 down. Otherwise we are looking at a dolly arrangement for a newer light weight toad. Wish you well in your search.

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  • 1 month later...

Lots of interesting perspectives here. What a shame that more cars are unable to be towed four down. That would be my desire, judging by the majority of the comments I've read here and elsewhere. But I rarely ever see anyone talk about pulling my vehicle make and model, a 2011 Honda Civic. Anyone know the official capabilities of what I thought to be a fairly safe pick for a toad?

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Lots of interesting perspectives here. What a shame that more cars are unable to be towed four down. That would be my desire, judging by the majority of the comments I've read here and elsewhere. But I rarely ever see anyone talk about pulling my vehicle make and model, a 2011 Honda Civic. Anyone know the official capabilities of what I thought to be a fairly safe pick for a toad?

 

According to Remco Towing http://www.remcoindustries.com/Towing/Store.php the 2011 Civic with either automatic or manual transmissions can be towed 4-down.

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But I rarely ever see anyone talk about pulling my vehicle make and model, a 2011 Honda Civic. Anyone know the official capabilities of what I thought to be a fairly safe pick for a toad?

According to the REMCO site it is acceptable to tow as is.

 

2011 Honda Civic EX FWD 1.8L I-4 cyl 5 Speed Automatic SPCA/MPCA 2011 Honda Civic EX FWD 1.8L I-4 cyl 5 Speed Automatic SPCA/MPCA
Notes
  • Officially from both Honda and REMCO the vehicle is not towable. However, we at Remco have a large number of customers who are flat-towing that vehicle behind their Motor Home and they are not having any issues. Follow the "Emergency Towing" procedures in the owner's manual to a "T" except ignore the restrictions and follow those procedures each and every time you tow. NOTE: If you choose tow your Honda, and have any damage to the Transmission as a result, you will have to pay for that expense out of pocket. It is nothing that Honda or Remco will warranty. Also, it should be noted that Remco sells no aftermarket product (Lube Pump or otherwise) to make this car towable.

As noted here, Honda does not support towing this model, even though REMCO says that it can be done without damage. Since yours is out of the warranty period there should be no problems in doing so unless you have purchased an extended warranty.

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According to the REMCO site it is acceptable to tow as is.

As noted here, Honda does not support towing this model, even though REMCO says that it can be done without damage. Since yours is out of the warranty period there should be no problems in doing so unless you have purchased an extended warranty.

 

Thanks for the help everyone... I didn't know about that website until now! Very interesting info...consistent with what I've read elsewhere. I struggle with how many times I'm told "you probably shouldn't, but you can, and most people do." Of course, my warranty is expired, so that's not a concern. But having to pay for tranny repairs/replacement sounds like an expensive risk. Is it a risk y'all would take?

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Thanks for the help everyone... I didn't know about that website until now! Very interesting info...consistent with what I've read elsewhere. I struggle with how many times I'm told "you probably shouldn't, but you can, and most people do." Of course, my warranty is expired, so that's not a concern. But having to pay for tranny repairs/replacement sounds like an expensive risk. Is it a risk y'all would take?

 

Honda Accords had been popular toads until Honda withdrew its endorsement of 4-down towing for anything but the CR-V. Remco is a pretty reliable site and I'd trust it if it was my decision. They make driveshaft disconnects and tranny coolers that they would have wanted to sell if they had a reason to say the car needed either. The fact that they didn't is pretty good evidence to me that they are confident there is no problem with towing it.

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