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RV towing


dbuche

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Hello to All,

 

We have FINALLY set our Escape date for 5/1/17, at least that's when we will put the house on the market. It will take us that long to get ready, which consists primarily of getting rid of stuff and careful planning for everything that happens when the house sells. We take the long view when it comes to planning and have joined your group with that in mind.

 

As of now, we know we want to leave Indiana for an eventual home someplace more comfortable. Since we only know that our target area is southwest, we want to spend a few years full timing in likely areas to learn which we prefer. From reading these forums our plan doesn't sound new.

 

A huge part of our planning is choosing an RV. We have been looking and talking about this for years and have decided that we want a motorhome, probably a class A. We will not be financing a purchase, so will have to buy a good used one, something less that 10 years old would be our preference. We do not want anything too large and hope to stay as close to 30 ft as possible.

 

Here comes my first question, it concerns towing a toad in an enclosed trailer. When we leave, we want to take the 65 Beetle I am restoring for our daily driver while we are investigating each potential area. I want the car enclosed and protected when it is being towed and when we are just stopping overnight, so part of our planning involves the trailer our motorhome will have to pull. The car weighs only 1700 pounds and I don't know the weight of the trailer yet, but will need that figure as well as the tow ratings of the motorhomes we consider.

 

I see toads on the road all the time, so I know motorhomes can tow, but I don't know about their tow ratings. In regards to tow ratings, are we realistic in wanting a fairly small class A? Are any other members towing this way? And finally, are there any other Bugnuts out there?

 

Thanks in advance,

Buggy Dan

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Gas Class A's usually top out at 5,000 lb max for towing, with some limited to 3500 lbs, so that's something to check on when shopping. DP's typically go much higher, with a 10,000 lb limit not uncommon. I've seen several bugs in tow 4-down, and even a couple Type 2 buses, including one Westfalia conversion, so they are out there. There may be more being hauled in enclosed trailers, but of course I wouldn't know about them... :D

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I see toads behind every type of motorhome there is....even a class B towing a toad so its doable. How safe it is, is another question.

Personally for fulltiming I would not go smaller than 36 feet. Ours is 40 feet and I have had no problem maneuvering it and our toad and we have some living space. Smaller would start to feel cramped in a hurry in my opinion.

We tow the toad 4 down but the idea of an enclosed trailer has some merit as you could also use the trailer for a work space. You will quickly find that space is at a premium living in an RV.

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I have a 34 foot DP, towing with a dolly. I found very few cars that are compatible to be toad with all 4 down. Nonetheless, knowing the combined weight of both car and trailer then compare to your coach will tell you what the limitations are. Jimalberta makes a very good point. Just because the coach is rated for X amount of weight doesn't mean you should tow that much.

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First, welcome to the Escapee forums! Glad that you joined us both in the club and on the forums.

 

Towing in an enclosed trailer is going to mean a pretty large trailer in order to be able to open the car door on the inside, so that you can get out. Every motorhome whether diesel or gas will have both a maximum tow rating and also a gross combined weight rating with are very important to consider. I suggest that you first find a trailer that will work to carry your VW and allow you to get in & out, then check the weight of the trailer including the car. Next check the tongue weight to compare to the hitch rated weight. The GCWR is the maximum safe weight that the RV and loaded trailer can weigh when traveling. The hitch will have a weight rating for the maximum tongue weight and you also need to consider the impact of the hitch weight, plus about 40% more for transfer from the front to be applied to the rear axle, which also has a weight rating to observe. It can sound pretty complicated, but with a bit of time and study, you can do it as the math involved is not complicated.

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Thanks for your input, with no RV experience of our own we are counting on yours. I am hoping to keep the trailer length to under 18 feet by incorporating a winch to load & unload the car. This setup will permit me to do without the large side door. We live near Elkhart, IN, where there are a number of companies that manufacture RVs and trailers. I plan to visit a few this spring to see what works. Surely someone has done this before.

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...... Surely someone has done this before.

I have seen it a few times, but never actually known anyone who towed that way. Marathon Coach used to build, and may still build a matching coach & auto trailer where the trailer also had a bathroom and drop-down beds to be used as a guest room when not parking the car in it. I have twice seen such a setup parked near us, both were carrying cars that cost more them our motorhome! We do see cars on a trailer from time to time but I recall very few in an enclosed trailer other than the two mentioned, and I don't remember the last time.

 

One of the problems of using a car trailer is the length of site which you then require to stay in an RV park. Most of the more moderate sized motorhomes don't have the capability of towing the weight most car/trailer combinations make, but a VW is not usually carried that way. I don't know what budget limitations you have but you might want to look at the "super C" side of the RV market as those have a far higher ability to tow than do most class A rigs.

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One more thought on this from my experience. Your VW is towable 4 down if it is a standard transmission. Consider this: we tow 4 down for several reasons:

 

1. No trailer to mess with ...its difficult to store and get access to your car.

2. We use the toad to scout out camping spots....we simply pull over in a large area and disconnect the toad which only takes me less than a minute and then use the toad to look ahead at potential sites.

3. Convenience.....if for example I need to fuel up my wife will drive the toad until I have fueled up....then we hook up the toad....it only takes about a minute and a half to hook it up and away we go.

 

I realize that you want to protect your car but also consider that the motorhome is a big shield that protects your car from most debris. I have never seen anything damage my toad from towing it. Its more likely that it will get rock chips etc from driving it than towing it.

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Thanks very much. You have given me a lot to think about and make strong arguments for towing 4 down. I will rethink and try to balance my fear of theft and damage against concerns for safety and and practicality. I'm going to post on other forums for anyone towing a Beetle.

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I don't understand your concern about theft. If you buy locks for the shackles and for the receiver no one is going to waste their time trying to get any of them off. Yes locks slow you down if you have an emergency and need to unhitch the car, just one of the many risks we take in our lives. I would think the number of times anyone has needed to unlock in an emergency is lower than 1%.

 

Regarding damage from throwing rocks I did a lot of research and concluded the Protect-A-Tow was the best bet. I have read where the mud flaps(any type) throw up more rocks than they stop; the bras get dust under the cover and wear off the paint. I believe you have less concern about damage when towing than when you will be driving on roads, the dirt roads and gravel roads really throw up the rocks.

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Towing 4-down is super easy and in 8 years never got damage from the motorhome on our Jeep.

 

I would choose a dolly rather than an enclosed trailer for ease at a campsite. Dollies can better fit on your allotted space. Sometimes you'd have to park the enclosed trailer in a separate area. Although I guess if you did RV parks all the time with pull-through sites you could manage. We love our country's public parks in scenic areas with more private sites. Good luck!

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Thanks for all the help. We do use the RV Consumer data and even purchased their latest database to help us search for the right motorhome.

 

As far as our toad goes, I'm sure I'm just being paranoid and that choosing the simplest towing method will save me many stressful hours down the road, (a good expression in this case I think) I should explain that I'm a few months away from completing a full restoration of my car and feeling somewhat like a new father. Anyone with a love of old cars who has completed a restoration will understand how much of an investment it is, financially and emotionally. I think when I accept that my bug will be a daily driver and not a trailer queen I'll value the ease of towing 4 down a little more. I have time yet to get used to the idea.

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If towing your VW inside a enclosed trailer your biggest problem will be what

to do with the trailer while camping.

Most RV parks will either require to to pay storage fee or pay for a second

space for the car trailer.

 

If you want to stay in National Parks or State Parks they do not have extra space

for trailer storage.

 

Just things to keep in mind.

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