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Sal

Terrifyingly Enthusiastic!

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Hey all! The husband and I are due to pick up our motorhome on Tuesday. We have a place to store it for a month (or more if needed) to get all the this's and that's we need (got our first order today, sidewinder, water hose, water filter etc...)

I am a writer and will continue to work from our RV, the husband will have to quit the job he has now, but is an actor and picks up gigs here and there (hoping to take a fun trip to LA now and again).

We've been able to solve/adapt to most of the problems that have come up in planning this new, crazy lifestyle we want to lead, but there is one issue we might need some help with. Right now, our most reliable car is my Kia, but it is an automatic transmission. It is light enough to be good for flat towing, but my research has indicated we will need to have some kind of lubricating system installed. I'm wondering if that will be worth it. We've also looked into purchasing a used towing trailer, though that comes with its own drawbacks. I almost think we need to buy a manual, but we just financed our RV and I am wary to try and finance another vehicle. 

I'd like to go with the cheapest option, but hope that the cheapest will also be the smartest. What do you think? 

(And thank you! I am so excited to learn from this forum!)

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Sal,

Your enthusiasm is contagious and I want to thank you for it.  I enjoyed seeing people so excited about making a significant life change they are looking forward to.  I hope I can help.  

1.  Can you tell me what kind of motorhome you are picking up on Tues please.  I am just trying to get an idea of how the rig will match to your Kia.  

2.  Look in the Kia's owners manual.  It should say in it if that particular car you own is flat towable.  

Many automatic shift cars are flat towable.  Our current Jeep Wrangler is auto but does have a neutral.  Before that we had a Saturn LS300 that was auto and we towed it 30,000 miles with no problem.  By far the cheapest option would be to use your existing car.  

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First of all, welcome to the RV lifestyle and to the Escapee forums! We are happy to have you and we are always here to help, so drop by often. 

10 hours ago, Sal said:

Right now, our most reliable car is my Kia, but it is an automatic transmission. It is light enough to be good for flat towing, but my research has indicated we will need to have some kind of lubricating system installed.

There are kits for many cars that will enable you to tow most cars on their wheels. I suggest that you start by visiting the website of REMCO towing products and see what they suggest for the car that you have. If you choose to shop for a different car, then be sure to check out the Motorhome Dingy guide to see what can be flat towed as not all manual transmission vehicles are acceptable. 

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16 hours ago, rfcn2 said:

 

1.  Can you tell me what kind of motorhome you are picking up on Tues please.  I am just trying to get an idea of how the rig will match to your Kia.  

2.  Look in the Kia's owners manual.  It should say in it if that particular car you own is flat towable.  

 

3

Thank you for your response! We are getting a 2004 Damon Daybreak on Tuesday. I think they said the tow capacity was at 5Klbs....ergh, it might be less but I am pretty sure it isn't more. 

I'll take a look at the manual, the car you towed, was it an automatic as well? My research seemed to indicate that towing an automatic for any amount of distance will burn up the transmission. 

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Sal,

Both of our tow cars have been automatic.  However our current Jeep has a neutral for the transmission so it does not turn when being towed.  Before that we had a Saturn and almost all Saturns could be towed 4 wheels down easily if they had auto or manual.  You need to see if your car manual says you can tow your Kia 4 wheel down.  If it says you cannot you need to get a transmission oil pump to keep it lubed when towed or a tow dolly.  I have not used either of those.  

With a gas powered front motored motor home like you are getting (At least is seems like the Damon Daybreak is front motor) I would strongly suggest some type of supplemental brake for the car.  That puts the brakes on in the car when you put them on in the coach.  Many States require that.  

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I checked the manual and learned that the Kia is not suitable for towing with all four wheels down, but I did get another option to research (oh goody) towing with a dolly. I think I'll look more into that route for now. 

In the meantime, Tuesday can't come fast enough! 

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1 hour ago, Sal said:

but I did get another option to research (oh goody) towing with a dolly. I think I'll look more into that route for now. 

 

I think you'll find that towing with a dolly gets old real fast.  At least that was my experience.  By direct comparison with flat towing, it was significantly more difficult and more work to put the car on the dolly and tie it down.  Doing that in the rain vs using a tow bar for a 4 down toad in the rain demonstrates the problem.  With the tow dolly you will get soaked and probably muddy from handling the tie downs.  Hooking up using the tow bar might put a few raindrops on your clothes but since you can hold an umbrella while hooking up to a tow bar you can also avoid those few drops.

Then there is the issue of what to do with the dolly while in camp.  Of your site is a large site, you can store the dolly right on your site and perhaps use it as a chair around the campfire.  If your site is too small to handle your MH, your car AND the dolly, then you can have the joy of moving, by hand or by hooking it up to your car, your dolly to some remote parking spot that a campground provides to you.  Let's see, pull up to your campsite, unstrap and take the car off the dolly.  No place on site to store the dolly. so unhook the dolly from the MH, park the MH, hook the dolly up to the car and drive the dolly to a remote parking spot and unhook the dolly from the car.  Time to get back on the road to the next location, reverse the process.  PITA.  JMO

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11 hours ago, Sal said:

I checked the manual and learned that the Kia is not suitable for towing with all four wheels down, but I did get another option to research (oh goody) towing with a dolly. I think I'll look more into that route for now. 

Pretty much any front wheel drive car can be towed on a dolly. I would suggest you be sure to get one that has brakes on it. The main disadvantage to that is storing the dolly but it has the advantage of easily changing cars to be towed. 

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12 hours ago, Sal said:

I checked the manual and learned that the Kia is not suitable for towing with all four wheels down, but I did get another option to research (oh goody) towing with a dolly. I think I'll look more into that route for now. 

Have you checked with Remco (Kirk gave a link, above) to see if there is something that can be added to make it towable 4-down (like a lube pump, for example)? 

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2 hours ago, LindaH said:

Have you checked with Remco (Kirk gave a link, above) to see if there is something that can be added to make it towable 4-down (like a lube pump, for example)? 

I've done a little research in that area, but it seems like when all is said and done and I have the lube pump installed and the towing equipment installed on the Kia, the cost would be around $2-3k. Feels like a lot of money on a car that I could only sell for a few thousand more than that. Though, maybe the prices I saw were exaggerated? That would be nice. 

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My suggestion is that for now, get a dolly with brakes to tow your Kia.  If at some point in the future you decide to get a vehicle that is flat towable, you can sell the dolly to help pay for some of the expense of the things you need to flat tow.  Although, flat towing has its' advantages, we towed with a dolly for for seven years, and it wasnt that big of a deal.  Getting a dolly seems like the quickest and easiest solution to your current problem.  I dont believe I would ever go to the time and expense of having a lube pump installed, unless I planned on keeping that vehicle for many years.

Edited by pjstough

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6 hours ago, Sal said:

Feels like a lot of money on a car that I could only sell for a few thousand more than that. Though, maybe the prices I saw were exaggerated?

While it would be nice to learn the cost was less, it would only be less if you were to find some used equipment and/or install it yourself. I think that you are probably better off with the dolly at least for now, but those are not cheap for a good one. I suggest that you start by checking for possible sellers on the RV Accessories forum of the Market place to see what might be there by way of a good used dolly. To buy a new dolly from one of the major manufacturers will cost more than $1000 and the better ones are more than twice that much. 

Edited by Kirk Wood

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I think that is my best choice right now. Luckily, I live close to the country. I found some on craigslist for around $800, which I think is around what we'll have to pay for one used. 

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17 hours ago, pjstough said:

A question I hadnt thought of is, can you Kia be towed on a dolly?  Is it four wheel, or all wheel drive?

The manual indicated that towing with a dolly, with the front wheels raised, would be safe. It said I could tow with four down, but for a very short distance and at a low speed. 

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2 hours ago, pjstough said:

I have backed up both a car on a dolly, and a flat towed car.

Have you ever read the safety warnings that come with either of them? 

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4 hours ago, Kirk Wood said:

Have you ever read the safety warnings that come with either of them? 

No, but I do have a fair amount of common sense.  :)

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36 minutes ago, pjstough said:

No, but I do have a fair amount of common sense.  :)

Perhaps you should read them. This is from the Blue x, Aventa LX tow bar owners manual under

safe operation.

Quote

9. Do Not Back Up when towing. Damage to both vehicles and towing system may occur.

There are similar statements in most any of them chosen and most also state that backing with a vehicle attached will void the manufacturer's warranty. 

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Yeah, backing up will be impossible once we're all hooked up. Picked the RV up yesterday. It was perfect, was sad to leave it in storage but I'll visit it today and start moving things in :D:D

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"

18 hours ago, pjstough said:

No, but I do have a fair amount of common sense.  :)

Perhaps you should read them. This is from the Blue x, Aventa LX tow bar owners manual under

safe operation.

Quote

9. Do Not Back Up when towing. Damage to both vehicles and towing system may occur.

There are similar statements in most any of them chosen and most also state that backing with a vehicle attached will void the manufacturer's warranty."

Kirk,

I believe you just made the same point I did as the most likely way to cause "Damage to both vehicles and towing system", would be too back up so far as to jacknife the toad and having the motorhome make contact with the toad.  In my view, anyone who would do that simply has to common sense.  I would hate to think that someone new to towing who had driven a couple feet past of where they should have started to turn, would believe that they would have to unhook the toad, or unload the toad off of a dolly, back up a few feet then rehook or reload.

I am sure this statement by Blue Ox is there for the same reason that a tube of Preparation H includes a statement that says, "Not for oral use", and that is, common sense is not all that common.

 

 

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10 hours ago, Sal said:

Yeah, backing up will be impossible once we're all hooked up.

There will always be some who tell you that it can be done and that is true, but it is also true that you can drive the highways without wearing your seat belt or dart across a busy highway while ignoring the traffic. And some folks do get away with doing all of those things but those who have bad luck pay dearly for the choice that they made. If you do most risky things long enough, your luck will probably run out. I have seen the result of backing with a tow bar when the owner's luck ran out and I will never do it. It just takes a little bit of planning to avoid the need to back, and on that rare occasion when the worst happens, it is only a few minutes to unhook and do things safely. 

Edited by Kirk Wood

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