RV Daily Tips Issue 458. August 27, 2014 | RV Travel

Select your towed vehicle for all-around fun and utility

by Greg Illes
It turns out that “towed” and “toad” are pronounced the same. It also turns out that the RV community, as a whole, has a sardonic sense of humor. Thus it is that towed vehicles in the RV world are almost universally known as toads.
Toads are great. You can leave the big, lumbering RV back in camp and dart about wherever you like. If the RV breaks down, you have an instant “escape” vehicle. You can even use your toad to carry that extra cargo that always seems to crop up.
But choosing a toad is more than just hooking up a tow bar to the family sedan. There are multiple considerations, generally separated into two areas:
Will your toad take you where you want to go? A nice, comfy street machine may be handy on the freeway and in the parking lot of Walmart, but what about that dirt road that goes up the mountain in the national park? If your travels and interests are diverse, you may want to consider an all-wheel-drive (AWD) or four-wheel-drive (4WD) steed. Many RVers end up towing Jeep-style vehicles for their versatility.
Can you actually tow it? And how will you do so? A toad can be pulled on a trailer, on a dolly (two wheels up and two down), or “four-down” or “flat-towed” (on its own four wheels) by a tow bar. Note that only a small subset of vehicles can be flat-towed without ruining the transmission — but dollies and trailers add weight and maintenance. (No, most cars will not add miles on their odometers when flat-towed.) With a trailer or dolly, you have no worries about towability of your toad. But you also can’t quickly disconnect and have two independent vehicles.
Will your RV pull the weight? A 4×4 Ford Expedition will take you almost anywhere in grand comfort, but at well over three tons, you may find it uncomfortable or impossible to manage. Climbing and descending hills puts a large burden on engines and brakes; also, some rigs have both towing weight limits and overall (gross combined vehicle weight, or GCVW) weight limits.
Observations: Most folks that we see on the road are pulling four-down. Maybe one in twenty will be using a trailer. If your preferences are flat-towing, you’ll need to take care of the following items to be safe and reliable in your travels:

• Hitch (RV), properly rated and installed
• Tow bar (toad), properly rated and installed
• Supplemental braking system (RV-to-toad) applies toad brakes with RV brakes
• Safety cables/chains (RV-to-toad)
• Electrical cable (RV-to-toad)
• Electrical plug (RV) provides tail/brake lighting to toad
• Electrical plug (toad) receives tail/brake lighting from RV
• Electrical mods (toad) allows RV signals to light toad tail/brake lights

Essentially, this is the same list that anyone deals with when towing anything. As you can see, the devil is in the details. For safe towing, all these items need to be properly attended to. But for the convenience and flexibility of traveling with a toad, most people (80% of motorhome travelers) think it’s worth it.
Happy towing!

About smokeycamping

Well let's see have lived in NY for my whole life, have always loved the outdoors (as long as it is warm out) have always hated the cold, and like a dummy have stayed in NY. But now with my second try my wife, we have been camping now for well over 25 yrs. We currently own a 2010 Cedar creek silverback 35TS and can not wait to get out on the highways and see this great country we all call home. Hope to see every National park before my medical issue becomes too bad to travel. I love my African gray parrot (she is my baby) and have two dogs at the time brother and sister mutts, but love them all the same. Have always been a big Nascar fan, love computers (have a number of certificates to build and work on them) am trying to learn photography, enjoy light hiking, being with good friends and folks. country music, pop music and just being outdoors. So I hope someday to meet some of the great people who like what I like and post out there in some great campground somewhere in the country, till then I will keep posting and I hope you keep liking.

Posted on September 2, 2014, in The world as i see it as a camper and who loves his country and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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