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Old 03-27-2019, 10:17 PM   #1
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Towing Questions!

I am preparing to move from Idaho to Oregon and will need to tow my car (2008 kia spectra5, manual) with my bus (1987 International).

What is the best way to go about towing my car? (what will I need)

Is there anything else I should know?

Thanks in advance!!
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Old 03-28-2019, 01:33 AM   #2
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you have 3 choices:

the cheapest for a fwd car is probably to dolly it. you can probably set that up for less than $1k.

the next least expensive option is to trailer the whole car, all 4 wheels up. thats the cost of the trailer and registration... probably doable for less than $3k.

then the most expensive option is the dinghy tow, toad, or 4 down option. you'll need a tow bar, face plate, wiring and a braking system. this set will go over $3k.

the owner manual of the car should recommend one of the above options for towing the vehicle. remco towing is also a good site to check
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Old 03-28-2019, 08:18 AM   #3
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If this is just a one time tow, renting a trailer (or tow dolly) from a place like U-Haul might be the cheapest option. You may want to try and avoid mentioning what your tow vehicle is, or pick up the trailer with something they are more familiar with. Depends on the dealer.
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Old 03-28-2019, 11:00 AM   #4
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If you want to continue towing the car on future trips I would recommend setting up for towing four wheels down. I found a used collapsible Blue Ox setup for $300.

If towing is a one shot deal then I would look at a trailer or tow dolly from Uhaul.
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Old 03-29-2019, 08:58 PM   #5
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How would I go about renting a tow dolly without mentioning what I am towing with?

Also, is there anything I would need to know about using a tow dolly with the bus other than just hooking it up to the hitch and going?

Approximately what would the cost of a tow dolly rental be?
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Old 03-29-2019, 09:03 PM   #6
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How do you know if your car can be towed 4down?

Would any tow bar work?

Do you have to do anything to flat tow other than buy a tow bar and hook it to the hitch and the car?
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Old 03-29-2019, 09:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhian View Post
How do you know if your car can be towed 4down?

Would any tow bar work?

Do you have to do anything to flat tow other than buy a tow bar and hook it to the hitch and the car?
You don't want to be turning the transmission if the motor isn't running. So you have to remove the drive shaft on a rear wheel drive car if it's an automatic, if it's a standard it can be towed in neutral. If it's front wheel drive you need to have the front wheels off the ground, so tow dolly or trailer are your options.
I don't think UHaul would have an issue with a bus. Their biggest concern is you have something heavy enough to pull the load. Rentals are usually affordable, drop off fees can be a killer.
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Old 03-30-2019, 01:25 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
You don't want to be turning the transmission if the motor isn't running. So you have to remove the drive shaft on a rear wheel drive car if it's an automatic, if it's a standard it can be towed in neutral. If it's front wheel drive you need to have the front wheels off the ground, so tow dolly or trailer are your options.
I don't think UHaul would have an issue with a bus. Their biggest concern is you have something heavy enough to pull the load. Rentals are usually affordable, drop off fees can be a killer.

*Most* cars these days are front wheel drive, so dropping the driveshaft isn't really an option.


I did a quick Google search using the year/make/model of your car and search results suggest flat towing a manual is fine. The owner's manual should say for sure. Once the car is hooked up, it will need to be in neutral, key forward one detent to unlock the wheel (for going around corners), parking brake released. **DISCLAIMER** Do *NOT* take my word here as absolute and final! Check with your owner's manual and/or dealer and/or manufacturer about your specific car!



I flat towed a '92 GMC full size pickup around the country once. I used an El-Cheapo Harbor Freight tow bar and fabricated a couple mounting plates from some 1/2" thick angle iron. The bar was rated 4 or 5000 pounds, and the pickup (weighed without driver) was something like 3900. A quick Harbor Freight search shows one like I have for $70. Since this truck was automatic, I dropped the driveshaft each time it was towed.


I did not bother with brakes since I was towing with heavy vehicles. You may want to just for the extra margin of safety and legality. Lights can be done reasonably cheap, don't forget safety chains or cables and you'll be good to go (did I forget anything?)
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Old 05-13-2019, 08:17 AM   #9
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My impression of Canada laws is that if a vehicle is over 2000 lbs then auxillary brakes are required,

Is anyone knowledgable on that?

I hope to tow my 74 vw thing across Canada. It weighs 2006 lbs. Plan to put spare in the bus so it weighs less then 2000 lbs then.
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Old 05-13-2019, 09:05 AM   #10
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Canny, but possibly pointless. Nobody is likely to scale the toad, they'll just go by the GVW tag.
Quote:
Originally Posted by matthews2001 View Post
My impression of Canada laws is that if a vehicle is over 2000 lbs then auxillary brakes are required,

Is anyone knowledgable on that?

I hope to tow my 74 vw thing across Canada. It weighs 2006 lbs. Plan to put spare in the bus so it weighs less then 2000 lbs then.
Had an assortment of Types 2 & 1. Would love to see your Type 181! Slap up a pic when you can.
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Old 05-13-2019, 10:41 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matthews2001 View Post
My impression of Canada laws is that if a vehicle is over 2000 lbs then auxillary brakes are required,

Is anyone knowledgable on that?

I hope to tow my 74 vw thing across Canada. It weighs 2006 lbs. Plan to put spare in the bus so it weighs less then 2000 lbs then.
l believe you are correct - there is also something about towed vehicles weighing more than 50% of the tow vehicle must have brakes ( the last part may be out of date )
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Old 05-13-2019, 12:11 PM   #12
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About 4 down toad supplemental brakes.

We just returned from a trip to Yosemite via hwy 41. There are several very steep grades and many miles of 2 lane roads having steep walls on either side. My bus has disc front brakes along with ABS. We tow a 2700# toad, don't exceed 55 mph and don't over load the bus. Despite our safe practices we still had two very close calls making panic stops coming down hill. The first was some jerk trying to make a sudden "U" turn in a walled section of roadway without regard for oncoming traffic (me) and the second was a stopped line of vehicles around a blind curve where a couple of CHP's finest were hand directing traffic at a "T" intersection. There were 6 CHP units in attendance but none had been deployed up and down stream of the intersection and so were useless. I have no doubt but that without having a supplemental brake system on the toad I would not have been able to avoid crashing on both occasions. I had never particularly felt the need for the supplemental system until that experience -- and then twice within about 30 miles!

Used brake units can be had for a couple hundred bucks on ebay and craigs list. They can be a pita to put up with but I'll always hook the thing up now.
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Old 05-13-2019, 02:43 PM   #13
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Here is a list of the weight limits before an auxiliary braking system is needed in the United States:

https://drivinglaws.aaa.com/tag/trailer-brakes/

Here is Canada:

https://www.rvda.ca/ProvBrakeReqts.asp


I think those are the right links- hope that helps answer something.

I tow my 5-speed Manual Subaru Crosstrek - weighing in at about 3200 pounds - I flat tow - and had an invisibrake system installed on the car. It was pricey (close to $4k for the entire set up / tow bar) - but easy to hook up and unhook.


Quote:
Originally Posted by matthews2001 View Post
My impression of Canada laws is that if a vehicle is over 2000 lbs then auxillary brakes are required,

Is anyone knowledgable on that?

I hope to tow my 74 vw thing across Canada. It weighs 2006 lbs. Plan to put spare in the bus so it weighs less then 2000 lbs then.
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Old 05-13-2019, 02:50 PM   #14
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Here is a list of the weight limits before an auxiliary braking system is needed in the United States:

https://drivinglaws.aaa.com/tag/trailer-brakes/

Here is Canada:

https://www.rvda.ca/ProvBrakeReqts.asp


I think those are the right links- hope that helps answer something.

I tow my 5-speed Manual Subaru Crosstrek - weighing in at about 3200 pounds - I flat tow - and had an invisibrake system installed on the car. It was pricey (close to $4k for the entire set up / tow bar) - but easy to hook up and unhook.
Does clear up my questions. Towing a vehicle does not require auxiliary brakes unless over 4400lbs. My Dakota only weighs 3275, so most autos will not need the extra brake system. If it was required at 2000lbs, you wouldn't be able to tow any vehicle without extra brake system.
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Old 05-13-2019, 02:58 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dog Rescuer View Post
Here is a list of the weight limits before an auxiliary braking system is needed in the United States:

https://drivinglaws.aaa.com/tag/trailer-brakes/

Here is Canada:

https://www.rvda.ca/ProvBrakeReqts.asp


I think those are the right links- hope that helps answer something.

I tow my 5-speed Manual Subaru Crosstrek - weighing in at about 3200 pounds - I flat tow - and had an invisibrake system installed on the car. It was pricey (close to $4k for the entire set up / tow bar) - but easy to hook up and unhook.
thanks - very useful
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Old 05-13-2019, 03:17 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
Does clear up my questions. Towing a vehicle does not require auxiliary brakes unless over 4400lbs. My Dakota only weighs 3275, so most autos will not need the extra brake system. If it was required at 2000lbs, you wouldn't be able to tow any vehicle without extra brake system.
I noticed that the average is 3000 lbs or more requiring a braking system - but a few states were as low as 1500 lbs. Coming down any steep hill, it is reassuring to have a braking system on my tow vehicle. It may be more peace of mind - but that counts for a lot when the alternative to a safe decent could mean the lives of others. I try to avoid taking risks that put people or animals at risk.

The weight of a trailer or tow vehicle needing an auxiliary brake system varies by state -
For Example, if you are driving in or through Georgia, this law applies to you if you are towing a trailer of two vehicle:
"GEORGIA
Every trailer of 3,000 lbs. GVWR or more must be equipped with brakes on all wheels."

If you are driving in or through Idaho, this law applies to you:
"IDAHO
Trailers with an unladen weight of 1,500 lbs. must have an independent braking system, and a breakaway system capable of applying the brakes in the event of a separation from the towing vehicle is required."
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Old 05-13-2019, 03:49 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Dog Rescuer View Post
I noticed that the average is 3000 lbs or more requiring a braking system - but a few states were as low as 1500 lbs. Coming down any steep hill, it is reassuring to have a braking system on my tow vehicle. It may be more peace of mind - but that counts for a lot when the alternative to a safe decent could mean the lives of others. I try to avoid taking risks that put people or animals at risk.

The weight of a trailer or tow vehicle needing an auxiliary brake system varies by state -
For Example, if you are driving in or through Georgia, this law applies to you if you are towing a trailer of two vehicle:
"GEORGIA
Every trailer of 3,000 lbs. GVWR or more must be equipped with brakes on all wheels."

If you are driving in or through Idaho, this law applies to you:
"IDAHO
Trailers with an unladen weight of 1,500 lbs. must have an independent braking system, and a breakaway system capable of applying the brakes in the event of a separation from the towing vehicle is required."
There seems to be some confusion here. We are not talking about towing a vehicle on a trailer. The op made it sound as though 4 down towing of anything over 2k needed auxiliary brakes. All the info you are referring to is for trailers.
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Old 05-13-2019, 04:35 PM   #18
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The original post asked about towing a vehicle - and several options were shared - Tow Dolly, Trailer, or flat-tow. As far as I know - and according to the people I talked with about hooking up my car - the laws for towing a trailer, tow-dolly, or flat-towing were the same in regards to weight requiring a brake system for the trailer, tow-dolly, flat-towed vehicle.
An additional post asked about towing in Canada. I shared that link - but I am not familiar with the laws in Canada, as I have never towed a vehicle there. I shared my knowledge of towing in the US.

But I could be wrong. I always recommend calling a local DMV - over taking advice from people like me as being the absolute word on the matter.
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Old 05-13-2019, 07:35 PM   #19
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I'd expect that Dog Rescuer's interpretation is correct (and in any case it's the more conservative interpretation).


Said another way, I'd expect that the same weight and trailer brake rules apply without regard for whether the towed object is a trailer carrying nothing, a trailer carrying something, a trailer carrying a motor vehicle, a motor vehicle on a dolly, or a motor vehicle being towed four-down.


This has the interesting effect that even though my bus may have available GVWR and braking capacity to carry a load of a car or whatever, if I tow that weight instead, the trailer could be required to have its own brakes. Oh well.
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Old 05-13-2019, 09:25 PM   #20
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So here's an interesting question then. How many of you towing toads 4 down have an auxiliary brake system? I've never heard it talked about. I pulled a race car on a 16" trailer for 20 years, never had brakes or anyone tell me they were required.
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