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Old 01-14-2017, 08:30 PM   #1
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Flat-towing (aka 4-down) a "dinghy" car experience?

Hello All:

I'm trying to decide what to do for a runabout while boondocking. I'd rather tow my little pickup, but maybe a little dual-sport motorcycle would make more sense?

Who here is flat-towing a car? What has your experience been like? Or, who tried flat-towing and hated it?

And, lastly, is anyone flat-towing behind a crown? If so, what does your hitch structure between the frame and the back of the bus look like?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 01-14-2017, 09:44 PM   #2
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Hello All:

I'm trying to decide what to do for a runabout while boondocking. I'd rather tow my little pickup, but maybe a little dual-sport motorcycle would make more sense?

Who here is flat-towing a car? What has your experience been like? Or, who tried flat-towing and hated it?

And, lastly, is anyone flat-towing behind a crown? If so, what does your hitch structure between the frame and the back of the bus look like?

Thanks in advance!
I am unable to tow my Honda Civic 4 wheels down. Something to do with the transmission blowing up on me. I would have to use an $800 tow dolly. Kind of a bummer.
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Old 01-14-2017, 09:59 PM   #3
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from what I have read towing should not be a problem, I will be towing a chevy sonic 4 down, or a trailer with a side x side on it. I cant help you with the crown, I'm sure there might be some way to put a hitch on, some of the crown owners will chime in.
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Old 01-15-2017, 11:46 AM   #4
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Some thread around here says a guy was pulling a car trailer with a race car on it behind a Crown. irrc. Says he has had no trouble.
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Old 01-15-2017, 12:00 PM   #5
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I think it will depend on the vehicle you tow, some can be towed 4 down, others can not. If it is a manual trans small truck, I bet it would be just fine. Many small automatic cars will destroy the trans if you try.
The Crown has less overhang in the rear, or tail swing, so I bet if you find a way to attach a hitch it will tow great.
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Old 01-15-2017, 01:28 PM   #6
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my plan is to flat tow but that seems to be the priciest choice.

an $800 tow dolly will pull any front wheel drive car along for the ride.

a $2k trailer will tow most any other car, all 4 up.

$3k in hardware + a car capable of 4 down towing (say $5k) will get you into a 4 down dinghy ($6-8k setup)

i've never pulled a toad, so i cant really say if i'd set a new car like that. and i really cant justify paying more for the tow setup than the car.


starts making that tow dolly look real good!
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Old 01-15-2017, 03:20 PM   #7
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One additional note, any all wheel drive car/SUV will require a full trailer. Never tow an AWD with a tow dolly.
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Old 01-15-2017, 03:24 PM   #8
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One additional note, any all wheel drive car/SUV will require a full trailer. Never tow an AWD with a tow dolly.
Well, THIS was a few minutes well-invested. We were considering buying and towing a Subaru... Thanks, 'Mo...
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Old 01-15-2017, 04:04 PM   #9
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Well, THIS was a few minutes well-invested. We were considering buying and towing a Subaru... Thanks, 'Mo...
some Subaru can be tow 4 down, google will tell you, I think they have to be standard tranny , I have 2012 chevy sonic and it can be towed 4 down, going to the mounting brackets and tow bar with brake set up this spring
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Old 01-15-2017, 08:35 PM   #10
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My little four down toad is based on a Geo Tracker 4X4 automatic. If I couldn't see it with my rear view camera I wouldn't even know it was there.

That said, it is a HUGE PITA to back up and per the owners guide I must run the engine and tranny each 100 miles or so to keep things greased up. Nevertheless, it is way more convenient to use than any trailer setup I've seen. Jack
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Old 01-15-2017, 09:25 PM   #11
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I'll also add if you flat tow or dolly tow you can not back up without disconnecting.

I'll 2nd what others have said if it's not a manual transmission check with the manufacturer, not a lot of vehicles can be flat towed.

All said and done of the 3 options I would prefer to flat tow. No dolly or trailer to have to stow when I get to where I'm going.
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Old 01-16-2017, 07:36 AM   #12
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To clarify what I said earlier, you can not tow a AWD with a dolly, some can be towed 4 down. I see a lot of Subaru's being towed 4 down and for the last many years all Subaru's are AWD.
The big issue with an AWD is that if one set of wheels are running and the other are not, it turns the center differential and will burn it up.
Whatever you do, check with the manufacturer of the vehicle, they will let you know.
At this time there are not a lot of cars that can be flat towed. Backing up is a pain, Dollys don't work for all cars and you can't back up, trailers and dollies both need to be stored when you arrive.
All that said, my Motorcycle is looking really good. I just bought my wife a scooter and may get myself one too. Then I can just haul them with me so we can go do what we want.
I don't full time, so I have a few more options.
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Old 01-16-2017, 03:45 PM   #13
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The truck I'd tow is my beater '87 4runner. It's a 5 speed, about 4000lbs I think. Manual hubs on the front wheels, so that's easy. I was thinking that I'd disconnect the driveshaft at the differential for long tows.

My bus is a ~35' Crown with a 5 speed, air brakes and jakes.

Flat-towers, what do you do for brakes?
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Old 01-16-2017, 06:04 PM   #14
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The truck I'd tow is my beater '87 4runner. It's a 5 speed, about 4000lbs I think. Manual hubs on the front wheels, so that's easy. I was thinking that I'd disconnect the driveshaft at the differential for long tows.

My bus is a ~35' Crown with a 5 speed, air brakes and jakes.

Flat-towers, what do you do for brakes?
ill be using the ready brake, its part of the tow bar, a cable runs to the brake pedal, its a surge brake system.
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Old 01-16-2017, 08:46 PM   #15
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You have to watch some state regs if you're going to flat-tow a vehicle. My friend in NY had an issue with that, because they require the towed vehicle to have some sort of brake system on it, and it would be an expensive install. (I think either electric or surge brakes on the tow dolly count instead.)

If you did do the motorcycle route, you could probably get a hitch-mount carrier and a hitch made for the back of the bus, and you'd be all set.
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Old 01-17-2017, 04:52 PM   #16
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ill be using the ready brake, its part of the tow bar, a cable runs to the brake pedal, its a surge brake system.
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Nice, with just the illustration on the website I'll be making my own for WAY less than $500. Pretty simple setup.
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Old 01-17-2017, 06:25 PM   #17
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Nice, with just the illustration on the website I'll be making my own for WAY less than $500. Pretty simple setup.
yes it's about as simple as you can get for brake systems, I'm getting the tow bar with the brake system built in, not sure about building one , might just have to give that some thinking time.
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Old 01-25-2017, 10:37 AM   #18
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starts making that tow dolly look real good!

I have done all 3. In order of my preference:

1) 4 wheels down with a tow bar.

2) 2 wheels down on a tow dolly (PITA)

3) Towing on a trailer (PITA)


For me, arrival and departure are the worst with a tow dolly. Both the dolly and the trailer can present some storage issues in some parks as well.

I did a bit of scrounging when I put the tow setup on my Ford Ranger (long bed) and spent about $1000 on a Blue Ox folding system (used).


My first four wheels down towing was with this bar: Blue Ox BX7302 Ambassador Tow Bar

It worked well but you had to be on level ground to hook/unhook.

Later on I switched to Blue Ox BX4330 Acclaim Tow Bar and that one was awesome. Very easy hook/unhook, folds out of the way and no storage issues at RV parks liky you can have with a trailer or tow dolly.
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Old 01-25-2017, 01:22 PM   #19
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ill be using the ready brake, its part of the tow bar, a cable runs to the brake pedal, its a surge brake system.
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That is quite clever.
Almost makes me want to use it for the surge brakes on my boat trailer somehow.
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Old 01-25-2017, 01:26 PM   #20
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Nice, with just the illustration on the website I'll be making my own for WAY less than $500. Pretty simple setup.
I was thinking the same, if I only had a milling machine.
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