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Old 11-12-2018, 03:50 PM   #1
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White knuckle towing

I was planning on towing a 16' single axel trailer with my smart car on it but lately I have had second thoughts about it. It only takes one time to have a catastrophic incident with a trailer. I know it probably wouldn't happen, but Im not sure I want to take that chance...I can work around the benefits of taking the trailer and car but I cant work around a trailer coming unhitched and the White knuckles that I will surely have by taking it. Any thoughts on this dilemma Im facing...
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Old 11-12-2018, 04:26 PM   #2
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I was planning on towing a 16' single axel trailer with my smart car on it but lately I have had second thoughts about it. It only takes one time to have a catastrophic incident with a trailer. I know it probably wouldn't happen, but Im not sure I want to take that chance...I can work around the benefits of taking the trailer and car but I cant work around a trailer coming unhitched and the White knuckles that I will surely have by taking it. Any thoughts on this dilemma Im facing...


Why not flat tow? Thatís what I do. I have a break away system that will apply brakes if the hitch and safety chains fail. Either way a breakaway system could help with some peace of mind.

I enjoy NOT towing when I can get away with it, but it isnít that bad. What will you do with the trailer when camped? Some sites are pretty tight.
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Old 11-12-2018, 05:08 PM   #3
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I was planning on towing a 16' single axel trailer with my smart car on it but lately I have had second thoughts about it. It only takes one time to have a catastrophic incident with a trailer. I know it probably wouldn't happen, but Im not sure I want to take that chance...I can work around the benefits of taking the trailer and car but I cant work around a trailer coming unhitched and the White knuckles that I will surely have by taking it. Any thoughts on this dilemma Im facing...
Seems like there would be some way of just hauling a smart car IN the bus lol.

I tow a trailer nearly every day. You'll get over it. Get a tandem axle. They're way smoother and better for larger loads.
I've had blowouts with two big commercial mowers on a 16' trailer and its not too bad at all.
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Old 11-12-2018, 05:18 PM   #4
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I would use a tandem axle trailer even though a smart car may be light enough to not need it. Just gives a nice margin of safety, and generally behave well. I have towed with many different vehicles, towing many different trailers, and never had one come unhitched.

Pay attention that it is in fact on the ball correctly and latched properly. Have someone show you what to look for so you will know. There is nothing to fear about towing, however you do need to learn the basics and be sure to follow them without fail. Make a check list if you need.

Not all cars can be flat towed so check with your dealer and make sure it is ok if you choose to go that route instead of a trailer.
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Old 11-12-2018, 07:41 PM   #5
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I had the giant nut that holds the ball on fall off once, but even then nothing came apart. I consider that a miracle, but still. Inspect regularly and donít skimp on safety/fail safe gear and you should be ok.

+1 on tandem axle, although the rear suspension on a bus is stiff enough that even a single probably wonít push you around very much.
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Old 11-13-2018, 07:42 AM   #6
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My usual question: "How do you plan to use your setup??"

If typical RV type travel and staying at campgrounds, I suspect you'll find the trailer to be a huge pain in the rear. At many campgrounds, you have to park your trailer somewhere other than your site. I see people dealing with short car dolly's and that looks like a pain - can't imagine how bad a 16' trailer would be.

If for only occasional use, the trailer might be ok but I'm with the others, get a dual axle trailer.

Flat tow is far and away the easiest and most convenient for frequent/full-time use. Of course, that is debated every day on RV forums so everyone has an opinion. After flat towing my Jeep Wrangler for nearly five years, I can report that it is dead simple and very quick to attach/detach. Tows like a dream. Never had a problem. Takes about 3 minutes to hook up or unhook. The negative is that some vehicles don't allow it and the equipment to get started is not inexpensive (tow bar, brake system). My setup is here.
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Old 11-13-2018, 08:08 AM   #7
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My usual question: "How do you plan to use your setup??"

If typical RV type travel and staying at campgrounds, I suspect you'll find the trailer to be a huge pain in the rear. At many campgrounds, you have to park your trailer somewhere other than your site. I see people dealing with short car dolly's and that looks like a pain - can't imagine how bad a 16' trailer would be.

If for only occasional use, the trailer might be ok but I'm with the others, get a dual axle trailer.

Flat tow is far and away the easiest and most convenient for frequent/full-time use. Of course, that is debated every day on RV forums so everyone has an opinion. After flat towing my Jeep Wrangler for nearly five years, I can report that it is dead simple and very quick to attach/detach. Tows like a dream. Never had a problem. Takes about 3 minutes to hook up or unhook. The negative is that some vehicles don't allow it and the equipment to get started is not inexpensive (tow bar, brake system). My setup is here.
Hey man, you've got the same tow bar setup as us. We love the Ready Brute Elite....until we've stopped to unhook and realized we're not perfectly straight. It's dead simple to use though and our Xterra tows like a dream, you don't even know it's back there.
OP, I know that some Smart cars can be flat towed (depending on the model year) and so if storing a trailer or dolly seems like it would be a problem, you might look into flat/dinghy towing is an option for you car.
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Old 11-13-2018, 08:11 AM   #8
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If you do stick with the single axle trailer, use a sway controller similar to this:

https://www.harborfreight.com/traile...kit-96462.html

We have one on our dual axle trailer and it works. As stated before, with a properly loaded trailer and all the safety equipment, towing becomes second nature. Just keep up on the maintenance like everything else and you'll be fine.

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Old 11-13-2018, 08:54 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by JDOnTheGo View Post
My usual question: "How do you plan to use your setup??"

If typical RV type travel and staying at campgrounds, I suspect you'll find the trailer to be a huge pain in the rear. At many campgrounds, you have to park your trailer somewhere other than your site. I see people dealing with short car dolly's and that looks like a pain - can't imagine how bad a 16' trailer would be.

If for only occasional use, the trailer might be ok but I'm with the others, get a dual axle trailer.

Flat tow is far and away the easiest and most convenient for frequent/full-time use. Of course, that is debated every day on RV forums so everyone has an opinion. After flat towing my Jeep Wrangler for nearly five years, I can report that it is dead simple and very quick to attach/detach. Tows like a dream. Never had a problem. Takes about 3 minutes to hook up or unhook. The negative is that some vehicles don't allow it and the equipment to get started is not inexpensive (tow bar, brake system). My setup is here.
Must say these are valid points to think about. Do have to add that although I have never had a trailer come off, I did have a tow bar break flat towing and that got real interesting fast..... Not trying to scare anyone just saying that did happen. It was a cheap tow bar. It is worth paying a bit for a really good one.
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Old 11-13-2018, 09:27 AM   #10
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I pull different trailers almost every day. Your concerns about problems are good to have. They will help keep you safe. You should get used to the worry with time. A safety pin on the bottom of the ball stud, good safety chains (hooked up with the right amount of slack), breakaway brakes, the right amount of weight on the ball, extra tie downs on the load. Take it easy and don't get in a hurry hooking up. Complacency is the first step to problems.
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Old 11-13-2018, 11:50 AM   #11
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From what I read while researching toads, the Smart can be flat towed without a trailer and is below the weight where a supplemental braking system is required by law.
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Old 11-13-2018, 12:09 PM   #12
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If you can flat tow it I doubt you'd even notice it back there.
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Old 11-13-2018, 01:19 PM   #13
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Only thing I hate about flat towing is the inability to back out of tight situations without unhooking. Aside from that it is by far the least hassle if the smart will allow it.
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Old 11-13-2018, 01:26 PM   #14
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Only thing I hate about flat towing is the inability to back out of tight situations without unhooking. Aside from that it is by far the least hassle if the smart will allow it.
Backing up can be a pain while flat towing can be a pain but.... Having tried trailer, dolly and flat towing over 250k miles and 40+ states... I have to agree with JD and others recommending flat towing.

After trying multiple methods I found the Blue Ox collapsible tow bar to be my favorite.


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Old 11-13-2018, 07:17 PM   #15
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I can honestly say that I’ve broken a Bull Dog hitch in half once... not many can say that! But, it was in a low speed turn in an intersection, so the trailer fell on the safety chains and gouged the blacktop. I pulled through the intersection, and over to the side of the road. Never felt like it was a panic situation though. At highway speeds, it’d might have ended differently.
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Old 11-14-2018, 06:24 AM   #16
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use a trailer with electric brakes and use a brake controller.. a nice tandem trailer with controlled brakes and loaded right is a nice stable rig.. you can use a rear camera on the top rear of the bus to keep an eye on it and to help with maneuvering.

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Old 11-14-2018, 02:04 PM   #17
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102.jpg
Adjustable hitch...I have two different trailers.
Also a Tip off a straight truck welded on to deflect soot off ATV's
005.jpg
Back up camera hooked up to marker lights so I can have it on any time
078.jpg
Electric brakes for tandem trailer with brakes
015.jpg
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Tows great....bus is under powered, will still do a buck twenty KMH
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Old 11-21-2018, 04:15 PM   #18
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Seems like there would be some way of just hauling a smart car IN the bus lol..
Actually, I have seen RV's that have 'garages' in the back where people keep bicycles, motorcycles, and ATV's. A SmartCar isn't that much heavier than an ATV or a large motorcycle, is it?
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Old 11-21-2018, 04:43 PM   #19
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I have a 2014 Jeep Weangler Unlimited and would like to take it along with the bus - what are the no kidding pros & cons of flatfooting it in tow?
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Old 11-21-2018, 05:35 PM   #20
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If you can do wiout that last 10 feet of the body just make some folding ramps and put the back wall on hinges.

That would be my idea
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