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Old 05-11-2021, 09:35 PM   #1
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Sanford Florida
Posts: 114
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: MVP/ER
Engine: Cat3126B 230hp
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Towing a vehicle behind Skoolie

Hey Skoolie members:I am looking fir a smallish to midsize SUV to tow behind My Thomas 34foot 2001 Skoolie and asking for recommendations on older vehicles say at least 10 years old that don’t have a bunch of electronics and which can be towed in neutral without hassle?

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Old 05-11-2021, 09:47 PM   #2
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I'm already planning on looking for a 2000ish model year Nissan X-Terra myself. That is a real 4×4 off road vehicle. The old pathfinders (pre-1996 I believe) were the same. The 1996 and later Pathfinders are Maximas on steroids, and are not off-road capable.


In about 2006ish Nissan changed the front end design in their trucks and used coil-over-shock struts instead of torsion bars (like Toyota did), and they are lousy, from what I've seen. A 10-year old truck where the suspension breaks: the bottom of the coil-over cracked off, and it then jammed into the CV axel boot and destroyed it and made the truck immobile. On a paved road. Not sure if the X-Terra got this later setup also.



I used to jump my 1984 Nissan truck, and get the front end 3-4 feet in the the air. Nothing broke. Then that guy who looks like Dilbert's boss took over, and ruined everything. Now he is hiding in Pakistan or something.
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Old 05-11-2021, 09:56 PM   #3
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May have to go back a few more years than 10.
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Old 05-11-2021, 10:46 PM   #4
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Looking for a toad requires a lot of research. If you want 4wd it makes it a lot easier. The transfer cases become the most important part of the puzzle. We have about 5 we can flat tow here at the compound. Our 1996 Nissan 4wd 5 speed pickup is limited to 55mph as per the owners manual. Why ? Heck if I know. If it had been an automatic it would have been a no go. The 2002 Jeep liberty with the NP-241 transfer case has no restrictions. The car has plenty of electronics and you can not connect into the wiring of the car for the lights while towing. We have used it the most. My 1990 FJ-62 has very little electronics and is the best off road. It is heavy and gets left behind most of the time. The Jeep CJ-5 is the simple Simon and rides to harsh for the wife. So it only goes if I go by myself. The NP 241 transfer case is also used in some GM and Dodge excuse me RAM trucks. RAM= Recycled American Motors. I don’t know about Ford products. Toyota claims that none of theirs are tow-able, the last time I checked. I like the Toyota’s, so I wish they were.
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Old 05-12-2021, 01:25 AM   #5
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Year: 1990
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Motorhome magazine publishes an annual dinghy guide and has downloadable PDFs on their website going back at least into the '90s. That's a good way to quickly figure out which makes/models are approved for 4-down towing by the manufacturer.

Make sure to pay attention to the details on those Motorhome dinghy guides. Many models are flat towable, but only with certain options. The early 2000 Nissan Xterras, for example, are only capable of 4-down towing if they're 4wd and have a manual transmission. Just like MG I'd like to find one of those, but the 5-speed option is weirdly rare.

It seems like for small SUVs, jeeps are the most popular on the road. I've also heard that many people like the Geo/Chevy Tracker (aka Suzuki Vitara), but you won't find those unless you're willing to go back 15+ years.

My dream toad is a new Suzuki Jimny, but unfortunately we ran Suzuki out of the American market a decade ago 13264ac0b72c79b83624be81cb79baac.jpg
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Old 05-12-2021, 02:07 AM   #6
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Oh, and if you want something with a little softer ride then the Honda CR-V seems to also be extremely popular as a toad. I have no experience towing them, but we've had several in the family over the years and they seem to be reliable and surprisingly capable cars. I wouldn't take one off-roading, but the AWD, light curb weight, and very slightly higher clearance make it a champ for snowy/icy conditions.
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Old 05-12-2021, 06:22 AM   #7
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We love our 2005 manual transmission Xterra and are able to tow it with the bus on flat land, but it was too much on the bus trying to tow over the mountains.
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Old 05-12-2021, 06:52 AM   #8
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Probably just reiterating but I'm not sure 10 years old will be far enough back in time without a lot of complications or professional assistance with the electronics. If you're okay with those magnetic stick-on lights and the cord draping back to the tow plug then I suppose age won't matter much. The probable exception is Jeep Wranglers which I think Jeep knows is THE most popular towable and there are pretty easy underhood access points to tap into the brake/turn lights without fubar the ECU.

The other big sell for Wranglers is that the 4WD differential with neutral position is standard equipment and fairly idiot-proof because it's a physical lever. Other 4WD vehicles offer a neutral position but it's often harder to engage. My 04 Dakota and 11 Liberty both offer 4WD/4LOW but neutral involves ignition on, transmission in neutral, hold your tongue just right while the moon is waxing and prick this imperceptible little button with a pen, then put it in drive with your foot still on the brake to ensure it is indeed in neutral. Much easier to just pull the lever to N. But it's not impossible to screw it up even on a Wrangler - a quick search will reveal an oopsy just earlier this year where someone missed N, ended up in 4Lo and grenaded the entire engine and transmission in spectacular fashion.

Speaking of flat towing and sometimes dolly towing, read the instructions regarding ignition position. If your steering wheel locks when the key is out, you may need to leave a key in and turned one position so the tires can turn but this can also drain the battery so a battery disconnect switch might be money well spent.

Remember that even when towing it the tires on the towed vehicle are accruing miles so don't be surprised if you look at your odometer and wonder why tires aren't lasting as long. And RE the flat towing steering situation, if the steer tires won't track in turns then expect unusual wear on them because they're being dragged sideways every time you make a turn.

Just some food for thought.
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Old 05-14-2021, 10:35 AM   #9
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Year: 2000
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Chassis: MVP/ER
Engine: Cat3126B 230hp
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Thank you guys very much fir the good info. Will do some research on info mentioned ��
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