We are not fulltimers but we do tow our 94 Blazer with manual transmission. I have talked with those that do use a dolly and parking it is an issue. I can hook up the blazer as fast as it would take to just hook up the dolly, then you would have to drive the car on it and sinch it down. I would consider towing four down. Many cars & some SUV's are towable four down. Your auto dealers can tell you what can be towed without drive shaft diconnects or transmission pumps. If I can be of further help just ask. Mike
We have only towed in the four down method, but we have observed that very few who ever tow that way ever consider returning to any other method. It is without a doubt the easiest method, and with a dolly there is always the problem of what to do with it when you are not towing.
We started out towing a Ford Ranger with a manual tranny. We changed last March to a 2001, Honda CR-V automatic with 4WD. We love it. The CR-V is approved for towing four down and has a section in the owner's manual titled, "Towing Your CR-V behind a Motorhome." It is easy to tow and it weighs less than 3000#.
While I agree that all the things mentioned by others are valid there are valid reasons for selecting the dolly method. Here are some:
Standard trailer brakes are available on tow dollies and any of the many brands of trailer brake controllers will work with them.
NO modifications are required to tow ANY FWD car.
Many RWD manual transmission cars and trucks can be towed in neutral.
A driveshaft disconnect (about $500 from REMCO) allows towing ANY vehicle that is not too heavy. I wouldn't tow a Suburban!
Swivel base type dollies can be backed for a short distance with the car on and forever with it off. A four down car CANNOT be backed on a tow bar.
I have a tow dolly. I am not a full timer. I know that if I were I might find some of the pros for four down outweigh the pros for the dolly but for now I will stick with the dolly.
I am strong enough that I can wheel my dolly around by hand as needed. My hookup time isn't such a big deal even if the guy with four down can hookup faster. I unhook the dolly and push it up under the motorhome. It takes up practically NO space that way.
The appropriate question I think is not, "What is best"? But, "What is best for me"? So I think a review of your needs relative to the strengths of each option will answer your question.
Larry's point about what is best for you is clearly valid. And if you have a front wheel drive that is not towable, it might be the best answer. Also, a dolly can be used with any front wheel drive vehicle and doesn't have to be changed when you trade. Brakes? There are much better answers to that issue on the four-down vehicles. I use a Brake Buddy which is totally non-invasive of both the toad and the motorhome and I keep it set to only come on in a hard stop. But when the brakes apply, they apply on all four wheels, not just the front.
Probably the biggest disadvantage to towing four-down is the cost when you trade toads as you will probably have to buy a new base plate at that time. But I would still find it to be the quickest and easiest way. And we don't have to find a place to store a dolly when we stop for a while.
We are full-timers and we meet very few full-timers who us a dolly.
Hello, Doc. I would opt to tow 4 down. If you use a dolly, you need to find a place for it whenever you camp. Also, certain amount of work necessary to secure vehicle onto dolly. It's more convenient (and lighter, too) to tow 4 down. There are many small cars suitable for towing this way. Among most popular are Saturns, since they can also be towed w/ auto trans. (as can some other brands). I'm partial to Saturn, since I have towed one thousands of miles. Whatever choice you make, enjoy rving...it's a great life.
Hi Chelse, don't know about the Geo Storm, my brother works for the RR and tows his Geo metro all over MN. & ND. has had no problems, he did fabricate his own mounts.
Hi Doc, I tow 4 down as I had a tow bar and I like that system, I also use a Brake Buddy aux brake sytem, as posted there are pro & cons for both systems, you just have to figure out what will work for you. I definitly recomend aux brakes either way. Happy trails GB
1994 Bounder 34J
1990 Mazda B2200 with Brake Buddy
We have towed a front wheel drive on a dolly and a Jeep 4 down. Much prefer the 4 down method. The dolly is a hassle since it must be stored both at home and at the campground. Also when loading the car onto the dolly when its wet it can be a bit hair raising with wet tires on wet metal. It's a nasty job to cinch down the tires if they are wet and muddy also. Base plates for most cars are about $260 so replacing them when trading cars isn't back breaking. Blue Ox takes trade ins on tow bars so maybe they'll do it with base plates. Just a thought.
If you plan to use a dolly consider that it weighs anywhere from 600 to 900 lbs extra that you will be towing,gas mileage can suffer.Also I believe that you have to buy license for them,not sure,and they need brakes too.Tires? imho.GL
Check out Trailer Life magazine. They have articles on various vehicles and rate what must be done to make ready to tow 4-down. This is likely the easier way with less trouble when you arrive at a CG. If you need the vehicle for a quick run, it is quick and easy to pull loose; about the same when you return. Just remember to unlock the steering wheel and release the brake. This will save you being the entertainment for the day at the CG.