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Old 05-21-2014, 06:58 PM   #1
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Default Question .....Towing

Ok, need opinions, this Forum probably is my best shot as Truck Conversions are unique in many ways...Currently have a 45 TC....Toy Hauler....we keep our matching Smart Car in the garage....we are considering towing the Smart Car, this will give us more room in the garage, more toys, pets, etc....I have found two options ....Option one is something called Idaho Tote, it attaches at several points creating a solid connection to the TC....no pivot point, this will basically add about 6 ' to my length....I will be about 51'...I have had to more than once while making a tight turn have to back up and three point....some parks and Camp grounds can be tight....Our other option is a traditional trailer about 8-10 ft in length, normal single point hitch, this will increase my combined length to 55'....My question is about handling in tight spots....which setup do you think will be easier to handle? Or do you have any other suggestions....thanks...
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Old 05-25-2014, 08:56 PM   #2
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Gene,
My United Specialties Garage Coach is considered 45' but is actually 47' from bumper to hitch. When we travel, our dogs use the garage so from time to time we'll pull an enclosed trailer to bring the golf cart or motorcycle. My trailer is a Featherlite 12' tandem axle v front (17' overall). It pulls great and I've had no issues getting in and out of any tight spaces. BTW, your smart car would probably fit in my trailer.
I recommend an enclosed trailer. It's easy to handle and you can haul quite a bit. You also have the option of dropping the trailer in another area at many campgrounds/RV parks prior to parking if necessary.
Good luck with your decision.

Chris
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Old 05-27-2014, 02:42 PM   #3
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Gene,
I had never seen one of those "Idaho Totes" before. It certainly would be easier to back. A long wheelbase truck and a short trailer could be tricky to back in a tight space. On the other hand, and enclosed trailer gives you lots more storage space and keeps your vehicle out of the weather. Plus your wife could buy all kinds of antiques and stuff on the road since you have all that extra space.....tough decision. Good luck.
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Old 05-27-2014, 08:13 PM   #4
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Enclose trailer is my choice.
We are a 45ft. garage motor coach and we haul an 18'6" tandem axle enclosed cargo mate with a 3' tongue. Overall length 66'6" when connected.
Box is 8' wide. Interior has wheel well boxes make sure you take these into consideration when measuring interior width in the trailer so your car or toys will fit.
I like the 8' box because the wheels on the trailer are in line with the truck., nice clean look down the sides.
The truck and trailer are even down the sides the trailer wheels don't stick out as with an 8'.6" wide box.
The tote, I don't like it. I don't like the way it mounts. How would that disconnect when you want to lower your rear door? Is it a hassle to do? ratchets and wrenches? pins?
Tiny wheels, will it hold the cargo weight, smart car only,? what about a golf cart, bicycles don't forget the quads the list is endless.
With the trailer you disconnect then crank it down or if your really lazy you can get a power crank.
With the trailer, you find out where the storage yard or area is then go drop your trailer
then go to your spot. If we can swing the entire set up in the spot then we do that.
Its really never been that big of a deal.
Plus, the trailer is enclosed (no rock chipped paint or glass, always clean) and always has more room.
And the trailer works for unruly guests that may have partied a little too much or kids, teens and pets when they want their own space or even you when you just need a break from the break.
The trailer does double duty work as a second living room once the toys or car are out with power for t.v. dvd, stereo, fridge and A/C. (did someone say man cave)
My vote based on experience, trailer.
Buy used make it what you need don't be worried about a few extra feet once you do it a few times it becomes second nature.
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Old 05-28-2014, 04:09 PM   #5
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The Idaho Tote kind of scares me as an old school mechanic that likes everything overbuilt. The small diameter wheels run a ton more rpm on the highway and are more prone to bearing failures (picture that boat trailer you saw on the side of the highway sitting on a cement block while they are off looking for a bearing) and while I imagine it tracks nice going down the highway I can imagine the tote tires getting turned off track with the truck on rough ground and tight maneuvering and wrenching the whole works. Plus you are loading the car sideways which is technically over width by a few inches, and that deck looks high enough to be a challenge to load as compared to a trailer. I'd vote for the trailer, with one word of caution. You will likely have to special order the trailer with a longer tongue so that you can make a reasonable turning radius without the trailer hitting the truck, they generally upgrade to a 5' tongue from the standard 4' tongue to pull behind a motorcoach. Not a real expensive option, you just won't likely find one sitting on a lot like that. I like AJ's idea about a 8' or 8'6" box on the trailer, your smart would easily fit in a 7' box trailer, but you'd never see it in the mirrors, the 8' wide trailer would be way easier to back because you can see it. And if you are having it built, it is relatively cheap to add a foot or two of extra height for shelving for the wife's purchases on the road. Or to hang kayaks overhead, etc. Sort of a mini-stacker.
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Old 05-30-2014, 08:55 AM   #6
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Hi Gene, great to see you posting again. My coach is a bit shorter than yours at 36'. I often pull a 24' enclosed car trailer. My trailer has a v nose. Length from ball to rear end is 31'. So, I'm 68' overall. I don't mind that one bit. The truck doesn't even know it's pulling the trailer. Actually when pulling the trailer loaded the truck shifts a bit smoother. I vote for an enclosed trailer. Maybe you could go to a large trailer lot and convince them to let you hook up something to your coach and take it for a drive?
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Old 05-30-2014, 07:05 PM   #7
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Thanks for the feedback.....still not sure which way to go...we don't need much more room , I realize pulling an enclosed trailer is something I would get used to pretty quick...BUT, I really do love being small enough to get into State Parks and smaller out of the way places...as we get bigger I feel like things just get more difficult and options become more limited....The Idaho Tote does have 15" tires as an option..I will keep you all posted..hope you are well Bob....
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Old 06-04-2014, 04:30 AM   #8
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why can't you flat tow the car ?

in 3 years i think I've had to disconnect the jeep twice (each time it was my fault, got into a tight situation)...and id rather be safe than sorry.

a couple weeks ago (at Virginia Tech, to see our oldest graduation & commission for the navy) - i used the university free dump tanks & some D.A. blocked the exit....i put my wife in the jeep & had her steer it while i backed our rig up 10 or 15 feet to get out.

if i want to disconnect the jeep (for backing etc) it takes me no more than about 30 seconds - w/ my blue ox aventa tow bar....pull 2 pins, pull the electrical connection & disconnect 2 clevis hooked changes.

the two bar has so much articulation that i can turn really sharp - never had a problem maneuvering around much...even at the RV islands at Flyin' J and campgrounds.

We're 42 feet w/out the jeep (+/- 18 feet for the jeep & tow bar)

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Old 06-04-2014, 01:15 PM   #9
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Bushpilot ,
I flat tow my Grand Cherokee behind my motorhome with the same type towbar system. Really easy to use. However, Gene has a different problem since I don't think a Smart car can be flat towed.
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Old 06-04-2014, 02:09 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmmc101 View Post
Bushpilot ,
I flat tow my Grand Cherokee behind my motorhome with the same type towbar system. Really easy to use. However, Gene has a different problem since I don't think a Smart car can be flat towed.
MMM
According to Family Motorcoach Association (FMCA) & Smart the cars were designed to be flat towed -

http://www.fmca.com/images/stories/pdf/towing_09.pdf

I just did some googling & found lots of folks that have been flat towing smart cars (only problem I've seen is someone that had their brake buddy fail & cause premature ABS light/set).

Smart owners report that flat towing is supported and addressed in the owners manual.

I also see that road master publishes instructions for mounting base plates for their tow bar (in electronic pdf form) too.

apparently SMART cars (like my wrangler) don't have a steering column lock - so its a matter of putting the car in Neutral, releasing the parking brake and you're all set.
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