PROJECT: Towing one of our cars

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This was the question: How can we tow one of our existing cars to have transportation after we setup on a camp-ground. There are several possibilities and options. Here we go;

Our cars;

2011 Hyundai Elantra Automatic Front Wheel Drive (35 Mpg)

2011_elantra

2011 Buick LaCrosse Automatic Front Wheel Drive (20 Mpg)

2011 Lacrosse

The options to tow our car are a Tow Dolly or a Tow Bar.
(There are more options but we only considered these)

Option 1 using a Tow Dolly

Both cars can be towed with a tow dolly but we have to keep i mind that the Buick is about 4600 Lbs so the tow dolly must be able to carry that. A tow Dolly with surge breaks (Breaks are a requirement in several states) is about $1750 including all the accessories but not the tow hitch and ball that runs about $150

tow_dolly

PRO:
Both cars can be towed (Almost any car can be towed this way)
Cheaper then a tow bar (Up to 50% less)
No labor to install
CON:
More hassle and time to Load/Unload and secure the car.
Preferable a two person job (For directions)
Where to store at home and campgrounds
Another vehicle to maintain (Wheel bearings and brakes)
Adds load to the back of the RV

Option 2 Using a Tow Bar (all wheels down)

The Hyundai Elantra automatic transmission cannot be towed 4 wheels down according to the user manual. Only our Buick can be towed using a tow bar as stated in the user manual. The only restriction is no faster towing then 65 Mph. Alsi you need to run the engine 5 minutes during a break to recharge the battery. The key has to be on ACC so it uses the car battery during towing.
A tow bar and base-plate cost between $1500 and $3000 excluding labor.

tow_bar2

PRO:
Easy and quick to attach the car to the RV
No separate storage needed (This is a huge advantage)
One less set of wheels to maintain.
CON:
Only a car with appropriate base-plate can be towed
More initial labor cost then a tow dolly
Needs separate breaking system (Some state  laws require this)
Maximum speed advised from Buick is 65 Mph to prevent drive train damage

CONCLUSION:
We decided to equip our Buick with a tow bracket and buy a tow bar. This is to avoid the hassle of storing a tow dolly when at home (we do not have a place to put it) or on a camp ground (sometimes an extra charge) This also saves us the extra maintenance of a tow dolly. Reading a lot of comments in forums it seems we would be more happy with a tow-bar that can stay on the RV and can be attached and removed quickly from the towed car.

This is what be bought:

After we have seen the article from TheRVgeeks here: 

  we decided to buy: Roadmaster RV Towing kit – Sterling Edition

  • The 8,000 Lbs. Capacity Roadmaster Sterling All Terrain Aluminum Towbar
  • Roadmaster Tow Bar Brackets / Base-plate
  • Roadmaster Sterling All Terrain Towing Accessory Kit (Includes Break away kit and wiring set)

roadmaster_kit

The Blue Ox Patriot® Braking System
A fully proportional portable brake system for your tow vehicle. This system applies the brakes smoothly while you’re slowing down to a stop, instead of suddenly jolting your tow vehicle causing costly damage to your brakes.
It is a portable breaking system that can be put in most cars and requires minimal installation and has a wireless controller in the RV with indicator lights and sensitivity setting. This unit has its own battery but also needs to be plugged into the car to recharge its battery.  In case the car battery dies this unit will alert but still work. There is a wireless remote controller in the motor-home that reports current status and you can control setting from there or activate the brakes manually.

blue_ox_patriot

Total cost without labor: $2497,-  (About 800 more then a tow dolly)

I will update this post after this is installed and we have used it to update the cost and experience. I’m expecting a $400 dollar labor to install the bracket and the break away system.


UPDATES:

7/2/2016 Added the cable for the break-lights, tail-lights and signal to the car, from the front under the car and into the trunk. Now need to hook up the diodes and connect the lights to the cable.

7/3/2016 Tested the Blue Ox Patriot in the car, works as advertised. Added labels to remote so I know what the error codes means. (C 4 and 7)

7/8/2016 Car to the RV dealer to install tow-bar bracket/base-plate.

Next to do:

Wiring connection between car and motor-home and test functionality.
Measure tow height to be within a 3 inch plus or minus margin from horizontal, might need a drop receiver.

 


The below documentation is for my own record but feel free to use it.

thumbnail of Sterling_all_terrain_576_85-3326-19
RoadMaster Sterling All Terrain 8000 lbs 6 wire model 576 Tow Bar
thumbnail of bracket_kit_Buick_LaCrosse_10_12_523166-1
Mounting bracket kit for Buick LaCrosse 10-12 part #523166-1

‘EZ Twistlock’ Series ‘Hidden’ Brackets
All EZ and EZ2 series brackets are easy to attach and remove — simply insert the visible portion of the brackets (the ‘front arms’) into the receiver and rotate. All four EZ Twistlock bracket styles
are virtually invisible — improved aesthetics.are made of computer-cut, all-steel components for exceptional strength.are easy to install — ROADMASTER brackets use existing attachment points on the vehicle’s undercarriage — no welding! install through the grille — no scraping brackets in dips or against curbs.

thumbnail of Blue_Ox_Patriot_BRK2012
The Blue Ox Patriot® Braking System is a fully proportional portable brake system for your tow vehicle.

 

 

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