tow bar installation help

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Old 08-07-08, 06:29 PM
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tow bar installation help

Went to a camper supply place and they wanted $4000.00 to install a tow bar setup on car and RV. Looking at what I think is needed, it seems to be a bit high priced. So I believe I may just go ahead and do it myself. What I would like to know, before I get started is that I have all the needed items. I have overhauled engines and worked on equipment most of my life, so believe I can connect everything as long as I have the correct stuff to connect. Any suggestions or helpful hints would be appreciated.

What I am looking to do is install a tow bar on a 2004 Chevy Cavalier, to be pulled behind my RV. So was looking at what I would need, haven't settled on a particular brand yet and this is what I came up with:

1) Tow Bar
2) Safety chain and wiring set for tow bar (if not supplied)
3) Mounting brackets for the car, to attach tow bar to.
4) Supplemental braking system for car (brakemaster).

On average, this stuff looks like it will cost me about $2000.00 for all the parts. I figure it will take me 8 to 10 hours to install everything and I will still be $2000.00 ahead.

If there is something I have overlooked, or you can recommend a particular brand, method or whatever feel free to comment.

Thanks,
 
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Old 08-08-08, 06:26 AM
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I'm not an RV-er, so forgive me if any of my comments sound stupid.

What provision will you employ to keep from burning up the transmission on the Cavalier while in tow? That particular vehicle is limited to 30 mph/50 miles cummulative towing on the drive wheels. I know on RWD vehicles they make drive shaft disconnect devices to circumvent this problem. On FWD cars do RV-ers have the towed vehicle running in neutral to provide the necessary tranny fluid circulation & cooling?
 
  #3  
Old 08-08-08, 08:10 AM
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I would get a car caddy (two wheel job) and forget the tow bar. You can pick one up easily for under $2000. Then you can put any car on it and if you decide to get out of towing your own car you can get close to your money back out of it.

Or... there's always room in the towing business for more tow_ guys
 
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Old 08-08-08, 08:28 AM
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TG seems like I remember seeing something where thay actually put an electric auxiliary pump on the towed vehicle and they make axle disconnects as well. Hmmm lemme see...


Yep, here's a site for info purposes.....

http://www.drivetrain.com/remco.html
 
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Old 08-08-08, 10:31 AM
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Actually, I am doing this for another person and he is leaning towards using the tow bar vice the dolly. Not sure why, I too would go with the dolly and am trying to convince him to do the same.

I read where the 2004 can be towed 4 down as long as it has the 4T40E trans. However, I see there is a TSB out on the car, but I don't have access to it, maybe someone here can help out on that TSB # 000089008E or NHTS ID # 10005527.

Thanks for the input(s), this is all kind of new to me and just want to help him to the right thing (even if I don't fully understand the choice that he makes). I am sure you all have been there before!
 
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Old 08-08-08, 11:09 AM
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Well..one thing about a dolly is, you can't back up with a vehicle on it as I understand. Not sure why. Plus the loading and unloading is longer than using the towbars. Then, what do you do with the dolly afterwards. Always see cars out here running around with the towbar folded up still attached to the car.
 
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Old 08-08-08, 07:57 PM
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Did you price the install at a hitch install place, instead of an RV place? They do it all the time, usually have experienced every snag you can think of, and have a lower labour rate in my area anyway. They can do it faster most times, and then the liability is on them. I've always found most of them cheap enough that it wasn't worth the hassle, or the liability, for me to do it. I even subletted to them at times, when serv.mgr. at an RV dealership.
 
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Old 08-09-08, 08:19 AM
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Towing info:

http://www.towspec.com/vehent/vehview.aspx?ID=1218

There are very few cars on the road that will tolerate unlimited towing on the drive wheels without some safeguard for the tranny.
 
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Old 08-09-08, 05:40 PM
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I still vote for the caddy/dolly. I've pulled both and they back the same. Maybe it would be different for someone with less trailer experience. But you can put hitch weight on the towing vehicle with a caddy, where you can't with a tow bar.

The issue with the transmission on a front wheel drive setup seems like a big issue. The things you have to do to customize that car to allow it to be towed with all four down seems like a lot of money that you can't recover in a resale. It seems you're putting three or four thousand into, not a Cadillac, but a smaller, low value car.

Maybe the expense isn't that big of deal, though. I guess if you have the money for the RV and gas, what's another four thousand.

I really don't think the loading time is an issue. All you do is drive the car up the build-in ramps and slap a belt around the tire on each side.

I never knew if those tow bars were intended to be left on in a folded up position or not. I really haven't seen too many like that.
 
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Old 08-09-08, 07:03 PM
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Marbob...
Why do all the rental dollys (Uhaul, ABZ, etc) have big stickers that say "do not back up with a vehicle on, damage can occur"? At least the ones I've seen/used. I'm not arguing, I just don't know why they would say it.

As to the loading with a tow bar, well, lets see. Yer in a campground for a few days/weeks, with yer dolly chained and locked to a tree. You decide to move on..

Dolly- hook the dolly to RV (and remember, you could be too old to roll the dolly so you need to back up to it) hook up the dolly, safety chains, electrical. Now get it in position for loading. Slide out the ramps (maybe), drive the car up, strap it down, slide the ramps back in, rig yer tow lights, secure the cable for the lights (that will probably mess up the paint anyway). Not a big deal really, for a point A to point B transport. But then ya have maintenance on the dolly, license, registration...etc.

Towbar- Drive car to back of RV, attach towbar/chains, hookup electrical connector, turn on trans pump, disconnect axle.

Theres other things I didn't go into like stowing things and cleaning up, but you get what I mean.

I'm just trying to look at it from their point of view. I think RVer's like clean, simple, and uncomplicated. They're like a turtle (esp in the mountain passes, with me behind 'em! grumble grumble..lol) gotta carry all their stuff with 'em.

And I think you are oooh so right. If they can afford an RV and the fuel, whats another $4K?
 
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Old 08-09-08, 07:31 PM
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Gunguy:

Glad to get information about a new area. I'm not an RV er. I have done a lot of moving with the little dollys. In using them myself, I don't see any difference between backing those and a bumper hitch trailer. A lot of RV'ers do use those dolly's. I worked for a manufacturer that built those things and a lot of them went to RV distributors. I'm not sure what damage would be connected to backing a caddy and not to the four wheel down car, though.

I don't how the RV er works the camping ground issues. As this came up my first thought was they would leave the dolly hooked up to the RV and drive the car off it. But if they were dealing with unhooking the dolly, they aren't that heavy - about the weight of a motorcyle. Maintenance is 10,000 mile service intervals on packing bearings.

You've made some good points. This isn't a field of expertise for me. Maybe some RV'er guys will jump in a give us some of the inside stuff.
 
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