Towing - some advice please (1 Viewer)

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Sep 9, 2014
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To start, I've never towed before.

As first time motorhomer's we've found some of the places we've visited in Scotland to be somewhat remote and the ability to get out and about is rather limiting. No public transport and I'm a long way from being confident in driving into some small villages, besides which it's a pain in the back end having to pack up and set up again if we do use the m'home.

Really would like to to get a small car to trailer, not A frame, to give use more get out and about opportunities.

We've got an Autotrail Dakota on an Alko chassis (if that makes a difference?) with towbar and electrics fitted.From what I can gather from the net and documents I have, my max gross weight is 3850kgs, max rear axle load 2120kgs and the max train weight is 5200kgs.
Am I right in assuming the max weight I can tow, car and trailer is 5200 -3850= 1350kgs? I understand that I should be looking at a trailer nose weight of around 60kg so that is something I should allow for on my max rear axle weight?

I would only be looking to tow a small car, Smart cars seem popular, but I need somewhere to put a pair of small dogs and I don't think they have rear seats. Any thoughts on something cheap and reliable...It'll only be used for motorhome trips as we've other cars for daily use. Daewoo Matiz would fit the bill and seem plentiful.

Type of trailer? Single or double axle? Any advantages of either - reversing is not a favourite activity, would the single or double axle have an influence?

Your thoughts would be appreciated - selling the motorhome and buying a caravan isn't an option!:)

Thanks, David
 

pappajohn

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Aug 26, 2007
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1350kg is the total (trailer AND load) weight of the loaded trailer....could be full of bags of sugar or ingots of gold, it makes no difference.

The cars actual weight is the one to be concerned with, not the cars max gross weight and most small cars will be under 1000kg kerb weight.

Single axle are easier to move around unhooked but twin axle gives you extra stability and, in the event of sudden air loss, it still has one good wheel on the ground on that side.

Reversing should be the same regardless of axles....size is the deciding factor.
a short trailer is far harder to reverse than a long one.
 

RandallC

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Aug 4, 2012
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Hi, at the risk of triggering a fresh debate on this subject. Can't see the point in towing a car, might as well have bought a tin shed and dragged that (ex shed dragger). When towing your subject to restrictions in speed and 3rd lane etc. not to mention difficulties in a quick turnaround having ignored the sat nav.

I believe the whole point of a MH is mobility in comfort. Having said that we have taken to loading a scooter for short trips to the supermarket or towns etc where a modest MH may be a bit of problem to park.

But life is full of choices. Whatever you decide good luck.
 

Badknee

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If your worried about going places with you MoHo solo then with a trailer on tow it's going to be twice as long to manoeuvre .
 
Nov 3, 2013
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Hi.
You may find you have to reverse the car onto the trailer,to keep the nose weight down on the hitch,this is just an observation. Single/double axled trailers ? The single axle will be easier to manouver by hand,when off the hitch,the double axle will give a smoother ride,but will be a tad heavier.....
Electric bikes on a rear mounted carrier ? Decisions,decisions....LOL. Best of luck...."Whatever"
 
Feb 22, 2008
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An Aygo or Peugeot 107 on a single axle trailer would be within your 1350 kgs but for me in the UK a frame is by far the best(y)

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Minxy

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Aug 22, 2007
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With a large MH I can understand your reluctance to take it to some places, we down-sized to a panel van conversion a couple of years ago as we like to go to placed that most people wouldn't even contemplate taking a car!!! I'm not however suggesting that you downsize so the most obvious thing is what you have suggested, namely getting a small runabout car.

Don't rule out a Smart - we have one (gonna be selling him shortly :cry:) and although only a 2 seater it is amazing what we can get into it - we often go to the local car boot in him and come back with it stuff with all sorts, we've even got some inflatable roof bars for him and have carried a large roof box!

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The engine is at the rear and on top is a flat surface which is ideal for our dogs - we just put a padded dog mat on top of it for comfort. They love being able to see out of the back and oggle people in vehicles behind us ... I'm sure the dogs must pull faces at them! :LOL: We have a staffie/greyhound cross (aka heffalump) a chihuahua/jack russell and a patterdale and all of them fit in the back.

IMV a trailer is the way to go - having towed a car in the past on a 'bar' (forerunner of the 'A' frame) I wouldn't ever tow a car now except on a trailer ... much easier to manoeuvre and reverse and the car itself doesn't run the risk of you damaging the running gear etc whilst towing it and gives more protection to it - you could put a cover over it to keep it clean and help prevent stone chips etc. Whilst a trailer will need to be included in your overall weight it should be possible to still be within your limits.

The only thing I would suggest, though, is to reconsider only having the car for your MH trips as having it sitting around a lot of the time won't do it any favours so maybe consider getting something to replace one of your existing cars and then use it as your daily transport to? Obviously this would be a much cheaper option too!
 
Aug 7, 2007
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Hi ,we pulled a Nissan Pixo on a Brian James Micro Max trailer with a combined weight of 1350kgs behind our Bailey 740 with now problems.
I have various joint pains and a bad back after a motorcycle accident and the slide out ramps on the trailer means no heavy lifting.
Paid less than a couple of grand for it and only £1250 for the trailer !! best thing we ever did.
 
Feb 22, 2008
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Hi ,we pulled a Nissan Pixo on a Brian James Micro Max trailer with a combined weight of 1350kgs behind our Bailey 740 with now problems.
I have various joint pains and a bad back after a motorcycle accident and the slide out ramps on the trailer means no heavy lifting.
Paid less than a couple of grand for it and only £1250 for the trailer !! best thing we ever did.

We had a BJ Micro max, v good trailer .
 
Jan 13, 2014
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Do consider "movers" I wouldn't be without them,I can load my Smart onto trailer,tie down and be hitched up in 10 minutes without raising a sweat and I am 70.

The Smart is amazing and the storage behind the seats is excellent.

Get Towing and be Smart
 
OP
OP
J
Sep 9, 2014
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Thanks all for your contributions! Plenty to consider...

Down sizing - while no doubt it would our improve our ability to get out and about more, we've only just bought it and the layout works just fine for us.

Scooter(s) - not for us, though we have two folding bikes with baskets on the front for the pair of hounds (Yorkies) I feel too exposed on them but the dogs love it!

I'd initially thought an A frame would be ideal, but with uncertainty of their legality in Spain, and possibly elsewhere, I discounted it. Though thinking again, for convenience and not having to find somewhere to keep a trailer, I may well opt for the A frame within UK. Still going to have to go for the trailer for Europe travel - possible to hire them?

Minx - looks as though a Smart car may well suit after all, seems you make full use of yours! If I can park the two hounds, they're small enough after all, on the rear shelf no reason to rule one out.
If you're selling, perhaps drops me a mail please...yours looks rather "smart"!

tjay - see you're in Dundee, as am I. Going to send you a message:)

Any more thoughts will be welcome...down-sizing or caravanning won't be happening though!

David

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OP
OP
J
Sep 9, 2014
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Summer 2014
Do consider "movers" I wouldn't be without them,I can load my Smart onto trailer,tie down and be hitched up in 10 minutes without raising a sweat and I am 70.

The Smart is amazing and the storage behind the seats is excellent.

Get Towing and be Smart

A "mover" - I'm a little lost...something else I'll need!

David
 
Apr 27, 2008
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I took a toad to France last year. First time I have and it will be the last. Extra cost on the tunnel, extra fuel towing it, together with a fair bit of inconvenience hitching and unhitching. We hardly went anywhere that we couldn't have gone in the MH.(7.6,m)
Packing up etc shouldn't take more than a minute or two if there is a bit of discipline ie if you've finished using it, put it away.
 

bobandjanie

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Apr 28, 2008
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Having towed most of my life, be it caravans / trailers cars on a frame or driving artics, the best thing we have done is downsize to a panel van. (y)

Our last motorhome we had a Smart car and a Smart trailer and it was plated at 1300kg so you would be OK with that, there is a decent space behind the seats but our dog got hot as its on the engine. :eek:

But since downsizing to the panel van, life is so easy, no more of this driving through a town.........thinking ;) Oh this looks nice we will have a look round, and not finding anywhere to stop.:rolleyes:
And no more loading the car with all the things for a day out, just get in the van and go, and having everything with you. :ROFLMAO:
What ever we have taken with us over the years, be it scooters or cars, the thing that gets used most days are our bikes. (y) Bob and Janie.
 
Nov 3, 2013
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Hi.
I am with bobandjanie... Result.

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bobandjanie

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You know they are like a Tardis Mel you have one. :ROFLMAO:

;) But then you have a Pink Smart and call it him. :eek:

:LOL: Bob.
 

Huwmari

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Not sure about your setting up and packing away problem. We take a maximum of five minutes in both cases and it goes like this. Having parked, himself goes outside and switches on the gas, I get the kettle on and light the fridge; secure the dog, swivel the seats and we're done. On leaving, himself does the gas, I switch the fridge over to 12V, put the kettle away in the sink, close the kitchen down, check all the buttons on cupboards and bathroom door are pushed in, all windows and rooflights are closed and off we go.

We have no need for a towed vehicle - we are just under 6m and can park in most car parks. Maybe you are making life more difficult than it need be. Hope you sort things out and enjoy your motorhoming instead of it being a hassle for you.
 

Autowbars

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Tried scooter, tried Aixam on trailer, scooter not bad, towing car on trailer a pain and costly on ferry. Had some hairy moments towing in the EU following Satnav, "I can't possibly turn right here"
Got a pair of electric bikes now
BEST ever decision.
And I own a trailer and TOWBAR company!!!
 

Jaws

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Smartie for us.. With it being rear engined and the trailer Smartie specific the balance is spot on..
And you will be surprised at how much room there is behind the seats ! Plenty of room for a couple of dogs without any issue at all !

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Aug 7, 2007
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jac-in -the-box wrote,tjay - see you're in Dundee, as am I. Going to send you a message:)
no message received as yet !!
 
OP
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J
Sep 9, 2014
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Not sure about your setting up and packing away problem. We take a maximum of five minutes in both cases and it goes like this. Having parked, himself goes outside and switches on the gas, I get the kettle on and light the fridge; secure the dog, swivel the seats and we're done. On leaving, himself does the gas, I switch the fridge over to 12V, put the kettle away in the sink, close the kitchen down, check all the buttons on cupboards and bathroom door are pushed in, all windows and rooflights are closed and off we go.

Hope you sort things out and enjoy your motorhoming .

The packing up isn't a "huge" issue...more an annoyance and inconvenience.. It's the physical size of the home that makes any exploring difficult. Maybe the size will shrink a little with more use and experience.

For now the option of a small car is, for us at least, a very attractive proposition and would do away with all the difficulties we preceive - real or otherwise!
Either way and whatever happens, it won't prevent us enjoying the m'home:)

David
 
OP
OP
J
Sep 9, 2014
168
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MH
Coach built
Exp
Summer 2014
Smartie for us.. With it being rear engined and the trailer Smartie specific the balance is spot on..
And you will be surprised at how much room there is behind the seats ! Plenty of room for a couple of dogs without any issue at all !
what make of trailer do you use John, seems to be a few manufacturers?

As said earlier, first time towers, if I can benefit from a happy owners experience, the less chance of me getting it wrong:)

David
 

Jaws

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Whilst moving around with a maximum stay of maybe a couple of days on the cards, packing up is a ten minute job for us.. Come winter time and we might be ( in fact usually are ! ) on the same site for a couple of months.. That means awning, safari room, kitchen set up in out side room, water and drainage plumbed in ) ok, only loosely so to speak but still attached ) so packing up that lot is a half days work...
We are bikers but Woman found that the bike had issues when it came to shopping and the like ( and yes, the bike we took last time was a BMW1200GS with full luggage ! ).. we also have the electric bikes which are fine for local stuff and a daily shop but hopeless for big shops
All in all a wee car fills all our needs ( and of course it is my 'main' car when we are at home too )

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