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Author Topic: Car towing considerations  (Read 1266 times)
windtrader
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« on: December 06, 2017, 02:06:35 PM »

I'm planning what to do for towing a car. The bus has a blue ox tow bar and built in braking system. Just need to figure out what car to tow. Obviously, the lighter the vehicle the less impact on MPG and performance on the road.

Trying to figure out where weight becomes uncomfortable What impact do you experience with different vehicle weights?
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Don F
1976 MCI/TMC MC-8 #1286
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« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2017, 02:12:35 PM »

Don,

I have a Roadmaster tow system and love it and it is so easy to use.  Here are the top vehicles for towing based on Roadmaster sales so this may give you some ideas on the type of vehicle.  I personally tow a Jeep Adventure and it is very easy to tow.

Jeep Wrangler 96-17'
Honda CRV 07-14'
Chevy Colorado & GMC Canyon 15-17'
Jeep Grand Cherokee 11-17
Jeep Cherokee 14-17
Chevy Equinox & GMC Terrain 16-17
Ford CMAX 13-17
Ford F-150 pickup 10-17
Jeep Liberty 02-07
Chevy HHR 06-11
Fiat 500 12-17
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1967 Eagle with Series 60 Power Plant
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« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2017, 02:41:02 PM »

1968 Dodge Charger!
1967 Chevy Camaro
1969 Cadillac Eldorado (with the hide away headlights)
1970 himi Cuda
you get the picture Cool
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Scott & Heather
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« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2017, 04:31:19 PM »

Go big or go home Don 😎



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Scott & Heather
1984 MCI 9 6V92-turbo with 9 inch roof raise (SOLD)
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« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2017, 04:59:50 PM »

We towed a VW Jetta for a while on a dolly. Good in some ways like light weight, capable of 80 mph on the freeway if needed, but the dolly is a PIA because some campgrounds are small and parking it is a concern, getting the car ready to tow is quite involved, and the dolly has tires, brakes and lights to  maintain and fix. Also the car is low clearance and not good off road. Now we tow a Jeep Wrangler 4 down. Much simpler in many ways. Capable of going off road which we like to do. No more dolly to deal with. Not as comfortable or as fast as the car, which is to be considered if the bus is parked near a big  city for a few days and you have to get on a busy freeway to go sightseeing for example. But all things considered, the
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JC
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« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2017, 05:01:14 PM »

continuation from above post: the Jeep works great for us.

JC
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JC
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« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2017, 05:17:56 PM »

We use the Roadmaster system and love it for ease and I've always installed the brackets myself. Our first toad was a Jeep Liberty, then for the last 6 yrs a Mini Cooper. Last week we traded in the Cooper and went back to a newer Jeep Liberty. In the process of setting it up now. Did learn something new this last week about towing Jeeps, they are not all towable unless 4 wheel drive. The 2 wd cannot be towed over 15 miles or speeds of 30 MPH without removing the rear driveline according to Jeep. In the old Liberty you manually disengaged the transfer case for towing. Now you hold down a button in front of the drive selector. It probably only seems strange to me because I'm such old school I date back to the Willys.  Grin
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Geoff
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« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2017, 06:46:19 PM »

Don.
I'll have a driveshaft disconnect and tow brackets to fit a Blue Ox tow bar for a '96 GMC Sonoma pickup or SUV of that heritage in December.  Available last two weeks of December in Vallejo. 
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Geoff
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« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2017, 07:11:33 PM »

I have an 88 Bronco II that is set up for towing which I can't afford to part with, and now is practically new!  New clutch, throwout bearing and slave cylinder along with rear main seal.  New rear brakes, wheel cylinders and steel lines.  New front calipers and rotors.  New catalytic converters(2) and complete exhaust.  New floor pan on drivers' side and new rubber floor mat front and rear.  New headliner. New gas tank, pump and gauge sender.  New 2" square receiver hitch.  New front baseplate for tow bar.  All this in the last two years.

Next is new front upper spring(and shock), springs and shocks.

I feel like that Johnny Cash song, except "it cost me a lot of dimes" Grin  And someday I will actually tow it behind my 4905.

You can't say PA doesn't do thorough safety inspections.

Steve
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Steve Toomey
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« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2017, 07:35:59 PM »

Windy remember also you can get adapter hookups from Blue Ox to Roadmaster etc and vice versa if needed or you can only get one kind of brackets for what ever car or truck.
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"PATHFINDER"(Bus)
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« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2017, 07:46:27 PM »

There are lots of cars to hook up. The concern is loss of MPG and speed uphill. I've looked at fiberglass dune buggies at 1100 lbs, my BMW E30 at 3100, and a '95 Toyota 80 Landcruiser at over 5000. I'd just hook them up and get my own measurements but as you know the towing hardware needs to be put on each vehicle, i.e $$$.

What do you estimate the loss in MPG and speed uphill pulling 1100 lbs vs 5K+? Is it worth spending some time on? Certainly no need to overthink this if not much difference.

Hey Scott, you had a Series 80 LC; did you notice much MPG loss and speed? I know you are running an 8V92 so more power to spare than an 8V71N.

Thanks
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Don F
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« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2017, 08:05:01 PM »

I believe the most economical tow rig would certainly be the one you already own if it is towable. Mpg is somewhat irrelavent if one must buy a new rig to tow. If you have a towable rig now, a baseplate is cheap, all things considered. I tow a jeep wrangler with a Ready Brute elite and I am not sure there is an easier or quicker setup. 5 minutes attach and I can go.
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Ken
Arlington, WA
1971 MC-5B, U7017, S9226 (On the road)
1945 Flxible Clipper (Stripped and in the shop for conversion)
1945 Flxible Clipper town buggy
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« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2017, 08:08:01 PM »

Don, I didnít have an 80 series, I had a 100 series. The Bus knew it was back there but I honestly never saw a MPG change with out without it. My 8v92 is set to 500hp and even with that, I can tell whether Iím towing or not in terms of acceleration from a stop. I canít tell when climbing a mountain (makes no deference believe it or not) and I canít tell in terms MPG.


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Scott & Heather
1984 MCI 9 6V92-turbo with 9 inch roof raise (SOLD)
1992 MCI 102C3 8v92-turbo with 8 inch roof raise CURRENT HOME
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RJ
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« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2017, 09:31:40 PM »

The concern is loss of MPG and speed uphill.

Don -

Your MCI is NOT going to go over the Grapevine, Donner Summit, or, for that matter, the Altamont, like your E30 does.

Simple physics, in this case power/weight ratio.  You're going to be in 2nd gear, period, with your 8V71 in the MCI.

Unless you want to spend $$$$$$$ squeezing a 500hp 8V92TA in the back of your 8.  Then you'd end up in 3rd gear watching the temp gauge like a hawk for a 10 mph uphill gain.

. . . my BMW E30 at 3100. . .

My VW Jetta weighs the same - which, if you think about it, is actually less than a bus with 40 passengers and their luggage.  As for that matter, even the Landcruiser weighs less than a busload of people.

What do you estimate the loss in MPG and speed uphill pulling 1100 lbs vs 5K+? Is it worth spending some time on? Certainly no need to overthink this if not much difference.
Yup, you're overthinking this again, Don.  I've noticed more of a MPG change running the diesel genset 24/7 than pulling the VW.  I haven't noticed any change in uphill speeds towing, but my coach is so underpowered in the first place (as you know), I just don't pay attention to it anymore.  I don't even notice it going downhill, either - that's what the Jake Brake's for!  (Hint, hint, Scott!)  The only time I've noticed the extra weight, and it wasn't much, is IF I have to get on the brakes hard because of someone else doing something stupid (which is also why I have a dash cam!)

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink
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RJ Long
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Jon
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« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2017, 03:37:21 AM »

Despite reading these posts for decades I am still amazed at the number of bus owners who are concerned about fuel economy.

If everyone would do a few calculations about their actual costs of ownership and the impact the cost of fuel has on total costs the focus would be on something else pretty quickly.

Similarly I am amazed at how there is a lot of discussion about how fast our coaches can climb a hill. I doubt if the time my coach spends trying to get up steep hills is even 1% of my driving time. And even if I could climb every hill at the posted speed limit it appears that most of the time I would get hung up behind two trucks blocking both lanes going at the same speed.
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Jon

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« Reply #15 on: December 07, 2017, 03:48:33 AM »

I started out with a tow dolly, and used it for several thousand miles. It worked great, and I still have it if ever needed, but we tow a Jeep Wrangler 4-down now, and it's been one of the most significant things I've ever done to make traveling easier and less of a hassle. The dolly is a huge advantage if you want to be able to tow multiple vehicles, but the Jeep is WAY easier. I don't notice any MPG difference, but hill-climbing is slower. As others have stated - physics...
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« Reply #16 on: December 07, 2017, 04:02:11 AM »

Don,you are not going to notice much difference towing than with just the bus alone,the only place you will notice a drop in fuel mileage is going to be on 2 lane highways winding,twisting and hilly then it will take a toll.The Eagle had a 8v92 on freeway driving towing it was always around 7 mpg I could hit the 2 lanes in Idaho,Oregon,Ca, or other anyplace towing and it dropped to 5 or less MPG.Buy a Jeep then if the bus breaks down you can push the bus with a Jeep BTDT  Wink  
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« Reply #17 on: December 07, 2017, 05:24:10 AM »

I tow a Wrangler also. I do see a drop in mpg, maybe .5. The Wrangle is the worst for mpg on its own so it makes sense. I have a TJ with bigger tires. We go off road out west so I like the TJ.       
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« Reply #18 on: December 07, 2017, 10:24:43 AM »

We have used a 4x4 1999 Jeep Cherokee for the at least the past 8 years.  As with the wrangler, they can be towed 4 down without restrictions and can be used to access any road.  It is not the best car for long road trips though due to the stiff leaf springs.  We also have a 2002 Grand Cherokee which has coil springs and is a much smoother ride, but I am not interested in towing that one right now.

I do think that weight makes a difference.  Our 8v71 climbs much better without the toad, especially when you get over a couple of thousand feet up, which is often in California.
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« Reply #19 on: December 07, 2017, 01:57:55 PM »

I liked towing my '96 GMC Sonoma.  It was light with the 4 cly. engine and two wheel drive, plus it had a six foot bed to carry stuff.  I figured out it cost me between 1/2 and one mile per gallon to tow off my usual 8mpg with the bus.  Now I have the 4wd Canyon crew cab and it it drops me down 1 to 1 1/2 mpg.
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Geoff
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« Reply #20 on: December 07, 2017, 02:38:36 PM »

Thanks so much for all the valuable input as always.

Although the heaviest of my options, I'm leaning toward trying the Landcruiser first as a towed/toad/dinghy since putting a base plate on it is stupidly simple. I looked at where a base plate goes and it's a 30 minute job. Looking under the BMW, I could not even see any metal framing to connect to; it can be done but obviously more involved.

A stout 4X4 is also the far more practical choice when we get down to the end of Baja.

edit - Jon - you are right about concern over MPG loss. The cost of diesel has a lot more impact these days. Diesel out here is running $3.50 and up.
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Don F
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« Reply #21 on: December 07, 2017, 03:30:20 PM »

Don,

I was still running around during the $5 per gallon days and thinking about the people who had just spent almost $2,000,000 on a new coach who said they would cut back on their travel because of the cost of fuel.

To put this in perspective you can do the math to determine the cost of fuel per mile based on how ever many miles per year you want to figure, but keep in mind the mentality that drives people to express such a concern when their depreciation on their new bus is $1000 per day (not a typo) and their insurance was running them $20,000 per year.

Obviously as coaches get older the math changes, but when we are honest with ourselves and look at what it really costs to own a bus the 1 MPG it might cost to pull a toad is chump change. Buy the toad you really want and the hell with worrying about fuel economy.
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Jon

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« Reply #22 on: December 07, 2017, 03:55:33 PM »

Was over to $5.50 here back then, but even with the massive power of my 4-71 I find that head winds and outside temps make more of a difference in mpg and mph pulling a grade than having a toad hooked up.

Matt
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« Reply #23 on: December 07, 2017, 05:16:13 PM »

Was over to $5.50 here back then, but even with the massive power of my 4-71 I find that head winds and outside temps make more of a difference in mpg and mph pulling a grade than having a toad hooked up.

Matt

You actually tow a vehicle with a PG 2904?  On the freeway?
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Geoff
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« Reply #24 on: December 07, 2017, 05:48:34 PM »

It seems there aren't any ready made Blue Ox base plates specific to the LC 80. May need to get a simple custom one welded up using the offered.
FYI - For anyone else considering using a Blue Ox to tow a LC 80, here is a very detailed experience of this working fine.
https://forum.ih8mud.com/threads/how-to-flat-tow-your-80-series-safely.482260/


@Scott - What kind of towing bar/base plate did you have on the 100 LC? Did you keep that stuff? I got a Blue Ox tow bar but looking for a  base plate.

@Jon - yeah, I've resolved the MPG issue; Still wonder about how much slower it will be getting out of CA? But as RJ, Dave, and others keep saying, overall, time getting over the grade barely registers over a longer trek.
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Don F
1976 MCI/TMC MC-8 #1286
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« Reply #25 on: December 07, 2017, 06:03:18 PM »

Don, I had an ARB armored bumper installed and the universal plates were attached right to it. Slightly different than your setup Sad


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Scott & Heather
1984 MCI 9 6V92-turbo with 9 inch roof raise (SOLD)
1992 MCI 102C3 8v92-turbo with 8 inch roof raise CURRENT HOME
Click link for 900 photos of our 1st bus conversion:
https://goo.gl/photos/GVtNRniG2RBXPuXW9
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« Reply #26 on: December 07, 2017, 06:17:50 PM »

Don Roadmaster has them. you didn't say what year but I put in 2002 Landcruiser and it has, Baseplate Kit 1151-1, Then you buy the adapter ends that replace your ends on your Blue Ox and you use the Blue Ox tow bar.
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« Reply #27 on: December 07, 2017, 06:46:37 PM »

Geoff, lol yea all the time.

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PG 2904
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« Reply #28 on: December 07, 2017, 08:33:24 PM »

Hey Beluga, I recognize that view... Nice.  What year Flx?
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Ken
Arlington, WA
1971 MC-5B, U7017, S9226 (On the road)
1945 Flxible Clipper (Stripped and in the shop for conversion)
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« Reply #29 on: December 07, 2017, 09:54:29 PM »

Astro, it's a 1946. It's also a GM. That angle of the rear seems to fool everyone!
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PG 2904
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« Reply #30 on: December 08, 2017, 08:24:35 AM »

We normally tow a 24 foot trailer with our trike and jeep in it. About 10000 pounds. The bus gets 5 MPG with or without the trailer, 55 or 70 doesn't make any difference. Speed is affected a little, I have a 8V92 500 hp and as Russ said watch the temp like a hawk even with all I have done to keep it cool. I like my toys.
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Ed Van
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« Reply #31 on: December 08, 2017, 10:13:19 AM »

I pull a Honda CRV.  Love it, super easy, light, cheap. 
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windtrader
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« Reply #32 on: December 08, 2017, 12:42:57 PM »

@Scott - The link in my post shows the same setup. Heavy duty front bumper with the connection parts welded to it. That would be the AAA configuration; also the most $$$.

@Dave, I contacted Blue Ox and they stated they do not have base plates for pre 1998 (Series 100) LC. Roadmaster also same thing, Series 100 but not Series 80. More research on IH8MUD; looks like a custom job. The Blue Ox brackets are available for 70 bucks so quite affordable to weld to a bar plus a couple drilled L brackets drilled to bolt to the frame. Cheap, safe, and works.
https://www.etrailer.com/Accessories-and-Parts/Blue-Ox/BX88230.html

Dune buggy - that is still an option LOL
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Don F
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« Reply #33 on: December 10, 2017, 07:01:12 AM »

I pull a geo tracker, 2600 lbs. Light 4 wheel drive 4 person capable 4 down towing.
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« Reply #34 on: December 10, 2017, 10:36:02 AM »

My tow car is Suzuki Vitara two door. 4 wheel drive auto with front lock out hubs. At least if my coach has major mechanical failure, I can tow it home..... or off the road.
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