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Old 10-04-2021, 11:37 AM   #1
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Need some advice on towing a 2006 Chevy Cobalt

Waiting to pick up our new-to-us 2006 Itasca Suncruiser 38T (waiting on parts). I figured I'd get a head start on some questions we have about using our 2006 Chevy Cobalt as "the toad". According to GM it can be flat towed w/o issue. What does everyone recommend for a decent flat tow setup that won't break the bank? We don't need it right away as we plan on doing short trips for a while and seeing if we can live together that close and not kill each other. We do fine in a 3000 sq ft house but the MH is a little smaller so we want to be sure before we go crazy spending $$ on something that may not work for us. I welcome any other advice on this unit that anyone might want to share as well. Thanks in advance!
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Old 10-04-2021, 12:14 PM   #2
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Definition of what breaks the bank will be needed as it is expensive in many folks view.
I can throw in some ideas of what it cost us on several tow cars/ RV that we have set up. Your cobalt comes in at likely to be under 3500 pounds when gas and a few things are added ,so that is in range for several tow bars but then you get into lots of the details which change the price but also change how much time and effort it takes to set up.
The Blue Ox tow bar and base plates are what we have used three times as we found they did what we wanted. RVI 3 brake is one we like for medium price and ease of setting it each time we tow. I do not want to do much for lights like hanging them on the fenders with wires running down the sides, so we have the lines and connections for them installed as a permanent setup which then only requires plugging a tether cord from the car to the RV which is almost always already installed as a 7 pin trailer connection. The folks who install the base plates on the car have also installed the diodes to make the car lights work with the RV lights.
Some fair amount of money can be saved if one is up for tearing the front end off the car to get to the actual frame which is way hidden deep in the front of new cars!
I don't do that!
Perhaps look for videos of what it takes to install bae plates and you might actually find one done on your car. I found one for my car and it made me back way off that job!
Depending on shopping skill, luck and prices of labor in your area, things might have an over all price of $3000 if really good?

Round numbers and sure to vary a whole bunch so don't put a lot of value in that number until tested!!! How is the E-bay shopping skill? Lots of bargains on Blue Ox tow bars but one has to check what he is getting on used!
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Old 10-04-2021, 12:16 PM   #3
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Spend the bucks and have Demco's "Stay and Play" permanently installed brake system installed along with your tow package. (The extra $ is worth it! Don't get a portable brake system that you have to fumble with at every stop).
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Old 10-04-2021, 12:34 PM   #4
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@Morich That is the info I was looking for. I want something solid, long lasting, and from a reputable company. I can put the stuff on myself and do the wiring. Trying to decide if I want to use a dolly or flat tow. Cost will make the difference but I'd rather flat tow if it's not too much more $$.
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Old 10-04-2021, 12:39 PM   #5
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@TJFogelberg Do I really need brakes towing such a small car behind a 24,000 lb rig? The car is literally like 12% of the weight of the RV and I have no intention of going through any mountains. She will go as far north as maybe Georgia or South Carolina and stay on the east coast. Not trying to be argumentative, it's a serious question.
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Old 10-04-2021, 03:17 PM   #6
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For the towing breakaway brakes, it is often more a question of what states you will visit as the laws vary a lot. Maybe a search online would turn up a list but I suspect it is going to be far more states require it than you may want to avoid.

This is one map for example and it is always good to search further than one source when using the internet as the first three will likely to slanted to give too much spin!

https://www.readybrake.com/state-towing-laws.html

Since there is so much difference in the laws and we never knew which state we might want to go through at any given time, we decided it was just not worth getting somewhere and finding we might have to drive around some state to get to where we really wanted to go!
Considering the overall expense of setting up the RV, going for the brakes was just part of it. Florida is 3000 and Louisiana also but then how do you get across miss. which is 2000 pound limit?
It also involves the liability we would incur if there was a wreck of some type.
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Old 10-04-2021, 04:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morich View Post
For the towing breakaway brakes, it is often more a question of what states you will visit as the laws vary a lot. Maybe a search online would turn up a list but I suspect it is going to be far more states require it than you may want to avoid.

This is one map for example and it is always good to search further than one source when using the internet as the first three will likely to slanted to give too much spin!

https://www.readybrake.com/state-towing-laws.html

Since there is so much difference in the laws and we never knew which state we might want to go through at any given time, we decided it was just not worth getting somewhere and finding we might have to drive around some state to get to where we really wanted to go!
Considering the overall expense of setting up the RV, going for the brakes was just part of it. Florida is 3000 and Louisiana also but then how do you get across miss. which is 2000 pound limit?
It also involves the liability we would incur if there was a wreck of some type.
I was not aware of these laws. I sell enclosed trailers and should have made the correlation. Looks like I'm buying a tow dolly with surge brakes from me. Problem solved! I'll deal with the having to stop to check the straps rather than go through all that crap just to drag a car behind the rig. Thanks for the "wake up call". Not sure why I was going down that rabbit hole.
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Old 10-04-2021, 06:30 PM   #8
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It's all how we want to take our poison! We can bite the bullet and go for ease or pay the bill gradually over time as we deal with the tow dolly.
Assuming your state is like most and require a license and insurance for the dolly, just keeping it and figuring how to store it year round can soon make it even out.
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Old 10-04-2021, 06:49 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Morich View Post
It's all how we want to take our poison! We can bite the bullet and go for ease or pay the bill gradually over time as we deal with the tow dolly.
Assuming your state is like most and require a license and insurance for the dolly, just keeping it and figuring how to store it year round can soon make it even out.
No license or insurance required in any state that I'm aware of. The truth of the matter is I looked at the stuff you and others have said and ran the numbers and at this point in the game I'm not 100% sure I'm even gonna like the whole thing. I think I will and hope so too. Like I said earlier, I sell trailers and tow dollies so can get one cheap, whenever I want. If, after a year or 2, we feel they this is how we want to spend the last 20 or so years of our lives, I'll probably be asking ya'll what the best toad is. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and I'm sure I'll be back asking more questions.
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Old 10-05-2021, 06:29 AM   #10
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OP - smart to buy an '06 to get your feet wet and see how you like things. We bought a '99 in 2012 and after 4 years of seasonal travel (3 months) were "in". We upgraded to a new Minnie Winnie which we just paid off and are very happy. The toad adds tremendously to our enjoyment. We set up camp for 2-3 weeks at a time and the toad gives us 100% freedom to see sights, run errands, basically live like we do at S+B. You don't want to be together 100% of the time in the rig. 1 can go shopping, sightseeing, doing laundry etc and the other can relax (alone) in the rig. lol The brake and tow systems are part of the cost of doing business. Our '02 Honda CRV that came already set up with the '99 RV we bought still follows us in the Minnie Winnie. I bought a '13 CRV just before we left for AZ from MN and will set it up for towing in the spring. I figure 5K to have a professional install the Blue Ox tow package and Demco Stay and Play. After fiddling around with portable brake system for 8 years, I had the Demco Stay and Plan installed this Spring in the '02 CRV. It is a flawless system, just switch it on in the CRV and plug in the monitor in the RV. (Wouldn't be caught without one). Give it a few years to get things set up and see how you like the lifestyle.
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Old 10-10-2021, 06:29 PM   #11
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I am towing a 2014 Ford Focus and also trying to save money when possible.

I bought a used Blue Ox tow bar and a used RVI2 braking system, both for 675.00. I bought the Blue Ox towing attachment , a separate tail light bulb kit, a 6 pin receptacle and a 7 to 6 electrical cord from eTrailer for about 500.00 and nstalled everything myself in about a day. eTrailer has installation videos for every towing bracket and the lighting kit.
Just returned from a 2000 mile trip last month and everything worked like a charm. The RVI2 brake is truly proportional and comes with a remote display.

Local RV dealer quoted me around 4k for everything new and installed.
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