The towing thing

After having camped in our “new” motorhome, we decided that it was time to look for an appropriate tow vehicle and method to tow it with. There were lots of choices – tow dolly (with two wheels down and two wheels strapped in place on the dolly) or tow bar (four wheels down) and all kinds of vehicle choices. We are a Jeep family… Mom has her 2003 Jeep Liberty 2WD and I had my 4×4 2007 Jeep Commander. Neither presented the option of 4 down towing without some serious work to disconnect the driveshaft. What to do? Tow dolly is still an option… but not the best option, as it would limit speed and we would have to stop and check everything every so often.

So… If you noticed, I said “had” in my reference to the Commander, since I went out and got a 2010 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited to be our tow vehicle and my daily driver. The next steps are to figure out which method to tow it with and decide on how to do it. We pretty much ruled out a tow dolly as even though it allows a wider choice of vehicles to tow, it also presented limitations such as speed limits and maintenance requirements that we didn’t want to deal with. So that leaves us with a tow bar as our primary choice.

The 2010 Wrangler is an excellent choice of toad (“towed”) vehicle as it has an easy 4Hi-4Lo-N-2Hi selector to place the driveshaft in N for towing. I have read that placing the gears in any forward gear works to lock the tranny while being towed, and the 2010 JK Wranglers don’t have a steering lock as previous models did so there is no need to have a key in the ignition to unlock the steering column.

The next choice is how to handle signaling – either through the Jeep’s wiring or via external magnetic lights that can be attached quickly and unplugged easily for use when driving the Jeep. I am leaning towards the magnetic temporary lights just because they are easier to deal with.

Lastly, we need to figure out which tow bar and mounts to get and install. There seem to be two kinds of tow bars – one that mounts directly into the hitch receiver on the RV and the other that mounts onto a hitch ball. I have read success stories with each method and can see the pros and cons of both. The receiver mount tow bars are more expensive but fold up nicely when not in use. The hitch mounted tow bars are cheaper but less flexible in their storage (will need space under RV to store when not in use.) Both methods require tow mounts be installed on the towed vehicle and there are a wide range of options and adapters available for Jeep Wranglers. I have asked a couple of UHaul dealers who sell the tow bars (mounted on a tow hitch) if they install the brackets and they said no. I have read that going to a body shop or dealer would be better since they do this kind of work all of the time.

Any opinions? Thoughts? Brands recommended? I am looking for input on what tow bar to buy and why it is a better option than others. I am also looking for input on installing the tow mounts, whether there are easy kits or if I should let a shop do it. Any and all advice is welcome!

I will definitely let every one know how it goes and what choices we make and why, hopefully it can help someone else answer their questions when they are at that point in their RV lives.

– John

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