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Full Version: Advice on a "toad"?
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I recently learned toad as a cute term for a vehicle towed by an RV. With the 7-10mpg my stepvan gets, and the generally unpleasant driving experience, I really like the idea of carrying something for general transportation, in addition to a bike that is. I have two other vehicles, am thinking of a third, and have no specific experience with a toad. Anyone who's dealt with one, can you weigh in on these three options?

The van's a 1973 Ford P400. GVW 10k pounds, empty weight 5720+/-20. I can only make a rough guess as to the final weight of the van once construction is finished (about 1/3 of the way there). Engine is a 4.9 Ford L6 making about 110hp and 220ft-lb. On the 500-mile drive to get it home, it got 7.3mpg at 60mph (at which it topped out), 10.5 at 51, according to the escort car's speedometer.

Option 1 is a BMW E34 wagon. It weighs something like 3800lb empty. It seats 4.5 and a lot of stuff (it once hauled a dryer), is nice to drive and sit in, and over the last two years has averaged 21.5mpg in normal use. Also, it exists, built (not bought) years ago, and is my 97%-sorted daily driver.

Option 2 is an old Toyota truck, a solid-axle 4x4 longbed with a shell. It weighs about 3300lb empty, seats 2 in the front and even more stuff, is ok to drive and sit in, and averages something like 17mpg. It tops out at perhaps 75 and takes a long time to get there. Like the wagon, it too exists and is 97% sorted out, currently used as storage.

Option 3 is a Mazda 121, better known as the Ford Festiva, or a Suzuki Cultus, better known as a Geo Metro. I prefer the former car. They both weigh about 1800lb empty and get 35-45mpg. They don't yet exist, and would probably take $2k to buy and fix up.

Having some general towing experience, my sense is that towing an 1800# small car with this rig is a reasonable proposition. I'm not sure about the heavier first two options, though. Thoughts?
I am no towing expert but if your steppie tops out at 60mph I don't think towing anthing makes much sense as you will lose some ground there and in your mpg. You also have to consider the weight of the trailer you will pull your toad on as none of the specified vehicles can be towed 4 down (wheels on the ground).

That's all I have other than good luck finding what works for you.
well if it was me I would want a 4x4. and option #2 is a 4x4. I love the straight axle Toyota's, however Toyotas pickups from that era had very weak transmissions. what year is it? highdesertranger
I would pick the Toyota 4x4, assuming the stepvan is able to tow it comfortably.
I set up a 30' RV to tow my truck complete with remote braking system. My advice is buy a car trailer or dolly with electric brakes instead. You can put anything on it, and you can back it up, (with a toad, the front wheels of the towed vehicle go into a bind if backed up). depending on location, the toad may be required to have it's own braking system. I think that cost me as much as a trailer would have.
About the only disadvantage is you have an extra trailer when you get to your destination.
Ehh, I put the Toyota in there only for thoroughness; I'm not actually considering that one. It sucks gas and only seats two, and I bought it thinking I'd need off-road capability far, far more than I actually do. For 363 days out of the year, the wagon gets me where I want to go and is more efficient, more comfortable, more spacious, and much faster.

It's a 1981 and has had the same noisy L52 transmission for the 4.5 years I've owned it. In that time it's towed several >5000# GCW loads, and one time a ~6600# GCW flat-tow of a car for 20 miles. A drivetrain being as strong as its weakest link, the transmission does not seem weak to me.

(08-25-2016, 11:52 PM)DannyB1954 Wrote: [ -> ]I set up a 30' RV to tow my truck complete with remote braking system. My advice is buy a car trailer or dolly with electric brakes instead. You can put anything on it, and you can back it up, (with a toad, the front wheels of the towed vehicle go into a bind if backed up). depending on location, the toad may be required to have it's own braking system. I think that cost me as much as a trailer would have.
About the only disadvantage is you have an extra trailer when you get to your destination.

Yeah, I would tow with a dolly, not flat-tow. It adds 700# but backing up is important, and it seems more secure.