How to Flat tow your 80 series... safely. (1 Viewer)

Mikesta

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Starting off, I am writing this to possibly help others who decide that they want to flat tow their 80 series. I want to be upfront and say I have not flat towed the 80 yet (except for around the block) and I don't know if flat towing is gonna wreck the tranny, transfer or anything else on the rig. However I have spoken to a few people on here via pm and tele about their setups and how they do it. Everything says you should NOT flat tow (4wheels down) an 80. The owners manual says it, toyota service people say it, many on this forum say it. So.... this is only written from a Guinea pig perspective.

DO THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK!

Hi I'm the Guinea pig because I want to:
1. Be able to take my family of 6 around the USA for a year or two and I don't want a freeking minivan.
2. I don't want a freeking minivan.
3. I want to be able to go pretty much anywhere.
4. If I'm going to pay $2 - $3k for a flat towing setup.... I'm not going to get one for a minivan.

For this you will need.
1. A vehicle that weighs significantly more than your 80.
2. An 80 that is perfectly alligned
3. A hitch that is rated at least 7,000lbs
4. A towbar that is rated for at least 7,000lbs
5. Safety cables
6. A custom made Base Plate (they don't make em because you shouldn't tow these!)
7. A braking system
8. A safety brake-away system

You will also need to research if this is the right thing for you. I chose flat towing because a 37' RV + a 20' Cruiser + about 4' of towbar put me at the 61' length. Call around to Koa's and rv parks... you won't be able to stay in many unless you disconnect the Cruiser. Now if you are Trailering your 80... then add another 8'+ and do you really want to disconnect the trailer/cruiser combo just to stay the night? Dolly... out of the question.

This thread helped me come to the decision of flat towing. Make up your own mind. https://forum.ih8mud.com/80-series-tech/61565-motorhome-towing-80-a.html

The 80 I have in the below pictures was one I was looking at buying. I wanted to make sure that it was going to mock up right. It was close, but not where I wanted it.
1.jpg
2.jpg
3.jpg
 

Mikesta

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So why didn't I like the last picture... well because
1. I wanted the hitch to line up with the bottom of the ARB... where the recovery hooks are.
2. Because my pipe drags when I go over a bump and I wanted something more stout to save my pipe
3. Because the hitch was only 5k lbs.

I picked up a 15,000lb hitch and replaced it and now you can see why I like it so much more.
1.jpg
2.jpg
3.jpg
 

Mikesta

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So now that I have the hitch worked out.... we needed to get the towbar.

I researched the towbar, and wanting to do it right went with the Blue Ox Avanta LX BX7445 unit. I waited and waited and waited till one came up on ebay worth buying. I was lucky and picked a brand new in OPEN box one up for $440... they go for quite a bit more.

The day I got it, I immediatly went out and hooked the cruiser up to the ARB shackle points and towed it around the neighborhood. I just had to. I didn't go over 10 mph and wanted to test drive it with the coach. The 305hp 6.7 Cummins with AISIN (TOYOTA) tranny towed it like it wasn't there.

Video
Now I can proceed.
 

Mikesta

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Now here is where I'm at.

Cruiser Base Plate build. You should not... I repeat should not use the arb recovery holes for towing long term... out of a ditch... yea, 10,000 miles... hell no.

I am going to get a piece of square tube that will be drilled for the lower recovery hook location and cross both rails. Then I will either make or buy Blue Ox Part # BX88230... which is a generic base plate you can use to build your own baseplate with. I will then drill holes for the sides so I can bolt the plate into the side of the frame for more support... overkill... ya.

It is advised to have the width of these base plates PERFECTLY centered on your rig.... and the sweet spot is 24" center to center.

See my hack job image.
1.jpg
 

Mikesta

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Then you will want to get some kind of braking system.... Its the law in many states... you can get a ticket... but really, thats not my motivation.

I have 4 kids and they are my precious cargo. I want to make sure they are as safe as possible in this 61' road train.

So I ordered up a Patriot Wireless Braking system for the cruiser.

More info here: Blue Ox Patriot Braking System

It comes with the safety release mechanism which applies the breaks if for some reason your towbar, safety straps and hitch (because thats what it would have to take for this scenereo to happen) all come off and your truck is driving on its own.

Its a good deal, takes about 1 hour to hook up and can be used in any vehicle. You will pay the same price for a brake system hard wired in your vehicle. Some people like hardwire because they don't like taking the box in and out every time they want to drive their car.... but 10 minutes isn't much time... I want to slow down a bit after all.
braking chart.jpg
patriot500.jpg
 

Mikesta

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Thats where we are at. I'll post pictures of the BASE plate as its made up and show you what I mean when its done.

As I pause in this setup, let me fast forward a bit and show you what it costs.

Case of Dead Guy Ale - $40
15,000lb receiver - $240
New Blue Ox towbar with 10,000 safety cables - $440
Blue Ox base plate - $90
Patriot brake system -$1000
Scrap square steel laying around - Free
Brake light setup - TBD

So we are looking at around $1800 - $1900 DIY... with the best parts.
They wanted $3200 to tie in my 2000 Honda Odyssey which I immediatly sold for $3000 and bought a Locked 80.

Will I burn out my Tranny... maybe. But this year, I will put 10,000 miles... actually more like 13,000 miles on this setup. For my enjoyment and your benefit.... if it works :doh:
 
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Mikesta: in the link you posted CDan mentions removing the driveshafts, is that part of your plan?
 

Mikesta

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Mikesta: in the link you posted CDan mentions removing the driveshafts, is that part of your plan?

I was going to add that part and spaced it... Thanks Kernal.

NO - I will not do anything except.
1. Install Brake controller (10 Minutes)
2. turn key to ACC so that the steering turns
3. Put the T-Case in Neutral... leaving the tranny in Park.

I'm hoping my coach continues to get 10-11mpg. If it does, my kids will want to strech their legs and the furthest I could drive would be 10-11 hours without stopping. I will start the truck up and let it run for a few minutes at each stop... initially till I figure it out.

I will do some tests around the city here before heading out.
 
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I was going to add that part and spaced it... Thanks Kernal.

NO - I will not do anything except.
1. Install Brake controller (10 Minutes)
2. turn key to ACC so that the steering turns
3. Put the T-Case in Neutral... leaving the tranny in Park.

I will do some tests around the city here before heading out.

Would your axles still be turning t-case gears?
Would this cause any damage to the t-case?

Just wondering, incase I ever have to tow my LC.
 

Bossman

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Just curious - why no tow dolly? I use mine all the time and have no issues other than trying to back up(which you won't be doing either).
 
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I wouldn't flat-tow mine without hubs in the front and either hubs in the back or pull the shafts. This way the hubs are the only thing turning. This will equate to better mpg in your motor coach also bc you don't have the extra mechanical disadvantage of the gear drag from the ring/pinion and the tcase. If you don't care about mpg, then the advantage will be having not toasted either of the axles or tcase ~60' is a long way to hear if something starts to go, and te longer you tow it that way the more damage you'll do.
 

Bossman

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full time 4wd doesn't like tow dollys, it will drive off?!?

Sorry, what? Same issues apply to the axle on the ground i.e. remove the driveshaft, pull the axles, install a driveshaft disconnect, etc.

My thoughts were to install a set of locking hubs on the front axle and back the cruiser onto the dolly. Strap it down, lock the steering wheel in the straight ahead position, and unlock the front hubs. Done. Get where you are going then lock the hubs and unstrap the rear tires and drive off. Seems simple enough to me. What am I missing? The only possible issue I can see would be relying on the steering wheel lock for thousands of miles. I don't think it would be an issue but admit that I don't know enough about the system to be sure.
 

Mikesta

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Just curious - why no tow dolly? I use mine all the time and have no issues other than trying to back up(which you won't be doing either).


I started to research the Dolly when I had the Odyssey, but the Odyssey was too heavy for the dolly at 4500lbs. I never researched it on the cruiser. When I saw and talked to a few people who have done the flat towing, the car dolly option went completely out the door as an option.

That and its still another piece of equipment you have to find a spot to and it would make my 37' coach about 43-45' long... too long for many campgrounds.
 

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