Towing my prius behind my RV

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Accessories & Modifications' started by slimwille, Oct 26, 2007.

  1. AZ&LovingIt

    AZ&LovingIt New Member

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    Just got off the phone with Toyota Motor Company and they said that a Prius can ONLY BE TOWED USING A TOW DOLLY. Any other way will void the warranty or cause serious damage.:rockon:
     
  2. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

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    Ok, this is not that big of deal:

    1. Get a Prius that has no stinkin' warranty.
    2. Fabricate plates to attach to the tow bar.
    3. Add a break-away and auto-brake system to Prius.
    4. Run brake and turn signal lights to rear of Prius.
    5. Connect to tow vehicle, check lights and safety cables.
    6. If going faster than 42 mph, start Prius and put in "D" or "N"(*)
    7. Have a nice trip, as for reverse (**)
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Prototype for dimensions:
    [​IMG]
    (Yes, wine is important . . . . for dealing with the whiners,)

    Another prototype view:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    For those who crave more details: Prius Flat Towing - AT YOUR OWN RISK

    * - Towing the Prius in "D" and ready makes it seem like the longest downgrade in the universe. When the battery is fully charged, the engine will run just to avoid the 42 mph limit.

    ** - Reverse: disconnect the Prius and drive out of the way. Put tow vehicle in reverse and drive to where you want it. Get in Prius and have some fun.

    Bob Wilson

    ps. Normally I don't hang in forums for vehicles I don't have. Just adding some brain-food.
     
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  3. rrobb

    rrobb Junior Member

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    Are you aware that all vehicles have a max towing weight? My class A RV has a max tow weight of 3500#s. Our Prius dry weight is just under 3200#s. That only leaves 300#s for an auto trailer that will carry it with all wheels off the ground. If you know of such a trailer please let me know.
    And by the way, I spoke to my local dealership service manager who tells me there are sensors on the rear wheels that can cause electrical issued if towed with the rear wheels on the ground. Another dealership service manager tells me its 'ok' to tow with the rear wheels down. Seems to me Toyota doesn't have its 'stuff' together on this one.
     
  4. josh995

    josh995 Junior Member

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    OK... This is such a common thing for non-RV'ers to say. I'll explain why we don't like to tow our cars on trailers. :)

    First, a trailer is heavy. When we're already only getting around 10 (or less) MPG, any extra weight decreases that. On a long trip, that adds up! :eek:

    Second, yes, most of us with rigs can probably afford the 2k or so a trailer costs. It's really not that we can't afford it, we just don't see the need to spend the money on unnecessary things. :)

    Third, most RV park spaces barely have enough room for your rig and your car, let alone your rig, your car, AND a trailer. And they very seldom have a place for you to park your trailer for a few days. Also most parks require you to disconnect your tow car before you can even enter the park... So if your car is on a trailer, well... you're SOL! How are ya gonna move the trailer after you disconnect? Uh oh! :p

    Lastly, it's a pain in the butt enough to disconnect the car, but having to take the car off the trailer, then (if you even have room) trying to park the trailer in your spot, then disconnecting the trailer, then moving your rig into position.... Ugh! It's giving me a headache just thinkin' about it! :p

    Flat towing is definitely the way to go, if you have a vehicle that is capable!
     
  5. priusmobile

    priusmobile New Member

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    I just bought a 2010 Prius and am heading for FL from CA. In researching the answers to "can I tow my car and, if so, how?", I ran across the below post from another link (which I guess I can't display until I've posted 5 times):

    Long answer why...
    You are, basically, talking about "dingy towing" and it is only meant for vehicles that have true, free-wheeling axles. You cannot tow a front wheel drive vehicle, either two or four wheels down, for that kind of distance without causing major damage to it. This is true for most cars, not just the Prius.

    Think of the motorcoaches that tow vehicles behind them on the interstates. What you are seeing being dingy towed are either true four wheel drive vehicles (not AWD, like a cross-over SUV) that have axles that can be unlocked and made free-wheeling, or manual (stick-shift) cars that have free-wheeling axles because of the manual transmission.

    Even some vehicles that can be dingy towed for long distances must be started up and driven periodically to keep the axle fluid from freezing up (locking up, not getting cold).

    What you need to do is either have someone drive it or get a trailer that keeps all four wheels off the ground.

    A bit more info to understand better...

    Look through your owner's manual in the "Emergency" section, under "Towing". It recommends having your Prius moved on a flatbed tow truck or, only if neccessary, with the front wheels up for short distances if something bad happens.

    Take a look at the plug in the front bumper, driver's side. That plug pops out. The eyelet in the back, clipped into the storage tray, next to the jack crank and lug nut tool, is then spun into the threads under where the plug was.

    See the white lithium grease still on the eyelet threads?

    That eyelet is what was used to tie down your Prius when it came over on the ship from Toyota City, Japan. It is also what is used to hook onto to pull your Prius up onto a flatbed tow trailer if it ever had to be towed.

    Prius don't have tie-down points under them like other vehicles do because Prius are sculpted underneath just as much as on top. Tie-downs that stick out add wind drag and lower mileage.

    Take a look at the bumpers of other vehicles, cars mostly, and you'll be able to tell what was made in Europe or Asia because of the plugs. That goes for any car from Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mercedes, even GM, Ford and Chrysler. This isn't foolproof, but it is true most of the time.

    Good luck on your trip and please don't tow your Prius, it will be ruined before you get there.
    Source(s):

    I teach about hybrids and advanced tech for Toyota.

    • 4 years ago
    Have things changed since this post? It sounds technical enough to make me stop in my tracks. The last thing I want to do is arrive in FL with a gearbox (?) full of gravel sounds.
     
  6. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    No. Everything is just the same. The Prius is not designed to tow with the drive wheels down.

    Tom
     
  7. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    Prius don't have tie-down points under them like other vehicles do because Prius are sculpted underneath just as much as on top. Tie-downs that stick out add wind drag and lower mileage.


    My 07 has tie downs behind the front bumper. At least thats what they look like. One on each side about a foot behind the front bumper. Can't be tow hooks as they are up in the chassis. But protrude through the underside plastic cover. The owners manual make no mention of them which tells me thats what they are. Used for transit shipping I bet.

    Are these what Bob has the wooden proto type tow hooks bolted too?

    So are they tow hooks or tie downs?

    There really strong. I use them to jack up the car all the time. Haven't bent one yet.
     

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  8. priusmobile

    priusmobile New Member

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    "No. Everything is just the same. The Prius is not designed to tow with the drive wheels down. Tom"

    Yes, but the tech guy also states that the Prius should not be towed at all.
     
  9. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    That is correct. The Prius is not supposed to be towed with its wheels on the ground. The front wheels are the powered wheels, so they need to be lifted. The shape of the Prius makes it likely to hit the ground if you only lift the front, so the recommendation is that it only be towed with all four wheels off the ground.

    As others have posted, there are ways around this recommendation, but you do so at your own peril.

    Tom
     
  10. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    I have the owners manual in front of me and they say its ok to tow the car from the front with the type of hook that slides under the front of the car like repo guys use and not to use the sling and the picture displays the angle of both. The hook that slides under does not lift the car much but the sling does scraping the bottom of the car. Excellent point Tom. Most people would think the sling is ok till they see a shower of sparks as the tow truck drives a way.

    Flat bed for me.
     
  11. donalmilligan089

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    I towed a 2005 from southern va to Indiana and back with a tow dolly, Uhaul claims thiers is not wide enough for the prius. I bought one that is 81 inches between the fenders and now rent it out to neighbors
     
  12. patsparks

    patsparks An Aussie perspective

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    My 2c.
    Remove the rear skirt from the rear bumper and use a dolly trailer to lift the front wheels.
    Happy travels.
     
  13. lcheapo

    lcheapo Junior Member

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    Have to add a bit to this vintage thread. Yesterday while driving home in my trusty Super White '04, I saw somebody flat towing a 2G Prius with a rope and a compact Pickup. Don't know how far they were going and the Prius flashers were on, so I assume they got it into neutral. I could only cringe.:(
     
  14. james78

    james78 Junior Member

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    We purchased a tow master dolly for our Rv and it works great except for the potholes. Around DC last year heading to Vermont we lost a plastick fender cracked thru the top and was rubbing the tire so I broke it off the rest of the way. As far as the prius no problem loading or unloading just make sure whomever is driving to make sure they stop when you tell them as I'm sure it wouldn't be pretty and also the emergency brake as mentioned. We don't have any dragging at all but our dolly was used and someone added extesions at the bottom otherwise the front cowl might hit? I was worried about them hitting the bottom of the car but so far not. However I did have the same thing happen with ABS lights coming on 2 times and one of the times the brake pedal went to the floor . I thought maybe the strap on the inside of the tire broke a brake line but not, there was nothing rubbed inside the tire. I hit the emergency brake to stop the car and shut it off, restarted and everything was fine. I know in the one thread someone said they might be able to figure this out? We unloaded the car 4 times and 2 with above issues as far as I know I did everything the same each time.
     
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  15. Chuck Linn

    Chuck Linn New Member

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    I have a 2005 Prius that I tow on a dolly no problems except for the headlights getting all frosted over just looks bad I have tried to find a towing bra with the lights covered but cant seem to find one any ideas.
     
  16. BAllanJ

    BAllanJ Active Member

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    Heavy duty saran wrap?
     
  17. richmond2000

    richmond2000 Junior Member

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    there is industrial "cling wrap" avail for packing pallets of boxes so the boxes stay "straight"
    and second I do not know if US Uhaul are different then CDN Uhaul but I have towed large cars with there dolly and would recommend removing the lower rear bumper skirt or a off ramp will
    and for Dinghy towing do NOT do it. I work for a trucking firm and we got some new tractors in and they are driven from the factory and one of them towed a chevy Colorado Dinghy style and they leave the engine idling!!! the pore thing had 350 000 MILES on it mostly idled !!!
     
  18. donovanbaldwin

    donovanbaldwin Donovan

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    I was going to post a question about towing my 2006 Prius, but, after reading these posts, have no reason to. Thanks to all for the info.

    My 2006, by the way, now has 130,000+ miles. I just came back from a Dallas - Atlanta - Dallas trip for a family funeral, and still got 48 mpg at 68 mph.

    Have a great day!!

    Don
     
  19. DragonRider22

    DragonRider22 Junior Member

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    We will be towing our 2012
    Prius IV behind our RV using a new American Tow Dolly which has a pivot bed and we were told we had to tie our steering wheel to the brake pedal to keep the wheels straight.Has anyone had any experience with this?
     
  20. HaroldW

    HaroldW Active Member

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    I see them being towed with a doly only:). H ​
     
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