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  #1  
Old 01-22-2013, 08:06 PM
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Towing Mini behind RV need to wire for taillights to work with trailer connection.

I just got the word from my boss that I am going to start a new program where I am going to be moving around the country working on various projects for the next three years. My wife and I decided to take the plunge and buy an RV to live in and pull our MCS behind. To do this I plan on pulling a vehicle dolly with the MCS front tires on it. I will therefore need to have the taillights act as the trailer lights when in tow. I have browsed through the forums and also done quite a few Google searches and the best I can come up with is this...http://www.etrailer.com/p-56200.html It seems to be for pulling a trailer BEHIND the MINI (I can't imagine.) I was wondering if anyone here has had a simliar problem or has performed this operation already. Any feedback would be awesome! Thanks!
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:32 PM
ZippyNH ZippyNH is offline
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My suggestion....
get the mag-mounted lights so you do not need to chop up the wiring harness....
They typically have a wire that plugs into the of the towing vehicle (trailer plug) harness, and then attach to the car...they are often used by tow truck drivers when transporting cars.
One tip...you might not need lights on the car...on the dolly might be fine, just like the ones that are rented by U-Haul, which I think are fully legal. That having been said....I have towed a few cars like this...be sure to get a good bra, and a windshield cover....especially with a low front like a MINI.
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Old 01-23-2013, 03:45 AM
kedwards kedwards is offline
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I agree with ZippyNH. Tow dollies normally have their own lights, so the vehicle being towed doesn't need its lights to be activated.

I have owned a tow dolly for about 15 years, and towed a few cars behind my Winnebago. I have also used the magnetic lights from Harbor Freight, though they weren't great.

The device you included a link to is NOT what you are looking for. It is for towing with your MINI.

Keith, who has towed a small trailer behind his MINI...
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Old 01-23-2013, 04:25 AM
richardsperry richardsperry is offline
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Buy a light weight trailer. That way you can take your motorcycle with you too...lol
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:22 PM
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I did some more research and found that some states (very few) do require the farthest most point beyond a working set of lights to be no more than 2 feet otherwise it needs to be indicated with a flag or some type of banner stating that it is being towed. I think I will go ahead and get a set of wireless lights since the hookup is so easy. Better safe than sorry. I would hate for someone to hit my MINI and make it look like a Fiat!
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Old 01-24-2013, 09:51 AM
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I tow my Mini behind my motorhome, and I have two suggestions for you. If it's a manual transmission consider pulling it with all four wheels on the ground using a tow bar/baseplate setup similar to the one Blue Ox sells. (Google it to find out more.) This will save you big money on a tow dolly and the hassle of what to do with it once you reach your destination. The Blue Ox baseplate is a DYI project that took me less than an afternoon to complete.

Secondly, I agree with others in that you should avoid hacking into the harness on the Mini. I use a wireless magnetic tow light assembly, and it works awesome.
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:31 AM
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Martin Brenneke Martin Brenneke is offline
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Also when towing you will need a brake system for the towed vehicle if you tow all four on the ground. 99% of states require this.There are two or three systems that can be taken from car to car and are easy to use Brake buddy is one.Don't let anyone tell you that the MH has enough brakes for both MH and toad. It Dosn't. Ihave been towing for almost 30 years and would not tow without a brake system on trailer or car.
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Old 01-24-2013, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Martin Brenneke View Post
Don't let anyone tell you that the MH has enough brakes for both MH and toad. It Dosn't. Ihave been towing for almost 30 years and would not tow without a brake system on trailer or car.
This is under constant debate with people on both sides of the issue, and state laws are not always clear regarding towed vehicles versus trailers. Minis are generally under 3,500 pounds which is a common weight cut off for trailers that require brakes in many states. Regardless, it's an expensive option and a bit of a pain in the rear to setup and deal with everytime you head out. With that said, I do have an Apollo brake system for my Mini, but I seldom ever use it. I disagree that my 15,000 pound motorhome doesn't have enough brakes for my setup as I think it does. To each his own though.
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Old 01-24-2013, 07:27 PM
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Try this on for size... I actually went to an rv dealership today and we figured out that the MINI Cooper S can fit in the garage section of most toy hauler 5th wheels and is light enough to drive up the ramp! (16' garage with 3000 lb ramp capacity) Imagine the shock of all the people seeing you unload a car out of a travel trailer!

That being said my MINI is an automatic so flat towing is out so I definetely need a tow dolly. I am looking at a couple of different models that all have their own braking system built in (either electric or surge) and I am going to invest in the wireless towing lights.
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Old 01-25-2013, 12:16 AM
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Then there's the marine approach...

Cheers,

Charlie
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Old 01-25-2013, 01:30 AM
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Dumb question coming...
What's the main objection to just putting it on a full trailer? Is it the problem of what to do with the trailer when you get where you are going? I've only towed a car once (a Triumph Spitfire back in the UK) and we pulled that behind a normal 2.0L family car on a flatbed trailer. Trailer came with lights, brakes, license plate, etc., and doing it this way didn't put miles on the car or the tyres.
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Old 01-25-2013, 11:20 AM
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When camping it's a pain to have to deal with a trailer when you get there. Even a dolly can be cumbersome depending upon the campground. I'd much rather unhook and drive my Mini off. These days I tend to camp in places nearby, so the wear and tear is not that great on the Mini. You'd be putting wear and tear on a trailer's tires, bearings, etc anyway, so it's pretty much a wash. For example, my 9 year old motorhome that I've had since new only has 23,000 miles on it. Not that much of a big deal on the towed vehicles I've had.

For me another consideration is that I also have a motorcycle carrier between the RV and Mini and take my bike along most of the time too. With the MC carrier, a trailer with any tongue weight at all is not allowed. Since my Mini tows "4 down" I am placing only the minnimal weight of the tow bar on the carrier.
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Old 01-26-2013, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by spiney View Post
Dumb question coming...
What's the main objection to just putting it on a full trailer? Is it the problem of what to do with the trailer when you get where you are going? I've only towed a car once (a Triumph Spitfire back in the UK) and we pulled that behind a normal 2.0L family car on a flatbed trailer. Trailer came with lights, brakes, license plate, etc., and doing it this way didn't put miles on the car or the tyres.

The main difference is tongue weight. Tow dollys with only the front wheels on them have negligable tongue weight pushing down on the hitch itself. On the contrary a 16' flatbed car hauler could have over 500 lbs of weight pushing directly down on the hitch when loaded. As I see it 4 tires are on the ground no matter which way you go (granted not run flat $200 a piece tires) but in the off chance I encounter a time where towing the car would not be advised I could take the wheels off the dolly and store it (major PITA but do-able) and have the other half drive the MCS. I have to use some kind of trailer as I have an automatic so I think the dolly will be the best route.
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Old 02-10-2013, 08:45 AM
DjAlaska DjAlaska is offline
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This is the info I have been looking for, I wanted to no if you can flat tow a Mini (manual).
There is more than one problem using a trailer or a dolly, where to put it when your at a RV park, some charge extra. If you're in a RV full time, saving money is on the top of ur list. Here is a good reason to flat tow, let's say you make a wrong turn and end up in a dead end street @ 3:00 am in LA on your way to Mex. It's a lot easer and faster to get out and disconnect your car than a trailer and turn it around.
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Been there done that.
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Old 06-11-2013, 04:19 PM
minimike1! minimike1! is offline
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I bought a blue ox for my 2007 MINI. Just wondering if I need to leave the fob key in. Some say crank it then leave in the fob key in to keep the steering unlocked. What do you do?
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Old 06-13-2013, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by minimike1! View Post
I bought a blue ox for my 2007 MINI. Just wondering if I need to leave the fob key in. Some say crank it then leave in the fob key in to keep the steering unlocked. What do you do?
There's no need to leave the key fob in as the 2nd generation MINIs do not have a locking steering column. Just put the manual tranny in neutral and make sure the emergency brake is off and go.
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Old 06-13-2013, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by RobertJ View Post
There's no need to leave the key fob in as the 2nd generation MINIs do not have a locking steering column.
Oh, yes they do! Remove your key fob and then turn the steering wheel (hard work but possible) - you will soon hear the loud click as the steering column locks.
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Old 06-13-2013, 02:52 PM
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Oh, yes they do! Remove your key fob and then turn the steering wheel (hard work but possible) - you will soon hear the loud click as the steering column locks.
How would putting the key fob in "unlock" it? It doesn't lock. I've towed my MINI behind my motorhome for thousands of miles with no problem and no key fob. What leaving your key fob in your pod will do is run your battery down and pretty quickly.

Edit: OK, I did some quick research on this, and since Angib does not indicate what year MINI she has I have no idea. But, it appears that in 2007 the MINI Cooper did indeed have an "electronic" locking steering wheel. This practice was discontinued in 2008+ models. I'd guess it was discontinued for the very reason I mention above, and due to the fact that the battery would indeed drain with any type of flat towing. Not to mention if it should fail it could lead to a pretty bad accident...
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Old 06-21-2013, 06:03 PM
minimike1! minimike1! is offline
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I have a 2007 Base and it doesn't appear to lock when towing. I sat in the car as it was slowly towed around the neighborhood. The steering turned, even on a 90 degree angle with no fob inserted.
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Old 06-22-2013, 07:18 AM
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I have a 2007 Base and it doesn't appear to lock when towing. I sat in the car as it was slowly towed around the neighborhood. The steering turned, even on a 90 degree angle with no fob inserted.
Maybe they changed it in the middle of the model year?!? Thanks for the information!
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Old 06-22-2013, 07:29 AM
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I have a 2007 Base and it doesn't appear to lock when towing. I sat in the car as it was slowly towed around the neighborhood. The steering turned, even on a 90 degree angle with no fob inserted.
All current cars are required to have locking steering columns. It does lock, it just takes more effort than, say, a 1980s GM car. Also, FWIW, there is no such thing as a "base" MINI, unless it it is one with no options at all. MINIs are either S or non-S (or One or D in other markets).
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Old 06-26-2013, 06:46 AM
minimike1! minimike1! is offline
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Steering lock

Well the steering lock doesn't appear to work very well because the wheel turns freely when being towed, and I can also turn it from side to side with the fob key out.

Back from my trip towing the MINI coast to coast 7,500 miles. No problems at all. Met some people along the way. One mechanic said the steering lock can be unplugged. Your owners manual should tell you if there is a lock. I think it only appears on 2007 for part of the year. I have a 2007 base hatchback, no options, and the manual reads about a steering lock. But it also has information on a lot of other things that apply to the s model. I flat towed all the way with no braking system. Really couldn't tell the MINI was back there at all except I got 9.5 miles per gallon instead of 10. A guy in California said they required a separate towing brake, but he was towing a full-size pickup. I think my MINI weighs 2,300 pounds so that is below most state requirements. My boat weighs more and it doesn't have brakes on the factory trailer? I almost bought a tow dolly with brakes until I tried to move it around. already had a hernia operation so no thanks. Most experienced campers prefer to tow 4 down. And like the guy said before, I have 16,000 miles on my RV and it's nearly 4 years old. I like having the tow bar on the front as it is like having a heavy duty blue ox battering ram on the MINI when I'm driving it regular. I'm think that is a lot of added protection on the front of such a small car and it's barely noticable. Worth the 350 bucks. If my MINI ever breaks down, I can just haul it home with the truck too.

Last edited by minimike1!; 11-16-2013 at 02:53 AM.
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