Some terms may not be global, inline descriptions for questionable terms

A motorhome is RV with an engine (as opposed to a camp trailer that is pulled by another vehicle). Many people will tow a small car behind it to use for running around when the RV is parked at a campsite.

Currently there are 3 basic approaches to towing the car

  1. 4 tires on the ground, with a towbar connecting the car to the RV
  2. A tow dolly, a small trailer like device that the front tires of the car sit on
  3. A full size car trailer that the entire car rides on.

For the first two it is not possible/recommended to backup with the car attached. You can backup with the full car trailer, but at the camp ground it is big extra thing to put someplace.

A 'wheel lift' or 'stinger' is a device on a tow truck that picks a car up by the tires. There are several manufacturers in the US that makes ones that "hide" under the back of a pickup, cost start around $4,000 for a brand new stinger. A car being towed on stinger, can be backed up just like a trailer.

By putting a hidden stinger on the back of a motorhome, you could backup without disconnecting the towed car AND not have anything extra to put someplace at the campground.

My question: A stinger on the back of a Motorhome seems like a wonderful solution to many of the hassles of towing a car. Why can't I find any examples (lots of googling) of it being done? If it is not possible/practical why?

RV Classes (for clarity of question) There are 3 basic "classes" of motorized RVs, Wikipedia has an article with details, there are execptions and variables, but for the purpose of this question, the below is a guideline

  • Class A - This is purpose built on a heavy truck chassis. The exterior may resemble a bus, or camp trailer, the drivers area is an intricate part of the "home". The truck chassis is not near any load limits.

  • Class B - A complete van, as you would purchase from a local dealer to haul stuff, has an RV built inside it. The exterior will look like a delivery van, possibly with special paint, custom windows, and possibly a raised roof. The Drivers area easily access the camper area. As built it may or may not be near load limits of the vehicle.

  • Class C - A marriage of the other two classes, A normal van is ordered from the Manufacture (i.e. Ford) but without a complete van body. The body stops just behind the driver's seat. The RV builder builds a camper on the bare frame back of the van. The exterior will look like someone grafted a camp trailer on to a van. Access between the drivers area and the camper may be difficult. As built it will most likely be very near the chassis load limit.

Of the above Classes, the Class C would not be a good candidate for a stinger, it would be near it load limit, while not impossible. it would be improbable. The Class B would be a good candidate for the stinger, but owners of them use them as both a camper and for casual running around, they would not have a interest in towing a car. Class A these are the most expensive, and the largest, they are very capable of towing heavy loads, and can easily support the extra weight of the stinger and car. The Class A is the most likely to have car towed behind it.

  • Why can you back up a car on one of these better than on a dolly? The use of dollies for this is common in the UK, where our motorhomes tend to be smaller. – Chris H Jul 2 '18 at 13:34
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    @ChrisH There are a number of blog posts about backup up a car on a dolly behind an RV, most say that the car tires pivot making double pivot points and something gets broken, I have never tried. On a stinger the the front tires don't pivot, In a past life I drove a number of tow trucks, with and without stingers, you only have a single pivot point and can backup just like a backing a single trailer. – James Jenkins Jul 2 '18 at 13:40
  • sounds like it's more practical to just use a trailer and always park the car on top as not to take up extra space or look for a toy hauler (combined (small) car transporter and camper/caravan) – HTDutchy Jul 3 '18 at 22:35
  • Hi James! I noticed in a comment thread below paparazzo's answer that some different classes of RVs have different needs. @ChrisH mentioned you possibly explaining that in your question. Would you mind? I don't know any of that stuff but would like to learn! – Sue Saddest Farewell TGO GL Jul 4 '18 at 23:48
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    Thanks James! That's really helpful. Once you've seen this I'm going to delete my comments here. – Sue Saddest Farewell TGO GL Jul 5 '18 at 16:06

One reason not is tongue weight. Over 60% of the vehicle weight is on hitch.

A truck is designed to take a load in the bed so there is extra capacity. Most tow trucks are double rear wheel.

On an RV the frame is already loaded to near capacity.

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  • That was part of my thought as well... But Most RV's have Dual rear wheels and the Stinger mounts to the frame of the vehicle not to the tow hitch. You are also correct about many RV's being near capacity, but this is mostly Class C, not so much for Class A motorhomes. – James Jenkins Jul 2 '18 at 13:28
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    Many motorhomes also overhang the chassis much more at the back than trucks do, meaning much more leverage on the assembly. I'm not saying there aren't motorhomes on which this could be done but you'd have to be very careful (funnily enough my campervan probably could do this, as it's the same panel van used by one of the breakdown services -- but they upgrade the back suspension) – Chris H Jul 2 '18 at 13:33
  • @JamesJenkins If you are talking Class A I think you should put that in the question. Mounted to the frame is still tongue weight. – paparazzo Jul 2 '18 at 14:29
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    If you put the classes in the question, please explain them for those of us from other parts of the world – Chris H Jul 2 '18 at 15:58
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    Thanks @JamesJenkins, so mine is a class B in those terms, except the 2-passenger bench seat means you can lose the "easily" from "The Drivers area easily access the camper area.". – Chris H Jul 5 '18 at 13:23

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