rvupgradestore.com Composet Products
RV Life Magazine RV Park Reviews RV Trip Wizard

Author Topic: Setting up 2014 Equinox to Tow 4 Down  (Read 473 times)

CJ4812

  • ---
  • Posts: 14
Setting up 2014 Equinox to Tow 4 Down
« on: March 06, 2018, 06:26:38 AM »
I recently bought a 2014 Equinox to tow behind my motorhome.  I have a 2017 Coachmen Pursuit 33BH.  I have been buying everything online and plan on doing the install myself.  All products are from Blue OX and I currently have the Alpha tow bar, baseplate, 7-pin to 6 pin connector, Patriot II braking system and blub and socket wiring harness.  I also purchased a toad battery charger from RVI.  My question is this, do I still need to pull the fuse in my Equinox (like the manual states) if I have this towed vehicle battery charger installed?  If I still have to pull the fuse every time even with the battery charger, then I will install the bypass switch for the fuse that needs to be pulled.  I appreciate any help offered. 
2017 Coachmen Pursuit 33BH
2014 Chevy Equinox Toad
All Blue OX towing components

jagnweiner

  • ---
  • Posts: 1267
Re: Setting up 2014 Equinox to Tow 4 Down
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2018, 07:28:21 AM »
Welcome to the forum!  I'm afraid I don't have any advice specific to the Equinox, but I did just install a Blue Ox baseplate on my Buick, so thought I'd offer some encouragement.  Blue Ox makes a really good kit with pretty thorough instructions.  The hardest part is removing the fascia.  I recommend having on hand some type of small plastic pry bar to remove the plastic "push" connectors that you probably have holding the wheel well liners to the fascia.  I had already purchased a cheap kit like this for interior panels and found that one of the tools worked pretty well on the push pins and did not damage them.  https://www.autozone.com/test-scan-and-specialty-tools/door-trim-remover-tool-universal-type/help-multi-purpose-removal-tools/454199_0?_requestid=3822565 

I did find that there was one step missing in the Blue Ox instructions; it didn't say at what point you are actually supposed to pull the fascia off before you move on to the next step. Because the instructions are specific to each model, I'm sure it was just a glitch with my car.  That had me at a standstill for about 15 minutes, but eventually I figured it out.  Also helps to have a second set of hands when you are actually trying to position the baseplate on the car.  It was a very close fit and I had to use a little pressure with a pry bar to get it in place. 

Hopefully someone with knowledge specific to the Equinox chimes in on your questions.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2018, 07:30:53 AM by jagnweiner »
-Scott
2000 Itasca Horizon 36LD

Gary RV_Wizard

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 64055
  • RVer Emeritus
Re: Setting up 2014 Equinox to Tow 4 Down
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2018, 08:06:20 AM »
Hard to say whether pulling the fuse is still necessary.  These days, battery discharge is far from the only reason for pulling a fuse.  In some (many?) vehicles it is also necessary to disable various functions that may be active either fulltime or with the ignition in ACC, e.g. automatic traction stabilizer (GM Stabil-trac), electric power steering pump, or all-wheel drive.   You could try to research the specific reasons why GM wants that fuse removed, but I would install the fuse switch and not have to worry about it.

I had a fuse experience with a new 2007 GMC Acadia that illustrates how complex the modern vehicle systems are.  The owner manual said to pull one fuse and I did, but it turned out to be insufficient to prevent both battery discharge and Check Engine warnings.  I reported it to GMC and they said "Ooops! You need to pull a 2nd fuse as well". That didn't resolve all the problem either. Then they said "Pull the #1 master fuse to disable an entire bank of fuses (there were 3 of those masters). That solved the major problem but I still got occasional warnings from the ECM when I resumed normal operation. Later years expanded the number of fuses to be pulled to address further problems.  It was evident that few people at GM understood the interactions of the numerous control systems well enough to determine exactly what can happen when under tow instead of power.  There have been other episodes since, with different vehicles and manufacturers. Ford, Chrysler and GM have all had to recant on the towability of various models or designate different fuses to pull, or even specify that the battery be disconnected altogether.
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

CJ4812

  • ---
  • Posts: 14
Re: Setting up 2014 Equinox to Tow 4 Down
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2018, 08:18:24 AM »
Thank you for the information.  I will plan on installing the fuse bypass switch and be done with it.  I do have the plastic body panel removal tools so that should help if they are needed.  There are great videos online from etrailer for my model vehicle so I am confident with doing this work myself.  I am sure I'll need another set of hands with the baseplate install to get it lined up correctly due to the weight.  Having access to a lift would be nice but I don't have that option.  Still looks doable in my garage or driveway.
2017 Coachmen Pursuit 33BH
2014 Chevy Equinox Toad
All Blue OX towing components

jagnweiner

  • ---
  • Posts: 1267
Re: Setting up 2014 Equinox to Tow 4 Down
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2018, 08:42:48 AM »
Having access to a lift would be nice but I don't have that option.  Still looks doable in my garage or driveway.

I have access to a friend's lift, but did not use it for this project.  Not necessary at all.  The GS sits pretty low so I put the front end on jackstands to raise it a bit.  If it were an SUV with a lot of ground clearance that wouldn't have been necessary.  I was also able to avoid taking the front wheels off.  The Buick doesn't have a steering lock so I just moved the wheels out of the way manually when I needed to disconnect the wheel well liners.
-Scott
2000 Itasca Horizon 36LD

CJ4812

  • ---
  • Posts: 14
Re: Setting up 2014 Equinox to Tow 4 Down
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2018, 09:09:38 AM »
I just called my local RV dealership.  They said it would be $1300 to install everything if I bring them all the parts.  It will take them a day and a half for the install and they could get me in next Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.  Does that seem like a reasonable price?  For peace of mind I am leaning towards this but I don't know if their price is good. 
2017 Coachmen Pursuit 33BH
2014 Chevy Equinox Toad
All Blue OX towing components

jagnweiner

  • ---
  • Posts: 1267
Re: Setting up 2014 Equinox to Tow 4 Down
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2018, 09:59:44 AM »
Depending on what their shop rate is, it might not be outlandish, but still seems a little high.  Here's what I can tell you for comparison:

The last car (before the Buick) I set up as a toad was a Honda Accord coupe.  I initially was going to do it all myself, to include Blue Ox baseplate and tail light wiring kit and Roadmaster Even Brake (a "box" system similar to your Patriot II).  I started in on the baseplate install, following the instructions, but soon lost confidence in my ability to successfully remove the fascia and complete the install.  I decided to take it to the local body shop I use.  They had never done one before, but I talked to the owner and showed him the Blue Ox instructions and he decided he could do it.  I ended up having him do the baseplate and the taillight wiring.  (I did the wiring for the brake system myself)  I believe the total was around $300 (at $55/hr).

When I did the baseplate on the Buick, I probably spent about 5 hours on it.  If I were to do it again, I think I could do it in around 3.  I haven't done my tail lights yet, but I don't see that taking any more than a couple of hours (with the help of a friend).  When I did the brake system last time, I think I spent no more than about 2 hrs.  If the Patriot is anything like the Even Brake, the only thing you have to do is wire in the brake controller and the emergency breakaway system.

So I would say it should take no more than 10 man-hours of labor. 

Edit:  OK, I looked at the Patriot II instructions and it is actually substantially simpler to install than my Even Brake was.  There is no controller that you have to hardwire into your toad, you just have to mount the breakaway switch.  I would see how much the dealer wants to just install the baseplate and taillight wiring. 
« Last Edit: March 06, 2018, 10:09:17 AM by jagnweiner »
-Scott
2000 Itasca Horizon 36LD

CJ4812

  • ---
  • Posts: 14
Re: Setting up 2014 Equinox to Tow 4 Down
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2018, 01:09:56 PM »
Scott that is good advice to have them install the baseplate and wiring for the tail lights.  Installing the battery charging, fuse bypass switch and running the line for the breakaway switch for the Patriot system seems pretty straight forward.  It will save me some money as well. 
2017 Coachmen Pursuit 33BH
2014 Chevy Equinox Toad
All Blue OX towing components

jagnweiner

  • ---
  • Posts: 1267
Re: Setting up 2014 Equinox to Tow 4 Down
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2018, 01:15:03 PM »
Ah, I forgot about the battery charging and fuse bypass switch.  That probably makes their $1300 and a day and a half in the ballpark, but if you are comfortable doing those yourself, definitely go for it. 
-Scott
2000 Itasca Horizon 36LD

CJ4812

  • ---
  • Posts: 14
Re: Setting up 2014 Equinox to Tow 4 Down
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2018, 01:23:30 PM »
It's good to hear you think the $1300 is in the ballpark.  To me it makes sense to have the dealership install everything.  They have a lot more experience doing this sort of work and apt to do a better install than me.  There is something nice about dropping the car off and then showing up the next day having all the work done.  I will talk with my wife tonight and see what she thinks. 
2017 Coachmen Pursuit 33BH
2014 Chevy Equinox Toad
All Blue OX towing components

Gary RV_Wizard

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 64055
  • RVer Emeritus
Re: Setting up 2014 Equinox to Tow 4 Down
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2018, 04:11:38 PM »
If I could get $1300 for 1-1/2days of my labor, I would do it myself. That's like paying yourself $100/hour for work you can do at home, and work that comes with decent instructions (the base plate and brake, anyway).

I have little reason to believe that an RV dealer would do a better job than I do. Certainly I care more about the quality of the work on my car than he probably does.  The guy assigned to the task may or may not have ever done one before, and could be anywhere from their top technician to the lot boy who cleans & preps rigs. If you want peace of mind and a better chance at a skilled & experienced guy, go to a local hitch shop that specializes in that sort of thing.
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL