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

Author Topic: New to Flat Towing  (Read 1263 times)

John Stephens

  • ---
  • Posts: 549
  • Vacations begin when you leave the driveway
New to Flat Towing
« on: May 11, 2018, 12:49:12 PM »
I'm getting to the age where I really don't want to climb underneath my tow dolly to hook up my toad anymore. The wife and I planned on getting a new car this or next year and after doing considerable research, we've decided to buy a 2018 Chevy Equinox, wanting a crossover SUV that can be flat towed. Now, I have to determine the best equipment to have installed to do the job. It seems all the hitch installers here in town as well as my RV mechanic think Blue Ox is the best and I don't disagree as far as the face plate and tow bars are concerned. I'd appreciate opinions from those of you familiar with the equipment as well as its competition. I'm thinking of getting an Ascent, since it's aluminum and weighs less, and also is adjustable as opposed to fixed when trying to connect.

The brake system, though, is where my mechanic and I break away from Blue Ox since it appears from their website the only system they have is the Patriot, which is a portable system. My mechanic is of the opinion that portable systems can oftentimes fail because they can turn over or become dislodged between the brake pedal and the seat during turns. I don't mind having a permanent installation made for several reasons and am looking for opinions of what may be the best. We won't be trading this car so I don't have to worry about portability and I would prefer to already have the system installed so I don't have to mess with it every time I hook up the toad. So far, I have looked at the SMI DUO and the Roadmaster Invisibrake. Since the Invisibrake has a built in battery charger, it seems more practical and will negate the need to install a charger and voltage regulator that my mechanic indicated would be required. If anyone has experience with either of these systems, please share.
John
Cape Coral, Fl.
2005 Winnebago Adventurer 38J
2018 Chevy Equinox

Oscar Mike

  • Guest
Re: New to Flat Towing
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2018, 03:33:00 PM »
I've used the SMI Stay N Play Duo for several years, trouble free.

yolo

  • ---
  • Posts: 698
  • You Only Live Once
Re: New to Flat Towing
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2018, 03:54:07 PM »
Look into Ready Brute tow bar with brake.  Worked for me and a lot of others.  True proportional braking and less expensive than the electronic/air/vacuum systems out there. I had Blue Ox base plates on four different vehicles and swear by them.  Also have had Blue Ox tow bars, but I prefer the simplicity of the Ready Brute tow bar.
Bill Bell -- SW Florida
Sailboat -> Powerboat -> Motorhome -> Rest Home -> Funeral Home
Presently between Motorhome and Rest Home

Koodog

  • ---
  • Posts: 346
  • Another Day in Paradise - Lyons, CO
Re: New to Flat Towing
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2018, 04:56:38 PM »
I use roadmaster and brake buddy. No issues at all.
02 Rexhall 3550BSL
Triton V10 powered
2003 Jeep Liberty Toad
Walt & Terry Sanford

John From Detroit

  • ---
  • Posts: 21261
  • ^My New Home^
    • Diabetics Forum
Re: New to Flat Towing
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2018, 05:19:26 PM »
Most dealers recommend what they carry.

I have a BLue Ox and really like it.. Only thign that might be better is an add on for the Blue ox and that's the Readdy Brute with Readdy stop and Readdy brake.

I mean. Tow bar and brakes all in one. don't get better than that

To find out if you can tow google Remco Towing and find the proper link to enter your Ride's (Towed's) Vital Statistics, Make, Model year engine and tranny and such.

They will let you know what. if anything to add. Do not feel the need to take their advice on Tow bars or brakes, but do for Lube Pumps. Axle locks (You might not like that) or Drive Shaft Disconnect

The axle lock you have to get down and reach behind a wheel. you mentioned not liking getting down and up.
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

glen54737

  • ---
  • Posts: 1284
  • My camping buddy
Re: New to Flat Towing
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2018, 05:27:18 PM »
I'm interested in where this thread leads too.
Where would you get this stuff installed?

Road master is the only base plate manufacturer that admits to fitting my 2018 Explorer.
2018 Thor Miramar 35.2
2015 F-350 CC short box 6.7l 3.55 axle
2015 Alpine 3510RE-sold

Glen,Nene
Mickey & Jayco (yorkies)

grashley

  • ---
  • Posts: 4934
  • Western KY for now.
Re: New to Flat Towing
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2018, 06:40:25 PM »
John,
I am sure you have done your homework, but the 2.0 L is NOT flat towable, nor is the 1.5 L AWD model.  The ones listed as flat towable on Remco include the 1.5 L FWD  and the 1.6 L diesel, FWD or AWD.
Preacher Gordon, DW Debbie
09 Grand Junction 35 TMS  Progressive HW50C
Andersen Ultimate hitch
2013 F350 Lariat LB SRW Supercab diesel 4X4   TST TMS  Garmin 760
Nimrod Series 70 popup (sold)
It's not a dumb question if you do not know the answer.

John Stephens

  • ---
  • Posts: 549
  • Vacations begin when you leave the driveway
Re: New to Flat Towing
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2018, 06:44:08 PM »
Look into Ready Brute tow bar with brake.  Worked for me and a lot of others.  True proportional braking and less expensive than the electronic/air/vacuum systems out there. I had Blue Ox base plates on four different vehicles and swear by them.  Also have had Blue Ox tow bars, but I prefer the simplicity of the Ready Brute tow bar.

Bill, I love your signature line and wish I had thought of it myself.

I just researched the Ready Brute Elite, which is the tow bar plus brake built in. It sounds too good to be true and quite inexpensive. But I have one question before falling in love with it. I have surge brakes on my tow dolly now and am used to how they work, and thus far, am happy with them, so I am interested in this setup. But please tell me: if this works with surge only and no electrical, vacuum or air pressure, how does it work a dead brake pedal? I am under the impression from reading the other manufacturer's websites that you need vacuum or air pressure to pump back up the dead brake pedal on a car that doesn't have the engine running.

If this is a viable option, I'll definitely consider it due to the price and convenience. But I need to know if it really works as it is supposed to.

My second question is: how do you get this installed? I'm guessing I could install the brake line myself and therefore, would only need the base plate and electrical installed by my mechanic or hitch dealer. But will any reputable hitch dealer or mechanic be willing to install half of the system and allow me to do the rest?

John - thanks for the advice, but I already researched out what models I would need to consider and what needs to be done with them. I have the Remco and Motorhome Magazine Dinghy reports from 2011 to 2018 loaded on my computer and iPhone. One reason I chose the Equinox is because it requires no modifications, drive shaft drops or tranny lube pumps.

I'll be interested in hearing from anyone else who has used the Ready Brute system because it seems to be a very good and viable alternative to the more expensive individually pieced and priced systems.

Grashley - I have already researched this and know I have to get a 1.5L 2wd engine. This has already been discussed with the dealer. Thanks for the advice.
John
Cape Coral, Fl.
2005 Winnebago Adventurer 38J
2018 Chevy Equinox

Ghostman

  • ---
  • Posts: 454
  • Jarrod,
Re: New to Flat Towing
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2018, 07:03:45 PM »
I have been running blue ox tow bar and invisibrake for years and love it. I ran the 12volt supply from the coach instead of using the Jeep battery. Also installed the aux bulbs in my rear taillights so it does not use the vehicles battery. My wife and I can hook and unhook in less than 2mins. Makes it nice when it is raining. We love the set up. Close to 20k miles and never any problems.
“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”

2016 Forest River Berkshire XL
2006 modified Jeep Grand Cherokee

No need to travel the world when there is so much to see here.

NY_Dutch

  • ---
  • Posts: 4409
  • Following the warm weather!
Re: New to Flat Towing
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2018, 07:24:20 PM »
The ReadyBrute Elite/ReadyBrake system works quite well with a "dead" brake pedal in most cases, just as the portable systems do. With the ReadyBrake system installed, it's easy to test to see if the optional vacuum pump would make any noticeable difference. Just run a preselected route with a number of stops, varying the braking to note the differences. Then rerun the same route with the toad engine running to maintain brake booster vacuum for a comparison. If you don't notice any significant difference, as most wouldn't, then save your money. if you do decide to add the pump, it's a pretty easy installation, requiring just the insertion of a 'T' in the existing booster vacuum line. Everything needed comes with the pump. We've towed over 50,000 miles with our ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/brake system and Blue OX base plate with no significant problems.
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox base plate

stripit

  • ---
  • Posts: 15
Re: New to Flat Towing
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2018, 07:58:21 PM »
I've used the SMI Stay N Play Duo for several years, trouble free and so easy to flick the on or off switch once I hooked up to the Blue Ox bars. Love how well it operates and stops the Cadillac SRX being towed behind my little motorhome.
2018 Holiday Rambler Admiral 31A
2015 Cadillac SRX
SMI Braking System
1991 Avanti Convertible

Peteyboy

  • Guest
Re: New to Flat Towing
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2018, 08:10:24 PM »
Check out the Blue Ox install instructions before you jump in.  Blue Ox wanted me to hack the rad support apart to install on our CRV where as the Roadmaster was a simple bolt on.

Arch Hoagland

  • ---
  • Posts: 2157
  • Clovis CA
Re: New to Flat Towing
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2018, 12:41:02 AM »
Where are you located? 

Southwest Driveline in Yuma AZ is an excellent shop that could do everything for you.
2004 Monaco La Palma 36 DBD
W22, 8.1 gas,  Allison 1000 Transmission
7.1 MPG over 90,000 miles

2000 Lexus RX300, 4020lb
U.S. Gear Braking System

John Stephens

  • ---
  • Posts: 549
  • Vacations begin when you leave the driveway
Re: New to Flat Towing
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2018, 01:03:12 AM »
Where are you located? 

Southwest Driveline in Yuma AZ is an excellent shop that could do everything for you.
That's the other side of the country for me. I'm in SW Florida.
John
Cape Coral, Fl.
2005 Winnebago Adventurer 38J
2018 Chevy Equinox

Ron2012

  • ---
  • Posts: 34
Re: New to Flat Towing
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2018, 01:06:48 AM »
 John,I have towed a 2007 saturn outlook,with a blue ox base plate and the ready brute towbar with intergrated brake system ,no problems with the surge brake,I later bought a 2011 chevy HHR installed a blue ox baseplate 0n it i am still using the same tow bar and will probably use it till i no longer RV.cant go wrong with it.We have travelled thousands of miles across this great nation with out any towing problems.
1998 Coachmen 292SO
Toad: 2011 HHR

kdbgoat

  • ---
  • Posts: 5585
Re: New to Flat Towing
« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2018, 06:08:09 AM »
They don't seem to get a lot of press, but Demco makes some pretty good baseplates too.
I know you believe you understand what you think I said,
But I am not sure you realize what you heard is not what I meant


2016 Leprechaun 319DS

Gary RV_Wizard

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 64409
  • RVer Emeritus
Re: New to Flat Towing
« Reply #16 on: May 14, 2018, 08:38:17 AM »
Whether the Ready Brute Elite is great or a PITA depends largely on the ease of installing the brake cable. On some late model cars, finding a path from the base plate area through the fire wall to the brake pedal mechanism can be a major challenge. Or even impossible.  A transverse engine mount in a small car doesn't often leave a straight path for the brake cable.  I have no idea how to install it on an '18 Equinox, so I offer this only as a caution and not a condemnation. A properly set up Ready Brute Elite works fine and is an economical solution.
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

NY_Dutch

  • ---
  • Posts: 4409
  • Following the warm weather!
Re: New to Flat Towing
« Reply #17 on: May 14, 2018, 09:45:30 AM »
The ReadyBrute Elite or ReadyBrake cable does not need a straight path to the firewall since the cable housing is fairly flexible. The cable also does not need to pass through the firewall directly in line with the brake peddle arm, but rather can be 3-4 inches off center if needed. An off center cable just uses a different attachment method than the standard clamp arrangement. Even double wall firewalls don't create significant cable routing challenges. All installations require a bit of thought and careful measuring before punching holes in the firewall, but it isn't rocket science. I've done installations where I used wedges to temporarily hold brake or fuel lines out of the way while I drilled through the firewall, and others where the lines required slight relocating or bending, but it was all doable. Installing the ReadyStop cable can be a little more problematic at times though, since it doesn't use a housing and does need a relatively straight pull path. The ReadyStop actuator doesn't need to be centered though, giving it quite a bit of flexibility in mounting locations.
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox base plate

John From Detroit

  • ---
  • Posts: 21261
  • ^My New Home^
    • Diabetics Forum
Re: New to Flat Towing
« Reply #18 on: May 14, 2018, 01:33:03 PM »
If I wanted to I could route the cable off to one side, bring it in at a 90 degree angle (or most any other) and it would still work

HOW can you do that... Use a Pulley like US Gear does on the Unified braked decelerator

The major issue with the Ready brake is salt and corrosion.. Just like the parking brake. Same cable in fact (Well same type)
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

NY_Dutch

  • ---
  • Posts: 4409
  • Following the warm weather!
Re: New to Flat Towing
« Reply #19 on: May 14, 2018, 08:41:43 PM »
I've been using the same ReadyBrake cable assembly on two different toads since 2008, including winter conditions in upstate NY, with no noticeable corrosion issues. I spray dry silicone into the cable housing annually, but no other maintenance has been needed on the toad installation.
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox base plate

DennisinMaine

  • ---
  • Posts: 35
  • Recently retired, brand new to RVing
Re: New to Flat Towing
« Reply #20 on: May 27, 2018, 09:12:54 PM »
I did what John suggested and tried a particular vehicle at the Remco site. It said "must be towed with a trailer." Does that mean I can't to it behind my RV, at least with 4 wheels on the ground? Or that I just can't tow using their products?
Why would a car with a standard transmission not be towable?
Separate question: I notice most "toads" are Honda CRV's or other SUV's or trucks. Wouldn't it be easier to tow a small car? Less weight, easier to handle?

Oscar Mike

  • Guest
Re: New to Flat Towing
« Reply #21 on: May 27, 2018, 10:00:13 PM »
I did what John suggested and tried a particular vehicle at the Remco site. It said "must be towed with a trailer." Does that mean I can't to it behind my RV, at least with 4 wheels on the ground? Or that I just can't tow using their products?
Why would a car with a standard transmission not be towable?
Separate question: I notice most "toads" are Honda CRV's or other SUV's or trucks. Wouldn't it be easier to tow a small car? Less weight, easier to handle?

I have two "Toads". A 2016 Ford Focus Titanium, and a 2015 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited. The Jeep is far easier to hook up and tow than is the Focus. With the Ford I have to set-up the Patriot Brake System (it's what I have), and physically disconnect the negative battery terminal, (I will eventually install a cut off switch for the battery.) and do all of the "usual" connections and then the Ford is ready to tow.

With the Jeep I merely Hook it up put the transfer case in Neutral and the Transmission in Park and I am ready to go. 20-25 minutes compared to 10-15 minutes.

Traveling down the road both are easy to safely tow.

NY_Dutch

  • ---
  • Posts: 4409
  • Following the warm weather!
Re: New to Flat Towing
« Reply #22 on: May 27, 2018, 10:07:49 PM »
I did what John suggested and tried a particular vehicle at the Remco site. It said "must be towed with a trailer." Does that mean I can't to it behind my RV, at least with 4 wheels on the ground? Or that I just can't tow using their products?
Why would a car with a standard transmission not be towable?
Separate question: I notice most "toads" are Honda CRV's or other SUV's or trucks. Wouldn't it be easier to tow a small car? Less weight, easier to handle?

Trailer only means just that. There are characteristics of the vehicle that can cause damage by towing 4-down or on a dolly. Even manual transmissions need lubrication while in tow, although most use a splash lube system that works just as well under tow. Not all of them though...


Many people do in fact tow small cars, including Smarts, but SUV's and light trucks lead new vehicle sales, so it's not surprising we see more of them in tow.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2018, 10:13:32 PM by NY_Dutch »
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox base plate

Gary RV_Wizard

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 64409
  • RVer Emeritus
Re: New to Flat Towing
« Reply #23 on: May 28, 2018, 09:00:04 AM »
Quote
Why would a car with a standard transmission not be towable?
As Dutch says, it's all about lubrication, though heat shedding is also a factor.  Many standard transmissions these days are on front drive cars and that's a transaxle rather than a simple gear box behind a clutch in a rear wheel drive system.  The transmission gearing, clutch, differential and axle are all integrated into a single unit that requires continuous lubrication.
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

grashley

  • ---
  • Posts: 4934
  • Western KY for now.
Re: New to Flat Towing
« Reply #24 on: May 28, 2018, 08:00:17 PM »
A standard transmission vehicle being towed WILL turn gears in the transmission.  It is simply not connected to the motor in Neutral.  Those turning gears must be lubricated or you destroy the transmission.   "In the old days", the gears would splash enough oil or grease around while in tow to get that done, and the volume of fluid was large enough that the heat did not build up.

Modern transmissions, especially front drive transaxles, often have a pump that runs off the motor end of the transmission to lubricate everything.  Towing does not turn that end of the transmission, thus no lubrication for the turning gears.
Preacher Gordon, DW Debbie
09 Grand Junction 35 TMS  Progressive HW50C
Andersen Ultimate hitch
2013 F350 Lariat LB SRW Supercab diesel 4X4   TST TMS  Garmin 760
Nimrod Series 70 popup (sold)
It's not a dumb question if you do not know the answer.

DennisinMaine

  • ---
  • Posts: 35
  • Recently retired, brand new to RVing
Re: New to Flat Towing
« Reply #25 on: May 29, 2018, 07:21:14 AM »
Thanks for the information guys. Very helpful.
As you may know I am not only new to towing but to RV's in general, hence I have lots of questions.
Some tow bars connect to a ball hitch, some directly attach to the RV. Is there a particular advantage to one over the other?
I don't have the toad yet, but I see that one I am considering can be towed and I am looking at some used but good blue ox bars. But blue ox does not make a base plate for the vehicle. Big problem?
I should add that Roadmaster does make a baseplate but it comes with this caveat:
    This is a crossbar-style baseplate. To use with a direct-connect style tow bar like the Nighthawk, you will also need to order a Quick Disconnect Crossbar, pn 910021-00.
    Trimming of the shock absorption pad, active air shutter or louver housing, lower air dam, air deflector, reinforcement, cowling and/or rock guard is required.
Sounds intimidating.
I assume I will need a wiring harness specific to my vehicle. Anything to look out for? Easy to install?

TIA
Dennis
« Last Edit: May 29, 2018, 09:27:00 AM by DennisinMaine »

Gary RV_Wizard

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 64409
  • RVer Emeritus
Re: New to Flat Towing
« Reply #26 on: May 29, 2018, 10:12:06 AM »
The tow bars that slide into the coach's hitch receiver and stay on the coach are by far the easiest to use. Trying to align the toad so that you can get the tow bar onto a ball coupler can be extremely frustrating and often takes two people (driver & spotter).

There are adapters for using Blue Ox tow bars with Roadmaster base plates, or vice versa, Or Demco bars as well.

Wiring is normally done custom to the vehicle, since there are several methods for wiring and numerous routing options for the many possible vehicles. There are kits available to simplify the task, though.
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

DennisinMaine

  • ---
  • Posts: 35
  • Recently retired, brand new to RVing
Re: New to Flat Towing
« Reply #27 on: May 30, 2018, 01:28:36 PM »
The tow bars that slide into the coach's hitch receiver and stay on the coach are by far the easiest to use. Trying to align the toad so that you can get the tow bar onto a ball coupler can be extremely frustrating and often takes two people (driver & spotter).

Makes sense to me! Also, I believe it has also been said that that tow bars that stay with the RV are preferable to those that stay on the toad.
I found a couple of good looking but used blue ox tow bars and, wouldn't you know it, they take a ball hitch. Is there a way to convert that type to the type that go in the receiver? Can the ball socket be removed and replaced with the other type?

Oscar Mike

  • Guest
Re: New to Flat Towing
« Reply #28 on: May 30, 2018, 02:32:07 PM »
It would probably cost more to retrofit a tow bar than it would be to buy a new tow bar.

Ernie n Tara

  • ---
  • Posts: 3539
  • Life is Good - Together
Re: New to Flat Towing
« Reply #29 on: May 30, 2018, 03:48:07 PM »
We use the ball type Blue Ox snd it stays with the MH just the same way as the hitch receiver type. Folds up for storage and a cover is available. Connects to the base plate the same way.

Ernie
Ernie 'n Tara

2011 Winn Journey 34y
2012 Jeep Rubicon - Dozer (orange - kinda)
2006 Jeep Wrangler