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Author Topic: Hooking up a Toad  (Read 1727 times)

huntnski

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Hooking up a Toad
« on: March 02, 2013, 08:32:40 PM »
Is there a list somewhere on this forum that outlines the steps on hooking up a toad. Something that can be used as a check off list to ensure you've done everything. I can make my own but would like to read others list to be sure I don't ruin my toad, or the tires.  What are some of the most often overlooked items that people have problems with?
2008 Discovery 40X - 2011 Tahoe
Great Wife and Me.   I'm the one with the
BIG SMILE

Tom

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Re: Hooking up a Toad
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2013, 08:41:25 PM »
This checklist was written specifically for hooking up a towed vehicle (toad) that is being towed with all four wheels on the ground (all4d), and for the collapsible style of tow bar that is stored on the rear of a motorhome. Such tow bars are manufactured by Roadmaster and Blue Ox. Towing a vehicle with two wheels on a dolly, or all four wheels on a trailer would require a different checklist.

Having a pair of leather work gloves available can help prevent finger damage and keep your hands clean. Also, having a second person to help would make things easier, although many solo motorhomers manage to do this alone. A second person also allows you to check each other to ensure a step hasn't been missed, or something done incorrectly.

Depending on the make/model of your toad, your tow bar and baseplate:
  • Drive the toad up behind the motorhome, ensuring that you stop with the toad in line with the motorome and the toad wheels straight (not cocked to one side).
  • Extend the tow bar, insert the brackets, insert and lock the pins.
  • Some toads require that a fuse be removed for towing. Check your owner's manual.
  • Attach breakaway cables or chains.
  • Connect the breakaway switch, if you have one.
  • Hook up the auxiliary brake system. See the article in our library on various types of auciliary braking systems.
  • Connect the umbilical cord for rear, brake and turn signal lights on the toad.
  • Perform your vehicle-specific towing preparation per the owner's manual. In the case of the author's Suburban, we merely press buttons on the dash to put the toad electronic transfer case in neutral.
  • Check that toad parking brake is off, twice.
  • We remove the toad ignition key, but your owner's manual may specify a different procedure (e.g. turn the key to "acc" to unlock the steering).
  • Lock the toad.
  • Have the motorhome driver turn on rear, brake and turn lights, while I stand behind the toad and check that they work.
  • Before driving off, do a walkaround, checking that everything looks OK.
Unhooking is generally the reverse of this list, but may require some adjustment. Try to stop on level ground, not on a slope, and try to ensure the motorhome and toad are in a straight line. All of these considerations will help eliminate tension or compression on one or both arms of the tow bar that would make it difficult to unhook.

One caveat: Do not allow distractions by well-meaning or curious bystanders; Such distractions can cause you to miss a critical step.

Edit: Incorporated additions and suggestions from other posters.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2013, 03:31:17 PM by Tom »
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Ned

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Re: Hooking up a Toad
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2013, 08:42:29 PM »
The most important item to remember is to not get distracted while hooking up.  If anyone starts a conversation, politely tell them to wait until you're done.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

Want to know what we're doing? http://blog.usabyrv.us

huntnski

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Re: Hooking up a Toad
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2013, 08:46:08 PM »
I haven't found a checklist to help me remember everything when hooking up my toad using my blue ox hitch and brake buddy classic. Could I get some input of the problems that creap up over the years for those experanced in this area. I know releasing the toads emergency brake has to be high on list, but what else?
2008 Discovery 40X - 2011 Tahoe
Great Wife and Me.   I'm the one with the
BIG SMILE

bucks2

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Re: Hooking up a Toad
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2013, 09:02:03 PM »
My procedure is similar to Toms but applicable to my particular set up. I always do it in the same order, always. If I get distracted by a visitor, or a question from the wife I stop, take care of the distraction and start at the beginning, check the pins, check the locks, etc until I get to the step that I stopped at.

Park car behind motorhome in correct position to hook up, leave engine running, in park, take gloves from drivers door pocket
Extend drivers side tow bar arm set on baseplate, extend pass side arm set on baseplate
Pin drivers side, secure with padlock, hook safety cable
Pin pass side, secure with padlock, hook safety cable
Take brake hose and light cable off Guardian shield and connect lights then brakes, put brake fitting plug on Guardian arm
Pull Guardian pin on pass side, pull pin on drivers side, step into middle of tow bar lift Guardian shield off MH put onto car, replace pins.
Visually look at tow bar pins, cables, air hose and light cable, look at hitch pin and MH end of cable and hose
Inside car, turn off engine, turn key to acc, put trans in N
Remove fuse cover, flip tow switch from run to tow
Remove, with quick release keychain, all keys except ignition.
Put gloves back in door, close and lock with fob
Look down drivers side of MH, look at drivers side car tires
Walk around back of car, look at 4 way flashers flashing lights on car,
Look at pass side tires, look in window to confirm Neutral, look at towbar pins, locks, cable, hose from other side.
Look down pass side of MH

I also look at the first turn to see the tires on the toad rolling and front wheels turning properly in mirror.

I can't overemphasize the importance I put on always doing it the exact same way. Unhooking also is done exactly the same every time. A different sequence but a memorized rote sequence done the same every time. Maybe it's wrong, but it works for me.

Ken
Just my opinion, and I've been wrong before.

2007 Beaver Contessa 43', tag axle, C9 Cat, 3000MH Allison, 14 Silverado 1500

thomasamski

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Re: Hooking up a Toad
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2013, 09:28:22 PM »
TOWING
   - Park brake On
   - Connect tow bars
   - Connect emergency cables
   - Connect electrical line
   - Disconnect #3 fuse
   - Key on Accessories
   - Release parking brake
   - Check brake, signal lights
   - Lock car doors
   - Move forward to lock tow bars
   - Install car brake, cables
2011 Fleetwood Southwind pulling a 2010 Chevrolet HHR

Tom and Margi

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Re: Hooking up a Toad
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2013, 09:33:52 PM »
Requirements vary with each automobile being towed.  Follow the towing instructions in your automobile manual and make a checklist specifically for your vehicle.
 
Margi

Marsha/CA

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Re: Hooking up a Toad
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2013, 10:14:40 PM »
I agree with Margi, each towed vehicle is somewhat different.  We do a difference sequence and different steps than tomasanski.  Figure your sequence out, and write it on a card to keep with you.

Marsha~
Allegro Bus Diesel Pusher with Hyundai Tucson SUV toad. 
In case of necessity, alternate transportation is available in the form of 1 old horse.

skyking4ar2

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Re: Hooking up a Toad
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2013, 10:51:40 PM »
Probably the most expensive mistakes you will ever make is having the front wheels cocked and locked on takeoff, and any required locking pins not installed.
Kim & Christi Bertram
SKP 106183
FMCA 420913
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2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel
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Tom

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Re: Hooking up a Toad
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2013, 01:17:17 AM »
Please don't post the same question on two different message boards. I've merged the two topics so that the replies appear in one place.
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Gary RV Roamer

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Re: Hooking up a Toad
« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2013, 08:56:10 AM »
Several steps will be pretty much universal, while others will be unique to the towed vehicle and the auxiliary braking system chosen.

Tom's list is pretty much all-inclusive, except that the step "Put toad (Suburban) transfer case in neutral" should maybe read "Perform your vehicle-specific towing preparation per the owner's manual". You will want to expand the generic list with your own vehicle specific steps at that point.  Also, the line about removing the ignition key may not apply - that is also vehicle dependent.

Hooking up the auxiliary brake system is another line item that will likely be expanded into multiple steps, depending on the particular system in use. Some will involve little more than connecting a wire or air line, while others may involve physically placing/activating some piece of equipment.

The warning about avoiding interruptions is an excellent one - nearly all the mistakes we have made in the procedure have resulted from a distraction. That includes always doing it yourself (our yourself and partner, if that is your procedure).  Well-meaning help often ends up being just the opposite.  Make your own drill and stick to it!
Gary
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2004 American Tradition
2007 GMC Acadia
Homebase: Ocala National Forest, FL

Tom

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Re: Hooking up a Toad
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2013, 10:24:41 AM »
Good point Gary. I originally wrote the list as being specific to our hookup procedure; I'll modify it to be more generic, incorporating your and others' inputs, and put it in the forum library.

Edit: Almost done. I'll wait to see if more steps get posted or come to mind.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2013, 11:00:47 AM by Tom »
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Bob Buchanan

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Re: Hooking up a Toad
« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2013, 11:34:23 AM »
Most all has been covered - so will only add a couple of things I do to avoid problems.

The thing I've "not" done properly a couple of times early on was remembering to unlock the steering wheel. I pull a Jeep Cherokee. There are four items on my now mental check list that must be done inside the Jeep. 1) put the transfer case into Neutral, 2) shift the transmission into Park, 3) put the key lock into Acc to insure the steering wheel is unlocked, and 4) turn off emergency brake.

Have been doing this for many years now - so don't need the written check list. I just always count to four, touching each item with my hand as I count. If I have done those 4, the "Inside the Jeep" portion of my check list is satisfied.

Another thing I do is on my first turn, and I create one right away if the road is wide enough, I check my side mirrors to make sure the Jeep wheels are tracking properly.

I'm a solo RVer so don't have the benefit of another person checking lights and such - so it takes me longer to get the toad ready to roll.

As to someone starting to talk to me while setting up -- I would find it rude to tell them to stop so I could concentrate. Rather, I always do a step by step check up after I finish that would verify that I did everything OK. I do that whether or not someone interrupts me.
Bob (fulltimer - Rocklin, CA residency)
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maverickbbd

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Re: Hooking up a Toad
« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2013, 12:01:45 PM »
In addition to the above mentioned procedures I might add a couple.  First, it is DW's primary responsibility to run interference for me.  It always seems people who I have camped next to for weeks and haven't met all want to come up to me and want to be my best friend while I am hooking up.  She and the dog are on constant watch and head them off when she she's them coming.  Next after all is hooked up and the toad is in neutral we push the toad back to extend the arms and set them.  That ensures two things.  It will roll and it doesn't "shock load" the arms.  Then prior to rolling we do our light check and pull forward and my spotter reports "and the wheels go round and round".  If my light checker cannot verify the first turn, I look very carefully in my mirrors to make certain the toad front wheels turn.  I tried the rag and flag on the steering wheel but can't see it that easily.  Then once on the road at EVERY stop when I do my walk around I always visualize all the tow equipment .
Tom, Cheryl & Blossom (coonhound mix) Formerly of Bellingham, WA.
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Tom

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Re: Hooking up a Toad
« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2013, 12:06:09 PM »
I'm the 'mental checklist' type too, and having someone interrupt me would be very distracting. Hookups aside, when I leave by car, motorhome, plane or boat, I go through a mental checklist of stuff I'm taking along. If someone provides some unwanted help by, for example, picking up a bag/case/box, it really throws me off, and I have to mentally start over.

Some boating friends of ours used to be pilots, and they have laminated, typed checklists for everything they do.
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Tom

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Re: Hooking up a Toad
« Reply #15 on: March 03, 2013, 12:11:11 PM »
Quote
If my light checker cannot verify...

In our case, Chris is the driver and I'm the light checker.
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ArdraF

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Re: Hooking up a Toad
« Reply #16 on: March 03, 2013, 03:08:42 PM »
Jerry usually does the hooking and unhooking.  I'm his follow-up checker.  Once he's finished hooking up, he starts walking around the motorhome and toad doing his own double-check and thumping tires.  I follow him and look at every tire pressure monitoring cap/transmitter on every tire to be sure they're in place.  I make sure we're not still hooked up to any utilities.  I look at windows, slides, awnings and underbays to be sure they are closed.  I check all antennas to be sure they are down.  I physically touch each one of the toad hookups to be sure they're tight and the cables are wound correctly to avoid pinching.  I always do the final check in the same sequence starting at the passenger side door and work toward the back and then forward on the driver side and around the front.  If I'm distracted I go back to the beginning and start over.  Most of our mistakes have happened when one or both of us got distracted and stopped in the middle of the process.

By the way, with our car Jerry has to run it through the gears with the engine running and then let it run for a couple of minutes before shutting it off and locking the door.  Neither of us heard it running once and it was still running an hour later at our first stop (no damage done but a waste of fuel).  Jerry now leaves the car's driver door open until he turns the engine off and we both listen for it now during our last walk around.

I can't stress enough the need for a final walkaround to look at the entire coach and toad.

ArdraF
« Last Edit: March 03, 2013, 03:11:55 PM by ArdraF »
ArdraF
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Tom

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Re: Hooking up a Toad
« Reply #17 on: March 03, 2013, 03:59:57 PM »
The checklist is now in our forum library here.
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Gary RV Roamer

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Re: Hooking up a Toad
« Reply #18 on: March 03, 2013, 04:01:32 PM »
Bob,
Unlocking the steering wheel (via ignition key or other means) is part of the vehicle specific procedure. Not all vehicles have locking steering wheels (though probably 90+% of US production cars do indeed have such a lock).
Gary
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Gary Brinck
2004 American Tradition
2007 GMC Acadia
Homebase: Ocala National Forest, FL

Ned

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Re: Hooking up a Toad
« Reply #19 on: March 03, 2013, 04:26:39 PM »
We have some additional steps.  Once the tow bar arms are secured to the base plate, I back the towed up to lock the arms.  If one arm doesn't lock, I turn the steering wheel a half turn toward to unlocked arm to ensure that it will lock when pulled forward.  When the towed is ready for towing (neutral transfer case, etc.) I run the transmission in reverse and drive for a moment to see that it is indeed in neutral.  Then the transmission goes into park and I remove the key.  When all done, and we've checked the lights, Lorna pulls the motorhome forward a few feet while I check to see that the towed wheels are turning freely and the unlocked tow bar arm, if any, latches.

I never apply the parking brake during preparation but keep my foot on the brake pedal while preparing the transfer case.  I have a very good reason for not using the parking brake, but it's a campfire story ;)
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

Want to know what we're doing? http://blog.usabyrv.us

Tom

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Re: Hooking up a Toad
« Reply #20 on: March 03, 2013, 04:40:12 PM »
I think I have the same campfire story  :-[ which is why I check it twice, even though I don't apply it.
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teddyu

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Re: Hooking up a Toad
« Reply #21 on: March 03, 2013, 08:00:09 PM »
Tom,

I would add items like turning off any automatic lighting, fans, radios, etc.  These are power drains on any battery.  JM2...
Ted Fulltiming in the DreamCatcher
a 2008 Challenger 371PE on F53 w/ 2010 Cobalt
R'V there yet?

huntnski

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Re: Hooking up a Toad
« Reply #22 on: March 03, 2013, 11:45:42 PM »
Thanks Tom and everyone else for the list and replies. Have started my equipment specific list and will edit per some replies. Tom, didn't mean to break any rules but was checking various forums and threads as well as the library looking for list when I decided to post, then I realized some areas are visited more often than others so I posted there as well. Facebook had some video of some toads being drug with brakes on, flats, and tires smoking. Didn't want to be entertainment for someone else!

Is it me, or does spell check not working?
2008 Discovery 40X - 2011 Tahoe
Great Wife and Me.   I'm the one with the
BIG SMILE

Tom

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Re: Hooking up a Toad
« Reply #23 on: March 04, 2013, 01:59:52 AM »
No problem. Please post your list when you're done; There may be something  we could/should add to our generic list.

Re the spell check, it's on the bug list.
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