Confused with towing

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gcharte

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May 14, 2006
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We just purchased our first motorhome, class A Fleetwood Storm and will be towing a 2004 Jeep liberty. We are looking for recommendations as far as a decent system is concerned. We have read alot and can't seem to decide on what to buy. We live in NY and there are not many places around to get the system installed.


Please Help!

Gary & Eileen
 

Tom

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Hi Gary & Eileen,

The first thing to do would be to ensure that you can safely tow the Liberty with the Storm with all 4 wheels of the Liberty on the ground and that you'd be within the stated weight limits. Click the Library button above and look for the following articles:

  • Towing a dinghy - in the Towing and towables area of the library.
  • Weight capacity calculations - in the RV-related how-to's area of the library.

Assuming the numbers say you're OK, the 3 basic things you need are:

  • A tow bar and associated base plate or bracket to fit the Liberty.
  • Auxiliary brakes that will slow the Liberty when you apply the brakes in the Storm.
  • Either a way of hooking up the lights on the Liberty to the Storm or some auxiliary lights.

If you're not up to installing the stuff yourselves, are you able to get to a Camping World? They can sell you what you need and install it. If not, there are a couple more articles in our library that might be helpful:

  • Tow bar installation - in the Tech topics area of the library.
  • Auxiliary (toad) braking systems - in the Towing and towables area of the library.

    Let us know if there are more specific questions we can answer.
 

rhmahoney

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Feb 9, 2005
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I prefer steel. I have the Roadmaster Falcon II towing a Jeep Gr Cherokee.
Make sure the tow bar is level.
 

Ned

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I would recommend using a tow bar that stays attached to the motor home.  Blue Ox and Roadmaster are the most popular manufacturers of towing equipment and both make comparable products in either steel or aluminum.  We prefer the aluminum model (Blue Ox Alalddin) as it's lighter in weight and easier to handle.  Any model that is rated for your towed weight will perform safely and satisfactorily if installed correctly and not abused.  Both companies have good reputations for after market customer service.
 

John From Detroit

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Davison Michigan
I use a Blue Ox  They make basically 3 good tow bars and a few cheap ones.  The good ones are an aluminum one with a 5,000 lb capacity, and two steel ones with 10,000 lb capaciteies, I choose the less expensive steel one (The more expensive steel one was not an option at the time)

One tihng I've not seen mentioned here is BRAKES.  I use the Unified Gear system myself,  There are several other systems you can also buy, Some are easy to install, some require professional instalation

Advantages of the Unified gear and M&G systems,

NOTHING for the driver to install/remove when towing/driving the car, No pedal pushing anything

Additional advantages of the Unifird Gear system: Proportional braking (You can adjust the application of the towed brakes so it's less than 100%) and progressive (THe harder your brake, the harder it brakes your towed)


Other systems such as the Even Brake and Brake buddy consist of a box you install in the car when towing, and remove when not towing.  I opted not to forget this item when towing and use the driver transparent Unified Gear box (US Gear)
http://www.usgear.com/unified_tow_brake.htm
  for information on the system I use

Now, do understand thisl.. Towed braking systems are swear things. Folks either swear by them or at them and different people swear differently depending on the system
 

Tom

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John In Detroit said:
One tihng I've not seen mentioned here is BRAKES.

???  The first reply in this topic refers to auxiliary (toad) braking systems John.
 

Tom

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Ned said:
I would recommend using a tow bar that stays attached to the motor home.

That's something I always forget to mention  :-[
 

gcharte

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May 14, 2006
Posts
283
we purchased everything we needed from ppl motorhome, they were very helpful and reasonable. As far as installation we wil do most of it except for the lights.
 

TUFF FORD

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Mar 12, 2006
Posts
5
Hey Fellas-

How important is the optional braking system?  We won't be doing much mountain driving, and VERY LITTLE driving around town.  It's pretty much all interstate for us.  I am VERY easy on the brakes anyway, generally choosing to let the RV slow by itself when coming to a stop.  Do a lot of people have the braking system, or is it just the elite crowd?

TIA
 

Ned

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We drove for several years without a toad brake, but after having one, we wouldn't be without it.  Not only is required by law in many states and provinces, it can save you from an accident.  It's probably of more value on highways than in the city, as you're travelling faster and things can happen very quickly.  Stopping even a few feet sooner can save an accident or someones life.

If you're going to tow a vehicle, then you need brakes on it.
 

Betty Brewer

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TUFF FORD said:
How important is the optional braking system?? We won't be doing much mountain driving, and VERY LITTLE driving around town.? It's pretty much all interstate for us.? I am VERY easy on the brakes anyway, generally choosing to let the RV slow by itself when coming to a stop.? Do a lot of people have the braking system, or is it just the elite crowd?

We have a braking system.  We got it right after we were driving about 40 MPH  on a level road and a deer jumped right out in front of us.  Hubby did a panic stop and we missed that deer by only inches.  Had we hit it, it would have cost lots of money to fix damage. I figured what we just saved we could use for the braking system.  Any inches saved in a stop could be helpful.
Betty
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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At my Silver Springs FL home
It will definitely shorten your stopping distance substantially, by relieving the motorhome's brakes of the need to stop an additional 3000-8000 lbs (depending on what you tow). 

You should also be aware that some chassis are rated to brake only their GVWR, not the entire GCWR. This is typical of lighter weight chassis, e.g. the Ford & Workhorse gas chassis and some of the entry level deisels produced over the last 10 years. If you have on eof those chassis, you must have auxiliary brakes on the toad if your motorhome + toad exceeds the motorhome GVWR by even 1 lb.

And brakes on the toad also provide a handling benefit in an emergency maneuver.  With the brakes applied on the toad, the drag of the braked wheels tends to make the toad say behind th emotohome where it belongs. An unbraked toad is being pushed to a stop by the force of the tow bar against its front end and the toad has tendency to pivot around that point if its gets the slightest bit sideways. Having your toad jack-knife during an emergency swerve/stop is not fun!

And finally, some states and Canadian provinces require brakes on trailers exceeding certain weights. The limit varies by state/province, but somewhere around 3000 lbs is typical.
 

BernieD

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Goodyear, AZ
RV Roamer said:
You should also be aware that some chassis are rated to brake only their GVWR, not the entire GCWR. This is typical of lighter weight chassis, e.g. the Ford & Workhorse gas chassis and some of the entry level deisels produced over the last 10 years. If you have on eof those chassis, you must have auxiliary brakes on the toad if your motorhome + toad exceeds the motorhome GVWR by even 1 lb.

Spartan and Freightliner both rate their chassis, including their most expensive levels, to only tow to the GVWR. I believe Prevost still does also.
 

gcharte

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May 14, 2006
Posts
283
Well thanks for all the help but the Liberty went away and was replaced by a 2006 Jeep Wrangler. I did business with PPL Motorhome and had ordered all the parts for the Liberty, PPL took the brackets back as I had not installed them yet. I ordered the proper bracket for the Wrangler and am just waiting for delivery. The wrangler is a standard six speed and our third one. Looking forward to our fun in the sunshine state.



Thanks,

Gary & Eileen
 

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