Out the door cost of Toad hardware

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SC5thWheeler

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I'm considering the idea of switching to a motorhome for the next rig.

What is the approximate cost of equipping a MH and a toad vehicle with everything, including labor? I know "it depends" but perhaps someone can give me a range, including a braking system and lights. We already have a flat towable car.

I know nothing about towing a car.

Thanks
 

Isaac-1

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$4,500+ seems to be the current running ballpark number for base plate, braking system and tail light wiring as of the last couple of years, it may be even higher post covid as everything has been going up. Of course this varies from model to model, some cars take more labor, as well as region to region. Keep in mind it seems fewer and fewer cars can be flat towed each year.

I bought the parts and did it DIY on my wife's 2017 Jeep Cherokee 3-4 years ago for just under $2,000, but that was with buying the base plate while on sale $100 off, and buying a lightly used 18 month old Roadmaster Even Brake Braking system, and lightly used Tow Bar (both at over 50% off retail cost), Installing the base plate was done as time allowed on afternoons over 4-5 days (being done in the driveway so there were rain / weather delays in there), this also including running wiring for tail lights, and installing the $125 Jeep flat tow wiring mod which the dealers charge $500 to install.
 

phil-t

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High end - $4k. Can be done for less and there can be some big variables. My first toad tow setup was very near $4k - done by a dealer. Towbar, brake system, light wiring, hitch parts, labor etc.
 

Isaac-1

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Phil, how long ago was that, in watching the online threads here and over at IRV2, I have not seen anyone quote under $4,000 for professionally installed setup including tow bar in the last 4-5 years.

p.s. we bought a cheap, light beater TOAD last year for $2,500 already set up for towing (it was a one owner 2007 Toyota Yaris hatchback, with over 200,000 miles, the lady I bought it from had towed it to 38 states since buying it new in 2006, and had all the receipts)
 

Isaac-1

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Great googly moogly, I had no idea it was that much!
Tow Bar $750+ new, $350 used off facebook market place, etc just watch out there are a lot of worn out junk tow bars out there.

Braking system, Even Brake 9400 like I have $1454 on Amazon (I paid around $450 lightly used, and 18 months old), not my first choice of brands / model but price was right. If I were to buy new it would probably be Patriot Brake III for about $1050

Base plate about $450, but installation is the killer typically quoted at 8 hours labor at $150+ per hour plus, but again varies with model of car, and shop rate may be even higher, lots of shops are charging $200+ per hour now.

Probably another 3 hours labor for tail light setup, if using a pre-made wiring harness they sell for about $140
 

phil-t

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Phil, how long ago was that, in watching the online threads here and over at IRV2, I have not seen anyone quote under $4,000 for professionally installed setup including tow bar in the last 4-5 years.

p.s. we bought a cheap, light beater TOAD last year for $2,500 already set up for towing (it was a one owner 2007 Toyota Yaris hatchback, with over 200,000 miles, the lady I bought it from had towed it to 38 states since buying it new in 2006, and had all the receipts)
Yea, a while, maybe 2019. This last one, I did a lot of the work myself on the brake system and lights. Mechanic at the dealer where we got the current car did the baseplate install for 150 labor.
 

Isaac-1

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If done at a dealer for $150 I suspect they picked an installation cost out of thin air with no idea how much labor was involved or alternatively it is a model where installing a base plate is extremely easy.
 

uchu

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I'm considering the idea of switching to a motorhome for the next rig.

What is the approximate cost of equipping a MH and a toad vehicle with everything, including labor? I know "it depends" but perhaps someone can give me a range, including a braking system and lights. We already have a flat towable car.

I know nothing about towing a car.

Thanks
I spent around $3600 (CAD), including labour. Mind you, I was able to buy a practically new towbar, second hand, in Kijiji (a Craigslist-type Canadian site).
 

phil-t

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This was a
If done at a dealer for $150 I suspect they picked an installation cost out of thin air with no idea how much labor was involved or alternatively it is a model where installing a base plate is extremely easy.
This was a body guy familiar with the car and working on his own after hours for extra $$$ "cash". ;) Small town and lots of friends! Yup, it was a good deal and the car was brand new and the guy knew exactly what he was getting in to.
I read the instruction sheet(s) for the baseplate install - nothing I wanted to tackle, even if at 400 or 500 $.
 

TheBar

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I've found ebay is a good place to get second hand for a fraction of new. If you buy something that isn't as described you get your money back. Installation of different brands of baseplates for the same car varies widely. Some are very complex because they make one baseplate fit anything. Also true of trailer hitches. I bought a Curt brand because it took me 15 minutes to install. My new Durango already had the bolts for a hitch installed by the factory. Look at the installation manuals online.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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On new vehicles it's rather common to require removal of the front fascia to install base plates and routing brake controls through a jam-packed engine compartment and firewall can be challenging. 4-6 hours of labor isn't uncommon, and shop-rates now run well north of $100/hour, even in small town garages.
 

LMHS

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Before you pick a to bar brand, see if you can get the baseplate for your vehicle first.

I bought my towbar and brackets used in 2006-2007 and I'm still using them on the same towed (also used). At the time, the Stowmaster 6000 had gone from 6K LB down to 5K LB. My Jeep was 5.5K LB. I ended up with an older 6K LB tow bar. Apparently, Stowmaster 6000 has gone back to being rated for 6K LB. I do not know when this happened.

Having one of the tow bars that are sold as a "one person setup" was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Also, my tow bar lives on my Jeep. It's the kind that uses a ball receiver. I carry a dropped ball in the back of the Jeep for those times when my poor old Jeep needs to be towed by a vehicle that sits higher than my Jeep.

Because my Jeep is flakey about the electrical (amongst other things), I made a long wiring harness that plugs into whatever vehicle is towing me, over the hood & roof to the hitchhaul cargo carrier that stays on the back of my Jeep. The harness plugs into a trailer light set that attaches to the hitchhaul.

May I suggest that you have a designated person who sets up your towed to be towed? Unknown to me, my husband put my Jeep in gear, while still hooked up and forgot to set it back up for towing. We had stopped for a two night stay when making a long trip. Destroyed a tire and messed up one of my fancy rims. He never felt the blowout. Luckily I was following in an other RV and got him to pull over (by almost running him off the road). After that day, I was the person in charge of setting up my Jeep to be towed. ALWAYS. I do have the directions written down and stored in my Jeep for my daughter who now travels with me. She has watched me set it up many times and she can do it herself, in case I am ever unable to do it (sick or injured). I made her do the complete setup & hookup several times while parked. But I still always do the setup.
 

SC5thWheeler

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Followup question:

We have a 2017 GMC Acadia which just happens to be dinghy towable. For reference, it's the GMC version of a Chevy Terrain.

I read the RV towing section of the owners manual which says you need to run the car for 5 minutes at the beginning of the day and at each fuel stop for transmission lubrication.

It says "reinstall the fuse to start the vehicle". Nowhere in the towing section does it refer to removing a fuse or which fuse needs to be removed.

Any ideas? I guess it could be a copy and paste error.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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It says "reinstall the fuse to start the vehicle". Nowhere in the towing section does it refer to removing a fuse or which fuse needs to be removed.
Most prior Acadias required one or more fuses to be pulled for 4-down towing. I'd be surprised if your 2017 does not, so maybe ask a GMC dealer if there is a TSB update about towing a 2017.

As an aside, I bought one of the first Acadias back in 2006 and got the first custom-made base plates from Blue Ox. That won me the privilege of discovering the owner manual information on dinghy towing was incomplete. After several dead battery failures and consultation with GMC engineering, they told me to pull the Batt1 fuse and a Service Bulletin was soon issued to provide correct info until the manual was updated several months later.
 

SC5thWheeler

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I don't know what year it was introduced but ours has a fob instead of a physical key.

Doesn't the steering wheel need to turn freely while towing? Maybe the older models had to have the key turned "on" with fuses removed to save the battery. The wheel doesn't seem to lock in ours.

Unless I press the start button, I think everything in the car is powered down.
 

Octodad

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Phil, how long ago was that, in watching the online threads here and over at IRV2, I have not seen anyone quote under $4,000 for professionally installed setup including tow bar in the last 4-5 years.

p.s. we bought a cheap, light beater TOAD last year for $2,500 already set up for towing (it was a one owner 2007 Toyota Yaris hatchback, with over 200,000 miles, the lady I bought it from had towed it to 38 states since buying it new in 2006, and had all the receipts)
Did the car you bought have 200k driven miles on the engine/transmission? Or did that include towed miles? I have wondered what the impact on odometer mileage for towed cars is. It seems that the non-drivetrain parts will still get used fairly well even if the drivetrain doesn't. I have only pulled travel trailers.
 
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