Price for Towing Install

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Bagelboy

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Nov 14, 2016
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Saugerties, NY and Tarpon Springs, FL
Just got an estimate from Camper World for our Toad. We have an '05 Honda Odyssey. With the tow bar, base plate, brake activator, and all else needed, the estimate was for $4300. The parts were about $2600, and the labor is about $1300, plus tax. Just seems really high, but I don't really know who else in my area who installs these cheaper. Is this an average price for this setup?
 

wincom6

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Dec 10, 2009
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Robinson Township,Pittsburgh, PA
If you know a good car mechanic, my personal advice is to down load the instructions from Blue Ox and see if he wants to do the job.  It?s not that difficult and I?m sure he will do just as good of job and maybe better than Campingworld.
 

Greg Barker

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Nov 23, 2015
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Camping world did mine a couple of years ago, it was around 3,400. Did you have any input on parts? Or did you just let them pick for you?
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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That's on the high side and they aren't doing you any favors. Check around your area for a professional hitch shop - even the smallest cities usually have them.

Here's a rough new parts estimate:
Top quality tow bar with accessories: $750
Base plates: $400
Toad brake system: $1100
Toad lighting kit: $75
Total: $2325

Installation labor: 6-8 hours @ $85-$120 per hour = $960 (worst case)

If there is a sales tax, that could easily add $175-$225 to that.

CW is probably charging the high end of the labor rate scale and near full MSRP on the parts.  You can save money buying at least some of the parts yourself, e.g. there is no "installation" of the tow bar so you can easily DIY once the base plates are on the toad. But a pro hitch shop probably charges a lower labor rate and might give you a package price on the parts as well, so check around.

If you mention your location, maybe someone here will have a suggestion.
 

Back2PA

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Jul 26, 2015
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Bagelboy said:
Just got an estimate from Camper World for our Toad. We have an '05 Honda Odyssey. With the tow bar, base plate, brake activator, and all else needed, the estimate was for $4300. The parts were about $2600, and the labor is about $1300, plus tax. Just seems really high, but I don't really know who else in my area who installs these cheaper. Is this an average price for this setup?

I had our setup installed by CW because, frankly, I didn't know where else to go, and yes, it was expensive.

Found out after the fact that there is a place ("Cliff's Welding", Mesa, AZ, outstanding reviews) not too far away that could have done the job for at least $1500 less. Have driven by the place a dozen times but based on their name had no idea they did this kind of work (I pointed that out to the owner later). Based on this Gary's advice of a professional hitch shop is excellent (as usual!). Perhaps not all, but at least some of them will be familiar with base plate/wiring/braking installs, and I would guess they will source the materials cheaper if you don't source them yourself.
 

grashley

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Western Kentucky
In another very recent post, the OP bought the components and his regular mechanic did the base plate, brake and lighting install for 4 hours labor at about $60 or $75 per hour.  No parts markup.

Just a thought.
 

Massmerch

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Apr 24, 2014
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Mesquite, Nevada
That seems on the high side...we just got our towing set up installed for our 2015 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited for $3,400.  That was for a Blue Ox tow bar, a base plate, Air Force 1 braking, and labor.  I would do some additional pricing elsewhere for piece of mind.
 

jubileee

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Dec 17, 2013
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I've installed six base plates over the years. Four on friends vehicles and two of my own. Took me 4-8 hrs for complete job, lights, and brakes depending on vehicle and I'm not a professional. I found the Roadmaster base plates easiest to install all though it might have just been the vehicle type. I think Gary hit the labor spread right on the money.
 

jagnweiner

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Geneseo, IL
I mentioned this recently in another thread.  You could also try a local body shop.  I had my local body shop install my Blue Ox base plate and tail light wiring system.  I had bought the parts from PPL and was going to install it myself, but decided it was more than I was up to.  Total labor bill was around $300 ($55/hr shop rate)
 

robertusa123

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Lynchburg va
Camping world is all way high on their pricing.    Try a local trailer shop.  I would pass on the welding shop.  You cant weld a trailer hitch like they did in the old days.  Its all bolt on.   
 

Bagelboy

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Nov 14, 2016
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48
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Saugerties, NY and Tarpon Springs, FL
Just found out from my mechanic that my Honda Odyssey might not be the best car to tow. I don't wish to buy another vehicle, but I don't really want a tow dolly. Looks like I have some decisions to make.....
 

2020retired

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May 3, 2021
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Missouri
Just got an estimate from Camper World for our Toad. We have an '05 Honda Odyssey. With the tow bar, base plate, brake activator, and all else needed, the estimate was for $4300. The parts were about $2600, and the labor is about $1300, plus tax. Just seems really high, but I don't really know who else in my area who installs these cheaper. Is this an average price for this setup?
Just got a quote from my RV dealer for a complete Blue Ox system for my 2021 Jeep Wrangler. Installed price quote was $5300 for a 10,000lb tow bar. I bought the same package on line for $2600, the only difference being a 6500lb capacity tow bar. I installed myself with the help of videos on YouTube. Took me longer than a product saved the $800 estimated labor cost plus got the complete system for $1800 less than dealer wanted. Installation and wiringcan be done by almost anyone with the ability to follow instructions and a few basic tools. Switching from tow dolly after acquiring the jeep. Looking forward to simplified towing!
 

phil-t

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Ogdensburg, NY
DIY is an option, if you have the ability and tools. You can find a video of the baseplate and brake system installs on line in most cases. From there you can decide on the DIY path. Etrailer has videos and parts.
I recently changed towed cars, bought a new car. I purchased the baseplate from Etrailer and paid the body shop guy at my dealer to do the install (he charged me 125$ and did it in an evening, on his own time, at the dealer (car was brand new). I moved the brake system (Roadmaster Invisibrake) myself, after purchasing a "second car kit". If I hadn't gotten such a good deal from the body shop guy I would have done the baseplate install myself.
My first towed system was purchased at and installed by Camping World. Pricey?, yes. The tech did an excellent job and we were satisfied - everything RV was new to us at the time.
 

8Muddypaws

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California
I wouldn't trust CW to install a roll of toilet paper. I've had to correct several things they've done on friends RVs over the years.
 

Isaac-1

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SW Louisiana
For that price difference the DIY'er could invest in a fair number of specialty tools and still come out ahead. I did a DIY TOAD conversion on my wife's Jeep Cherokee a few months back and 90% of the tools I needed could be found in a typical $60 socket wrench set. Going from memory the other tools needed were a set of automotive panel plastic pry tools (cost less than $10 online), a couple of screw drivers, wire stripping and crimping tools, the one thing I had to buy was a plastic rivet tool for about $20. Total needed tool investment for someone that had the skills but owned no tools of any kind is probably under $200 (maybe under $125 if you buy cheap stuff).
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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At our Silver Springs FL home
Base plate & brake system install on a modern car or SUV is a lengthy job, especially if you are unfamiliar with how the front fascia of modern vehicles is formed and installed. As Isaac explained, tools aren't much of a concern. Plus, finding a way to route wires or brake cables (if needed) can be challenging in any recent model. Very little room to work or find paths through the firewall. Wiring for the lights is also something that takes some newer vehicle experience - you can't just splice into some existing wires in most cases.

This is a task where a bit of prior experience can make a huge difference. Once you do one, you could probably cut the time & effort by 1/3 if you did another.

I have an acquaintance that owns a hitch shop and he says that towing systems that used to take 2-3 hours now routinely run 5 hours for base plate, lighting and brake system installation. That's for guys who do it nearly every day.
 

phil-t

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Ogdensburg, NY
I wouldn't trust CW to install a roll of toilet paper. I've had to correct several things they've done on friends RVs over the years.
Me neither - it's the tech you gotta trust; just like anywhere. Trust in techs is one of my biggest problems. I've had CW techs do a few things that did reliable work. Prices are not the best though. Quality workmanship is my first priority wherever I go.
 
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