Toad towing issues

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Tom

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Karl

I should have added a  :) to my last message.

We'd towed 10K miles before it occurred to me to ask about the fuse removal. That was a year ago and I alsways forget whenever we hitch up and go. Need to add it to my checklist  ;D
 

Tom

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Thanks Jeff. George Mullen built something similar for his Saturn (the article is in the Tech Topics area of our library). I must admit that, betwen motorhome trips, I forget about (or put off) some of this stuff. When it's time for a trip, unless it's a maintenance or safety item, I put it off until next time  :)

Not entirely true. Just before the Moab trip I installed a steering stabilizer and some other goodies on the coach and installed a breakaway air brake system on the toad. Also rewired/relocated the wiring hookup on the toad. Some final maintenance checks and it was time to leave. De-fusing was low on the priority list and didn't get done.
 

PancakeBill

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Is this fuse pull for all Saturns?  I don't think my folks have ever done this.  I can see how easy it would be to install an inline switch for towing, but what purpose does this serve?  What is being taken out of the live circuit?  I missed that part, and if it is in here I keep missing it. 

:-\
 

Tom

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Bill

Here's a quote from George's article:

"....I decided to buy a 2001 Saturn SW2 wagon, one of the last ones Saturn made. At the time of the sale I was aware that my Saturn was wired in such a way that it became necessary for the manufacturer to recommend removal of one fuse (labeled IGN1/4) before towing the vehicle. While the vehicle can be safely towed with the fuse in place the owner runs the risk of draining the battery if left in the towing configuration for longer than a day?s trip. This occurs because the Body Control Module is powered through that fuse with the key in the ACC position. See Saturn?s Technical Information Bulletin number 00-T-33 issued June, 2000."
 

Smoky

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Tom:

If the fuse is pulled, then no power to the Brake Buddy right?? I know you have the M&G, but since I am getting a brake buddy I wanted to explore this further.

Does this battery drain problem occur with any toad that has the brake buddy?? If so, how do people deal with toad battery drainage? This is a good testimonial for the M&G, but I am still going to go with the BB so I want to be sure I know what people do to keep their toad battery charged on long trips extending several days or more.

If these are dumb questions I apologize in advance.? I have not given much though to how the brake buddy is powered so I am pretty uninformed here.
 

Tom

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Smoky

I may be wrong, but the battery drain on George's Saturn apparently comes from the ignition switch being in the unlocked position. The fused circuit that is opened by the switch doesn't isolate the cigarette lighter/12V outlet, so the BrakeBuddy still gets power. Most folks I know don't need to have the switch or pull a fuse.

In the case of my Burb, the de-fusing is for a different reason. The Burb doesn't have a mechanical steering lock, so we remove the key when towing. However, the Burb racks up towed miles.
 

Smoky

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Thanks for the clarification Tom.

I am still left with the brake buddy battery drain issue.

Does anyone know if on a long multi day trip if this can be a problem?  And if so how to manage it?
 

Tom

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Smoky

Everyone I've talked to who uses a BB says that battery drain is not an issue. OTOH the BrakePro that I initially bought before the M&G will drain a battery in short order.

The BB (or the equivalent that Ned uses) is used by many people and I've read no reports of problems. This mention of de-fusing (for an entirely different reason) seems to have got you worried about something that's really a non-issue.
 

Smoky

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Tom:

The fuse is indeed another issue.  All it did was trigger my thinking and I purposely segued into the battery drain question.

I should have phrased my battery question more clearly to separate it from the fuse issue, sorry.

So... beginning over ....

What I really want to know is how does the brake buddy get its power (cigarette lighter? or direct wiring?)  And if there are any special precautions to take if one is going to drive for days on end without use.  Especially if the toad is not used and we engage in heavy mountain braking.

Tom suggests that no matter how long someone drives or how heavily the brake pro is used, that there is no evidence that any special things need to be done to recharge the toad battery.  I just want to be really sure of this, because , as I made it clear in other threads, we do not expect to me doing very much toad driving our first year.

I have Tom's answer I believe already.  If no one else has any additional data to add, then I will certainly accept that I don't have to be concerned about the brake buddy and the toad battery no matter how long the toad is towed.
 

Tom

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No need for apologies Smoky. I was just trying to clarify things a little in case I caused you to worry unnecessarily.

Smoky said:
...how does the brake buddy get its power (cigarette lighter? or direct wiring?) And if there are any special precautions to take if one is going to drive for days on end without use. Especially if the toad is not used and we engage in heavy mountain braking.

As I said, it's a cig lighter or 12V outlet. I have both in the Burb, the only difference being that one is rated at a higher current than the other (15A v 20A). The BB will run off either and comes with an appropriate plug on the end of the cord.

Tom suggests that no matter how long someone drives or how heavily the brake pro is used, that there is no evidence that any special things need to be done to recharge the toad battery.

Not sure I said that. I really don't know how many days you could go before discharging the toad battery to the point that the engine won't crank. I do know that the answer for the BrakePro was not very long (much less than a day). But it's a little like asking how is a piece of string.

Personally, I'd fire up the the toad's engine at the end of the day after a lot of braking. I would (and do) carry a pair of jumper cables, just in case. On our 3-month shakedown cruise I also carried and used a regular car battery charger - had to fire up the generator at a truck stop to recharge the toad battery several times on the same day. I would not expect this extreme with the Brake Buddy.
 

Alaskansnowbirds

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Smoky said:
What I really want to know is how does the brake buddy get its power (cigarette lighter? or direct wiring?)? And if there are any special precautions to take if one is going to drive for days on end without use.? Especially if the toad is not used and we engage in heavy mountain braking.

Tom suggests that no matter how long someone drives or how heavily the brake pro is used, that there is no evidence that any special things need to be done to recharge the toad battery.? I just want to be really sure of this, because , as I made it clear in other threads, we do not expect to me doing very much toad driving our first year.

I have Tom's answer I believe already.? If no one else has any additional data to add, then I will certainly accept that I don't have to be concerned about the brake buddy and the toad battery no matter how long the toad is towed.

Smoky,

We have used the BB since 2000 on our Ford Ranger and have never had a battery drain problem. That said, the longest that we have gone without using the toad has been two maybe three days.

You keep saying that you're not going to use the toad very much. First, unless every camp site you use or every place you camp is a PULL THROUGH you will be unhooking the toad and running the engine to move it. Second, IMHO you have underestimated how much you will use your toad. The motor home will be used to get from point A to point B where you will camp. Once camp is setup, all other travel in that area will be via your TOAD. Think back to the trip you took with your trailer. How much did you drive your truck? Did you never unhook it from the trailer?? ??? You will drive your toad at least as much as you drove your truck. The only way I can see not using your toad is if you set up camp then spend 24/7 in or around the motor home and never go to see any of the attractions in the local area.

I'm trying to understand your reasoning for thinking that you won't be driving your toad. If you're not going to see any of the attractions in the area you're camped, why did you go there?? ???

 

Smoky

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Don Peg & Jack.

Yes three days would be plenty for me.

"Think back to the trip you took with your trailer. How much did you drive your truck? "

After reading this forum I think our style may be very different from most here.  On my ten week trip I used my truck solo very seldom.

For example I spent three weeks in Lava Hot Springs where I could walk to all the stores from my campsite.  I spent a week at McCall Idaho, where my friend John Campbell ferried me around to meet all his friends and go ATVing.  I did take a three day trip where I left the trailer at the camp in Lava  and toured the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, and Jackson Hole in my truck.  I did a one day similar thing with the Grand Canyon.  Another one day near Bryce and Zion.

I do spend more time reading, people-watching, sunning at the pool, than I do sight seeing, but still I see a lot of the sights.  I get a lot of down time in though as well.  Mostly I like to hike with my dog, and most of the campgrounds have all that right there.

Most places I overnighted were where I could walk to everything I needed.  I am a big walker. <g>  And in many cases they had tours I could go on. 

Another habit of mine, and I wrote about this in the journal I posted on CompuServe, is that I really like to settle in one place for awhile, and get to know the local life.  In Lava Hot Springs they did an article in the local weekly on me and my dog and titled it, "Almost a Local". <g>

The main situation I was worried about would be when I am on a long haul, and might stop three nights in a row at a WalMart, Truck stop, or Cracker Barrel type place.  In those instances I would never unhook and I just wanted to be sure the battery could take it.  If I have any problem I might do what Tom suggested and run the engine a bit.  I wonder why the brake buddy doesn't take its power off the wiring harness from the Motorhome?
 

Ron

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Smoky,

Having used the Brake Buddy for around ten years we have never worried about the toad battery running down.  We have towed for several days without ever disconnecting the toad and never had a dead battery except  recently I did find the toad battery dead on arriving at Moab but I found a door was not properly closed and the interior lights were on.  Nothing to do with the Brake Buddy.

 

Tom

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Smoky said:
I wonder why the brake buddy doesn't take its power off the wiring harness from the Motorhome?

Smoky, that would mean some permanent wiring and would remove one of the advantages of the BB, i.e. the ability to quickly and easily disconnect and remove from the vehicle, in addition to the ability to easily switch between different cars. Presumably, if you had a spare heavy gauge wire in the harness between coach and toad you could hard-wire an additional 12V receptacle in the toad and plug the BB into that.

Given the responses here from BB users, it sounds like it's a non-issue.
 

PancakeBill

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I guess my question is what toad?  Many need to be run as in started and idles every so often during the course of the tow.  Of you have to do this, then that woul probably eliminate what appears to be basically a non-issue. 

I have a different issue.  In towing a 5-er, is the way to take a motorcycle using a bumper type hitch the way to go?  I don't think I want a toy hauler, so next option is some type of carrier.  Anyone carry a mc on the back of the 5?
 

Tom

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Many need to be run as in started and idles every so often during the course of the tow.

Good point Bill. IIRC the Honda Accord is one such toad, but I don't know which others. I don't believe there's such a requirement for a 4x4 with a transfer case (?)
 

Smoky

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I will be towing a Taurus.  My understanding is that it is towed with engine off and in park.  Has the axel lock installed of course.
 
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