Hello Guest!

Setting up toad for flat towing

  • 7 Replies
  • 829 Views
*

SharonL

  • ***
  • 32
    • View Profile
  • OwnPC: Yes
  • NewUsed: Used
  • PurchDate: March 2022
  • Model: 2552
  • ModelYear: 2015
  • Slide: Yes
  • IntColor: Desert Sand/Hickory
  • ExtColor: White and Desert Sand
  • Location: Florida
Setting up toad for flat towing
« on: November 25, 2023, 10:58:16 am »
We have a 2013 Jeep Wrangler Sahara that we want to tow behind our 2015 2552.  I have been researching tow bars, braking systems, etc. and looking at the reviews on all of them.  I find it a little overwhelming because everyone has their own opinion and what bothers some doesnít bother others so I am here to get information on what other PC owners are using if they are towing a Jeep Wrangler.

Iím leaning towards a Blue Ox Alpha II tow bar because they say that it is a non-binding system which is something that I definitely want, to make the process of hooking and unhooking easier.  I also see that Roadmaster tow bars are all supposed to be non-binding so I am open to Roadmaster also.   As far as baseplates go, I havenít even started that process yet.  I originally thought about going with the Patriot braking system but are now strongly considering going with InvisiBrake.  I have read that you have to make sure that the Patriot system is always set up correctly in your vehicle or the braking system wonít work.  I have read that some people arenít using them anymore because it is a hassle to get it set up and calibrated (I think this is correct wording).  I donít know about anyone else but sometimes we feel a little punky after driving for a while so I would hate to screw up setting up the braking system.  Also sometimes we feel a little rushed when trying to get ready to leave a campsite.  I have read that the InvisiBrake is pretty seamless and no set up is required each time you hook up.  So I feel that the direct braking system is best for us.  We do not plan on changing our tow vehicle and can only flat tow our Jeep.

I would love to hear from those of you that are flat towing a Jeep, what you are using for tow bars, base plates and braking.  Also I have a question about whether you leave the key in the ignition of the Jeep or not.  We have an automatic transmission . Some say the steering wheel doesnít lock and you donít need to but others say that you need to.  I have looked in the owners manual and it doesnít state anything about the key.  It just says that after you have shifted the transfer case into neutral, turn off the engine, then shift the transmission into Park.  At that point you should be able to remove the key????  It is a little confusing but I would like to hear what you experienced PC owners have to say.

 :help

Thanks Sharon
Sharon🏝

*

WillLloyd

  • *****
  • 216
    • View Profile
  • OwnPC: Yes
  • NewUsed: Used
  • PurchDate: Feb/2017
  • Model: 2910
  • ModelYear: 2016
  • Slide: Yes
  • IntColor: Pebble
  • ExtColor: Grey
  • Location: Virginia
Re: Setting up toad for flat towing
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2023, 11:23:23 am »
If you want, clean and simple, look at the NSA product line. Towbar and breaking system are built into one.  When we towed our Jeep, our winch bumper had tow points, so I did not buy a base plate. Blue ox is my go to base plate for other vehicles though.

For lights, we installed separate LED bulbs in the tail, light fixtures and wired them to the front of the jeep.  Again, itís clean and simple when you donít need to get into the Jeep light wiring.

If your jeep does not have a steering lock, which most donít, all you need to do is put the transfer case in neutral and go.  No key required.  If you choose a breaking system that requires power, then thereís a separate research effort required to figure out where to get that power while youíre towing.

*

Ron Dittmer

  • *******
  • 5536
  • Ron and Irene
    • View Profile
    • My 2007 2350 Phoenix Cruiser
  • OwnPC: Yes
  • NewUsed: New
  • PurchDate: June 2007
  • Model: 2350 Ford
  • ModelYear: 2007
  • Slide: No
  • IntColor: Cherry Green&Gray
  • ExtColor: Full Body Gray
  • Location: N/E Illinois
Re: Setting up toad for flat towing
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2023, 02:01:58 pm »
Hi Sharon,

Just like you say, there are many opinions and experiences.  I will share my experience only for reference.  I can say the method we had chosen back in 2007, continues to serve us well today.

Back in 2007 when we bought our PC, we had a 2000 Toyota MR2 Spyder that we wanted to tow.  I went with Roadmaster's Falcon-II tow bar because they offered the tow bar bracket kit for that specific car.  Because the tow bar was level with that little car, I did not need a riser or reducer.  The car was barely legally light enough that I did not require a tow brake so we did not have one.  Here is the very simple setup we had back then.




After 2 years towing that, we bought a 2006 Jeep Liberty 4x4 to enhance our adventurous capabilities.  I bought the Roadmaster hardware kit for that and continued to use the same Falcon-II towbar which we use to this day.

I first tried to tow our Liberty with the bar not level as shown which was a really bad idea because it caused lots of horrible "bucking".


I then added a riser to level the tow bar which eliminated 100% of the bucking.  Adding the riser increased the distance between vehicles so I had to also buy longer blue safety cables.  I use 2 QUIET HITCHES at the 2 connections which eliminates various towing clanking sounds along with minor play.




For our Liberty, I bought a Unified By US Gear tow brake that works well.  I believe the system is no longer available for sale today.  Here is the system diagram.  It is fairly complicated, but once installed, is very effective and easy to connect and disable on trips and when back at home.  This braking system continues to work well for us for all these years.  What I really like about this particular tow brake is that the Liberty's brakes contribute so much that the braking distance of the over-all train is noticable shorter.  We brake better and faster when towing than when not towing.  I don't worry about prematurely wearing out our Liberty's brakes as brake jobs on that vehicle are very simple and affordable, especially doing the work myself.


On trips, I always leave the tow bar attached to the back of our PC, so I only mess with all that heavy lifting only at home.

For the record, I installed and wired everything I covered here for both vehicles myself.

I also want to share that regardless of the towing system you decide, towing 4-wheels-down, you cannot backup...not even if you have someone in the tow vehicle steering it.  It does not work, period!  Every extended trip we take, it seems there is always one time during the trip that I get us into a bind where we have to separate the two vehicles in a hurry.  I have timed the process.  With Irene doing her part in her Liberty (yes it is "her beloved" Jeep), we are both able to drive off in under 45 seconds.  Rehooking up at a safe location, it takes under 4 minutes.

Again, I share this for educational reference.  I don't think it is the best, nor less than the best.  It is the only setup I have experience with.

Now, concerning your Jeep Wrangler..........

Many years ago now, a couple who owned a PC, stopped at our house to buy something from me during a trip they were on.  We also shared ideas and such.  They owned model 2350 built on a Sprinter chassis, towing a same year Jeep Wrangler.  I saw that their rear window was shattered.  They told me this was the second time they lost their rear window.  They told me that the aggresive tires on their Wrangler was throwing rocks forward through the front opening in the front fender.  They were thinking the rocks were deflecting off the top of the Wrangler's front bumper, then shooting up towards the PC's window.

I see in more recent years, some Wrangler models have an added filler piece as shown.  I don't know anything about them, but it seems a good idea to have them.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2023, 02:58:56 pm by Ron Dittmer »
Ron (& Irene) Dittmer

*

stanclem

  • ****
  • 61
    • View Profile
  • OwnPC: Yes
  • NewUsed: Used
  • PurchDate: April 2022
  • Model: 2552
  • ModelYear: 2015
  • Slide: Yes
  • IntColor: Desert Sand
  • ExtColor: Desert Sand
  • Location: Kansas
Re: Setting up toad for flat towing
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2023, 02:35:52 pm »
Sharon,
We have a 2015 2552 and tow a 2012 Jeep Liberty. We use the NSA Ready Brute Elite tow bar, which has the built in mechanical brake.
This setup works very well for us.
There are some good videos on you tube showing the setup and use of this stsyem.
You will find all kinds of points of view on the best setup. Again, this works very well for us.

Safe travels,
Stan

*

mikeh

  • ******
  • 428
    • View Profile
  • OwnPC: Yes
  • NewUsed: New
  • PurchDate: 02/2019
  • Model: 2552
  • ModelYear: 2019
  • Slide: Yes
  • IntColor: Toast
  • ExtColor: Toast
  • Location: Oklahoma
Re: Setting up toad for flat towing
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2023, 03:49:41 pm »
Hi Sharon--

My input on this will be limited value, because while I do tow a Jeep--it's a 2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk, and my system was installed almost five years ago, so there may be fresh updates.  There have been several Wrangler owners posting here about towing in the past, however, so maybe you'll hear from them.  I used Dan's Hitch in Elkhart to install my system--being in the center of the RV world in Elkhart, they do a ton of installs and have a solid reputation for professional work.  They handle all brands of equipment, so I let them choose components and just asked them for a quality, reliable system.  It's proved to be that--effective, easy-to-use, and trouble free for the five years I've used it.

The components they used include Blue Ox baseplates, A Roadmaster Nighthawk tow bar, and a Demco Stay-In-Play Duo brake system.  The Nighthawk tow bar stays on the RV and is an easy hook up.  It has the safety cables integrated into the bar, which keeps them out of the way.  Like Ron, I needed a 2 1/2-inch riser to level out the bar between the RV and Jeep, and use a couple of the Quiet Hitch clamps to eliminate play in the connections.  The Stay-In-Play Duo is similar to the InvisiBrake, in that the controller is a small box permanently installed (under the hood in my case).  To insure no accidental application of brakes it requires two activators to initiate braking--the same brake light signal used by InvisiBrake, plus an accelerometer which provides proportional braking instead of the progressive braking received from InvisiBrake.  All that is required to activate the braking system after you plug in the lighting cable from the RV to the Jeep is to flip one under-dash switch in the Jeep.  The complete hook-up process is less than a five-minute job after you've pulled the jeep behind the RV--two tow bar pins, two safety cable hooks, plug in the lights, clip on the breakaway wire that sets the Jeep brakes in case of a breakaway.  My 2019 has a push-button start, so after the transfer case is in neutral the selector goes in park, brake system switch flipped on, and you're ready to go.

As said, don't know how much or how well this translates to your Wrangler, but I've certainly been happy with my set-up.
All the best,     Mike

*

Free2RV

  • *****
  • 212
  • Gary and Susie
    • View Profile
  • OwnPC: Yes
  • NewUsed: New
  • PurchDate: P.U. 6/11/18
  • Model: 3100
  • ModelYear: 2018
  • Slide: Yes
  • IntColor: Nightscape (Cherry)
  • ExtColor: Graystone (FBP)
  • Location: Northern Michigan
Re: Setting up toad for flat towing
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2023, 04:46:46 pm »
We have a 2018, 3100 PC and tow either our 2019 or 2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited.  I set both units up for towing so we can tow either Jeep.  We use a Blue Ox tow bar and use Roadmaster base plates.  The reason we use that combination is that our original toad was a Honda CR-V which we set up with a Blue Ox base plate.  When we looked into the base plates for the Wranglers we felt that the Roadmaster offered a cleaner look when the Jeeps were not being towed.  This coming spring we will be replacing our tow bar as it is reaching its 10 year life span.  Although it is still working fine, we don't care to take chances and are following the manufacturer's guidelines for the tow bar life span.  We will again be replacing it with another Blue Ox tow bar as everything is set up for that brand.
As for the braking system, we installed the Demco Stay'n Play Duo system on each Jeep.  Once installed, all you do is connect the light cord to the Jeep and turn on a toggle switch mounted in the Jeep and the system is ready to go.  For the tail, turn, and brake lights, we installed the system that uses the existing Jeep's tail and brake lights.  I believe this system is from Roadmaster, but I am not 100% certain. 
As for your ignition key; I can totally understand your frustration with the lack of direction from Jeep.  Both our Jeeps have push-button starting so there wasn't a question about removing the key, but there is no mention about whether there is a steering wheel lock or not.  We ended up calling the Jeep dealer to find out that Jeeps don't have steering wheel locks.  In our Honda, we had to leave the key in the ignition and have it turned to the first detent to unlock the steering wheel. 
Just a suggestion for you...prepare a check sheet, using the vehicle owner's manual, listing the steps to take to set up for towing and steps to be taken when disconnecting from your RV.  A co-worker of ours did not believe in doing that and it cost them a set of tires on their toad because they did not release the parking brake before departing on a trip.  The husband couldn't understand why their diesel pusher was acting so sluggish, but did not stop to see what was wrong.  It wasn't until a passing driver got their attention did they stop to find two ruined tires.
Gary

*

SharonL

  • ***
  • 32
    • View Profile
  • OwnPC: Yes
  • NewUsed: Used
  • PurchDate: March 2022
  • Model: 2552
  • ModelYear: 2015
  • Slide: Yes
  • IntColor: Desert Sand/Hickory
  • ExtColor: White and Desert Sand
  • Location: Florida
Re: Setting up toad for flat towing
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2023, 06:47:50 pm »
Thank you everyone for your input and experiences.  I will look at each and everyone one that you have shared and make a decision that we will feel confident with. This is not something that we are going to install ourselves but we will have a professional do it.  It is so valuable to have input from others that you can trust.  I thank all of you and please enjoy your Holidays!!!! 
Sharon🏝

*

Free2RV

  • *****
  • 212
  • Gary and Susie
    • View Profile
  • OwnPC: Yes
  • NewUsed: New
  • PurchDate: P.U. 6/11/18
  • Model: 3100
  • ModelYear: 2018
  • Slide: Yes
  • IntColor: Nightscape (Cherry)
  • ExtColor: Graystone (FBP)
  • Location: Northern Michigan
Re: Setting up toad for flat towing
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2023, 05:37:48 pm »
Sharon, you might also want to watch videos available on etrailer.com.   They might help with your research.
Gary