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Old 10-04-2006, 01:07 PM   #1
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Hi all,

We finally are getting our toad all set up. The baseplate's on, the towbar's workin' and the US Gear Unified Tow Brake is installed. NOW all we need to do is figure out the rear lighting and we need some opinions please.

I (Jim here) installed auxiliary bulbs into the Vue's taillamp housings for turn/stop lights. The MH uses a "4-wire" rear lighting system. I wired the running lights feed from the MH output directly to the Vue's PARK lamp circuit with no diodes. Since the UTB supplies power to the toad, the battery voltages will be equal at all times and feedback and/or voltage differences shouldn't be an issue. I left the Vue's brake lamp circuit intact.

So I hook up the wiring and everything works as it should. Here's what I'm trying to figure out regarding the stop lights. I would like the Vue's OE stop lamps (including the high mount lamp) to come on along with the aux. stop lamps whenever I depress the brake pedal in the MH. You'd think the UTB would apply the brake in the toad, but it does not if the rig is stationary. So, what happens is, when slowing down, step on the brake in the MH, the aux. stop lights come on first, then as the UTB applies the pedal in the toad the Vue's OE stop lamps come on for a total of 5 stop lamps on the rear of the toad. Then, once at a complete stop, the toad's OE stop lamps go off, but the aux. stop lamps remain on until the brake is released in the MH. (I hope this all makes sense.)

So, should I just leave it as it is, or eliminate the OE stop lamps altogether (which would preclude the high mounted lamp) to avoid confusing drivers behind me, or try to figure out a way to wire the Vue's OE stop lamps directly to the MH?

Any advice, opinions and/or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Oh, and one more question. Does anyone know if it's even possible to wire a "4-wire" motorhome light system to a "5-wire" toad system and have the brake lights work properly. Is there a converter for that?

Thank you!
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Old 10-04-2006, 01:07 PM   #2
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Hi all,

We finally are getting our toad all set up. The baseplate's on, the towbar's workin' and the US Gear Unified Tow Brake is installed. NOW all we need to do is figure out the rear lighting and we need some opinions please.

I (Jim here) installed auxiliary bulbs into the Vue's taillamp housings for turn/stop lights. The MH uses a "4-wire" rear lighting system. I wired the running lights feed from the MH output directly to the Vue's PARK lamp circuit with no diodes. Since the UTB supplies power to the toad, the battery voltages will be equal at all times and feedback and/or voltage differences shouldn't be an issue. I left the Vue's brake lamp circuit intact.

So I hook up the wiring and everything works as it should. Here's what I'm trying to figure out regarding the stop lights. I would like the Vue's OE stop lamps (including the high mount lamp) to come on along with the aux. stop lamps whenever I depress the brake pedal in the MH. You'd think the UTB would apply the brake in the toad, but it does not if the rig is stationary. So, what happens is, when slowing down, step on the brake in the MH, the aux. stop lights come on first, then as the UTB applies the pedal in the toad the Vue's OE stop lamps come on for a total of 5 stop lamps on the rear of the toad. Then, once at a complete stop, the toad's OE stop lamps go off, but the aux. stop lamps remain on until the brake is released in the MH. (I hope this all makes sense.)

So, should I just leave it as it is, or eliminate the OE stop lamps altogether (which would preclude the high mounted lamp) to avoid confusing drivers behind me, or try to figure out a way to wire the Vue's OE stop lamps directly to the MH?

Any advice, opinions and/or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Oh, and one more question. Does anyone know if it's even possible to wire a "4-wire" motorhome light system to a "5-wire" toad system and have the brake lights work properly. Is there a converter for that?

Thank you!
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Old 10-05-2006, 04:53 AM   #3
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Jim,

I have UTB installed in both of our toads using the auxillary bulbs as you did. Just like you did, I also did not use the brake lamp cut out relay portion of UTB. The operation you described is how our brake lights also work.

As soon as the brake pedal in the MH is pressed, the new brake light bulbs in the toad light, then if the UTB presses the brake pedal, the toads OEM brake lights and center light as well also lights. Once the UTB releases the toads brake pedal once the car comes to a stop, the Car OEM lights go off.

I really count on the auxillary bulbs being my brake lights though. The UTB may not always apply the brakes in the car as I keep it set rather light, and additionally, the UTB doesn't apply the brake when I'm using the exhaust brake to slow down. The exhaust brake does light the MH brake lights (and auxillary lights on the toad) though.

Keeping the extra brake lights working on the car though is handy for an emergancy stop though as long as the auxillary lamps that are installed are far enough from the OEM bulbs that the turn signal is visible when the brake lights are on.
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Old 10-05-2006, 06:11 AM   #4
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Thanks for the reply, Joe. Sounds like I'll be keeping things as they are.

Eventually, I may wire a dedicated circuit from the MH 3rd brake lamp to the toad's OE stop lamp circuit so all the stop lights on the toad work completely in unison. I installed the aux. bulbs in the lower 1/2 of the Vue's rear side lamp housings. The OE stop bulbs are in the upper 1/2. There is only a slight difference in brilliance (between the OE stop bulbs and the aux. bulbs), and it is very evident when the turn signals are on even with the brakes applied.

Thanks again for your input.
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Old 10-05-2006, 07:23 AM   #5
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Good idea of the separate feed for the 3rd light on the toad. I'm just out of signal wires in my 6-wire cord though.

The Vue lights sound similar to the CRV. There was a separate chamber I could add the extra bulb too so there is plenty of separation for the turn signal and brake light.
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Old 10-10-2006, 09:37 PM   #6
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We are in the process of purchasing our first Toad. Unfortunately the 2 perfectly good vehicles we now own do not lend themselves to easy 4 down towing. So my question is how/why did you chose the Saturn Vue? It is currently on the top of our list.

Thanks for any information you may be kind enough to share.
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Old 10-11-2006, 10:01 AM   #7
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We chose the '06 CR-V over the Vue for our own reasons. The Vue is a good choice, but is a about 200 lbs heavier than the CR-V. You didn't state what chassis you are towing with, make sure it can handle the weight of the toad. You want at least 4,000 lbs hitch rating, 5,000 is better. You will also need a brake system for the toad. Good Luck !!!

Good to have you here, welcome to iRV2
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Old 10-15-2006, 06:17 AM   #8
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by ron & deb:
We are in the process of purchasing our first Toad. Unfortunately the 2 perfectly good vehicles we now own do not lend themselves to easy 4 down towing. So my question is how/why did you chose the Saturn Vue? It is currently on the top of our list. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hi ron & deb! Welcome to iRV2.

Sorry we didn't reply sooner, but we just got home yesterday from a week-long trip in the motorhome which included a rally near Lake George, NY with the iRV2 Nor'Easters. This was the first time we towed the Vue and it worked out great!

You have come to the right place to get answers to your questions as there is a wealth of knowledge and willingness to share here among the members.

We too are aspiring to become "Full-Timers" and love the RV lifestyle.

To answer your question we chose the Vue based on a number of factors. First, it was light enough for our rig to tow. Second, we wanted a small SUV that was all-wheel or 4-wheel drive with an automatic transmission.

We looked at the Toyota Rav4 and the Honda CR-V as well. As it turns out the latest Rav4 can't be towed 4-down with the auto. trans. and 4x4. So, even though we really liked it, we didn't want to have to modify it for towing. The CR-V seemed like a good vehicle, but just wasn't comfortable to us.

The Vue in our opinion is very roomy and has some really nice features. Whle it seemed trivial at the time, the little fold-up rack system in the rear is very nice when grocery shopping. We prefer the rear liftgate opening upward instead of to the side because it provides shelter from the elements when loading/unloading. The V-6 engine with all wheel drive is actually a Honda engine which makes 250 hp! This thing really moves and we're getting about 20mpg to boot.

Lastly, I'm a GM auto technician by trade and am somewhat familiar with the systems utilized in this vehicle and am confident with the fact that I'll be able to service it myself once it's out of warranty.

I hope that helps, however choosing a car is always a personal choice. Good luck!
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Old 10-16-2006, 12:31 PM   #9
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No problem how was the Rally? Lake George is a beautiful area we have traveled in our RV several time there. I have been a member of iRV2 for some time but seam to gravitate to the Good Sam's forum possibly because I am a member of it.
We nearly mirrored your experienced looking for a Toad we where very disappointed in the new CR-V not comfortable and did not like it when the sales person mentioned we would have to disconnect every 200 miles to run the vehicle through all the gears. We are fortunate that we live literally a mile from 10 to 12 auto dealers so it was handy for test purposes we also gave the Suzuki Grand Vitara a try but the wife was not impress. She was all hot on the Jeep Liberty until we went next door an tried out a 2007 Saturn VUE it was night an day better ride more luxurious accouterments and more.
The one thing that sacred me was when I checked out the link to the tow bar installation page and saw what had to be done to a brand new beautiful vehicle, does that void any warranty cutting parts of the bumper brackets, pulling the nose off and rewiring stuff and the like?
This may be a subject for another post but we are also checking out a 2007 Winnebago Adventurer with the vase chase you have (Workhorse W24) sounds like you like yours.

OK I have run on enough, thank you for the feedback, Ron and Deb
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Old 10-17-2006, 02:41 AM   #10
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The rally was AWESOME!! As always a very good time with the Nor'Easters and the weather was perfect. We loved Lake George and the area and will definitely go back.

We did notice you had been an iRV2 member for some time, but it was your first post so we thougt we'd welcome you aboard! Nice to have you here.

Back to the Vue. I did the installation of the baseplate myself and it wasn't bad at all. There are only 2 small, thin pieces of metal that are easily trimmed out (using a reciprocating saw) to make clearance for the baseplate. I really don't think there would be any issues with warranty since Saturn is well known for having towable vehicles. They expect people to be using their vehicles as dinghys. Removal of the front fascia is a snap. A couple of screws and a dozen or so push-pin fasteners and it slides right off. The hardest part for me was drilling the holes for the attachment bolts because my drill bits are getting dull. I have some photos I'd be happy to share with you if you'd like. The thing I really like is that the fascia does NOT need to be cut at all! The removable tabs slip right through the lower fascia opening. It's as if Saturn designed it that way for a baseplate to protrude through.

I also installed the US Gear Unified Tow Brake which was quite a project, but well worth the effort. I also wired up the rear lights myself.

We too felt the Vue was a bit more luxurious, smooth and comfortable when we were comparing vehicles. We pretty much drive it every day and love it. We towed it about 350 miles total on our trip and it went great! After performing the transmission lube procedure it can be towed for 7 hours, but this also counts stopping time. (Lube every 7 hours whether moving or not.) We like the fact that there's not a mileage restriction.

BTW, we LOVE our Adventurer and the Workhorse W22 chassis it's on is an outstanding performer. It handles great and is VERY powerful for a gas chassis.
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Old 10-23-2006, 02:34 PM   #11
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">So, should I just leave it as it is, or eliminate the OE stop lamps altogether (which would preclude the high mounted lamp) to avoid confusing drivers behind me, or try to figure out a way to wire the Vue's OE stop lamps directly to the MH? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Jim, drove my Winnebago Adventure with 2006 Vue in Tow (at night for the first time)! When my "Tow-V-Aire" brake system applys Brake the Toad brake lights come on (all three). The add on "Blue Ox Sockets" just apply running lights and turn signal. Besides that, I can see that "High Mounted" third brake light in my rear view monitor, now I will have to look in the daytime, to see if I can tell the "Vue" is breaking.

Bruce
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Old 10-24-2006, 03:45 PM   #12
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Today I answer my own question, my "Vue" has dealer installed "Bug and Rear" deflectors, along with all 4 window deflectors, (nice, you can have windows cracked for fresh air when it rains) Anyway, I see the reflection of the "Upper Tail (Brake) Light" in the Rear Window deflector! Looked today in the daylight, and it has to be the "Smoke colored deflector" that reflecte the brake light back at me.

Just for everyone's information!

Thanks Bruce
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Old 12-22-2006, 01:29 AM   #13
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Horsepowerfan

1. We have a 2006 Saturn Vue, honda v6, automatic (but not all wheel drive), bought in July 06, new;

what steps do we need to take to ready the the Saturn vue for towing; fuse??, put shift in neutral ?? but how can this be done without ign key turned on?? other items ??

2. On tow bar: the used RV we bought (holiday rambler vacationer, 2002, vortec 8.1, 36 foot), came with the blue ox tow bar (but not the part (front plate?) that is bolted to the Saturn front); can you or someone suggest a good braking system for the 2006 Saturn Vue. On installing the brake system, can I do it myself...I am reasonably handy (an old 50s hotrodder).

Thanks, HEMI
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Old 12-23-2006, 08:29 AM   #14
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Hi Hemi,

We use a US Gear Unified Tow Brake and it is an excellent system. I really like how it is permanently mounted in the vehicle and completely out of sight.

All we do is connect the tow bar and safety cables and connect a couple of electrical connections between the MH and Vue. Then, per the Vue's owner manual, perform the "Lube Procedure" making a final shift from DRIVE to NEUTRAL before turning the key to the ACCESSORY position (this keeps the steering unlocked for towing). The steps in the owner's manual are a bit out of order and can be confusing.

Since the tow brake system receives battery power from the MH, and the two vehicle's batteries are essentially connected, it's not necessary to pull any fuses in the car. Very simple.

I installed all the towing stuff myself including the Blue Ox baseplate and the toad light wiring and while it wasn't too difficult I do have an advantage being a professional auto technician with lots of tools and a sevice hoist to use. Even so, being as meticuloous as I am, it took me about 12 hours to do everything.

So far we've only towed our Vue about 300 miles, but everything worked great and I was very pleased with how well the tow brake system worked.
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