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Old 07-30-2016, 06:35 AM   #1
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Baseplates, towers, brakes

After a year and a half of using my EZ Tow trailer we're thinking its time to go 4-down. We bought our 2014 CRV for just this purpose, but it fit so easily on the dolly I just was never motivated to buy the rest of the 4-down gear.

So here's my first cut at at what to buy. Looking for opinions, hints, links to other useful posts.

Base Plate - Blue Ox https://www.etrailer.com/Base-Plates...eid=2014308207

Tow Bar - Blue Ox Aladdin 7500 pound (in case I decide to upgrade the CRV to a small pick up) https://www.etrailer.com/Tow-Bars/Ho...Ox/BX4325.html

Braking System - Blue Ox Patriot RF Portable https://www.etrailer.com/Tow-Bar-Bra...x/BRK2012.html

Out of ignorance, I pretty much went Blue Ox all the way.

The baseplate I assume goes with whatever tow bar manufacturer you choose.

The Tow Bar was for 7500 pounds. I'm wondering if I should go with the 10K model just in case I decide to go with a full sized pick up (like my Tundra, which I know would need a drive shaft disconnect)

The Patriot Brake system. I ran into two people last weekend who had it and they both seemed to really like it. Easy to set up, no problems in use.

But again, I'm looking for suggestions and stories. I know Roadmaster is also a popular brand. Seems to run 4-1/2 stars in etrailer ratings as opposed to 5 stars for Blue Ox.
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Old 07-30-2016, 06:49 AM   #2
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Be very careful when you purchase your base plate and tow bar, as they may NOT be compatible with each other, especially if they are different manufactures.

I have a Demco base plate on my Vue. It's comparable with my collapsible Blue Ox bar (three fingers) but not my non-colapsable Towmaster bar (U channel, two fingers)
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Old 07-30-2016, 07:10 AM   #3
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I went with the Blue Ox base plate, and the Aventa™ 10,000 lb LX Tow Bar. But the next time I need a bar, I will go with the newest tow bar, the Avail™ 10,000lb Motor Home Mounted Tow Bar. It is supposed to be jam proof.

I also used the M&G Engineering toad brake system. Next time I will probably look really hard at the Air Force 1 system.
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Old 07-30-2016, 08:05 AM   #4
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Why the 10K bar? Just in case you buy a bigger toad? That's more or less where my head is at.

Braking systems are probably the reason I've waited so long to go 4-down. So many choices.

I like the Patriot because it seems like the easiest to install and set up. I also like the RF link that tells you if your brakes are activating while you're driving the coach.

What about the M&G system do you not like? I've looked at that and it seems pretty good. Installation on the CRV looks a little complicated due to the limited real estate near the brake booster.

AFO is about $300 more than the Patriot and seems to be one of the most popular systems mentioned on this forum. Installation seems fairly straight forward.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigd9 View Post
I went with the Blue Ox base plate, and the Aventa™ 10,000 lb LX Tow Bar. But the next time I need a bar, I will go with the newest tow bar, the Avail™ 10,000lb Motor Home Mounted Tow Bar. It is supposed to be jam proof.

I also used the M&G Engineering toad brake system. Next time I will probably look really hard at the Air Force 1 system.
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Old 07-30-2016, 08:45 AM   #5
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Baseplates, towers, brakes

Had a 2008 Saturn Vue which we towed 4 down for 8 years we had all Roadmaster: Falcon All Terrain tow bar, Guardian shield, Stow Away for Guardian, Tow Defender rock guard, EvenBrake remote brake system and wiring package. I also replaced the fuse with a home made switch I mounted in the passengers foot well (I now see several manufacturers selling this). About 2 years ago I replaced the Falcon with a Sterling (the Falcon had been on a previous RV and was over 12 years old and was sometimes hard to unload). Everything worked well together except, the remote wireless brake indicator would sometimes show the EvenBrake was braking even though it was not and on multi day, long (6+ hours) tows sometimes the battery would run down. I started running the Saturn for 20 minutes after we stopped for the night and that took care of that problem. The Guardian & Tow Defender worked well together, no issues with rock dings on the hood except the front trim panel beneath ear the tow bar attachment points and under the Tow Defender (you had to get down on your hands and knees to see it) got dinged up on our Alaska trip.

We recently purchased a 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee. I stayed with Roadmaster pretty much except for 2 things. I went with the SMI Duo brake system, I was tired of installing, removing and storing the EvenBrake every time we were ready to go, or were stopping and I added a Toad Charge MH charging connection. The Roadmaster base plate kit for the Jeep came with a 7 to 6 tow cable so I wired the charge line into that cable. The set up to tow is easy😀😀😀 and I know when the toad is braking.
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Old 07-30-2016, 09:06 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jondrew View Post
Why the 10K bar? Just in case you buy a bigger toad? That's more or less where my head is at.

Braking systems are probably the reason I've waited so long to go 4-down. So many choices.

I like the Patriot because it seems like the easiest to install and set up. I also like the RF link that tells you if your brakes are activating while you're driving the coach.

What about the M&G system do you not like? I've looked at that and it seems pretty good. Installation on the CRV looks a little complicated due to the limited real estate near the brake booster.

AFO is about $300 more than the Patriot and seems to be one of the most popular systems mentioned on this forum. Installation seems fairly straight forward.
I used to have the Aladdin Tow Bar and used it for many thousands of miles. I really liked it, but it was lost when the first Discovery we owned burnt to a crisp one winter day. My choice of the tow bar this time was brought on by the previous owner. He had a similar but outdated bar which he gave to me, but when Blue Ox went to refurbish it for me (good company located in Pender Nebraska with a full hook up campground) they found problems that required either $700 in parts or giving me a discount on a brand new bar. I bought the new bar instead of repairing the old one. The one I got was what they recommended.

I use the M&G Engineering system because 14 years ago it was the best system out there and I am a creature of habit. The M&G brake cylinder was a challenge to install between the baster cylinder and the booster, but I managed without inventing new 4 letter words. Recently someone was talking about the SMI Air Force 1 system and I think I like it better because it has a "ping tank" located on the Discovery that seems safer than just tapping into the Discovery brake air lines. So maybe I can break out of my comfort zone and go with the AF1 next time. AF1 is also transferrable if I was to get a new toad. THe M&G system "may" require a new cylinder. I like these systems because they are truly proportional braking systems and only activate when the coach brakes are applied, and not when say the engine exhaust brake is on. But I dare to say, there are many good systems.

What I do not like about the Patriot is the "Box" you have to place in the toad and then remove every time you hook or unhook. With the AF1 or the M&G, there is one 1/4 inch air line to hook up on the toad using a quick disconnect and that is that! All done. I can hook the Honda tow Bar, electrical cable and the auxiliary brake system up faster than Sharon can "run the Honda through the gears" to get it ready for towing.
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Old 07-31-2016, 04:06 PM   #7
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"jondrew"......Before you buy a baseplate and towbar, look at them closely. I will NOT buy a model that requires the additional crossbar between the two base plates. This a bar that you have to install between the two base plates, each time you tow, because the baseplate design is not substantial enough. I had it once on my very first toad and hated the extra component to deal with.

I'm a fan of Roadmaster and use al of their equipment. They have a nice hidden set of baseplates that have the new style quick connect tow arms. One pull pin and they release and pull out.

There is a thread farther down about towing CRV's which give some good info about what's needed. There is a battery mod that lets you install a full size battery for $15.00 and the price of a new battery.

I use the Air Force One system. I do like the M&G, but on my first toad it didn't fit. I've now had 4 toads since and the AFO allows you to move the equipment from one vehicle to another. The M&G, you have to buy new equipment with each vehicle. I don't think the M&G will fit on the CRV, not enough room.
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