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Old 01-18-2011, 04:59 PM   #1
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Brake Lights

We have a 2005 Cobalt as a Toad. I installed a Demco base plate. We will be towing with a 2004 30MH29G Bigfoot class C. Since the brake lights on the Cobalt activate when the engine is not running is it still necessary to install additinal brake lights? Still undecided on a tow bar and brake system..
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Old 01-18-2011, 06:27 PM   #2
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Hi lpullen,
Welcome to iRV2. My assumption is you have read the owner's manual and determined the vehicle can be towed four down and what the procedure is to do this. There is no need for additional lights it the towed car's brake lights and night time running lights come on when the coach directs these lights to come on (driver presses the service brake and turns on the headlights).

For a braking system consider USGEAR. Go to Unified Tow Brake and read about it. I have had mine since 2005 and it works as advertised. I've had one service call on it. The tech solved the problem in less than one hour.

What ever tow bar you choose, consider having a rating much larger than what you are towing. I tow 5300 lbs and have a 10K rated Blue Ox tow bar.
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Old 01-20-2011, 07:40 AM   #3
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Look at Demco's tow bars. Their Aluminator is a good tow bar, and it's really light weight. Check it out here: http://www.rvexit.com/Default.aspx?T...=0&tmpModID=-1

Also, I'd consider one of the portable brake systems like SMI makes. Although I agree with Gary about the Unified tow brake, they are great as long as you plan on hanging on to the tow vehicle for a long time. When it comes time to change vehicles they are a bit of work. I had this system for about 12 years and changed vehicles three times in that time. In my case I changed it myself. If you can't do it yourself it can get a bit expensive to pay to have it done. There pretty labor intensive.

A couple friends of mine have the SMI type, they say it only takes a minute or two to set in place and put to use.
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Old 01-22-2011, 06:38 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lpullen View Post
...Since the brake lights on the Cobalt activate when the engine is not running is it still necessary to install additinal brake lights?...
There is no need to install additional lights, but you will need to install diodes if using the existing bulbs. The toad brake lights will be activated by the brake lights on the motorhome, and you want the motorhome brake light circuit to feed only into the toad's brake light bulbs and not backfeed into the toad's circuits. The diodes prevent backfeeding.

If you don't want to cut into the toad's wiring to install diodes, you will need to install separate bulbs. Of course, installing separate bulbs requires drilling holes into the tail light housings unless you use separate, magnetic-mount lights.
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Old 01-26-2011, 11:54 AM   #5
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I wired my cj with a plug to the MH but that was easy with the jeep being 32 yrs old (I've had it for 31 yrs) but Ididn't want to get into the wiring of these new ones so I just went with the led magnetic lights for the Commander. Just simpler to do and easy if you get another toad.
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Old 01-26-2011, 08:25 PM   #6
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If you use a brake system that works by moving the toad's brake pedal, then the toad's own brake lights will operate and fulfill the brake light need. However, you still need turn signals and tail lights and that requires something more, i.e. wires from the coach to the toad to either the Cobalts turn and tail lights (diodes required), or a separate set of lights for use with the coach wiring. I think the easiest method is to wire the toad's brake, turn and tail lights to the coach system and install diodes in the toad to isolate the coach system from the toad. It is very simple to do.
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Old 01-28-2011, 12:07 PM   #7
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I'm with Gary, use the voltage and light controls from the RV. Otherwise, you'll have to make sure the battery in the TOAD is not drained by the lights.
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Old 01-28-2011, 06:50 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Gary RVRoamer View Post
If you use a brake system that works by moving the toad's brake pedal, then the toad's own brake lights will operate and fulfill the brake light need. However, you still need turn signals and tail lights and that requires something more, i.e. wires from the coach to the toad to either the Cobalts turn and tail lights (diodes required), or a separate set of lights for use with the coach wiring. I think the easiest method is to wire the toad's brake, turn and tail lights to the coach system and install diodes in the toad to isolate the coach system from the toad. It is very simple to do.
Be careful on the toad sending brake light signals to the back of the toad when the coach is braking. The law is specific relative to when your toad brake lights come on. Every time the coach brake lights come on, so should your toad lights.

So here's the situation--If you rely on your toad braking system to illuminate the brake lights, your toad lights may not be illuminating when they should. Many of the toad brake systems only function when in a severe stopping situation, which is good. My system is the Roadmaster Even Brake, Brake in a box, and actuates on an inertial braking system. Many times my toad brakes do not actuate in a casual 'slow-down situation', acting as they should. My coach has plenty of inertia in these situations slowing down, including when the engine brake actuates. The toad brakes do not actuate. But the coach brake lights do actuate, and so should the toad brake lights.

This is good, as many times you don't need the toad braking system actuating and wearing down the toad brakes (don't let the toad pull the motorhome to a stop).

But the law states if the coach brakes come on, then the toad brakes must come on.

Use a direct wire diode system to actuate the brake lights on the toad.
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