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Old 05-15-2011, 05:10 AM   #1
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Coach House towing a mini...1st timer...help

Recently acquired a Coach House Platinum 2005 (26 1/2 ft) and want to buy a mini cooper to tow behind. Looking at towing 4 down with Blue Ox or Roadmaster. Any advice on a brake system for the mini and any advice on towing minis would be greatly appreciated by this first timer.
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Old 05-15-2011, 09:29 PM   #2
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We tow an 03 Miini Cooper S, six speed manual transmission, four down with no problems. We do not have a brake system in the Mini as it is light enough to qualify as not needing an additional brake system. DW is in charge of setting up the Mini for towing which requires neutral, no brake and key in the proper position so the steering wheel turns. We also tie a white handkerchief on the top of the steering wheel so I can make certain that "Pearl" is following properly. The Mini always get comments in the campgrounds and on the highway when I place the following sign in the back window: "I'm pushing as hard as I can."
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Old 05-15-2011, 09:41 PM   #3
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with the key in the "unlock" position you may drain the battery so you should look at a battery cutoff switch for the car. I use one for my MG
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Old 05-16-2011, 12:04 AM   #4
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Thanks so much for the info. I think the new ones have funky keys and the steering wheels do not lock, at least thats what i have heard...so hopefully no key in and no issue with battery drain. Forgive the ignorance...DW ? Dear Wife? I have been reading recently that the state requirements vary and some as low as 1500lbs require a brake...my initial feeling was no brake needed....also Canada i am told is stopping and ticketing and making people unhook their toads.
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Old 05-19-2011, 05:59 PM   #5
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The subject of whether or not supplemental braking systems are required is overshadowed by the question of whether or not they simply make sense. Your Coach House has a GVWR of ~14,000. Your Mini has a curb weight of ~2550 lbs so it is on the order of 18-20% of the coach's weight. From purely a physics perspective I wouldn't want to have to panic stop this combination of objects without a braking system on both. If both vehicles aren't in alignment the chances of the toad taking the pair sideways is very real. Your situation is very different from that of a DP where the coach weight is more than 10x that of the toad.

I'm sure there will be people who will heatedly tell you that you don't need the braking system. That's their right, but from straight dollars and cents perspective add up what you spent on the coach, plus the toad, plus everything in them. Is another ~$1-1.5k for a braking system not worth the cost of insurance?
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Old 05-20-2011, 08:12 PM   #6
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I tow a MINI Cooper S Clubman with a 6 speed manual. The easiest brake system to install I found is the SMI "Stay -n-Play". I used Roadmaster Base Plates with a Roadmaster Falcon II tow bar. I found some external mount Turn/Marker/Stop lights (at Wall Mart) and ran the 4 conductor wire from the 7 pin connector on the MH to the rear of the MINI where I mounted the lamps. No messing with diodes, extra bulbe in the tail-lights etc.

PHE
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Old 05-21-2011, 03:10 PM   #7
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followup question

Does your odometer run when you tow or do you remove a fuse?
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Old 05-21-2011, 05:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
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Does your odometer run when you tow or do you remove a fuse?
Neither

Don't pull a fuse

Spedo does not register

PHE
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Old 05-21-2011, 05:39 PM   #9
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followup

thanks much for the info and letting me take advantage of your experience. Did you do the external light system not wanting to use the mini's lights due to difficulty of hooking into the mini electrical and maybe draining the mini battery? I am having the tow system installed (blue ox) and i was under the impression they would be hooking electrical up powered by the rv but using the mini lights. Thanks again.
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Old 05-21-2011, 06:04 PM   #10
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thanks much for the info and letting me take advantage of your experience. Did you do the external light system not wanting to use the mini's lights due to difficulty of hooking into the mini electrical and maybe draining the mini battery? I am having the tow system installed (blue ox) and i was under the impression they would be hooking electrical up powered by the rv but using the mini lights. Thanks again.
That works (I guess) but the MINI lights use electronic controllers (SCRs I think) so to connect into the vehicles lamps one must use diodes. I guess that is what your installer will be using. It is a good answer but expensive, ie diodes at ~$15/20 ea, (many needed, at least 6) finding and spicing diodes into the min lamp wiring - an hour (minimum) labor, and of course running the 4 wire cable from the 7 pin plug to and connecting to the diodes and on to the lamps on the rear of the MINI. But using diodes does save mounting new/additional lamp assemblies on the rear bumper of your MINI - some folk think they look tacky..

My way - run the 4 wire to the rear bumper, connect to the new tail lamp assemblies - $7 ea at Wally World, mount them on rear bumper.

In the total scheme of things the extra expense of using diodes etc likely gets lost in the overall cost. Since I do all my own work the extra $100/$200 or so is BIG. Adding a few extra $s to the total price of having it done for you may not be much of a bump up.

I don't mean to disparage your having the work done. It's just that I can do it and chose not to spend my $s that way. On the other hand many (most) others think it is money well spent (and I agree) to have an experienced professional do what they do best.

I'm sure your will get a job well done and glad you did not have to invent the answer.

PHE
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Old 05-21-2011, 10:52 PM   #11
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States vary but there are laws about maximum weight you can tow w/o brakes-----you might want to look up the laws in states in which you intend to tow.

I know the guy who cut me off and slammed on his brakes last April has no idea how close he came to getting 24,000 pounds right up his tail pipe------ in the bargain my wife and I may have lost our legs. Toad brakes saved my bacon----I rather have it pullin' than pushin' in a panic stop. Only one in nine years but it takes only one.

combine this with what docj said and give it some thought.
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Old 05-25-2011, 10:36 AM   #12
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As a mini cooper tower do you use any kind of shield to protect the mini's front end?
thanks!
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Old 05-26-2011, 08:09 PM   #13
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As a mini cooper tower do you use any kind of shield to protect the mini's front end?
thanks!
No and I don't seem to have any/many rock hits/chips. I know I'll get some - I have had other MHs and Toads before, and they got a few hits - but what the heck I get about as many rock chips on the front of my MH as I do on the MINI.

When/if you sell your rig in 5 to 10 years the buyer expects some road damage - it's just the cost of driving.

PHE

BTW This MINI Clubman S is the 2nd MINI I have used as a Toad - the first was a 2005 towed behind a Journey. No problem with chips on it it either
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Old 04-13-2013, 07:05 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PHESPE View Post
I tow a MINI Cooper S Clubman with a 6 speed manual. The easiest brake system to install I found is the SMI "Stay -n-Play". I used Roadmaster Base Plates with a Roadmaster Falcon II tow bar. I found some external mount Turn/Marker/Stop lights (at Wall Mart) and ran the 4 conductor wire from the 7 pin connector on the MH to the rear of the MINI where I mounted the lamps. No messing with diodes, extra bulbe in the tail-lights etc.

PHE
PHE,
We also have a Mini Cooper S but see no location for installing the SMI. Can you tell us where they installed the operating unit?
Thanks,
Bill H
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