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Old 02-14-2012, 05:27 PM   #1
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Thumbs down Estimate for Towing Setup Installation

What a eye-opener. I called a local RV repair shop to inquire about having a towing setup installed (base plate, tow bar, supplemental brake, etc.) The guy told me they "do not install customer-provided parts" but that they sell and install Roadmaster. Sooooo, I asked him to work up an estimate for all Roadmaster parts and installation. $5100. YIKES!!!! Does this sound reasonable, because I was expecting to hear ~$3,000.
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Old 02-14-2012, 05:41 PM   #2
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$5100 seems a bit high. The baseplate cost will very with the type of vehicle. I had a Blue Ox system installed last year. The baseplate for my 2010 Chevy Cobalt was $960.00 installed and that included running a lighting circuit that was independent of the car's main wiring cable from the Cobalt's tail lights to a wiring receptical in the front of the vehicle. I chose an SMI auxillary braking system for the Cobalt and that was $1400 installed. I bought a Blue Ox Aventa hitch assembly and that was $860.00. So my total towing investment was about $3200.

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Old 02-14-2012, 05:50 PM   #3
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No more than $2500 for parts... Save the labor by doing it yourself.

PS... I am so jealous of your Bounder... That's the best floor plan ever!!
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Old 02-14-2012, 06:08 PM   #4
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That does sound very high Sarah... unless your toad requires a lot of custom work to get it ready. I think your original expectation was pretty close. If you list the big hitter items on the estimate maybe some of our experts can find the smoking gun.

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Old 02-14-2012, 06:17 PM   #5
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$5100 seems a bit high. The baseplate cost will very with the type of vehicle. I had a Blue Ox system installed last year. The baseplate for my 2010 Chevy Cobalt was $960.00 installed and that included running a lighting circuit that was independent of the car's main wiring cable from the Cobalt's tail lights to a wiring receptical in the front of the vehicle. I chose an SMI auxillary braking system for the Cobalt and that was $1400 installed. I bought a Blue Ox Aventa hitch assembly and that was $860.00. So my total towing investment was about $3200.

Dan
$3200 sounds more in the ball park, I had my baseplate and wiring done for $875 on my Saturn Vue. I told them which baseplate I wanted and they ordered it and installed it with wiring included for $875. I bought a towbar and an Even Brake both on sale after shopping around for the best price. Approximately another $2000 for both including paying for the Even Brake wiring for the monitor and brake away system. .
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Old 02-14-2012, 06:25 PM   #6
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Agree, it sounds way too high.
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Old 02-14-2012, 06:30 PM   #7
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My Blue Ox base plate and wiring kit with install was about $800. The blue Ox tow bar was $ 550. The SMI Stay n Play Duo brake system installed was $1350. That's $ 2700.
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Old 02-14-2012, 06:32 PM   #8
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Check with PPL motor homes in Houston.

http://www.pplmotorhomes.com/parts/r...ies/blueox.php

They sell other brands but this will give you an idea. From what I understand it is easy to install the base plate on a Jeep Wrangler.

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Old 02-14-2012, 06:52 PM   #9
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My setup: Blue Ox baseplate, Adventa LX Bar, Brake Buddy Vantage. Pretty much top of the line stuff. Total cost for parts = $2600. Total install time with wiring mods to the towed was 7 hours. (Figure $600 - $800, depending on local labor rate.)
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Old 02-14-2012, 08:38 PM   #10
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Actual cost 10/26/2007 for installation on 07 Honda CRV, parts and labor for Blue Ox baseplate, Aveta tow bar $2121.96 + $1070.00 for new Brake Buddy. I know it is dated but surely the cost would not be more than double by now.
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Old 02-14-2012, 09:12 PM   #11
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Thanks, everyone. This was a verbal estimate, so I don't have the breakdown of expenses. He gave me the individual prices but I was too shocked to write...HAHAHA. I do remember that the tow bar was $1150 and the supplemental brake was $1350, which sounded much higher than the stuff I've been pricing on the internet. (The guy asked me why I thought we need the brake, so I pretty much had already decided that he wasn't the installer for us.)

Guess I've got more calls to make.
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Old 02-15-2012, 07:02 AM   #12
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What a eye-opener. I called a local RV repair shop to inquire about having a towing setup installed (base plate, tow bar, supplemental brake, etc.) The guy told me they "do not install customer-provided parts" but that they sell and install Roadmaster. Sooooo, I asked him to work up an estimate for all Roadmaster parts and installation. $5100. YIKES!!!! Does this sound reasonable, because I was expecting to hear ~$3,000.
Ask specifically which Roadmaster braking system they are going to install. If it's the Brakemaster 9060 there's a lot of labor involved for installing the system in both the motorhome and the Jeep. Here's a link to the installation manual.

http://www.roadmasterinc.com/pdf/85-1811-08.pdf

This is an excellent system but very labor intensive for the initial installation. I installed the Brakemaster 9060 system in our motorhome a few years ago. It took 8+ hours to do a quality job in the motorhome alone. It took another 4+ hours to install the plumbing, breakaway system and wiring for the lights in the Jeep.

I admit I did more work than I would expect from most dealers. I mounted the compressor in a place that was difficult to get to because I wanted to be sure it was out of the way and didn't take up valuable storage space. I also made sure all the wiring and plumbing were run through harnesses and secured properly to prevent damage and deterioration.

The wiring was the most labor intensive part on the Jeep. I had to all but stand on my head to install the diodes near the tail lights, and learn to be a contortionist to run the plumbing for the air cylinder and the breakaway system.

It took an additional 2 hours to install the baseplates on our 2004 Jeep Wrangler. We used the Roadmaster XL brackets that bolt to the frame and are flush with the bumper. As I recall there were only 2 holes to drill, but the steering box had to be partially removed since 1 of the mounting bolts is used to secure the drivers side baseplate.

I know I'm going to hear from others who will say I took far to much time to install the system. For the record I was an ASE certified Master Mechanic for over 20 years and am quite familiar with this type of work. I have all the tools necessary to do the job. I just wanted to do a quality job that looked like it was a factory installation.

All in all I had about 14 hours labor installing the entire system. It took a lot of time but was well worth the effort. I would recommend this system if you intend to keep both the motorhome and towed vehicle for several years. If you intend to trade every couple years I wouldn't spend the money to change it from car to car and motorhome to motorhome. In my opinion this system is intended more for the DIY person since the labor cost for a professional installation can easily double the price of the unit.

The labor rate in our area is $100.00 to $125.00 per hour. That would put the installation cost at between $1,400.00 and $1,575.00. At the time I believe the brake system cost about $800.00, the baseplate system was about $300.00, and the Sterling tow bar (now replaced by the Sterling All Terrain) cost another $800.00.
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Old 02-15-2012, 07:18 AM   #13
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Just an FYI on prices from Roadmaster The 9060 braking system now costs $1095.00, The XL baseplates are $399.00 and the Sterking AAll Terrain tow bar is $965.00. Theese are factory prices without shipping costs. My experience is that they generally charge as much or more than the dealers to avoid under cutting the dealer network.
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Old 02-15-2012, 07:46 AM   #14
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CRAZY. We get it done, minus the supplemental brake for under $500 for installation and wiring, and then they let us drop ship the base plate to them. I'm almost embarassed to say that we really go through cars (it's like an addiction!), so the same guys (we're in Sacramento, CA) have done at least 4 cars for us. I'd see if you can find someone else!
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