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Old 06-01-2016, 03:14 PM   #1
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How to Pull a Toad

I've seen many, many threads from new owners asking for help in learning to drive a "Big Box". While I can always learn more, I think I "get it" for driving mine.

However, I'm about to start pulling a 4-dr, lifted Rubicon. While I have some experience pulling cargo trailers behind a Suburban, I have never pulled anything behind my MH.

I have never seen a thread about toading. Could you please give me tips or cautions about doing this? Particularly, what are things to watch when just starting out?

I have a full-time rear, hitch-looking camera that doesn't even show the rear of the Jeep's roof. I have side cameras, but they work only with the blinker.

If distances make a difference in your helpful suggestions, I use a hitch adapter due to the Jeep's height. That extra foot, plus my Blue Ox Aventa, makes my separation distance about 4 1/2'. The Jeep is 18 1/2'. My coach is 38'. So, I'm 61' end-to-end.

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Old 06-01-2016, 03:21 PM   #2
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I would recommend a TPMS system so you will know if you lose a tire. That could help prevent a lot of damage to your toad and its wheels. The only way you'll know its even back there is seeing it in your camera.
I would also make a "pre-flight" checklist to be sure you don't miss something in your hook-up process.
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Old 06-01-2016, 03:28 PM   #3
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Jerry......there aren't too many differences towing a toad, with the exception that you can't back up with a tow bar connected, as it will damage (bend the tow bar). Some will come on here and say they've backed up with a tow bar and it is possible for a foot or so, but is definitely not recommended by the manufacturer. As soon as the steering turns, the tow bar can bend.

You need to make sure your tow bar is set level with the coach, which sounds like you've already done. Until you get familiar with the procedure for putting your Jeep in neutral for towing, I like to create a laminated sheet with the instructions and follow them. Usually on a trip, it becomes second nature, but often, when you haven't towed for a few months, you may miss a step, like RELEASING THE PARKING BRAKE.

I think the only other thing I would recommend is to rotate the Jeep tires religiously at 5K to prevent uneven wear if you tow frequently. Pulling the Jeep versus pushing it with the engine can change some front end dynamics and cause the tires to wear a little differently.
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Old 06-01-2016, 03:30 PM   #4
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You do not mention any brakes for the Rubi. Most states require brakes on anything over 3000#. if your adaptor gets the MH hitch even with or slightly higher that the tow points on the Jeep and your lights work, you are ready to go. Nothing special about it. You might want a TPMS, as you might not see the tires if one goes flat or hits something and blows out. Everyone will tell you not to backup with the toad hooked up. It can be done, but it takes two people that know what to look for to get it done. You will have to plan ahead when turning into a parking lot or fuel stop to avoid the need to back up. Before you start, double check that everything is setup properly including the parking brake on the Rubi. Don't ask how I know. Enjoy the trip.
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Old 06-01-2016, 03:49 PM   #5
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We have towed a Honda CRV and a Chevy Equinox behind our 40' Winnebago Meridian diesel pusher for about 15K miles. As long as your toad tracks straight when towed, towing four wheels down will be simple. The caveat is because I have read abut some towed vehicles that "wander" behind the coach, which can be dangerous. Thus, I recommend testing how your large wheel toad tracks before starting out on a trip. If it does, you our toad will basically follow the track of your coach when you round corners, but I recommend giving the corner and extra foot of clearance when towing. Also, do not back up when you have a toad attached. If you do, the front wheels will flip to one side, which may damage the steering or your hitch. Tip 1 - You can back straight for a very short distance if someone is in the toad and tightly holds the steering wheel to keep if from moving left or right. If you have to back a significant distance, or make a turn - unhook - it happens to the best of us. Tip 2 - I recommend installing a battery charge line from the coach to the toad to avoid a dead toad battery when you arrive (much simpler than removing fuses, and fairly inexpensive). Tip 3 - if you have air brakes on your coach, and plan frequent/extensive traveling, you may want to consider the Air Force 1 brand auxiliary brake system. Auxiliary brakes in your toad are required in all states. The AF1 brand has a permanent air activated piston attached to your toad brake, and an air line from the coach to toad. Most of the components are installed in the coach. This makes hooking up easier. Just attach the hitch, electric cable, and air line, and you are ready to go (after checking that everything is working properly). Hope this info is helpful. Rob More
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Old 06-01-2016, 04:19 PM   #6
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I agree that a TPMS on the toad is essential. You will never know if it gets a flat otherwise. Make a checklist for hooking up and follow it. There have been many stories in here of people that had an "uh-oh" down the road.

I also travel a few miles, stop and recheck that everything is still attached and the lights still work.
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Old 06-01-2016, 04:56 PM   #7
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Driving an RV in a straight line with a car in tow is no different than without the car.

But, changing lanes requires the additional distance before you cut off anyone.

Since you report your rearview cam does not overlook the toad...2 suggestions:

~Take the RV with toad to a place where water is crossing at the entry curb of a parking lot...enter the parking lot while driving through the water and immediately make a hard 90 degree turn with the tires wet from the curb water.
Stop and get out, looking to see the tracks...specifically how your Jeep follows the tires for your RV...make steering corrections based on what the toad does in turns.

~Buy a second rear view camera set-up that mounts the cam to the top of the RV's rear...and try to find one that has audio. That way you can see what the toad is doing all the time and the audio could alert you to trouble (plus is a BIG help when parking with a spotter to hear them).

Best luck
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Old 06-01-2016, 05:35 PM   #8
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Make a preflight check list and use it, every time. If something interrupts you during set up, start over. Very easy to miss something as simple as letting the toad parking brake off to make for a not so happy trip.

If you can adjust you rear camera to look further down the road. My view behind starts about five feet from the rear of the coach out to about 20 feet behind the toad. Even with a five foot blind zone behind the coach backing into a camp site is easy. Once an object disappears from view I know it's time to stop.

Driving is not much different. As mentioned the toad will track inside the coach wheels. It will not cut a corner as a trailer will. What you must account for is the overall growth in length, particularly when change lanes which is when the rear camera looking down the road comes in handy.

Watch when waiting in line for fuel and not block four wheels from getting about. Four wheel drivers all seem to be going different places but trying to be the first to arrive. Always have an exit route at fuel stops before committing. If you have to, disconnect. Only takes a minute and use your check sheet to reconnect the toad.

I highly, highly, did I mention I highly recommend a braking system for the toad. They can be expensive but think of it this way. You're adding 4000 pounds to your rig and if you could do so and not increase the stopping distance that would be a good think, right?
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Old 06-01-2016, 05:58 PM   #9
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There is a lot of great suggestions - for my 2 cents here are a few more -

1) Purchase and bring along one of those battery jump boxes - relatively inexpensive and handy if you have a dead battery. Used mine a couple of times when I didn't disconnect the vehicle battery. Used it once to jump a friends RV.

2) Check list as many of the things you do - for most of us the hooking up of a toad falls in the high risk (could cause lots of damages) low frequency (not many times per year) category that screams - Check List. Two types of check lists - Check it off then Do or Do then Check it off. Whatever works for you. First start off with it written on a index card then after you made some inevitable changes then type and laminate it. With a check list only one person does it if you have two people doing things then make two different check lists for example one for inside the toad and one for outside. Assuming that someone else did some is the cause of many damaged toads.

3) Unless you have super dark front windows tie a yellow ribbon, yellow piece of velcro or some other bright object to the top of the steering wheel. It will show you that the steering wheel is still turning when you turn. Especially important on vehicles you have to leave the key on (with battery disconnected) like mine.

4) While exiting the campsite or other location after first hooking up I purposely make a sharp turn in the campground road and purposely watch the toad's front tires in the side mirrors to verify they are steering correctly.

5) You don't mention auxiliary braking unit - something that is required in most states and often incorporates a automatic break away cable that put the toads brakes on if you have a break away. Some systems like the RVi2 have the TPMS built in.

6) If your year of Jeep requires the steering turned on then try to find a place that will make a key that will turn the ignition on but not start the jeep (no chip key). Keep the key in the toad and use it turn the ignition so the steering works, then use your every day keys to lock the doors while you are towing it.

7) Many RV's allow you adjust the rear camera so give that a try so you can see more of the toad. My previous RV I had to adjust to see more of the toad but on this one it is fine the way it is.
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Old 06-01-2016, 06:14 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dutch Star Don View Post
Usually on a trip, it becomes second nature, but often, when you haven't towed for a few months, you may miss a step, like RELEASING THE PARKING BRAKE.
Yep, I did that and I've been towing a towed since 1997 although sometimes it was on a dolly. Have all the parts in the garage to do the Ody brakes now due to no parking brakes!
My father did that with their little Honda behind their Foretravel too.


Backing? Well, I did it once, tow bar (RoadMaster Sterling) bent slightly but RoadMaster was able to straighten it out.
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Old 06-01-2016, 09:25 PM   #11
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As other stated I would consider a camera on the top/back of your coach so you can get a good look at the jeep not just rolling down the road but also changing lanes... It helps! Preferably a camera with audio so you can easily hear if you forgot to take it out of gear or anything else. I would usually turn the audio of for the first few miles and always have the camera on.

Don't back up, only takes a could minutes to disconnect and not everyone will be so lucky getting the manufacturer to replace a bent tow bar.

Some do a checklist, I always had my wife (now X) do everything inside the jeep and I would do everything outside and under the hood. Once I get my stuff hooked up she would do her stuff then we would both double check what the other person just did.
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Old 06-01-2016, 09:33 PM   #12
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Don't back up, only takes a could minutes to disconnect and not everyone will be so lucky getting the manufacturer to replace a bent tow bar.
I didn't say RoadMaster replaced the towbar, I said they were able to fix it. I live less than 10 miles from the factory, so I just drive over there. The last time I had it rebuilt they charged me $75. Before that the never charged for service, even when I bent it, but they do now. The bend wasn't even enough to stop the arms from going in, just enough to make it very hard to move them fully.
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Old 06-01-2016, 11:02 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by roblaura View Post
We have towed a Honda CRV and a Chevy Equinox behind our 40' Winnebago Meridian diesel pusher for about 15K miles. As long as your toad tracks straight when towed, towing four wheels down will be simple. The caveat is because I have read abut some towed vehicles that "wander" behind the coach, which can be dangerous. Thus, I recommend testing how your large wheel toad tracks before starting out on a trip. If it does, you our toad will basically follow the track of your coach when you round corners, but I recommend giving the corner and extra foot of clearance when towing. Also, do not back up when you have a toad attached. If you do, the front wheels will flip to one side, which may damage the steering or your hitch. Tip 1 - You can back straight for a very short distance if someone is in the toad and tightly holds the steering wheel to keep if from moving left or right. If you have to back a significant distance, or make a turn - unhook - it happens to the best of us. Tip 2 - I recommend installing a battery charge line from the coach to the toad to avoid a dead toad battery when you arrive (much simpler than removing fuses, and fairly inexpensive). Tip 3 - if you have air brakes on your coach, and plan frequent/extensive traveling, you may want to consider the Air Force 1 brand auxiliary brake system. Auxiliary brakes in your toad are required in all states. The AF1 brand has a permanent air activated piston attached to your toad brake, and an air line from the coach to toad. Most of the components are installed in the coach. This makes hooking up easier. Just attach the hitch, electric cable, and air line, and you are ready to go (after checking that everything is working properly). Hope this info is helpful. Rob More

Roblaura reviewing your response, we have a 41' Camelot just purchased a 15 Equinox, Roadmaster tow bar, the 8k, af1 brake system. I installed my MX base bar to the front of Equinox. Doesn't use cross bar. Our coach had an existing air brake hookup but don't know if it works or not. So bought full kit from SMI. Have any tips for the install of air system in car?


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Old 06-03-2016, 12:44 AM   #14
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Thanks, everyone. I forgot to add 2014 model. I am buying a 4-camera system. The front is to see how close my corner is to something when turning. The sides allow full-time w/o the turn signal, and the back is per above. Problem is installation. I decided against wireless after learning they transmit on same frequency as many other wireless devices, including my cell booster and WiFi router. I think I can put the sides on my front slides thru the OHC's and route the wire to the front OHC where the hub will be. I can't run the rear without tremendous trouble. So, I'm enclosing the cable in 1/2" loom for UV protection and running it the length of the roof up front. Roof is full of solar panels and other wires going up front, too; so, what's one more? I have an appointment with M&G Engineering in Athens to have their supplemental system installed. I'm having to install a TPMS separate from the ones already on the Jeep and on the Country Coach. Bummer and expensive; but neither OE's can be expanded for more wheels. The system I'm buying will go on all 13 wheels but is stem-mounted. that means I'll have to take the Jeep 4 off when I'm rock crawling, requiring a new-install procedure each time.

Other than the "don't back" point, the most helpful advice has to do with length. I really appreciate the tips about practicing on a big parking lot. ILO waiting for rain, I'll use chalk or some white powder stuff to mark the wheels. If I can find a mall-type lot with space lines, I can use them as a grid. Sounds like the new back camera is pretty much a necessity for changing lanes or even turning. Now, I can do a right turn into a two-lane street with a car in the other lane. It takes time to get my 38' around and scares the car's driver; but I usually make it without hitting the curb. It sounds like my additional 21' may prevent that unless there's no car there.

I hope others can search for this thread and learn as much as I have.

Jerry
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