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Old 10-10-2013, 06:01 PM   #1
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Making Money - Rant

Sorry but - disgusted with tow bar and bracket mfg websites and ease of spending 1 or 2 thousand dollars. I can only assume marketing system designed to channel buyers to installing dealers and ignore DIY crowd. My logic - Since brackets the hard part, pick one first and then select tow bar based on toad weight and price range.
Mfg. #1 sells bracket that does not require crossbar but has no tow bar to sell without cross bar. Hum throw cross bar away or add unnecessary weight, parts and additional connection points for possible failure?
Also they fail to list tow bars that will work with the brackets AND how they work/fit together. Pictures would really be nice but in short supply. Yes they say which ones won't work, but since I am the customer with $ to spend why am I the one doing the work and taking chances on buying the components I select that won't work together, or might need additional parts to function/fit. Anybody hear of a package, one part number for tow bar, mounting bracket, all necessary parts and instructions. AND if you ask a question - the answer leads to more confusion and possible need for additional parts - in my case
Mfg. #2 Will probably get my business. Had some problems similar to above but
I suspect the biggest problem I had will clear up when dust settles on 2014 cars and fit programs. As #2 stands right now the fit list does not include my car - but the installation instructions for previous year say it will. Since #1 saw need for new redesigned/product for 2014 should I trust that #2 2013 will fit and work.
Again - it's only my time and money - AND SAFETY OF MY FAMILY & OTHERS ON THE HIGHWAY.
Sorry - just PO'ed and had to get it off my chest.
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Old 10-11-2013, 08:25 AM   #2
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I don't know which websites you visited but you might give Roadmaster a try:
Roadmaster Inc. - Tow Bars, Braking Systems & RV Accessories

They have an application chart for th brackets, and instructions as how to install them. If you need additional information you can call them by a toll free number of e mail them.

If you decide to by Roadmaster products they can be purchased at E-Trailer for less money than the factory. The factory has agreements with their dealers that they will only sell at full retail prices to the public. E-Trailer and some other online retailers sell Roadmaster products at a substantial discount.

Just a note of caution there is an online retailer called Roadmaster.com. They are not in any way related to Roadmaster Inc.
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Old 10-11-2013, 09:25 AM   #3
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DIY Base Plate

Instructions have always been pretty good for all the Base Plates I installed. The hardest part is taken the car apart as in this case. Took me around 6 hours by my self. Car only had 1500 miles on it. Bought the car in 2011, took about Feb 2012 before the bracket came out.
Still had my old Honda so there not a problem.

Good Luck!
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Old 10-11-2013, 09:30 AM   #4
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From the OP's post I think he is more upset that he can't seem to just buy all the components needed (ie base plate, tow bar, break system, etc) all in one package. The sites sell just one part at a time with most not being too clear on what other parts you need. Not sure if there is a whole system set up being sold. I think that would be more research ......
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Old 10-11-2013, 09:36 AM   #5
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I don't know if I'd trust the fitting of one year to the next. I would wantto make sure what I was purchasing would fit my vehicle. I dealt with PPL Motorhomes with my installation. I ordered Demco products and it all worked out great. It's pretty straight forward and if you do have a problem you can call the company that makes the parts and talk to them directly. I had to do that with my baseplate. Had to order three different ones. I could take the front of my car apart in my sleep. I posted my problem on the forum a year ago and low and behold found out that the same model car can be made in 3 different sizes. Never new that and obvisouly Demco didn't either. 1st plate not wide enough. 2nd plate still not wide enough. 3rd one WELLA it fit like a glove. Anyway good luck and hope you find the one that works best for you.
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Old 10-11-2013, 09:49 AM   #6
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Unless I misunderstand, just do what I did. Call Roadmaster and ask what you need to make it work. I was given a Roadmaster Sterling towbar but was missing baseplate and several other components. They were happy to tell me what I needed and provide part numbers. When it all arrived, it took me about an hour and half to install baseplate on Chevy Tracker. Their wiring kit took another hour. Simple tools and excellent fitment of the parts. If you are partly mechanically inclined, it is not difficult! I was impressed with the engineering of how well parts fit and ease of DIY installation.
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Old 10-11-2013, 09:56 AM   #7
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Why not?

To the OP,

Why not simply ask the question here?

What car do you want to tow? (1990 jeep?). I'll bet someone has one set up already.

Crossbars: I think you'll find the weight to be 20-30 pounds. If that's too much extra weight you could dump 5 gallons of water.. Not sure, but I think they're there to keep the towbar from shearing off the front of your vehicle. (They sure don't make frames the way they used to.)

Check eBay, Amazon, and craigslist for towbars & adapters.
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Old 10-11-2013, 06:22 PM   #8
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For me, I like the mix and match method. If all the makers made their own complete kits we probably wouldn't be able to use a certain brand base plate with another brand tow bar. Often there are certain features of just part of a manufacturers line of products that I like that I desire to use with another manufacturers part because of it's features also. Mixing and matching is part of the fun of deciding want you want to use for whatever you're trying to do.
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Old 10-11-2013, 06:38 PM   #9
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I used Roadmaster and had no problem selecting or installing the base plate or tow bar
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Old 10-11-2013, 06:45 PM   #10
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Many tow bar manufacturers offer ends to fit whatever base plate you install. Why not call the 2nd manufacturer and offer your car as a test fit for there base plate. Some companies will install and give the base plate for reduced or free cost in order to use your car as a test fit.
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Old 10-12-2013, 11:06 AM   #11
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HI - OP Here: Lets see if I can answer some questions and clarify details of my search and purchases so far, with prices and sources.
1. "What car do you want to tow? (1990 jeep?). I'll bet someone has one set up already."
2014 Ford Fiesta "S" sedan
2. Crossbars: "I think you'll find the weight to be 20-30 pounds. If that's too much extra weight."
Not so much concerned with the weight as having cross bar stuck on the front and blocking airflow while driving around - or the bother of disconnecting and storing. Mfg #1 makes bracket strong enough that cross bar is not needed.
3. "For me, I like the mix and match method."
So do I - but mfg's need to do more to make that possible. In this project I could only solve numerous problems by doing mix and match.
4. "I used Roadmaster and had no problem selecting or installing the base plate or tow bar"
Roadmaster the only one with complete product line for the 2014 Fiesta at this time. But tow bar design looks like it would cause problems with the readybrake system I already have and as usual "money matters."

Project status:
A. Toad: Shopped hard and bought 2014 Fiesta "S" sedan with manual transmission for $14,524.04 (incl ttl). Put in neutral, key to accessory and tow. No brain required.
B. Tow bar: Demco Commander with safety cables from PPL for $468.86 (incl s&t.) Selected this one as it installs upside down for a 1 1/2 inch drop, plus an adjustment for additional 3" drop or up to 4.5" drop compensated for just with the tow bar. And no hardware to interfere with readybrake.
C. Tow bar to baseplate adapters: Demco 9523032 Mounting Kit for Roadmaster Ms and Mx from Amazon for $73.21 (incl s&t.)
D. Base plate: Roadmaster 524438-5 from local store for $460.06 (incl t.) Picked this one as no cross bar needed and at this point it is the only one available and clearly designed to fit 2014 Fiesta. If you are in a hurry to tow you might need to look at Blue Ox. No one seems to know just how soon the Roadmaster baseplate will be available.
E. Lights: Will be a total diy project and should be well under $50
D. Drop Hitch: I have about eleven inches to compensate for and not sure just exactly how much will be done with the drop hitch. Won't buy it until everything else installed so I can get actual measurement and minimize the hitch drop.
F. Brake: NSA Readybrake from our old Jeep tow system.
I have a couple months to put it all together before we leave for the winter. Will post here if I run into problems.
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Old 10-12-2013, 06:49 PM   #12
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I didn't know there was a tow bar made that compensated for difference between RV and towed vehicle. Neat idea, lucky for us we didn't need that but great to know it's available should the need arise. Sounds like you got what you need to get the job done. Good job on the research!
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Old 10-12-2013, 07:08 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ctpres View Post
Mfg #1 makes bracket strong enough that cross bar is not needed.
But the towed frame itself may not be strong enough to take the strain, that's why I trust RoadMaster for my tow bar equipment.
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Old 10-12-2013, 10:02 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Easyrider View Post
I didn't know there was a tow bar made that compensated for difference between RV and towed vehicle. Neat idea, lucky for us we didn't need that but great to know it's available should the need arise. Sounds like you got what you need to get the job done. Good job on the research!
The drop hitch receiver goes on the RV to lower the tow bar in relation to the base plate on the front of the toad. I don't know of any 'drop base plate' hook ups to reduce height difference between the two vehicles.
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