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Old 12-09-2010, 01:39 PM   #1
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Ready Brake/Tow bar Angle

I know that every one, including the manufactuor, recommends that the height diferrence between the base plate connection and the ball be no more than 2". My toad is a Saturn with Blue Ox base plate and Acclaim tow bar which has a 6" to 7" angle. I asked Ready Brake if their unit would work and the reply was "I don't know. Try it and if it doesn't we will refund your money if the unit is returned within 30 days". Also, they said the angle would NOT damage the Ready Brake. The Saturn already has the cable installed for the Ready Brake and I really want to try it. My question is: have any of you had experience with a surge brake with a ball/basepalte differential of greater than 3" - 4"?
Thanks,
Dave
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Old 12-09-2010, 02:48 PM   #2
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I just had the entire Ready Brute tow bar / brake system installed yesterday (Blue Ox base plates) and so far I love it. I was fortunate because Blue Ox makes two different plates for the Honda element...one where the connections are at 19" and one at 22". I got the 22" because my receiver hitch is 21-1/2" off the ground...it worked perfectly.
I couldnt find any other base plate manufacturer that had anything that high for Elements thus the decision to go Blue Ox 22" because I would not need a drop bar.

I personally am not an authority on danger of more than 2" drop but I did ask the guy at Discount Hitch (they installed it) about "what if" it would have been more than 2" drop and he promptly showed me all the drop bars by "Curt Manufacturing" and said he would strongly recommend one if I would have had more than 2" angle.

Of course with the surge part of the tow bar plus the drop acting also as an extension, it will stick back off your motorhome a good 18" but such that it is..

Look for other posts on IRV2 because somewhere there is a discussion why this is even more important if you are using a ball hitch and not a straight receiver hitch set up.
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Old 12-31-2010, 11:28 AM   #3
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I have a Ready Brake system to tow our Mercury Mariner and before that I towed a Subaru Forester. never had any binding problems yet. Both had more than a 2" drop, so I keep the system well oiled and did not have a problem. However, I would encourage to go to any truck accessory supply store and buy a drop down hitch insert to reduce a severe angle. You certianly would not want the surge system to bind.
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Old 12-31-2010, 12:03 PM   #4
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That's a pretty severe angle, and even if the brake works at that angle it puts a lot of unwelcome/possibly damaging stress on the tow bar and hitch. Assuming it is the toad which is lower, when you hit the brakes on the RV the differential is increased by several more inches as the rear of the RV lifts up. That looks like a potential disaster ... My advice is to get a 4" drop. The 4" Blue Ox drop I use maintains my 10k towing capacity ...the 4" Roadmaster I had earlier cut the capacity to 5k.
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Old 12-31-2010, 01:00 PM   #5
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I have a Blue Ox Acclaim BX4330 tow bar which is specified to be used at a 7" drop. I'll keep the Ready Brake well lubed and see how it works. Ready Brake has said the angle would not damge the unit.
Thanks
Dave
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Old 01-04-2011, 05:37 PM   #6
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I bought the 6" drop hitch receiver from ReadyBrake. I tow a Samurai. Scroll down the page about 2/3's to see the drop hitches that they have avaible.
RV Towing Accessories - Night Shift Auto
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Old 01-04-2011, 05:52 PM   #7
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I think the ReadyBrake will do a super job for you at that angle as rkennedy stated make sure you keep it oiled. If you incur a problem you can install a dropdown hitch very cheaply.
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Old 01-04-2011, 06:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
I know that every one, including the manufactuor, recommends that the height diferrence between the base plate connection and the ball be no more than 2".
And the reason you don't want to follow their recommendations are?
A. You don't have the money to buy a drop or lift bar?
B. People on here say its OK for you to do it?
C. You don't care if you cause damage to your hitch or tow bar?
D. Repairs to your damaged hitch and tow bar won't cost more then buying the correct height bar?
E. None of the above?

The "I know" is the right answer.
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Old 01-04-2011, 07:03 PM   #9
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there are 3 posts above talking about keeping the readybrake "well lubed/oiled". I didn't see anything in the install instructions about lubing anything on the readybrake.

What is supposed to be well lubed? My damon/cobalt needed a 10" drop, which I bought and all is level. Onlything I don't really like is that the drop has too much play in it as compared to my 4 bike hitch. Both the drop and the readybrake have play. I would have thought there would be just enough to slide in the hitches, but there is more than enough.

back to what is oiled...
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Old 01-04-2011, 07:46 PM   #10
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OK, trip report!! Different topics follow below...

On the 7' Drop issue:
================
We just got back from a week of towing our Honda element with the full ready brake system. Fortunately for us, my base plate was able to be ordered such that it lines up perfectly with the MH receiver hitch, but check this out...

In that 9 days, 3 different times we had to go through dips (in and out of a Lowes, a Wal-Mart, and a gas station) that were so severe that the Honda brake activator light came on and the surge DID NOT. (Remember I'm the one with 2 LED's, one for the surge and one for the toad brake pedal activating) Since the surge light did NOT come on, that means the angle of the Honda relative to the back of the MH was so severe that the slack was gone and just going through the dip pulled on the cable enough to activate the toad brake. One time, it was weird...pulling out of a gas station, I was accelerating and it was like driving in peanut butter...then I realized the Honda was braking the entire rig due to the dip in the road causing the cable to tighten. Looked at the 2 LED's and the toad light was on but the surge light was not. I already loosed the cable once and may loosen it another 3/8" or so.

BUT the important point here is that if I would have had a 7" drop from the MH to the toad hookup, and gone over one of those poorly designed dips where the back overhang of the MH goes UP in the air while the toad is still pointing it's nose downard, think of the load that puts on the tow bar...with a 7" drop, I wonder if it literally could pull the front of the toad off the ground if your MH rear overhang is long enough and the angle of the two pavement surfaces opposite angled like some places are.

Of course I know to approach dips at an angle but sometimes other cars, curbs, telephone poles and cement barriers have a pesky way of being in the way.

For me, I would 100% agree that the "no more then 2 inch" drop or rise is a MUST, but not for the reason of wearing on the tow bar, and not for concern about an occasional backing up for a foot or so, but more for the odd angles the tow bar and toad will contort themselves into when going in and out of driveways etc.

On the lube issue:
============
ALSO...I too dont think there is anyting to lubricate on a Ready Brute system...the extension tubes are covered with real nice expandable rubber just like on a CV joint, so there is no way for dust to get in, I cant see how to lube it, but obviously Ready Brute would know 800-933-3372.

Pleased, but want quick pins:
===================
As an aside, I'm very pleased with the whole Ready Brute system..only thing I'm going to change is to get quick clips for the toad clevis pins..those spring clips tear up my fingers every time...need to get pliers out next time to pull them out until I get quick pins. Ready brute should sell them as an option and mount them on a piece of wire screwed to the tow bar to not loose them because I know they will be expensive, but I bet West Marine will have them.
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Old 01-04-2011, 08:17 PM   #11
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ditto on the dips. My first travels with the readyBrake was over Christmas and I forgot I had the 10" drop and my angle of attack was to harsh. The under pin of the RB got scraped bad and the red brake cable was almost cut in half. Didn't activate my emerg brake though.

Yes the pins are not working for me as well.

Overall, the 600 mile trip (inner city, Hwy, and country 2 lane bumpy roads) saw no issues with the system. I need to measure my cable, because on my first test run it was too tight and any slight wave in the road and the brakes were applied. I remember loosening it by an inch.

One thing Curt has mentioned on another thread wish list is for the black metal to be beveled so the cable isn't destroyed. The 20 miles I drove on the 1st run tore away the rubber housing of the cable, but didn't harm the wire. I put electrical tape on it and after the 1 inch loosening, it still is chaffing the cable.
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Old 01-04-2011, 08:46 PM   #12
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Seems like a lot of "didn't read or didn't understand what you wrote" is floating about on this thread which I started in an effort to gather first hand "KNOWLEDGE" form someone who may have experienced the stiuation I am faced with.
So, I am going to start all over.
First, the statement that "no more than a 2" drop" Blue Ox specification is INCORRECT. Their recommended drop varies base on the design of the tow bar and the Blue Ox Acclaim BX4330, which I have, is specified by Blue Ox to be utilized at a 7" drop. At that angle the coupler is level which is the primary element in a proper coupler/ball connection.
This works well for me because my Saturn L200 toad has the base plate coming out of the front somewhat low. I realize I may potentially drag in some situations, but the front bumper will have to hit first and I will avoid such a situation. The reciever on my motorhome is appx. 6" higher which provides me pretty much the 7" specified by Blue Ox. If need be I can increase that by 1/2" or so by increasing pressure in my rear air bags. Accordingly, I feel cofident that I will have a proper and safe tow bar/motor home hook-up.
The question I posed regarding utilizing a surge brake at such an angle is because I am impressed by the Ready Brake product and want to use it if possible. Their specications call out no more than a 2" drop. However, when I questioned them about the issue. they said they did not know if it would work properly at 7" but that it would not damage the Ready Brake. That is when I decided to post and see if any one else had any experience in such a situation.
My inclination at this point is that because the coupler will be level I feel there is a pretty good probability it will work. If not, I'll sell the brake and either do without or purchase a different system. I have been motor homing for 25 years and never used an aux. brake but this toad is about 600 lbs heavier than any other I towed so I would like to have one.
I appreciate all the input given so far, but unfortunately haven't heard from anyone with a 5" to 7" drop using a surge brake.
Dave
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Old 01-04-2011, 08:59 PM   #13
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One other thing I may need to clarify: the 7" drop I am referring to is the distance of the drop from the reciever ball to the tow bar attachment point at the base plate. This has nothing to do with a "drop ball mount".
Dave
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Old 01-04-2011, 10:59 PM   #14
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The reason I posted the link to the different receiver drop hitches is because for proper operation according to the instructions " Your Ready Brake MUST BE level with the tow bar on your towed vehicle."

"If your tow bar is more than 2 inches higher/lower than the Ready Brake mounting tube your Ready Brake will not operate at maximum efficiency."

Maximum efficiency is also obtained when the brake cable is operating parallel to the Ready Brake tube.

I have had the Ready Brake system going on 5 years. Last year I added the receiver drop hitch, it works significantly better and it is easier to adjust.
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