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Old 03-14-2015, 06:11 PM   #1
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Researching 4 wheel down towing

I am currently driving a Fleetwood 38b 360hp diesel pusher. My wife and I usually tow the 2010 TSX on our Kar Kaddy SS. I recently bought a 2015 Ram Laramie Crew Cab short bed 4x4 and would like to tow 4 down but have no experience with this type of towing. Although I have enjoyed the dolly experience and have no complaints I am anxious to have the option of bringing the truck on long trips.

Please provide your recommendations for equipment based on experience. I do not want to buy one then wish I had bought another. It appears the total cost will be a estimated 3k not including installation.

Thank you in advance for any advice, experiences and recommendations.
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Old 03-14-2015, 06:15 PM   #2
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Assume you have verified that your new truck is towable, four-down, without modification?
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Old 03-14-2015, 06:33 PM   #3
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Quote:
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Assume you have verified that your new truck is towable, four-down, without modification?
Yes the truck is approved and is equipped with a neutral switch to disengage all drive shafts. It is also approved in the owners manual and listed by FMCA as able to be towed four wheels down.

Just not sure on what experiences others have and their recommendations on brands and things to look for when shopping for the equipment needed to include base plate, tow bars, brake system for the truck and electrical connections for towing (braking and lights while driving the coach).

Thank you for the question.

Safe travels.
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Old 03-14-2015, 08:00 PM   #4
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42,400 lbs. on the GCWR and within the specs on towing capacity. The Fleetwood has the coach listed as 32,400 GVWR. Based on the numbers I am not seeing any concerns. The truck comes in at 5250 curb weight. I see Roadmaster or Blue Ox are recommended often. Thank you for your recommendations and if I am missing something please correct me.
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Old 03-14-2015, 08:57 PM   #5
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You will probably get lots of opinions on the "best" set up for towing--both Blue Ox and Roadmaster offer a full line of equip. Suspect any of the name brand makers will do fine for you....Couple of general thoughts: 1] I like faceplates with aux cables that atch the plate to another part of the frame; 2] Dont skimp on the lbs ratings--go for a 10k hitch/bar; 3] aux braking comes in 2 type: a self-contained boxes, and b those that are integrated in to the towed--the box is portable but a pain to store, the built-ins are great once installed but not very portable; 4] recommend a tire monitoring system for towed [and coach]--I like TST brand but am sure others will do; 5] wiring brake/tail/turn lights can be a pain on newer vehicles [options include dioes, seperate bulbs and/or lights...good luck.....
PS-- I change off tows between a Chevy Silverado and most recently, Jeep Wrangler; neither is noticable when being towed.
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Old 03-14-2015, 09:11 PM   #6
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Just went through the same process. We are towing a F150 CC 4x4. We chose Roadmaster and RVI2 brake system. Have only towed it about 800 mi, so far. Everything works well except I am having signal loss issues with the monitor and brake actuator. It brakes as it should, just loses signal to the monitor for some reason. They have been very responsive to help resolve the issue. It may require an alternate antennae.
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Old 03-15-2015, 04:49 AM   #7
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Check out the ReadyBrute tow bar with integrated brake.
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Old 03-15-2015, 07:52 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Scout View Post
You will probably get lots of opinions on the "best" set up for towing--both Blue Ox and Roadmaster offer a full line of equip. Suspect any of the name brand makers will do fine for you....Couple of general thoughts: 1] I like faceplates with aux cables that atch the plate to another part of the frame; 2] Dont skimp on the lbs ratings--go for a 10k hitch/bar; 3] aux braking comes in 2 type: a self-contained boxes, and b those that are integrated in to the towed--the box is portable but a pain to store, the built-ins are great once installed but not very portable; 4] recommend a tire monitoring system for towed [and coach]--I like TST brand but am sure others will do; 5] wiring brake/tail/turn lights can be a pain on newer vehicles [options include dioes, seperate bulbs and/or lights...good luck.....
PS-- I change off tows between a Chevy Silverado and most recently, Jeep Wrangler; neither is noticable when being towed.
I agree with everything Old Scout has to say.

I personally use Blue Ox, but I'm sure the other big names in the business are just fine too.

As for aux. braking on the towed.... I am a firm believer in aux. braking. I also strongly believe that a break away system should be mandatory. Depending on how you interpret some state laws, it is mandatory...

It's been a few years since I installed my Air Force One system and even though there have been some new additions to the aux brake market, IMO I still believe the AF1 is the leader in aux brakes for a coach with air brakes. Initial installation may be a bit longer, but after that, it's easy a pie, and nothing to install or remove in the towed. It is true proportional braking as you apply the service brakes. It uses the vacuum booster in your towed to minimize pedal forces, and provides complete break away protection.

The issue I personally have with inertia brakes is that if you descend a long grade with the exhaust or engine brake, the inertia controllers can lightly apply your towed brakes and by the time your reach the bottom, your towed brakes can be overheated, even though you never used the service brakes on the coach. This happed to me coming down Wolf Creek pass in CO with a car dolly and an inertia activated brake controller. Therefore, if you do use an inertia system, make sure it is interlocked with the service brakes, so that the towed brakes are only active when you are applying the service brakes in the coach.
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Old 03-15-2015, 12:14 PM   #9
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TV,
Very good point on "make sure it is interlocked with the service brakes, so that the towed brakes are only active when you are applying the service brakes in the coach."


I appreciate all the advice and will consider all. It will be interesting to see what I end up with. Until then I will be using the dolly with the car.


Can anyone tell me what the estimated or reasonable cost of an install on a system like the Air Force One? Just curious.


Safe travels.
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Old 03-15-2015, 12:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RTinVa View Post
I am currently driving a Fleetwood 38b 360hp diesel pusher. My wife and I usually tow the 2010 TSX on our Kar Kaddy SS. I recently bought a 2015 Ram Laramie Crew Cab short bed 4x4 and would like to tow 4 down but have no experience with this type of towing. Although I have enjoyed the dolly experience and have no complaints I am anxious to have the option of bringing the truck on long trips.

Please provide your recommendations for equipment based on experience. I do not want to buy one then wish I had bought another. It appears the total cost will be a estimated 3k not including installation.

Thank you in advance for any advice, experiences and recommendations.
I tow a 2014 Dodge Longhorn. Very easy to hook up. I have Blueox tow bar and base plate. The Air Force one braking system I have moved to four different vehicles and three mh in last eight yrs. All very good systems and integrates together very well in my opinion.
You well really like the Dodge Laramie Longhorn.
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Old 03-15-2015, 01:03 PM   #11
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First: Go camping.. Chat with your neighbors who tow

To tow 4 down you need
1: A vehicle that can be towed 4 down with or without modification
1B: if necessary, said modifications (I gather your new towed does not need major mods)

2: Towbar system Options below
3: Brake system Options below
4: Light system...Again, below

Tow bars: Many companies And many types One company to another from what I have seen all of them are roughly as good.. Some make 5K and 10K models

Types of tow bar (Here we have differences)

A-Frame..Basically this is a regular trailer tong for your towed.
You need to pull up to the motor home PRECISELY in order for the hitch to slip onto the ball... (Though these are inepensive..I DO NOT recommend)

Telescoping: With these you pull up somewhere NEAR perfect,,a few inches or on an angle is OK These come in 3 types

My lowest recommendation: Stow on the towed when not towing

My Middle/High Recommendation (one more condition) Stow on the Motor Home.

My Qualified highest recommendation stow on the motor home as well, BUT include a brake system. The Qualification: For folks who tow often,,, IF you do not tow during say a Michigan Winter,, the cable that operates the brakes is like a parking brake cable,,, And if you live in the north...Odds are your parking brakes no longer release.

Blue Ox (Auto Stop) and Ready Brute with Ready Brake are the two I have heard of and/or looked at

Brakes...I already covered what I am going to install on my towed when I get to the point where I can Tow (Auto-Stop or Ready Brake for Blue-ox)

US-Gear Unified Brake Decelerator. Most control (professional level) of any system. Electric/hydraulic,this system is transparant to towed driver. Has a power feed for the towed's battery and a vacuum pump for the booster.

Several other installed systems...Most do not charge the battery (Add a Towed Charge system)

M&G Air/Hydraulic,,Eats no electricity, Bypasses booster!!!!

All the above get my recommendation

What does not?

Box in the driver's seat Peadal Pushers...WHY,,,,Need to be installed EVERY time you tow..Posiility of mistake,,Or "Oh, Forget it, we are only going a short way" (Confirmed that one with users of same).

WARNING: Make sure the install is done right.. Mine was not..Cost me a brake job... NEW ROTORS included (OUCH).

Finally LIghts

3 types of systems

Tow LIghts (magnatic or other temp attachment)
This is what Tow Truck Drivers use...Can get lost

Diode kits..Diodes are one way valves (CheckValves) for Electricity...These usually work very well, INstall is simple

Add-a-Lamp (Blue Ox has that TMed but many companies make a system like it) Drill a hole in the "Back" (non visible) of the tail light housing and install a snap in lamp holder with lamp.

Recommendation,,EitherDiodes or Add a Lamp..Have had both, Pleased with both.
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Old 03-15-2015, 01:23 PM   #12
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You have a lot of very valid opinions from your post. Now I'll bet you are more confused than when you started.
So, I'll throw in my .02$ worth.

If you are mechanically inclined and can install all of this yourself, pick a system and go for it. They are all good systems and will get the job done.
However, if you feel this is something you are not comfortable with, my suggestion would be to find a reputable Hitch Shop and have them supply and install the complete system along with instruction on how to operate and maintain it.
Be prepared to spend about $3000 for the whole nine yards if it's done properly and safely. The only research you need to do going this route is to find that Reputable Dealer to do the install.
Happy Trails.
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Old 03-16-2015, 05:59 AM   #13
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Dennis,
Yes. All the information and experiences expressed on this thread are invaluable to me and I thank all of you who have taken the time to provide both recommendations and personal experiences with various systems.

wa8yxm,
Thank you for your detailed reply. The information you provided was just what I needed and it covered the basic to advanced.

Loisjop,
My last truck with the 5th wheel was a 2011 King Ranch dually. Loved that truck but had to let it go when I bought the coach. Drove a 2004 Sport Trac with 151k on it until I replaced it with the 2015 Ram Laramie. Love this truck!! I especially like the fact it has the neutral switch for 4 down towing. The sound proofing in the 2015 is very nice as well as the advancements in technology. The cost was a bit much but it is more like a 4x4 limo with the amount of space for passengers. Looking forward to taking it West and getting off the main roads. You have had the system for 3 MH and 4 different vehicles? That is as good as a recommendation as I could ask for. Thank you!

I know the RV dealer where I bought the coach sells towing products as most do. Is this a good place to have these items installed? I am leaning towards diode kit, AF1, and Blue Ox based on the information provided. I agree that a disconnect safety is a must. I also plan on traveling through Canada and want to be sure the system meets all requirements.
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Old 03-16-2015, 06:55 AM   #14
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The Airforce one comes with the break away system standard.
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