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Old 05-13-2016, 11:53 AM   #1
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Satan.....the toad

I'm setting up our 2004 Saturn Vue (or Satan, as I sometimes refer to it) as our toad behind our 31' Winnebego Access Class C. All signs seem to point toward Blue Ox from most that I converse with. I'm planning on using the Blue Ox Patriot brake system but I have a few concerns about powering it and for how long. I understand that the self-contained battery in the unit is only for break-away brake application, nothing else. The car battery will power the braking unit for around 8 hrs under normal ops, as I'm told. If I tow at night, will the car battery deplete quicker due to the running lights being on continuously or does the power for these lights come from the RV itself? Is the fuse bypass device useful for my application? Should I consider replacing the car bulbs with LED's to decrease draw? and lastly, I've read somewhere that setting up a charge wire from the RV to the toad is the best option yet....does anyone have any advice that I can benefit from? Thank you to everyone in advance!!

Dave, Leanne, Matt and Maggie Mae (the bulldog!)
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Old 05-13-2016, 12:25 PM   #2
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I use a battery boost box. They come with a cigarette plug in them. I just charge it when we get where we are going. The car battery used to go down; not anymore! Mine came from Harbor Freight... In five years, I'm on my second one from them and happy.
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Old 05-13-2016, 12:46 PM   #3
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I installed a charge line from the coach chassis battery to the toad battery, no more worries about a dead toad battery. Not only the toad brake but also the toad brakes run the battery down.
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Old 05-14-2016, 09:05 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geardown View Post
If I tow at night, will the car battery deplete quicker due to the running lights being on continuously or does the power for these lights come from the RV itself?
To answer this part of your question, power for the toad lights should come from the RV and not the toad. Normally there are either isolator diodes or separate bulbs installed in the toad so there is no feedback from the RV into the toad's wiring system.
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Old 06-07-2016, 09:43 AM   #5
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mission complete!

I've completed the Blue Ox setup, mostly self-install. Tow plate install was fairly straight forward, the wiring install presented more of a challenge. I had my RV dealer install the lighting wires and decided not to route them through the firewall on his recommendation. Tow bar install and hook up to Satan went seamlessly. I've set up the Blue Ox Patriot brake system with an external battery charge box. It tests fine when manually activated but I'm not convinced that it activates during normal driving to assist with deceleration. I rode jumpseat in the Satan while my bride drove the RV to observe the operation. During normal neighborhood driving, 20-25 mph, I didn't observe the braking unit actuate at all. Not sure about highway speeds, I'm planning to set up a remote camera and film some highway speed braking applications to confirm that it is doing what it's supposed to do ($1000). I may also experiment with increasing its sensitivity setting. We are heading out tomorrow to Hot Springs for our first Toad Adventure. Wish us luck!
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Old 06-07-2016, 09:45 AM   #6
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Many Thanks!

Thank you to everyone who responded to my plea for help! I'm really grateful that this forum exists and is so user friendly. Safe Travels All...........
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Old 06-07-2016, 11:42 AM   #7
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When I wired my Vue, I installed a charge line so the Vue's battery is charged from the MH.

I chose a Demco base plate as its $100 cheaper, and can be used on multiple years of the Vue (02-07)

The Demco base plate is compatible with the Blue Ox tow bar.

New to me - 2003 Saturn Vue

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It won't do MACH 2, but I can get a sandwich and take a pee.
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Old 06-07-2016, 02:56 PM   #8
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On my toads, I run a wire from the toad to a light on the dash. Whenever the brake pedal on the toad depresses, the light on the dash illuminates. This allows me to check the braking system each day before departure.

It's a simple install, but takes running a wire the length of the coach. On older model vehicles, you can attach the wire to the brake switch (plus side +) on the toad.
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Old 06-08-2016, 08:32 PM   #9
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Don't mean to change this thread but I have A question for Vue owners. I want to flat tow my 2004 All wheel drive vue. GM says I can what is the real world experience of towing an AWD vue?
thanks all!
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Old 06-09-2016, 06:28 AM   #10
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Should be the same as my FWD. Base plates are still available. I bought the Demco plate because it can be used on many years of the Vue (and several other GM SUVs)

I removed the steering lock so I don't need to leave the key in ACC position:

Disable steering column lock for towing - SaturnFans.com Forums

The only thing I found unusual with the Vue relates to backing up with the toad. On my other cars, I can turn while backing and the toads wheels will follow ok. But on the Vue, when I attempt a turn while backing, the Vues front wheels casters to the end stop. Its not a big deal, but just something to be aware of. (cant turn while backing with the Vue)

DISCLAIMER - Refer to your tow bar manufacture regarding backing up, almost all (including mine) say don't do it.
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It won't do MACH 2, but I can get a sandwich and take a pee.
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Old 06-19-2016, 06:56 PM   #11
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We towed a 2005 Saturn Vue for years without a problem. Loved it. Then towed a 2007 Saturn Vue from WA to Alaska. No problems. Have sold both now. Would use another Vue if they were still in business. Going to start towing. 2014 Ford Edge now. Use Roadmaster baseplates
and Falcon tow bar.
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