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Old 04-07-2013, 08:45 PM   #1
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Saturn Vue Toad Assistance

After a short stint using a tow dolly, we decided to bite the bullet and go four-down. The base plate, tow bar and braking system are ordered but we are having some difficulty determining which wiring system to use and who would be best to install the base plate. I also have a fuse switch on order.

We don't want to cut wires and install diodes, add additional bulbs and sockets for the lighting hookup and would like to find a system that is adaptable to the Vue and eliminates the need for a brake relay.

I am also concerned about the amount of work involved to remove the front grille, bumper etc. for the base plate installation and would like to find the most experienced yet economical shop. Is it a body shop, hitch installer, RV service center? I'm starting my due diligence and calling shops in the metro Detroit area but would like any suggestions that would help the cause.

I would be interested to hear from any Saturn toad owners.
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Old 04-08-2013, 07:53 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mvpmich View Post
After a short stint using a tow dolly, we decided to bite the bullet and go four-down. The base plate, tow bar and braking system are ordered but we are having some difficulty determining which wiring system to use and who would be best to install the base plate. I also have a fuse switch on order.
You don't say what year Vue you bought, but we had an '06 and the fuse you have to pull is a big 30-amp one. The later Vue may be different, but you may want to check to make sure the switch you ordered will handle 30 amps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mvpmich View Post
We don't want to cut wires and install diodes, add additional bulbs and sockets for the lighting hookup and would like to find a system that is adaptable to the Vue and eliminates the need for a brake relay.
If you don't want to cut the wires or add bulbs to the taillight assemblies, that pretty much limits you to magnetic lights.

I added diodes to the Saturn Vue we used to have, and it is no big deal. The wires are all easily accessible by removing the assemblies from the rear of the vehicle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mvpmich View Post
I am also concerned about the amount of work involved to remove the front grille, bumper etc. for the base plate installation and would like to find the most experienced yet economical shop. Is it a body shop, hitch installer, RV service center? I'm starting my due diligence and calling shops in the metro Detroit area but would like any suggestions that would help the cause.

I would be interested to hear from any Saturn toad owners.
Removing the front fascia isn't hard. There are a few screws and some snaps to undo. You just need to be careful handling the fascia so you don't scratch it.

If you want to have someone install the baseplate, I would look for an RV service center that carries the brand of baseplate and tow bar you want.
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Old 04-08-2013, 03:42 PM   #3
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My choice would be a professional hitch shop, but we have some good ones in our area that have been doing hitches and tow bars for decades. Try to assure the shop doing your work has experience - RV dealers and some hitch shops tend to assign those installations to the newest kid.

You are worrying excessively about the lights - go with the diodes or the bulbs (I use diodes) - the mods are simple and well understood. If not, your only option is magnetic stick-on lights, but they usually end up scratching the paint after a few uses.
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Old 05-31-2013, 12:00 AM   #4
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Probably a little late for your installation, but Trailmaster makes harnesses that plug into the existing harness at the taillights. Harness runs through the frame to the front. omes with a flat fout connector. Has en extra harness to hook the MH to the toad. I had to install a brake light relay because I am using a Brakemaster aux brake. It is sold at etrailers.com amongst others. I am towing an '05 Saturn Vue.
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Old 05-31-2013, 12:25 AM   #5
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I just purchased a 2009 Saturn Vue. The fuse to pull in the 2008, 2009, and 2010 Vue's is a 2 amp fuse. In earlier model Vues it was a 30 amp fuse.

I found a local business that excels in towing products. In fact they are a well-known manufacturer of hitch products and camper tie down products. My MH and Vue are in their shop (TorkLift) here in Washington State. Im lucky to have TorkLift only a few miles from my home. They have set up all of my cars for towing my fishing boat.

TorkLift is installing everything I need for towing my, new to me ,Vue toad. My Vue was used as a toad by its previous owner so it already had the break light kit installed. And all the holes were drilled for the baseplate and the bumper bolts were still in place. The previous owner removed the baseplate before he sold the vehicle.

I chose to have the Breakmaster breaking system installed. Most of the work was completed today. Everything should be finished sometime tomorrow morning.

Safe Travels.

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Old 05-31-2013, 08:58 AM   #6
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I have a 2007 Vue and I had a Demco base plate and hitch installed, along with Air Force 1 braking system. When I called Demco and enquired they gave me the names of installers in the Houston area. I called one, liked what i heard, and they installed the system.

I deferred to them and they went with the extra bulb system.

Businesses are in business for manufacturers of products and are expected to do a good job. You can look at reviews, or just go hang around the shop and ask questions of the customers as the walk out, discreetly of course.

Decide on the system you want. Call the Mfg and ask for reputable dealers in your area. Go with your gut, and their recommendations.
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Old 06-01-2013, 07:41 PM   #7
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We have a 2008 Vue that is the same as your '09. I put the diodes in with no problem. I had diodes on my '02 PT for 7 years with no problem and so far no problem on this one either. I had Holland Motor Homes do the tow bar and brake install on both of the toads and I did the lights on my Saturn.
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Old 06-01-2013, 08:09 PM   #8
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We have a 2005 vue, and installed a Roadmaster base plate. Didn't need to remove anything on the car. The model we used has extensions that allow you to remove the extensions when not in use. Took about 1 hour to install the base plate. the fuse on our Vue is the IGN 30 amp fuse.
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Old 06-01-2013, 08:26 PM   #9
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I sold our 2009 Saturn Vue, towed great. I installed the Blue Ox baseplate myself in about a half a day. Bought the base plate on Ebay new for $355.00 no shipping. I made my own harness and drilled out the tail lights and complete price was $35.00. Made my own fuse switch for $8.00. Had 39,000 on the speedo with another 30,000 towing on top of that with no problems. I really don't know much cheaper or better way to do it.
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Old 06-02-2013, 06:41 AM   #10
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I have completed install of a baseplate and lights on my 2012 Chevy Captiva (re-badged 2008-10 Saturn Vue). Installing diodes was the easiest part of the install. Works very well.
This thread is almost 2 months old. Did OP complete the install?
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Old 06-03-2013, 06:25 AM   #11
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I have completed install of a baseplate and lights on my 2012 Chevy Captiva (re-badged 2008-10 Saturn Vue). Installing diodes was the easiest part of the install. Works very well.
This thread is almost 2 months old. Did OP complete the install?
Yes I have. I purchased a Blue Ox baseplate as it appeared to be sturdier and I like the fact that it was the least visible than the others. I found a somewhat local RV dealer that had good ratings and did an exceptional job. I contacted some of the local body shops and wasn't comfortable as most answers were "bring in the instructions, I'm sure we can figure it out"

I ended up using diodes. I'm not a fan of drilling and adding more lights since some of the rear lenses are clear. The initial estimate for the base plate install, lighting work and wiring the breakaway cable was 6 1/2 hours plus the parts I didn't supply (I purchased the base plate and brake system on the Internet). It took all of that. Installing a base plate on a Saturn involves removing the entire front grill and some cutting of the frame. Much too large a project for me. Next time I'll buy a jeep as the base plate install appears to be as easy as installing a hitch.

Unfortunately I blew my budget for base plate portion of the project by almost 50%. Total cost of four-down, over the dolly (not counting the added net cost of selling my current car and purchasing the Saturn) was approximately $1800.

I'm very happy not having to move and store the dolly anymore. Now I just have to find a buyer for it (see my ad in the classifieds). The Saturn tows like it's not there and the footprint is much smaller than towing with the dolly. Even though I've been camping with pop-ups, C's and A gassers, the "big league" of DP's and towing has been another life, learning experience and increased financial commitment.
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Old 06-03-2013, 06:57 AM   #12
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I thought you had it done. Great report.
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