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Old 01-06-2014, 03:28 PM   #1
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TOAD hardware needed opinion

Folks,
Was going through the machinations of what would be needed to get my Ford Excursion Toad-able, and am giving up, just not the right Toad.

I am getting my hands on a manual 1997 Jeep Wrangler.

With the excursion in mind I was thinking I would get a 10,000LB Blue Ox and baseplate, an Air Force One and Remco driveline disconnect.

With the Jeep, I obviously do not need the remco, but what is a good setup? Blue Ox 10,000 LB overkill? Brake light connection? Braking?

My coach is a DP with air brakes fyi.

Chris
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Old 01-06-2014, 03:31 PM   #2
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I'd go with the 10K rated tow bar, in case you decide to get a larger toad in the future. We have the Air Force One system - can't beat it - but you'll hear lots of other suggestions. It features proportional braking, and activates the toad brake lights/lights.
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Old 01-06-2014, 03:37 PM   #3
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I tow my 2009 Wrangler JK unlimited with the Blue Ox (10,000 lb) Aventa. I LOVE that system. My Jeep has a 2" lift kit and larger wheels, and I connect the Blue Ox directly to my 3rd party bumpter (they make an adapter). This requires that I use a drop/lift receiver so to level the connection, and I'm using the BlueOx brand for that too.

I use their Brake Buddy box (they call it Patriot) and I like that a lot too, but it's a little finicky on setup.

I wired my brake lights using the CoolTech kit (Cool Tech LLC. JK Tow Harness Kit) which installed easily and works flawlessly.
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Old 01-06-2014, 04:24 PM   #4
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Ready Brute tow bar with Ready Brake.
Lights wired to bulb added in each taillight.
Aftermarket front number with Blue Ox bolt on brackets or adapters to D ring loops if so equipped.

Best, simplest, cheapest IMHO.
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Old 01-06-2014, 05:09 PM   #5
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IF you don't have plains to be towing anything heavier then say 6500lbs, I think the best bet is the blue ox alpha tow bar.

Yes you can tow directly off the bumper of a jeep aftermarket bumper, and yes blue ox does make an adaptor - but it is considered & called an "Off Road Adaptor"

I also tow our wheeler jeep using the "d-ring mounts" (when we're not going wheeling and just want that jeep with us, if wheeling then trailer - it is a jeep and I'm probably beating on it ...) but I built a purpose built bumper for flat towing, added structure and properly installed the mounts thru the bumper and welded all sides. Most of the aftermarket bumpers don't have the added structure between the mounts and some the mounts are surface welded to the face only. Is it strong, yea I'm sure they are to some degree, not very often do you see someone tear one off while winching (it's normally the bumper that rips off) but it can & does happen. Even if the bumper comes with a warranty, it'll be for the bumper only.

IF your jeep is for a get around vehicle and your not worried about off road approach angles..

Blue Ox Alpha Tow Bar, BX1118 Baseplate, BX88191 Accessory Kit

Now do you or don't you need a braking system. Depending on what state your from will determine the allowed maximum weight without.

If you need or want brakes, many options. I always prefer a permanent installed system, such as US Gear UTB, SMI stay-n-play and/or Air Force One are all very good systems. Best bang for the buck IMO is the US Gear UTB. Good simple system, best to be installed by a professional tech that installs lots of these, good installs equals few issues, poor installs equals headaches & money... But that holds true with just about anything...
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Old 01-06-2014, 05:25 PM   #6
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My vote is for A Demco Blackhawk 10,000# tow bar. M & G brake system. You can try CoolTechLLC.com for a plug and play wiring harness. Demco will have your baseplate too.
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Old 01-06-2014, 06:37 PM   #7
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others have suggested what to buy, one thing though, if you go with a roadmaster tow bar rather than blue ox, you might be happier/safer. see this thread Tow Bar Life Expectancy
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Old 01-06-2014, 06:56 PM   #8
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Thanks for the suggestions so far.

I had researched the air force one prior, but just took a look at the M&G system website now. As far as I can tell:
Pro's - Better price
easier install

Cons - Doesn't come with emergency braking feature that AFO does
doesn't provide coach air protection in the event of toad disconnect/leak like AFO.

Looks like if I went AFO and Blue Ox I am in about $2K. (AFO + Blue Ox Bar + Adapter for Jeep + whatever needed for turn signals (brake is done via AFO))

Sound about right? Will check out the cooltech wiring solution.
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Old 01-06-2014, 07:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akeyzoo View Post
Folks,
Was going through the machinations of what would be needed to get my Ford Excursion Toad-able, and am giving up, just not the right Toad.

I am getting my hands on a manual 1997 Jeep Wrangler.

With the excursion in mind I was thinking I would get a 10,000LB Blue Ox and baseplate, an Air Force One and Remco driveline disconnect.

With the Jeep, I obviously do not need the remco, but what is a good setup? Blue Ox 10,000 LB overkill? Brake light connection? Braking?

My coach is a DP with air brakes fyi.

Chris
akeyzoo,
You've been given lots of options for your setup. The '97 Wrangler IS flat towable with no modifications to any portion of the drive line, as you most likely know. The factory bumper on just about any jeep of that era will do for a base plate. All that's needed is a bit of re-enforcement on the back side for the attachment points on the front side. I and many of our Jeep buddies did it for years.

Of course we also built all of our own bumpers with towing attachments in mind. The transfer case in your '97 will a model 231, chain drive unit that runs automatic transmission fluid for its lubricant. And, also in the tail housing of that transfer case is a pump. It pumps oil/fluid all throughout the t-case while towing.

It has a manual transfer case shifting mechanism so, placing it in the neutral position for flat towing is quite simple.

As for lights on the jeep while towing, it doesn't get any simpler than wiring the stock ones for towing. All the wiring can be done right by the drivers left knee. The entire harness for the rear lights travels right along that door sill. "T-eeing" in right there is extremely simple.

Your choice.
Scott
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Old 01-06-2014, 07:07 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akeyzoo View Post
Thanks for the suggestions so far.

I had researched the air force one prior, but just took a look at the M&G system website now. As far as I can tell:
Pro's - Better price
easier install

Cons - Doesn't come with emergency braking feature that AFO does Some folks feel that the safety cables are a breakaway device.
doesn't provide coach air protection in the event of toad disconnect/leak like AFO. Your coach to toad airline is 1/4". You could sever it entirely and still have air to stop your coach.



Looks like if I went AFO and Blue Ox I am in about $2K. (AFO + Blue Ox Bar + Adapter for Jeep + whatever needed for turn signals (brake is done via AFO))

Sound about right? Will check out the cooltech wiring solution.
You may want to check "classified" section on iRV2 for a good deal on tow bar.
I think the AFO would be MY 2nd choice. I've heard lots of good things about AFO too.


As for light wiring......FIRE UP has an good idea. I used 4way flat plugs for tow and normal connections...............right where he said too.
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Old 01-07-2014, 11:59 AM   #11
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FIRE UP/KIX,
Thanks! Perhaps I can mod/make my own bumper attachments, we will see. I am a good welder/fabricator.

Good point on safety chains as well.

When "teeing" into the factory harness do I need diodes, or just tap in and run to the bus turn signal lines on the trailer harness? I assume based on the design the M&G is like the AFO and it moves the pedal, thus activating the brake lights on the TOAD.

I am excited to have a TOAD. When I moved from the TT to my class A I didnt realize how much I would miss being able to drive around at my destinations. Being stranded at RV parks has definitely cramped my style!

Chris
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Old 01-07-2014, 01:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akeyzoo View Post
......................
When "teeing" into the factory harness do I need diodes, or just tap in and run to the bus turn signal lines on the trailer harness? I assume based on the design the M&G is like the AFO and it moves the pedal, thus activating the brake lights on the TOAD.
Obtain one male 4 pin flat and 2 female 4 pin flat connectors. Identify the wiring to the rear of the Jeep. The harness wires are under the door sill on driver side. Cut those wires. Connect so that lights to rear of Jeep are EITHER connected to motorhome harness OR connected back to stock wiring. Utilize the male and female connectors to assure it can only be connected one way at a time. Remembering to re-connect after towing is up to you. Hope all that is clear...................Chris
Hope this helps you get it wired inexpensively and easily. You can make up your own moho to Jeep harness. I've towed several Jeeps over the years wired for towing like described above.
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Old 01-08-2014, 10:43 AM   #13
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KIX - Understood perfectly, thank you.
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Old 01-08-2014, 11:27 AM   #14
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I didn't want to cut into any of the vehicle wiring so I purchased the cheap lamp kit from Blue Ox. Drilled one hole in the bottom of each tail light housing and added an 1157 bulb/socket to each. Essentially boat or small trailer wiring.

As for break away, in late Oct, when coming south on I 75 through KY, we saw a mh on the southbound shoulder and a vehicle that I presume was their toad against a tree off the shoulder of the northbound lane. Didn't appear that it hit anyone as it crossed the median and the northbound lanes.

Additionally, most new systems come with safety cables to connect the toad mounted bases plate to the frame. Bolts have come loose and let the base plate separate from the toad.
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