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Old 02-07-2016, 08:16 AM   #1
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Tow Safe

I’m sitting here having my morning coffee watching fellow RV’ers pull out for another day’s travel. I observed that virtually all of the class A coaches have tow vehicles, either towed all wheels down or on a tow dolly, and several were what I would not consider to be “Tow Safe.”

One coach’s hitch flopped up and down in its receiver to the point that I wondered if their hitch was about to fall off their coach. Upon pointing this out to my wife she noted that his tow system was not equipped safety cables either. There was a definite problem with his tow system that could potentially result in his toad (a full size pickup truck) free-wheeling down the freeway. I hoped that at least he had a break-away braking system that would stop the toad if it became detached. Unfortunately, if he was not aware of the need for safety cables or viewed them as an unnecessary expense, there would be nothing to mitigate a potential disaster. As these observations were made, their coach pulled away with us unable to warn them of the possible danger.

I have seen a number of discussions posted on this and other RV forums where folks discuss the need and/or legal requirement for supplemental braking on their toad. It amazes me that many folks appear to base their decision to “install or not-install” a supplemental braking system on legal requirements rather than common sense and their safety and the safety of others travelling the same roads.

Does your toad have a good supplemental braking system, complete with a break-away system that automatically applies the toad’s brakes if it detaches from your coach?

Is you tow system equipped with adequate safety cables, connected to the toad’s frame and crossed over under the tow assembly?

Has your tow assembly been checked for serviceability and wear recently? Tow bars do have a finite lifespan and require occasional maintenance.

Do you check your toad’s taillights before each days travel?

I hope this reminder helps prompt you to check out your tow system and be tow safe.

Retired and livin' the RV dream!
2005 Newmar 43 ft. MADP, Cummins ISL 400HP, 2008 Honda CR-V toad
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Old 02-07-2016, 09:10 AM   #2
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Ron H

You posted a very interesting subject. Well written. Thank you, Very good read. I have seen some folks that have Class-C RV'S that seem to be towing Toads that are too heavy to tow, or some folks with a Class A, or a Super C towing a Toad and then have a small cargo trailer or a boat attached. Makes you stop and think, interesting post.

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Old 02-07-2016, 10:05 AM   #3
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Good question and read! I know that when I tow our Toad it is good and secure. My hitch is rated at 7.5K, the Toad is 3100-3500 lbs, the dolly is 450 lbs with the break-a-way system, I have added safety cables rated at 7500 lbs, and make sure the straps for the wheels are in good working order (I also carry a spare set). The weakest link in my set up is the receiver on the coach that is rated at 5K.

I too have wonder about some peoples set up, when I did my cross country trip last year even my wife pointed things out like class C MH towing trailers almost as long as it (18-20 box trailers), that had some serious sway. I think most are safe but there are the few that push the limits.
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Old 02-07-2016, 11:17 AM   #4
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I can't look at campgrounds anymore in fear of crazy folks. I started out with a tent, then pop up, then small TT then 5th wheel and now we have an older Class A. I always over bought vehicles as i was always nervous about towing. When i watch a minivan pull into the camp site with the hitch dragging on the ground and a 26' TT hooked on I cringe. We have all seen it on the highway. On the flip side of it 99% of those folks have no clue they are doing wrong, and even fewer of them can afford to do it the right way either.

On the flip side I understand safety and will do as much as i can possibly afford. Safety cables and chains are cheap and should be installed regardless. At this point we are actually setting up our Jeep to tow behind our camper. I overbuilt the bumper (6" steel channel) and bought 2 sets of Blue Ox brackets so i have multiple options. Unfortunately the cost of a good tow bar is pretty high, so will most likely go with an economical unit for now.

Braking brings on a entirely new requirement. In the old days I towed around old cars, trucks, jeeps and tractors with a tow bar chained around the bumper ! No brakes no lights just wrap the chains run a bolt thru and drive away....I can't believe we never lost a car or broke a chain ! Now there are multiple different ways to hook up and stay safe.

I hope to get a brake system before we leave, but if not you can bet I'll be the guy doing 30 down the hill !
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Old 02-07-2016, 12:34 PM   #5
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It's a shame the way some people tow, overweight for vehicle, unchained, no break away or no auxiliary toad brakes. While they may get by with it. If they are ever involved in an accident and it proven they were not legal. Some plaintiff attorney is going to change the way they spend their lives.
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Old 02-08-2016, 08:04 AM   #6
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I have a BLUE-OX tow system on my Towed.. i had that on my original Towed and when I got the new towed I had a baseplate installed on it, Another customer at the hitch store ask "So Blue ox is the best?" and I explained that since that was the system I had it was the "Only" for me, but I do not think there really is a "Best" less it's Ready Brute with Ready Brake and where we were I'd not recommend it save for full timers. (long story).

The Blue Ox system came with cables which I was a bit concerned about, They seemed a tad on the "light" side.. Turns out I was wrong.. When disaster struck (No the hitch did not fail, the blanged pin came out of the 2: receiver) the cables held, perfectly.

No cables is illegal. (At least in some cases).

Flopping around.. Do you mean the receiver flopped (Dangerous) or the adapter did not fit snugly in the receiver? If the latter (Yes there is some movement it's not a tight fit) you can get a Hitch Immobilizer from Blue-OX, works on most any brand hitch, WORKS.. Very well, I have one.
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Old 02-10-2016, 07:52 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by wa8yxm View Post
Flopping around.. Do you mean the receiver flopped (Dangerous) or the adapter did not fit snugly in the receiver? If the latter (Yes there is some movement it's not a tight fit) you can get a Hitch Immobilizer from Blue-OX, works on most any brand hitch, WORKS.. Very well, I have one.
I was to far away to identify the cause but the movement was between the tong of the towbar and the hitch receiver. There was about a foot between where the tongue went into the receiver and the "Y" where the two tow bars separate. At that point (the Y) there was 6 or more inches of vertical movement. To me it definitely looked like something had to be broken to allow that much movement.

Retired and livin' the RV dream!
2005 Newmar 43 ft. MADP, Cummins ISL 400HP, 2008 Honda CR-V toad
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