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Old 02-07-2016, 10:57 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 49
Towing a new Ford C-Max

We just purchased a new 2015 Ford C-Max Energi Hybrid, mainly based on its flat towing capability, as a replacement for a couple cars which weren't certified flat towable, and which we'll be selling.

I'm leaning toward Blue Ox as the main provider of towing parts. I like the idea of having one company's parts responsible for the whole package.
I see they have a baseplate BX2639 for the C-Max.
They have a few tow bars that could apply, The Alpha and the Avail for example, any feedback on which might be better? I believe the Avail is newer and they say less chance of binding and can handle sharper turns.
The Patriot braking system looks pretty straightforward, I guess it has an accelerometer internal to determine when braking is needed? Their literature really isn't all that clear about how it determines when braking is needed. But they don't mention any controls from motorhome to toad in that regard.
Blue Ox has multiple lighting kits available, bulbs vs diodes better?
Looks like the safety chains and breakaway kit come with the tow bar and Patriot.
Went to talk to Holiday World about setting it up, and the guy there was steering me towards a trailer brake module, I got pretty disillusioned about their capabilities at that point. I noticed their prices for the other hardware was a lot higher than somewhere like Amazon.
If we get a local RV service shop to do at least the baseplate install (assuming they're experienced in removing car front fascia etc) and the lighting kit install, would we be able to fairly easily handle whatever is involved with the tow bar, breakaway kit, safety chains, a rock deflector such as the Blue Ox KarGard II, and the drop hitch (~22" to 12") required? Would they typically accept my providing the hardware kits which I could get at a better price? I'm thinking I could manage drilling one hole through the firewall near the pedals to thread the breakaway connector through. But the baseplate installs look pretty complex.

Sorry for the long post, any advice from folks that have been through all this, like I expect a lot of you have, would be appreciated.

Jim B
2016 Tiffin Allegro
2015 Ford C-Max Energi Hybrid

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Old 02-08-2016, 02:15 PM   #2
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Location: Cincinnati
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If you can turn a wrench or screwdriver installing the base plate isn't that hard. You don't need to drill through the firewall near the pedals, any place that's convenient will do. The break-away wire plugs into the Patriot brake module that pushes on the brake pedal. You'll have to determine if there's room in the rear brake lights for an additional socket and bulb, or simply connect to the existing lights with diodes to isolate from the rest of the car's lighting system.

I have no idea why Holiday World would want to install a brake controller, as I look at the Blue Ox Patriot system it's a portable box that sits on the floor in front of the brake pedal. It might have an accelerometer, many phones have them now, but it could be as simple as the old pinball tilt sensor, a pendulum hanging inside a metal ring that closes the circuit when the weight touches the ring.


Bob & Donna
'98 Gulf Stream Sun Voyager DP being pushed by a '00 Beetle TDI
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Old 02-08-2016, 02:34 PM   #3
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Posts: 329
I have the Blue Ox Patriot braking system and it works great. It also has a remote (wireless) sensor that will communicate with a display that mounts on the dash (plugs into lighter socket).
It lets you know when the system has problems (not a common occurrence). It sets up easy as well. I still haven't installed the break away cable (had some medical mobility issues), but that will happen before I hit the road again.

I use magnetic lights (on a 2013 Ford Edge) and that saves the hassle of diodes (there is also a wireless set of magnetic lights available but they are pricey). Also since the Patriot system pushes on your brake pedal, your normal brake lights come on as well (at least on my Edge), just some extra insurance.

I installed the base plate myself over a couple of days but it could easily be done in one day. The on-line videos (YouTube) and the Blue Ox documentation is fantastic. I also installed the one on my previous toad (Honda CRV). You need a good socket set, some steel drill bits and a good drill and a bit of patience as everything does not always line up.
Oh yeah, and a good set of nerves when taking off a frail looking large fascia and then having to make some mods on it!

OTH, a professional installation can cost you a day's labour at a body shop. My estimates ranged from $600 to $900.

I also wanted a Fusion Hybrid Energi, but got taken by the dealership with a bait and switch (should have walked ) and now only have the 2013 Fusion Hybrid as a daily driver. On the positive side, it can also be towed four down.

Retired Canadian Army WO (1972-2000)
2008 Holiday Rambler Scepter 42 PDQ
Toad 2103 Ford Edge w/ Patriot Braking system/Blue Ox base plate/Ready Brake tow bar.
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Old 03-07-2016, 04:07 PM   #4
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Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 49
To wrap up this thread, we ended up going with an experienced installer. Smitty's RV & Welding, a local Houston shop that was recommended to me by multiple people with RVs locally, plus a large RV repair shop. They did the baseplate install and lighting - additional bulbs, I believe. Front of car ended up looking fine. After testing with several drop hitches, we settled on a 6" to get within the 3" recommended height difference. We ended up with a Blue Ox Alpha tow bar with their Auto-Stop surge brake system. They also installed a light on the dash to advise when the toad brake is activated, tho my goal will be as gradual stops as necessary. I'm learning to slow down earlier anyway what with driving the hybrid.

Sounded like they do a lot of the toad setups in the Houston area. 25 mile trip back home went fine, we'll be doing our first longer drive in a week when we head down to Victoria TX for a few days. Also got some locking pins, just a peace of mind thing.
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Old 06-18-2016, 06:09 AM   #5
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After three months what your opinion of this set up

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ford, tow, towing

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