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Old 12-12-2020, 11:49 AM   #1
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Base Plate Install Cost

I have never flat towed before with my motorhome so I am looking for a reputable company in South Florida that would install a base plate for me. If anybody has any experience with this and could recommend a place locally, I would appreciate a reference and what others have paid for this work. I just called a local truck accessories shop and they quoted me between $ 4,400 and $ 5,400 to install everything !!! To say the least, I am in total shock! I would like to go with a Ready-Brute II Elite tow bar, but I do not know what the best base plate would be. I will be using a 2021 Chevy Equinox 2.0L.
Thanks for any inputs,
Dave
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Old 12-12-2020, 11:56 AM   #2
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I'm in South Texas, but here's some suggestions.

The first time I installed a baseplate on my toad I found a guy on Craigslist that worked at an RV shop installing baseplates. He moonlighted (now called a "side hustle" I think) on the weekends doing the work on his own time. He came to the house and charged $400 for the entire install including brake-away switch and light wiring.

The second time I took the RV to a local independent RV Service and Parts shop and they did the exact same job for the exact same $400 price.

Surely you have places and folks in S. FLA that offer those same services.

Oh, in both cases I ordered all the parts from eTrailer online first at a great price before finding someone to do the install. Your sky high prices are people buying the equipment at full price and then marking it up even higher. Don't do that.

I just checked prices and your parts should cost about $2000 total for base plate, towbar and light kit. Braking is built into your towbar. Installation will be higher because of the Ready Brake stuff. I'd budget $2,500 to $3,000 for everything including installation.
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Old 12-12-2020, 12:44 PM   #3
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Any decent body shop should be able to do it. I had a local truck repair shop do it for $900 but he said running the lighting took forever. I should have done the lights myself as it's just "monkey work" which I can do.
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Old 12-12-2020, 02:39 PM   #4
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I think it depends on the vehicle.

I did the work myself and was given a tow bar. I installed base plate, light kit, breakaway brake, battery charge line. My brake controller was $1,100, base plate was 450, wiring was around 150. Total was about 1,700. I spent about 8 hours. If I did it again it would be 3.5 hours.
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Old 12-12-2020, 05:44 PM   #5
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The last two vehicles we’ve purchased, I negotiated the price and after everything was agreed to, I asked the dealer to install the baseplate and lights. I furnished the material and their body shop did the install. No extra charge. First was on a 2014 Equinox second was our 2019 Blazer.
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Old 12-12-2020, 06:11 PM   #6
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Blue Ox base plate is around $450. Its an easy install if you have some mechanical skills and some time.
I did the tail lights on my 2015 Equinox and made up the wiring kit my self. It takes minimum of 25ft wire, two basic sockets and a tube of silicone. I also ran a wire shield to take care of rocks hitting the wires. As this is the first year in 14 years we can't go south, I'll install the baseplate when boredom hits hard.
Buy the parts and get a body shop to install if you don't feel comfortable doing this as its not for everyone, but it can be done.
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Old 12-12-2020, 10:54 PM   #7
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I considered getting a RV dealer to install everything then I changed my mind. THE RV dealer called me later to work up a price then they found out that I had purchased everything already. Then they told me they only installed base plates. etc if it was ordered from them. I wish that they would have told me their labor costs for the install but our conversation never got that far.
That was a red flag for me to stay away from them.

Base plate installation on most vehicles is not that hard to do. I installed everything on my Jeep Wrangler myself. I just had to get off my lazy you know what and get er done.

It took me a couple days but I wasn't in a hurry and took my time while enjoying consuming a few adult beverages.

I installed the base plates, "Price" $441". Wiring harness, "Price $129.50
Demco SBS Stay-IN-Play DUO Supplemental Braking System - Proportional. The price on that was $1050. I ran a charge wire to the toad too. I made that up myself since I had the correct sized diodes.
Figuring out a place to mount the brake system was tough, I wanted it under the hood but under the hood is pretty cramped. So I wound up mounting it under the drivers seat. There was a handy rubber plug in the floor board there too which made running wires and hoses under the body.
I figured out that I needed a brake lite switch so that was another purchase "mounts to the brake pedal" That price was $83 that activated a LED 3 light string mounted behind the review mirror. This is so you can use your rearview camera to validate the brake peddle is being activated in the toad while driving.

I've got right at $3000 invested in what I installed but that price includes the tow bar, the Roadmaster Nighthawk All Terrain, Non-Binding Tow Bar w/ LED Lights - RV Mount - 8K. The cost of the tow bar was $1,125
The base plates were Roadmaster Direct-Connect Base Plate Kit - Removable Arms. The wiring kit was put together nice wit the appropriate number of diodes. It was the Roadmaster Diode 7-Wire to 6-Wire Flexo-Coil Wiring Kit. I was a small pain to run so that I'd have tail, brake lights and turn signals. I had to order another diode kit for the side marker lights. I got that kit off Amazon. That was $14 for four more diodes, electrical connectors and tie wraps,
Now the hardware that I ordered is not cheap. I did extensive research on each component.

The breakaway switch was easy peasy to hook up and tie into the brake system

If you have tools, The job isn't bad at all. Getting back to price, there are numerous brands of components that range in price and most of them are good,

Other than that, get more quotes and have them break the prices out so you can know what you are paying for.
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Old 12-13-2020, 07:44 AM   #8
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Dave, American RV and Marine in Ft Lauderdale (954) 523-2796 installed everything for me on my Dutch Star RV and Equinox tow vehicle. Blue Ox base plate, M&G Engineering braking system and wiring harness. I had a Roadmaster tow bar that came with the RV. 7 years ago so I would have to dig up the receipt for cost. They did a good job, dropped the car off one day went back the next day with the RV. A few hours later we were on the road. They gave me the quote by phone so just give them a call tomorrow for price.

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Old 12-13-2020, 09:44 AM   #9
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Base Plate Install Cost

Thank you very much Jeff and everybody else that provided input. I will give American RV and Marine a call tomorrow.
Dave
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Old 12-13-2020, 10:50 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dlduck View Post
I have never flat towed before with my motorhome so I am looking for a reputable company in South Florida that would install a base plate for me. If anybody has any experience with this and could recommend a place locally, I would appreciate a reference and what others have paid for this work. I just called a local truck accessories shop and they quoted me between $ 4,400 and $ 5,400 to install everything !!! To say the least, I am in total shock! I would like to go with a Ready-Brute II Elite tow bar, but I do not know what the best base plate would be. I will be using a 2021 Chevy Equinox 2.0L.
Thanks for any inputs,
Dave
Takes about 4 hours taking your time -



Brother did his Equinox in one after noon - I did my GX470 in one afternoon - we both used Blue OX as they have served me well for over 20 years in numerous Toads.

https://www.amazon.com/Blue-Ox-BX173.../dp/B072JZYVWP

https://www.etrailer.com/p-BX1689.ht...hmodel=Equinox

https://www.blueox.com/wp-content/up.../11/BX1689.pdf

If you are even slightly able to DIY and follow instructions this is EASY.

Best of Luck,

Images

Finished with removable locks

Doing the work
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Old 12-13-2020, 11:36 AM   #11
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Even at RV shop rates, $4500+ ought to get you an entire tow system, all parts & labor. Maybe they didn't understand what you asked.

With base plate hardware at $450 these days and a half-day labor to remove & reinstall the front fascia on a typical car, somewhere around $1000-$1200 is a ballpark figure. You probably need tow lighting for it as well, and that's at least a few hundred extra. Last, installing the Ready Brute brake cable while the front end is open makes a lot of sense, but that's going to add several hundred more in most cases. Specifics depend on how hard or easy the vehicle may be. A full day of shop time plus the base plate and wiring hardware could easily get you to $2000-$2500, even if you supply the Ready Brute hardware.


Try some U-Haul or other hitch-specialty shops for quotes. Be very specific about what you need from them. If you get up towards Ocala, go to The Hitching Post - they do quality work.
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Old 12-13-2020, 11:52 AM   #12
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I'm not much of a mechanic, but YouTube has saved me quite a lot of money. Typed in the year/model and up comes a full video of how to install the base plate. 2-3 days off/on and a little swearing it is installed at zero labor cost. It's really not that bad... just big pieces of stuff. Has been towed across the entire country and it's still attached!
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Old 12-13-2020, 02:24 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoHuskies View Post
I'm not much of a mechanic, but YouTube has saved me quite a lot of money. Typed in the year/model and up comes a full video of how to install the base plate. 2-3 days off/on and a little swearing it is installed at zero labor cost. It's really not that bad... just big pieces of stuff. Has been towed across the entire country and it's still attached!
I agree 100%. Save the labor costs and do it yourself. That's what I did. But some folks don't have the tools or enough mechanical background thus, they need someone else to do the install.
Check around for pricing, several places. Me, I just get lazy sometimes and can afford to have someone else do it for me.
After some thinking, I decided to do it myself.
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Old 12-14-2020, 08:38 AM   #14
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Did the baseplate myself on a ‘17 Buick Envision! Not exactly for beginners, but not that hard to do!
Just towed it 6,800 miles with no issues!
Saved a bunch of money!
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