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Old 07-08-2020, 03:06 PM   #1
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Equinox Flat Tow

Thinking about buying a 2020 Equinox FWD with 2.0 liter engine and 9 speed automatic transmission. Anyone else doing this combo for flat towing? Any issues I should be aware of?
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Old 07-08-2020, 05:58 PM   #2
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Since no responses yet I'll chime in until someone with a Equinox responds. I've looked at the 2020 Exuinox & it looks to be a very nice little SUV. It's GM's #1 selling SUV with about 350,000 units sold in 2019. A freshening was scheduled for 2021 with front & rear getting a slight change. I heard that was shelved because of Covid & the slight change in appearance will wait for 2022. Regardless, there was no changes below the skin. I know folks that tow a Equinox & love it. It requires a charge line because of a small battery. But otherwise pretty straight forward.
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Old 07-08-2020, 06:31 PM   #3
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I have the AWD version and it tows very well. It needs a charge line. Other than that there is nothing to do. We love ours.
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Old 07-08-2020, 06:57 PM   #4
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We flat tow a 2019 Equinox 2.0 turbo FWD. Tows very well, nice and light. Very easy to setup. We have a Roadmaster tow plate and a Demco Stay and Play braking system installed on it.
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Old 07-08-2020, 07:41 PM   #5
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We flat tow a 2019 Equinox LT 2.0T FWD. We're very happy with it. Using a Roadmaster baseplate, stand alone light wiring harness, charge line and Ready Brute tow bar & brake system.
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Old 07-08-2020, 08:33 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Rxtjeff View Post
Thinking about buying a 2020 Equinox FWD with 2.0 liter engine and 9 speed automatic transmission. Anyone else doing this combo for flat towing? Any issues I should be aware of?
I just bought a 2020 Equinox Premier AWD with the 2.0 L engine and 9-speed transmission. I have a buddy who is towing the exact configuration you're considering in the 2019 LS model. He has a about 2,000 miles towing on it with no issues.

We both bought the Roadmaster Nighthawk tow bar. I bought the Demco tabless baseplate for a number of reasons while he bought the Roadmaster baseplate. We both bought the Demco Stay-IN-Play permanently mounted braking system. I have all LED lights while he does not so I need to use the diode kit while he opted to install a separate LED light in each tail light housing. He opted for the Roadmaster charge line, which is just a circuit breaker in the line from the motorhome. I opted for the RVi ChargeMaster because I like full isolation between systems.

I'm probably going to start on the work this weekend.

Ray
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Old 07-26-2020, 03:44 PM   #7
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We are planning to buy a 2020 Equinox Premier AWD. I am glad to hear they tow well.


I was planning on transferring my SMI Wireless Stay and Play, not sure it will fit under the front seat. May have to rethink.
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Old 07-26-2020, 06:09 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by DancinCampers View Post
We are planning to buy a 2020 Equinox Premier AWD. I am glad to hear they tow well.

I was planning on transferring my SMI Wireless Stay and Play, not sure it will fit under the front seat. May have to rethink.
Having just completed my 2020 Equinox Premier AWD a few days ago I'll lend you my expertise.

I presume by "wireless" you're just referring to the CoachLink remote brake indicator, right?

On the Equinox, the Stay-IN-Play control unit goes on top of the fuse box under the hood as the Etrailer video link at the end of this post shows. But their video left out a few gotchas. And since you want to move an existing install, you may no longer have the pieces-parts I mention below.
  • The brake booster vacuum line is hard plastic as shown in the video, covered by a plastic weave, but the Etrailer tech does not actually show you how to make that connection to the hard line. They lead you to believe the hard line will just fit inside the long rubber line Demco provides; it won't.

    Inside a new Demco kit you will see two plastic adapters to go from the smaller size rubber tubing to a larger size tubing and they provide a short section of the larger tubing as well.

    So you build the "T" as shown in the video but then you need to put an extra section on both ends of the top of the "T" using those adapters and the larger diameter tubing, which Etrailer does not show. Then the hard plastic line just slips nicely into the larger diameter rubber tubing.

    An actual "T" with two of the larger diameter fittings on the top of the "T" would be ideal but this way works. It does mean you have to whack out a much longer section of the hard line than they show. Knowing what I know now, I'd see if I could find a "T" with two large fittings and one small fitting so I didn't have to cut out like ten inches of the hard line.

  • To make that vacuum line connection easier, I popped off a little green retaining clip that secures the vacuum line to the engine itself. That let me pull the vacuum line out of the engine and move the hard line a lot easier, especially after the first cut. Otherwise the hard line is under a big air pipe from the turbo intercooler and about impossible to get to (I do have the 2.0 L engine but I think it's the same on the 1.5 L engine.)

  • Securing the pneumatic cylinder to the brake pedal is a challenge because the brake pedal is not flat. It has a "hump" running up the center of the pedal on each side. That makes the cylinder not sit flat.

    I took a couple of drawer "L" brackets, the kind used to reinforce the corners on a drawer, and cut them up to make little shims. I needed a total of sixteen shims, four stacked on each side of the "humps" on both sides of the brake pedal. I put some adhesive between them to keep them stuck to each other so they became four little blocks of metal. To help hold those four blocks in place while mounting the cylinder I wrapped some masking tape around them to stick them in place. Otherwise they kept slipping out as I tried to tighten the nuts.

  • You do not need the longer screws that the Etrailer video says you do because Demco now supplies them. So now I need to send my four back.

    I would strongly suggest trimming about an inch off each of those four longer screws. The two at the rear would catch on my shoe occasionally so I had to cut them after they were already installed. Or go to the hardware store and just buy four somewhat shorter screws so you don't risk messing up the threads if you cut them.

  • You do need the Roadmaster InvisiBrake pulley bracket they mention. That screws to the firewall and the cylinder cable holder screws to it.

I used the Etrailer Roadmaster RM-154 diode pack for the tail lights. Because the LED lighting system requires the diode type of installation, you do not need to also install the lighting diodes that Demco supplies.

The RM-154 has an extra cable in it but you can just toss it or use its wires for the extensions you'll need for the LED lights as shown in the other Etrailer video below. I prefer to maintain the same wire colors as much as possible whereas Etrailer shows splicing white wires as extensions. Using white wires for all of the diode pack connections will just lead to future confusion for someone. "They're all white so I guess it doesn't matter where each one goes" kind of thing. I did have to use some white inside the wire loom from the driver's side to the passenger side, though, because I did not have enough of the correct colored wire to go all the way across. But all of my wire connections to each diode pack are what they should be.

You do have to stack the two diode packs on each side as the other Etrailer video below shows but I did not have a flat spot where they show. I ended up sticking the stacked diode packs to the fascia itself. To try and secure them better, because I am not a fan of double-backed tape, I put some silicone sealant along two edges between the packs and also along two edges where they stick to the fascia. Then I stuck it to the fascia.

I also do not like the way Etrailer just strings the wires all over the car and the underneath without protecting it in plastic wire loom so I bought some from Amazon. The 1/4" wire loom will fit three wires but not four, but that was not a problem for me.

I saw no sense in running the white ground wire for the tail lights all the way to the rear of the car so I separated the white wire out and made all of my white wire grounds under the hood at the rear of the battery on the shock tower where there already is a ground wire. That left just three wires inside the 1/4" wire loom. I used loom everywhere I ran wires.

I also used the RVi Towed Charger rather than just the circuit breaker Etrailer shows for the charge line from the motorhome. If you do use the circuit breaker, be darn certain to tape or otherwise insulate its screw terminals so they cannot accidentally get shorted to the frame by a tool. That. Would. Be. Bad.

Why did I buy the RVi charger? I prefer as much isolation as I can get between different electrical systems (the car and the motorhome systems).

HTH,

Ray



I found this Demco video on how to install the cylinder good because it had info I did not see elsewhere:

This Etrailer video is a good guide to installing the LED tail light diode packs:
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Old 07-27-2020, 08:00 AM   #9
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Ray, great writeup and thanks for your efforts.


My SMI system, circa 2005, consists of a vacume control box that sits under the drivers seat, and vacume cylinder similar to yours. It connects via tubing to the pedal and T's into brake booster. The wireless control has a transmitter/receiver in coach and car. My control is mounted in the coach cab vs car.


Question, does the car odometer increase when towed?


Sounds like T'ng into the brake booster is a lot more complicated than I've had on my last 2 cars.


How hard was the base plate install?


Thanks again


Dan
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Old 07-27-2020, 08:59 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by DancinCampers View Post
My SMI system, circa 2005, consists of a vacuum control box that sits under the drivers seat, and vacuum cylinder similar to yours. It connects via tubing to the pedal and T's into brake booster. The wireless control has a transmitter/receiver in coach and car. My control is mounted in the coach cab vs car.
I wish mine had a wireless remote. What does the remote let you do? Apply the brakes, control the sensitivity or what?

Quote:
Question, does the car odometer increase when towed?
Supposedly not but I have not yet towed it.

Quote:
How hard was the base plate install?
Short answer:
Knowing what I do now I probably would choose the Roadmaster even though I installed the Demco. The issues I had are very unusual per Demco but at least one other person had them as well.

Long answer:
I knew there were three main choices: Roadmaster, Blue Ox, and Demco. I watched the Etrailer install videos for each one a few times.

All three bolt to the same frame flanges. There's not much metal on the rear vertical flange so you need to be careful to set the baseplate fully back as the instructions say.

This is what I gleaned from watching the Etrailer install videos:

The Roadmaster picks up a subframe mounting bolt on each side in addition to the flanges but does not have safety cables.

The Demco has a large 1/4" steel "support brace" that slips behind the bumper (a.k.a. "impact beam") and also bolts to the baseplate using 1/2" bolts. The Demco has safety cables.

The Blue Ox seems to just bolt to those flanges and picks up no other part of the frame. The Blue Ox does have safety cables but requires that you "gently hammer" those frame flanges for a "better fit". Seriously. The Blue Ox has the connections set a bit lower than the other two so it wedges into the fascia and does not require any fascia cutting, like the other two do.

My buddy picked the Roadmaster for his 2019 Equinox and had no issues with clearance or anything else. Another person reported they had problems with the clearance between the Roadmaster baseplate and the turbo intercooler and had to elongate some holes.

I chose the Demco because I liked the safety cables and how it had those heavy support braces and 1/2" bolts.

The Demco baselate installation did not go smoothly at all. I've detailed it here: https://www.irv2.com/forums/f85/anyb...ms-497666.html

Demco Support was superb and worked with me daily on the fitment problems. I have zero complaints there.

Because the Demco is right up against the turbo intercooler below the radiator, it actually shoves the intercooler backwards a bit. That made me very uncomfortable. The intercooler is on shock mounts so it does have some give but still... Demco said it was not an issue but it was to me.

I ended up completely cutting away the rubber gasket between the baseplate and the intercooler to give me about 1/8" more room on each side. That made the baseplate not push on the intercooler but it is right up against it. Demco Support advised that this will not cause any wear. I agree. The baseplate is not up against the metal part of the intercooler, just the plastic ends which are kind of ribbed.

When cutting the fascia I had to remove more of the fascia "ribs" with the Demco than my friend did for the Roadmaster. It does not look bad and I have a final installation picture in that link. This was due to how Demco mounts the 6-pin connector and the breakaway switch. I like the Demco method better because they use a steel bracket rather than two "poles" to hold the 6-pin connector.

I chose the Roadmaster Nighthawk tow bar and the Demco adapters bolt to the end of the tow bar, replacing the Roadmaster clevis on each end. That adds about 8" to the total length when stored so the Roadmaster Nighthawk tow bar cover would not fit. The Roadmaster Stowmaster tow bar cover is longer and does fit.

The Demco clevis is noticeably thinner metal on the sides but may be a stronger material.

Had everything just fit properly the Demco baseplate would have been a 4-6 hour install and I work slowly. As it happened it took several days.

My friend's Roadmaster baseplate is about 16" from the ground to the center of the tow bar attach holes. My Demco is about 15". I'm guessing the Blue Ox may be 14". The Blue Ox safety cable attach points looked like they may stick out the furthest. Some people reported they could bump into them.

Does this help?

Ray
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Old 07-27-2020, 09:37 AM   #11
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Oh My I am just now getting ready to set up a 2012 Equinox and I all ready have a Blue Ox Tow Bar so I was going to do with the Blue Ox Base Plate but now I am not sure. I kinda like the Roadmaster but to get the adapters for Roadmaster to Blue Ox added $133.00 to my total... I have not ordered any Base Plate YET... I do have the Blue Ox in the cart at eTrailer.....
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Old 07-27-2020, 11:20 AM   #12
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Oh My I am just now getting ready to set up a 2012 Equinox and I all ready have a Blue Ox Tow Bar so I was going to do with the Blue Ox Base Plate but now I am not sure. I kinda like the Roadmaster but to get the adapters for Roadmaster to Blue Ox added $133.00 to my total... I have not ordered any Base Plate YET... I do have the Blue Ox in the cart at eTrailer.....
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Old 07-27-2020, 01:40 PM   #13
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Oh My I am just now getting ready to set up a 2012 Equinox and I all ready have a Blue Ox Tow Bar so I was going to do with the Blue Ox Base Plate but now I am not sure. I kinda like the Roadmaster but to get the adapters for Roadmaster to Blue Ox added $133.00 to my total... I have not ordered any Base Plate YET... I do have the Blue Ox in the cart at eTrailer.....
LeeB
Watch the video and decide for yourself. I have not watched the 2012 video fully.

I did scan it and about 4:00 it shows installing the baseplate. That looks like a totally different way of installing than the current model years. It bolts to a lot more metal on the 2012.

Ray

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Old 07-27-2020, 02:56 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by LeeB View Post
Oh My I am just now getting ready to set up a 2012 Equinox and I all ready have a Blue Ox Tow Bar so I was going to do with the Blue Ox Base Plate but now I am not sure. I kinda like the Roadmaster but to get the adapters for Roadmaster to Blue Ox added $133.00 to my total... I have not ordered any Base Plate YET... I do have the Blue Ox in the cart at eTrailer.....
LeeB

I did the same comparison when I installed the baseplate on my 2016 Equinox. Being a retired automotive engineer, I watched the videos for both Blue Ox and Roadmaster and was surprised at how poorly the Blue Ox plate was designed to transmit lateral forces when cornering. The Roadmaster plate was much better designed to handle these type of loads. So I installed the Roadmaster unit and have had no issues in 4 years of towing the Equinox.
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