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Old 05-04-2018, 09:28 AM   #1
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Quotes on tow bars

Newbie here shopping for my first tow bar system to tow my 2016 4-door Jeep Wrangler Sport Unlimited with my 2017 Newmar Ventana LE 4037 with a 360HP Cummins. Got a quote of $2150 for a Roadmaster All Terrain Falcon #522 and another quote for $2850 for a Blue Ox Avail but this quote will include the wiring and lighting to be a totally separate system from my Jeep's wiring and lighting to prevent interference with the Jeep's electronics. Both quotes include all necessary modifications, labor, and taxes. Is the Blue Ox tow bar and having the wiring and lighting completely independent of the Jeep worth the extra $700?
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Old 05-04-2018, 09:50 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ascdds View Post
Newbie here shopping for my first tow bar system to tow my 2016 4-door Jeep Wrangler Sport Unlimited with my 2017 Newmar Ventana LE 4037 with a 360HP Cummins. Got a quote of $2150 for a Roadmaster All Terrain Falcon #522 and another quote for $2850 for a Blue Ox Avail but this quote will include the wiring and lighting to be a totally separate system from my Jeep's wiring and lighting to prevent interference with the Jeep's electronics. Both quotes include all necessary modifications, labor, and taxes. Is the Blue Ox tow bar and having the wiring and lighting completely independent of the Jeep worth the extra $700?
You may want to find out if the "totally independent" wiring offered by the Blue Ox installation means that a separate wire and bulb is installed in the brake light fixture as that entails drilling a hole into the tail light housing to insert the bulb and holder. If that's what it means and you are okay with that, then you have to decide if it justifies an additional $700.

I admittedly have a limited knowledge of the wiring to the toad, but when I had mine installed, the research I did seemed to show that there was little wiring that encroached on the factory wires, outside of the tail light/brake light circuit. Those that did use the factory wiring, used diodes in the factory brake lights to prevent feedback into the toad's circuits. No modification to the brake light housing.

One other factor. The two systems use different types of base plates and the labor to install them may be a factor in the prices. Add together the difference in part costs, labor for installation of base plates, and labor for addition of bulbs and sockets into the tail light housing, and that may account for some of the $700 differential.
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Old 05-04-2018, 09:55 AM   #3
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Check out www.pplmotorhomes.com I bought my Blue Ox tow bar from them best price I could find
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Old 05-04-2018, 10:10 AM   #4
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Just put a towplate and wiring on my class A and Buick Enclave. Blue Ox was better for me and I liked the integrity of the base plate and I used my existing Blue Ox Adventa (10,000#) towbar. Wired a 6 way on the base plate and used diodes in the rear tail light area for connections. Connected to the battery for charging using a 20 amp breaker.

Personally i didn't want to drill my taillights for new bulbs and sockets. Besides, with diodes installed there is no interaction between the tow vehicle and the TOAD anyway. That is the way diodes work....

Did the install myself and saved the $500 or $600 labor charge.
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Old 05-04-2018, 10:12 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ascdds View Post
Newbie here shopping for my first tow bar system to tow my 2016 4-door Jeep Wrangler Sport Unlimited with my 2017 Newmar Ventana LE 4037 with a 360HP Cummins. Got a quote of $2150 for a Roadmaster All Terrain Falcon #522 and another quote for $2850 for a Blue Ox Avail but this quote will include the wiring and lighting to be a totally separate system from my Jeep's wiring and lighting to prevent interference with the Jeep's electronics. Both quotes include all necessary modifications, labor, and taxes. Is the Blue Ox tow bar and having the wiring and lighting completely independent of the Jeep worth the extra $700?
You might want to also read some Jeep forums. From what I had gathered some months ago, that after 2005 or so there was a plug-in at the fuse box I think it was, that Jeep provided just to run your signal and stop lights as a Toad. If I had a later model that is the route I'd go, plus I'd use a plug & cable between the MH and Jeep that carried the charge power too, and keep your Jeep battery full while towing.

Both those tow bars are fine, and really don't have anything to do with how you run your lights, that is likely just what the installer is suggesting. Blue Ox is stopping production on the 10K lb Aventa LX (BX7445), so there are some good prices out there on the ones still in stock. I bought one to replace my older Alexus bar (same design).

What are your plans for brakes on the Toad?

Good luck,
Scott
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Old 05-04-2018, 10:18 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Sbrownstein View Post
Just put a towplate and wiring on my class A and Buick Enclave. Blue Ox was better for me and I liked the integrity of the base plate and I used my existing Blue Ox Adventa (10,000#) towbar. Wired a 6 way on the base plate and used diodes in the rear tail light area for connections. Connected to the battery for charging using a 20 amp breaker.

Personally i didn't want to drill my taillights for new bulbs and sockets. Besides, with diodes installed there is no interaction between the tow vehicle and the TOAD anyway. That is the way diodes work....

Did the install myself and saved the $500 or $600 labor charge.
Scott: I've seen a couple posts of yours on your diode install and am interested in doing the same. Did you do a write-up on it or could you point me to any how-to's that you found? This would be for my Jeep TJ...

Thanks,
Scott
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Old 05-04-2018, 10:32 AM   #7
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Tow bar about $900
Base plate about $400
Electric cable @ $70
Safety cables X2 @$100
Light harness @$100

I used a light harness that has two connectors for each break light. The factory wire to the break light plugs into one connector and a wire that runs to the front is plugged into the other connector. The front end of the wire is plugged into a 6 pin connection on the base plate. No splicing, or drilling was required.

You will also need a supplemental break system. If you have air breaks I recommend SMI Air Force One @$1200.
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Old 05-04-2018, 10:38 AM   #8
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Sure. I did this on my old 2003 GMC Envoy, years ago but this time I used some neat diodes from Hopkins...

This eliminates crimping all those wires into spade lugs. Comes with some conductive grease as well. I used 18 ga Reese bonded 4 wire. The only hint that I can give you is that the 18 ga is a little big and it is better if you strip it a little and push it down into the diode with a small screwdriver. Then position the cover manually and push it down by hand. Vise grips are really unnecessary. Used at least 20 feet of corrugated wire protector under the car and wire ties to keep it out of the mechanics.

Hardest thing on the Enclave was getting the breakaway wire through the firewall, but I eventually found an existing grommet and pushed it through.

All worked the first time.

I flattened a short piece of 3/8" copper tubing and drilled it for the 20 amp breaker and the attachment point to the battery positive connection. That way I didn't have to mount the breaker as the buss bar holds it in position nicely. Bought a rubber boot to go over the breaker as well. Looks like it came from the factory.

The base plate is entirely another thing. hardest part was getting the entire front off the Enclave (it is a one piece plastic bumper cover that contains the grille, and goes all the way to the wheel wells. The Blue Ox instructions got me there, but not without a lot of fussing. Too bad, the next time a do an Enclave (like never) I can do it in 2 or 3 hours.

Feel free to PM me if I can be of assistance. We have to stick together..
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Old 05-04-2018, 11:27 AM   #9
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Thanks Scott! You are one McGyver kinda' guy.... I need to find some more specific wiring info on my TJ, which I dug up once but didn't save. This is a project I'll work on in a month or so...

All the best,
Scott
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Old 05-04-2018, 11:34 AM   #10
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Actually, it is easier than that. Take off both of your taillights (disconnect the plugs). Turn on your running lights and use a test lamp to find out which wires are powered. Now turn off the running lights and use the turn signal. Which wires have power (and blink!). Once of them will be the same and that is the ground. Now do the same for the other side (color code may not match.) Cut the running light and connect the running light from the 6 way. Do the same for the left and right turn...and run a wire from one side to the other for the running and turn signal. That's it. Forget the color code, it could take a long time. Test light works really fast.

I grounded the lead from the 6 way right by the connector, so there is no need to put any grounds on the taillights.
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Old 05-04-2018, 11:37 AM   #11
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I just had my bay star set up done this past weekend to a 2018 cross trek

The Blue Ox tow bar list was 900 I picked up on Craig's list mint for 260
The base plate cost 1100 installed with all wiring
Patriot braking system I also got on Craig's list 260
So whole setup 1620
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Old 05-04-2018, 11:59 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ascdds View Post
Newbie here shopping for my first tow bar system to tow my 2016 4-door Jeep Wrangler Sport Unlimited with my 2017 Newmar Ventana LE 4037 with a 360HP Cummins. Got a quote of $2150 for a Roadmaster All Terrain Falcon #522 and another quote for $2850 for a Blue Ox Avail but this quote will include the wiring and lighting to be a totally separate system from my Jeep's wiring and lighting to prevent interference with the Jeep's electronics. Both quotes include all necessary modifications, labor, and taxes. Is the Blue Ox tow bar and having the wiring and lighting completely independent of the Jeep worth the extra $700?
I had my 2017 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk done a couple of weeks ago. Roadmaster baseplates, Falcon All Terrain towbar, wiring for lights, an RViBrake 3 brake controller and an RViBrake battery charger for $3,600 out the door. The brake controller was $1,225 and the battery charger $55. Wiring of the breakaway cable and battery charger install was $90. So that means the baseplate, tow bar and tail light wiring kit, w/installation was around $2,250.

I went with Roadmaster over Blue Ox mainly for the non-binding locking mechanism. The tow arms they provided were the type that use the cross bar "quick connect" system (not sure why its considered to be quick connect as its one more part to connect). I was thinking going with direct connect, but I think the cross bar gives you a more robust connection as you aren't applying an inward moment on the baseplates - the cross bar takes all that force.

After the install I bought the tow bar cover and a set of locks. Also bought the soft case for the RViBrake3. Those were around another $100.

Next step - Get my death wobble cable (Jeep says its a flat tow kit) installed on Monday. $132 for the cable and $400 for the install.

Step after that - get an extra set of tow arms so I can have a welding shop attach my recovery hooks. Then I can get them back when I'm not towing.
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Old 05-04-2018, 12:25 PM   #13
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Here is a link to a post I did three years ago on installing the Mopar harness. I prefer it since it is OEM and will not interfere with warranty, plus it totally isolates the Jeeps lights using relays in the harness. Whichever way you go on wiring, be sure to isolate the coach power from the Jeep. There have been serious issues reported from back fed power into the Jeep's BUSS electronics system.

http://www.irv2.com/forums/f85/2012-...te-236583.html
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Old 05-04-2018, 12:49 PM   #14
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You might want to also read some Jeep forums. From what I had gathered some months ago, that after 2005 or so there was a plug-in at the fuse box I think it was, that Jeep provided just to run your signal and stop lights as a Toad. If I had a later model that is the route I'd go, plus I'd use a plug & cable between the MH and Jeep that carried the charge power too, and keep your Jeep battery full while towing.

Both those tow bars are fine, and really don't have anything to do with how you run your lights, that is likely just what the installer is suggesting. Blue Ox is stopping production on the 10K lb Aventa LX (BX7445), so there are some good prices out there on the ones still in stock. I bought one to replace my older Alexus bar (same design).

What are your plans for brakes on the Toad?

Good luck,
Scott

I sure didn't know they discontinued the BX7445! Looks like they are only going to produce the Blue Ox BX7420 Avail Towbar.

The toad wiring isn't hard to do on most vehicles. Hardest thing is running wire from the front to the rear of the vehicle. Several ready made pigtails that include all of the diodes that are needed to protect the original wiring are available so all you have to do in unplug a connector, and plug in the pigtail and you are done.

To the PO, I would also consider a charge wire be installed to keep the toad battery charged while towing. And as another posted pointed out, you need a good toad braking system. I use M&G Engineering.
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