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Old 04-19-2015, 05:40 PM   #1
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Flat Tow System

What is the best suggestion on equipment (manufacturer for baseplate, tow bar and break system) for flat towing a Subaru (3,100lbs.) behind a Class C Thor Chateau.

Thanks!
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Old 04-19-2015, 06:22 PM   #2
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When I was looking for a Toad, the Subaru dealer insisted they were not flat towable.

Aside from that, I used a Blue Ox baseplate, a Sterling Roadmaster towbar with Blue Ox adapters and an RviBrake braking system.

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....flat towing a Subaru (3,100lbs.) behind a Class C Thor Chateau.

Thanks!
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Old 04-19-2015, 09:27 PM   #3
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Here's a pic of the baseplate installation:



Bruce
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Old 04-20-2015, 12:38 PM   #4
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Thank you! I've got a 2015 Manual Transmission Crosstrek and based on my research it seems to be tow-able.
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Old 04-20-2015, 12:56 PM   #5
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Any vehicle with standard trans. is towable, just put the shifter in neutral. Any 4X4 with a transfer case shifter is towable, just put the transfer case in neutral. Our 06 PT Cruiser is towable, as we installed a Remco trans pump. Remco has a very good website that tells you all about towables, what equipment is needed for just about any vehicle you wish to flat-tow. Full-time all-wheel-drive vehicles are NOT flat-towable.We use all Blue Ox towing equipment. It is a bit more pricey, but very beefy, and easy to hook up with the adjustable tow bars. The expandable bars allow you to hook up without being perfectly in line behind the coach. You can be off-center, and still hook up easily. Very good safe system.
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Old 04-20-2015, 01:22 PM   #6
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The first place to check is your owner's manual for the vehicle you wish to tow. Most owner's manuals have a section called "Recreational Towing" or similar.

Not all manual-transmission vehicles are 4 wheel towable, but most are. For example, the Mazda Miata cannot be flat towed. And only a few Automatic transmission vehicles can be flat towed.

Again, you will want to check your specific vehicle.

A few vehicles though, such as the Honda Odyssey are in the middle. Honda does not recommend flat towing this vehicle, but many RV'ers have found that it can be towed without issue.

There are quite a few strategies when it comes to towbars. They can cost as little as $200, or be as much as $1,000.

The main difference is whether or not the tow bar is vehicle mounted or motorhome mounted. Motorhome mounted towbars typically have adjustable side arms so that you can attach the vehicle to the motorhome as long as it is "in range".

Vehicle mounted towbars have the more familiar ball hitch attachment to the motorhome, and some of these have adjustable arms, but the least expensive do not.

Which one is right for you depends on your vehicle and budget.

My towbar is made by BlueOx, so I am more familiar with those. BlueOx makes three different types. Here are three towbars that I was considering, as they all can tow within the 5,000lb limit of most motorhomes:

Alpha ($650). This is a motorhome mounted towbar with adjustable arms. It is the one I have. It has a span width of up to 38".

Acclaim ($500). This is a vehicle mounted towbar with a ball hitch, but it has adjustable arms, so you get some advantages of a motorhome mounted towbar. It has a span width of 23~28".

Adventurer ($250). This is also a vehicle mounted towbar with a ball hitch, but with fixed length arms - making it much more difficult to attach to the motorhome. It has a span width of 16~34".

The prices here are on-sale prices from BlueOx. However, I bought my Alpha tow bar from Amazon last year for $530.

Last year, the rep from BlueOx at the Hershey RV show told me the Alpha is the old version of the Aladden, and even though it is only advertised as having a 6,500lb rating, it actually has a 7,500lb rating. I don't know that for sure, but at least the Alpha is rated for heaver loads than the Adventurer or Acclaim (both of which are 5,000lbs).

Also, you may have to buy a drop receiver for the motorhome mounted towbars as they have less of a +/- tolerance than the hitch type towbars, so you potentially will need to add $100 for that.

I showed the span widths of each of the towbars as this is going to be different for different vehicles.

I had originally thought of towing my 2014 Taurus, which has a 17" span width on the baseplate. I ended up though towing a 2002 Grand Am, which has a 24" span width.

If you compare the span widths on the various tow bars, you will see that the Taurus cannot be towed by the Acclaim towbar, as it is not narrow enough.

While I may not tow the Taurus in the future, I may at some point change out my toad as the Grand Am is getting up there in years, and if I bought a less expensive tow bar, I might end up having to buy a new one for the next vehicle.

I was all set to buy the Acclaim, but the span width limitation is what caused me to buy the Alpha.

So you may wish to look to any future changes while selecting the tow components.
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Old 04-20-2015, 02:13 PM   #7
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Thanks for the information! The vehicle manual shows that it can be towed with 4 wheels on the ground as long as it's in neutral and ignition switch is in on position.
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Old 04-20-2015, 06:19 PM   #8
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Also when it comes to tow bars, they are somewhat baseplate brand specific. In other words, you will likely want the same brand tow bar as baseplate on the vehicle. Generally the knuckles that attach the towbar to the baseplate are different for each brand.

While there are some "crossover-kits" (brand A baseplate and brand B towbar), that is sometimes an added expense that you should avoid if possible.

So treat your towbar/baseplate selection as a package deal.

Pretty much everything then revolves around the selection of the baseplate. For my Grand Am, the Roadmaster baseplate was less noticeable, but required removing engine mounting bolts to install.

Since I wanted to install the baseplate myself, I went with the BlueOx baseplate as it mounted differently and did not require removing engine bolts.

On the other hand, the BlueOx baseplate turned out to be quite a challenge as it was designed generically for several different sibling model GM vehicles, so it was not quite optimized for my Grand Am. Consequently, it is a bit more noticeable than I would have liked, and a few things did not fit in the correct location without having to do some modification.

If you have someone install the baseplate though, you probably won't much care either way.
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Old 06-26-2015, 08:53 PM   #9
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I went with Blue Ox and am very happy with my choice. What I did find out is the
price difference depending on where you purchase it.


(1) Local Shop (AirMax) who does a lot of these installs....Blue Max $3100 installed.
(2) A MH dealer also Blue Max..$4100 installed.
(3) Camping World only sells Roadmaster..with my Good Sam discount $5200 installed.


So just do your research before you spend any $$$.


Just my $0.02
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Old 06-28-2015, 08:35 PM   #10
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I went with Blue Ox also. Cost was around $2200 at the RV dealer not including a brake controller.
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Old 06-28-2015, 10:30 PM   #11
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My prices above included the brake controller & the labor to install on the truck.
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Old 07-12-2015, 07:31 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Saran View Post
My prices above included the brake controller & the labor to install on the truck.
Which brake controller did you use?
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Old 07-12-2015, 09:45 PM   #13
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Footloose,


I have the Patriot Braking System by Blue Ox.
I'm happy with it's performance.
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Old 07-12-2015, 11:24 PM   #14
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I tow a 2015 Subaru Forester

My new Forester is the third Subaru I've towed 4 wheels down (must be a manual trans.) I use RoadMaster base plates/tow bar (Sterling)/InvisiBrake. The new models require you to manually turn off the monitor/rear-view camera display to prevent draining the battery... easy to do. I found the Subaru to be the ideal tow car. Unfortunately the 2015 Outback is no longer available with manual trans. The manual Forester was hard to find and I'm told this model year will be the last one to be towable. (It's good they last so long.)
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Old 07-13-2015, 04:33 PM   #15
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In reference to the last poster about the Subaru Forester, do you NOT have a
charging wire in your cable connection from the MH to towd? Mine has it and
it is supposed to keep the cars battery charged.
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Old 07-13-2015, 05:41 PM   #16
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If you live close to Wentzville MO you may try etrailer.com. They sell the parts but also do installs. I had it installed on my 2005 Jeep Liberty and the installation was FREE. They create videos to post on line so that do it yourselfers can see how easy it is (or isn't). So, in return for the video they did the install for nothing. I don't know if it is always free or just if they need a video of your make, model and year but worth checking out. Complete installation with parts, brake controller, wiring, etc was $2,200.
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Old 07-13-2015, 07:30 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Saran View Post
In reference to the last poster about the Subaru Forester, do you NOT have a
charging wire in your cable connection from the MH to towd? Mine has it and
it is supposed to keep the cars battery charged.
Phil-
Funny you should ask about battery charging while towing. I'm at the dealer right now and they just finished installing the charging wire.

They are also fixing rear window seal, leaking toilet, galley heater hose (not connected), and bad fitting rear storage compartment door.

At the same time, the glass guy is replacing the door window with tinted transparent glass. It's like having a pit crew.
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Old 07-13-2015, 09:25 PM   #18
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Road master All Terrain! Bought second hand on eBay 5 yrs. ago and never had a problem with it.
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Old 07-13-2015, 10:14 PM   #19
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Roadmaster Sterling tow bar and baseplate. 2010 Honda CR-V.
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Old 07-14-2015, 01:28 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Saran View Post
In reference to the last poster about the Subaru Forester, do you NOT have a
charging wire in your cable connection from the MH to towd? Mine has it and
it is supposed to keep the cars battery charged.
Thor cheaped out on some older models for the charging line. My 2011 Four Winds only has a 4 wire cable system, while newer models have a 7 wire system that has the charging wire.

Something else I need to add at some point.
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