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Old 07-28-2019, 05:17 PM   #1
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Towing 4 down: what is a good tow setup & cost?

2013 ACE30.1 if we were to have a tow system installed, and the hook up installed on the vehicle, what kind of price range can we expect? What are the easiest to hook up/unhook? Any systems we should stay away from? What have you bought or wished you had bought? Thanks for any input/opinions/suggestions!
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Old 07-28-2019, 06:28 PM   #2
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That's a wide open question and the response will be just as specific, well except for those that tout that their specific system is the "best".

Cost will certainly depend on what vehicle you want to tow, how you want to outfit it, and whether you will do the labor or have someone else do it.

Figure $500 for a baseplate
$100 to $1400 for a tow bar
$50 to $200 for Safety Chains
$50 to $200 for a lighting system
and then $500 to $2000 for a braking system.

In my specific case with my Sonic the baseplate was $450
$50 for lighting
$60 for safety cables
$80 for the tow bar

and I opt not to use a braking system for my 2700 lb toad.
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Old 07-28-2019, 06:50 PM   #3
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Since you're going to tow something of value to you: it might be best to stick with the brand name products that have a good reputation.
We're considering a Blue Ox/Patriot system.
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Old 07-28-2019, 06:54 PM   #4
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16ACE27 said it best, what ever I have is naturally the best and brand loyalty will come into play. His cost break down are about what you can expect for material. If you have to pay someone to do the work add in an extra $800 to $1200.

My set up going on 8 camping seasons -
NSA Ready Brute Elite Tow Bar $1160
NSA Break Away Kit $100
Blue Ox Base Plate (2005 Honda CRV) $430
Lighting Set Up (can't recall specifics) around $30

I did the work myself so no shop labor costs. Went with a NSA Tow Bar for the integrated braking capability.
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Old 07-28-2019, 10:28 PM   #5
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Some additional choices to make - some of which will affect price...
Tow bar - some have the ability to connect AND disconnect when vehicles are not level or aligned... of course adds some $$...
Brakes - permanent mount or temporary... permanent are plug n play, unit stays in place. Portable you need to place and set each use. The cost difference is really with install.. the units cost about the same.
Lights - choices range from magnetic add on lights, to wiring to existing, or if available a plug n play that integrates in car wiring.

Bottom line here in my opinion... you are driving a (rough numbers) $80-100K motorhome... towing a $20-40k vehicle... not a place to skimp on what keeps them both apart and together...

Two most popular brands I see are Roadmaster and Blue Ox. Both good.
At the time the Roadmaster version I got at lower price. I had baseplate and brake system installed. Did the wiring harness myself.

Towing Jeep Wrangler, Roadmaster Falcon All-terrain Towbar, Baseplate, and Invisibrake.
Mopar wiring harness to power lights from RV.
Invisibrake charges Jeep battery from RV.
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Old 07-28-2019, 11:20 PM   #6
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Good info and suggestions
I appreciate all input, thank you!
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Old 07-29-2019, 12:07 AM   #7
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I am a firm believer in having toad brakes regardless of the weight. Itís an expensive part of the deal (approximately $1000 plus installation if you have a permanent model and canít do your own work). But please consider that most motorhomes donít stop all that well to begin with and adding another ton or two to the mix isnít going to help. I just found a nice older Wrangler and my cost (doing my own installation) is $450 for a Blue Ox base plate, $900 for a Blue Ox tow bar, $1100 for a Stay In Play brake system, $50 for toad lights, $120 for the necessary high/low adapter and about $250 for miscellaneous safety cables and wiring. Itís not a project to be taken lightly!
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Old 07-29-2019, 12:20 AM   #8
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Plus the cost of a vehicle since I can't tow my Subaru and DH won't tow his GMC pick up truck. Just trying to digest all of our options, cost, convenience. We are looking hard at buying two Scooters & a hitch trailer for them. Just want to be sure before we make the leap.
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Old 07-29-2019, 12:34 AM   #9
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I recently setup my 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk.

I went with:

Roadmaster Base Plate - 771.00 includes wiring harness and installation
InvsiBrake - 958.99 installed
Roadmaster Sterling All Terrain tow bar - 900.00
Misc Supplies - 125.00
Sales Tax - 151.00

Total before 5 percent military discount in approx 2950.00

The Roadmaster Sterling towbar is one that can be connected and disconnected on uneven terrain and it includes the electrical and safety cables. To use the included cables you have to use the Roadmaster crossbar base plate.

Here is the link to my thread on the setup.

Outfitting a 2019 Grand Cherokee Trailhawk
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Old 07-29-2019, 02:45 AM   #10
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Good answers from people who are experienced. Check out the Dinghy Towing Guides from Motorhomeag Magazine to make sure the car you want is OK to tow.

I have used both Blue Ox and Roadmaster baseplates, and prefer the way Blue Ox mounts without an external crossbar on the tow car. Some car models will only have baseplates from one company, so there is no choosing. I have toured the Blue Ox factory in Nebraska and the people there are top notch. They inspected and rebuilt my tow bars at no charge!

I am still using the same Blue Ox tow bars that I bought ten years ago. They are comparable to the Alpha model. My second car required a baseplate from Roadmaster, so an adapter was used. With either brand of tow bars, get the kind that swivel and extend for easy hookup.

I have no experience with the portable brake systems, but can tell you that the mounted unit I have is super easy to hook up. One two wire cable connected while hooking everything else up and that's it. I am on my third towed car, and have switched the car part of the brakes between cars. I'm on my second motor home, and have switched the motor home part between them when I traded.

Many folks get along fine without towing a car, and there are countless discussions searchable on this forum. For us, it's part of the way we travel. We'll set up the coach and go exploring. Your results will vary...

Happy trails!
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Old 07-29-2019, 03:27 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dstankov View Post
I recently setup my 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk.

I went with:

Roadmaster Base Plate - 771.00 includes wiring harness and installation
InvsiBrake - 958.99 installed
Roadmaster Sterling All Terrain tow bar - 900.00
Misc Supplies - 125.00
Sales Tax - 151.00

Total before 5 percent military discount in approx 2950.00

The Roadmaster Sterling towbar is one that can be connected and disconnected on uneven terrain and it includes the electrical and safety cables. To use the included cables you have to use the Roadmaster crossbar base plate.

Here is the link to my thread on the setup.

Outfitting a 2019 Grand Cherokee Trailhawk
We have the same set up. It starts off expensive but well worth the money in my opinion
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Old 07-29-2019, 09:05 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Pete'sMH View Post
I am a firm believer in having toad brakes regardless of the weight. It’s an expensive part of the deal (approximately $1000 plus installation if you have a permanent model and can’t do your own work). But please consider that most motorhomes don’t stop all that well to begin with and adding another ton or two to the mix isn’t going to help. I just found a nice older Wrangler and my cost (doing my own installation) is $450 for a Blue Ox base plate, $900 for a Blue Ox tow bar, $1100 for a Stay In Play brake system, $50 for toad lights, $120 for the necessary high/low adapter and about $250 for miscellaneous safety cables and wiring. It’s not a project to be taken lightly!

Agreed, and it's the law (TOAD brakes) in every State except Missouri. We installed the ReadyBrake in our 2014 Wrangler Rubicon.
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Old 08-01-2019, 10:23 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by lal22 View Post
Good info and suggestions
I appreciate all input, thank you!
Having towed an enclosed motorcycle trailer for many years, we decided to get a Jeep. June 2019 we bought a Wrangler Sport TJ Ö
towing setup:
Blue Ox tow package including
baseplate, towbar, safety cables and wiring, etc. ..everything included.
we had it installed...dealer had a Patriot brake (tradein for $700) like new.
all completed, including brake light setup, etc. $2800 including labor
the Blue Ox package is amazing ! (we had planned on RViBrake but this guy made us an offer we couldn't refuse !!)

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Old 08-10-2019, 07:25 PM   #14
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We tow a Wrangler Sahara on 31-foot Thor Quantum Class C. Installed Blue Ox Aventa, which adjusts for alignment and level - that costs extra, but worth every cent. Takes us 4-5 minutes to hook up or unhook. Installed cost (Arizona Hitchman) was under $2,000.
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Old 08-10-2019, 07:31 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Sweetbriar View Post
16ACE27 said it best, what ever I have is naturally the best and brand loyalty will come into play. His cost break down are about what you can expect for material. If you have to pay someone to do the work add in an extra $800 to $1200.

My set up going on 8 camping seasons -
NSA Ready Brute Elite Tow Bar $1160
NSA Break Away Kit $100
Blue Ox Base Plate (2005 Honda CRV) $430
Lighting Set Up (can't recall specifics) around $30

I did the work myself so no shop labor costs. Went with a NSA Tow Bar for the integrated braking capability.
With the NSA Ready Brute Tow Bar is that all the brake you need?
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Old 08-10-2019, 08:06 PM   #16
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We're towing a 2 door jeep wrangler behind our 30fe. Had a blue ox system installed. Cost $1500 , plus install which was another $600. Pulls like a dream, no wobble. Safety hooks and cables came with it. We bought extra electric so all is synced. Cost $ 250.
Well worth the investment.
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Old 08-10-2019, 08:14 PM   #17
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... a simple rule-of-thumb is that a 4-down setup is going to cost you roughly the same as a tow dolly....

there are pros and cons to both, so the choice is yours.
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Old 08-10-2019, 08:44 PM   #18
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I have been towing for 17 years. I have always preferred the Blue-OX baseplate and tow bars.
I have always had a braking system. For 16 years I used a Brake-Buddy.
I just installed the Stay-N-Play system. May be the best think I have every done. My wife would never set up our tow car when I had the Brake-Buddy System. when she saw the process with the Stay-N-Play she now not only jumps in to help she does it all by herself. (She is only 66 years old).
Recently she hitched up by herself and took off to Disney World with our daughter and her two children. After 41 years of RV'ing she is now on her own.
By the way please never listen to anyone that tells you not to use a braking system no matter the weight of the two vehicle. The added weight increases the stopping distance of any motorhome no matter how big the motorhome might be.
Also about ever state has requirements about having a braking system.
Just run into someone and not have a brake system and see how fast you are involved with a lawsuit no matter what the state laws are. They can prove you had knowledge of optional braking systems and you did not care about the safety and lives of others. You insurance company will not renew you either.
Always spend a little to be safe. Love yourself and others.
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Old 08-10-2019, 09:15 PM   #19
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Another vote for the Blue Ox line of products. Been using them since 1999. As to braking systems, that is a state by state thing. My state, Texas, requires brakes on anything over 4500 pounds. So I could tow my CR-V without brakes and not worry about law enforcement or lawyers, but if I went to California, I would need brakes on the toad to be legal.
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Old 08-10-2019, 10:03 PM   #20
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I tow a Chevy Spark (2350 pounds) with this setup:

Roadmaster Crossbar-Style Base Plate Kit - Removable Arms $415
Roadmaster StowMaster Tow Bar - Car Mount - 2" Ball - 6,000 lbs $550
Roadmaster Tail Light Wiring Kit for Towed Vehicles - LED Bulb and Socket $82
Roadmaster StowMaster Combo Kit (cables.chains, locks, covers) $258
Roadmaster InvisiBrake Supplemental Braking System $950

The tow bar folds up and stores on the front of the car. It takes about five minutes to hook or unhook.

I also invested in a bra for the car (about $75)

The Invibrake system requires no setup to get going. Just hook up the car and it's ready to work. It's activated by the brake lights on the RV.

I use the car for errands around town. It gets 32 mpg in the city, and I leave the tow bar on it. I take it off if I run the car through a car wash. It takes about ten minutes to remove the bra and the tow bar.
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