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Old 07-16-2020, 12:08 AM   #1
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Towing

I have 2 questions on flat towing a vehicle.

1. What reason is there to spend the money on a higher end tow bar besides ease of operation? Is there anyone that has experienced or has data showing cheaper tow bar failing?

2. In California, what law requires a TOAD to be connected to a braking system? All I have been able to find is max stopping distance requirements and trailers being required to have brakes over a certain weight. A TOAD doesnt meet the definition of a trailer so those laws are not applicable.
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Old 07-16-2020, 12:45 AM   #2
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Well, I can't answer either question directly but I will tell you I've been towing our toad with a $75 Reese tow bar for over 3 years and it's a lot easier to put your car in the right place with the tow bar in front of you then it is to back up most vehicles to attach a trailer. I put the bar on the toad and hang it with a bungy cord and put the tongue on top of the ball very easily.

So no $1000 tow bar in my future.
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Old 07-16-2020, 01:10 AM   #3
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If you're looking to save money by foregoing a braking system for your Toad: why not just buy cheaper toilet paper and peanut butter?
Think about how little you'll save; in comparison to what a serious accident could cost you...
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Old 07-16-2020, 01:29 AM   #4
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We found a higher end towbar on craigslist for the price of the low end ones
The cheaper towbars are probably not going to be nonbinding, which can be an issue in some campgrounds.
We've had our nonbinding pretty tight, had to use a small hammer a couple of times.

If your going travel to other states you'll need a brake system, check ebay, craigslist and amazon. We have a blue ox patriot.
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Old 07-16-2020, 01:46 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by abjbrtd View Post
We found a higher end towbar on craigslist for the price of the low end ones
The cheaper towbars are probably not going to be nonbinding, which can be an issue in some campgrounds.
We've had our nonbinding pretty tight, had to use a small hammer a couple of times.

If your going travel to other states you'll need a brake system, check ebay, craigslist and amazon. We have a blue ox patriot.
OK, I give: what binds? It's a simple A-Frame tongue with a ball coupler on it.

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Old 07-16-2020, 02:01 AM   #6
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OK, I give: what binds? It's a simple A-Frame tongue with a ball coupler on it.

The telescoping tubes wouldn't release.
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Old 07-16-2020, 02:14 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by 16ACE27 View Post
Well, I can't answer either question directly but I will tell you I've been towing our toad with a $75 Reese tow bar for over 3 years and it's a lot easier to put your car in the right place with the tow bar in front of you then it is to back up most vehicles to attach a trailer. I put the bar on the toad and hang it with a bungy cord and put the tongue on top of the ball very easily.

So no $1000 tow bar in my future.
Thats what I was thinking. I have a harbor freight tow bar and have zero issues with it. I used a harbor freight WDH on my last trailer and never had any issues either.


QUOTE=Bob Denman;243623]If you're looking to save money by foregoing a braking system for your Toad: why not just buy cheaper toilet paper and peanut butter?
Think about how little you'll save; in comparison to what a serious accident could cost you... [/QUOTE]

Your reply is the typical reasoning I see. That's why I asked if you have any experience or examples of accidents caused by cheaper tow bars. Why spend the extra money if there is no benefit? I understand there are anti harbor freight people and only blue ox people. That is fine but show me evidence that it's worth spending the extra money vice and choice and opinion.




Quote:
Originally Posted by abjbrtd View Post
We found a higher end towbar on craigslist for the price of the low end ones
The cheaper towbars are probably not going to be nonbinding, which can be an issue in some campgrounds.
We've had our nonbinding pretty tight, had to use a small hammer a couple of times.

There are bo telescoping tubes on mine to bind up. It's just a simple a frame.

If your going travel to other states you'll need a brake system, check ebay, craigslist and amazon. We have a blue ox patriot.
Are there any states that require a brake on a TOAD and not just on a trailer?
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Old 07-16-2020, 02:17 AM   #8
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The telescoping tubes wouldn't release.
Oh, OK; my cheap tow bar doesn't have telescoping tubes. Less moving parts make it more reliable I guess.
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Old 07-16-2020, 02:26 AM   #9
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Oh, OK; my cheap tow bar doesn't have telescoping tubes. Less moving parts make it more reliable I guess.
Same here. Nothing to bind up.
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Old 07-16-2020, 02:39 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Harley97 View Post
...
2. In California, what law requires a TOAD to be connected to a braking system? All I have been able to find is max stopping distance requirements and trailers being required to have brakes over a certain weight. A TOAD doesnt meet the definition of a trailer so those laws are not applicable.
My research says that the tow vehicle or trailer must weigh more that 3,000# in CA to require a braking system.
I currently tow a 2,200# Chevy Spark w/out a braking system.

As I’ve noted in other Forum posts on this subject...
You can purchase in CA a tandem axel 8’ x 12’ trailer without brakes that lists a max towing weight of 2,999#
Or from the same trailer company
You can purchase same exact trailer with electric brakes which lists a max towing weight of 8,000#

If you have other documentation, please post it for us Californians.
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Old 07-16-2020, 02:47 AM   #11
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Laws aside, its just safer to have a braking system on the toad.
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Old 07-16-2020, 02:56 AM   #12
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Link to RVibrake
https://rvibrake.com/pages/flat-towing-law


Here's a link to AAA

Trailers
https://drivinglaws.aaa.com/tag/trailer-brakes/
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Old 07-16-2020, 03:14 AM   #13
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You are all correct in saying trailers require trailer brakes in CA. Here is the CVC definition of a trailer:

A “trailer” is a vehicle designed for carrying persons or property on its own structure and for being drawn by a motor vehicle and so constructed that no part of its weight rests upon any other vehicle. As used in Division 15 (commencing with Section 35000), “trailer” includes a semitrailer when used in conjunction with an auxiliary dolly, if the auxiliary dolly is of a type constructed to replace the function of the drawbar and the front axle or axles of a trailer.

A TOAD does not meet this definition.

As for it being safer, do you have any evidence or experience that proves this? I've never seen an accident caused due to a TOAD not having a braking system.

All of the links you have posted are from independent websites including one selling brakes. None of them cite a law requiring brakes.

While I agree that brakes arent going to make things worse and if anything will make it safer, I am looking for where it is a requirement. Every RV forum and FB page etc has people saying it is required and that no braking system and cheap tow bars are dangerous, yet there is no proof that I've seen of any of this.
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Old 07-16-2020, 04:01 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Harley97 View Post
Here is the CVC definition of a trailer:

A “trailer” is a vehicle designed for carrying persons or property on its own structure and for being drawn by a motor vehicle and so constructed that no part of its weight rests upon any other vehicle. As used in Division 15 (commencing with Section 35000), “trailer” includes a semitrailer when used in conjunction with an auxiliary dolly, if the auxiliary dolly is of a type constructed to replace the function of the drawbar and the front axle or axles of a trailer.
So by that definition a TOAD is a trailer but a trailer is NOT a trailer. A toad has no part of its weight resting on another vehicle but a travel trailer, fifth wheel trailer, and semi-trailer all do except when the second trailer of a tandem semi is concerned. Did you copy this definition right?


I've seen this toad brake requirement argument many times on many forums. Lots of people use the argument that toads don't meet the definition of trailers but in reality, if you have a 5000 lb toad or a 5000 lb trailer they are both going to exert the same force against the towing vehicle in any type of stopping situation.

What none of these definitions or requirements take into account is the capability of the towing vehicle vs the weight of the toad. A half ton van pulling a 3000 lb toad is much more at risk in a panic stop than a 45,000 lb bus pulling a 5000 lb half ton truck. I've pulled a 3500 lb sailboat on a single axle brakeless trailer with a S10 Blazer all across Florida for years. Maybe not as smart as having brakes on that trailer but risk management prevailed (or dumb luck).

So evaluate the risks of not putting the brakes on the toad using your tow vehicle and make a decision that you are comfortable with regardless of the myriads of statutes across the States you'll be pulling in. You probably will not get a ticket if you go brakeless and despite the insurance "experts" claiming you "won't be covered in an accident", your insurance will cover you to the limits required by your state. The insurance issue you will have to consider is any award to an injured party that is above your insurance liability limits - that will come out of pocket and will likely be more than the cost of a $1000 braking system.
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Old 07-16-2020, 04:02 AM   #15
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I would say the easiest deal would be to contact your local DMV and get it straight from them. You may not want them but if you travel to other states they might require them. I would say it’s good insurance even if you don’t need them. If for nothing else it’s four more wheels to help slow you down on the hills.

As for the two bars as long as they are in good working order then more expensive isn’t always better. That being said you also do get what you pay for. And there are a lot of things to consider on what you like besides just price.
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Old 07-16-2020, 04:53 AM   #16
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I did copy the definition from the CA.gov site. That one line you bolded is a confusing line an I'll need to do more research into that.

I am not disputing that brakes will be safer on a TOAD, just hate seeing people on forums telling others its required, causing them to spend extra money, when it's not.

As far as the safety aspect what you say does make sense, but have there been any accidents because of a TOAD not having brakes? I know there are trailer accidents because of that.

I fully agree with evaluating your risks. I've towed tons of trailers with tons of vehicles. I just believe in giving people accurate information. Saying brakes are required or that a cheap tow bar is dangerous is false information.
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Old 07-16-2020, 05:50 AM   #17
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Here is the scoop from AAA.
https://drivinglaws.aaa.com/tag/trailer-brakes/


My 2 cents by way of definition: Anything pulled behind a prime mover should be considered a "trailer" because it "trails" the lead vehicle. As such, anyone arguing semantics over TOAD versus trailer and deciding not to run a braking system on the trail vehicle is not someone I want to be in close proximity of on the road.



How much in a lawsuit can you afford to pay by not using a braking system if you should have an accident? If you're willing to take that risk, what's stopping you from cancelling your insurance and rolling those dice too?

Think about the potential consequences, folks....

GVP
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Old 07-16-2020, 05:58 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by GVP-The Boxcar Children View Post
Here is the scoop from AAA.
https://drivinglaws.aaa.com/tag/trailer-brakes/


My 2 cents by way of definition: Anything pulled behind a prime mover should be considered a "trailer" because it "trails" the lead vehicle. As such, anyone arguing semantics over TOAD versus trailer and deciding not to run a braking system on the trail vehicle is not someone I want to be in close proximity of on the road.



How much in a lawsuit can you afford to pay by not using a braking system if you should have an accident? If you're willing to take that risk, what's stopping you from cancelling your insurance and rolling those dice too?

Think about the potential consequences, folks....

GVP
I looked at the AAA site earlier. It does not reference any laws.

If you arent required to use a braking system and you have proper insurance then you should be good.

Again, I am not looking for peoples opinions. I am looking for a law that requires brakes and evidence that not having brakes on a TOAD is dangerous.

If people feel safer with brakes then by all means use them.
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Old 07-16-2020, 12:46 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Harley97;243637
QUOTE=Bob Denman;243623
If you're looking to save money by foregoing a braking system for your Toad: why not just buy cheaper toilet paper and peanut butter?
Think about how little you'll save; in comparison to what a serious accident could cost you...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harley97 View Post
Your reply is the typical reasoning I see. That's why I asked if you have any experience or examples of accidents caused by cheaper tow bars. Why spend the extra money if there is no benefit? I understand there are anti harbor freight people and only blue ox people. That is fine but show me evidence that it's worth spending the extra money vice and choice and opinion.
Are there any states that require a brake on a TOAD and not just on a trailer?
I'm sorry: I should have specified that I I was speaking only about brakes and braking systems.
Most of the States (At least the ones with lawmakers that can actually write an effective law ...); treat a Toad exactly as they treat a trailer.
If it's hooked-up to you, and your pulling it: there's no difference.

To be fair: I am NOT a Lawyer.
But I do sell insurance. I've seen the accident reports... You don't want to get pushed into a situation that is going to hurt you or your Family.
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Old 07-16-2020, 05:19 PM   #20
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An interesting thread. My personal opinion (which nobody asked for!) is that anyone towing a car behind a motorhome is foolish if they don’t use a braking system. Brakes on our coaches are marginal to begin with and adding the momentum of a ton or more pushing on the back can only hurt performance in an emergency. Likewise having four more tires bleeding off speed can only help. I had a deer jump out in front of me and I was thankful for every ounce of stopping power I had.

I towed a car years ago with a simple steel rigid A- frame tow bar. It worked fine but the newer, light weight non-binding bars is so much worth the added cost that I can’t even find the words. I bought a new Blue Ox Ascent from the Amazon warehouse for under $700 and its wonderful. Using a cheap bar and no brakes is like choosing to drive an old car with no ABS or power steering because it’s “not needed”. Certainly true but for most of us somewhat closed minded. But whatever floats your boat!
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