Newb Toad Experience 2016 F150 Flat Tow
Just wanted to take a few minutes to summarize the Toad experience from a Newb's perspective....
This year is our first Class A, GT364TS. Put about 2,500 miles on it with no toad to get the feel of it and while I shopped around for components and pricing. We had a 2014 F150, traded up for a 2016 for the easy flat tow mode as well as lowered weight and we need to fit 6 people.
Started looking up what I needed....lots of different stuff out there. Here is what I bought if it helps anyone:
1. Patriot brake system by blue ox...found on Craiglist local for 475 and works like a champ. I have towed with and without, not a huge difference but I was mostly flat to moderate terrain. The Tow/Haul mode worked very well for helping to slow.
2. Blue Ox Alpha Tow Bar - 6,500 pound rated...pretty simple and easy to use.
3. Blue Ox F150 Base Plate...Ill use term plate loosely as its really two separate pieces that go in the location the front tow hooks went. I opted to not do tail light or hard wiring through it and went with a wireless tow bar, so installation was much quicker. From start to finish about 90 minutes going slow...take off bumper, brackets, drill some holes and tighten some nuts.
4. For lights I went with the TowMate RVHW32 LED light system. Plug one end into the RV plug on MH, wireless connection to lights and works quite well. They will tell you RVHW stands for RV, Hard Wired which is somewhat accurate. This model is wireless for the signal, but hard wired with a 12V plug for your lighter. I did have a problem where it appears after an hour or so of driving the F150 stopped supplying 12V power to the brake and lights....not cool. To remedy see number 5.
5. After discovering problem with 12V, I bought a 100 dollar 12V booster pack at Cabelas where I camped overnight anyways. I could have found cheaper for about 60 bucks, but I was there and they had what I needed. On the return 400 mile trip this worked with no problems powering patriot and light bar, took power down only about 20% on the pack.
6. Towmate RVHW32 has a magnetic mount or optional suction cup...F150 is aluminum so a bit of a problem. Had a mount for the trucks hitch custom made with a plate for the light bar to sit on, works great and looks awesome. If anyone wants one of these made let me know..little brother fabricated and powder coated the entire thing.
So...end product...my first trip was about 400 miles each way, and other than battery problem it went extremely well. Toad tracks great, and when people say you dont know its there they are telling the truth. I had tow haul mode on and I cant tell you I saw any difference in performance or mileage up or down. No, i didnt measure exactly but rough in my head counts kept mileage very close.
It was intimidating to first drive the class A that is 37' long, but after a bit its become pretty darn simple. A toad sounded intimidating too, but it was awesome to not have to worry about a rental and how I am going to pick it up or drop it off. I am somewhat cheap when I can be and bought all the components online as I saw deals, and had brother install which saved a ton. Quotes were all over the board, from 3,400 to 4,000ish. Paid my brother very well for his time and still about 1,800 total.
If you have an F150 and go the wireless route I would take a good look at self installing.
Anyways, hope this helps someone...I know after a long trip with it I think its fantastic that I can now take it anywhere with a good deal of confidence already. Pulls and tracks great and is much easier than a short truck pulling a long trailer. Hooking up and unhooking straight forward...no ragrets...
Good luck and happy camping!