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Old 11-04-2013, 11:11 PM   #1
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Help on toad and towing system

Am so excited to pick up my new Berkshire 390RB this weekend. But I am wondering if I could get some assistance on towing. We want to tow our Trailblazer since we already own it. What type of tow system is easiest. One of the reasons I went from my TT To a motorhome is the ease of setup so I dont want to set up something that takes me thirty minutes to set up or unhook. Im thinking some kind of towbar system might be best?

In addition if you have any idea of what such systems cost, that would be helpful as well since I am female and not very mechanically inclined so it would be required for me to have someone else install it for me. We are going to rent a car when we go pick up the motorhome because we are going to stay a few days to check it out but would like to eat out a couple nights while were there.

By the way, a big thanks to whomever recommended RVDirect in Des Moines, IA as they really treated me right in this purchase process. I wouldnt hesitate to buy from them again, assuming I dont have any issues with the coach. Thanks for all the help.

Jo, soon to be driving the MOJO...
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Old 11-04-2013, 11:42 PM   #2
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Jo welcome to the forum and congrats on the MH. Always remember that pictures are necessary
We are all noisy and want to see your MH. As for towing I use Road Master Falcon2 and is rated to 7000 lbs and I pull a Buick Enclave with it. I also use a Break Buddy. I bought this from a hitch shop and they did the install. They did a great job and two years with no problems. If I was buying again I would opt for the all terrain
Model. I am petty handy but didn't want to tackle that job. You can't go wrong with any of them today they all make a quality product. The big thing is making sure the trailblazer is set up for four down. On mine I pull two fuses and leave the key on accy and the truck on neutral and I'm good to go. Good luck.



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Old 11-05-2013, 08:37 AM   #3
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Congrats on the new addition! First thing, and most important from my point of view and seconding Phil's advice, is make sure you can flat tow (4 wheels down) your Trailblazer. Some will tell you that even if your owners manual doesn't specifically recommend that type of towing, that it's still OK. Just know that you are taking a huge risk. There are websites out there, one in particular, that can tell you what is towable and what you need to do it. That site is not always correct. Someone else can post a link, I will no longer refer people to it. Your owners manual is your best bet for recreational towing.
If you can flat tow, that is by far the easiest to do and takes much less time to setup and take down. I tow a Ford Edge AWD with a RoadMaster system and a BrakeMaster 9000 (Air). It is simple to hook up and take down. I can do it all in less than 5 minutes. Takes the wife about 10. There are a couple types of RoadMaster tow bars, don't let them sell you the heavy duty unless you actually need it because of vehicle weight. Huge difference in price.
If you can't flat tow, your owners manual will tell you whether it's front axle up (dolly) or all 4 up (trailer). I'll let someone with experience in that realm give you advice. I will say that a dolly seems more problematic when you get to wherever you are going.

JJ
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Old 11-05-2013, 11:55 AM   #4
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Agree with all that's been posted so far.

Can't emphasize enough on protecting the toad transmission. I'd use the manufacturer as the final authority.

Many (if not most) vehicles will require mods to the tranny; a few will tow 4-down with no mods. I have a Ford Fiesta and it's in the latter group.

And oh yeah.... These comments are for automatic transmissions. Stick shifts just need to be put in neutral (AFAIK).

You may also want a Tire Pressure Monitoring System that monitors both the coach AND toad. If you were to blow a tire on the toad and not know about it, you could potentially be dragging a 3000+ lb brick down the road and it's on FIRE!!!

Finally, you're talking upwards of $1800 to get a good towing system. I have the Roadmaster Falcon2. I even bought the optional rock guard which added $500 to mine; around $2300 altogether.



Good Luck

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Old 11-05-2013, 07:18 PM   #5
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So I need the Falcon 2 and a separate brake for the TrailBlazer? Does that mean when I press on the motorhome brakes that the toad brakes also come on?
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Old 11-05-2013, 08:33 PM   #6
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Yes. It has a mini air compressor that plugs into the power point in the truck. When you press the break in the MH it activates the compressor and applies the break. It is a good idea to have a hot line from the MH to the batteries in the toad to keep the toad batteries from going dead on long trips. It all sounds complicated but really isn't. Once you hook it up a couple times it is a 5 min job. One thing that makes it easier to unhook is to get a Falcon2 all terrain. Sometimes my falcon 2 will bind up and not release easy.



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Old 11-05-2013, 09:19 PM   #7
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I am in the same boat. I have done a ton of research and there just doesn't seem anyway to cut corners that make any sense. I am going to Camping World as 3 other local labor estimates were actually more. Doing the Falcon 2 All-terrain, Invisibrake with all the other relays etc. You are talking $2,500 for the equipment and up to $800 for the labor. Even if you shop online at several places you don't save much from CW on the parts.

Good luck. I am getting mine done in 2 weeks so we will be towing the Jeep GC to out next outing.
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Old 11-05-2013, 09:24 PM   #8
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I use the blue ox aventa lx when towing my Cadillac SRX. I purchased it brand new off of eBay as a package deal. Came with the tow bar, base plates for your toad, cover and safety chains all for about $1400. As everyone else stated, I can hook up in less than 5 minutes and with the blue ox aventa lx, I don't have to be level or even with the coach to hook up. It had a ball type swivel that makes connecting and disconnecting a breeze! This tow bar is also rated for 10,000 lbs so if I ever upgrade to a larger toad, I only have to buy new base plates for the toad and not a new tow bar. I personally do not use a breaking system in the toad. I'm sure they work great and some states require them but my coach stops just fine without it and have just never used one. Good luck with the new coach!!! I just picked up my 14 berkshire back in July and love it!!! I also went through RV direct since I am friends with one of the owners. Both owners / brothers Donnie and Mark are great people and run outstanding dealerships! I've been going
Through them for years and they have sold all of my friends units also!!

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Old 11-05-2013, 09:31 PM   #9
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Just to clarify I was not giving advice and have only used a road master product. I don't think there is a bad product out their. I was at my first FMCA rally last year and saw all the products and wish I could have bought their. I think CW has several brands. Also you will get good advice from them. Shop around.



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Old 11-05-2013, 10:28 PM   #10
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Yes. It has a mini air compressor that plugs into the power point in the truck. When you press the break in the MH it activates the compressor and applies the break. It is a good idea to have a hot line from the MH to the batteries in the toad to keep the toad batteries from going dead on long trips. It all sounds complicated but really isn't. Once you hook it up a couple times it is a 5 min job. One thing that makes it easier to unhook is to get a Falcon2 all terrain. Sometimes my falcon 2 will bind up and not release easy.
+1 on the all terrain comment.

I mis-typed before.... I have the falcon all terrain model. Even IT will sometimes bind a little, but if the DW moves the Fiesta an inch or two forward while I hold the release levers up it releases immediately.

BTW, these tow bars are NOT maintenance free. You MUST keep the locking mechanisms (on the collapsible bars) clean and properly lubricated. Even diesel exhaust is enough to gum up the works.

Also, I don't have toad brakes either, but my Fiesta only weight about 2600 lbs.

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Old 11-05-2013, 10:45 PM   #11
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I bought a sterling all terrain, made from aluminum so it is very light to pick up and store.
I also installed a stay-and-play brake system. So my wife does not have to install the brake buddy and do the set up each time the toad is connected to the motorhome. I also have a battery charger box that keeps the battery charged while going down the road. All we have to do is connect the tow bar and the wiring plug and we are good to go. Less than 5 minutes including the safety cables. Easy setup. Though there are pros and cons to all systems.
We tow a 2008 Honda CR-V. Only 3450 lbs so you don't even know it's back there. A tire pressure monitor is another great item to have.
Have fun
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Old 11-05-2013, 11:13 PM   #12
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So you say there are pros and cons to each. Can someone give me the readers digest version of what the pros and cons are? It sounds like the majority are in favor of the falcon all terrain but I dont really understand why. Thanks for all the responses. This is my first motorhome and I am learning a lot.
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Old 11-06-2013, 10:01 AM   #13
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I am sure you won't go wrong with either tow bar. I have the Blue OX Adventa as well and agree with all pros as JTN8listed in that post. I have no cons for it -- easy to hook up and store on the MH and the base plates for our toad are not as big and ugly as I have seen with other tow bar set ups. The swivel is also great for hooking up when not perfectly level. Just make sure the arms are locked before you take off towing.
As far as a brake controller I do use one but really only to be compliant with states that require a breakaway device as you might be surprised at how many states require it. Otherwise the brakes on the toad hardly ever need to engage and I can't even tell it is back there as the engine brake on the MH does the job of slowing gradually enough in most instances.
The big thing is in choosing your toad and making sure you follow what has to be done to tow it 4 wheels down.
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Old 11-06-2013, 10:45 AM   #14
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The pros and cons are how easy is it to set up, like is the brake mechanism permanently attached to the toad or do you have to take it in and out of the car when you want to use the car and recalibrate it the weight of the Brake Buddy, weight of the tow bar like how heavy is it to pick up and store in you storage compartment or is it locked onto the coach.
And finally the cost of the all of the items combined. To some people cost is not an issue but to others it is.
As for me I purchased a tow kit brackets for my car on the internet and had a local shop install it and found a Sterling All-Terrain tow bar on craigslist for 300 dollars. All of the wiring for the lights and battery maintainer came off of the internet as well.
As for tow bars that have a rubber boots on the slides I was concerned with not able to clean and silicone them. But not a deal breaker.
With my Roadmaster I do not even see or notice the brackets on the vehicle
Either Blue OX or Roadmaster will do you good.
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Old 11-06-2013, 10:57 AM   #15
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I didn't mention but I paid 399.00 for the brackets on etrailer.com, 300 to have the brackets installed as well as a light kit and installation, 20 for the battery maintainer and a 20 minute install by myself. Then the tow bar 300 on craigslist.
Total cost 1019.
Which is not bad for a Sterling All-Terrain tow bar.
I was quoted 1695 + tax for a new falcon 2 unit with bracket, lights and install. A Sterling would have added another 300 - 400 dollars or so to the cost.
I am an Ebay, Craigslist, internet man myself. We love our Georgetown XL 378 and you will love your unit and travels as well.
Berkshire's are fine coaches.
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Old 11-06-2013, 10:59 AM   #16
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It's nice to see a thread with good info and not "I have brand x and it is the best" I was trying to avoid that and so has everyone else. Lots of good info. I would again recommend going to a place like CW that has several different brands to compare. Also with the weight of your toad approaching 4000 lbs I would use a breaking system.



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Old 11-06-2013, 12:53 PM   #17
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I have two e-mails and one postal ad from Camping World for $29 installation on anything they sell. The postal ad has both tow bar brackets advertised plus invisibrake for $29 installation per item. Just a thought.
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Old 11-06-2013, 01:42 PM   #18
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I just wanted to say thank you to all of you for your assistance. I agree that this thread has been amazing in the sense that it hasnt been my way or the highway. I looked back at my old email and I do have the one that CW sent with the $29 installation. It looks like its good until Dec. 2 so I should have plenty of time after picking up my MH to get out there and have them install all of the items I need to tow. As an aside, I was just reading on iRV2 and Someone asked about buying a used Berkshire and all of the responses were negative. Of course none of those people actually own a Berkshire. I have a Forest River TT which is why I'm not hesitating to buy the Berkshire. Thanks again all.

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Old 11-06-2013, 03:16 PM   #19
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I just wanted to say thank you to all of you for your assistance. I agree that this thread has been amazing in the sense that it hasnt been my way or the highway. I looked back at my old email and I do have the one that CW sent with the $29 installation. It looks like its good until Dec. 2 so I should have plenty of time after picking up my MH to get out there and have them install all of the items I need to tow. As an aside, I was just reading on iRV2 and Someone asked about buying a used Berkshire and all of the responses were negative. Of course none of those people actually own a Berkshire. I have a Forest River TT which is why I'm not hesitating to buy the Berkshire. Thanks again all. Marcusfan
Yes, many folks who paid a lot more for what we got with our Berkshires seem to enjoy saying negative things about our coaches. I just chalk it up to ignorance.

All previous advise is spot on. We have the blue ox all aladin and it works great for us. The 2 most important thing are making sure your vehicle can be towed 4 down and get an auxiliary braking system. Most states require them if your towing 3,000 pounds or more.
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Old 11-07-2013, 03:54 AM   #20
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If you can not flat tow. then you might look at
www.cartowdolly.com . I have used one for 2 years with no problems as my wife is handycapped and I do every thing my self. I tow a 2010 Honda Van that is modified for her scooter .

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