Best Setup for RV Flat Tow

Sweetpea

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Thought I would share my latest winch and tow loop set up on my JL. Winch plate, winch hook anchor, filler trip plates, and JL tow loops from www.maximus-3.com. Winch is the Rubicon version of the Warn winch but I bought from www.moparonlineparts.com as they seemed to have the best price at the time and had it in stock.

Tow loops are not on the Maximus-3 website yet due to very limited quantities but they are heavy duty and fit great - I think they are the cleanest setup I have seen. Did not want a square-tube bar mounted under my bumper for towing. You do have to cut slots in the bottom side of the bumper but that was not too hard as long as you have a metal cutting hole saw ($10 at ACE Hardware) and a cut-off wheel for your grinder. The instructions included show using a 1.5" hole saw and making a 1.5" channel in the bottom of the bumper. With the tow loop being 5/8" thick, I chose to use a smaller 1" hole saw and cut a 1" channel and had no problems (forgot to take a picture of that).

On the winch plate install, I did have to do a little grinding on the winch plate to make it fit. Mainly because there was some excess weld on one side of the Jeep near a bracket and that bracket on the Jeep appeared to be in a slightly different location from the left side vs the right side. Maybe 1/16" different but that was enough to need to grind down the winch plate slightly so the bolt holes would line up (did not want to grind on the Jeep). Easy fix though.

Have not dealt with the towing wiring harness yet. Still debating whether to go with Cooltech's product or wait for Mopar's JL flat-tow wiring harness. No near-term RV trips so not is a huge hurry on that. Also dreading reinstalling the braking system again after pulling it out of my JK. Looks like a big pile of spaghetti now with all of the wires thrown in a box. Will need some motivation to tackle that one one of these days. Hope the included pictures give a few folks some ideas on possible towing/winch setups. I like mine.

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Photo Sep 05, 8 04 38 PM.jpg
I am thinking about going with this same setup. What solution did you use for the safety cables? I don’t see a good place to hook them up.

Thanks JB





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Bilymac

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@Sweetpea, I've seen people use the rear most hole of the tow loops to attach safety cables. I've also seen people use safety cable extensions, and loop them around the frame to connect to.
 

Midwest22

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@Sweetpea, I've seen people use the rear most hole of the tow loops to attach safety cables. I've also seen people use safety cable extensions, and loop them around the frame to connect to.
I use the rear holes of the tow loops for the safety cables. The chances of the tow loop failing before the tow bar is probably minimal.

Also, I run my break away cable through the passenger cutout for the tow loop and attach that to the bumper of the RV.

So far Ive towed the Jeep a little over 10,000 miles since January and all is well. Do yourself a favor, check the bolts on the tow loops after your first tow and every so often. You also might want to use loctite.
 

jeepixel

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Safety cable connections to the Maximus tow-loop brackets. . . the standard cables that came with my Blue Ox tow bar were not able to connect to the lower / back hole in the brackets, as the clip at the end couldn't handle the thickness of the bracket. The tow bar connects to the forward / upper holes in the bracket. I ended up buying these Curt clips from Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000LOI69C/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1) to add to the ends of the safety cables and they fit the Maximus holes. I chose those clips since they have a stated load rating and have had no issues so far. I hope this helps!

Curt clip.png
 

Midwest22

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had no issues so far
I got a little laugh when I read this. I would hope you've had no issues so far since if you did that would mean that your tow bar broke while driving. I put D rings in mine and hook to that. I feel more comfortable with this set up than just hooking directly to the tow loops.


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EDH_JL

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Is anybody running a ReadyBrute Elite with the built-in surge brake? Pros/cons? I will be towing behind an F150, this is the only vehicle I would be towing so portable aux brakes aren't a big selling point and I don't have air brakes.
 

jeepixel

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I got a little laugh when I read this. I would hope you've had no issues so far since if you did that would mean that your tow bar broke while driving. I put D rings in mine and hook to that. I feel more comfortable with this set up than just hooking directly to the tow loops.


Ah. . . reading it again it makes me laugh a little, too. "So far. . . " is not a very optimistic statement! I bought (load rated) D-rings first to do the same as you did, but the ones I sourced at that time were also too big in diameter for the safety cable connection. Ug! It was kicking my butt. That's how I ended up with the Curtis clips.
 

lightsout

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Is anybody running a ReadyBrute Elite with the built-in surge brake? Pros/cons? I will be towing behind an F150, this is the only vehicle I would be towing so portable aux brakes aren't a big selling point and I don't have air brakes.

I use the ready Brute Elite tow bar and brake system, it works great, Highly recommended. There is no down side I have found as well the braking is progressive so no over braking by the TOAD. Plus it saves you $1000 as well it is rated at 8000lbs.
 

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Greetings!

I just got my first Jeep a few weeks ago with the intent of pulling it behind my 32' Windsport. Over the last few weeks I've been mulling over the various options and while I think I've decided my course of action, I was really hoping to get some opinions from those who have experience with it.

I'm gonna be installing the RoadMaster base-plate & RV mounted tow bars, and while I know it will limit ground clearance, I don't intend on doing any crawling for some years. I have friends that have rock crawling rigs, but most are collecting dust while the kids grow up a bit. I'm confident I can get it installed properly on my own so no biggie there.

My biggest doubts are with the wireless light bar & monitor, along with the RviBrake3. I've done about as much research on the Rvi brake as I can and I really think it's the best option considering that I really don't feel comfortable detaching and messing with trim, carpet, etc... My only remaining concern is the wireless part of it. Has anyone had issues with it?

Same question for the 32" TowMate wireless tow light (RVHW32). Anything to be concerned with on this setup? I'll eventually get the nerve and run the wires for a more permanent solution, but for now this seems optimal for me, I'd like to know if there's anything I'm missing here.

Also, Here in OKC, I've yet to find a shop that does the RV toad stuff on a regular basis OTHER than camping world, which I won't consider. Many different shops for building up rigs for various what not's, but none that really have experience with the RV parts I'm asking them about. if anyone here has an idea on this I'd be open too.

Thanks again!
-Duff
 

jeepixel

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Hey Duff, welcome to the forum and congrats on the new Jeep!

You may have already checked, but make sure your RV is rated to pull the Jeep and the hitch is properly rated and sized. Check to see if you have a working 7-pin connection on the back of the RV next to the hitch. You're looking for the GVWR on the RV, plus you and all your stuff. Add to the actual weight of the Jeep to make sure you're under the GCWR (combined weight) allowance for your RV. I weighed mine at a local truck stop to double check.

Doubts. . . I can't speak to the tow lights, as I went with the Cooltech harness and it works perfectly. I had a local truck / jeep shop do that install as auto elec is not in my skill set. Much like other forum members, I am very happy with the RVi Brake. Compact and easy to use once you get the hang of it. Nice "test" mode gives you confidence on the braking. Great tech help when you need it - I had initial setup issues and they had fixed up pronto. A few skippy connections between the tablet / hub / RVi unit, but not a big deal and a reset worked it out.

Unless you have missing or non-functioning parts / hitch / 7-pin connector issues, I'm not understanding why you need an RV shop at all. I bought all my parts (tow bar, RVi Brake, Cooltech harness, etc) and had the truck / jeep shop install what I wasn't confident taking on. Tow bar and related parts from Amazon. Don't forget all the other miscellaneous parts that are noted in the many excellent posts in this forum.

Good luck and have fun!
 

Duffstone

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Hey Duff, welcome to the forum and congrats on the new Jeep!

You may have already checked, but make sure your RV is rated to pull the Jeep and the hitch is properly rated and sized. Check to see if you have a working 7-pin connection on the back of the RV next to the hitch. You're looking for the GVWR on the RV, plus you and all your stuff. Add to the actual weight of the Jeep to make sure you're under the GCWR (combined weight) allowance for your RV. I weighed mine at a local truck stop to double check.

Doubts. . . I can't speak to the tow lights, as I went with the Cooltech harness and it works perfectly. I had a local truck / jeep shop do that install as auto elec is not in my skill set. Much like other forum members, I am very happy with the RVi Brake. Compact and easy to use once you get the hang of it. Nice "test" mode gives you confidence on the braking. Great tech help when you need it - I had initial setup issues and they had fixed up pronto. A few skippy connections between the tablet / hub / RVi unit, but not a big deal and a reset worked it out.

Unless you have missing or non-functioning parts / hitch / 7-pin connector issues, I'm not understanding why you need an RV shop at all. I bought all my parts (tow bar, RVi Brake, Cooltech harness, etc) and had the truck / jeep shop install what I wasn't confident taking on. Tow bar and related parts from Amazon. Don't forget all the other miscellaneous parts that are noted in the many excellent posts in this forum.

Good luck and have fun!
I hadn't thought about having a dealer shop do it, I'll check into it, thanks!

Yes, I already confirmed all the technical weights and ratings before I purchased the Jeep, My RV's GVRW is 18K, and GCWR is 23K, so the 2 door JL fit like a glove at 5K GVWR. I haven't gotten a dry weight for the Jeep yet, but my RV Dry with no water or gear is 15.7K. I think that's plenty of extra capacity just starting out. in a couple years it might not be enough for sure, but I'll cross that bridge when I have some miles under my belt. :)

I had another question that I forgot to ask earlier, on my 2019 JL (w/push button start), if you leave the keys in the house and get in the jeep, and sit there long enough for the dash displays to go back off, when you step on the brake petal not only do the brake lights come on, but the dash displays light up too. Will I end up needing to do a battery disconnect to keep from draining the battery? Even with the wireless setup, It's not hard to run a 12v Power umbilical to the jeep to power the brake and lights from the RV, so it's no big deal to install a battery disconnect, I just haven't seen anyone mention that the dash displays all come on when the brake is depressed.

-Duff
 

CoolTech

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Hi Duff,

I don't think you are waiting long enough for the Jeep ECU to enter sleep mode or somehow being in the Jeep is preventing it from entering sleep state. However, if you roll the Jeep's windows down and shut the door and then wait about 5-10 minutes, you can but a broom handle in through the window and press on the brake pedal and nothing will happen.

The only power-draw from the Jeep's battery will be from the Aux braking device you choose. If you select an installed harness like ours, all of the power for the lights comes from the tow vehicle.

In brief, there should be no reason on a JL to disconnect the battery while towing.
 

jeepixel

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Duff,

To be clear, I didn't have the "dealer" shop install anything. . . I personally would not trust them to do it right unless they had actual experience with such things. I had an independent truck / jeep mod shop do the work I couldn't handle and they were great. My local Jeep dealer actually sends out towing mod work to the shop I used.

I haven't tried the "keys out, lights on" trick you did, but I will say my own research - again, thanks to many in this forum - and bought an RVi brand 12v battery tender / charger. It's an easy install, nothing you need to do every again with it and keeps the Jeep battery in fine shape while you tow it. I also added an "always hot" 12v outlet under the driver's dash to plug in the RVi Brake, as the front 12v outlet in the dash turns off with the key. The rear outlet in the Jeep is always hot, but then you'll need an extension, so I just made it easy with under dash power connection.
 

Duffstone

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@jeepixel Ah, I understand now. Yah I've got a shop in mind that I can take it too if/when I decide to do something I'm uncomfortable with. They're just not really familiar with flat tow stuff, and were unable to answer many of my questions. Wanna lift it, or Monsterfy it, sure they've got ya covered, wanna keep it stock and tow it, not so much. :) But a good shop with honest, friendly people nonetheless.

I'll try the broomstick thing tonight, and if it's as Cooltech says then I'll go ahead and start ordering parts. I might go ahead and try the wiring harness and using the jeep lights, it doesn't seem too hard. Just not as easy as say the wireless setup seems right now. :)

thanks again!
-Duff
 

lightsout

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I hadn't thought about having a dealer shop do it, I'll check into it, thanks!

Yes, I already confirmed all the technical weights and ratings before I purchased the Jeep, My RV's GVRW is 18K, and GCWR is 23K, so the 2 door JL fit like a glove at 5K GVWR. I haven't gotten a dry weight for the Jeep yet, but my RV Dry with no water or gear is 15.7K. I think that's plenty of extra capacity just starting out. in a couple years it might not be enough for sure, but I'll cross that bridge when I have some miles under my belt. :)

I had another question that I forgot to ask earlier, on my 2019 JL (w/push button start), if you leave the keys in the house and get in the jeep, and sit there long enough for the dash displays to go back off, when you step on the brake petal not only do the brake lights come on, but the dash displays light up too. Will I end up needing to do a battery disconnect to keep from draining the battery? Even with the wireless setup, It's not hard to run a 12v Power umbilical to the jeep to power the brake and lights from the RV, so it's no big deal to install a battery disconnect, I just haven't seen anyone mention that the dash displays all come on when the brake is depressed.

-Duff
If your GVRW is 18K that is a dry weight with no water grey or black water on board, no propane, and no gear you need to allow for around 2500lbs of load which puts you near 18K lbs. I just went through the same situation however my Motorhome (2017 Fleetwood Bounder 35K on the Ford f53 Chassis) the bounder is just shy of 19K with a GCWR of 26K. My Sahara after mods (Bumper, Tow Plate, Winch, 35" wheels and tires on the scale was 4900lbs with a full tank). In order for me to be legal after gear is in the motorhome I have to drive with no water and empty tanks and if I am doing short trips I do not fill the fuel tank on the Motorhome, I also try to tow the Wrangler with 1/2 or less fuel in the tank.

Just because motorhome manufacture states 5000K lb tow capacity there are many underlying issues that have to be addressed, whereas in many cases even though it says 5000lb that is ONLY if your wet and loaded GVRW is 5000lbs below the GCWR.

I was very dissapointed in the towing ability of our gas Motorhome, since we have the 2017 which has the 6sp trans I expected better gas performance than the pre 2017 5 speeds trans ( I would not tow with a 5sp). I just sold our Motorhome and we are moving to diesel as my average MPG was 4.9 pulling the wrangler with the gasser.

Regarding braking systems our 1st trip over Stevens pass in Washington the rear brakes of the RV were smoking and bright red coming off the pass, Took the RV to a Tire shop that specialized in Semis and heavy equipment, they told us that the stock brakes on the Ford Chassis are garbage so I have all new heavy duty Rotors and Calipers installed which solved the braking issue (Only $700 to have replaced which was a bargain). A near 5000lb Wrangler is a lot of weight to slow down on a steep 8 mile decline especially when downshifting does not slow you enough to be under the speed limit. I have tried 3 braking systems:

RVI3: Was ok however at high altitude passes with the thinner air the internal air pump on the RVI-3 has to run overtime to keep up.

Blue OX Patriot 3: was also just OK however with the stiff suspension of the wrangler it had the tendancy to shift position which causes it to disconnect the wireless connection.

I returned both the RVI and Blue OX

My Tow bar is the Ready Brute Elite which has a manual braking system built in I really liked it but we drive mountain passes almost every trip while it worked fine it has no system for telling you how much you are braking (like the blue ox and RVI does)

What I finally went to was the Invisabrake, by far the best system out there, also the easiest set up, however it is permanently installed in your Wrangler. Cost for it installed was $1200 which is the same cost as the portable RVI and Blue OX.

Braking a TOAD is serious business especially when you are doing mountain passes regularly and downshifting is not enough.

Also note the brake pedal on my Wrangler has a lot of travel before the brake is engaged it is a challenge to get it set just right and with the portable systems I had to adjust on the fly between passes (hill) and flatland settings. Again Invisibrake is by far the best option out there.

Based on you weight descriptions you are likely going to be at or over your GCWR though unless you are running mostly dry .

We loved our gas M/H however the mpg and the braking challenge with the heavy TOAD was a deal breaker and it had to go. Again here in the NW we have mountains and hills so in many parts of the country on the flats results will differ, still even on the flats at 6-mpg towing (7.9 no toad) we know that a gasser at max GCWR is a challenge braking wise and expensive to drive, be prepared

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