Best Setup for RV Flat Tow

Durango

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I've posted about this a few times now, but my quest to set up my Toad has been more complicated than originally planned. I settled on Maximus-3 tow loops based on recommendations here. Installation wasn't too bad, but it took longer than it should because the directions were for the metal bumper and my Rubicon came with the stock plastic bumper.
After soliciting input and researching tow bars, I decided I wanted the Ready Brute Elite II from NSA. Before I installed the Maximus loops, I sent them to NSA so they could determine if they had clevises that would work. They advised they had clevises in stock which would work, so I bought their system.
Last Wednesday, my tow bar arrived. The clevises were 1/4" wider than the Maximus loops and took 1" pins vs the loops needing 7/8" pins. I wasn't comfortable with the loose tolerances, so I called to see if there were any other options available. They explained that making custom clevises was not a viable option as they make several pieces at a time and were afraid they'd be stuck with unsold inventory. I completely understood their position but needed to figure out what to do.
On Saturday, I ordered a Blue Ox Ascent tow bar and Blue Ox BX88303 clevises. Everything arrived yesterday and the clevises fit perfectly. I was given a Brake Buddy Classic by a friend, so I planned to use that for braking. I had resigned myself to the fact I needed to return my Ready Brute tow bar.
I needed a 12-volt outlet that was hot while the vehicle is turned off. I decided to wire one to the Aux. 3 switch on my dash and made it useable (via UConnect) while the vehicle is off. The install was super easy with the wiring supplied under the glovebox. I used the ground which is hidden under the plastic trim on the door sill of the back seat.
This morning, I received an email from NSA advising they have received enough inquiries about the tow loops that they are now willing to manufacture the correct clevises and can ship them to me next week.

To make a long story short, I am now in possession of two brand new tow bars and one needs to be returned. I can go with the Blue Ox / Brake Buddy combo or the Ready Brute Elite II. Anybody want to offer their advise on which direction you'd go if you were in the same shoes? I need to decide which direction to go and ship one of these tow bars back.
Blue Ox has the 10K-rated tow bar, whereas the Ready Brute is only rated for 8K. Although our JL's shouldn't weigh near 8K, I prefer having more reserve. With that being said, I do know of one person who had one weld fail on their BlueOx bar and the other joint then simply break, when towing a Raptor Ford Pickup that weighs more than a JL. I still prefer Blue Ox, but given knowing of this failure, that's more personal preference than engineering excellence!





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CoolTech

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I looked at your kit and was super close to going that direction. I ended up picking the Mopar kit simply because it was theirs and I haven't even made my first payment on the rig yet. You kit does look to be MUCH easier to install and works the same way (only difference is the Mopar kit is automatic vs yours having a switch). I bought the kit before taking delivery of my Jeep. I noticed the rubber floor mats plug into the drain holes in the front floor pans. Does that affect your installation at all?
Hi degreen1069 -

There's multiple (same shaped) drain holes in the new JL. As you mentioned, there's one in the floor which can also be used by the floor mats, but there is also one that is conveniently located UNDER the seat. In this case, the under the seat one may be used without any interference to the floor mats.
 

roaniecowpony

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I installed a Rock Hard aluminum bumper, LOD Frame Tie-in brackets, custom front anchor plates, Blue Ox BX88358 1" dia pin adapters, Blue Ox Avail towbar.

I towed over 2000 miles with it in the past month and at high speeds. It was solid.

I don't like my tightly coiled electrical cable and my safety chain setup. I'll make some changes there.

20190817_095316.jpg
 
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Frostbit

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I installed a Rock Hard aluminum bumper, LOD Frame Tie-in brackets, custom front anchor plates, Blue Ox BX88358 1" dia pin adapters, Blue Ox Avail towbar.

I towed over 2000 miles with it in the past month and at high speeds. It was solid.

I don't like my tightly coiled electrical cable and my safety chain setup. I'll make some changes there.

20190817_095316.jpg
Why the LOD tie in brackets
 

roaniecowpony

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Why the LOD tie in brackets
They were the only make brackets out there at the time. The frame flanges are pretty thin in this area. Likely for crumple zone crash. It just adds some confidence in preventing a fatigue failure of the flanges . FCA has been quoted as recommending not towing from the bumper.
 

Jmonroe

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Can't help you with the Ready Brute, all I've ever used is the Blue Ox, 12 years now. Wore the first one out, now on our second.
 

Florida Bob

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Thanks for all great info in helping me set up my JLUR for flat towing. I'm using a Brake Buddy and tried it out in the driveway today. The BB does not rest against the seat but up against a rise in the floor. When a do a test it moves all over the place and I'm afraid after driving longer distances it will no longer be in the correct position. Has anyone solved this problem?.

By the way, I'm having the local Jeep shop install Maximus tow loops for $150 as it more than I can do. I did install the Cooltech wiring harness myself after watching the how to video. I only had trouble finding one wire(involved two repairs) but it works as advertised. I think it would be much easier to install then running wires all the way to the back. Thanks
 

Jmonroe

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Thanks for all great info in helping me set up my JLUR for flat towing. I'm using a Brake Buddy and tried it out in the driveway today. The BB does not rest against the seat but up against a rise in the floor. When a do a test it moves all over the place and I'm afraid after driving longer distances it will no longer be in the correct position. Has anyone solved this problem?.

By the way, I'm having the local Jeep shop install Maximus tow loops for $150 as it more than I can do. I did install the Cooltech wiring harness myself after watching the how to video. I only had trouble finding one wire(involved two repairs) but it works as advertised. I think it would be much easier to install then running wires all the way to the back. Thanks
I think you're right to be concerned about the Brake Buddy moving around. You'll have to come up with some way to brace it or choose a different system. I don't know what you'll be towing it with, but our new JLUR will be the 4th "toad" I've used the SMI Air Force One system on, but it requies tying into the coaches air system. The same company also makes a poplar all electric version.

Installing the Cooltech harness is my next project. Which wire(s) proved to be problematic for you?

I just completed installation of the Maximus 3 tow loops. $150 is a good deal on labor, but the install was very straight forward with access to the right tools. I had the metric sockets but ended up borrowing a deep socket set from a neighbor (only used for the 18mm bumper bolts) as well as a 19mm open end wrench. There was no way to get a socket on the outer bumper bolt nuts with the thick brackets in place. As I have the steel bumper I ended up buying a cheap side grinder ($15) at Harbor Freight and cut off disc to open the slots. I'd already bought a 1/2" steel cutting hole saw. You do need to remove the brackets the two rear skid plate bolts attach to for access getting a nut on the back of one of the loop mounting bolts.
 

roaniecowpony

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Thanks for all great info in helping me set up my JLUR for flat towing. I'm using a Brake Buddy and tried it out in the driveway today. The BB does not rest against the seat but up against a rise in the floor. When a do a test it moves all over the place and I'm afraid after driving longer distances it will no longer be in the correct position. Has anyone solved this problem?.

By the way, I'm having the local Jeep shop install Maximus tow loops for $150 as it more than I can do. I did install the Cooltech wiring harness myself after watching the how to video. I only had trouble finding one wire(involved two repairs) but it works as advertised. I think it would be much easier to install then running wires all the way to the back. Thanks
You might take an idea from RVi. They supply a short piece of angle steel that fits over the floormat studs. The brake unit has a bit of rubber bonded to the back corner and it stays in place well. The only thing I'd do differently is to use a taller piece than RVi supplies. Very simple to fabricate.
 

dgreen1069

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Thanks for all great info in helping me set up my JLUR for flat towing. I'm using a Brake Buddy and tried it out in the driveway today. The BB does not rest against the seat but up against a rise in the floor. When a do a test it moves all over the place and I'm afraid after driving longer distances it will no longer be in the correct position. Has anyone solved this problem?.
I am new to flat towing, but used a Brake Buddy Classic recently for a 1000 mile trip. I did not have any issues getting the system installed correctly. It does jump a bit when activated, but it never moved from position. I put it in place with the seat all the way back, then pushed the unit forward so the arm was compressed and adjusted the seat to where it just barely touched the unit.

lm6OQS5.jpg
 

Florida Bob

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I think you're right to be concerned about the Brake Buddy moving around. You'll have to come up with some way to brace it or choose a different system. I don't know what you'll be towing it with, but our new JLUR will be the 4th "toad" I've used the SMI Air Force One system on, but it requies tying into the coaches air system. The same company also makes a poplar all electric version.

Installing the Cooltech harness is my next project. Which wire(s) proved to be problematic for you?

I just completed installation of the Maximus 3 tow loops. $150 is a good deal on labor, but the install was very straight forward with access to the right tools. I had the metric sockets but ended up borrowing a deep socket set from a neighbor (only used for the 18mm bumper bolts) as well as a 19mm open end wrench. There was no way to get a socket on the outer bumper bolt nuts with the thick brackets in place. As I have the steel bumper I ended up buying a cheap side grinder ($15) at Harbor Freight and cut off disc to open the slots. I'd already bought a 1/2" steel cutting hole saw. You do need to remove the brackets the two rear skid plate bolts attach to for access getting a nut on the back of one of the loop mounting bolts.
 

Florida Bob

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It’s the white wire with the orange stripe. My test light would not pick it up after multiple trys so I cut it. Nope not that one. On to the next wire and on the third wire I got it. I have. 37’ boat and do most of the wiring and do lots of splices so I’m used to it. My wife finally found it, I have trouble with brown colors. Either way you should definitely watch the video. There is a nut holding the front part of the kick trim so look for that otherwise taking of the trim was pretty easy.
 

Jmonroe

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It’s the white wire with the orange stripe. My test light would not pick it up after multiple trys so I cut it. Nope not that one. On to the next wire and on the third wire I got it. I have. 37’ boat and do most of the wiring and do lots of splices so I’m used to it. My wife finally found it, I have trouble with brown colors. Either way you should definitely watch the video. There is a nut holding the front part of the kick trim so look for that otherwise taking of the trim was pretty easy.
Funny, thats the same wire the guy that did the U-tube video I watched messed up, he didn't edit the error from the video. He said the white with red and the white with orange were difficult to distinguish from each other.

Ran out of time, my sister is arriving for a two week visit. My install will have to wait.
 

lightsout

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For the record - RVi's "portable" braking unit IS progressive - it increases the amount of braking dependent upon a few factors, the largest being the amount of deceleration of the towing coach. This is unlike the portable units that sense when the coach's brake lights come on and brake accordingly - they are NOT progressive.

(but yes, the Jacobs Brake does a lot of the slowing - in fact, one has to be careful to use the service brakes once in awhile or they tend to glaze over - I use the lesser Jake setting now and then just to use the service brakes too)
Look the term progressive is subjective and the RVI is not a true progressive braking system, it is not even possible. Yes inertia adds a level of variables in braking however on long down hills it actually takes significant braking to even engage the RVI, say if you are on a long 5 mile down hill and you are gaining speeds and need to say slow down 10-12 mph for a corner or just to slow a bit when you brake the RVI does not even engage unless you apply significant braking to the RV. It is nor sensitive enough to sense speed adjustment type braking where as without the toad also braking in these senarios is causing excessive wear and heating on the RV brakes.

This is why the invisibrake is the best option it is a hard wired braking system and is truly progressive, your toad brakes will react with every braking event in a total progressive manor, that is not possible with ANY wireless system.

Considering the cost of the RVI or the Blue Ox Patriot you can have a the invisibrake professionally installed for about the same cost. The only down side to the invisibrake is it is hard installed in the toad, however hooking up and disconnecting is fast as there is NO set up just plug and play. Wireless systems are also not 100% reliable again Invisibrake hardwire wins.
 

Durango

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Look the term progressive is subjective and the RVI is not a true progressive braking system, it is not even possible. Yes inertia adds a level of variables in braking however on long down hills it actually takes significant braking to even engage the RVI, say if you are on a long 5 mile down hill and you are gaining speeds and need to say slow down 10-12 mph for a corner or just to slow a bit when you brake the RVI does not even engage unless you apply significant braking to the RV. It is nor sensitive enough to sense speed adjustment type braking where as without the toad also braking in these senarios is causing excessive wear and heating on the RV brakes.

This is why the invisibrake is the best option it is a hard wired braking system and is truly progressive, your toad brakes will react with every braking event in a total progressive manor, that is not possible with ANY wireless system.

Considering the cost of the RVI or the Blue Ox Patriot you can have a the invisibrake professionally installed for about the same cost. The only down side to the invisibrake is it is hard installed in the toad, however hooking up and disconnecting is fast as there is NO set up just plug and play. Wireless systems are also not 100% reliable again Invisibrake hardwire wins.
Wow - I don't want to get into an argument about semantics (you were the one who used the word "progressive") and it's apparent you are convinced what you know is the last word. Sorry - I've towed so many different vehicles in the last ten years, from very lightweight Scions to 8K lbs diesel crew 4X4 pickups, and lots in between. And I've used the RVi brake for so many of those, under so many conditions - all behind a diesel pusher though so my experience does have that caveat. And, I've gone down LONG steep grades of varying slope - all the while my RVi has braked the way it is intended - progressively, and applying the brakes when I tap the brakes in the coach. But maybe you're not aware that braking is done a little differently in something with air brakes - and that action does indeed apply the toad brakes with the RVi. But let's not throw the Patriot in there - that device uses a whole different technology, and shouldn't be compared to a RVi brake. As for the Invisibrake vs. RVi - I'll stick with my RVi thanks.
 

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