Lessons learned - setting up a JL as a TOAD - long read

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Captain Skip

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OK - that works for brake lights and turn signals together. Now I'm not certain about the third brake light. It doesn't seem to be coming on.

Info... I'm using Demco Stay in Play Duo braking system. I've installed four diodes and wiring for the tail/brake/turn signals. It all seems to be working now except for the third brake light. I wonder if I should use something like what is shown in the link below to bring in yellow and green and use only the red out... or would a third brake light flasher do the same conversion?
3rd brake light works independently of the brake lights. I ran a wire from an add on brake switch and use that for it. I believe I described it all in my original post.
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treesmacker

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3rd brake light works independently of the brake lights. I ran a wire from an add on brake switch and use that for it. I believe I described it all in my original post.
OK - yes I remember that now... sorry I'm kind of tired after four days of installing the tow bar baseplate, light wiring, and the Stay in Play. I do have a brake light switch kit on order, but unfortunately it won't arrive before our first trip. I just read Oregon requirements and as long as I have two brake lights working I'll be legal, though I'd prefer to get the third working. The brake lights on the motorhome are fairly high also and should be visible over the top of the Jeep.
Thanks so much for your help!
 

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Perhaps I missed it, but does your RV have an air system for air brakes? If so, I can enthusiastically recommend the Air Force One system. I have it installed on our 2019 JKUR and the Raptor, so it’s easy to swap toads Depending on the trip.

The roadmaster system I have, the “Nighthawk”, is super easy to attach and remove. I remove two pins, unplug the electrical and air quick connects, and detach the break-away and safety cables. There’s nothing to remove inside the Jeep, so my wife hops into the driver’s seat while I disconnect or connect. I’m old and slow moving now, but we can hook the Jeep up for towing in under two minutes. Unhooking is even faster — and she never has to leave the driver’s seat!

I originally had a full roadmaster tow-bar system, but all the jeep-mounted hardware conflicted with the winch installation, and I didn’t like how it looked, so I ripped it out and installed the Maximus-3 winch plate and tow rings. That allowed me to keep my factory steel bumper on the jeep, which I like, and install the Warn Zeon. The end look is MUCH cleaner too... no goofy tubes sticking out under the bumper — just stout, nicely recessed, tow rings that look OEM and can be used for recovery. I found a similar set up for the Raptor, except the direct-mount solution there still left me with tubes facing the front, so I welded the factory tow loops to pieces I could slide in and lock in the tubes, so the Raptor looks OEM too, except for where I plug in the air fitting and the electrical.

On Jeep lighting: When I set up to tow, I turn the hazards-flashers on in the coach, then turn everything in the Jeep off. By the time the Jeep is plugged in up front I can confirm my lights are working properly by walking behind the Jeep and noting that the wrangler lights are flashing with the coach.
 

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I went with the Readybrute because that way I don’t have to deal with a supplemental braking system box sitting on the floor of the driver’s side that has to be removed to drive the JL. The brake system is another $1,000 or so. The Readybrute has the braking system built in and let’s me drive away after unhooking 2 pins, 2 clips and an electric plug. Added the additional brake switch because I wanted the 3rd brake light to function while under tow. The brake light flasher is an extra measure to get the attention of tailgaters.
FredT and Captain:
I went with the base plate you guys suggested. How awesome it looks. I will have to take a picture. It was really easy to install on my JL. I got my Mopar wiring harness and haven't installed it yet. Having and issue with Ready Brute Elite II. I order the tow bar more than a week ago. The only email I got was, thank you for your purchase. I emailed them 2x's and no answer back. I called them and they told me they have no idea when they will be able to ship, "due to covid". This "due to covid" is getting old. I got hold of someone on facebook and they sent a link to an email. Emailed and nothing. I am at a loss. Not sure what to do next.
Thank you guys for all your help.
 
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FredT and Captain:
I went with the base plate you guys suggested. How awesome it looks. I will have to take a picture. It was really easy to install on my JL. I got my Mopar wiring harness and haven't installed it yet. Having and issue with Ready Brute Elite II. I order the tow bar more than a week ago. The only email I got was, thank you for your purchase. I emailed them 2x's and no answer back. I called them and they told me they have no idea when they will be able to ship, "due to covid". This "due to covid" is getting old. I got hold of someone on facebook and they sent a link to an email. Emailed and nothing. I am at a loss. Not sure what to do next.
Thank you guys for all your help.
That's strange, when I ordered mine they got it out right away. I had a question about setting mine up and when I called I was immediately put in contact with someone in tech support to help me. I know what you mean about the Covid excuse getting old....try looking for ammo!
 

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FredT and Captain:
I went with the base plate you guys suggested. How awesome it looks. I will have to take a picture. It was really easy to install on my JL. I got my Mopar wiring harness and haven't installed it yet. Having and issue with Ready Brute Elite II. I order the tow bar more than a week ago. The only email I got was, thank you for your purchase. I emailed them 2x's and no answer back. I called them and they told me they have no idea when they will be able to ship, "due to covid". This "due to covid" is getting old. I got hold of someone on facebook and they sent a link to an email. Emailed and nothing. I am at a loss. Not sure what to do next.
Thank you guys for all your help.
KTFJammer try Facebook marketplace or one of the online classified pages for used. These things are built so well, that even a used tow bar will work well. I bought mine for $300 which included safety cables, wire for lights, and all the attachments. Additionally if you need a cable or anything like that they should be able to send you whatever you need straight from Ready Brute. (I ended up accidentally cutting the cable from the bumper to the brake pedal while being in a hurry). You would be surprised by how well many RVers take care of their equipment (mine was like new). And there are always retirees that are getting out of traveling as they get older, so there is used equipment out there available. Good luck!
 

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I towed my 2015 JK behind my motorhome. I had it set up with a Rockjock towplate and a Readybrute Elite II towbar. The JK was pretty easy to wire up for towing. I got a Hopkins plug and play wiring harness that went inline with the rear lights. In order to keep the Jeep lights from overriding the RV lights, for example having a turn signal on while braking, the Jeep could just illuminate the brake lights. I added a brake light disconnect kit which consisted of a relay that stopped the signal to the Jeep's lights by opening the circuit. It was installed on the cold side of the brake pedal switch.

I traded in the JK and bought a new 2020 JL. I kept the Readybrute Elite II towbar because it's got a built in surge brake system. Rockjock makes a towplate for the JL so I ordered one of them. Hopkins does not make a plug and play wiring harness for the JL, but Curt does so I ordered that. I needed a new brake cable kit for the towbar and ordered that. The brake cable attaches to the brake pedal arm and is threaded through a conduit to the front of the vehicle where a clevis or carabiner attaches to the surge brake line on the towbar. I also ordered the emergency break away kit that will apply the JL's brakes should the towbar fail or disconnect. This is another cable run in parallel with the operating brake cable. I got the two brake kits from NSA, they make the Readybrute tow bar. While I was at it I ordered the brake circuit disconnect kit with the relay. This is where things got interesting.

There are all the wiring diagrams for the JL's on the electronics area of the forum. I printed out the wiring diagram for the brake system and discovered that there's 3 wires in the brake system. Not as simple as the JK with it's single wire. I asked a question on the electronics section and learned that the brake switch on the JL is tied into the anti-lock brake system as it senses the amount of force applied to the pedal. Cutting one of those wires to install the relay would have been very bad - if you don't get anything else out of this post, don't cut the wires to the brake switch.

I did more research as I wanted to know how I could avoid having the JL's brake lights override the turn signal from the RV with the wiring harness I added. I learned (from etrailer.com and other members here) that the lights on the JL turn off after a few minutes and are not an issue. That was good to know, so that means no relay needed. The towbar surge brake activates the brakes on the JL by pulling on the cable which is attached to the brake pedal with the RV lights lighting up the JL's tail lights, brake lights and signal lights as needed. But I went one step farther on the JK which I wanted to do for the JL too. There is a small LED kit that I installed in the dashboard of my motorhome. When the brakes were applied on the JK the lead for the LED was attached to the cold side of the brake switch and would light up on the RV dash. That way I knew the brakes were on but more importantly that they were off while I was towing. If the brakes are on you're going to wear out the brakes on your TOAD really fast. I also added an LED flasher to the 3rd brake light on the JK, the center mounted light above the spare tire. I didn't want anyone rearending my while I was towing. When the brakes were applied the 3rd brake light would flash really quickly 3 times, then slower 3 times then stay on solid. You've probably seen these on motorcycles, they really get your attention. Some people hate them but I'd rather have them hate me than run into the rear of my Wrangler. To activate that light I cut the wire to the 3rd brake light and spliced in the flasher. To power it I ran a wire to the cold side of the brake switch before the relay so the 3rd brake light would still work when the JK's lights would not. It worked great, in fact it worked when I was just driving the JK around.
So I needed some way to activate the dash LED in the RV and the 3rd brake light on the JL. The good news is the JL 3rd brake light is wired identically to the JK, a single hot lead and a ground.

I found that Roadmaster makes a kit specifically for the JL that will let you light up your dash LED in the RV and in my case the 3rd brake light at the same time. The kit has a bracket that attaches under the dash with an existing bolt and nut in the dash framework. There is a simple brake switch that installs in the bracket then one wire to the JL's battery for power and the other wire through the wiring to the RV for the dash LED. I spliced the 3rd brake light line into the RV dash LED line it works perfectly. Even when the JL has been sitting long enough the for power to time out so the brake lights won't light up when the pedal is pressed the 3rd brake light does. No interference with the anti-lock brakes, simple system. I did have to run a wire from the flasher, which I mounted inside the tailgate, up to the engine compartment where I spliced it to the RV LED brake signal line. I could have added diodes and spliced into the plug and play RV harness in the rear of the JL but the wire works and it’s less expensive. I also didn’t want to start cutting into that wiring harness.

On the JK I had an extra wiring harness with 2 wires that plugged in the front of the JK for the RV dash LED. I got smarter with the JL setup. The RV has a standard 7 prong RV plug and I put a 6 prong round plug on the front of the JL. I attached the lead from the additional brake switch to the electric brake lug on the 6 round plug then on the RV I took the hot lead to the dash LED and attached that to the electric brake lug on the RV plug. Now when I plug in the single wiring harness it not only powers up the JL's brake, tail and signal lights but also the RV dash LED and the 3rd brake light on the JL.

Any questions, fire away.
@Captain Skip I'm planning on installing the brake light switch as you did, and connect it to a LED mounted on the dash of my motorhome. Additionally, I will connect it to the third brake light as you did. I've determined that I need to connect to the white/dark green wire of the third brake light; this wire runs through the tailgate into the flexible harness passing near the tailgate door hinge; I'm having trouble finding a convienent point to connect to this wire and run to the front of the vehicle (brake light switch). Do you recall where you connected up to the third brake light wire?
 
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@Captain Skip I'm planning on installing the brake light switch as you did, and connect it to a LED mounted on the dash of my motorhome. Additionally, I will connect it to the third brake light as you did. I've determined that I need to connect to the white/dark green wire of the third brake light; this wire runs through the tailgate into the flexible harness passing near the tailgate door hinge; I'm having trouble finding a convienent point to connect to this wire and run to the front of the vehicle (brake light switch). Do you recall where you connected up to the third brake light wire?
I opened the plastic cover on the tailgate, found the wires there. I cut the hot lead and installed a female bullet connector on the OEM power lead. On the other cut end I added a male bullet connector. I ran a new wire that started with a female bullet connector that I plugged into the male I just crimped on and ran that wire to the switch that I added on the brake arm. If I ever want to return the setup to OEM all I need to do is plug the two ends of the OEM wire back together.
 

treesmacker

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I opened the plastic cover on the tailgate, found the wires there. I cut the hot lead and installed a female bullet connector on the OEM power lead. On the other cut end I added a male bullet connector. I ran a new wire that started with a female bullet connector that I plugged into the male I just crimped on and ran that wire to the switch that I added on the brake arm. If I ever want to return the setup to OEM all I need to do is plug the two ends of the OEM wire back together.
I found that wire inside the tailgate, but I just don't know how to route the wire from the tailgate to the vehicle body and make it neat and hidden, and then run it up to the driver's compartment. I was thinking of connecting to that wire somewhere on the vehicle side, rather than on the tailgate.
 

ktfjammer

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KTFJammer try Facebook marketplace or one of the online classified pages for used. These things are built so well, that even a used tow bar will work well. I bought mine for $300 which included safety cables, wire for lights, and all the attachments. Additionally if you need a cable or anything like that they should be able to send you whatever you need straight from Ready Brute. (I ended up accidentally cutting the cable from the bumper to the brake pedal while being in a hurry). You would be surprised by how well many RVers take care of their equipment (mine was like new). And there are always retirees that are getting out of traveling as they get older, so there is used equipment out there available. Good luck!
Thank you so much. I looked. Couldn't find any around my area. Guess will have to wait. Should of kept the blue ox and got another type of brake system. NSA still has no idea when they will be able to get it out. Maybe another month. So far they have been quite short with me. They did say 2-3 weeks on the website, but it is now looking at 2 months.
 

ktfjammer

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That's strange, when I ordered mine they got it out right away. I had a question about setting mine up and when I called I was immediately put in contact with someone in tech support to help me. I know what you mean about the Covid excuse getting old....try looking for ammo!
It's looking like around 2 months or more. Wish I would have hung on to my blue ox. I had to cancel my vacations.
 
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I found that wire inside the tailgate, but I just don't know how to route the wire from the tailgate to the vehicle body and make it neat and hidden, and then run it up to the driver's compartment. I was thinking of connecting to that wire somewhere on the vehicle side, rather than on the tailgate.
I snaked the wire through the door loom then under the plastic trim by the Jack compartment. There’s a rubber grommet under the plastic trim on the driver’s side rear fender. I pushed the wire through that then up the frame to the engine compartment. I tied the wire from the third brake light and dash LED together then a single wire through the firewall to the brake switch. I don’t know where the OEM third brake light wire goes after it leaves the tailgate.
 

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For what you would pay
Thank you so much. I looked. Couldn't find any around my area. Guess will have to wait. Should of kept the blue ox and got another type of brake system. NSA still has no idea when they will be able to get it out. Maybe another month. So far they have been quite short with me. They did say 2-3 weeks on the website, but it is now looking at 2 months.

For what you would pay new it might be worth a try reaching out to see if any of these Facebook Marketplace sellers would ship. It would also help you get one sooner, and you wouldn’t need to find an auxiliary breaking system. I found the break buddy electric system is bulky and a pain to have to remove each time you unhook the Jeep. There may be other systems out there that are better and less obtrusive, but with the combo tow bar and break system you most likely won’t find anything less expensive. Just remember whatever you get to get the breakaway, since it’s required in many states. Good luck.

Here is an example of one I found in my area. -
79F5E13A-ED3C-4280-B6B5-5C83CF39E223.png
 

treesmacker

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I snaked the wire through the door loom then under the plastic trim by the Jack compartment. There’s a rubber grommet under the plastic trim on the driver’s side rear fender. I pushed the wire through that then up the frame to the engine compartment. I tied the wire from the third brake light and dash LED together then a single wire through the firewall to the brake switch. I don’t know where the OEM third brake light wire goes after it leaves the tailgate.
OK - that really helps! Better to not have to reinvent what someone already figured out. Thanks so much for your help!!
 
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OK - that really helps! Better to not have to reinvent what someone already figured out. Thanks so much for your help!!
You’re welcome, any other questions, let me know!
 
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