I've done mine a couple times, its really pretty easy. A few general notes, things to keep in mind:
1. A chassis crosspiece is right below the oil drain plug. You either have to deal with oil pouring across and down it, or fashion a work-around to this. I've heard of some installing a Fumoto valve, others just put a piece of cardboard over the chassis crosspiece. I just let it pour, put the drain pan right under, and wipe things off with a cloth or two afterward.
2. Once you crawl underneath there, its actually pretty easy to get to the drain plug, filter, etc. down there. A LOT more room underneath to maneuver and get to things than I'm used to with every other vehicle I've owned. :)
3. If possible, get the new oil in 1 quart containers, not one of the large 5 quart containers. With ours, there is barely enough room to put on a funnel and dump in a 1 quart container right at the filler. No way to do it with a big 5 quart bottle. Only way I found to do it with a 5 quart container, was to attach a long hose to the funnel, and sit the funnel up higher near the windshield wiper, and pour the oil in there. This makes the oil very slow in going down into the engine, and you end up holding that 5 quart container up high for a long time. Much easier to just pour 7 single quart containers in right at the fill neck.
Anyway, hope this helps. This is one of the really nice things about owning a V10 gasser MH, is that oil changes can be done by yourself fairly easily and economically.
...as a 14 year user of a brake buddy, I think that the "proportional" hype is just that , hype, and an advertising gimmick. I set my BB so that it would only come on under fairly severe braking, I did not want my toad stopping my motorhome. worked just fine. I would not hesitate to buy and use any "non-proportional" braking systems myself if the system otherwise fits your needs.
..Although I don't agree with Bumpy on the specific braking system choice, I do agree that the word "proportional" is thrown around and abused waaaay too much in advertising various braking systems. Same thing with advertising for brake controllers used for controlling trailer brakes on trailers.
Very, very few (TOAD) braking systems are truly 100% proportional to MH brakes. Most use an Accelerometer of some type to determine braking. This is frequently called 'proportional', but it truly is not.
Only TOAD braking systems I've seen that really and truly are proportional would be the M&G system or Air Force One. Systems that plug into and work directly off MH's air brake system.
Very nice systems, but obscenely expensive and only work if you have a DP Motorhome with full air brakes.
Thank you! Not just because you agree with me for the most part.. but this was an excellent response. Explaining the reasons for why you feel the way you do is extremely helpful.
I appreciate all of the help that I have received, but yours is especially appreciated!
Do you use the ReadyStop BreakAway as well?
Yep, indeed I do, and it works great best I can tell (well, seems like it should, haven't actually had a break-away happen, haha!)
Having some kind of BreakAway system IMO is actually even more important than having a supplemental braking system at all.
Assuming that I went the way of 4 down instead of trailer... I am really thinking that the ReadyBrake perhaps with the added brake vacuum pump is the way to go instead of invisabrake.
The idea of invisabrake is nice, but if I read it correctly it is NOT proportional... in other words, the brake is either applied or not applied. So if you are in the habit of making long, slow stops (I teach tractor trailer driving so I am all about loooong slow stops) you will have disproportionate amount of braking from your Toad, on the other hand if you need a quick stop, you don't get any extra assistance from behind.
With the ReadyBrake a long slowdown will result in minimal braking from the Toad. The harder you slow down, the more braking you get from the Toad. Add in the vacuum pump (if necessary) and it seems to me that you have got almost the equivalent of proportional electric brakes.
Am I looking at this correctly?
Yes, I think you are. I also like the Readybrake, it is only braking system I'll own.
The other really, really nice advntages the Readybrake has over Invisibrake and other systems, you may or may not have thought about:
1. Cost - Readybrake costs SUBSTANTIALLY less $$ than any other system. If you get the Readybrute Elite tow bar and braking system combination, it saves you over $1000 for what you'd pay for a separate tow bar and most any other system.
2. Simlicity - No electronics to foul up and cause havoc with your brakes. Ever. Just simple, no-nonsense cable operated system that simply works. And, almost anything that might possibly break or wear out with it, you can get parts at any hardware store for less than $20 to fix it. The same cannot be said for most any other braking system. Also, the beauty of a mechanical system like this is that you can inspect may of its parts for wear & tear, fix potential problems before they become something breaks. Not the case for electronically controlled brake systems.
One of the things I really like about the design of the Readybrake is this: Once it is installed and set up correctly, it is just about impossible for it to EVER over-brake your toad and damage the brakes. The same cannot be said for many electronic systems.
As far as the brake vacuum pump: I've towed two vehicles with a Readybrake. The first one had no vacuum assist, and it did fine. The second one (what I tow now), is one of few vehicles where power (vacuum) braking stays on ALL the time, even when engine is off and/or when towing (Ford Fusion hybrid). Soo, brake pedal does not become 'dead' and tough to press when engine is off. With the Fusion, I have found that braking is a little bit better than it was on my previous vehicle that did not have power braking on all the time, but not significantly so.
If you go the 4 down route and get a Readybrake, I would try it first without the additional brake vacuum pump. You may well find you do not need it.
You might find a trailer light enough to work, especially if you go with one that is open in the middle, something like THIS Carry-on model.
Biggest problem you're going to have with using a trailer is not so much the total weight of the trailer and vehicle exceeding your hitch's 5000 lb limit, but with the tongue weight. Your hitch receiver is most likely limited to 5000 lbs total weight, and 500 lbs tongue weight. Frequently by the time you load a 4000 lb car on a flatbed trailer, the tongue weight it will place on the MH hitch receiver is going to be significantly more than 500 lbs. If you get much over that, its not just a matter of beefing up the hitch receiver to one that can handle more tongue weight. You have to also worry about the strengh of any frame extensions the manufacturer may have added to the back of MH chassis, load/weight shift on the MH tires and axles, etc.
This is the main reason that every time I get tempted to go the trailer route instead of 4 down towing, I quickly scrap the idea. Only way I'd seriously consider trailer towing, would be if I had a MH that came with a 10k hitch receiver from the factory, so I know it was designed to handle the heavier tongue weight.
Anyway, for these reasons, I definitely agree with advice already mentioned, that you need to hit the weigh scales before buying anything. Sure would hate for you to find out after you're stuck with the trailer, that it won't really work, either.
Depends on several factors.
If its just two in the MH up front in the driver and passenger seat and your passenger doesn't typically go to the back often for anything...The dash air may well be enough. On most units, the dash air is enough to keep the very front (driver and passenger) cool, but thats about it.
If anyone else is riding back in the coach, you will want to run the genny and at least one air conditioner in hot weather (unless your passengers back there don't mind being a bit hot).
Any time you stop to rest for a bit, eat something, etc., you're going to want to fire up the genny and run at least one air conditioner.
You also may want to fire up the genny and air conditionr an hour or so before you get to your destination, so that by the time you get there, the coach is already cool and comfortable.
You will hardly notice the difference in fuel consumption when on the road with the genny running vs not running. When your drivetrain engine is powering you down the highway gulping down about 8 or 10 gallons an hour, the extra half gallon your generator uses per hour is not that significant.
Typically during the summer months, unless its unusually cool, we run the generator and at least one air conditioner when on the road. Have to 'round here in the South, otherwise it becomes unbearably hot back in the coach for the rest of the family (kids).
x2 M&G is very solid and simple to connect the toad.
...One thing to keep in mind with M&G: It is incompatible with a lot of vehicles.
I believe this is partly because it mounts onto the brake master cylinder, makes the master cylinder protrude further out by a few inches as a result. If there isn't enough clearance for the master cylinder to protrude out a few more inches, M&G will not work. There's probably other more technical reasons why M&G is incompatible in many cases, but its definitely something you need to check into and research before plunking down the $$ on an expensive system like that.
With how tight I've seen things are under the hood with many newer vehicles, I'm amazed M&G can work with ANY modern vehicle, haha. :)
I hope you will reconsider your decision about not having a breakaway system. I consider it to be a requirement for any supplemental MH/toad brake system. While a runaway toad is unlikely to be a hazard to you and yours, it is a serious hazard to others, both on the road and anywhere else near the breakaway. In addition, it gives you some defense if a breakaway causes any legal action from law enforcement or civil suit. The law isn’t entirely clear in every state, but many require a breakaway system for any towed trailer/car, etc. exceeding some weight limit, and any toad most likely exceeds most of those weight limits.
I also hope you will install a brake indicator on your MH dash operated from the toad BRAKE LIGHT SWITCH. When connected that way, you get an immediate indication when the supplemental brake system is braking or not braking. That not only warns you about system failure, but about operator error as well. I once failed to hook up the AF1 air hose and got an immediate “no brake action” warning before leaving the campsite.
Hehe, wca01 and I might have 'disagreed' a little bit earlier about which system is the better choice, but I agree 110% with him on all of this.
Especially about wiring a brake light indicator directly off the brake pedal/switch on the toad, not to anything with the supplemental braking system (RB actuator or whatever). Its really nice to know exactly what your toad brakes are doing or not doing, not necessarily what your supplemental brake sytem may THINK is going on.
..Here's some other thoughts to ponder, to help in making your decision:
There are ZERO independent tests ever been done with any of these brake systems, to back up ANY claims of how much percentage one system may improve stopping over another.
Just because one manufacturer may claim 50% better stopping power or 30% better stopping power, does not mean ANY of it is necessarily true. There really is no way to know with certainty, if a Readybrake surge system will stop with any more or less stopping power than AF1 or any other system.
A surge system like Readybrake, indeed requires some 'push' on the tow bar before it engages. Is it enough to significantly affect braking performance, to the extent some proponents of AF1 system would have you believe? Here again, without any independent testing of the various systems, its impossible to say.
For all we know, the same would be true for AF1 and any other system (that some 'push' is applied to MH before toad brakes engage). It depends on several different factors. Sure, in THEORY, toad brakes powered directly off of the MH's air brakes should brake things a little more evenly. But, without putting a bunch of sensors of some kind on the tow bar, you really will never know. Every setup is different, and a zillion factors enter into just how braking will occur.
Is it really worth spending over $1000 more (plus additional installation) for a system that claims to have better performance, when there are ZERO independent tests done ANYWHERE to back such claims up? Thats a decision you have to make. I do know I'd have a really hard time spending that much more $$ without some pretty solid, significant proof that it will perform significantly better. But, thats just me.
Also, as already said, remember how simple the Readybrake is, and the fact that most of the things that may break or wear out on it, you will be able to buy parts at any hardware store for less than $20 to fix it. I doubt you'd be finding AF1 parts at a corner hardware store for less than $20.
And, one really nice thing about a mechanical system like Readybrake: You can inspect many of its components for wear and tear regularly, and fix worn parts before they become a problem. The same cannot be said for many components of a system like AF1.
I know it's a wide open field given all of the different types of RVs there are out there but I'm wondering what folks that have had to pay out of pocket for their own towing,tire replacement, as well as other problems that you would typically use RA for have had to pay.
I have a Class C and am curious what someone with a similar RV has paid for some of the basic services that they have used.
I'm hoping your answers will help me decide about self insuring against break downs and tire service. Thanks
Let's deal with the question.
ERS or "RA" as you call it is Insurance.
Medical Insurance pays some (or all) of your medical costs.
Life Insurance pays your beneficiary.
Home Owners insurance pays for (some/most) losses to your domicile.
All types of insurance are "for profit" of the insurance company.
They make money by the service/product you *don't* use.
ERS or RA - whether it's for a lock-out, tow, or tire change has limitations.
Are they going to provide drive line *repairs*?
Repair your fridge?
Tech advice - probably/maybe (who knows how good it will be).
Vehicle warranty (or you) need to take care of that.
IMO - "we" are all capable of changing a flat.
Given enough time with a wire coat hangar - "we" may be able to get past locked car/truck with keys inside.
Do you want to do that - or have someone else do it for you?
Can "we" tow our own car/truck/RV to a repair facility?
Unfortunately, probably not.
Can "we" find and contact a company that will tow our vehicle when we're stuck in the middle of nowhere, and find an appropriate repair shop there to do any repairs needed, again, in the middle of nowhere where you have no idea where you are or who you could possibly call?
Unfortunately, probably not. This is why ERS or RA insurance is soo valuable to have when on the road, regardless whether it saves you any $$ in the long run on an actual tow or not.
Soooo the solution is to have some kind of ERS which will do that.
The added "perks" - types of service rendered, towing distance, etc.
are like those other types of insurance......how much do you want/need?
Check the price of a 5-10-50 mile tow from *any* tow service in your area....for just a car or pickup (or an RV).
You can "interpolate" what the fee would be in the boondocks - and tack-on additional $ depending on the tow vehicle req'd.
Bottom line: If you have deep pockets - go for it..:C
Even most states will accept posting of a bond in lieu or carrying auto insurance.
You may never need/use the ERS or "RA" -or any other insurance- you pay for.
(Life insurance won't do anything for *you*, LOL!)
Don't think Warren Buffet has an ERS or needs medical insurance..:S
Yep -it's a wide open field.
It's your choice to grab the ball and run with it in whichever direction you choose!
All good points. I added one little piece (in bold above), on why ERS or RA insurance of some kind is so good to have.
In my case, I'm not so much paying for towing as I'm paying for knowledge. When we had a flat in Alaska, Coach Net called a road service unit 160 miles away and they had to go another 60 miles into town to find the right size tire, then bring it 200 miles to me. I paid for the tire, but would have had a heck of a time finding it and getting it to me. Also, when the rig quits, where's the nearest competent repair shop? These guys usually know and it could take me hours to find out.
Exactly. This is why I keep Emergency roadside service coverage. Its not so much about saving $$ (although it only takes one or two incidents before you are saving $$). Its more about the peace of mind of knowing no matter how far from home we may have a problem, one phone call gets us to someone that will locate an appropriate repair shop and/or tow truck for us.
We have Good Sam ERS, and would not want to travel without it. Fortunately, have only had to use it once when we had a tire problem, and they handled it very well, pretty much as expected.
Here's the basic question we ask at it here at RVibrake. What does the law actually say? Here is what Federal Regulation Title 49 says:
Federal Regulations Title 49 (49CFR571.4) of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (10-01-08 edition) defines a 'trailer' as follows: “Trailer means a motor vehicle with or without motive power, designed for carrying persons or property and for being drawn by another motor vehicle."
And here are each state's trailer laws: http://drivinglaws.aaa.com/laws/trailer-brakes/HERE
I hope this helps!
Yep, it does. It basically proves the point thats been made many times on here: You cannot believe or trust 'towing laws' posted on web sites owned by supplemental braking companines (like RViBrake).
Note in your Federal Regulations Title 49, it says: "Trailer means a motor vehicle with or without motive power, designed for carrying persons or property and for being drawn by another motor vehicle."
...As mowermech already said, NO car or truck any of us are towing, was designed from the factory to be drawn by another motor vehicle. They had to be modified to do that.
Soooo, like has been said soooo many times: The definition of a 'trailer' as defined by Federal Regulations title 49, pretty much excludes a vehicle being towed behind a MH. Sooo, many of the 'towing laws' that get quoted and thrown around simply do not apply.
...Not that a supplemental braking system isn't a good idea. They are an excellent idea, and something everyone should seriously consider if they're going to tow a car behind a Motorhome. I use one (ReadyBrake) and always will. However, nobody should be deluded into thinking such are required by law in most states, 'cause it simply is not true.
IMO, one of the reasons laws are like this: Can you imagine how ridiculous, difficult and obscenely expensive it'd be for anyone running a tow truck business, if they were required by law to rig any broke down car they tow with a supplemental brake system? LOL, you think getting a tow when you break down now is expensive, imagine how bad it'd be if tow truck drivers had to do this!
Oh no -- Unfurling electric awnings!
Ohhh, yeah, thats right, 'cause manual awnings have NEVER been known to unfurl when going down the road, right? :R
...For those that prefer not to learn very expensive lessons the hard way about what wind can do to an awning, Here's a thread discussing why many of us prefer our electric awning.
I guess we need to start a thread called, 'I Love My Electric Awning', and create 9 pages of posts in it, too. ;)
..Sounds like its almost a no-brainer decision, if there's a tax incentive that will cover most of the additional purchase price of the Energi (plug-in) version. Only thing you have to consider/think about, is if you can live with the loss of some space inside due to the larger batteries the Energi version has.
We have a 2013 Fusion hybrid, which has same basic hybrid drivetrain as the C-Max. When we bought it over a year ago, plug-in Energi versions of the Fusion hybrid were very difficult to find, almost non-existent at that time. Also, tax incentive wasn't as good or as easy to get as yours. Sooo, we went with the regular hybrid version. Our main reason for getting it was the ease of flat towing, anyway, not so much mileage. That (mileage) was just a very nice, added bonus.
Its been great, have absolutely no complaints. Mileage is unbelievable as already mentioned (I average 48-50 commuting to work and back every day). Its a blast to drive and really like the looks of it. And, you just cannot beat how simple and easy it is to flat tow. No fuses or battery to disconnect, no crazy procedure to go through with the tranny when hooking up, no stopping every few hours to go through another crazy procedure, none of that mess. Just hitch it up, put it in neutral and go.
It is also really, really nice to have at campgrounds and parks, since you can ride around almost totally silent (and emission free), without bothering other campers as much. Its almost like having a big, very comfortable golf cart to ride around in, haha. :)
As already said, you definitely do have to run a charge line for it when you wire up your tail lights, etc. for the vehicle. Very easy and cheap to do though, especially if you do it at the same time you're in there wiring up the tail lights, anyway.
An electric awning requires a different mindset. I was an manual awning staker with my prior TT. I ratchet strapped everything down and was ready for battle.
Now that I have an electric awning I don't consider going to battle....
Lantley, with us, mindset never really changed much when we went to an eletric awning.
In both cases (manual as well as electric), we have always chose not to even try to fight that battle. We just roll the thing up whenever we leave the campsite, or if there is a storm in the forecast. Electric awning just makes it much, much easier and quicker to 'withdraw' from that battle, like you said. :)
Chosing to 'fight that battle' and anchor down an awning, IMO is a case of too much risk, for too little reward. I bet if you asked folks that had an awning destroyed by wind and had to fork out bunches of $$ to replace it, very few if any would still be anchoring down their awning and trying to fight that battle. 'Tis a case of a lesson you learn and remember very well, when you learn it the hard way.
....In 4 years of towing, including 2 trips through the Rockies, the car's brakes have never activated unless I pressed the MH brakes. The engine braking on the long, steep grades has never activated the car's brakes.
Yep, pretty much same experience I've had, Bobbo, as noted in previous post. NSA seems to have their spring, actuator designed (at least on the newer units) with enough resistance in it to prevent this from happening.
However, based on Scott's experience (original poster), it may be that a diesel exhaust brake does enough braking to cause the actuator to engage in some circumstances. Like he said, though, that isn't necessarily a bad thing, just a matter of personal preference.
You and I both have gassers and don't use an exhaust brake, and it seems in that case the RB actuator does not engage unless/until brake pedal is pushed.
With ANY system that presses the car's brake pedal, I recommend a dash indicator light hooked to the car's brake lights............
There are 5 wires, 1 of which is unused (87a, Normally Closed). Two wires (85 and 86) hook to the car's brake light hot wire and the car's ground. Two wires (30 and 87, Normally Open) are carried out to the front of the car and a jumper wire carries them to the Ready Brake dash indicator light.
Yep, I agree, and did same thing on mine (although not using same components). Prefer to know when brake pedal is actually being pushed, not when RB actuator is moving.
Readybrake actually used to instruct you to wire it that way, but changed it when so many folks started disconnecting battery, fuses on toad vehicle, making that approach a bit complicated in some cases.
Yes, it always amuses me when I read threads where people talk about how much they love their manual awnings, and how they can anchor it down and just leave it up the entire trip and never worry about it.
Even when we had a manual awning, I NEVER did that. Seen way too many cases like described here, where a storm or wind came up and ripped awning canvas to shreds, in some cases leaving the arms right where they are, anchored to the ground. Other cases, seen those arms get bent up like toothpicks and destroyed just like the canvas. It seems lots of folks just think it can't happen to them, but I'm here to tell you it can.
If we're not at the campsite, or if there is a threat of a storm, the awning goes up. Period. That was the case when we had a manual awning on the TT we owned for years, as well as with the electric awning we have with the MH. Really like the electric awning much better, as it allows us to roll the awning up much quicker and easier. Just push one button, without even having to step outside. In the event we do leave it up when its raining, ran buildup drains off easily as well with the dump feature it has (without having to tip one side down like you have to with manual awnings).
Very good points, Scott, most of which I agree with. Definitely something to be said for a system that will work directly off of your coach's air brakes like the AF1 will. Its just a question of whether that type of system is worth its significant extra cost. Thats a decision only you can make for yourself.
Only two things you mention here, that I'm not sure I agree with:
...using advance mathematics, the price difference hovers around $100. That's not all that much difference.
..If you can truly get into a new 10,500 lb rated tow bar AND an AF1 system for only $100 more than what a Readybrute Elite with Readybrake would cost, then I'd say go with the Air Force 1 system. However, I'm not quite following your 'advance mathematics', and not sure I follow how you get that the price difference is only $100?
A Readybrute elite with Readybrake can be had for $1175 with free shipping at hitchsource. Air Force one is $1149 with free shipping from same place. And, if you went with the AF1, you'd still have to buy a tow bar which is going to be at least another $600-800 (probably more, since you're talking about going to a 10,500 lb rated tow bar).
Where exactly are you getting a new tow bar with 10,500 lb rating, for around $200? :)
My guess is that you're not, and are comparing buying a Readybute Elite to just buying an AF1 and keeping your existing tow bar. Indeed, in that case the price difference isn't much, but its not really a fair apples to apples comparison that way. With a more realistic comparison, the price difference is much, much more substantial, more like $1000 like I already mentioned.
The Ready Brute or, even just the Ready Brake, as has been stated, is a "surge brake" and, being such, CAN cause undue ware. Does it in fact? Well, who's to tell. Based on how worn my unit is, it's applying the toad brakes considerably more than it should. Hence, the reason I'm thinking about another type of braking system.
I wondered the same thing, Scott, when I bought our Readybrake years ago. I have found, though, at least in our case, there is not (undue wear on toad brakes).
I have watched very closely our toad brake light indicator whenever we are going down mountain inclines, and tranny is in tow/haul mode holding low gear, engine howling at 4000+ RPM to keep the speed down. We do that quite a bit, and we tow pretty heavy toads - a 4,600 lb minivan initially, and now a nearly 4,000 lb Ford Fusion hybrid. In all our trips through the mountains watching that brake light indicator, Not ONCE have I EVER seen it come on going down inclines, except when I hit the service brake.
Soo, that leaves me wondering if 1 of 2 things is true:
1. NSA has improved and tightened up their newer units, and new ones aren't as prone to engage the brakes unnecessarily.
2. Your Exhaust brake is applying more 'stopping' power than a Torqueshift tranny and V10 dropping down in low gear would, just enough more to cause your RB actuator to engage where mine is not.
Anyway, good luck whatever you decide. Definitely interesting to learn what you mentioned about how the RB is actually made inside. I'm a big fan of the 'KISS' principle (keep it simple), so I'm actually glad to know the Readybrake actuator is that simple. :)
..Been in that spot many times. I prefer to dump at the end of all trips regardless (provided there is access to a sewer hookup or dumping station). Reason being, I've learned that if you let 'waste' sit in your tank for a long time (several weeks), even a small amount.....The smell coming from the tank next time you take the RV out can be very nasty (regardless what chemicals you use or don't use).
If black tank is only partially full at the end of the trip, just run water through the toilet, get the tank as full realistically possible with just water. Then, dump it. The more water in your black tank when dumping, the better. Thats what I do in that situation.
...You would do well to do some research yourself. Your ignorant opinions are not helpful to the OP.
You say, "The Air Force 1 system is an 'electronic box' type controller system. Meaning, it is controlled by electronics". That is untrue! There are no electronics in the Air force 1. There is just one electrical connection to generate vacuum for the break away switch
LOL, you say no electronics in it, then in the very next sentence mention an electrical connection it has. In the words of Larry the Cable guy, "Now thats funny right there, I don't care who you are!"
And yet *I* am the ignorant one that needs to do the research? LOL, talk about the pot calling the kettle black.
..Thats really all I'll say. Really doesn't matter what either of us say, anyway, because this post, yours, and my previous one will soon be deleted by a moderator, since you took it to the personal insult level with the 'ignorant' accusations. Thats OK, though, like you said, the original poster will make up his own mind.