We just upgraded to a new Class A motorhome and traded our Expedition in for the 2013 Ford CMax Hybrid. We are using Blue Ox tow bar and RViBrake2 for the CMax. Connect the CMax to the tow bar.
The CMax has the push button start. To setup the car for towing: do not press the brake pedal when pushing the start button (this will put the car in Acc. mode). Ensure that the parking brake is set, then press the brake pedal and shift into Neutral and release the parking brake. Follow directions for the brake controller. After completion verify that the brake lights on the CMax are not lit before traveling. I failed to do this and fried two tires (not cheap to replace) with the brakes being applied. Also note that the CMax will go into standby mode after approximately 1 hour, turning off the 12V outlet in the center console. I had to run a dedicated 12v adapter from the battery to use with the RViBrake2. We make it a habit not to drive more that 4-5 hours each day, and we haven't had our new RV for long, so we haven't had an issue with a dead battery as of yet. If this happens then I may consider putting in a 12v charger or direct 12v from the RV. For safety, as with any tow vehicle (toad or TT)always check everything periodically while on the road.
Me thinks, although you've not had a problem yet, you're going to soon be running a charge line (direct 12V line from MH to your Cmax's battery). Or, wishing you had.
If you have a clip-on ammeter, do this one time: Go through all the motions/procedure you mentioned above for setting it up to flat tow. Tranny in neutral, etc. Then, clip your ammeter on one of the wires going to the battery, see what kind of amp draw you have on the battery. Have someone engage the RVibrake a few times to make it engage the brakes, and watch that ammeter.
YMMV, but I found with our Ford Fusion hybrid, there was a constant 3 amp draw on the battery all the time when it was in 'flat tow' mode (tranny in neutral, ignition in ACC position). Have spoke with other hybrid owners that found the same thing as well (both Cmax and Fusion hybrid owners). And this is before even considering the amperage your RViBrake system uses.
And, remember, power braking assist stays on all the time with these hybrids, so every 2nd or 3rd time your RViBrake engages the brakes, the vehicle's brake boost vacuum motor will come on also and use battery power. And, as alluded to earlier, there is probably other systems that may cycle on and off from time to time when towing these hybrids, that would take even more from the battery.
Our first trip towing the Fusion, I did not have a charge line installed. 'Twas about a 4 hour drive, and that was all it took to run battery almost completely dead - it couldnt even operate the power locks. That was all it took for me. I installed the charge line right after that. We've never had to worry about the Fusion's battery again since then, no matter how many hours we're on the road towing.
Remember also, that starting batteries are not meant for deep cycle use, which is what you're using them for in this case if you don't run a charge line. Using a starting battery this way will shorten its life span significantly. A charge line is much, much cheaper than a new 12V battery. :)
I have no issue with putting magnetic lights on the top of my yaris. It's a 2007 and has nearly 175,000 miles on it. It won't mess up anything. I am having a hard time though deciding on whether or not to go the rout of the 4 down or the tow dolly. I know I won't have this car forever. It could last another few years or it could be gone tomorrow. I hate to spend the money on base plate, wiring, brake wiring, and the labor on it and then have it for only a little while and then have to spend that money all over again for another vehicle.
Yep, wbwood, tough decision there. I too would hate to spend a bunch of $$ setting up a vehicle for flat towing, when the vehicle is that old and you may not have it much longer. Then again, kinda stinks also to spend a bunch of $$ on a dolly, when reality is that when you trade the vehicle, you will probably want to get a flat towable vehicle and go that route, and then have to sell the dolly.
If you do chose to set the Yaris up for flat towing, I'd definitely try to do it as cheaply as possible, given how old the vehicle is and the fact you may not keep it much longer. Magnetic lights are definitely the way to go in that case, as it'd allow you to take care of all the wiring you'd need for the Yaris for very little $$. If you get the right tow bar and braking system (highly, highly recommend ReadyBrute Elite package!), all of that could be used on the next vehicle, so no $$ would be lost there. Only $$ you'd lose on the trade that there'd be no way around, is what you'd spend on installing base plates. That'd be about $400 + installation (unless you do the install yourself).
Sooo, which would cost you more - the depreciation on a dolly you use for a few years and then sell, or the cost of installing base plates on your Yaris? Hard to say, but I think its close enough, that you might as well set the Yaris up for flat towing and skip the dolly thing altogether. Knowing what I know now, thats probably what I'd do in your situation.
I used to use the braided extensions on inner dual, and solid U shaped extensions on the outer dual.
After less than a year of owning the MH, the solid extension on outer dual worked loose, ran the tire completely flat. Piece of debris or something from the road came up and hit it, turned it just enough to let all the air come out. Got real fortunate I caught it before it destroyed a tire!!
I researched several different options, chose to go with Duallyvalves. These are a complete, solid replacement valve stem for all 4 rear tires. Not extensions that are so prone to leaking. Very, very happy with them, and highly recommend them!
Now, I never have to worry about leaks anymore. Also, the duallyvalves allow me to easily get to all 4 tire valves without having to take off wheel covers or use any special tire gauge/chuck. Same gauge and chuck I use for all my vehicles works fine for all the MH tires, too. Just can't beat it, IMO.
Only downside is the price, and the installation (tires have to be dismounted from wheels to install them). Still, $110 for a set of duallyvalves is MUCH cheaper than having to replace even ONE of these expensive MH tires before its time!!
I am not a fan of extensions of almost any kind, after what I experienced. The ONLY extension I'd trust would be one like Mark linked to previously, that is completely leak proof. I like that design and would have no problem using them on the inner duals. Only bad thing about it, and the reason I went with Duallyvalves instead: I'm not convinced that it would work as well as Duallyvalves for the outer tire. You'd have to bend it in a pretty tight turn, which I'm afraid would shorten its life, and also would not allow you to position it to be quite as easy to get to as my DuallyValves are.
Any dually vehicle I own from now on, will have Duallyvalves on it. :)
...While you CAN use magnetic lights, it will soon become more trouble than it is worth. You will be far happier with permanently wired tail lights.
Yes, in most cases, people only use magnetic lights temporarily, and eventually get tired of them for various reasons and end up permanently wiring tail lights.
However, I have found a way to use them, that eliminates almost all the issues folks have with them, sort of a 'best of both worlds' approach: Instead of putting them on the outside where they are prone to scratch paint and have to be put on, taken off each trip, I put them on the INSIDE of the vehicle, on the 'shelf' right behind the rear seats of the vehicle (Ford Fusion).
One piece of velcro on the bottom of the magnetic lights makes them stay put perfectly on the shelf back there. They sit behind the rear seat headrests where they do not block your view at all when driving the vehicle. You barely notice they're even there. That being the case, they pretty much stay there permanently, I never take them out. Sooo, same convenience of a permanently wired setup, without having to tap into hardly any of the vehicle's wiring. With how complicated the wiring is for our hybrid Ford Fusion, I decided early on that I did NOT want to tap into any of its wiring if that could possibly be avoided.
The other really cool thing about magnetic lights that I like: Years down the road when I trade this vehicle, I can remove the magnetic lights and their wiring in 5 seconds, and easily use it on the next vehicle we purchase to tow. No need to buy a new wiring kit and pay labor costs to wire taillights each time a vehicle is traded.
Previous comments pretty well sum up this long debated, tired subject - Diesel will have more capacity, better ride, but comes at a very high price both in initial cost and maintenance. Gas MH is much easier on the budget, but won't ride quite as nicely. They are pretty much the same when parked.
And, the previous poster is exactly right - Floorplan is very important, in some ways more so than what kind of engine, chassis it has.
Floorplan is actually the main reason why I prefer a gasser MH. I absolutely HATE having the door in front of passenger seat, something you're pretty much stuck with on most diesel MHs. Makes it feel like you're driving a big school or tour bus, hahaha! I also really, really like having a window on back wall of the rear bedroom, something that you cannot get on any diesel pusher MH. Between those two floorplan issues, diesel is pretty well eliminated for us, before we even start talking about the huge $$ difference or the horrible smell of diesel fuel I want nothing to do with.
I have towed a 2008 Mercury Mariner hybrid for almost 20,000 miles and now a 2012 Ford Fusion hybrid for over 5,000 miles. I always turn the key back as far as it will go after putting the transmission in Neutral. That key position is not ACC and will not cause the battery to drain. I have traveled for as long as 3 days (staying overnight in campgrounds with pull-thrus) with the key in the ignition and have never run the battery down - - nor have I ever had any problems with these vehicles by doing this.
No charge line is necessary when you turn the key all the way back towards off since you don't drain the battery. Also, when the key is not in the ACC or On/Start positions, the electric brake assist is not on and so when I used my Brake Buddy, there is minmal drain on the battery (only when the air resevoir needs to be refilled if the Brake Buddy actuates often - - which it almost never does the way I drive)......
Doug, the problem with this approach is, you are leaving everything turned off by putting the ignition in that 'in-between' position you refer to here. While that solves the battery charge issue and avoids the need for a charge line, it creates some potentially much bigger issues:
Ford specifically states in the owner's manual for fusion hybrids, to leave key in ACC position when flat towing it. We don't really know ALL the reasons why they say to do that. There could very well be some good reasons they want it in the ACC position, besides just to allow tranny to stay in neutral.
Just what electrical systems might Ford intend to stay powered up when towing these hybrids, that you are turning off with your approach?
These hybrid drivetrains are pretty complicated. There are several pieces to it that are powered electrically, that in a conventional drivetrain are powered mechanically, by the crankshaft. Sure hope you aren't turning one or two electrically powered components off thats going to cause some issues later on. Specifically, I really hope there's not an electrically powered transmission lube/cooling pump somewhere, that you are turning off and Ford intends to be on when towing.
I know you have a pretty long track record of using this method without any issues, which may well mean there's no harm being done. However, in the absence of any factual evidence from Ford on specifically why they say to put key in ACC position....I think I'm going to stick with (and recommend to other folks) doing it the way Ford recommends! :)
Well, your sales reps is sort of right, but the specifics of what he said are about 2 years out of date, and not true anymore.
Yes, Forest River Georgetowns come in two different trims - the XL, and the regular Georgetown. The XL comes with a bit more 'bling', several nicer features, but also comes at a higher price.
Now, where your sales reps specific information is wrong, and out of date, is this: New Georgetowns now, ALL of them regardless of trim, get fiberglass roofs. Wasn't that way 'bout 2 years ago, but is now. Here's why, how:
Forest River used to sell the regular Georgetowns (then the top of the line of Georgetowns that got all the nicer features), and the 'VE' (value edition) model that had less features (rubber roof for example) and was less expensive.
That is probably what your sales rep is referring to, the 'Value Edition' of Georgetown that Forest River USED to sell. However, about 2 years ago, that changed. Forest River started the XL series that was a step even higher in terms of 'bling', and they did away with the VE (value edition) model.
Since then (like I said, 'bout 2 years ago), there is the XL version with some of the nicer features, and the regular Georgetown that has almost all the features their top of the line units had up until 2 years ago. To be specific: Now, with any/all Georgetowns regardless of XL or not, you get fiberglass roof, stainless steel sinks, side-opening luggage doors with nicer latches, and a few other features. The XL models get the bigger 22" wheels vs 19.5 on the regular Georgetown, and the XL gets the more stout 22k F53 chassis. If you look on Forest River's web page and their brochures on Georgetown, you can see all the specific differences between XL and regular Georgetown models.
I'm going to guess that your sales rep had a handful of XL models on his lot, no regular Georgetowns, and was trying to move you more toward the XL models. :)
Like 'chuckftboy' said, it all boils down to choices. How much you want to spend vs. what features you want or can do without.
..The best answer to this issue, came in the first reply/post - Dutch's comments about a charge line to the MH.
A solar panel may well work, too, but it sure seems like spending a lot of $$ unnecessarily and making a simple problem much more complicated than it needs to be.
Go get you some wire, connectors, fuse links, etc. for less than $20, and wire you a charge line from MH to the towed vehicle. Problem solved. Batteries stay charged up all the time when towing, no matter what drains there may be on the battery. Very simple, quick and easy to set up once, and you'll never have to worry about it again.
Does anybody know if you have to run a wire for the brakes lites, because the brake buddy or simular devices, turn the brake lites on, or is that mainly for the turn signals?
Well, you have to run wires for the turn signals, and typically you run wires for the brake light as well while you're in there wiring the tail lights. That way you're insured that brake lights will work, even if something goes awry with your supplemental braking system (they ARE known to quit working from time to time).
I'm not sure if you could get by with relying on just your supplemental braking system to engage the brake lights, although some probably do just that. Check the various DOT laws where you'll travel, too, there may be a law or two requiring you to wire brake lights to the towing vehicle (Motorhome).
I didn't have an air adapter made for the 1st freeze. That's the only reason I used the pink stuff (outside of traps) . . . .
Doesn't water collect in the flush valve of the (Thetford) toilet? Seems like a good place to freeze and bust some plastic.
As already indicated, water does not collect there if you do this correctly.
If it did, there'd be an AWFUL lot of broken toilets, since as I indicated earlier, service professionals and RV manufacturers have been using the blowout method for years. :)
Yes, its not a bad idea to run some antifreeze through the water pump, to protect it. You're right, blowing air through lines from the city water connection will not protect the pump.
I typically turn on, run the water pump making it suck antifreeze in for a few seconds before doing any air blowing. Long enough that I know the pump and its check valve, etc. is full of antifreez, not water. Then, proceed with the regular compressor blowout method - bypass water heater, drain water tank, remove water filter, hook up air compressor and open each water outlet one at a time letting water out, etc. Then, of course, pouring some antifreeze down each drain to protect traps, then rest of antifreeze (a good gallon or two) goes down the toilet, into the black tank.
With this approach, yes, there is a tiny bit of the pink stuff in the water lines near the water pump, but only a very little bit. Not enough you'll notice when you get it back out in the spring.
I've been using this approach for as long as I can remember, and its always worked great. 'Tis really nice in the Spring (or winter if you want), to be able to just GO when you want, not have to worry about flushing out antifreeze and 'de-winterizing'.
As to the larger issue that gets debated on here a lot, about whether or not the blow out method protects everything sufficiently or not: All I'll tell you is that I've talked to a professional RV service tech that does contracts to winterize units that sit up in the mountains all winter (where it gets pretty cold, haha). Guess what method he uses exclusively, and always has? Yep, compressor blow out.
Also, a fellow RVer I know recently called a well known and well respected RV manufacturer (Tiffin), asked what they used for units they ship up north where it gets really cold. Wanted to know the truth. Guess what method the RV manufacturer uses on their new units? You guessed it, Compressor blow out.
Suffice it to say, if that method is good enough for the folks that build these things, AND its good enough for service professionals that winterize many units every year...Its good enough for me. :)
Hmmm, I wonder if there are any 'Nobody over 55' RV parks as well, for anyone that doesn't want to be around grumpy, intolerant older folks when they camp?
Or maybe some 'No dogs allowed' RV parks, for those that don't want to deal with dogs?
Or, maybe a 'No diesel rigs' RV park, for those that can't stand the smell of diesel fumes?
Or, maybe a 'No outdoor activity allowed' RV park, for those that just want to sit inside their RV all day and watch TV, and don't want to see others outside having campfires, cooking/eating outside, etc.
I mean, if we're going to try to selfishly exclude folks that aren't just like ourselves, might as well cover all the bases, right? :)
Please don’t consider this a discussion as to the pros and cons of extended RV warranties, as that has been discussed here enough. I merely wish to issue a warning about this crook to the members of this forum.
And within minutes it started anyway.
Please folks, the pros and cons have been beaten to death. I'm not trying to support one opinion over another, only trying to spread the word to prevent someone from being victimized.
LOL, and the funny, sad thing is....Once you 'remind' people that you specifically asked not to start this tired debate again...Nobody has anything else to say on this thread.
Wow, glad you caught this crook in time to protest the charges with your card and put a stop to the nonsense! Thats one of the really nice things about paying wth plastic - You have some recourse, leverage in case someone tries to give you the shaft on a purchase.
Sounds a little like Mr Floodman may have been trying to stall you until it was too late to protest the charges with your card. If that had happened, it would have become much, much more difficult to get your $$ back (you may well have had to take him to court).
Had a company try that once on me, when we had once put down a deposit via credit card, and later had to back out on the deal. They canceled the deal no problem, kept saying they'd re-credit my credit card. Kept watching my account, credit never came through. Every time I'd call the company asking when the credit would come through, they'd have another lame excuse why they hadn't done the credit, putting me off a few more days. Kept saying no need for me to protest the chrages.
It became very obvious what they were trying to do (stall until too late to protest the charges). Finally, after almost 2 months (and just days before the 60 day cutoff for protesting charges on our card), I told them to never mind, I'll just protest the charge and solve it that way. Problem solved, got all the $$ back.
Anyway, as tempting as it is to tell you what I think of service contracts, I'll honor your wish and not do that. I'm just glad you were smart enough to avoid being taken with this. :)
Like several others have said, mine stays on the MH, locked on with an appropriate locking pin.
To do otherwise IMO defeats one of the main advantages of this type of tow bar - the convenience of keeping it on the MH and not having to take it on and off and stowing it somewhere.
We do have to take it off every once in a while, when:
1. Entering a campground I know has steep inclines or other hazards that could cause the tow bar to scrape.
2. The very rare occasion where I need the MH hitch receiver for a bike rack and will not be towing a vehicle that normally carries the bikes.
Yes, a determined thief could cut the locking pin and get it. Of course, they could also easily break open any of your storage bays and get the tow bar or anything else they want there. If they want to rob something from you bad enough to cut a locking pin or any kind of lock...Welllllll, they're going to get it or something else valuable from you, regardless what you do.
If the rare 'determined' thief is going to hit my RV, I'd much rather they take outside stuff like that and stay OUT of the MH, rather than them break the door lock, come in and ransack the inside and steal stuff inside!
This is also one of the advantages of keeping the MH at home in our driveway instead of storing it. You're much, much less likely to have theft issues of any kind, than you are when it is in storage lots.
..Also on wet roads the truck will have to be able to have enuf traction in order to make the surge brake activate..
..And depending on the (electric) brake controller, this would be true with electric brakes, too.
a LOT depends on the brake controller to be used. Many brake controllers sold today (timing ramp-up type devices) are so pitiful, they really aren't much if any improvement over a surge brake setup.
Unless you're willing to commit some $$ to purchase one of the really good electric brake Controllers (Tekonsha Prodigy, P3, or something like the MaxBrake that works directly off of brake hydraulic pressure)...IMO electric may not be worth the extra hassle of wiring it up. Surge brakes have come a long way over the years, and from what I've experienced, surge brakes work pretty good, especially in cases where the trailer weighs less than the tow vehicle.
I know this isn't relevant for the original poster here, but if you have one of the newer trucks that comes with an integrated brake controller...Its a no-brainer then, electric would be the only way to go.
Ok, with all that said I will tow my Hybrid 4 down but is any towbar better for hybrids? Also is there kits for running charge lines?
Not sure that any particular tow bar would be better than any other for a hybrid necessarily, but I do highly, highly recommend the ReadyBrute Elite tow bar, made by ReadyBrake. You get a great braking system and tow bar, for 'bout the same price as you'd pay for just a tow bar alone from anyone else. Assuming you plan to get/use a supplemental braking system, this approach saves you a TON of $$.
If you go with another braking system, make certain it is one that will work with active power brakes. With Ford's hybrids, the power brake assist is on all the time, even when towing. Readybrake handles that just fine, some other systems do not.
As to a kit for a charge line: The Toad Charge system would be one such kit that would work fine. I'm sure there are others, but thats only one that comes to mind. You can save yourself a lot of $$, and keep it much more simple, though, by just buying you some wire, connectors, fuse links, etc. and run the wire yourself. Its very easy to do, and if you search some on here, you'll find several posts talking about how to do such.
We tow a 4WD FEH four down which had the same basic components as the FFH thru 2012. We do follow the instructions for leaving the key in ACC position and use a charge line from the RV..
Yes, you bring up a good point here - With Ford's hybrids, a charge line from the MH is almost a requirement.
With ours I confirmed with an ammeter that there is a constant drain on the battery of around 3 amps when you leave key in ACC position. Even more if you have a supplemental braking system pushing on the brake pedal, as Ford's electric powered brake assist stays on all the time when towing.
With these hybrids, in most cases you're going to have to run a charge line, or will deal with a lot of dead batteries and jump starts. Very, very easy and simple to do, though, and eliminates worries completely of running down the toad battery.
I have a 2013 Fusion hybrid, and we tow it 4 down.
As already said, Ford's hybrids are great for towing 4 down, IMO one of the easiest and most simple there is. Highly recommend if you own one of these hybrids, that you go with 4 down towing. You'll like it much better. You've already got over half the battle won - you already own a vehicle that supports 4 down towing very well.
..To save some typing and give you probably more info than you want on this subject, check out THIS thread, where this same basic question was asked, and answered in pretty good detail.
I am still sitting on the fence for brake units but do like the air force one a lot.
stuartIf you are still on the fence look at the Ready Brake or Ready Brute. No cutting into air lines and the complete tow bar and brakes is less than just the air units.
X2. Especially if you haven't bought a tow bar yet, the ReadyBrake will save you a LOT of money, over $1000 or so.
If you get the Ready Brute Elite tow bar, you get a very nice tow bar AND the ReadyBrake braking system, for about the same $$ as you'd pay for just a tow bar from anyone else. And, you get a braking system that is MUCH simpler - no electronics, no tapping into air lines, much simpler installation...You just can't beat it, IMO.