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Old 01-24-2013, 09:28 PM   #1
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Gotta to know when to fold'em

Change in plans guys..........

Yes the wife has decided to get her motorcycle license, and we have bought her a 2008 Suzuki Burgman 400 with only 548kms on it!!!! However she is very leery of riding it in the US on our big summer trip this year, so we have decided to take our 2003 Chevy Tracker 4 dr V6.

The Tracker weighs 3000 lbs and I need to get a towed brake system. I want a porpotional brake system to help the Mistress as much as possible to get stopped as safely as possible. I have found this, which seems to fit the bill to a T.

U.S. Gear Unified Towed Brake Towed Vehicle Kit w/ Upgraded Module

Good price it seems as I haven't found it any cheaper anywhere else. I'm hoping to package a Roadmaster Sterling all terrain tow bar into the deal but haven't decided on the Roadmaster baseplates, or the Blueox base plates for the Tracker.

Has anyone towed a Tracker or has any advice on what else I would need.

Should I get a light harness with diodes or go with a separate set of lights that just magnetically stick onto the back of the towed vehicle.

Any info would be appreciated. (Yes I plan on unhooking the toad and driving it if we encounter very hilly terrain)

Cheers
Tony
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Old 01-25-2013, 07:54 PM   #2
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
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Tony,
Sure there is a section somewhere amongst the Motorhome part of the forum dealing with 'toads'. There's been at least one Classic moho owner who's towed a Tracker behind his moho. Believe the Chevy Tracker bit the dust, and now he tows a Nissan???

My suggestion would be to check out iRV2 forum to see what others are doing there for the towed vehicles. Let's face it, there's LOTS more SOB motorhomes out there riding on P30 chassis, right?

Good Luck, Derek
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Old 01-26-2013, 12:51 PM   #3
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
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Well,
I would be the unfortunate fellow who went from about 50 mph to 0 mph in about 5 feet in the once-towed Tracker...The Tracker was an excellent toad...ours was automatic, 4WD. Flat-towed, no extra braking system...but it was a 4 cyl, '96...
Rather than mess with the extra wiring, we opted for the magnetic tow lights, and used the 7-prong round to 4 prong flat converter plug. Towed it for 3 years. We have a Roadmaster system, and once I got the hook/unhook routine down, it was a 5 minute chore. I've heard good things about the BrakeBuddy system. A good place to start is the Remco site which will tell you if your particular vehicle can be flat-towed. Somewhere along the line, Geo became Chevy, and things may have been altered.
We now tow a '96 Nissan Maxima, but are actively seeking a Honda Elantra, manual, for when we are able to return to being nomads.
We also paid the bucks to have Scrap's towbar reinforced, and there is a thread on the forums, with pics, that covers that topic well. We printed pics for the guy who did the installation, and he told us they really helped.
mike
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Old 01-26-2013, 01:41 PM   #4
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I just outfitted a Honda Fit as a toad to pull behind my Airstream Interstate.

I use the Roadmaster Sterling All-Terrain towbar, motohome mounted. The very first time I hooked it up (yesterday afternoon, in fact) it only took about 10 minutes, and that's with instructions in one hand. If the towbar had been attached to the motorhome already, it would have taken maybe five minutes, and you really do only need the instructions the first time.

I chose Roadmaster throughout, partly because with a Blue Ox system, I would have needed a two-inch drop receiver in order to keep the towbar level. On my Honda, at least, the Roadmaster system put the attachment points at bumper level, and a Blue Ox baseplate would have put them right in line with the sockets under the bumper. Here are a couple of photos, taken at Rick Foley's Airstream of Mississippi, where the installation was done:
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:31 PM   #5
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Nice looking set up Protagonist. Do you feel a big difference when towing?
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:09 AM   #6
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Here's the Remco site:

Application Charts | Remco Towing



Mrs. Scrap - Tracy
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Old 01-27-2013, 06:45 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daizey View Post
Nice looking set up Protagonist. Do you feel a big difference when towing?
I can't really answer that yet. There was a slight problem that kept me from actually towing it yet. Here's what happened…

Turns out that the umbilical socket on the Interstate was wired up differently than anyone thought. First time I coupled up, there at the dealer, we checked all the lights. Taillights worked fine, and so did the turn signals, but for some reason, the brake lights came on amber, not red. That's not kosher. The issue didn't show up until both vehicles were connected together; when they were testing the toad's new wiring, applying power one wire at a time with a circuit tester, everything on the car worked exactly right.

It didn't occur to anyone up until that point that, although the brake/taillights and turn signals on the Interstate are separate bulbs exactly as on the Honda, the 7-pin connector is only wired for brake/turn/taillights all on the same bulbs. The 7-pin connector is wired differently from the Interstate's own lights. Oops.

So, in the next couple of days, the dealer's service department will be coming up with a fix, which hopefully will only require a new umbilical cable to reassign the brake lights to the dual-filament bulbs under the red lenses on the Honda, as they should be. But it may instead require the 7-pin connector to be rewired, which would make things more complicated in the future if I ever tow a trailer rather than the Honda. We'll see in a couple of days when I can get back over to Gulfport.

I don't blame the service tech. I was driving my Interstate while he was wiring the Honda, so he didn't have it available for reference. If he had both vehicles and had been able to work on them together, he probably would have realized the problem sooner, and taken care of it already.

Right now I'm driving my Honda—while he has the Interstate— and everything handles just the way it did before. I thought that the brakes might have a different "feel" with the Invisibrake installed, but I don't even notice a difference.
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Old 01-27-2013, 09:15 AM   #8
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Protagonist I'm don't think they should have had that problem since your Interstate is wired to the North American Standard. They should have wired to match any tow vehicle not modify your Interstate to a unique system (OK, European system). If they want to keep your Honda wired they way it is it might be better to add a second connector so you still have a standard one for a trailer in the future, maybe with the original hidden.
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Old 01-27-2013, 09:44 AM   #9
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Protagonist I'm don't think they should have had that problem since your Interstate is wired to the North American Standard. They should have wired to match any tow vehicle not modify your Interstate to a unique system (OK, European system).
I don't think they should have had a problem, either. But they did, and I'm at a loss to explain how or why.

Thirty-one years of engineering experience have taught me how to read a wiring schematic. They wired my Honda exactly according to the wiring schematic provided with the wiring kit. It's true that my Honda Fit was made in Japan and imported more-or-less fully assembled, not shipped in parts and assembled here like some Japanese cars. So the car might be wired to an international standard, not a North American one. I don't know.

I'm not an electrical engineer. I'm not an electrician. I'm not a Honda or Airstream service technician. That's why I took the unit to an Airstream dealer to have the work done, and why the Airstream dealer brought in a Honda service technican to help. They didn't have an explanation for the problem at the time I was supposed to pick it up, and so didn't have a fix, which is why I still have the Interstate and the umbilical cable in the shop, and not here at home.
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:31 AM   #10
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They didn't have an explanation for the problem at the time I was supposed to pick it up, and so didn't have a fix, which is why I still have the Interstate and the umbilical cable in the shop, and not here at home.
In hindsight, the solution is idiot-simple. I know because I feel like an idiot for not thinking of it sooner. All I have to do is replace the amber 1156 turn signal bulbs with specialty red 1156 bulbs. Then the brake lights and turn signals on the car will be red, without rewiring anything. I won't get the center brake light in toad-mode, but a trailer isn't required to have a center brake light, so I'll still be legal.

That will get taken care of today after work, and I'll be good to go.
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