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Old 10-30-2010, 09:45 PM   #1
65th Anniversary CLIPPER
 
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1996 36' Clipper Bus
Tub City , British Columbia
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 3,271
Images: 55
Clipper, Blue Ox, Diesel Pusher, Land Yacht, Sidekick

This will be of interest to those who are purchasing a motor home (new/used) for the first time. It just simplifies what has to be done to tow a Tracker 4X4 behind a Land Yacht Clipper DP.
This is reproduced from the literature included in my Clipper #137 documents.

AIRSTREAM CLIPPER #137
Towing with the "AIRSTREAM CLIPPER"

"Blue Ox Aventa II" with 1989-95 GMC TRACKER
Towing the Tracker behind your "CLIPPER" will be a pleasant experience and will allow you the flexibility to enjoy your adventures to the fullest.
Towing Options
There are three methods of hauling your car with you and you need to decide which option best suits your individual needs. The "CLIPPER" is equipped to handle any option you may choose.
OPTIONS:
Auto Trailers
The first one is using a trailer, enclosed or not, that allows you to raise all four wheels of your towed vehicle off of the ground. Your "CLIPPER" is equipped with a cockpit controlled electric brake module to assist in a safe and comfortable tow experience.
Tow Dollies
The next option is a tow dolly. These get the drive wheels of the towed vehicle off the ground. There are some advantages to using a dolly:
* By putting the drive wheels on a dolly you will not need a lube pump or other device to make the vehicle towable.
* Tow dollies are useful for vehicles you don’t want to or can’t tow 4 wheels down.
* Dollies are a great option if you intend to use it with multiple vehicles or want to time-share it with friends.
* Braking is always a concern.
Be sure to purchase a dolly that has the brake option.
Tow Bars
The final & most popular choice is to tow all 4 wheels down using a tow bar. The main reason for choosing a tow bar is convenience, however, weight is always a challenge and the tow bar is considerably lighter. Tow bars give you the least amount of equipment to deal with while towing. The biggest disadvantage with dollies and trailers is what to do with them when you get to your destination. In most cases you would have to unhook the trailer and park it elsewhere. With a Aventa II tow bar you can unhook, fold the bar to the store position, and not take up any additional parking space.
There are three general types of tow bars available, however the Clipper #137 is equipped with the Aventa II. Blue Ox has service centers in most areas where you will be travelling, if you ever require assistance.
"Blue Ox Aventa II" Self Aligning
The Aventa II self-aligning tow bar provides you with the opportunity to hook up by yourself. The self-aligning feature allows you to drive up close to the motorhome and then let the tow bar adjust to the vehicle’s position. Then the tow bar will extend out to its rigid tow position as you pull ahead with the motorhome. (see instructions below for the first time hookup)
Motorhome mounted tow bars are the most popular innovation in tow bars. The main advantage of a motorhome mounted tow bar is the replacement of the ball coupler with a swivel joint. This allows the tow bar to be used without a drop ball mount which, in many cases, hangs low enough to drag when the overhang of the CLIPPER DP drives through a severe dip (Tim Horton's entrance) or starts up a ferry ramp at low or high tide.
Baseplates
The TRACKER BX3503 baseplate bolts to the frame and is custom designed. Some of the newer models have removable attachment tabs, which allows you to remove all exposed parts from the front of your vehicle. Baseplates come with all the necessary hardware to install them. On the TRACKER you will need to drill two holes in the frame extension to attach the baseplate, but no special tools, other than patience, are needed.
Accessories Available
For safety purposes, federal law requires RV activated taillights and safety cables. Also, most states and Canadian provinces have laws on the books concerning braking. Brakes are required on trailers with GVW as low as 1,000 pounds in some states. Enforcement of these laws in the USA (with the exception of Oregon) has not been followed. British Columbia in Canada has been actively enforcing this law, with fines and NOGO if combination units do not have the proper equipment. CLIPPER #137 is equipped with a Service Air Nipple , and standard electrical connection, at the rear hitch area for air brake, or electric operation of the tow car or trailer. Our 1990 TRACKER is equipped with the PacBrake Air Brake System which stores conveniently out of sight when not in use. The main thing to remember with auxiliary braking systems is that they are just what they state - auxiliary brakes. They are not meant to stop your motorhome any faster, only to assist in slowing down the towed vehicle and reduce the added burden of the tow.
Towability Issues
Most front wheel drive manual transmission cars can be towed with all four wheels on the ground with no modification. The GMC TRACKER is a 4X4 manual transmission and requires only that the specific instructions for this model be adhered to. (see below) Most front wheel drive automatic transmission vehicles will need a lube pump or similar device in order to tow it four wheels down. Rear wheel drive automatics will require a device to disconnect the driveshaft in order to tow four down.
There are some front wheel drive automatic transmission vehicles that can be towed without modification. See the Blue Ox site for information or do a Google search for examples. Refer to your vehicle's owners manual for specific instructions and limitations.
Towing Safety Checklist
Inspect the tow bar, dolly or trailer for loose bolts and worn parts. Tighten loose bolts and replace worn parts before hooking up. If you have bolts that are consistently coming loose, use Loctite or put on a double nut to keep them tight. If you have a locking pin in your hitch, you should lubricate it on a regular basis to insure it works when you need to remove it for other towing options.
During Hook Up:
1. The Aventa II will hook up almost from any angle but, to be safe, always hook up on as level and smooth surface as possible.
2. Remove and store the custom hitch cover. Do not set anything on the ground or hood of the tow vehicle, as it is easy to be distracted and drive off without valued equipment.
3. Hook up the tow bar and secure all safety pins.
4. Set up the GMC 4x4 Tracker to tow. Hubs Free, Ignition on acc, Transmission in 2nd, Transfer box in neutral.
5. Check your parking brake to ensure it is disengaged.
6. On the first tow, to ensure all cables are proper length, move the TRACKER back to latch the legs on the self-aligning tow bar.
7. Attach the safety cables. Cross the cables between the vehicles and wrap the cables around the tow bar legs to keep them from dragging.
8. Attach the electrical cable.
9. Attach the service brake air supply. Insure all are secured and will not contact the ground.
AT THIS TIME, ENTER THE CLIPPER AND APPLY THE SERVICE BRAKE LIGHTLY TO ACTIVATE THE BRAKE SYSTEM/MONITOR LIGHT ON THE TRACKER TO CONFIRM THE AIR BREAK CONNECTION IS SECURE AND WORKING. (DO NOT APPLY FULL BRAKE WITH THE PARK BRAKES APPLIED AS DAMAGE COULD RESULT FROM THE COMPOUND APPLICATION.)
WITH THE PARK BRAKE APPLIED, DO YOUR FINAL CIRCLE CHECK OF ALL LIGHTS, CARGO DOOR SECURITY, ANTENNA, JACKS, ETC.

10. Use your spare key and lock the TRACKER doors. (your other key is in the ignition and turned to acc. to unlock the steering).
11. Drive with care and remember, when parking or clearing an intersection, your vehicle will be about 20 feet longer while towing.
Monitor your tow via the Sony rear camera monitor and stop periodically for safety checks. A little walk around will do wonders for your ability to enjoy the passing scenery on your travels.
Each time you stop, check the tow bar, base plate and cables to make sure they are still properly secured. Check the tires of the towed vehicle to make sure they are not going flat. Whether you are using a dolly, trailer or auto, check the wheels to make sure they are not hot to the touch. If the wheels are hot, it may indicate a brake or bearing problem. Every other stop on an extended run, start and run the engine for a few moments, with the transfer engaged and the transmission in neutral.
Each day before you start check all systems including the lights to make sure they are working properly.
Between trips, when you are bored to death, clean the towbar and cables to keep them in good shape. Also, clean and lubricate the tow bar as recommended by the Blue Ox instructions.

Good luck
Dave
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Old 04-17-2011, 11:47 PM   #2
65th Anniversary CLIPPER
 
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1996 36' Clipper Bus
Tub City , British Columbia
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 3,271
Images: 55
Toad, Car Dolly, 4 down, weights and brakes, Canada

Just an update for Canadian residents as to what is and is not allowed when towing.
In Canada you are regulated by your home Province of Registration and this applies when travelling to any Province or State.
I have printed a copy of this and carry it in the Clipper so that if questioned by another jurisdiction, I will have some backup document to argue with.
Dave

Provincial RV Regulations in Canada

http://www.rvhotlinecanada.com/RV-Re...c=rv-resources
(Click on the link above to find other Provincial Regulations.)

Provincial RV Regulations & RV Brake Requirements in Canada

Below you will find the summarized RV regulations for a basic RV driver's license by jurisdiction. Because of an RV reciprocity agreement between the provinces, if you are properly licensed in your home province you may drive in other provinces or states without worry. You need not meet the qualifications for every other jurisdiction you visit in your RV travels

BRITISH COLUMBIA REQUIREMENTS


RV Trailer Brake Requirements
  • Gross trailer weight of 1,400 kg (3,080 Ibs) or less - Brakes are required if the trailer and its load weigh more than 50% of the licensed weight of the vehicle towing it.
  • Gross trailer weight of 1,401 kg (3,081 Ibs) to 2,800 kg (6,160 Ibs) - Brakes are required, including a breakaway brake.
  • Gross trailer weight of more than 2,800 kg (6,160 Ibs) - Brakes are required, and the trailer brakes must be capable of being applied by the driver independently of the towing vehicle's brakes. A surge brake does NOT meet this requirement. A breakaway brake is also required. Brakes are required on all axles.
The sole exemption to this rule is for a 3 axle house trailer, in which case brakes are only required on 2 of the 3 axles.


RVTowing Dolly Brake Requirements
  • Gross weight of dolly and motor vehicle carried is 1,400 kg (3,081 Ibs) or less.
  • Brakes are not required on the dolly if the net weight of dolly plus (+) the gross weight of motor vehicle carried plus (+) the gross weight of tow vehicle equals (=) less than the gross vehicle weight rating of the towing vehicle.
  • Combinations other than the two outlined above require brakes on the towing dolly. Brakes are not required on the motor vehicle being carried by the dolly.
Tow Bar Brake Requirements
  • Motorhome and Towed Motor Vehicle - If the towed motor vehicle has a gross vehicle weight of less than 2,000 kg (4,400 Ibs) and is less than 40% of the gross vehicle weight rating of the motorhome, brakes and coordinated brake control are not required.
  • Commercial Vehicle with GVWR over 5,500 kg (12,100 Ibs) and Towed Motor Vehicle - If the aggregate weight of the combination does not exceed the GVWR of the commercial vehicle brakes are not required on the motor vehicle being towed.
  • Other Combinations - If the combination is not included in the two situations outlined above, brakes are required on all wheels of the motor vehicle being towed in the same manner as trailer brake requirements.
General RVBrake Requirements
  • Brakes with which a trailer is equipped when applied must be adequate to maintain control of the trailer; when applied must not affect the direction of travel of the trailer.
  • Breakaway Brake
    Must automatically apply when the trailer separates from the tow vehicle and when applied must be capable of remaining fully applied for at least 15 minutes.
Detached Trailers
  • No person shall park or leave a detached trailer at any place on a highway unless the wheels are locked so that the trailer will remain stationary at that place.
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Old 04-18-2011, 10:26 AM   #3
65th Anniversary CLIPPER
 
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1996 36' Clipper Bus
Tub City , British Columbia
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 3,271
Images: 55
Tow Dolly vs 4 Down

A quick summary of the above information specifically for BC residents.
The Tow Dolly is not a preferred option as there would be very few cases where it would be allowed without full brakes/brake away system.
The 4 down allows most small to medium vehicles to be used without brake options. Up to 4400# for a full size A Class.
However, as stated in the first post, braking is recommended for all towing applications for safety and unnecessary stress and wear on the power unit braking system.
Dave
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Old 08-01-2011, 09:44 AM   #4
65th Anniversary CLIPPER
 
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1996 36' Clipper Bus
Tub City , British Columbia
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 3,271
Images: 55
Electrical, Diodes, Tow

Just to cover a rather important point that I overlooked in the above posts.
When rigging your toad up, be sure to protect the toads electrical connections with diodes in all the wire leads to the toad. (except the brake monitor signal wire that returns to the cockpit, if so equipped)
When you stop to run the engine of the toad to lube the transmission (if necessary) you do not want the toad electrical trying to charge the motorhome batteries.
Diodes are available at any electronics shop. (Canada - The Source.)
If you have purchased a OEM harness, these should have integral diodes, but you should double check with a digital voltmeter.
Dave



Quote:
Originally Posted by masseyfarm View Post
However, as stated in the first post, braking is recommended for all towing applications for safety and unnecessary stress and wear on the power unit braking system.
Dave
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Old 03-16-2012, 01:41 PM   #5
65th Anniversary CLIPPER
 
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1996 36' Clipper Bus
Tub City , British Columbia
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 3,271
Images: 55
Schotthy Diodes

Sourcing the right diodes for your application can be difficult at times.
Some retail outlets now seem to have little selection available and, generally speaking now, few retail assistants can properly explain what they do have.

Schottky diode - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

These can be bought in bulk on line, almost as cheap as you can buy them individually at the retail outlet or jobber.

When testing your diodes/connections, you should use a test lamp to prove that you have them correctly installed. The digital meter will give a false reading with no load input, as the diodes require following current to prove they work as desired.

I have just had to replace a diode in my back-up/docking lamp system as the OEM wire was left exposed to the elements and broke off at the diode. I used the above, which are 10SQ045 10A 45V Schottky Diodes.

Dave

Quote:
Originally Posted by masseyfarm View Post
Diodes are available at any electronics shop. (Canada - The Source.)

Dave
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Old 10-09-2012, 10:35 AM   #6
65th Anniversary CLIPPER
 
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1996 36' Clipper Bus
Tub City , British Columbia
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 3,271
Images: 55
I was doing some research on braking requirements and found this very informative chart on the Towmaster site.

Simplifies your quest for information on the braking requirements for your toad.

Roadmaster Inc. - Tow Bars, Braking Systems & RV Accessories

As I understand it, you are bound by your state or province of registration. If you are legal at home, then you should be OK while traveling North America.

Dave
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Old 12-21-2015, 01:35 PM   #7
65th Anniversary CLIPPER
 
masseyfarm's Avatar

 
1996 36' Clipper Bus
Tub City , British Columbia
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 3,271
Images: 55
I keep looking at trailers, but it is hard to justify purchasing something bigger, unless one has a consistent use for it.

I thought this one would work for me, but the tongue is not long enough to allow a full turn with the 8'6" wide body of the CLIPPER. I would have to special order one with a 54" reach.

Looked good otherwise!

Dave
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