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Old 04-09-2019, 05:22 AM   #1
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Wink Replaced Toad 2012 Fiat 500C with 2018 Fiat 500 Pop

Last June 2018 my Sunstar 27N suffered hail damage and had 47 holes punched through the roof, breaking through the fiberglass and plywood. My Toad, a 2012 Fiat 500C was also totaled.



I got the motorhome back with a new roof installed last October but waited until now to replace the Fiat. I decided to go with another Fiat 500. I finally settled on a new 2018 Fiat 500 Pop. The good news is, I had saved the Roadmaster baseplate and diode break wiring system. Both were installed in the new Fiat.

Here is a link to a video eTrailer shot a few years ago showing the Fiat 500C having the brake assist installed. https://www.etrailer.com/tv-install-...0-sm99251.aspx

I like the Fiat 500 as a flat tow vehicle because it weighs only 2,366 pounds and can be towed with the standard transmission in neutral and the key out of the ignition. For 2018 they have a dash instrument display that is so very easy to use. Best I have seen with all the standard information displayed but displayed extremely well with both digital and analog displays. Exceptionally well done. They also added fog lights and turbocharged and still held the price at about $16k. Very peppy and fun to drive. It is a great tow vehicle.

The base-plate was a direct bolt on. However, the housing for the driver side fog lights mount had to be trimmed on the inside to make a good fit. From the outside, you can't tell any difference. It took some time and craftsmanship but was done well and looks great. Likewise, the brake lights diode pack hooked up easily and work as expected.

However, I could not find a place to mount the brake assist kit. I have the SMI Stay-IN-Play DUO Braking System. With the addition of the turbo charge, I can't find a place to install it. eTrailer advises it can be installed anywhere the is room. Well now, that is the problem. There appears to be no additional room for the braking system. If anyone has one installed in a turbo Fiat 500 I would love to know where you put it and a picture would help.
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Old 04-09-2019, 06:35 AM   #2
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When we first started driving a motorhome in 2015 we flat-towed a Fiat 500 Pop. It was an easy tow. It was inexpensive and fun to drive... for short trips. But we decided to get something bigger and more comfortable overall. After a year or so we sold it to another RVer for their toad.

We used a Brake Buddy (still do) because of the expense to purchase and install a permanent aux. braking system. So I’m no help to you at all on that front. Sorry.
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Old 04-09-2019, 08:31 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creativepart View Post
When we first started driving a motorhome in 2015 we flat-towed a Fiat 500 Pop. It was an easy tow. It was inexpensive and fun to drive... for short trips. But we decided to get something bigger and more comfortable overall. After a year or so we sold it to another RVer for their toad.

We used a Brake Buddy (still do) because of the expense to purchase and install a permanent aux. braking system. So I’m no help to you at all on that front. Sorry.
What model of brake buddy do you have?
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Old 04-09-2019, 08:37 AM   #4
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What model of brake buddy do you have?
The Classic (digital). I found a guy on eBay that buys them by the dozen and sells them for $600 instead of $1000 they cost elsewhere.

We find the brake buddy or any aux braking system I'd think doesn't do all that much. Perhaps the reason ours doesn't do much is it's not proportional. It doesn't activate unless I need to brake very hard/suddenly. And, when it does apply brakes it just slams them on.

I know there are proportional systems that can apply light braking as well as hard braking. But the various non-proportional units just sit there until you brake the RV very hard and then BANG they hit the toad's brakes.

Aux braking systems are required by law. But in our 20,000 miles of driving it's rare that we apply the RV brakes hard enough to get much of a result from the system. Don't get me wrong, the few times we've needed it I've been very glad to have it. It's just not all that often. I definitely feel it when the toads brakes are activated.
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Old 04-09-2019, 09:00 AM   #5
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Excellent information. I feel the need for brake assist of some type on the toad. Because the Fiat is so light, under 2,400 pounds, I have had many say it is not needed. But I found I felt much safer with the 2012 Fiat after eTrailer installed the SMI Stay-IN-Play DUO Braking System. It was proportional and very effective.

AAA says "Brakes are required on all wheels for all trailers or semitrailers with a gross weight over 3,000 pounds; provided. The gross weight of any such trailer without brakes shall not exceed 40% of the gross weight of the towing vehicle." I assume that is what mechanics rely on when saying I don't need to have brake assist on the towed vehicle. But for peace-of-mind, I believe I do. I will keep shopping. Thank you for your comments. This has been a very helpful thread.
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