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Old 09-28-2011, 12:12 PM   #1
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Drop height for HHR towbar

We have an Adventurer 35P and are preparing to tow a 2008 Chevy HHR. My question has to do with the drop of the reciever ball. The Winnebago manual says it should not exceed a 4" drop and yet I will need about an 8-9" drop to have a level towbar. I currently was not planning on the expense of an auxillary braking system since most my towing is in low elevation areas. Should I be concerned about the drop height? I am new to the forum and to motorhoming so your help is appreciated.
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Old 09-28-2011, 01:19 PM   #2
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Blue Ox also states that you should not have more than a 4" drop between the motor home receiver and the HHR "tabs" . Blue Ox (and others) make receiver drops from 2" to 10". They also make a roller hitch protector. Here is a link to their page

Blue Ox Drop Receivers

I, personally, wouldn't tow with out some type of braking system, if for no other reason than to stop the toad (HHR) in the remote case of a break away. Incidentally, the braking system is not so much for hilly areas as it is for extremely hard braking (panic stops or close to them).

The added benefit is that a breaking system takes away the worry of individual State requirements for breaking systems on towed vehicles.

I also tow an HHR (my second). I use the USGear's Unified Tow Brake system, it has been a reliable system since 2005, and moved to several different toads that I have had.

Unified Tow Brake

I installed a switch in the HHR to make it easier to bypass fuse #8.

I will be glad to answer any other questions you have. I think there is a way for you to contact me directly thru this forum without me putting my e-mail out there for the whole world to see.

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Old 09-29-2011, 09:22 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by stik View Post
Blue Ox also states that you should not have more than a 4" drop between the motor home receiver and the HHR "tabs" . Blue Ox (and others) make receiver drops from 2" to 10". They also make a roller hitch protector. Here is a link to their page

Blue Ox Drop Receivers

I, personally, wouldn't tow with out some type of braking system, if for no other reason than to stop the toad (HHR) in the remote case of a break away. Incidentally, the braking system is not so much for hilly areas as it is for extremely hard braking (panic stops or close to them).

The added benefit is that a breaking system takes away the worry of individual State requirements for breaking systems on towed vehicles.

I also tow an HHR (my second). I use the USGear's Unified Tow Brake system, it has been a reliable system since 2005, and moved to several different toads that I have had.

Unified Tow Brake

I installed a switch in the HHR to make it easier to bypass fuse #8.

I will be glad to answer any other questions you have. I think there is a way for you to contact me directly thru this forum without me putting my e-mail out there for the whole world to see.

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I sent you a friend request...I think this is how we can email directly!
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Old 09-29-2011, 09:47 AM   #4
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Old 09-29-2011, 10:31 AM   #5
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HHR

The hitch for the Falcon 2 on our HHR has an 8-inch drop. It was professionally installed so I think it is safe. We drive a 2008 40-foot Pacifica and when the air bags are inflated we are pretty high. I can't imaging a 4-inch drop would be enough.

We had an Airforce One air brake installed for the reasons stik explained.

I also installed a switch for fuse #8 with about 6 dollars in parts. It is much nicer. The only drawback is that I occasionally hit it with my knee and accidentally activate it - you discover it when you can't remove the key.

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Old 09-29-2011, 11:55 AM   #6
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Been there, done that with respect to the switch. Mine is a small rocker switch that I put on the passenger side of the console. I am a solo full-timer so the switch isn't that much of a problem . . . unless you throw packages/grocery bags over in the passenger foot well and hit the switch, and because it is over there (kinda outta sight), ya spend a little bit trying to figure out why the key won't turn off all the way and won't come out DUH!!!
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Old 09-29-2011, 02:17 PM   #7
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I think you guys are referring to the fact that the hitch should not have than 4" difference to the base plate while towing. I don't think it refers to the drop down receiver required to be within that range. I two an HHR and use an 8" drop down receiver to tow level with the hitch.
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Old 09-29-2011, 03:50 PM   #8
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I called the Winnebago owners line and asked about this issue. What they told me was the amount of load (torque) on the receiver is increased as the drop is increased. If you exceed 4" of drop, you are effectively de-rating the receiver for the total weight you can tow.

In my case, I'm using a Blue Ox 6" drop receiver with my Sightseer 35J and a Suzuki XL-7. Now that I have all the pieces I think I could have gotten by with a 4" drop because I'm very close to level with the 6". As I was ordering the pieces, I thought I needed more drop and concluded that with the weight of the Suzuki being well under the 5,000 tow limit, I could afford for my receiver to be de-rated a little.

The other issue with larger drops is that they bottom out and drag more easily. I've dragged my tail some with the 6" drop. I can usually spot places where it's going to happen and either try to change my angle of attack or avoid it altogether.
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Old 09-29-2011, 04:25 PM   #9
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I have an '08 HHR LT1 with the rocker switch up near my right ankle. We have a 2010 Providence which has a pretty low receiver, so my blue ox only needed a 2" drop. I use a ready brake and they fixed me up with the ready brake as part of the 2" drop. The ready brake is a surge brake which satisfies all the legal issues with the different states. It is also alot less expensive than most braking systems.
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Old 09-29-2011, 04:32 PM   #10
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I have been towing a HHR since 09 and have had no problem with un level tow bar and no toad brakes. I don't think any state requires brakes onsomething less than 3500 lbs. (HHR about 3100) I installed a fuse switch and it works great. I have a blue ox tow bay (the one that stays on the motorhome)
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Old 09-29-2011, 04:39 PM   #11
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I don't think any state requires brakes onsomething less than 3500 lbs. (HHR about 3100)
Not meaning to start the tow brake war, but state law is not the only consideration. It's in the owners manual that a braking system should be in place. The nice trial attorney will happily point that out if you have an accident without equipment recommended by the manufacturer.
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Old 09-29-2011, 08:28 PM   #12
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I have been towing a HHR since 09 and have had no problem with un level tow bar and no toad brakes. I don't think any state requires brakes onsomething less than 3500 lbs. (HHR about 3100) I installed a fuse switch and it works great. I have a blue ox tow bay (the one that stays on the motorhome)
I just did a google search using "trailer brake requirements by State" - got a lot of references. I was surprised at the number of states that require brakes on 3000lb trailers/toads. I thought it would be CA and maybe one or two more, but not so, a lot of States have a 3000lb requirement and some as low as 1500 lbs. Glad I have my Unified Tow Brake. My 2010 HHR LS1 comes across the scales (without me) at 3330 lbs.
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Old 12-26-2011, 03:23 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by dajudge View Post
I have been towing a HHR since 09 and have had no problem with un level tow bar and no toad brakes. I don't think any state requires brakes onsomething less than 3500 lbs. (HHR about 3100) I installed a fuse switch and it works great. I have a blue ox tow bay (the one that stays on the motorhome)
We have a 2003 Bounder W22 and want to tow our 2010 HHR. What size drop hitch are you using?
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Old 12-26-2011, 08:55 PM   #14
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I tow a 2011 HHR with a 2008 Bounder. I use a 4" drop that has a double receiver for the bike rack and I have a roller on the bottom of that. I should be using a 6" drop but it leaves a deep groove in the pavement when I exit my subdivision. I also use the USGear's Unified Tow Brake system.
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Old 12-26-2011, 09:09 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by stik View Post
I just did a google search using "trailer brake requirements by State" - got a lot of references. I was surprised at the number of states that require brakes on 3000lb trailers/toads. I thought it would be CA and maybe one or two more, but not so, a lot of States have a 3000lb requirement and some as low as 1500 lbs. Glad I have my Unified Tow Brake. My 2010 HHR LS1 comes across the scales (without me) at 3330 lbs.
And most of those charts are totally wrong in that they specifically state they are for trailers and NOT motorized vehicles being towed by another motorized vehicle!! Some states do say a toad is a trailer, some do not.
WA, OR and CA change to a performance spec when towing another motorized vehicle, WA and CA use the same spec, OR is tougher. Stop from XX speed in XX feet and no add'l brakes required.
HOWEVER I would never tow something as heavy as another vehicle without add'l braking. Just as it takes more HP/torque to move more weight it takes add'l braking force to stop that weight.
BTW: most of those charts are based on the AAA site, which is wrong in a lot of cases.
Here is what Spartan has to say:
Quote:
"The chassis braking system is rated for the operation at the GVWR - NOT the GCWR. Separate functional brake systems should be used for safe control of towed vehicles or trailers. It is important for you to understand if there are any government (federal, state, local or other) regulations that apply to weight restrictions for the areas you plan to travel. Government restrictions could affect the size and weight of the towed item and whether an auxiliary brake system is required"
Workhorse and Ford both state that if you are towing anything weighing 1500#'s or more then you must have supplemental brakes to keep your warranty in effect.
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Old 12-27-2011, 09:14 AM   #16
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Thanks for the info. We have the M&G braking system installed on our 2005 Honda Pilot and are so pleased with it we bought one for our HHR. Is there anyone who has the M&G system on an HHR just curious as to where it is installed under the hood of HHR.
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Old 12-27-2011, 09:31 AM   #17
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In the 2011 "Next EXIT" guide it has a reference to "REQUIRED Brakes". One guide is for trailers and another guide is for MH's towing TOADS. Must inportant reason for braking systems is Stopping in Emergency Situation. If you are involved in an accident the attornies are going to sue everyone. MH MFG, TOAD, tow bar, and you. And if you don't have the aux braking system you are in BIG trouble.
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Old 12-30-2011, 11:16 PM   #18
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The Blu-Ox manual shows how the towed vehicle nose dives a little more if the towing equipment isn't level, thus wears heavily on the toads front end, especially when stoping hard. MH back end goes up a little toads front goes down a little then the recoil.
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