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Old 11-29-2022, 08:53 AM   #1
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TOAD towing without Aux Braking?

I know this issue has been discussed a lot, but I didn't find an answer to my specific question.
I have a 2022 Adventurer 35f. I'm looking at a Chevy Spark or a Ford Fiesta as a TOAD. The spark weighs 2,278 lbs and the Fiesta weighs 2,537.
The laws in SC (and almost every state) mandate braking systems on anything over 3,000lbs.
Does anyone here pull a lightweight TOAD without a supplemental braking system?
I'm pretty sure I know what the majority of the responses will be, so please don't beat me up too much!
It's not a cost issue as much as it is a convenience concern. I have some physical issues that make it a bit difficult to repeatedly bend or get on my knees.
Thanks in advance for any input.
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Old 11-29-2022, 09:20 AM   #2
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My totally non-mechanical wife and I tag team the whole process. She dives the car up behind the RV. I direct her into position. While I connect the towbar she puts the car in neutral tow mode, then she grabs the Brake Buddy puts it in position and connects it to the brake pedal.

When we first got the BB I would puta kneeling pad on the ground and do that job, but she saw how easy it was and said she’d be fine doing that job while I did the outside work.

I’ll be 73 in a few months and bending over or getting down on my knees is super difficult any more. Using the knee pad and car door/seat for support made that job of getting down and up pretty easy. But, it’s not an issue for my wife.

Together we can hook up or unhook in less than 5-mins. In a hurry I’d bet we can do it in three minutes or less.

What I’d tell you is to stop considering towing without auxiliary braking.

PS. When we got a Class C motorhome in 2015 we bought a Fiat 500 for a toad. It was light enough to skip Aux braking but folks told us don’t even think about it. That was good advice. We sold the Fiat after a year because it wasn’t a great car to dive when we got the RV to our destination.
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Old 11-29-2022, 11:26 AM   #3
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Consider the knee problem as common and then deal with what we have to deal!

But then when we look at what is more trouble, I fall back to wanting as little hassle and confusion as possible and going for braking seems better to me.

Looking at alternates, do we want to figure how to connect the brakes or do we want to have to check and possibly alter the route if we suddenly decide to go somewhere?
I want my RV to be legal , at minimum, for evey place I might decide top go!
And I do not want to get down to the month(week?) before a trip and have to get something ready that may take a month to get installed!

I did not check the laws in this examplem, so it may seem sily but consider how you would feel if you wanted to go from North Carolina to Florida but had to avoid South Carolina and Georgia? What if you want to go from Kansas to Texas and can't go through Oklahoma or Missouri? See the point?

I just simply do not want to have to check the laws every time I plan a trip, so the wife can easily do the brakes when I get to that point!

I also don't want to deal with my tow car running down a parade, etc, as that would be far worse!
I'll slit my wrist before risking that memory if I know I could have done better.
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Old 11-29-2022, 12:41 PM   #4
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I tow a Honda Fit (similar size as Fiesta). I use the RVI brake, but I never have to kneel to install. I sit in the drivers seat to install. There is some bending so if that's the barrier you might want to try a passive brake system (once installed you never have to touch it). https://www.roadmasterinc.com/produc...rake/index.php

I have never used this system, but it would seem to be the solution for you.
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Old 11-30-2022, 06:16 AM   #5
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I towed a Honda Fit Sport. It weighed less than 3,000 pounds, empty. I installed an SMI (now Demco) Stay-in-Play Duo braking system in the Fit. Once installed, I only had to throw a toggle switch to activate the braking system. No bending, twisting or lifting was needed.

There are other permanent-install braking systems available. One that seems highly-recommended is the NSA Ready Brake/Ready Brute system. It uses a cable attached to the towbar to pull on the toad brake pedal. For some cars, installing the cable through the firewall may be difficult.

In my opinion, there are two reasons to have a toad braking system:

1) Anything that shortens the stopping distance of coach and toad will eventually save you grief (In my case, that grief would have occurred in the middle of a bridge over the Susquehanna River in Maryland.)

2) A braking system should stop the toad if a breakaway happens.
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Old 12-02-2022, 02:34 PM   #6
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OK, a brake system it is. Kinda a non issue for sure as we've nixed a subcompact. Off topic, but now deciding between a Subaru Forester 6 speed manual or a Jeep Wrangler. Any advice will help!
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Old 12-04-2022, 05:25 PM   #7
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I have toad my parents Honda accord on a tow dolly for several years. No brakes on the tow dolly. Never knew I didnít have the additional braking. Before you all jump on me about it. It is what it is and the Motorhome and the tow dolly have been sold. I was probably over the 3000 lb limit.
On the other hand. In every state in the USA the laws of the registered state of the vehicle prevail. If your state is 3k and another is 2k. You are legal due to your stateís requirements
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Old 12-04-2022, 07:11 PM   #8
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My personal choice is to always have an a braking system on my TOAD and to tow 4 wheels down. I started with a two wheel dolly, but it is such a pain to get ready to tow. I am 72 and really don't like laying on the ground if I can find a better way. 4 wheels down is definitely a better way.

In my mind, there are two options to get it done for 4 wheel down towing:

Option 1 is a portable version you install each time you tow. Nice and portable between cars. But it does take additional time to set up each time you tow.

Option 2 is to get a permanently installed. This option is more difficult to transfer to another car, but it much easier to set up each time you drive.

just one guy's opinion.
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Old 12-05-2022, 06:30 AM   #9
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Subaru Forester

Quote:
Originally Posted by 202235f View Post
OK, a brake system it is. Kinda a non issue for sure as we've nixed a subcompact. Off topic, but now deciding between a Subaru Forester 6 speed manual or a Jeep Wrangler. Any advice will help!
We have towed a 2016 Forester for years with no problems. We have a Blue Ox tow bar and baseplate and use the RVI Brake and tire pressure monitoring system.
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Old 12-05-2022, 06:37 AM   #10
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Like others have said -- getting old is not for the weak! I'm 73 also and don't much care for squats. We installed the SMI Stay-and-Play Duo. It's a permanent mount, but it really is easy to use. Just flip one switch under the dash to turn it on, then go through your normal connect sequence. We also use the Roadmaster Nighthawk tow bar and base plates. The whole process takes only five minutes, even alone (it really helps that our toad has a front camera), and I only have to bend down to make the connections, not squat.

FWIW, when our system was first installed, it was improperly adjusted and not working when braking. So I drove the first 1,000 miles towing with no toad brakes. Once I realized that and adjusted it properly, it became pretty clear that having the toad brakes working makes the whole unit brake smoother. It also means that, if you have to panic brake, the toad will stop just as quick and not be prone to jack-knife.

Now at over 18,000 miles towing with no problems.
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Old 12-05-2022, 10:02 AM   #11
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I'm about the age of you old folks. I'm only 76 for the time being. We tow a 2018 Chevy Equinox with automatic transmission. We use the Ready Brake. It is simple and all I have to do is connect a small cable to the car while connection the electrical for the lights. It's all right there together. There is no "on the knees" position.
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Old 12-05-2022, 10:37 AM   #12
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Get one of these and simplify your braking without bending and kneeling.
https://www.amazon.com/NSA-RV-Produc...17711998&psc=1
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Old 12-05-2022, 11:57 AM   #13
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There has been a lot of confusion in this topic as many laws are related to TRAILER towing. A toad is not a trailer. While it is smart to have braking capability from what I have read over the years there is a chance to tow WITHOUT aux braking but it requires you to be able to accellerate to X mph and apply the coach brakes and stop within a specified distance. I believe Kalifornia has this requirement on its website and there are a few others that also have it. Sorry its just been too long since I researched this issue. I tow a 2013 Hyundai Elantra, the guy I got the coach from gave me all his accessories to include the brake system. I do have a brand new brake system for sale if you do plan to install one. Also BEFORE committing to one of the small cars make sure you take one out and evaluate it for your needs. Some are just too under powered to be used as my son in laws mother had a Hyundai aspect and said it was dangerous as it could not get out of its own way, and I have heard these comments about others. The elantra BTW is only about 2800 lbs, has a good wide stance and wheel base so tows really well. Also it has plenty of interior room to go with it. Just have to have a manual trans to tow it.
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Old 12-05-2022, 12:00 PM   #14
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Well, I am 86 and still use a Brake Buddy. Both of us have back problems and arthritis in our hands. I had one experience where I was towing a boat less than 3,000 lbs behind a 42' RV with an excellent air braking system. It was raining and the car in front of me slammed on his brakes unexpectedly. I was what I thought was a safe distance behind...I was able to steer the skid off to the side of the car, but I had visions of demolishing that car in front. And fortunately there was no car in the left lane beside me. Never again would I want to have that feeling. Would have trailer brakes helped--maybe not, but I don't want to find out.

Even if your system is "legal" in your state, and not "legal" in other states (3000 lbs vs 1500 lbs, or in some states even less). I wonder how that would play in a court of law, where there was a death or debilitating injury. Jury verdicts in this type of case can go into the many millions, perhaps more than what your insurance would pay.
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Old 12-05-2022, 12:06 PM   #15
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TOAD

Towed a GEO Tracker for years, absolutely brake system believer. Physics, you want the towed vehicle to exhibit a slight drag (maintaining straight line) especially under emergency braking. Leave Carlsbad 78 degrees, turn west at Cloudcroft blizzard touch the brake the toad needs drag not dependent upon single flexible connection point! Trust me on that one too many years towing jet boats, didn't plan for blizzard, but the same is true during rain.

I presently tow a 4dr Jeep Wrangler, just because I don't trust electronics, Jeep JK/J? uses old manual neutral gate transfer case. Transfer in "neutral", transmission in "park".

Adding brake and lighting harness on JK uses the existing firewall clutch rubber plugged hole for great easily accessible path (NO DRILL). Everyone that mentions manual transmission, I suggest drilling holes in firewall can be very expensive, definitely inconvenient.

Happy trails...
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Old 12-06-2022, 06:02 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 202235f View Post
I know this issue has been discussed a lot, but I didn't find an answer to my specific question.
I have a 2022 Adventurer 35f. I'm looking at a Chevy Spark or a Ford Fiesta as a TOAD. The spark weighs 2,278 lbs and the Fiesta weighs 2,537.
The laws in SC (and almost every state) mandate braking systems on anything over 3,000lbs.
Does anyone here pull a lightweight TOAD without a supplemental braking system?
I'm pretty sure I know what the majority of the responses will be, so please don't beat me up too much!
It's not a cost issue as much as it is a convenience concern. I have some physical issues that make it a bit difficult to repeatedly bend or get on my knees.
Thanks in advance for any input.

Family safety trumps everything else, including convenience and abilities.
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Old 12-07-2022, 07:08 PM   #17
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Many thanks for the helpful responses. After planning a small toad we decided to go a very different way. We drove a few sub compacts and decided that wasn't going to work for us. I needed an everyday driver that we could also tow with the bus or go on other non rv trips.

So, we bought a 2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara. Full blue ox tow package, Ascent tow bar, base plate and Patriot braking system.

Thanks again for the input!
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Old 12-08-2022, 03:44 AM   #18
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It's 4,277 to 4,921 lbs, but I bet you will enjoy it. You will definitely know it's behind you. I used to tow a 1999 Jeep Wrangler with the diesel pusher.
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Old 12-08-2022, 05:49 AM   #19
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You may want to look at the weight label in your coach. According to the 2023 Adventurer 35F specs:

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR): 22,000 pounds
Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR): 26,000 pounds

If:

1) Your coach is loaded to its GVWR (that is, Gross Vehicle Weight equals GVWR), and
2) The toad weighs more than 4,000 pounds (in towing condition), then

your coach and toad will exceed the GCWR.

You also want to ensure you stay within the maximum horizontal tow rating for the coach. It may be less than the hitch rating (which for this size/type of coach would typically be 5,000 pounds).

The best way to know if you are within your ratings is to fully load the coach and toad and weigh them individually on a scale.
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Old 12-08-2022, 07:20 AM   #20
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The chassis is tow rated for 5K lbs. Towing a vehicle adds virtually no weight to the chassis unless it requires a weight distribution hitch. Essentially no tounge weight or cargo weight added to the chassis.

Jeep scale weight is 4,390 with a full tank of gas.

The horizontal hitch limit is + or - 3 inches. With the appropriate equipment we will be inside of that.

At least that's my understanding. It's not too late to change strategy if I'm wrong!

The Jeep Wrangler is the single most common toad on the road. I put a lot of thought and research into this purchase. I really hope I didn't make a mistake.

Safety first always! But the Jeep is a bucket list item if it does work....

Thanks again everyone.
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