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Do you know your towed vehicle?

August 16, 2016 Jerad Burkhart

Transparent car diagram - apps
Well...do ya? =) There are so many amazing vehicles that are flat towable on the market, but with that there are a lot of variables. Not all towed vehicles are created equal and that is certainly true when it comes to flat towing. Once you know the variables to consider, flat towing is beyond fun! Here we go:

Floorboard Fit Floorpan Icon
Here at RVi, we guarantee our RVibrake will fit in any towed vehicle. In most towed vehicles RVibrake is a natural fit. There are some towed vehicles that require our standard stop plate that comes in the RVibrake packaging. The stop plate mounts into the legs of the seat giving RVibrake a proper stop to push against. Sometimes the stop plate needs special brackets,that we provide free of charge, to attach to the seat legs. You can see the list of vehicles HERE.

Pulling Fuses  Fuse Icon
There are some cars that require pulling fuses for towing. Although most car manufacturers don't divulge the reasons for pulling fuses, most of the time this is to reduce battery drain on the towed vehicle. Many towed vehicles have to put the ignition in ACC mode for towing. Doing this energizes some of the electronics in the dash causing the towed battery to deplete quickly. This often affects the stock 12V outlet removing the power source for RVibrake. We have two products to compensate for this: 
  1. 12V Battery Direct Kit: This gives you a dedicated 12V outlet that runs directly off of the towed battery, bypassing the towed's computer and fuse panel.
  2. Towed Battery Charger: This allows the motorhome to keep your towed vehicles battery topped off and in many cases alleviates the need to pull the fuse in the first place. 
To see which towed vehicles are affected, click HERE.
Disconnecting the Battery  Battery Icon
Some manufacturers require that you disconnect the negative cable from the towed battery for towing. In these cases we recommend two products:
  1. 12V Battery Direct Kit: This gives you a dedicated 12V outlet that runs directly off of the towed battery, bypassing the towed's computer and fuse panel.
  2. Towed Battery Disconnect: This gives you a dial to turn that disconnects the negative cable from the battery. 
To see which towed vehicles are affected, click HERE.

Ignition Position  Key Icon
Most towed vehicles have to put the ignition in ACC mode for flat towing. This results in the towed vehicle's battery depleting quickly. The most popular vehicles with this issue are Honda's, specifically the CR-V; and GM's, specifically the Equinox/Terrain/SRX platform. In these cases the manufacturer will require that you stop after a period of time for two reasons; the first being to run through the gears to re-lubricate the transmission, and second to top off the towed vehicle battery. For these cars we recommend the Towed Battery Charger. You will still need to stop when the manufacturer recommends to run through the gears, but you will have peace of mind that your battery is ready to go. To see which towed vehicles are affected, click HERE.

Electronics Timer  Timer Icon
Ford, in recent years, has started making vehicles with an "Electronics Timer". This means that after a period time (ie. 15 minutes or 60 minutes) all electronics shut down on the vehicle if the key is not in proximity. This is a great feature, but super frustrating for towed vehicle owners. The fix for this is the 12V Battery Direct Kit which allows you to bypass the towed vehicle's computer and receive power at all times for RVibrake. This issue may become more popular with other manufacturers in time. To see which towed vehicles are affected, click HERE.

Steering Pump Steering Wheel Icon
On the Jeep Cherokee '14-'16, there is something called a "Death Wobble" when flat towing. You can see it in action HERE. This is due to an electronic steering pump not being engaged when in tow mode. Fiat Chrysler Automotives (FAC), Jeep's parent company, has a solution and issued a service bulletin, seen HERE, to address the issue. FAC is paying to have the Wiring Kit, part# 68321424AA, installed in vehicles manufactured previous to Feb 24, 2016. If your Cherokee is manufactured after the 24th, then the Wiring Kit comes stock. The issue after the Wiring Kit is installed is that it depletes the towed battery in 2-3 hours. For this issue we recommend the Towed Battery Charger.

Brake Type Brake Pedal Icon
We get questions all the time about whether a vehicle has vacuum brakes or active brakes. Cars with vacuum brake systems use a master booster mounted to the firewall  that provides assist when braking. Vacuum is only present when the engine runs filling the master booster. Most cars have vacuum brake systems.

Cars with active brake systems have constant assist on the brake pedal, regardless of whether the engine is running or not. Hybrids and diesel cars primarily have active brake systems.

This is not a comprehensive list, but it should get you on the right track.

 

Happy RVing!

-The RVi Crew



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6 comments

  • Jerad

    Aug 23, 2016

    Chuck Matule, the driveshaft disconnect reference is only for Frontiers with automatic transmission.

  • Jim Hinson

    Aug 20, 2016

    We love you guys!

  • chuck matule

    Aug 19, 2016

    On the 2015 Frontier Manual I’ve never disconnected the drive line & things seem to work fine. Is this something new or the 2016 – 2017 models?

  • Tom RAaf

    Aug 18, 2016

    Going on three years now with the rvi system with nothing but great times. I made the right choice when i chose RVI.
    THANKS

    Tom Raaf

  • Roger Hurt

    Aug 17, 2016

    I could be doing something wrong BUT I own a 2008 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon (not listed) and I have to place the ignition key in the ACC position to get the steering wheel to unlock. This turns on several items that I can’t turn off (i.e. dash lights & security system) and combined with the RViBrake2 system, will run the battery down after about 6 hours of continuous towing… this has occurred twice. To mitigate the problem, I installed the RVi towed charging system. TBD if it solves the problem… I’ve got my fingers crossed.



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