RV Tow Bar Upgrade -> Our Snazzy New Roadmaster Sterling All-Terrain!
PRE-POST NOTE/ Today we take a brief break from our NY travel tales to update you on our towing set-up. For those that like these kinds of posts, enjoy! For those that don’t, we’ll be back to our regular programming shortly 🙂
We’ve been towing a Honda CR-V behind our RV with a Roadmaster tow bar ever since we started living on the road ~8 years ago, and we couldn’t really imagine traveling any other way.
Our tow car allows us to set-up “the beast” in camp and then we just hop around town (sight-see, grocery shop etc.) with our much-more-nimble and fuel-efficient Honda. Without it we’d be forced to go everywhere in the big rig which would likely mean missing out on quite a lot of stuff.
Plus it would make practical stuff like taking the animals to the vet, getting to the airport (flying home), going to the laundromat, or picking up mail at the post office so much more complicated. Having a tow car makes all of this infinitely easier!
Of course those of you who follow the blog also know that we had a towing accident last fall. It was a scary, scary time and although we had some damage to both the RV and car, we were incredibly lucky that no-one was hurt.
It definitely rattled us, as these things do and it certainly made us re-think our tow procedures, but it never changed our love of having a tow car, nor our confidence in our tow bar. Plus, although much hassle came out of our accident it got us talking with Roadmaster who thoroughly impressed us with their customer service. And, after talking with them for a while we were given the opportunity to review and test of one of their newer bars. It was the good that came out of the bad.
We’ve now had 4 months of intense testing/use of the new bar, so we can finally update our blog readers on our experience. Bottom line is that we LOVE our new bar and would recommend it to anyone! So, with that said lets jump into the review:
Video Overview (And Shout-Out)
If you prefer to see our review in living color, including some general info on towing, the un-boxing of the bar, the installation and how we hook and unhook the car, etc. then check out our ~20 min video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01A1uMZBOdI
Also, before I get into the nitty gritty I want to take a moment to give a shout-out to some fellow RVers who’ve helped us along our own tow bar journey, and that’s The RV Geeks. They have several excellent Roadmaster videos on their YouTube Channel, including a comprehensive review of the snazzy new Roadmaster Nighthawk. Plus they have all kinds of other useful RV “how to” and maintenance videos on their channel too. We are big fans, and once you start watching their videos I think you will be too.
Our Accident Changed Two Of Our Towing Procedures
The towing accident we had last year taught us a lot.
For those who didn’t read the original blog post what we believe happened is that someone pulled the thin R-clips from our tow bar pins while we were on the 2-hour ferry from Ocracoke to Cedar Island, NC. We had easy-to-remove R-type clips, and (unfortunately) didn’t re-check our connections before we got off the ferry. Over the next ~30 miles the main pin slowly worked it’s way out, and when the car finally came loose and slammed into the RV both clips were gone, so we’re almost 100% sure this is what happened.
We never imagined anyone would do something as potentially lethal as this until it happened to us (or until so many readers posted about it in the blog comments!), but now we know and it’s changed two important things in our towing procedure
- We’ve Changed To Locking Pins: We now use locking pins on our tow bar. Our old R-type pins are gone and have been replaced with 1/2″ Trimax Locking Pins (regular steel version TRZ52 is available on Amazon, or you can buy the stainless steel version SXTRZ52 thro’ Trimax website)
- We’ve Incorporated More En-Route Checks: We now double-check all our tow connections every single time we stop (for gas, for a ferry, for stretching our legs, whatever), and we follow the exact same procedure as when we first hook-up. So before we leave a stop, we’ll both walk around the car, physically wiggle the connections/locks, and check the key is still in the car ignition (in neutral). We each check separately, so we always have two physical checks.
But We Stayed With Roadmaster!
One thing that did not change as a result of our accident, however, was the brand of tow bar we use.
There are basically two “big” guys in RV tow bar biz -> Roadmaster and Blue Ox and they both have good reputations. You’ll see RVers using both and you’ll see RVers recommending both, and they both offer bars with similar types of features. I honestly don’t think you can go wrong with either company.
But I have to admit that our personal experience with Roadmaster has made us firm fans.
Throughout our whole accident ordeal last year, Roadmaster customer service was top notch. They responded to us when we reached out to them, helped us review the accident photos and even checked & refurbished our tow bar at their factory. Their tow bar was not the reason we had our accident (our pulled pins were), yet they remained responsive and helpful throughout our whole ordeal, offering to help in any way possible. Their customer service was exemplary and it really stuck with me. So, several months later when we got the chance to review one of their newer tow bars, we jumped at the chance.
We Flat Tow (Or Tow “Four Down”)
Before I get into the specifics of our particular tow bar I do want to touch very quickly on the way we tow. I’ve written about this topic before, so I won’t go into too many details, but I’ll re-touch on the top-level stuff.
There are basically three ways to tow a car behind a motorhome:
- Use A Trailer: You tow your car inside a separate trailer attached to the back of your rig.
- Use A Tow Dolly: The front two wheels of your car are lifted off the ground and attached to a tow dolly behind your RV.
- Flat Tow: You tow your vehicle using a tow bar behind your RV. This is also called “four down” towing, since all four wheels of the car are on the ground.
There are distinct advantages and disadvantages to each method. For example folks with classic (vintage) cars often trailer tow so their car is protected (from the elements, rocks etc.), but trailers are bulky to store in camp and can be heavy too. Folks with cars that have non-towable transmissions often chose to dolly tow since it’s less expensive and typically no special modifications to the car are needed, but then you have an extra piece of equipment to carry around (and store in camp) plus it can be a bit of a hassle (drive car onto the dolly, install straps, re-tighten straps after you’ve driven a bit etc.)
Our Clear Preference Is Flat-Towing: Our absolute preference, and the preference of most fulltime RVers we know is flat-towing. Flat-towing is the most compact way to tow (zero extra equipment to store in camp), it’s the easiest/fastest way to tow (just hook-up and go!) and we’ve never considered towing any other way.
It Does Cost Some $$: If you decide to flat-tow you’ll need to install a base-plate on your car, plus you’ll need to buy the tow bar. Finally, you’ll need to decide on supplemental braking (see below). The total can easily run upwards of ~$1500.
Plus Your Car Has To Be Capable: We already owned our 2008 Honda CR-V before we got on the road, and we were very lucky in that it was flat-towable from the get-go* with no modifications needed. You simply have to run through the gears after you hook-up (there’s a specific tow procedure in the Honda manual) and you’re good to go. Not all cars are this easy, and some may require transmission modifications in order to be flat-towable. Motor Home Magazine publishes an annual list of dingy-towable vehicles.
*NOTE1/ Older Honda CR-V’s are all flat-towable, but newer models are unfortunately not! Starting around 2015 or so Honda changed the transmission on the CR-V’s to CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) which do not have a manual transmission option. So, if you want a flat-towable CR-V look for a 2014 or older model.
We Also Have A Supplemental Brake
When you flat-tow a car behind an RV, one of the additional choices you’ll have to make is whether or not you want to add a supplemental braking system.
There are many different kinds and prices of supplemental brakes out there, and once again I’m not going to go into all the details, but basically they all do a similar thing which is engage the brake in your car when you engage brake in your RV. And personally I do think it’s a “must have”. Having a supplemental brake may not make much of a difference while you’re moving, but it definitely affects how quickly you come to a stop both at lights and in an emergency. We’ve disengaged ours (to try it out) and can physically feel the difference even with our little 3,500 lb Honda on the back. It’s significant!
We’ve used a US Gear Braking System since 2010 and we absolutely love it. It’s integrated into the car (no need to put anything in the car when you hook-up) and offers both vacuum assist and proportional braking (sensed via deceleration rate of the coach). Plus it alarms loudly if anything is off.
Tips To Choosing a Tow Bar (And Why We Chose The Roadmaster Sterling)
The original tow bar that we’ve used on our RV for the past 8 years is a Roadmaster Falcon All-Terrain. It’s a non-binding, motorhome-mounted tow bar and has worked well for us. For our new tow bar we decided to stick with the same basic product type, but take a step up to the Roadmaster Sterling All-Terrain Tow Bar. There were several key features we looked at when making that choice:
Sufficient Weight Rating – The first thing about choosing a tow bar is that it must be able to handle the weight of the car you’re planning to tow. Our Honda CR-V only weighs around 3,500 lbs so our old tow bar (original Roadmaster Falcon 6,000lb capacity) as well as our new tow bar (Roadmaster Sterling 8,000lb capacity) both have more than enough capacity to handle tow our vehicle. When you chose your bar, make sure it’s the rated to handle your car weight**!
Motorhome versus Car Mount – You can buy bars that mount on either your motorhome or your car, and the only thing that really affects is where the bar is stored when it’s disconnected. We MUCH prefer a motorhome mount. I think it’s a much cleaner/neater set-up in that the bar stores neatly behind the RV when you’re parked, so you can drive your tow car around without a big object hanging in the front. Our old tow bar was motorhome-mounted and our new one is too.
Ease Of Connection – The next thing to look at is ease of connection. Most modern tow bars have individually extendable arms (telescoping arms) which make them super easy to hook-up. This means your car doesn’t have to be perfectly positioned to your RV when you hook-up. You simply drive your car close(ish) to the RV and then each tow bar arm can be extended and connected individually, even if you’re closer on one side than the other. Older bars didn’t have this flexibility (which made RV/car alignment a nightmare), but modern ones do . Nice, smooth, extendable arms are a definite “must have” in any tow bar, and both of our Roadmaster bars have had this feature.
Ease Of Disconnection – Being able to disconnect easily is just as important! Once your RV starts moving your tow bar arms will fully extend and “lock” in position into a rigid A-frame arrangement. When you stop you need to “release” that lock to disconnect the arms and allow them to move again. With older bars this was often a hassle involving quite a bit of physical heaving and cursing, but many modern bars have “quick release” levers that simply pull up to release the lock. Our old Roadmaster bar had an awesome quick-release (we loved it) and our new Sterling release is EVEN easier to use (one finger, literally). Quick Release is a key feature that you definitely want!
- Ease Of Storage – Our Roadmaster bar (both old and new) store easily on the back of our RV. We just contract the arms, set the arms in place in the storage bracket, flip them to the side (rest position) and cover. Once the tow bar is stored it takes up almost no space at all and doesn’t impact where or how we can park our RV. Plus we can safely drive with it like that too. You literally don’t even notice it’s there!
The other features that we specifically liked about the Sterling bar were:
Cool Design & Materials – This is just geeky stuff, but I really liked the fact that the Sterling is made of 6061 T6 aluminium (aircraft-grade stuff) and the bar is extruded into an “eggshell” design. It makes for a really light, but really strong bar design. Plus, then you can argue about how to say “aluminium” 🙂
- Integrated Channel For Cables – The other thing we really liked about the Sterling design was the integrated channel for all our cables. In our old tow bar only the safety cables were threaded through the bar, but in the new bar the brake cable is also threaded through. It just means less stuff “hanging outside” the bar when you hook-up and makes the whole thing a little neater/easier to both install and store.
**NOTE2/ If you decide to tow a vehicle behind your RV, you must ALSO make sure you RV can handle the weight of the tow!! This involves knowing both the actual weight of your RV (your current weight) as well as the total Carrying Capacity (GCWR) of your RV. Knowing these numbers is important not only for general safety, but also for determining the correct tire pressure (for your RV tires) as well as deciding how much you are able to load up and tow with your RV. We weighed our RV as soon as we got it, and recommend you do the same. Don’t overload your RV and don’t tow more than your RV/engine can handle.
Installation Was Simple
Receipt and installation of the tow bar was super simple. It arrived via UPS ground (took 5-7 days) with everything included in the box:
- 2″ Hitch Bar: The Sterling bar came with a 2-inch hitch bar which matches the receiver on the back of our RV.
- Blue Ox Ends Installed: We have a Blue Ox-type baseplate on our car, so Roadmaster replaced their standard Roadmaster ends with Blue Ox-compatible ends (this is an easy mod that you can ask for by ordering part number 586***).
- Cables Pre-Threaded: The Sterling bar has all the necessary cables (7-pin brake/power cable and safety cables) already pre-installed through the tow bar channels, so there was literally nothing to add after-the-fact.
- Tow Bar Pins Included: The bar came with the two regular “R-type” pins (the pins that attach the bar arms to your car) which I personally recommend replacing with padlocks or locking pins. (Note/ You can buy a padlock set directly from Roadmaster, or buy a locking pins separately from Amazon or any of several other online stores)
- Tow Bar Cover: A nice, sturdy cover was included in the box. We always cover our bar (when parked) and the new cover is easy to both put on and remove.****
For installation all we had to do was remove (unlock) the hitch pin on our old tow bar, pull out the old bar and re-insert the new bar one in its place. Then we just re-inserted and re-locked the hitch pin and voila, we were done! It was literally the easiest RV install we’ve ever done.
***NOTE3/ If you’re ordering a brand new Sterling Tow Bar you can order with either the standard Roadmaster ends (part number 576) or the Blue Ox ends (part number 586). You can also order the Blue Ox adapters separately (part number 031-5).
****NOTE4/ The Tow Bar Cover is an extra order and not part of the standard tow bar “kit” (part number 055-3).
And It’s Been Great!
We’ve been using the new bar for over 4 months now and have absolutely nothing to report, which is exactly what I was hoping for! We love how easy it is to connect and disconnect (that new quick-release latch is awesome) and we love that all our cables are integrated into the bar. Plus we do think it looks rather cool (aluminium you know). Bottom line is it’s super easy to use and we expect many more years of worry-free towing.
I think if you’re considering a new tow bar, you can’t go wrong with Roadmaster, both for the quality of the product and the customer service.
Got car towing questions? Or any specific questions on our tow bar? Feel free to shoot ’em into the comments below and we’ll do our best to answer them!
Related Blog Posts:
- Blog Post -> All About Dingy Towing Part I – Toads
- Blog Pots -> All About Dingy Towing Part II -Tow Equipment And Supplemental Brakes
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in this blog post may be affiliate links, so, if you click on the link and make a purchase, I will receive a commission. Amazon, the Amazon logo, AmazonSupply, and the AmazonSupply logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. WheelingIt is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
We LOooVE Comments, So Please Do
Cyn B says
Nina, just fyi. We have been towing a Jeep Wrangler for a couple years and use a Roadmaster. We started with the locking cap in fear of what happened to you. Unfortunately though, after about 8 months of use our locks started to get very difficult to unlock – they were freezing up. It got so bad we changed to the tried and true cotter pin. We are checking each time we head out to be sure all is secure — fingers crossed.
Totally understand. The cotter pins do work, and admittedly we towed with them without issue for 8 years. I think if you incorporate en-route checks (after every stop) you’ll minimize your chances of anything malicious happening.
Jim Fitzpatrick says
I love my Roadmaster. I recently became a full timer. I have a Georgetown Class A and tow a Honda Fit manual transmission 4 down. I got the Sterling All Terrain tow bar, and the Invisibrake. Roadmaster installed it all in Vancouver WA (at their HQ where they are built), and did a thorough explanation of how to use it. I have about 2500 miles on it over the last 2 months….I love it. It takes me 5 minutes to hook it up, and about 3 to unhook and be ready to go. I would 100 percent recommend Roadmaster to anyone who tows a car.
Completely with you. I also love that I can hook-up and un-hook by myself so easily. There’s been several times I’ve had to move the RV on my own and our Roadmaster tow bar has made the towing portion of that super easy. It takes mere minutes each time.
Jim Fitzpatrick says
And I totally agree with the locking pins. I don’t even have to check (although I do) that the bars/hitch etc are secure. I have the only key.
Great summary of tow bar selection!
In regard to the tow vehicle braking system I think liability is an even more important reason to have one. A braking system is mandatory in most states and Canada, if you don’t have one and your tow breaks away and hurts someone your liability insurance probably won’t cover you because you are breaking the law.
Also, FYI I discovered recently that the Roadmaster and Blue Ox electrical cables are wired slightly differently. The 12 volt power feed and Brake Controller wires are reversed (on different pins) between the two brands at the tow vehicle end of the cable, so beware if you are converting from one system to the other. The easiest way to work around that (if you are even using those wires) is to swap them in the cable itself. At least with the Blue Ox cable it is an easy mod.
Good point on liability. And I didn’t know about the 12V power pins were different between those two brands. Thanks for pointing that out.
Jay Grigsby says
Hello and thank you for all the posts you have put up, they have been very helpful. We look forward to them and this is the first time we have thanked you. I do have a quick question on your Roadmaster tow bar that you blogged on. The new one you purchased has the 7-pin on the RV side but what is on the toad side? I have the Roadmaster but would like to upgrade and I too am a believer in Roadmaster. Thank you in advance..Jay Grigsby
It’s 6-pin on the tow side. So it’s a 7 to 6 pin connector.
Jay Grigsby says
Thank you for the info. I have a four pin going into my jeep.
Roadmaster also has a 4-wire coil in their product selection, so I’d ask them if they can wire that into whatever new tow bar you decide on. Don’t know if that’s possible, but it’s worth an ask.
Jay Grigsby says
Thank you Nina, I will remember that.
Tracey Wright says
My parents used to own our RV and CR-V. They had the same issue with the tow bar cotter pins twice, with the car coming off and smashing into the back of the RV on a busy highway, damaging both vehicles. They were lucky that was the worst that happened. It scared them so much and had them so rattled that they almost gave up RVing over it. Since using a locking pin, it has never come off again. We’d never use anything other than the locking pin.
So very, very scary and I can’t believe your parents went through it twice! I’m glad the locking pins solved their issue. What a story!
Joe Myers says
Great article. I use a Demco towbar and the Air Force One supplemental brake. I presently use pins and have very little extra room once the coiled steel cables are hooked up. I am going to double up on my inspections thanks to your experience. Do you have any interference between components once you’re fully hooked up? The locking pins look like they add extra length. Btw, we were threatening to go full-time upon my retirement at the end of the year. Well, we’ve determined that we love the winters too much to full-time. We bought a place in Driggs, Idaho and will ski during the winter, hitting the road every spring heading to New Orleans for JazzFest, and then points to be determined after that. Please email us when you’re close to Grand Teton or Yellowstone. You’re welcome to dry camp on our property any time. We do have electricity.
No interference between anything when we’re hooked up, and the locking pins haven’t added any extra length compared to our previous setup. We’ve always had the Blue Ox ends on our tow bar, so the connection (where the pins go through) has always been in the same place, if you see what I mean.
Your part-time RV plan sounds perfect. Winter skiing, followed by summer traveling. Awesome! And cheers very much indeed for the camping offer! We love that area, so we may well come back that way sometime.
Look forward to meeting you guys in the future. I love your blog.
Thank you for such a great and detailed report. We have had a Roadmaster towbar since 1996, and have been using it continuously since we went full-timing in 2008. I agree that the company’s customer service is exemplary. Every year or two, we drop in to the factory in Vancouver, Washington where they give the hitch and our Honda a thorough inspection, all at no charge.
We are planning an upgrade to our hitch soon (after all, it has literally tens of thousands of miles on it, no – hundred thousand plus miles). Your review has helped us make the decision.
Always enjoy your thoughtful writing.
Jeannie @ RVJeannie.blogspot.com
Since 1996! That’s impressive! Wonderful to hear you’ve had such a great experience, and glad I could give you some pointers on an upgrade.
Erik & Jeanne says
Super helpful post, Nina! Thanks for sharing your experiences and solid recommendations with us all!
Erik & Jeanne
Great comments about the locking pins and encounters checks. I call those my “pre-drive walk around” and I do a full one before leaving each stop. Old habits die hard for us pilots:).
One thing I did not see mentioned. Do not forget a locking pin in your receiver hitch for the tow air itself. Besides the safety aspects, this also provides theft protection when it is just sitting there on your coach when you are parked. I have heard stories and have one on mine. For what a tow bar costs, a locking receiver pin is a cheap purchase. OBTW, I bought my locks on Amazon and the come with all three keyed to the same key
Yes, good point which I forgot to mention in the blog post (but which we did go over in the video). We’ve had a locking pin on our receiver hitch ever since we started RVing, so our old bar had one, and our new one does too. It’s a simple and inexpensive thing to add, and I recommend it for everyone. Thanks for pointing that out.
Thanks so much for the shout out Nina & Paul! And for the awesome overview of a great product. We’re so happy you love your Roadmaster tow bar as much as we love ours, but not surprised. Since we had to fight so often with our Blue Ox to get it disconnected during our first 13 years on the road, we thought that’s just the way tow bars work. The only reason we weren’t dissatisfied all that time is because we didn’t know any better.
Having visited the Roadmaster factory and seeing first-hand the incredibly robust construction of their tow bars and base plates gives us an added level of confidence. Everything they make is over-engineered and built, and amazingly elegant, too. And you’re not kidding about their customer service. They are tops.
By the way, our “friends” that we mentioned in our first Roadmaster video (the ones who looked at us like we were crazy for planning a special video to teach people how to disconnect a bound tow bar)… that was Nikki & Jason! LOL
Miss you both,
Peter & John
Cheers for the comment RVGeeks! I do wish we’d had the chance to visit Roadmaster at their factory. We’ll definitely drop by next time we’re in the area.
Jodee Gravel says
We love our Roadmaster Sterling – having the cables inside the bars was a big selling point for us. I always love reading about good customer service too, although we haven’t needed to contact Roadmaster. After your towing accident I’m much more diligent about checking our pins if (rarely) we stop en route. Thanks for another great post! Given some of the places you take the Beast, the “all terrain” part is a good idea :-)))
Indeed!! All-terrain us pretty much a requirement for us, and we really do put our tow bars through the wringer. Glad to hear you love your tow bar too.
Patrick A51 says
Jodee & Nina
Having the Cable Integrated into the Tow Bar is what was the Major selling point for us on the Road Master Night Hawk that we bought.
Nice informative thread… And lots of details where different approaches apply:)!
We lost two of the ‘locks’ off of the pins you are now using. One in year 3, caught before the pin fell out. And again in year 6, where the pin did fall out of one arm, in rush hour Portland traffic… (We got to the side of the road, and were lucky to have minimal damage to the CRV rubber front bumper area, as well as we bent the arm of the remaining Stirling connections. Resulting in an upgrade to the highest load rated capacity Stirling, as we’ll be heavier with our next Toad:)!).
As a result, we actually are now using he R-Pins. Will be going to the Circle Clips when we return from this trip. (From advise we received from San Diego Trailer Supply… a 70 plus year small business in the San Diego area, with two or three very ‘seasoned’ tech’s.).
Pro/Con’s on locking, vs pad lock, vs R clips, vs Circle Clips – in your first post of your unfortunate experience. I’d always went with locking, and would have gone with pad locking the pins, except for a fellow CC owner losing their coach to fire. They could not disconnect the toad fast enough to save it. In their event, they both felt if they had had ‘quicker releasing’ pins – they could have safely saved the toad… So since we’ve had problems twice now with locking pins, and wanting to maximize our chances of safely unhooking the Toad in an emergency – I’ll now keep running with non locking pins… (BUT, for sure understand their’s nor ‘Right or Wrong’ on how to secure the pins… Just options…)
Super advise about the importance at each stop to check the toad and connections. We started doing this more diligently after the first lock fell off, without the pin working all of the way out… And will continue to do this as our ‘Standard Operational Practices’ :)!)
Best to you, and good review of the new Roadmaster product too. Travel safe,
Always good to hear other peoples perspective, so I definitely appreciate the comment. And I do agree that frequent checking of the hook-up connections is a good thing, no matter what your set-up. Thanks for the detail on your experience!
Steven Cornelius says
Locking pins are good until your car (or coach) is on fire and You’re trying to separate the two. Extra set of pins and frequent checks is better.
I get the fire thing, I really do. But in our case if we (god forbid) ever have a fire on the road our focus will be on evacuating our three pets and ourselves, followed by our bug-out bag and our one file of important documents. We frankly won’t be worried about saving the car or coach. And besides I wouldn’t want any of us close to the engine (back of the RV) in that situation. If it’s burning up back there, it’s much safer to stay away.
Those are our priorities, so those are the risks we’re willing to take. I realize others may feel differently.
exploRVistas - Diana and Jim says
A quick squirt of graphite lock lubricant or WD-40 once a month will keep those locks working well, Nina.
I know this deals with a motorhome/toad setup, but this can also happen to regular travel trailers (at the hitch pin) and fifth wheels. Someone can pull the R-clip on the hitch pin on a travel trailer (or on a motorhome tow bar at the motorhome hitch). There have also been instances where fifth wheelers have hopped into their pickups, pulled away and had their trailer fall off, because someone had pulled the lever while they were away from the rig. We lock our lever on our Pullrite SuperGlide to prevent that. Like others have said, it makes it tough if there is a fire…but as you said, that’s the least of our worries!
Very good point. I think it’s good practice to use locking pins for the hitches on travel trailers and 5th wheels too.
chas anderson says
We have a 2005 Honda CRV with a 5 speed stick shift.Worth it’s weight in gold and much easier than with an automatic transmission.We get regular offers to buy it when we stop at a campground.If you have a 4 wheel on ground towable CRV keep it forever.
Totally agree! The towable CR-Vs seem to hold their value incredibly well. Plus there’s low inventory of older models on the market, as folks tend to keep them. They’re sweet little cars to own.
Jim B says
We have a Sterling All Terrain tow bar and I have been having issues with it on this trip…when disconnecting one side comes off easy but the other side I usually have to start the tow car and move the steering wheel back and forth until it frees up…PITA…we had it “rebuilt” by Roadmaster in Vancouver, WA about 4 years ago and speaking with the technician he said “non-binding” was a marketing gimmick….hmmm…we tow a 2012 Honda Fit 5 speed manual…
Very sorry to hear that. We’ve always found our quick release to be a cinch (both on our old and new bar), so I can’t say we’ve run into the same problem. Have you reached out to Roadmaster about it again? I would hope they could help you resolve this.
Nina, Thanks again for a great write-up. I am thinking of adding this kind of equipment to my truck camper, I bought a 2017 Subaru Forester manual for this purpose as well as to drive around town:) I hope to stop by Roadmaster in Vancouver Wa, to discuss if this is a good idea with my truck. So the article could not have come at a better time, since we are in Prince George, Canada right now heading down that way soon. Lots of fires around here, so have to forgo the trip to Whistler this time. Thanks again, and safe travels!
As long as your truck is capable of handling the tow weight I don’t see any reason it couldn’t be done, but talking to the Roadmaster folks will certainly give you a more solid idea. Glad the post was helpful!
My wife saw a video by RV Geeks, We bought a new JGC in Sept. We purchased the Road Master Night Hawk and Road Master EZ5 Base Plate. I haven’t yet pulled our Jeep yet due to some health problems but we are cabin fever to go somewhere soon. Liked your reveiw!
Sweet set-up. The night lights on the Nighthawk bar are pretty snazzy. If we towed at night (which we never do) we would have chosen the same.
Patrick E Allen says
We do not drive at night as a rule. But we have had times when we get a late start and end getting into the campgrounds just after dark, or at dusk.
You stated that someone had removed the “pins” while you were on the ferry. I think you need to clarify that you’re talking about the “hitch” pins, not what I would call the “connecting” pins, or perhaps “tow” pins. If the latter had been removed the CRV would have been left on the boat! The “straight” locking hitch receiver pin is definitely the way to go. I used the type with the 135 degree bend in my hitch receiver for awhile, and it started to ream out the hole!
You are correct. Specifically what we believe happened is that someone pulled and removed the R-clips from our connector pins (the thick pins that connect our tow bar arms to the car). So they pulled the little R-clips (on the side), but left the main pins in place, if that helps clarify. The main pins then slowly worked their way out as we drove down the road. I’ll update the post to make that clearer.
Ralph E. says
I basically had formed a long post at home, but the three posts in question got deleted. Maybe you can form a post and we debate things such as what was deleted. I am here to learn things even if I don’t want to own a motorhome. As you said there are many different ways to full time RV and the people should feel free to choose their own lifestyle and ways that they want to full time RV. There are a lot of myths out there as well. I’ve learned some things on your blog such as solar power and then reduced my proposed driving time per day.
If and when I write a post about which rig is the best for RVing (which IMO depends entirely on your personal situation, finances, camping preferences etc.), then I’ll be happy to open up the comments to that debate. It is an interesting topic, just not one I felt was relevant to debate on this particular post.
Great article and review. We also have a CRV same color as yours. Ditto on all the good things on the CRV.
Given your CRV is almost 10 years old, have you started planning on a newer replacement? A 2014 maybe? So many full timers on Instagram are opting for the Wrangler.
No, we haven’t really felt the need to upgrade our CRV, and likely won’t in the foreseeable future. Jeeps are real popular as tows. They’re reasonably light, flat-towable and great off-road vehicles which is a plus when you’re out West. There’s certainly been places we haven’t been able to go with our CRV (dirt, off-road) where a more capable 4-wheel drive would have made it. But we still love our Honda and just can’t see upgrading. Plus I get terribly car sick on bumpy roads, so off-reading is not really something we aspire to.
Thanks for the video. I was on the edge which way to go, but I’m sold on the sterling. We have a Miramar (Thor) and are planning to flat tow our 2006 Honda CR-V.
I had a possible theory about you R-clip pins. I had a similar situation (chains instead). I have an adjustable hitch on my truck. The ball bracket is adjustable and is held on the hitch by two pins. I borrowed a dump trailer from a friend. After a ten mile drive, I checked the trailer I was towing and found the R-clip pin was missing from the bottom pin. I believe what happened is from sharp turns, the chain would go taunt in tight turns and when in got taunt, it flexed upward and popped the r-clip out. Luckily the pin was still holding the ball in place.
Your blog is amazing! Thanks!!!
We are at Stage 1, thinking of buying a used RV to travel all the National Parks and Baseball fields in the US and Canada. My husband prefers a motor home. We have a 2003 BMW Z4 convertible in very good shape, but of course it has very low clearance. We are thinking that we should get a class C RV so that it will be large enough to live in it for year, but also small enough to fit into most National Park camp spaces for RVs. What, if any, is the best way to tow the Z4?
Honestly not sure about the toe options on a Z4. If it’s not flat-towable (I.e. it doesn’t have a way to disconnect the transmission) then perhaps you’ll need a tow dolly. I’d chat to BMW to ask about it.