Flat Tow Safety - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 34 Old 01-05-2017, 10:19 PM Thread Starter
jsrick80
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Flat Tow Safety

I hope everyone had a great New Year First of all! I Have a 2001 Jeep Tj that is setup fairly light running on 32's. I am wanting to set up a flat tow system to tow my jeep with my aftermarket bumpers (SRC classic) shackle mounts. I will be towing with my 1/2 ton pickup (Tundra) which is rated to tow 10k pounds. I wanted to go basic and just get magnetic lights, and no braking system. I won't be towing on a regular bases, just on trips that are over 4 hours or so to the dirt.

What are your thoughts on safety with this setup at highway speeds? How about legality in CA. Ive heard a braking system is a requirement but I cannot verify that law anywhere.

Thanks for your input and advice!!

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post #2 of 34 Old 01-05-2017, 11:16 PM
Shark_13
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post #3 of 34 Old 01-06-2017, 04:06 PM
BimotaBruce
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As someone who's *** was saved by my el cheapo Brake Buddy, I highly recommend you use some sort of braking device!

An unforeseeable equipment failure at 55-60 mph almost cost me my Jeep....also perhaps my truck & camper rig....maybe my life too.

But it didn't....because I'd spent about $400 on a Brake Buddy.

It IS required in Cali....and perhaps other states that you may be towing to.

4" Currie springs/CA's, TR beadlocks, 35" MTR's, D44's ARB's & 4.27's, RCV & Superior, OR241, UCF TT
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post #4 of 34 Old 01-06-2017, 04:11 PM
dc-off-road
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Why not just get a trailer? If you break something on the trail you might not be able to flat tow it back.
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post #5 of 34 Old 01-06-2017, 04:19 PM
BimotaBruce
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Trailer> Speaking for myself (and I have plenty of trailer experience), in order of importance to me>

1. It's an extra 1700+ lbs to haul, and my truck/camper/Jeep are already max'ing out the truck's braking and hill climbing abilities

2. Once at the trailhead, difficult to find a place to store...and the ever present worry of theft.

3. Storage issues at home

4. Cost & maintenance (Mostly the cost of tires every 5 years, plus the usual brake & bearing maintenance)
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4" Currie springs/CA's, TR beadlocks, 35" MTR's, D44's ARB's & 4.27's, RCV & Superior, OR241, UCF TT
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post #6 of 34 Old 01-06-2017, 04:35 PM
dc-off-road
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Valid point made,
I will say this if your going to flat you would probably need the following
Tow bar/ brackets
Tail light hookup
Braking
Tires and not your 35" MTRs I would recommend some rollers plus a spare
Lots of tools so that if you do break something on the trails you can still make that thing roll
Now when you get there your gonna be changing tires so get there there early

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post #7 of 34 Old 01-06-2017, 04:52 PM
BimotaBruce
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Also valid points.

I take plenty of tools & spares on the trail (and know how to use them) as a matter of course. The flat towing bits are still almost 1/2 the cost of the trailer (and cost is my least important factor).

The MTR's see about 2,000+ miles of towing/year (annual Moab trip is most of that). I pump them up to 40 lbs when towing just to lessen the rolling resistance. They don't seem to mind it too much.

I also do a 5 way tire rotation every 3k miles (along with checking the torque on the beadlocks with zero tire pressure) and they will last 20k miles, with enough tread left so that I can I sell them off to buy a fresh set.

For me flat towing works out simpler & better. YMMV, of course.

4" Currie springs/CA's, TR beadlocks, 35" MTR's, D44's ARB's & 4.27's, RCV & Superior, OR241, UCF TT
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post #8 of 34 Old 01-06-2017, 05:07 PM
dc-off-road
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I hear you on that, I'm active duty so I'm able to rent a tilt deck from base for about 35$ for the weekend so for now that's been cost effective for me but eventually I'm gonna have to fork out the cash and buy a trailer but on the flat tow vs trailer it has its pros an con's, there is no free way to get to the trails.

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post #9 of 34 Old 01-06-2017, 05:22 PM
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I'm not sure it is required in California. Can anyone point to the vehicle code section that requires it?

I'm sure a brake system on the toad is helpful. I tow my jeep behind my Ford f350 crew cab. Most of the time I hardly know it's back there. Braking isn't much affected either. You do have to stop a little earlier, but that is common sense driving just as if you are towing a trailer or carrying a heavy payload in the bed.

Towing with a smaller truck obviously changed the dynamics.

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post #10 of 34 Old 01-06-2017, 06:45 PM
BimotaBruce
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This looks like the applicable code # to me>

CVC #26458 The braking system on every motor vehicle used to tow another vehicle shall be so arranged that one control on the towing vehicle shall, when applied, operate all the service brakes on the power unit and combination of vehicles when either or both of the following conditions exist: (1) The towing vehicle is required to be equipped with power brakes. (2) The towed vehicle is required to be equipped with brakes and is equipped with power brakes.

Either way, I've learned from my experience (mentioned in earlier post) that a Brake Buddy is money very well spent.

4" Currie springs/CA's, TR beadlocks, 35" MTR's, D44's ARB's & 4.27's, RCV & Superior, OR241, UCF TT
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post #11 of 34 Old 01-06-2017, 07:08 PM
jgarden
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BimotaBruce View Post
This looks like the applicable code # to me>

CVC #26458 The braking system on every motor vehicle used to tow another vehicle shall be so arranged that one control on the towing vehicle shall, when applied, operate all the service brakes on the power unit and combination of vehicles when either or both of the following conditions exist: (1) The towing vehicle is required to be equipped with power brakes. (2) The towed vehicle is required to be equipped with brakes and is equipped with power brakes.

Either way, I've learned from my experience (mentioned in earlier post) that a Brake Buddy is money very well spent.

Looking at CVC 26458 in its entirety indicates otherwise. Specifically subdivision (c) (3) which exempts a vehicle being towed. This assumed that you meet the braking distance in CVC 26454. If the law were otherwise, every tow truck would be required to have some sort of braking system for the vehicle they were towing.

I am fairly confident California is one of the states that does not require any braking system when flat towing. I still agree it probably doesn't hurt, especially when the towing vehicle isn't much heavier than the toad or when traversing a lot of mountainous or canyon roads.


(a) The braking system on every motor vehicle used to tow another vehicle shall be so arranged that one control on the towing vehicle shall, when applied, operate all the service brakes on the power unit and combination of vehicles when either or both of the following conditions exist:
(1) The towing vehicle is required to be equipped with power brakes.
(2) The towed vehicle is required to be equipped with brakes and is equipped with power brakes.
(b) Subdivision (a) shall not be construed to prohibit motor vehicles from being equipped with an additional control to be used to operate the brakes on the trailer or trailers.
(c) Subdivision (a) does not apply to any of the following combinations of vehicles, if the combination of vehicles meets the stopping distance requirements of Section 26454:
(1) Vehicles engaged in driveaway-towaway operations.
(2) Disabled vehicles, while being towed.
(3) Towed motor vehicles.
(4) Trailers equipped with inertially controlled brakes which are designed to be applied automatically upon breakaway from the towing vehicle and which are capable of stopping and holding the trailer stationary for not less than 15 minutes.
- See more at: http://codes.findlaw.com/ca/vehicle-....uxA8BXiQ.dpuf

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post #12 of 34 Old 01-06-2017, 07:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shark_13 View Post

This company is trying to sell their product. Their reference that CA requires a braking system over 1500 lbs applies to trailers not towed vehicles. I am sure they have sold many braking systems to people who don't do further research.

Again, I am not advocating NOT getting a braking system. But it isn't a necessity under all circumstances and it isn't necessarily against the law in CA.

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post #13 of 34 Old 01-07-2017, 12:59 PM
rouxbicon
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I'm with the "brakers." Why would you not want brakes on the toad? Wouldn't you equip a nearly 4000 lb trailer with brakes to tow with a half-ton truck?

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post #14 of 34 Old 01-07-2017, 01:05 PM
jgarden
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It's probably a great idea to have brakes on a jeep when towing with a half ton truck. My comments were that I don't believe California law requires it, and with my F350 4x4 crew cab diesel I haven't seen a need for it.

How do you tap into the jeep braking system to install the toad brakes?


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post #15 of 34 Old 01-07-2017, 01:11 PM
Shark_13
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The law doesn't require common sense either, but it's a good thing to have
I towed a 6x12 enclosed trailer for work for over 10 years. I had 2 close calls (caused by other drivers, not following too close) that would have ended badly if my trailer didn't have brakes.

The hitch style brake system I used when flat towing the Jeep across the country simply used a cable that pulled in the brake pedal. Simple to install and worked well.
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