Dec 13, 2012 - Personal    16 Comments

REPOST: Review of the Ready Brute Elite Tow Bar

I am republishing this post because I am fed up with the response I got to it the first time. I know people are just looking out for me, but while the comments have been tolerable, the emails calling me a moron have been unjustifiable.

I would like to remind my readers that I have been towing a vehicle behind my motorhome for four years and I have proven that I know how to hook up properly and safely.

This post shows a preview of how the shop set up my truck for towing behind my motorhome. I am very impressed by the number of people who noticed that the technicians did not cross the cables.

That said, not a single person who has made this comment even stopped to consider that maybe there was a reason for that beyond the author’s lack of intelligence or knowledge. Here’s a photo of the bottom of the tow bar:

IMGP4496

You see that?! It’s a ring that is welded into the bottom of the bar into which I have to thread the safety cables. It doesn’t really matter if the cables are crossed or not as they would catch the tow bar regardless. Now, I’m a worst case scenario kind of gal, so I am crossing my cables in case the loop fails, but the shop people were not wrong.

I hope that satisfies everyone.

Now, on to the original part of the post.

Having driven about 1,200KM towing a vehicle behind my motorhome with a Ready Brute Elite tow bar, I now feel qualified to write a review of this system. I wanted to make an unbiased review, but I can’t help compare the Ready Brute Elite to my old Aventa II from Blue Ox.

Over all, I find the two tow bars very comparable. The handles on the Ready Brute Elite are a little harder to manipulate than those on the Aventa II. The Aventa II feels more secure when stowed in the non-towing storage position. Otherwise, they are very similar in operation and ease of use.

The new setup looks very slick:

Having a small truck with a low clearance, I was fortunate enough to not need a hitch drop or riser. The tow bar fits into the hitch receiver on my motorhome and attaches with clevises to the Blue Ox baseplate on my truck. I don’t like how the clevis pins are secured with my Ready Brute Elite system as it uses little wavy pins that are hard to get in and out. I am going to try to find some spring pins like I had with my Aventa II.

Attaching the bar to the baseplate is the same as with the Aventa II. You have to line the truck up more or less straight with the motorhome, use the handles on the tow bar to release the legs, and then extend them to fit into the receivers on the baseplate. You have to be more precise with the distance between the baseplate receivers and the tow bar legs as well as the toad angle in comparison to the RV than the manufacturers (both Blue Ox and NSA) claim, but once you know the sweet spot, hooking up is easy.

Once the bars are attached, you have to get into the motorhome and inch it ahead to get the legs to lock. Once they have, you can secure all your other connections, with the brake line being last.

I love my new coiled (black) safety cables, which come with the Ready Brute Elite Tow bar. My old cables were too long and I had to wrap them around my tow bar to get them to a proper length. These are essentially elastic.

Same thing with the coiled (blue) electrical cable. Much easier than the old connection I had. One thing I didn’t realise really annoyed me with my old setup is that I had to open the car hood to pull out the electrical cable. Now, I just have to plug the blue cable into the front of the truck and then into the back of the motorhome.

Finally, you can see the brake line. An aeronautic cable connects the brake pedal in my truck to the front bumper. From there, another cable is attached with a carabiner and hooks into the braking system. This cable has to be removed completely when stowing the Ready Brute Elite tow bar, something that terrified me on paper, but not in reality as the adjustment is not lost when removing the cable.

One more of the truck end of the set up:

Here’s a closeup of the braking mechanism:

This braking system is proportional. In theory, the tow vehicle moves at the same speed as the RV. So the braking mechanism only engages when the RV slows down considerably. This is one part of the new system I cannot believe works exactly as described. The toad brakes have only ever been applied when I was really braking in the motorhome. If I was just tapping them to slow down or going down a hill in low gear, the toad was not braking. One of the things the shop warned me about is having the brake cable adjusted periodically as it will likely slacken over time.

So, slow down the motorhome and that black arm moves ahead, pulling the cable, which pulls the toad brakes.

I know when the toad brakes are being applied because the Ready Brute Elite tow bar comes with a dashboard monitoring light. To save money, my mother and I ran the cable under the rig, up through my battery bank, and into the cab along the ceiling, which was the path of least resistance. We tied it into a light in the ceiling, which was an OOPS as that light only comes on when the door is open! Thankfully, the electrical guy at the shop was able to save our handiwork and tie the light in properly. The location for the light might seem strange, but it really works as I can see the light when I’m staring ahead. If it was on the dash, I’d have to take my eyes off the road.

Braking systems can cost a few hundred to a few thousand dollars and I’m glad that this inexpensive option was suitable for my rig. The guys at the shop said that installing the aeronautic cable in the truck and doing all the adjustments was very easy and that the instructions, including a DVD, left no question about what to do.

Unhooking is just as easy as hooking, but being perfectly straight is even more important, otherwise the bars that secure the clevis to the base plate will bind and be impossible to remove. I had the same problem with my Aventa II.

I am very happy I chose the Ready Brute Elite tow Bar!

Blog Widget by LinkWithinShare on Facebook
If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

16 Comments

  • hi, i haven’t checked in for awhile even though i never miss one of your posts. i am spending thewinter in puerto vallarta with myex husband at his condo. the rv is in storage in salem. I have been dreaming about wintering in Mexico for years.
    I am enjoying your travels.
    Joni

  • Joni, so good to hear from you! Am I glad you are finally realising your dream of wintering in Mexico!

  • I was wondering myself what Joan was up to. Thanks for providing a place for your readers to socialize!

    I am glad you like your towing system. No system is perfect but yours seems to be going in the right direction at least.

  • I have just read your Nov 18, 2012 blog on the new hitch. I am glad that you fid it easy to use.

    Looking at your pictures I have a safety concern with respect to how your safety cables are run. As they are shown , if pin should breack the arms would be free to drop and dig into the pavement. This could likely will have serious results.

    I would suggest that you cross the cables under the hitch and takle one loop around each led of the tow bar. This would support the arms if (god forbidding) a pin comes loose or the arm becomes disconnected.

    The cable from the motor home drivers dide should connect to the toad ( truck) passenger side and vice versa for the other cable.

    Safe travels and may the wind be always abaft the beam.

    Ken

  • Ken, wow, good catch! This was the very first picture I took of my setup, but it was just the test run and I never once took off with the cables like that. When I left the shop, they were set up properly, as you describe. If you look at this picture of my last tow bar setup, after the accident, you’ll see that I really do know what I’m doing. 😀 http://travelswithmiranda.uskeba.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/IMGP3132.jpg

    Thanks for this comment. I am going to replace that picture with a better one!

  • Croft, in terms of what’s available on the market today, this system is absolutely perfect for me!

  • I’m glad you are happy with your system, we have been using ours for 6 months now and other than re-tensioning the brake cable recently, we have never had a moment’s trouble with it.
    Yes, as you and Ken noted the safety cables should cross under the assembly.
    We have had to make some very tight turns with it (not planned, lol) and the toad tracks beautifully.

  • wbc, that’s good info that you had to retension the brake cable after only 6 months. Is that a do-it-yourself kind of job?

  • Yikes……….. Take a look at your directions again for your tow bar. It says to chris cross the safety cables. The way you have them they are useless.
    The redi brute web page is very specific about this,

    Ggood luck !

  • Guy, please read my comment about that picture, which I will be replacing. 🙂 I have provided ample evidence on this blog that I know how to use safety cables. 😉

  • It is too bad that you have NOT replaced the picture showing your safety cable set up. I was prepared to tell you the same thing that you have been told and that you know about how to set them up.

  • I cannot hook up to my rig where I am parked right now.

    And btw, there is a loop welded under the bar into which I have to thread the safety cables, so, really, they don’t need to be crossed as support is built into the tow bar regardless of whether or not they are crossed. I think that’s why the shop hooked me up the way they did.

  • Good thing you reposted, I just noticed your question to me this time around!
    We did it ourselves, it was an easy (neighbourhood) roadside adjustment. Just loosened the bolts on the three clamps securing the cable and gently pulled it a tiny bit tighter. That was all it needed.
    It is a two person job though, as I sat in the car a short distance under tow and watched to see whether the brake pedal was still being optimally depressed.
    When we had the system installed, the technician warned us it would need adjusting at some point and showed us how to leave just enough slack.
    BTW, we always cross our cables as well. Threading the ring is a pain with our lonnngggg extension bar!

  • Thanks for the info! Sounds like something I should plan to do when I am visiting friends so I can get help.

    I figure if I thread AND cross, I am doubly protected, so I shall keep doing that. 🙂

  • We have the Ready Brute system and we love it. It was very cost effective with the built in breaking system. Every so often I will stand behind the tow vehicle as my husband drives away and taps the breaks so I can see if the brake lights come on…..just to be sure the tension is working. And yes we cross the safety cables when we hook up as well.

  • Anne-Marie, thanks for chiming in!

    I agree that the Ready Brute system is really good value. You get a tow system for just a couple hundred bucks more than a plain tow bar!

    That’s a good tip to periodically check the tension with a buddy. Duly noted.

Got anything to say? Go ahead and leave a comment!