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LCHammer

Towing A Beast (Chevy Suburban)

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We used our Brake Buddy for the first time towing our Chevy Suburban a 2006.  What  a fiasco!  We were about 25 miles from our destination and we got an alternator light on the dash of the MH.  Made it to the campground only to discover the Suburban was totally dead.  DH and buddy did the wiring from the bus to the Chevy and set up the Brake Buddy and Blue ox tow package.

 He's thinking we've got a mis-fire somewhere!  I know we have issues because when we test the BB the brake lights all work on the toad, but once it's under MH power we only get the right rear brake light to come on along with turn signals. (so the upper brake light bar and left are dark).  We still got the alternator light on the MH dash, but the gauge on the dash showed good voltage.  

What a hot mess!  Sometimes do-it-yourself just ..... stinks....

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Well as long as you are at the campground you should be plugged in and that will recharge the coach batteries. I carry a battery charger for just such problems. Perhaps you can find someone at the park who has a charger you can borrow or some jumper cables. Hopefully you can sort out your wiring to the suburban.

Bill

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Every GM product that I have towed, a Chevrolet Trailblazer and a GMC Acadia, have required pulling fuses before towing.  This wouldn't affect the mis-wiring between the motor home and the toad but it might help account for the dead battery.  Check your Suburban owners manual for details.  In the Acadia we tow we have to pull one 50A fuse and one 10A fuse. 

I have encountered problems with self wiring the connection between the motor home and toad.  Several times I've had success solving the problem and other times I have given up and turned it over to experts.  Sometimes a few dollars is a small price to pay for eliminating a problem and the frustration that goes with it.  When we bought the Acadia I had it wired by a shop.  A year later the lights quit working.  It seems they had routed the wire through the car in a way that the suspension rubbed and eventually broke the wires.  Sometimes hiring someone to do the work isn't the answer either!

Our motor home was wired for separate brake and turn signals.  The brake lights were different bulbs from the turn signals.  The Acadia uses the same bulbs for turn and brake lights and this requires adapters to make everything work properly.  I don't know specific details but it combines the brake and turn signals from the coach to make the toad lights work properly.  Also if you haven't wired this kind of connection, there are one way devices (diodes, the D in LED lights) that must be installed on the lines in the toad to prevent feedback between the motor home and the toad.  Most RV supply stores will have these.

Like Wildebill I carry a battery charger and it has been handy to have occasionally.  By the way if you have jumper cables (I also carry them in the toad), you can use the coach batteries to jump the toad battery.  House batteries are wired 12V.  Four 6V batteries are wired in series and parallel.  You have 6V + to 6V - to get 12V, another set wired 6V +  to 6V - to get 12V and these two sets are wired in parallel, + to + and - to -.

Hook them up, motor home black to toad black, motor home red to toad red. 

I have even used the car battery to jump the coach!  Really!!!

By the way, if you don't have an owners manual for your coach, you can get a replacement copy from Monaco, Customer Service, 877-466-6226.  They have complete information on your coach, right down to the various parts that were installed in your coach.  The magic number that you need when you call them is the last six digits of the unit serial number (look on the coach information sticker that should be on the wall behind the drivers seat).  The owners manual is actually a huge notebook and the original was accompanied by a file box with user information on all the appliances that were installed on your coach.

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Great idea about the battery.  We were very lucky that the campground owner/host had a charger handy and the Chevy was up and moving.  So our Chevy is so old (insert joke here) that no fuses need to be pulled.  Looking through the manual we just have to put the transfer case in neutral, car in run position etc.  So I'm thinking it must be the DH and his do-it-yourself wiring.

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LC,

My 03 Yukon and now my 08 Silverado both, did not have steering wheel locks. Nether does your 06 Suburban.  I had the M & G Engineering Air Brake on both. (903-675-2812). I never had a problem with dead battery on either.

To tow the vehicles I first connected the tow bar, put the vehicle in 4 wheel drive neutral and shift lever in Park, connected the air line, lights and brake away cable. Then I took the Key out and locked the doors. My tail lights were wired with diodes and not added bulbs. I did all the work myself and never had one problem. 

My suggestion would be to see if you can get your money back on the Buddy Brake and have either a M &G or Air Force 1 brake installed. Neither one has a electrical connection to drag down your battery. (M & G will be at the FMCA National Rally in West Springfield this August and they can install it for you there)

One thing everyone forgets is with a Buddy Brake, is that every time you hit your brakes the Stop Lights will light up because the BB is applying pressure to the pedal which activates the tail lights Doing this along with the BB pump (12 volt Electrical) the battery is drawn down. and when you have a dead battery your BB doesn't work.

These are just my opinions.

And again, welcome to the family.

 

Herman 

    

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2 hours ago, LCHammer said:

So our Chevy is so old (insert joke here) that no fuses need to be pulled.

I am surprised to hear this.  Just how old is your Chevy?  Our Trailblazer was 2002 and the rest of your procedure sounds just like ours...

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The most common mis-wiring of the toad is the charge line not carrying a proper ground from the coach to the toad battery, if the ground wire from the coach to the toad battery is left off, the accessories on the toad are pulling from the toad battery, and without a proper ground from the coach the toad battery will not charge from the coach.

Assuming that the ground will carry through the trailer ball is not a good policy.

This is not a reason for the lights not working correctly, but a possible explanation of why the battery did not properly charge.

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So after all this it turns out that we need a thingy called a diode when connecting the wiring.  Easy $12 fix.  Thank heaven!  Thanks for all the suggestions!  

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2 hours ago, LCHammer said:

So after all this it turns out that we need a thingy called a diode when connecting the wiring.  Easy $12 fix.  Thank heaven!  Thanks for all the suggestions!  

Glad you got that sorted out. 

Bill

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We tow a Chevrolet Avalanche (same chassis as a Suburban) with our motorhome and in ten thousand miles we've  never had an issue using the Brake Buddy.

Make sure you have a taillight wiring kit for your towed vehicle and your ignition is in the locked position, gear **** in park,  transfer case in neutral. If you are towing a two wheel vehicle drive vehicle there may be some slight change in requirements. Check your owners manual.


 You should consider a rechargeable jumper battery box to power your Brake Buddy or install an auxiliary battery. We used to tow a trailer and this system is a dream come true compared to that. I have a hard time even noticing that the tow vehicle is back there. In fact I have to check mirrors and rear camera to be sure it's still there.

Smooth sailing!!

 

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On 7/1/2016 at 6:31 PM, brianj49 said:

We tow a Chevrolet Avalanche (same chassis as a Suburban) with our motorhome and in ten thousand miles we've  never had an issue using the Brake Buddy.

Make sure you have a taillight wiring kit for your towed vehicle and your ignition is in the locked position, gear **** in park,  transfer case in neutral. If you are towing a two wheel vehicle drive vehicle there may be some slight change in requirements. Check your owners manual.


 You should consider a rechargeable jumper battery box to power your Brake Buddy or install an auxiliary battery. We used to tow a trailer and this system is a dream come true compared to that. I have a hard time even noticing that the tow vehicle is back there. In fact I have to check mirrors and rear camera to be sure it's still there.

Smooth sailing!!

 

This set up had changed in 2013 Chevy's. My Trailblazer and 2003Tahoe both have the easy way with the M&G air brake. Car running turn 4 wheel knob clockwise to the end of swirh and light goes out. Put cR in Fwd then reverse to check the thing is in neutral  put trans in N turn key off put trans in park.Plug air up lights and safety break. While doing this DONoT talk to any body until u R done for no accident s. My 2015 Silverado is more complicated but I will wait for the Trailblazer to die. 

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I have the air brake on my Suburban similar to Hermanmullins post.  The whole set up cost less then a brake buddy.  A wire from the MH batteries to the vehicle keeps the battery charged on long trips.  I have had know problems using this set up for the past 4 years.  The air brake system has been a wonderful improvement to my towing experience over the last 16 years. 

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grichardson,

 

Welcome to the Forum.

The one draw back of the M & G Engineering Brake unit is space. :( Your Master Cylinder has to have space to move out away from the Power Brake Booster. This is for the air cylinder, by the way it only has one moving part, the ram, to be mounted.

Great unit made by great people and located in beautiful East Texas. :)

 

Herman

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Are we the only people who still have an Avalanche?   Planning to flat tow a 2013 4WD behind our 43' diesel pusher.  Followed directions precisely and tested the procedure for putting it in tow neutral yesterday; today it won't start.   Getting a check engine light, engine spins for several seconds but after a few seconds, stops spinning.  Is there a trick to taking it from tow neutral back to drive mode? 

Thank you,

Jim

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Jim,

Welcome to the Forum.

I am sure just putting your Transfer Case didn't have anything to do with the engine starting. Is your battery fully charged?

To return the Transfer Case to drive - Set the Parking Brake, place the shift liver in neutral, press the brake pedal and turn the 4 X 4 knob to the left to "2". Doing all this your transfer case should be in 2 wheel drive.

Herman

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