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Towbars, Hitches and Braking Systems for your Toads, etc. Questions, concerns, or suggestions regarding what equipment to use to tow your Toad with are discussed here.

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Old 04-28-2021
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Originally Posted by Russ Beardsley View Post
...Question is, is a base plate specific to a manufacturer? I don't know what bus I will buy at this point or what towing package it might have. I would like to invest my time now getting the Mini ready. Russ
My recommendation is: wait until you get your coach to decide on a hitch/braking/breakaway setup. Here's why:

Although I have NO experience with Mini's, Ive set up and installed both a Fiat 500 Pop & a Jeep Wrangler JL. From reading your posts, it appears you don't understand what the base plate is or does. Think of a baseplate as an adapter that makes attachment of the tow bar to your towed vehicle possible. A baseplate has nothing to do with the coach you purchase and everything to do with the toad/hitch combo you are planning. The baseplate and tow bar are almost always from the same manufacturer. All BB's come with some kind of towing capability and a receiver into which you will insert your tow bar. It's safe to say that ALL BB's can tow a vehicle the size and weight of a Mini. However, there is little standardization as to wiring or receiver towing height. If the PO had your "new" coach set up for towing, it may have been for a trailer or dolly. There are several additional issues to consider with a 4-down toad.

1) Select the vehicle you wish to tow: make, model and year. Many people use the annual Motorhome Magazine RV Towing Guide when selecting a toad. My Fiat owners manual specifically authorizes flat 4 towing behind an RV with a manual transmission. That was one reason it was selected over a Mini and SmartCar. If your vehicle is not in that Motor Home Magazine RV Towing guide, the manufacturer likely did not approve flat-4 towing. Mini's in general are not listed in that guide. But that hasn't stopped people from towing them anyway. If they have a newer one, it's likely been towed on a trailer or dolly. That's because new car warranties can be voided if one is flat towed while not being authorized to do so by the manufacturer. An out-of-warranty Mini is a different matter, since YOU are the one determining whether or not you want to risk any damage that may be caused. You would want to resolve those issues before risking that damage. With a Mini, it's likely someone has already done that.

2) Select the tow bar manufacturer. Most choose BlueOx, RoadMaster or Demco with others also available. With the tow bar manufacturer chosen, it's easiest to select the base plate kit, which that manufacturer sells for your specific vehicle. There are adapters to go from BlueOx baseplates to RoadMaster tow bars and vice versa, but sometimes those can be a pain. For my Fiat, I chose a RoadMaster baseplate because I was using my parents 1989 StowMaster tow bar. Adapting that new Fiat to even a very old tow bar was easy with the manufacturers base plate. However, when it came time to do the Jeep I did not want to use RoadMaster's baseplate offering because it dropped too low for my off-road plans. Instead I selected an aftermarket bumper/frame rail setup to work with the RoadMaster tow bar, and that setup works great.

3) Select your braking system. Generally, BB's can provide air to power the toad's braking mechanism so most use an air actuated brake setup. There is also a breakaway function that needs to be included for all but the lightest vehicles. My Fiat is 2,300# and legal in some states to pull without supplemental breaking, but illegal in others. The Jeep is too heavy so needs supplemental braking with a breakaway setup, in all states.

4) Tow bar to BB hitch - Height is often an issue because all tow bars should ride completely level between the toad and coach. My Fiat was the perfectly level with no mods but the Jeep needed a 9" Hi/Lo riser. There are also devices to protect your Mini behind the coach. They are expensive but many recommend them to prevent dings in your toad.

5) Wiring - when I set mine up I discovered that the original BB towing wiring was completely screwed up! That took an entire day figuring out which wires did what and then adapting them to work with the tow vehicle. There is an umbilical which goes between the coach and towed vehicle, as well as a cable to the front of the coach which indicates braking is under way in the toad.

6) TPMS - IMO don't leave home without this on your toad! Many a toad has burned up after blowing a tire with absolutely no physical indications up front. The motors in these coaches have that much torque (most do anyway ). Enough said.

Hope this gets you started while you do your Bird Search...
Van & Toni in TX & AZ
2004 M380 DS & 2013 Fiat 500 Pop or 2021 Jeep JL
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