Towing a trailer is nothing new to us.  Before we traded our Coleman pop-up, we had a routine on hitching the trailer to our pick-up truck before every camping trip.  First crank up the hitch on the pop-up, then back the truck up, next drop the hitch receiver onto the hitch ball, lock the receiver, cross breakaway chain and hook to truck, plug the trailer light, and finally secure the emergency breakaway cable.  All this was quick and easy to in less than five minutes.

However, when it comes to preparing our 4x4 toad to be pulled behind our RV, it is not quite that simple, and in fact, it's more complicated than we had thought.

First, we discovered that the tow mounting bracket was not going to work with our aftermarket front bumper of our Nissan Xterra.  We were forced to remove the skid plate temporarily and the tow hook permanently.  The tow hooks we didn't mind sacrificing, but the skid plate was critical for us since we needed it to protect the underbelly while off-roading. Our first step was to secure the Blue Ox mounting kit to the chassis frame of our SUV.  Our daughter's boyfriend, Mack, helped us with this since he is a diesel mechanic by trade.  It took him a couple hours to remove some bolts, mount the kit, drill a couple new holes and add the safety cables from the kit to the chassis.  It was relatively easy to do for an experience mechanic, but a novice would probably double the time (and lose patience half the time.)

Once the mounting kit was done, we took the skid plate to a 4x4 fabricator shop and had them cut the skid plate to fit underneath without part interference.  The machinist used a waterjet cutter to cut a couple inches off the end of the skid plates and added a couple bolts to secure it.  This was a smart decision on our part to have this done. Otherwise, we would be left with potential damages if we had scrambled over some large rocks.

Now comes the tricky part.  Running the trailer wire from front to back of our SUV through the engine, firewall and rear compartment.  Mack was able to run the trailer wires and hook it up to the taillights for us.

Getting the tow mount and wire was probably the most time-consuming in prepping up our toad.  The upside is that it only needs to be done once!  That's where preparing our SUV becomes easier and quicker to hook up to our RV.

Now it's time to install the electric brake system on the floorboard of the driver's side.  We simply hook the braking rod to the brake pad, connect the power plug to the 12-volt outlet and the breakaway cable to the electric brake system.  Next, we calibrated the brake sensor and prepared it for towing.

On the outside of the SUV, we connected the tow pins to the tow mount, hook the tow bar to the pins, and drop the tow bar onto the RV hitch receiver.  Next came the safety cable in crisscrossed fashion and hooked to the RV tow frame. Hook up the brake away cable from the car to the RV and in a short time we're ready to head out. It gets quicker and easier each time we do this, and we get excited about the next location we will see.

Pulling a tow vehicle on all 4''s is easy and just follows along with the RV. We really like having a car to drive to go sightseeing with and all this is possible for us and we are thrilled with the set up. We are ready to roll!

My Favorite Quotes

The mountains are calling and I must go. - John Muir

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. - Chinese Proverbs

The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders. - Edward Abbey

I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order. - John Burroughs

Not all those who wander are lost. - J.R.R. Tolkien

To travel alone is risky business, especially into a wilderness; equally risky is to have dreams and not follow them. - Robert F. Perkins

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