Getting An RV Tow Vehicle – Part 4. Final Decisions And Purchases

Follow Along On Our Tow Vehicle Setup:

rv-tow-vehicleI went out and visited several hitch installers in the Tampa Bay area. I talked to:

The estimates were all roughly in the same ballpark. Buying all equipment through them and having them install it, the ballpark figure we were looking at was around $3600. With taxes, around $3900.

Camping World came in a bit higher, but that was because they were recommending Roadmaster products rather than Blue Ox. They came in around $4,100.

Hitch World surprisingly recommended I go with the Blue Ox Patriot braking system. I was surprised to hear that seeing as this is a portable system. I did some research on it myself and fairly quickly ruled it out. I’m just not interested in a portable system I have to take out and remove.

So, taking what I learned by talking to each of these stores, I made some decisions.

I went online and found that I could get many of my items via Amazon and save some money doing it.

So, here’s what I purchased…

The Stuff I Purchased

==> Blue Ox Avail BX7420 Towbar


The Avail towbar is the newest model from Blue Ox. It has some improvements over the Aventa towbar I was initially planning on getting. Smoother operation, little longer which allows for tighter turns, and the release latches are better designed to be easier as well as completely non-binding.

This means that no matter what the orientation of the vehicle compared to the RV, the latches won’t get stuck.

Hitch King told me about it and I could buy it from them for around $1,000. But, I found it on Amazon for $778.

Considering the Aventa retails for $800, I figure I’m basically getting a free upgrade by buying it through Amazon. Same price, but I get the Avail model.

==> Blue Ox Baseplates


Nothing special here. They retail for $445, although it seems you can buy them from most places around $395.

I picked it up on Amazon for $343.

Just be very sure you buy the plates for YOUR vehicle. It is unique for every model.

==> SMI Stay-In-Play Duo Brake System


The braking system was one of the hardest decisions to make. So many different opinions out there. I got every recommendation there was, ranging from the SMI… to cable systems… to even portable systems.

Opinions are like a**holes, as they say. Everybody has one. 😉

So, in the end, I had to go with my gut here. The portable systems would be a pain for me since we get up and go a fair amount. The cable systems seem simple, but contain some potential issues and I found that many installers weren’t keen on doing it. The built-in systems seemed the easiest. Basically plug it in and turn it on and you’re done.

So, I went with the SMI system. Normal price of around $999, but picked it up on Amazon for $823.

==> Blue Ox BX8869 Bulb and Socket Tail Light Wiring Kit


Hitch King quoted me $250 to install the light kit, including material. I figure I might as well buy it myself and save some money. I still plan to have them install it, but I can save some money on material.

==> Blue Ox BX88206 Coiled Cable with Female Receptor


For bringing power from the RV to the road. Would buy it for $90 from Hitch King, but got it for $76 on Amazon.

==> Blue Ox BX88309 Tow Bar Cover


This is the vinyl cover that protects the towbar when it is folded in. It is built to fit the Avail towbar. Saved about $9 by ordering through Amazon.

So, All In All…

All in all, I spent $2,150.56. This included a small gift card balance that I already had.

Total savings on the order was around $568. Actual savings were greater because I saved money on sales taxes. Only paid $90 in sales taxes on the whole order. If I had purchased these items directly from the installers, I would have paid full retail as well as sales taxes on all of it. So, probably saved about $630 or so at least.

Amazon is awesome like that. 🙂

Free shipping, lower prices, and save some money on taxes.

So, the plan is that once I have all the items in, I’m going to go have Hitch King install it for me.

Follow Along On Our Tow Vehicle Setup:

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