Blue Ox Patriot 3 Radio Frequency Portable Braking System Review

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Review of the Blue Ox Patriot 3 Radio Frequency Portable Braking System


Ryan: Hey everybody, Ryan here at etrailer. Today, we're going to be taking a look at the Blue Ox Patriot 3 portable Braking System. So, whenever you're towing your vehicle, a braking system is a really important component. Now, many of those braking systems can be a little confusing and difficult to understand how they actually work. And that's why some people are a little reluctant to get them whenever they are towing the vehicle. But then they get out on the road, they start going down some steep hills or some curvy roads and realize that they don't feel as safe as they should.

They can feel the extra weight of their towed vehicle and having to rely on that motorhome to do all the stopping, doesn't really put your mind at ease, and that's where the Patriot 3 will come into play.It'll make your experience much safer, your stopping more predictable, and it is extremely simple to understand and operate. So, talking about our braking system and seeing how it works is one thing, but how it's actually going to feel, how you're going to live with it, is a whole another story. So, what we're going to do is just spin around the parking lot. We won't be able to get up to high speeds or anything, but what we'll be able to do is get a feel for it and see how the braking system reacts as we're stopping. We'll go ahead, put our coach and drive, and take it for a spin.What we'll do is go ahead and pick up a little bit of speed as much as we can here, at least.

And I think I'm going to do two things. I think I'm going to gradually apply the brakes and see how it feels. And I think we'll turn around and do it again except that time, what I think I'm going to do is really stand on the brakes and make it harder to stop and see how it reacts, just to kind of get both scenarios there. So right now we can have a little spin, hit the brakes, come to a stop and it follows. Honestly, I took this motor home for a spin without it hooked up and I can't feel a difference at all.

So I think the braking system is doing a wonderful job like it should. The proportion of it has to be the same so I don't feel it dragging or getting hung up or anything like that.So in my opinion, pass that test perfectly. So we're going to turn around and really apply the brakes hard to see if my opinion changes. All right. So here we go, and I'm picking up my spin, and I'll stand on these brakes pretty good, and fantastic, actually.

It did better than I thought it was going to do. Again, I really didn't even feel like my vehicle was behind. So if you're confident in driving your motorhome as it is without that towed vehicle, in my opinion, you're really not going to have to make any adjustments. Obviously, your vehicle will be behind you, but as far as how you stop and break things of that nature, be conscious that the vehicles there, but you're not going to have to really change your driving habits a ton with this braking system.So when it comes to these braking systems, I can understand how someone would be confused. There's many different types of them. There's some that are designed for motorhomes with air brakes, some are designed for motorhomes with hydraulic brakes, some are permanent, some are kind of a mix of in between. The Patriot 3, the great thing about this is it's for the most part completely universal. It's going to work with pretty much any motorhome, any type of brakes that it may have, whether it be air brakes or hydraulic brakes, and it's going to work with pretty much any car. And that even includes hybrids.A lot of the other braking systems are compatible with hybrids and with those hybrids being more popular by the day, that's something you definitely want to keep in mind. It's definitely a benefit to have the capability, to be able to use this with a hybrid vehicle, if you ever want to. So, one of the big things on a lot of people's minds that are flat towing, at least with the customers that I've spoken to, is how long it's going to take to set everything up and get it disconnected when you arrive to your destination.So, the last thing you want to do is waste a whole bunch of time trying to piece everything together, or get it disconnected, that way you can actually take your vehicle for a spin whenever you want it to. With the Patriot 3, it's not going to hardly take any time at all. It's really simple and straightforward, and let's go ahead and hop inside and see how that works. So just kind of a quick rundown outside of our car, this is going to sit in your driver's side floorboard, so more or less you set it in there. We're going to have a clamp here, and this will clamp around our brake pedal. This backside we'll push against the driver's seat. And then what we're going to have to do is plug into a cigarette lighter. And we're going to have just one more simple plug from our breakaway switch that plugs into the council here.So today we're going to be putting this on a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, but keep in mind, the setup is going to be pretty much exactly the same, regardless of what vehicle you have. Put that in mind, the first thing you're going to want to do is take your driver's seat and move it all the way back as far as you can. And we're just going to simply take our unit and set it onto the floorboard. So, now go around to the other side and continue to hook it up, just to give you guys kind of a better view of what I'm doing. So you're going to grab the claw and that's going to wrap around your brake pedal arm.And once it's clamped around there, there's a twist knob on this side, and you can rotate that a quarter turn and that's going to lock those jaws in the position. Then what you do is, move your seat forward to bump it up against the backside of the unit. Now what's nice, and part of the reasons why this fits ton of different vehicles is, they're going to be adjustable for the most part. So, since our seat does sit up a little bit higher than the back here, what I'm going to do is adjust that pad. There's a knob here in the center, that's what I'm turning, just a little thumb knob. You can raise that up, where need it to be. It's just going to give us a little bit better of a contact surface there, raise it up, lets skew our seat forward, and so it just barely makes contact with our unit.From there, you just take your plug and push it into your cigarette outlet, your power source. And then we have our breakaway switch cable, which I already ran, this what goes to the breakaway switch at the front of the Jeep. And once you run that the first time, you don't have to worry about it again, it'll stay here in the floorboard, open out of the way. And that being said, grab that and just push it right into our unit there. Once we're plugged in, we'll simply just push power. It will actuate a little bit. And the blinking green and blue lights indicate that it's ready to be set up, move to the setup button, push it down. It'll run through its sequence, testing itself to make sure everything's functioning properly. And once it realizes it is functioning properly, the power light will turn a solid green, and we know we're good to go in here.And outside of the vehicle, all you have to do is grab the tether, and connect it to your breakaway switch, to the back of your motorhome switch. It is a really nice feature that the braking system actually comes with the breakaway switch and what that's going to do, in the event of a catastrophic disconnect, that breakaway switch will get pulled out, and that will actually apply the brakes inside of your Jeep, bringing it to a safe and more controlled stop. Since its breaking system is so easy to take in and out, if you ever do end up purchasing a new vehicle or say, even have another vehicle that you'd like to flat tow, you can actually pick up a second vehicle kit, which consists of the breakaway switch, allow you to mount it to that new or second vehicle and easily change which vehicle you're going to tow without a ton of modifications.Now, something I think that's worth mentioning, and just to kind of prove how universal this kit really is and how it's going to work with pretty much anything out there, it's going to come with a couple of accessories. It's going to come included with these feet, that thread into the bottom of the unit, and that's going to allow you to adjust the level of the operating unit. So, if you have an odd shaped floorboard, say, maybe the floor kind of comes up on one side, you can put these in there and that's going to get everything straightened out how you want it. They even, go as far as to give you different hooks, and these are going to wrap around your brake pedal, that way, if you have a really large or kind of an odd shaped brake pedal, you can switch the current ones out for these, and it's going to get the job done.There's even some rare, special instances, but it does come across occasionally, where say the rod for the brake pedal arm is a little too short, there's an extension available and say, if you have a really soft seat, and it doesn't really give you the pressure you need from the unit pushing back on it, there's actually a stiffener available as well. So, for those rare cases where you do run into any issues, there is a solution. So, that's how universal this is. It's got to work with pretty much everything out there. Now, there is one thing you definitely want to check. Depending on your vehicle and how it is flat towed down the road, you want to make sure that this cigarette lighter, whenever you plug into it, is going to have power in your flat tow mode.So if your cigarette lighter does not have power whenever you put your vehicle on the flat tow mode, obviously your braking system isn't going to power on. So, you will need to pick up an auxiliary 12 volt outlet kit, and you can find that here at etrailer. And it's really not a big deal. Really straightforward, you just pretty much hook it up to the battery, and that gives you a secondary outlet to plug into, that way, the braking system will work flawlessly. Inside of a motorhome, we're going to have this really neat monitor. And, what this is going to allow us to do is kind of keep an eye on things and make adjustments if we need to. And that's kind of something that separates this braking system from some of the other ones. A lot of times if you wanted, this would be an entirely separate component that you would have to pick up separately, wire it all up.This one just plugs right into your cigarette lighter here inside of the coach. You see a nice little mounting pad, which just sets on your dash. And even some of the braking systems that do come with something similar, a lot of times they're just a light that indicates that something is happening in the braking system. This one goes a lot more in depth, not only keep an eye on things, it'll tell you if you do have a breakaway situation, but you're actually able to run through the menu, adjust your sensitivity, the maximum force and so on. So, we can really fine tune everything. And one of the big things that's different with this new Patriot 3 is that on its own, it's going to continuously monitor itself more or less. So ,it's got to every now and again, run some self tests and make sure everything is good.And because of that, it's going to really help you too to even dial in sensitivity and how everything works almost perfectly. That way, whenever you are pulling your towed vehicle down the road, you're not even going to feel it behind you. You're not going to feel it kind of dragging when you hit the brakes, or trying to push you around, anything like that. In my opinion, with very little effort, you can have this thing set up almost spot on very quickly. So, this is actually going to communicate with the operating unit inside of your vehicle through radio frequency, which is a very tried and true way of doing things. You know it's going to work. It's really reliable. So, regardless, whether you have a small motorhome or a very large one, you're going to have no issues talking back and forth with each other.So, we'll have a few options here. You can turn on a backlight. If it's daytime or nighttime, you will have the sensitivity adjustment here, which more or less means how quickly they're going to come in and apply whenever you hit the brakes in the motorhome. You can repair your remote. The max force, which what that's going to do is determine how hard the brakes are going to be applied in conjunction with how hard you apply them here in the motorhome. But for the most part, usually these settings are pretty close to being spot on. And really that's because this is a proportional braking system. So that's going to make things even easier. So what that proportional term means is very simple action. However hard you apply the brakes in the motorhome, the towed vehicle is going to match it. So it's going to make the stopping a lot more predictable, smooth, and safe.So just to kind of give you an example, say you're cruising down the road, you hit a red light, you see it up ahead in a distance, let off the gas and kind of just lightly hit the brake. The brake pedal and the towed vehicle is going to do the same thing. Let's say, if you're on the highway and have to come to an emergency stop, so you're at highway speeds and you really need to stand on that brake pedal hard, just slow everything down, the brake pedal and the towed vehicle is going to do the same thing. That's really going to give you that peace of mind, and that smooth ride whenever you're flat towing. Then the great thing is, whenever you're done flat towing, the system's just as quick and easy to take out as it is to put in, if not a little bit faster.So, one of my favorite things about this setup is how compact and lightweight it's going to be, really easy to manage and really easy to store. And to be honest with you, whenever you're over the road, in your motorhome, that's storage space is precious. It's really important whether you're buying a new motorhome or just trying to work with the one that you already have, you don't want some big, bulky operating unit to take up all that space.It's not the case at all with this one, your storage options are going to be pretty much endless. So whether you want to just go in the back of your vehicle and throw it in the trunk or in the hatch, you're able to do that very easily. And let's say, if you want to take your towed vehicle on a trip and want to keep all the space freed up inside there, the unit is small enough, so you can come to your motorhome, one of the side departments, keep it stashed in here for now and locked up. So when compared to some of the other braking systems, this one's going to kind of check all the boxes. It's going to have that ease of use, that reliability and that functionality. So it's going to be pretty good for just about any situation.Now, there's other types of braking systems, like the permanent style ones, for example, and those are nice setups too. They are involved to get in place and once they are, it's an easy setup, you flip that switch. However, those choices ain't right for everybody. If you're someone that don't flat tow that often, or maybe go in between seasons or change vehicles a lot, it doesn't really make a whole lot of sense to get that permanent style. But with the portable style, you really can't go wrong regardless of your habits. Whether you tow a whole lot, every now and again change your vehicles, you're going to be able to take this with you and set it up relatively easily and whatever vehicle you have at the time.So, there's going to be a total of five main components needed to flat tow your Wrangler Unlimited down the road. First one's going to be the base plate. So the base plate is going to be that solid connection point here at the front of your Jeep, which allows you to connect your tow bar to. So the tow bar's the second component, and this is going to be that main link that connects the front of your Jeep to the back of your motor home. The third component is going to be safety cables. And these are there, in the event of a unlikely disconnect, the safety cables are going to keep your Jeep and your motorhome attached together. The fourth component is going to be tow bar wiring.So the tow bar wiring is going to transfer the lighting signals from the back of your motorhome to the back of your Jeep. That way other motorists will know your intentions as you're going down the road. And last but not least, the fifth component is going to be a braking system. So what the braking system is going to do is apply the brakes in the Jeep whenever you hit the brakes inside of the motorhome. And that's going to do a couple of things, not only is it going to make your stops more safe and predictable, but it's also going to reduce the wear and tear on your motorhome's braking system as well. And that'll finish up our look at of the Blue Ox Patriot 3 portable Braking System..


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