Ken Henderson's $30 DIY toad brake

Tow vehicle weight that requires tow Brakes

 Since the topic came up a while ago,  and we just purchased a 2001 Saturn SL2 as our toad, I asked the service manager at Saturn about  the fuse thing on the 2001 and 2000 models. We went through the service bulletin book. and came up with two service bulletins. I've included the major parts of the bulletins below: Also the owners manual recommends A MAXIMUM SPEED while towing an
Saturn with automatic trans of 65 MPH. Possible damage to transmission above that speed.

 FWIW:  I pulled the fuse on our SL2 and put a amp meter in-line and turned the key to the ACC postion. I measured a  .5 AMP current as long as the key was in the ACC position. So there is a continous 1/2 AMP draw on the Saturn battery at all times with the ACC postion.   I guess 8 hours of towing would not cause a problem, but extended  towing periods without starting the toad might cause a problem, thus the reason for the service bulletins.. There is NO report I could find to any possible damage to the car if you leave the fuse's in, just the possiblity of a dead battery. Current Draw with key OFF is  Zero. but you can'nt tow in the off  position since it locks the steering wheel..
 Bulletin 00-T-19  covers all  2000 L series Saturns.
          Dated March 2000

          Remove fuse IGN 0/3/CR 30 AMP
          Remove fuse IGN 1/2    30 AMP

  Condition: Dead battery after being towed behind RV.

  Cause:  body control module being active when ignition is in
          the ACC position.

 Bulletin 00-T-33 covers  ALL 2000 & 2001 S series Saturns.
          Dated June 2000

          Remove fuse IGN 1/4    30 AMP

 Condition: Dead battery after being towed behind RV.

 Cause:  body control module being active when ignition is in
          the ACC position.
John & Brenda Szalay

About a year ago, someone posted that they were able to charge the GMC batteries by running the TOAD which was plugged into the towing connector on the GMC.  This sounded like a neat trick but would have several problems if the two were connected directly together.

1  Two dissimilar batteries should not be connected in parallel
2  If either vehicle battery ran down, so would the other

Connecting with a diode isolator would not help since charging would occur in only one direction.

The answer is to use a  BATTERY COMBINER connected to the TOAD.  The features are the following:

1  All batteries can charge from any source, GMC alternator, Smart charger, TOAD alternator.
2  All batteries are separated during discharge.

So now it is possible to jump the GMC from the TOAD or Jump the Toad from the GMC.   The TOAD will charge while being towed  which will stop that unpleasant surprise that you left a light on in the TOAD.

Look at the bottom of this picture for connection information

Tracker Automatic Hubs

The automatic hubs have a tendency to lock if there is any backwards motion in the toad.  Doesn't take much, just roll backwards at a stop sign or light and they lock.  You can replace the auto hubs with manual hubs for under a $100 dollars, JC Whitney has them for $87 for a set of
2 (PN 73EL7577B)  Made by Superwinch.  Both the 5 speed and automatic tranny can be towed. J.R. Wright
Mine had automatic hubs as well and I replaced them with the manual ones
from JC Whitney.  The trouble is there is no way to tell for sure that
the automatic hubs are disengaged.  A simple roll back could lock them
and then there is no telling how much damage driving with them locked
can do to the drive train.  I prefer to be sure than just lucky. Bob McLaughlin


I really like the tracker.  I am a tall guy and there is lots of head room and very large doors to get into .  It will easily hold 4 people which is good, because it seems most of the time when we use the tracker, we want to take friends with us.  I think this is an important feature.  I can see the tracker through the rear window of the GMC while I am towing it, which is also important.

 It is a very easy tow, and at about 2300 lb, only a saturn seems to weight less. I have a 4wd and have not had to use that yet but it is a real easy tow with the standard transmission.  I am very happy with the ease of hooking up to tow, takes only minutes and we will disconnect when we enter a town to go look for a place to stay or have dinner.  My tracker has a hard top as you can see on the net and I like that since I have had enough of soft tops.

It is a real comfort to have a Toad.  When I broke down in Santa Barbara, I drove to Tracker the rest of the way to LA for the funeral I had to attend, and then when I got back, used the Tracker to get repairs and back on the road.

I use the tracker when I am home to pull my trailers.  I like it so much I am selling my full-size van because I no longer need it to pull trailers and the arround-the-home trips.  The tracker is easy and fun to drive arround town for those little pickup trips and the rear seat folds down so I can carry stuff in the back. It has my vote as you can see.  gene

I finally found a 2 inch receiver hitch for the Tracker that will use the same accessories that I use on the Motorhome.  This is a bolt on and fits.

Colibert enterprises

Telephone                1.801.972.3322

Are you aware that GM sells Trackers in Canada that are called "GM Tracker". A friend and I purchased the GM nameplates and put them on in place of the Go nameplates. If it is tracking a GM why not call it a GM Tracker!  You can purchase the nameplates here in USA.Chuck



 1  "Also looking for a 1.3L engine for my 88 Suzuki Samurai.
      Would you believe an improperly stowed lawn chair pushed the transfer case lever
       into 2 wheel drive at 70 mph?"Walter

2   Fire wood stored in his Corvar Bug, hit the shift lever and took out the transmission of the Baha Bug. Gary

My 87 S15 Jimmy 4X4 weighed 3645.
 I sold my Jimmy and got a Geo Tracker 2 DR manual trans 4 wheel drive.  It weighs in at 2275.  I have towed it about 5K miles this year and don't even know it is there.  Generally the lighter the better when towing with a GMC.  In our club there is a mix of Honda's, GEO Trackers, Saturn's, Jeeps and even small vans.  The choice is really yours to make. The heavier you go the need for auxiliary brake is needed. J.R. Wright
year/model/doors/curb wt/engine
'98 Tracker 2 dr   2392 lbs   1.6 L
'99 Tracker 2 dr   2600 lbs   2.0 L

'98 Tracker 4 dr   2650 lbs   1.6 L

'98 Saturn  4 dr   2294 lbs   1.9 L
'99 Saturn  4 dr   2910 lbs   2.2 L

'97 Cavalier 2 dr  2676 lbs   2.2 L
'99 Cavalier 2 dr  2617 lbs   2.2 L

'98 Honda CRV 4 dr 3126 lbs   2.0 L
'99 Honda CRV 4 dr 3150 lbs   2.0 L

Seems that many vehicles weight increased in 1999.Bill

Maintence Books on Trackers
You can order these books on

         Chilton's Suzuki : Samurai/Sid                       $18.36---------------good book, covers many models
         Haynes Suzuki Samurai & Sidekick Geo       $14.36------waste of time, some good pictures

Fold Away Tow Bar for Tracker
The one that came on mine is available from  campers choice you have to search for this listing.
                               Z142 tracker tow bar 189.98---Stow Master
Click for Detail
It is really excellent,  bolts on, and easy adjusting for hookup.

The wiring kit is available from Camping World
                                16888 Stormaster accessory kit $150.30

tow bar cover, coiled safety cables, uhniversal wiring kit, 4 wire Flexo-coil, set of keyed-alike padlocks and free vinl tow bag.
pricey but great stuff gene

Try this site for a reconditioned $195.00 tow bar.
Order the Tracker attchment plates here also.

  Lawrence  Gaskins

Tow Wiring
Click for DetailThis wiring is placed inside the rear light assemblies.  The diode blocks are cut into the wiring at the light assemblies.    The input socket is mounted in the plastic under the front bumper of the Tracker.  A coiled cord with a connector on each end runs between the Tracker and the GMC.  I put a 20 amp circuit breaker into the fuse block in the glove box of the GMC.  This fuse controls the running lights of the GMC .

Universal Wiring Kit from Camping World   $52.99- diodes, wiring,connectors etc
Here is a description that shows pictures of the diode connections

You will have to use a test light to find which wires go to the lights and the sockets

Arch's Tracker Links

American Suzuki Motor Corporation
Suzuki Sidekick Sport Technical Specifications
Top Flite, Removable  Fiberglass Tops
Suzuki at Richards
Lycos  Makes/Models Guide: Suzuki
Rally Tops
Suzuki Sidekick
Suzuki Truck Sidekick (2WD) Recalls and Suzuk...
Ivan's Suzuki Sidekick Page
Sunport Tops for Samurai,  Sidekick and Tracker
 Suzuki 4x4 -  Samurai (Sierra), Sidekick (Vita...
Wet Okole Hawaii ..  Custom Car Seat Covers
Suzuki Engines, Factory  Remanufactured by ATK...
Accessories for Jeep,  Chevy, Ford, Toyota, Do...
PopSci.c om | SUV buyer's Guide | Suzuki Sidekick

More Links
Tracker Links
Tracker Information
Suzuki Recycling

  VW Toad
 how to turn a Bug into a Toad !
Excellent DIY by J Harper

It weighs 2028 lbs. This is a 1971. It needs a little work but nothing major. My current problem is that it appears that a super beetle can not be raised up for more road clearance. Update 10/18/05. Well after quite a discussion on the net the solution to getting more road clearance on a Super Beetle was to buy a set of rear air shocks from JC Whitney. It was also pointed out that the front ends on a Super Beetle are weak. A kit is available form JC Whitney to add reinforcements to the front end.

I think I\'ll document the hitch setup. I have a Blaine Merrill through the bumper hitch and a blue ox tow bar (from Ebay) so far but not yet installed.  I purchased a Blue Ox tow base plate also. There are 2 base plates for VW bugs. BX3810 is for a Standard Beetle and BX3809 is for a Super Beetle. It should be noted that the preferred Beetle for off road conditions is the standard beetle. 

Some pictures of BugToads

How to wire towing lights for a BugToad
and for the GMC
New LED tail lights for a VW  Plastic body
by Gary Berry