The Patriot 2 is the latest release from Blue Ox in the world of supplemental braking systems!
Right out of the box, or actually in the box, I noticed the Patriot 2 supplemental braking system was lightweight and compact in design. Like a kid at Christmas, I couldn’t wait to crack open the box and see what treasures awaited inside. I must say, I was impressed on how well the box was packed and could tell Blue Ox had done their homework when designing the packaging. We all know things can get beat up a bit in shipping, but our Patriot 2 was pristine inside when peering in.
Once I started pulling items out of the box, I noticed there wasn’t much to the entire system. Said differently, there wasn’t a million pieces and parts that had to be put together or installed on my RV or tow vehicle. When researching which braking system to purchase, this was one of the leading factors that persuaded us to buy the Patriot 2 in the first place. I have two different vehicles I may tow with my Class C from time to time, so I wanted a system which could be moved from one vehicle to another. The Patriot 2 fit the bill perfectly. The only piece of the system permanently installed in the Dinghy (or toad, or tow behind, etc.) is the breakaway switch. It is simple to purchase and install a second switch in an additional vehicle which made this system an excellent fit for me.
Patriot 2 Installation
RF Controller and Breakaway Switch
The Patriot 2 uses RF (radio frequency) to communicate between the controller in the RV and the braking unit in the towed vehicle. Using an accelerometer similar to a smartphone in the RF controller, the system senses braking in the RV and sends the signal to the braking unit which then applies proportional braking in the towed vehicle. RF communication eliminates the need for additional cables running through the coach which makes for a straightforward install and set up. What can I say, I like things simple!
The first step I took was going to work mounting the breakaway switch in our 2012 Jeep JK. The instructions which came with our Blue Ox product stated not to attach the breakaway switch to the tow bar itself, so I went about looking for a more suitable location. We had our Blue Ox tow bar base plate and wiring installed by the dealer when we purchased the JK, and I noticed a slit which was cut in the plastic rock guard to fit around the base plate. The slit in the plastic left some of the factory bumper exposed with just enough room with a spacer to mount the switch. As the kit didn’t come with any mounting hardware, I dug around in my spare bolts collection (aka junk) and found some hardware which worked perfectly. All I had to do from there is run the breakaway harness into the engine bay and through the firewall on the driver’s side. A couple of cable ties later and the install was complete. Easy peasy!
Installing The Patriot 2 Braking Unit
My next step was installing and testing the braking system itself. It is a simple process, to say the least, due to the lightweight design of the Patriot 2. The braking unit is placed on the floorboard of the vehicle after the driver’s seat has been pushed back. Using the included leveling feet on the Patriot II, I was able to level out the unit quickly. The adjustable spring-loaded clamp fit over the brake pedal with no issue, and a turn of the locking knob made sure it wouldn’t come off the pedal. I then adjusted the back plate so it would fit over the seat adjustment bar on the JK’s seat and rest against the bottom of the seat itself. I then slid the driver’s seat forward thus lodging the unit in place.
The Patriot 2 requires a 12-volt power source which is always on. In the case of the JK, it was found nestled inside the center console which was within easy reach of the power cord. I then plugged in the breakaway cable and hit the yee ol power button. Once the flashing lights started indicating it was ready for set-up, I hit the “set-up” button. The braking system came to life and ran a couple of test brakes to calibrate itself to the vehicle. The braking unit is exceptionally intuitive, even to the point where you can do firmware updates by connecting to it via Bluetooth!
RF Controller Setup Up
Lastly was setting up the RF Control Unit in the RV. The controller also requires a 12-volt power source which was readily available in the dash of our Gulfstream. It powered right up, and I was able to adjust the “force” (or braking gain) at the touch of a button. The gain defaults to 5, which is the middle setting regarding adjustment options. I set ours on 7 as our RV is 24ft and the JK is a four-door. If I had a 40-ft pusher and a Kia, I’m sure a lower gain would be more suitable.
Patriot 2 Likes and…Meh.
The main things I like about the Patriot 2 is the simplicity, and ability to move it from one vehicle to another, unlike other braking systems which are permanently installed. I also like the fact it is all electric, so there is no splicing into hydraulic or air systems to actuate the braking system. Lastly, it flat out works. At the end of the day, a braking system should do a few things. Save wear and tear on your vehicles, keep you from not getting a ticket for not having a system in the first place, and stop your towed vehicle in the case of a breakaway situation. The Patriot 2 does all of these. Period.
It isn’t all rainbows and butterflies, however. The Blue Ox Patriot 2 much like most braking systems is expensive. I at least consider $1000 expensive, I don’t know about you. Is it cheaper than totaling a vehicle and worth not spending the rest of your life knowing you hurt or killed someone? Absolutely! Second, though I like the lightweight and compact design, this usually comes in the form of plastic. The Patriot 2 has a housing made entirely out of plastic which made me carry it like a newborn baby everywhere I took it. Due to the cost, I’m not in a hurry to replace it anytime soon.
All in I am very happy with this product, and would definitely recommend it if you are looking for a braking system for your towing needs.
Find Blue Ox and other towing accessories in our webstore here!