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Blue Ox Patriot Braking System vs. Competition


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28 replies to this topic

#1 mapdlpurdy

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 09:36 AM

I'm looking at the new Blue Ox Patriot braking system and wanted to get some feedback on this system as well as what people think of it vs. the competition, which is Roadmaster EvenBrake 9400 and Brake Buddy Vantage Select.
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Molly & David
2008 FourWinds Windsport 34B
2001 Toyota Rav4
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Good Sam
CampClub USA

#2 hermanmullins

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 07:02 PM

I'm looking at the new Blue Ox Patriot braking system and wanted to get some feedback on this system as well as what people think of it vs. the competition, which is Roadmaster EvenBrake 9400 and Brake Buddy Vantage Select.

You did not say what coach you have. If you have a diesel take a look at the M & G Enginnering unit, low in cost and a great unit.
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"Fair winds and Following Seas"

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Whitewright, TEXAS
'02 Monaco Dynasty, 40-foot 400 HP ISL
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#3 Guest_2driftrs_*

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Posted 05 February 2010 - 06:01 AM

Take a look at the USGear Unified Tow Brake (UTB). We've installed two of these, one in a 2000 Jeep Classic and our current unit in a 2007 Pontiac G6 GTP. On the bad side, the unit is not cheap, but then neither is your coach or toad. AND, it's not easy to install unless you're a better than average mechanic/electrician. BUT, it has a huge advantage over all those units that sit on the floor of your car, and that is that it's always there. You don't have to do anything to get it ready. When you hook up the toad, your brake system is ready to go.

We like the UTB not only because it's always ready, but also because it has a vacuum pump built into the toad to energize the power brake booster. This means that the toad is using power brakes even though the toad's engine isn't running.

Like I said, we're on our second vehicle with the UTB, and we wouldn't have anything else.

#4 blackbeard

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Posted 15 March 2010 - 07:20 PM

Has anyone heard anything about the Blue Ox patriot? Am looking to make purchase and would like any suggestions and/or comments that others may know of.

Thanks
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#5 Donlock

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 03:56 PM

I got one on order and going to be towing 2010 fusion.
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#6 phylandmac

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 08:37 PM

I would suggest you look at the SMI Stay-in-Play Duo system. Compact, easy
to use, and affordable.
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#7 Donlock

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 07:59 PM

Do not want cut into lines etc. On a Brand new car still under warranty.
And able to use on more than one towed.
Don
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#8 gwjohnson

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 11:55 AM

We had a Blue Ox Patriot electric brake system installed by our RV dealer, along with a Blue Ox Aventra 10,000 lb tow hitch, the day we picked up our new 2010 Tiffin Phaeton 40 ft diesel pusher. Although the tow hitch is great,... we're VERY DISSATISFIED with the Patriot. We tow a 2000 Tahoe LT 4WD behind the Phaeton. The Patriot works 'OK' as far as braking capability,.. IF and WHEN you can get it adjusted, which has to be done each time you install it. The RV dealer who installed it took 14 tries the first time it was installed to get it to register "OK" ready. He finally had to put a board between the Patriot and where it pushes against the Tahoe's driver's seat. The Tahoe's seats are very soft leather and when the Patriot arm was set against it, apparently there was too much 'give', or inconsistent give. It has taken me a minimum of 3 tries and a maximum of 20+ tries (VERY FRUSTRATING!) to get the Patriot 'set up' correctly each time I tow.

Even WORSE,...the Blue OX company customer service is 'NON-EXISTENT' !!! Even though their website states that they answer customer service phone inquiries within 2-3 hours and email inquiries within 6 hours,....; after 4 voice mail messages and 3 emails, I STILL HAVE HAD NO RESPONSES FROM BLUE OX WHAT-SO-EVER. My RV dealer said that they have only installed 3 Patriot systems and have had the same complaints about the difficulty in getting them adjusted by all 3 customers.

I CAN NOT rcommend the Patriot brake system! Anybody else had this 'set-up' adjustment problem with the Patriot? Has anybody ever gotten a response deom Blue Ox customer service on any issue?

G.W. Johnson
West Des Moines, IA
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G. W. Johnson
West Des Moines, IA
2010 Tiffin Phaeton - 40 ft Diesel pusher
Toad = 2000 Tahoe 4WD

#9 Yartravels

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Posted 03 July 2010 - 01:59 PM

We also have a Patriot system and an Aventra tow bar. We have a 2008 Challenger and a 2006 Jeep Liberty. We had our equipment installed by a Blue Ox dealer/trailer dealership.

We also found that we needed to use a board against the seat to get the Patriot to register OK. The problem we have is that it doesn't stay OK while driving. Our first trip ended with us having to install new brakes, hubs, ABS switches and front axle, a bill of over $2,300.

We contacted Patriot and they did respond back. We even sent them pictures. Their responses did not make any sense. i.e. turn the gain to 0 (this would bypass the benefit of equalizing the braking); we put the clamp on the brake pedal upside down (we didn't do this); and when we told them that all the lights came on with the RF monitor they told us the only way this would happen was if the break away was pulled (which it was not).

We are afraid of using this unit and would definitely NOT RECOMMEND to others. Does anyone have any ideas as to how we can get some of our money back on our loss?

Frustrated with BlueOx
Poughkeepsie, NY
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#10 mikev

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Posted 03 July 2010 - 07:55 PM

Hello, I ended up buying and installing the Roadmaster Evenbrake 9400. Pretty straight forward to install, it has three sensitivity and three force settings. I started with the lowest settings and ended on the lowest force and the medium sensitivity. The remote indicator is excellent as it shows when the brakes on our toad (2003 Ford Explorer) are actually activated. There was no issue getting everything working, I fix helicopters for a living and have most but not all knowledge of most auto mechanics would have, so things were pretty simple however Roadmaster did a good job of explanation in their guides and they were very helpful when I called with a few questions. I'm a pretty tame driver and the brake system really doesn't come on too much, mostly coming off the Interstates or a stop sign etc...pretty much when it should. I'm happy with the ease of setting up and taking down each time, all in all I like the product. The one thing I cannot do with Evenbrake is activate the unit from the seat of my RV but if I need to hit the brakes it has worked every time. It is activated by an acceleration monitor only so if you touch your brakes or turn on your pac brake it may or may not come on, depending on the sensitivity which you can adjust as needed.

Hope this helps
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Mike and Heather Visentin
Parry Sound, Ontario
2003 HR Ambassador 32PBD
Cummins ISC 315, Allison 3000MH
2003 Ford Explorer XLT Toad, Roadmaster Sterling Tow Bar, Evenbrake 9400.
FMCA410271
I've seen most of our two countries from the air, now I'm looking forward to seeing them from the ground!

#11 blackbeard

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 02:22 PM

Mr. Johnson sorry to hear your bad connection with Blue Ox. I have both a towbar and braking system from Blue Ox and they've never steered me wrong. If you have any problems simply call their number and ask for a supervisor and they go above and beyond to help set things straight! I HIGHLY recommend this company and their products. I do remember I had an incident once where I called in and there was a lapse of time where emails were not getting through due to service issues and at the same time, phone issues were a problem because of flooding in the area. Perhaps this could have been a problem.
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#12 DBrake

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 06:44 AM

The main thing you'll have to think about is if you want an air cylinder system or an electric actuator... :rolleyes:
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#13 blackbeard

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Posted 16 July 2010 - 04:19 PM

GW Johnson, Since reading your response about the customer service at Blue Ox, I got to thinking and hope things haven't changed there. They've always been a very good company with the best of service. So I'm curious, have you ever gotten a response from the company since you've been there?
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#14 dalltop

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Posted 18 July 2010 - 07:04 AM

I use the ReadyBrake surge system on a 1997 Grand Cherokee and have towed for 12000 miles with no issues. Very fast to hook up and disconnect. It uses the Blue Ox arms I believe. They have an accessory for vacuum boost on the brakes.

I installed it myself. The whole install including the Jeep plates (purchased separately), tow bar with brake system, was about $1100.

Since it is a surge brake system it will not drag the brakes. Very quick to hookup and disconnect. All mechanical so no electric is required unless you use the vacuum boost option.

Downside is that you have a cable loop on the front of the vehicle (stainless steel) that may be visable depending on your vehicle. You must have the arms level within two inches of the toad which is the correct way anyway.
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#15 gwjohnson

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 02:55 PM

GW Johnson, Since reading your response about the customer service at Blue Ox, I got to thinking and hope things haven't changed there. They've always been a very good company with the best of service. So I'm curious, have you ever gotten a response from the company since you've been there?

Yes, after several emails and voice mail messages I left, I finally got some emails from the President of the company, Jay Hesse. After several emails back and forth, I explained that the unit I had was not able to be programmed / set up, like the suggestions that he made for adjustment. I was concerned, because we are about to take off on a 4,000 mile trip out West through the mountains. Mr. Hesse called me personally and agreed to send a factory rep with a new unit which was installed. My unit purchased and installed by my RV dealer in May of 2010 had software version 011. The new unit delivered, exchanged installed by their factory rep has software version 014. They also installed a prototype contoured plastic bracket velcro attached to the unit that goes between the front of my Tahoe soft leather seat and the unit. It still took a couple of times for the factory rep to get the unit to register "OK", ... but, 3 times is a whole lot better than 15-20 times to get it set! I appreciated Mr. Hesse's personal interest in making things right by exchanging the unit. I told him that I would get back to him (and to this FMCA forum) after our trip through the mountains and let him know how the new Patriot unit performs.

As for the Blue Ox customer service,.... after my persistence through emails & voice-mails,... they did finally come through to attempt to rectify the problem. We'll see how things go with the new unit.

Greg W. Johnson
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G. W. Johnson
West Des Moines, IA
2010 Tiffin Phaeton - 40 ft Diesel pusher
Toad = 2000 Tahoe 4WD

#16 blackbeard

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 03:07 PM

Yes, after several emails and voice mail messages I left, I finally got some emails from the President of the company, Jay Hesse. After several emails back and forth, I explained that the unit I had was not able to be programmed / set up, like the suggestions that he made for adjustment. I was concerned, because we are about to take off on a 4,000 mile trip out West through the mountains. Mr. Hesse called me personally and agreed to send a factory rep with a new unit which was installed. My unit purchased and installed by my RV dealer in May of 2010 had software version 011. The new unit delivered, exchanged installed by their factory rep has software version 014. They also installed a prototype contoured plastic bracket velcro attached to the unit that goes between the front of my Tahoe soft leather seat and the unit. It still took a couple of times for the factory rep to get the unit to register "OK", ... but, 3 times is a whole lot better than 15-20 times to get it set! I appreciated Mr. Hesse's personal interest in making things right by exchanging the unit. I told him that I would get back to him (and to this FMCA forum) after our trip through the mountains and let him know how the new Patriot unit performs.

As for the Blue Ox customer service,.... after my persistence through emails & voice-mails,... they did finally come through to attempt to rectify the problem. We'll see how things go with the new unit.

Greg W. Johnson

I'm glad to hear things turned around for you and that they are still pretty on top of their game. I know one of the main reasons I've stuck with Blue Ox all these years is because of the way they stand behind their products, so I'm glad I don't have to be disappointed :rolleyes: Best of luck to you Greg and I hope this Patriot treats you right! :)
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#17 gwjohnson

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Posted 20 October 2010 - 07:42 AM

We had a Blue Ox Patriot electric brake system installed by our RV dealer, along with a Blue Ox Aventra 10,000 lb tow hitch, the day we picked up our new 2010 Tiffin Phaeton 40 ft diesel pusher. Although the tow hitch is great,... we're VERY DISSATISFIED with the Patriot. We tow a 2000 Tahoe LT 4WD behind the Phaeton. The Patriot works 'OK' as far as braking capability,.. IF and WHEN you can get it adjusted, which has to be done each time you install it. The RV dealer who installed it took 14 tries the first time it was installed to get it to register "OK" ready. He finally had to put a board between the Patriot and where it pushes against the Tahoe's driver's seat. The Tahoe's seats are very soft leather and when the Patriot arm was set against it, apparently there was too much 'give', or inconsistent give. It has taken me a minimum of 3 tries and a maximum of 20+ tries (VERY FRUSTRATING!) to get the Patriot 'set up' correctly each time I tow.

Even WORSE,...the Blue OX company customer service is 'NON-EXISTENT' !!! Even though their website states that they answer customer service phone inquiries within 2-3 hours and email inquiries within 6 hours,....; after 4 voice mail messages and 3 emails, I STILL HAVE HAD NO RESPONSES FROM BLUE OX WHAT-SO-EVER. My RV dealer said that they have only installed 3 Patriot systems and have had the same complaints about the difficulty in getting them adjusted by all 3 customers.

I CAN NOT rcommend the Patriot brake system! Anybody else had this 'set-up' adjustment problem with the Patriot? Has anybody ever gotten a response deom Blue Ox customer service on any issue?

G.W. Johnson
West Des Moines, IA


UPDATE --- Re: Patriot braking system issues.

I did finally receive a phone call from the President of Blue Ox in response to my complaints about the Blue Ox Patriot Braking system. (I assume that someone in the company read my complaint in the FMCA forum!). He agreed to send a factory representative to my home to verify the continual adjustment problems with the original unit and the tech replaced the Patriot system with a brand new unit that had updated software. Additinally, they provided a new prototype plastic spacer that attached to the unit with velcro strips where the unit presses against the front of the driver's seat when it activates. This seemed to help with the set up procedure. The new unit has worked fine in terms of set-up and adjustment for 2 long trips through both the Rocky Mtns and the Northeast states for over 9,000+ miles. The unit usually sets up and adjusts the first time now. Apparently, the original unit was faulty.

The only issue since is that since the unit slides on the floor somewhat when the brake activates, one of the adjustable feet screws broke the plastic foot screw anchor points on the unit. I had to take it apart and 'super-glue' it back together and it has since held up. I do believe that there are some design issues that could be improved on this unit, (it's manufactured for Blue Ox by another company) but, as far as it working correctly, the new unit, with the new software, has seemed to fix the problem with set-up and adjustment that I was experiencing.

On a different note, I've found that the Blue Ox Aventa 10,000 lb tow bar is excellent. Very stout. Very easy to hook-up. Attractive and very functional unit.














I'm not sure if I would elect to
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G. W. Johnson
West Des Moines, IA
2010 Tiffin Phaeton - 40 ft Diesel pusher
Toad = 2000 Tahoe 4WD

#18 parmm

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Posted 21 October 2010 - 03:53 PM

UPDATE --- Re: Patriot braking system issues.

The only issue since is that since the unit slides on the floor somewhat when the brake activates, one of the adjustable feet screws broke the plastic foot screw anchor points on the unit. I had to take it apart and 'super-glue' it back together and it has since held up. I do believe that there are some design issues that could be improved on this unit, (it's manufactured for Blue Ox by another company) but, as far as it working correctly, the new unit, with the new software, has seemed to fix the problem with set-up and adjustment that I was experiencing.
.

I've read that most of those front floor, other brand, models slide like that too. It is one of the reasons I went with the ReadyBrake. But am very happy with my Blue Ox Atventa LX and Blue Ox's customer service has been great.
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#19 jaselton

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 10:45 PM

We are new to RV'g and relied on our RV service person to get a braking system for us. He installed the Blue Ox Patriot. We tow a 2008 Jeep Liberty and one has to be a contortionist to set up the Patriot! Our installer had trouble a few times also and suggested we back the seat as far back is it would go and also as high as it would go, install the unit, then drop the seat down on top of the unit just enough to stabilize and get it set. We spent many frustrating mornings trying to get that "OK" to head out. We also seemed to have issues with the car battery running down because we could not disconnect the negative cable as Jeep suggests because the brake assist unit had to be connected through the cigarette lighter and needed the battery.

We headed out on our trip leaving North Georgia and getting as far as Paducah. We had to have the battery charged there before we could go on.

We also bought a battery charger, just in case. We made it to St. Louis next and had to charge the battery. We next made it to central Iowa and had to charge the battery again.

Since we were close, we went to the Blue Ox factory in Pender, NE. We stayed there 2 days hoping to find an improved method of getting the unit to work better with our Jeep. Doug at Blue Ox couldn't have been nicer, really tried to resolve the issue and most everyone else we came in contact with there were nice. Their campground was great and we were allowed to stay 2 nites. We did buy a tow bar while there to replace the older one that came with the motorhome that had not been well maintained. We love the Blue Ox towbar and it has made hooking up a breeze. We bought a new car battery in Pender. We were told by Doug that installing a custom cut board between the unit and the seat might solve our problem. We still found the tight quarters in the Jeep Liberty were not a good fit for the Patriot. We finally solved our battery issue in Lincoln, NE by having an RV dealer add a connection through our light line between the vehicles that let the motorhome's battery constantly charge the toad battery while motorhome is on. We do have to remember to turn key off in toad if we stop for extended time with motorhome shut down.

We went the rest of the trip, after Lincoln, NE, without the Patriot connected - too frustrating. We went to Wy, spent a month in Utah, went to lower CA. then back along I-10, home to Ga. We just returned this week and the 2nd day we were home, we took the Patriot to the dealer who installed it to see about returning it.

On the road, I heard about the SMI unit that fits under the hood. I see it recommended in above posts (the Duo) and came to this forum to ask about experiences with that unit. We have our dealer checking into it and I have been to their website. Sounds easier than wrestling with the Patriot, but I would like to hear from some users on pros and cons.
Thank you.
Judy & Jerry Aselton
2006 Dolphin LX 5355
2008 Jeep Liberty
Ellijay, Georgia
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#20 lostinstars

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 08:20 PM

Purchased the Blue Ox Patriot system in August 2010 and just completed a 4300+ mile trip. No problems with use or setup. Setup can be done the first time, every time, but does require a board against the driver's seat to provide a firm foundation for the unit to push against. You do have to move the seat as far forward as possible as indicated in the instructions to prevent having to do the setup again. My only complaint is the intermittent loss of breakaway connection signal. Based on the fact that it only occurred in areas of significant truck traffic, it seems possible that CB radio interference may have been the cause - just a guess, but it was consistently the case when the signal was lost/regained. Compared to the cost of other units and the fact that it's extremely portable, I have no complaints - at least so far.

Rolly Scheels
Atlanta, MI

2006 Winnebago 38J
2005 Honda Element toad
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