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Best Towed Car Braking System

supplemental braking auxiliary braking system towing equipment brake buddy

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#1 handh1978

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 07:23 PM

We are now three months into our new lifestyle as RV full-timers. We live in a 40-footTiffin Phaeton, diesel. We are in Wyoming at the moment and I just finished driving over a 10,000-foot mountain.

We have had the brake buddy system for seven years. I found that it was not adequate going down the mountain. And it is 7 years old. I would like to replace it with a system that connects directly to the RV brakes and does not have that annoying box to set up each time.

I am happy to spend the money to get the right system. I would like recommendations for the brand and product and the best place to get it installed.
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#2 RVerOnTheMove

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 07:41 PM

M&G number one but not available for all cars.
SMI Air Force One number two but works with any vehicle (I believe).
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Bill

#3 wolfe10

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 07:44 PM

Another alternative that does not require moving a "box" is http://www.roadmaste...rake/index.html
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#4 bizsmith@yahoo.com

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 09:36 PM

I have M&G and it works for me.
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#5 TBUTLER

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 10:16 PM

I'm old school. We've used Roadmaster Brakemaster for 10 years now. It has been moved from one coach to another but is still on the original toad. We've never had a problem with the system in all that time, not one. It hooks into the air brake line (no problems here with either coach) so when you apply brakes with the brake pedal (doesn't engage while using the engine brake) it proportionally applies the toad brakes. We've replaced the toad brakes once in 10 years and over 100,000 miles towing as well as 120,000 miles driving. I've got a light on the panel that tells me when it's engaged and you can add a break-away system with just a small reserve air canister inside the engine compartment of the toad. I'd look at other systems if/when I have to replace this one but it would have to be really good to match what we've had.

Hook up involves the air hose and the break away cable from coach to toad and installation of the actuating cylinder to the brake pedal on the toad. I do the air hose and cable and Louise does the cylinder. She is usually done before I am and it takes me two minutes. I'm not a master mechanic so we had the system installed by a dealer. They had the toad for a day and then we brought the coach in. We left by noon with a working system. I did have to prompt the dealer to relocate the break away cable attachment on the toad as they put it on the license plate holder (which Brakemaster specifically prohibits). Reading instructions is apparently optional for some experts!
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Tom and Louise Butler
2004 Monaco Windsor, Cummins 400 ISL
Roadmaster Sterling Tow Bar, Brakemaster, GMC Acadia, BikeE Recumbent Bicycles

After 9 1/2 years full time in our motor home and being Winter Texans we are now living at Sandpipers Resort in Edinburg, Texas. Now we are Summer Chickens!

"The tipi is much better to live in; always clean and warm in winter, cool in summer, easy to move... If the Great Spirit wanted men to live in one place he would have made the world stand still." -- Flying Hawk, South Dakota Oglala Sioux


#6 derh2o

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 08:10 AM

i just installed an Invisibrake by Roadmaster. Seems to work great-easy company to work with. This systems is good if you plan to keep your toad a while as you cannot move it from one toad to another easily.

The nice thing about it is there is nothing to do, no box to remove, no brake pedal attachment to have to remove.
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#7 mrboyer

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 08:33 AM

I had Brake Buddy that failed and burned both front calipers. Switched to SMI's Air Force One. Works very well. Power used is only for set of LEDs. Easy hook up. Early I had a switch fail. Emailed SMI and received replacement in 2 days. Switch just turns on the light and was not critical to braking.
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Ross & Melanie Boyer

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#8 McBrian

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 08:36 AM

I have had the Roadmaster Invisibrake for 9 months now. After installation and adjustment, you just plug in your wire harness and clip on your breakaway switch and your on the road. My unit is totally hidden. The control sits in the wheel of my spare tire and the hoses, wires and vacuum control run through the same channels as the wiring harness for the toad (2012 Honda Fit). I love it.
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#9 HenryPatterson

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 11:38 AM

We use a Roadmaster set-up also...Hooks into your air system on your D/P. Easy to install!! Installed it my self on our 2011 Monaco. We tow a 2011 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon.

Little air cylinder hooks up to brake pedal, plug in air line and away you go.Too easy...towed about 17,000 so far and no problems. I put the little lite goes on the dash on the front of the jeep-- I can watch it in the camera. Didn't want to run a wire the length of the motorhome for the lite to be put on the dash...lazy I guess...little old too!!!! Works great.
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#10 fzeuner

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 10:46 AM

Does anyone have any experience with the Blue Ox Patriot Braking System?

I am new to Dinghy Towing and have reservations concerning the system discharging my battery. I'm going to be towing a 2012 Ford F150 4X4.

Any advice or help would be appreciated.
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#11 wolfe10

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 11:05 AM

Fzeuner,

Welcome to the FMCA Forum.

I would not choose/eliminate a braking system because of battery discharge. That can be overcome by running a charge wire from coach battery to toad battery.

Yes, fuse at both ends and I like to see it run through a relay with an ignition hot source being the trigger for the charge wire to charge the toad battery.

Brett
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2003 Alpine 38'
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#12 fzeuner

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 12:10 PM

Brett,
Thanks for the information. I have been looking at just that solution. In this month's Family Motor Coaching Magazine there's an article which highlights the LSL Toad charging system. I've checked it out and it looks like it will handle the fusing and the disconnect issues. slightly expensive, but it's only money.
Thanks again,
Frank
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#13 WhiteEagle

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 01:10 PM

I have the complete Blue Ox system including the Patriot Braking system.

To solve any concern about battery drain, I have the separate added bulbs in the lenses which is powered by the ... and then instead of plugging the 12V source into the toad, I bought one of those 12 volt battery/booster starter units - something like $50 -$75 depending on how many amps of power you'd want.. .... Really wanted one of these to always have one available for emergencies anyway so I use it as the power source for the braking system on the toad while traveling -- sits on floor in passenger side, and after arriving at campsite wherever, I just recharge it ... it's always there if I or anyone else needs a boost.
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2009 Allegro Bus 40 QSP-Powerglide-Cummins ISL 8.9L DP-Allison 3000 6speed-2 stage Jake EB-Pressure Pro -Blue Ox Plate, Bar, Patriot Braking system-XtraRide Platinum Warranty FMCA Badgers-Allegro Club WAW- -CoachNet Platinum Roadside-Progressive Insur.

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#14 RVerOnTheMove

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 01:16 PM

You can look into a supplemental charging system that will use the MH batteries to keep your toad charged and it sounds as though it would solve any possible issues.
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Bill

#15 wigginsjsr

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 07:32 PM

I've had the SMI system for three years now. Works great, and requires no work to hook-up other that normal connections to the Toad. Has a 5 year warranty, and good people to work with.
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#16 fzeuner

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 10:05 PM

Sure do appreciate the information on the battery issue.. I like the idea that WhiteEagle came up with.
Thanks again Guys.
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#17 JLKRILL

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 10:03 AM

I JUST REPLACED MY EVEN BRAKE SYSTEM WITH THE RViBRAKE. I HAD FIRST HAND EXPERIENCE WITH THE MANUFACTURER, AS I PURCHASED IT AND HAD IT INSTALLED IN MY CADILAC SRX AT THE COLORADO FACTORY. MY FIRST TOW EXPERIENCE WAS FROM CASTLE ROCK TO HENDERSON, NV. IT OPERATED PERFECTLY AND WAS EASY TO REMOVE AND RESINSTALL.
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#18 ddwhetstone

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 10:08 AM

Definately do NOT get the Blue Ox system. Mine froze up and I had to replace my entire brake system on my toad and Blue Ox would not even listen to my problem. All they want to do is sell you a system that is not reliable. One for sale cheap, but it is not reliable.
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#19 rga48

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 10:56 AM

I have had the SMI Airforce One for four years after hearing of burned out brakes with other low tech system. I installed the SMI system myself and once installed it only requires one airline connection between coach and toad. It is also the only proportional braking system with an approved separation between coach and toad airlines. The technology in the toad includes a vacuum assist that permits using a very small air piston that stays installed on the brake pedal. We have been across the continental divide and several very steep mountains with no problems. If you compare the technology, I feel the SMI is the best choice.
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Rich & Patty Abrams
Jupiter, FL
2006 Allegro Bus 40' QSP
2007 Jeep Liberty 4X4

#20 Arnie11

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 12:00 PM

From March until October I drive "18 wheelers and larger" in the Canadian Rockies and upper North West US... During the winter we do exactly the same as everyone else on this page ... tour the country on our MCI coach.. We have a brakmaster that is activated off the air brakes when I apply the brakes... Having said this I would like to point out a few observations from my experience traveling in the mountains...

I have watched motorhomes come to the top of a long hill, without slowing down, and start down... then they realize the error of their ways... and... on come the brakes and thoughts of "am I going to fast, and how do I get slowed down"... are upper-most in his mind... for the most part they make it to the bottom intact....

My suggestion.... based on 40+ years of experience is to SLOW down at the top of the hill, (especially if you have never been on this road before).... drop a gear, and let the engine brake do the work... then you only apply the brake on a "need to use" basis... This is the method I use professionally and with my motor home...

Another comment ... if you are following a truck down a long hill and you see brake lights all the time, stay behind him, as air brake efficiency lessens as they get hotter, and when you see smoke, stay a long way back, this may be a dandy in the making..

If you let the engine do the work, you'll never burn up the brake from over use.... drive safe... enjoy the ride!!
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