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We have a 09 Jayco Seneca, super c,Duramax diesel, and just took a trip towing a Honda CRV. Brake Buddy auxiliary system, Blue Ox Aventa Lx towbar.

We towed according to Honda specs in the owners manual, key position, cycling gears etc. The problem we had a few times was with the Honda locking the brakes up, even on the lowest sensitivity setting. We called Honda, and they recited what was written in the owners manual. Any answers as to have the brakes not lock up ?

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Sounds like you should be calling and troubleshooting the Brake Buddy, assuming this brake lockup occurs while towing with the Brake Buddy in place.

Brett

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I routinely tow with a Brake Buddy system. Before you send the unit in for troubleshooting check your installation procedure. Are you cycling the system (pressing the test button) at least 5 times After shutting off the motor in the Honda?? This is necessary to bleed off the vacuum in the CRV's power brakes. Not doing so will result in the tow vehicle's brakes locking when the Brake Buddy activates.

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I had the same problem with a brake buddy and was unlucky enough to destroy the front brakes, calipars, bearings, etc. The wireless alarm did not warn me that the break away plug had come out. Hopkins asked me to send the unit in for inspection, and surprise, nothing wrong. To make a long story short, after a discussion with the management there about my intentions to pursue, they agreed to pay for the repairs and sent me the newer model brake buddy with an enhanced alarm system-which by the way only works intermittently.

Not able to trust their equipment, I ran a wire off the brake light swith in the toad directly to the dash in the motorhome, and built a little alarm box with a buzzer and light I got from Radio shack. This works everytime the brake pedal on the toad engages for any reason.

I think the wireless system they have probably works ok on shorter rigs but mine is 40 feet and the toad is a full size pickup. Some times the alarm works ok, other times it sits mute. I suppose outside interference could affect the functioning also.

I was disappointed with Hopkins but they eventually made things right-but it was a scary experience and a lot of hassle to convince them to do the right thing. Good luck, but be careful with brake lockups-my pickup was very close to onfire by the time I figured out the brakes were locked by the brake buddy (without warning).

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Had the same problem on a 2005 Honda CRV. It turned out to be the Brake Buddy. They replaced the unit with the type that is hydraulic and work fine. However it took 3 years and lot of calls. I had to replace all of my wheels because they were warped according to Honda. I now have transfered the same system to my 2010 Malibu and it is working fine.

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Hopefully I might help. I have a CRV with a Blue ox brake which operates the same as Brake Buddy, using an air compressor. I had the same brake lockup condition on several occasions. Once in the middle of a 2 lane busy road going downhill. Had to hold up traffic & go manually release the brake.

I have found 2 things which have solved the problem for me.

First, do not have the seat right up against the brake controller. It needs a little room to flex back after braking. If there is not enough room, the controller jams against the seat & will not release. Not too much, maybe 1/4".

Second, I have found that the brake works just as well at 20-25psi as at 60 psi. I keep my psi as low as possible.

I test my brakes every time we start out on a new run. Every once in a while the brakes will grab but at 25psi its a lot less sudden than at 60psi. After I go back & move the seat back a fraction, I no longer have the problem.

Have been using the brake control for 6 years now. After the 1st 6 months trying different solutions, I find this has virtually eliminated the problem.

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When you set up the Brake Buddy you must first turn the car off and then push the test button 5 times per directions. This clears the brakes in the Honda. Do not leave the car turned on. Leave the key and turn to aux. I wasn't doing this correctly and ruined the front tires. You should set up the system at about 30 pounds and sensitivity to 7 for a 40 ft mh according the Brake Buddy.

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YUP !!! 03 Dutch Star---We towed an Accord with Brake Buddy same lock-up issue and ruined tires ...Got our money back and cost of tires;

Soultion for us was to work with Hitch Pro and Tow in Eugene Oregon...........went with airbrakes on our current RV / tow combination; in my opinion this is the best way to go (if you can) also best way to avoid any law-suit accident wise............. : Good Luck, Dave and Marilyn

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YUP !!! 03 Dutch Star---We towed an Accord with Brake Buddy same lock-up issue and ruined tires ...Got our money back and cost of tires;

Soultion for us was to work with Hitch Pro and Tow in Eugene Oregon...........went with airbrakes on our current RV / tow combination; in my opinion this is the best way to go (if you can) also best way to avoid any law-suit accident wise............. : Good Luck, Dave and Marilyn

Couldn't agree with you more. We were lucky enough to heed good advice and skip the Brake buddy step. BUT, like everything else in RVing, what is great for one person may not work for another.

Don't know if you've heard the sad news. Ken Mort, the co-owner, was murdered by his ex-wife's husband. He was such a terrific person, someone you could trust to back up what he said. He sincerely wanted what was best for your situation.

Happy Travels,

Frank

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Good to see this topic , I have a 2008 Honda CRV and have gone through three sets of brakes, the first was with the VIP tow brake and the other two with no assist brake . Had to replace the whole system , now have about 3k invested in brakes . Have heard from two other CRV owners who have had the same problem. Would like to hear more of this vacuum in the brake system on the Honda .

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With many towed braking systems, there are TWO forces that determine how much the toad brakes are applied.

Force on pedal-- just the same as when you are driving-- different amount of force, different amount of braking.

Vacuum applied to brake vacuum booster-- the more the vacuum the more the braking force applied. With the towed vehicle's engine off, push on the brake pedal several times to delete the vacuum in the brake booster. Now it takes a LOT more pressure on the brake pedal to produce the same amount of braking as when the brake booster is "charged" with vacuum. The converse is also true-- the more the vacuum applied by the towed braking system to the brake booster, the MORE the braking force applied.

A vacuum gauge "T"ed into the line to the brake booster or line to towed brake system's vacuum generator will tell you very quickly how much vacuum is applied by the vehicle's engine when you drive the toad VS how much is applied by the towed braking system when it is activated while towing.

Let us know if you do this vacuum check.

Brett Wolfe

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I have a 2007 CRV pulled by 37 ft Gulfstream Scenic Cruiser. Once had experience of arriving home and finding a bald spot on each tire severe enough that I needed new tires. Brake Buddy was set on 5. Have since set on 1 and use it primarily as a break away brake. No trouble since but I read with interest about being certain to turn Honda engine off before setting BB. Since the problem I hook up tow bar and turn engine of CRV off before powering up the BB and pushing the test button for the required five compressions, then pull the break away switch to test system. Knock on wood, no problems. I suppose my testing the system depletes the vacuum discussed in one of the replies.

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YUP !!! 03 Dutch Star---We towed an Accord with Brake Buddy same lock-up issue and ruined tires ...Got our money back and cost of tires;

Solution for us was to work with Hitch Pro and Tow in Eugene Oregon...........went with airbrakes on our current RV / tow combination; in my opinion this is the best way to go (if you can) also best way to avoid any law-suit accident wise............. : Good Luck, Dave and Marilyn

Dave -

I'm a new owner of a 38 ft Dynamax Grand Sport. I plan to tow a 2009 Honda CR-V but have not yet invested in hitch or braking system thus my interest in this forum and particularly your comment about the air brake option being the best way to go. Can you tell me a bit more about how this works? I have a separate air brake line for a tow with air brakes, but how is the CR-V modified to connect to this? Thanks in advance.

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Is there a tec. journal regards to the way the brake systems in the late model CRVs work -- i.e., the vacuum? I did not bleed off this reported vacuum as I tested the system only once to see that it was working. The VIP tow brake is operated through a electrical/mercury switch so that the brake pressure is controlled as the mercury contacts the sensors in the unit and sends the signal to the tow brake ram attached to the pedal of the CRV. As stated in my earlier note I used the tow brake system only once and burned the brake pads and rotors up . I had them replaced and continued on our trip only to find the brake pads burned out again, (4500 mi) replaced them and low and behold same thing again . Honda took the brake system apart and told me that on the first burn out that a "square " rubber O ring had gotten so hot that it would not release the caliper thus holding the pad against the rotor. I had to have the whole system replaced and not once did Honda say any thing about a vacuum issue and the need to bleed their systems. As a foot note I have used the VIP system to tow a GC Jeep for 10 yrs. and not one problem .... my question is why didn't three Honda brake techs check the "square O ring to see that it was working ? I plan to go back to towing a Jeep enough with Honda .

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I have used a SMI system for years on a 96 Mercury Mystic and now my 06 CR-V, and have never had any brake lockup. I have a wire from the toad brake switch to a light on the dash so I know when the toad brakes are applied. This is part of the SMI system, a positive indication when toad brakes are on. The SMI system uses the vacuum booster to apply the brakes.

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Solution: sell the brake buddy and install a braking system that ties directly into your air brakes on your motorhome. They make them and can be a little spendy but brake buddy is spendy and does not always work. I have installed every brake system there is..

Benefit of the air brake system is when you apply the brakes you can count on them being on and Roadmaster makes one with a monitor light so you always know when the brakes are on and off.

These brake systems that work off inertia and electricity are unpredictable

The problem with brake buddy is sometimes you can hit a bump and it will apply the brakes. I have sat in cars while being towed and watched them do it.

I hope all turns out great for you happy travels.

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I use the SMI vacuum system in my 2009 CR-V and have had no problems (15000 towed miles). I am careful to apply the Honda brakes 3 or 4 times after turning off the engine to bring the vacuum level down to SMI level (11 inHg).

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Just to add experience with another set-up, I'm using a Roadmaster Evenbrake in our 2005 CRV, behind a Monaco Monarch. We've towed 14,000 miles with it. I did have a lock up, twice, but it was my own doing. Fortunately we were only going 15-20 mph when the toad became an anchor. When the Evenbrake is set up, you go through a test in the car to be sure it is good to go. Then once moving, you do a quick short stop to cycle the system. Well I forgot to do the moving brake check, went over a little bump in the road and the Evenbrake locked 'em up. Scared the dickens out of me the first time. (Felt a little dumb the second time!) Other than that, it has worked as advertised and kept our stopping distances reasonable. I never thought about the residual vacuum in the CRV, I suppose the two applications that happen while setting up will bleed it off. As far a seat position, I agree there should be a little bit of room between the brake unit and the seat. If I get it too snug, the brake is overly sensitive.

Keith

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It took me a long time to decide on a brake system. Those that work on inertia and apply the brakes by depressing the brake pedal just didn't seem to be a good idea. I settled on a system that works off the air brakes on my coach and applies the proportional braking force directly to the master cylinder in the CRV without depending on release of vacuum on the power brakes. Of course this assumes air brakes on the coach so I can't suggest solutions for the coaches w/o air brakes

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