supplemental braking systems for tow vehicles

Discussion in 'General RVing' started by onthecoach, Aug 11, 2006.

  1. onthecoach

    onthecoach Senior Member

    Hello All---

    We need to install a supplemental braking system on our tow vehicle...there are so many out there, and they are all rather costly...I was hoping some of you could provide feed-back as to your experiences.

    I know the names of some, i.e. Brake Buddy, and a few others....but:

    1. How do they work?
    2. Can they be installed easily?
    3. When hooking up and un-hooking the tow vehicle, is it easy and simple to hook up the braking system, too?
    4. Where do you store it when not towing?
    5. What are the warrantys on these things?
    6. Is Camping World the best place to get it and have it installed? (I am a President's Club member.)

    Thanks to all who can provide info!

    :laugh:
     
  2. s.harrington

    s.harrington Senior Member

    Re: supplemental braking systems for tow vehicles

    SMI makes what is call the Stay & Play which is a nice setup. The brain of the unit mounts under the seat and the actuator stays on the brake pedal. A vacuum line is attached into the canister at the master cylinder so that the braking is easier on the pedal. Comes complete with wiring diagrams and all. It is easy to install and use. No moving it out of the way to drive.
     
  3. Bush70

    Bush70 New Member

    Re: supplemental braking systems for tow vehicles

    How big is your coach and what kind of car are you towing?
     
  4. s.harrington

    s.harrington Senior Member

    Re: supplemental braking systems for tow vehicles

    Most Camping World Stores are no longer doing their own installs. They are contracting them out to a local service center. But with the SMI you really don't need anyone to do it for you.
     
  5. Kirk

    Kirk Senior Member

    RE: supplemental braking systems for tow vehicles



    The Brake Buddy ( http://www.brakebuddy.com/index.shtml) is by far the most popular of the brake sustems for towed vehicles in the motorhome world. We have been using one since 1996 and we have many friends who use them as well. All of us are very satisfied and four of us have been fulltime now for more than six years with our BB. The company has an outstanding record for support and service. The space is not long enough here for me to tell you all of the service stories that I know, but for me they shipped a small part to me by over-night express and for free because they did not want me to travel without the brake system working.

    The Brake Buddy is very easy to put in and to move from one towed vehicle to another. The only part that is installed permanetly into the towed car is the break away switch. There is a remote that uses radio to transmit a signal to let you know when the brake is applied. It takes only a few minutes to install the first time and much less after you do so a couple of times. Most users keep the unit set to where the brake on the toad is not applied except in a hard stop as there is really no need to put the wear on the brake in a normal stop. There is no problem in using it without the power brake functioning since federal law has required that the brake in a car must be operable by any operator without power assist, since the 1950's. It is one of the less costly and most effective products and it has almost no instalation cost. Since no part of it invades any part of the towed vehicle, there is never any warranty question and it is easy to move from one car to the next. It is a fine product with a long history of quality and support.
     
  6. s.harrington

    s.harrington Senior Member

    Re: supplemental braking systems for tow vehicles

    The Brake Buddy is the most popular because its been around longer. The problem with it is two fold. The firs thing is that when you want to drive your car you have to remove it from the floor in front of the drivers seat. The second problem is more with the new cars than the braking unit. Some of the newer cars hav been eperiencing damage to the firewall from the Brake Buddy system because the metal is thinner and weaker.
     
  7. onthecoach

    onthecoach Senior Member

    Re: supplemental braking systems for tow vehicles

    Thanks all....good info. I have a 40' Bounder TD..towing a 1998 Honda Accord. Mr. Harrington, where can I see (online or in person) this Stay and Play braking system? I have not heard of this before.

    Thanks!

    LKB
     
  8. stacey'stitan

    stacey'stitan New Member

    Re: supplemental braking systems for tow vehicles

    :) Hello! May I suggest a supplemental braking system that is not widely known, but is very highly recommended by the people who have used it? I've heard so many people talk about how easy it is to use, how can you go wrong when it's your fellow RVers talking it up so much?

    It is called the Ready-Brake. It is manufactured by a company called Night Shift Auto. They have a web site www.readybrake.com

    It is not one of those that you have to put in and take out of your vehicle all the time. It takes a one-time installation to the receiver on the back of your motorhome and that's it!

    I don't know about you, but I don't want to waste my time having to install, then uninstall the darn thing every time I go somewhere! :laugh:

    My husband and I just upgraded from a '71 Winnebago to a '79 Titan. I don't have my tow-vehicle ready to hit the road just yet, but when I do, I'm getting a Ready-Brake. You should check it out at least!

    Take care!

    Stacey
     
  9. onthecoach

    onthecoach Senior Member

    Re: supplemental braking systems for tow vehicles

    Thanks Stacey!!! I'm going to check out the website right now!!!
    Lynn
     
  10. rlmurraysr59

    rlmurraysr59 New Member

    Re: supplemental braking systems for tow vehicles

    I have used a Brake Buddy ever since I bought my motorhome. I don't understand the put in take out problem. It only weighs a few pounds and the clip fits over the brake petal easily. Plug in a couple wires that after the first time become routine and you are ready to go. You set the weight pressure on the unit once and lock it in. And it has a wireless sensor that lets you know when it activates which doesn't happen unless necessary. And the issue about the fire wall being thin. The brake pedal isn't mounted directly to the firewall and if the Brake Buddy bent your firewall then so would your own foot pushing down on the brake pedal. The main thing is to press the test button three or four times after you turn off the engine to take the pressure off the ABS pump in cars so equipped. The Brake Buddy people are super. The compressor went out in mine and I called them. I received a replacement the next day with instructions on how to ship the defective one back to them at their cost. I don't know how you could get better service than that. I like the Brake Buddy. :)
     
  11. Kirk

    Kirk Senior Member

    Re: supplemental braking systems for tow vehicles

    Ron is correct about the fire wall issue. Take a look at how your brake pedal is mounted and you will find that there is no point where it has any attachment to the fire wall. The fact is that since the middle 1950's federal laws have required that an automobile brake system must work with power assist having failed under the pressure that any driver can reasonably apply. That is just one of the fables that are made up by those who sell some other product. The BB is completely non-invasive to any toad, it is easily movable to a new toad, and they are supported by a company that has an outstanding record of support and repair. They are the largest company because they were first and they are still the best for the cost. I would challenge anyone who tells storys of anything being bent by the use of a Brake Buddy to document it with pictures and with the date and owner of the vehicle and just where it happened. When I see one that can be, that will be the first.
     
  12. benwd

    benwd New Member

    Re: supplemental braking systems for tow vehicles

    kirkquote---- Take a look at how your brake pedal is mounted and you will find that there is no point where it has any attachment to the fire wall. The fact is that since the middle 1950's federal laws have required that an automobile brake system must work with power assist having failed under the pressure that any driver can reasonably apply.-----unquote

    Well, I have an 86 jeep that the pedal/booster/cylinder are all on a bracket that is mounted to the firewall. I think I will report it to the feds.
     
  13. rlmurraysr59

    rlmurraysr59 New Member

    Re: supplemental braking systems for tow vehicles

    I have an '88 Jeep Comanche pickup with the hydraulic clutch cylinder and master cylinder on the firewall. But it is also reinforced with a thicker metal and braced on both sides. They are actually fastened through the firewall. It still comes down to the fact that your foot would apply more pressure to that pedal when braking than the auxiliary brake buddy does. And you set the pressure of the brake buddy according to the weight of the vehicle. And unless you are braking quickly or hard the brake buddy isn't going to activate. When you put the brake buddy in place, adjust the seat to the proper distance for contact, then you test the system. This bleeds the pressure off the abs/power brake cylinders. The Brake Buddy will slow the towed vehicle. If the vehicle breaks away from the tow bar the emergency switch will be activated and the Brake Buddy will stop the towed vehicle.
     
  14. azcarl

    azcarl New Member

    RE: supplemental braking systems for tow vehicles

    supplemental braking systems are really a safety issue. they allow an RV to stop more quickly in an emergency, and some (not all) provide break-away features if a tow vehicle ever comes loose during travel.

    while not a common occurance I have been traumatized by some stories which have been reported in the RV publications where, for some unspecified reason, the brakes on the tow vehicle become activated while the RV is travelling down the highway at cruise speed. due to the normally huge difference in vehicle weights between the RV and tow vehicles the driver is not aware of what is happening until it is too late, and the tow vehicle sustains significant damage, sometimes igniting from the friction between the tow vehicle wheels and the roadway.

    maybe some of the forum members out there have seen similar stories and can add more information to this important topic.
     
  15. rlmurraysr59

    rlmurraysr59 New Member

    Re: supplemental braking systems for tow vehicles

    Well, I guess that would create a paradox. Because if you don't have auxiliary brakes in your towed vehicle and you have an accident you can be sighted for unsafe towing even if the accident isn't your fault. But you are right. I don't know the Colorado is behind me except by looking in the rear view camera monitor. My original Brake Buddy failed but it wasn't by pushing on the brakes it was the compressor stopped working. Didn't have any brakes instead of them locking on. I guess some of the hydraulic units could do that if they were activated and then didn't bleed off.

    I did pull away with the parking brake set on my GMC Sonoma once but I could hear the tires squawling.
     

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