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Author Topic: Trying to select toad brakes  (Read 28284 times)

Tom

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Re: Trying to select toad brakes
« Reply #30 on: April 11, 2005, 03:05:19 PM »
After re-looking at Roadmaster's web site, I have to agree with Caltex. Since you have to physically attach the Brakemaster air cylinder to to the toad's brake pedal every time you want to use it, I see no significant advantage over using a Brake Buddy.
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Phil

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Re: Trying to select toad brakes
« Reply #31 on: April 11, 2005, 05:54:34 PM »
The dealer is minimizing toad brakes saying that the pusher braking will overwhelm the toad and make toad braking non critical.  The dealer says they can install a much less expensive Brake Buddy that uses inertia braking.  What say?

Smoky,

I recommend that you get the M&G even if you have to pull the toad across the US without a toad brake to find an M&G installer.

Phil

Smoky

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Re: Trying to select toad brakes
« Reply #32 on: April 11, 2005, 10:10:49 PM »
You're right Caltex!  Tonight I downloaded the manual from the web site and I plainly see that clamp on the pedal.  No way I am going with that.  M&G it is!
Smoky S  Ham radio - W3PY

The magic of a campfire
where the fish get bigger
the mountains get higher
the hike was uphill both ways
and new friends become old friends

2005 KSDP3910 Newmar Kountry Star
Toad - Taurus wagon w/ axle lock
On our way to the Poudre River in Colorado for the summer!

Wyoming07

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Re: Trying to select toad brakes
« Reply #33 on: April 14, 2005, 03:25:44 AM »
Smokey; We have been using the US GEAR brake system on our 2003 Honda CRV and we are pleased with the unit, we moved our hook ups on to the top of our rear bumper and that has saved on my knuckles, the installation is clean and we have just one electrical umbilical cord, it has a super break away feature which I like when disconnecting, the CRV brakes are set, no more rolling of the towed vehicle. This is how we feel about the US GEAR brake system. Gene and Audrey, them Buffalo folks from Wyoming. 2001 Itasca Suncruiser,8.1L,Allison Tranny.  Yes WE are HAPPY.

John From Detroit

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Re: Trying to select toad brakes
« Reply #34 on: April 14, 2005, 07:29:50 AM »
I know there are many threads about toad brake systems here and on the “other” forum and I will be re-reading them.

But I would like a sanity check on where I am currently at.

I am having Remco in Annapolis “work up” an estimate for me.  They are recommending the “roadmaster” towing system,  (Sterling model) and for toad brakes the Roadmaster “Brakemaster”.  I believe this system taps into the pusher air or hydraulic brake system and gives true proportional braking with full meter indication in the cab.

I don’t know if the Newmar Kountry Star has airbrakes (well the parking brake is air but not sure about the driving brakes) or hydraulic brakes, but the Brakemaster is supposed to tap in to one or the other pusher system.  I am waiting to hear from Newmar on which type and whether this would void warranty.

Does this sound like a good way to go?

The dealer is minimizing toad brakes saying that the pusher braking will overwhelm the toad and make toad braking non critical.  The dealer says they can install a much less expensive Brake Buddy that uses inertia braking.  What say?


I too like the M&G  even if the coach does not have air brakes (and if the parking brake is air, I'd be willing to bet the main brakes are too, but I could be wrong, it would be a bet) 

I'm not convinced on the intertial brake systems. Assorted reasons I don't really like them  Here is what I found

1: Salesmen are paid to sell their company's products (or the store's products) so if you are at a REMCO company store they will always suggest REMCO products 1st, and then other proucts the store carries (Lower commission) ALWAYS, no exceptions

Moral 1: Don't listen to them

2: M&G, from what I've read in the other forum and other places is #1 with a brake pad, however it won't fit on my Lumina APV. Advantages of this air operated system are 1: Totally transparent to the operator of the toad when it's independent. There is NOTHING in the cockpit, nothing at all, it's all "under the hood" Very well designed system. It is also a proprotional system operated as additional brakes on the coach's main brake system.  Very good

Brake Master and Brake Buddy have been reviewed here, Brake Master I saw lots of complaints, Brake buddy less so but these are intertial systems, they sense that you are slowing down and apply the brakes.. I'd rather they sensed I wished to slow down (Had pressed the pedal) this they can not do, In addition you got the pedal pusher to pull out of the way when you want to drive independent and forget to re-install when you tow

Brake Pro... Air, like the M&G, but a pedal pusher like the Brake Buddy and Brake Master.  This is a porportional system that addresses the first concern I have in the above but being a pedal pusher it still has "junk" to move when you want to go independent and forget to replace when you tow.

Unified Gear's brake system http://www.usgear.com/unified_tow_brake.htm

This is what I"m likely to go with,,, It's a pedal PULLER, not pusher, so though it works the brake pedal just like Brake Buddy/Master/Pro it PULLS not Pushes.  This does mean a bit of additional hardware that can fail but it also means there is nothing in the way when you go independent and nothing to forget when you return to towed status

No pins to loose, no boxes to get misplaced, nothing, just hook and go.

It's an electric system, works with all tow vehicles equiped with an electric brake controller, Unified Gear is a sales partner with WorkHorse (Who is the chassis supplier on the Motor Home I'm buying)

I may still go with the brake pro if the Damon is air braked though
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

Tom

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Re: Trying to select toad brakes
« Reply #35 on: April 14, 2005, 09:49:44 AM »
John

You have Brakemaster and Brakepro mixed up. The BrakePro does not run off coach air - it has its own compressor in a box and plugs into a 12V outlet on the toad, similar to the BrakeBuddy.
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chrpennings

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Re: Trying to select toad brakes
« Reply #36 on: April 14, 2005, 07:46:30 PM »
Smokey,

I purchased the M & G system direct fromhe manufacturer. Cost  $ 535.00  + $35.00 for installation kit and $ 8.90 for freight. Total  $578.90.
This does not include the "Break away system" . I may purchase this later whem the laws tells me to do so. In the mean time I will just look forward and not backwards so don't drive behind me.
I installed the system myself on the Jeep Gr. C.  It took me approx. 2 hours.
I highly recommend the system. Go for it if it fits on the Taurus.

chris

Karl

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Re: Trying to select toad brakes
« Reply #37 on: April 14, 2005, 09:30:09 PM »
Just downloaded and read the Roadmaster Brake Pro Installation/Operation manual. To put it bluntly, there are way too many cautions, warnings, important notes and installation and use issues which would make me run, not walk, away from it.

Major concerns:
1) Unit uses power from toad and compressor will run about every 10 minutes. They recommend recharging toad after 6 hours driving. I've got better things to do than let my braking unit determine when and where I stop.
 
2) (and this one really scares me!) The unit will go into sleep mode if the battery voltage gets too low, and will not activate brakes. Their reasoning is that this will leave enough power to start the car for charging the battery. Sorry, but I'd want it to suck every last bit of energy from my battery to stop me; I'll worry about starting the car AFTER I get to the bottom of the mountain. That's what jumper cables are for! And yes, I know there's an emergency override.

3) Way too many things you (may) have to do when installing/removing for each use - Floor mats, seat positioning, bleeding system, foot/cylinder extensions.

4) Too many issues with adjustments either preventing braking when necessary or causing braking when unnecessary, such as bumps in the road or rough roads - and you have to stop to change them.

5) It's an inertial system and I'll paraphrase here: If the unit senses a slowdown (negative change of inertia) of the coach, it assumes you want to brake, so it applies the brakes on the toad. No change; no braking. Fine while cruising or at a stop sign or during normal braking, but what happens if your on a steep downhill grade and your coach brakes start to fade or are maxed out? IMHO this would appear to the system like I had quit braking the coach and would release the toad brakes too. Not good. 

M&G for me! 
Karl (Cheesehead) Kolbus   Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting "...holy cow ...what a ride!"

Tom

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Re: Trying to select toad brakes
« Reply #38 on: April 14, 2005, 11:01:58 PM »
Karl

Our experience with the BrakePro wasn't very good at all. First off, I had to make a plinth (aka false floor) out of plywood for the BP to be able to sit on in front of the Burb's driver seat. Then came what should have been the first clue - the BP wanted to repeatedly pump the brakes. Next clue - my neighbor rang the door bell and asked why the brake lights on the Burb were continuously on while parked in our driveway. Re-adjusted everything.

Then, when we took off on our trip, the dash-mounted monitor kept telling me the Burb brakes were coming on when I didn't need/want them on. The frequencey of toad brakes being applied kept increasing. Next available truck stop I pulled over and checked things out. The battery on the Burb was dead. Fired up the generator on the coach and hooked up a 12V charger to bring the toad battery up.

Took off again and had a repeat performance. I figured out that, in addition to draining the battery, the BrakePro was voltage sensitive and, as the battery voltage dropped, it started pumping the brakes feversihly. This in turn dragged the battery down further and faster.

A call to Roadmaster's tech support received the dumbest response: "That's because GM installs wires in their cars that are too small". The suggestion was that the 20A outlet on the Burb was being fed with wires too small to carry 20A.

I decided to run a heavy cord from the coach engine batteries to the batteries on the toad, thinking the coach alternator would keep the toad battery charged. Wrong!

We finally towed the Burb several hundred miles with the engine running, as that was the only way I could keep the battery from going dead and the BP from repeatedly pumping the brakes.

After having the M&G installed, next stop was Camping World to return the BrakePro, and I had over $400 extra in my pocket, and a hassle-free braking system.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2005, 11:06:52 PM by Tom »
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Ned

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Re: Trying to select toad brakes
« Reply #39 on: April 14, 2005, 11:20:56 PM »
We have the Blue Ox Apollo toad brake and it just works.  It will apply the toad brakes when necessary, and won't if not needed.  The only time the compressor runs is if the brakes have been applied and air pressure needs to be restored.  Takes about 5 minutes to install when travelling and less to remove when we park.  It can be moved to a new vehicle with minimal work, just the breakaway and monitor wires have to be redone.

And it comes with all the Blue Ox support that, as far as I am concerned, is unequaled in the RV industry.

Just my opinion, of course.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

Ron

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Re: Trying to select toad brakes
« Reply #40 on: April 14, 2005, 11:46:02 PM »
We use the Brake Buddy and it behaves as you discribed with your system.  As far as after sales support thay are outstanding.  I have talked other users that feeel the same way.

Ron & Sam-home is where we park it. Currently located   HERE

Karl

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Re: Trying to select toad brakes
« Reply #41 on: April 15, 2005, 06:21:33 AM »
Tom,
You must have been frustrated as all get out. Their troubleshooting list is full of potential problems like the ones you described; most having to do with adjustments to sensitivity, maximum braking pressure, "level setting", and low voltage. They talk about too small wiring by toad mfgr (don't believe that one for a second), and specifically tell you not to tow with engine running because the power brakes are operational then, and you can't use it on a vehicle without power brakes either.

Last year at FMCA they had the (then) new units on display and for sale for $1000, so I looked inside. It was a spaghetti factory of wires, plastic tubing, valves, and that awful inertial sensing unit that (I believe) was spinning like a gyroscope. Seemed like they threw everything from the engineers' spare parts bin into it - way too much stuff to go wrong. 
Karl (Cheesehead) Kolbus   Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting "...holy cow ...what a ride!"

Tom

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Re: Trying to select toad brakes
« Reply #42 on: April 15, 2005, 06:30:39 AM »
Frustrated I sure was Karl  :)  Ours must have been one of the "new" units you mentioned - we bought it around this time last year. Cost approx $1,300 at CW.

BTW I tried a neighbor's Brake Buddy and it seemed to work just fine. Everything I read from BB owners has been nothing but positive. When I mentioned the BB to Roadmaster's tech support guy, all he'd say was "our works on a different principle".
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Ned

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Re: Trying to select toad brakes
« Reply #43 on: April 15, 2005, 08:35:14 AM »
The Brake Buddy and the Apollo work on similar principles.  I bought the Apollo because I could get a good price at the FMCA convention last year and I have always had good support from Blue Ox.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

Smoky

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Re: Trying to select toad brakes
« Reply #44 on: April 15, 2005, 04:24:34 PM »
Tom:

Am I correct in assuming that even though you tried and liked the Brake Buddy, your first choice would still be the M&G?
Smoky S  Ham radio - W3PY

The magic of a campfire
where the fish get bigger
the mountains get higher
the hike was uphill both ways
and new friends become old friends

2005 KSDP3910 Newmar Kountry Star
Toad - Taurus wagon w/ axle lock
On our way to the Poudre River in Colorado for the summer!

Tom

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Re: Trying to select toad brakes
« Reply #45 on: April 15, 2005, 04:33:50 PM »
Am I correct in assuming that even though you tried and liked the Brake Buddy, your first choice would still be the M&G?
You got it in 1 Smoky. I'm not saying there's anything at all "wrong" with the BB, and it has the advantage of being readily portable between toads. But there's just no fuss with the M&G, and nothing to fiddle with if I need to move the toad in a hurry. It's down to personal preference, and there's not much difference in the net price.

BTW have you noticed that the big rig tractor-trailer drivers don't screw around with a BB? They just hook up an air hose between the tractor and the "toad".  ;D
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Ned

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Re: Trying to select toad brakes
« Reply #46 on: April 15, 2005, 06:10:16 PM »
And the big trailers don't put a foreign object in the brake line either :)  Of course, they don't have a brake pedal to push on.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

John From Detroit

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Re: Trying to select toad brakes
« Reply #47 on: April 15, 2005, 06:27:36 PM »
John

You have Brakemaster and Brakepro mixed up. The BrakePro does not run off coach air - it has its own compressor in a box and plugs into a 12V outlet on the toad, similar to the BrakeBuddy.

Thanks I figured it out later

If he's got air brakes for "parking" he likely has air brakes for driving too ... Of course "Likley" is not a guarentee
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

Tom

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Re: Trying to select toad brakes
« Reply #48 on: April 21, 2005, 11:07:34 PM »
Smoky

Here's another piece of the M&G .....

I'd procured, but not installed, their breakaway kit. It is comprised of:

  • A small air tank.
  • An electrically operated diverter valve.
  • A breakaway switch.
  • Steel wire breakaway cable.
  • High pressure air hose.

In the event the toad becomes detached from the coach, a cable activates the breakaway switch, connecting the air tank to the air cylinder, thereby applying the toad brakes.

I finally got around to installing it this week, photos attached. I have to say that, although quite easy to do, this took considerably longer than I expected. So, if you're short of time &/or uneasy about installing yourself, it just might sense for you to get the whole thing installed at the same time by a dealer, or by M&G.
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John From Detroit

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Re: Trying to select toad brakes
« Reply #49 on: April 22, 2005, 06:09:37 AM »
After re-looking at Roadmaster's web site, I have to agree with Caltex. Since you have to physically attach the Brakemaster air cylinder to to the toad's brake pedal every time you want to use it, I see no significant advantage over using a Brake Buddy.

The advantages of the brakemaster over the brake buddy (and brake pro) is that it draws it's stopping power from the towing vehicle, and.... Even once you are stopped it keeps the brakes engaged, The pedal pusher boxes like Brake Buddy and it's competitors use an acceleration switch, if it senses you are slowing down it applies the brakes, some Brake buddy) apply them in a pre-set level, others (Brake-Pro) apply them according to how fast you are slowing.  However they can also apply them if you are backing up or keep them applies once you have released the towing vehicle brakes.  There is, you see, no communications between those brakes and the tow vehicle (Motor home)

With the Brakemaster, M&G or Unified Gear systems the brakes arre controled by the driver and the tow vehicle, Much better

Part 2: When the brake buddy and brake pro push against the brake,,, What to they push against? (The seat)

With the brakemaster it pushes against a bracket bolted to either 1: The floor or 2: The seat mounting bolts (much stronger than pushing against the seat).  The M&G pushes, well, it is mounted next to the master cylinder, does not push the pedal at all, and the Unified gear pulls, not pushes (Firewall to brake) all far superior to a seat breaker
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

Tom

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Re: Trying to select toad brakes
« Reply #50 on: April 22, 2005, 08:42:42 AM »
John

The "push against the seat" feature is a contributing issue with BrakePro, albeit not the biggest problem. Unlike the Brake Buddy, which has the handle on top of the box, Brake Pro located their handle on the back of the box and it's used to push against the seat instead of the full area of the back of the box. The result is the need to accurately position the BrakePro's handle, and also a tendency for the push to cause the box to tilt. As you aluded to, the front of the seat is also not a "hard" surface to push against.

Having said that, the Brake Buddy didn't seem to suffer from the same problem when I borrowed my neighbor's BB.
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Smoky

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Re: Trying to select toad brakes
« Reply #51 on: April 27, 2005, 05:51:04 PM »
Bernie:

It is true that Spartan has a kit for their chassis to link up with the M&G brakes.  In fact they insist on it in order to abide by warranty requirements.  My Newmar dealer has been working on this and finally got back to me today with a person to call at Spartan.  Don't know how much the kit is to cost me.  They recommend that an M&G dealer install it and that is exactly what I am going to do.

Without the kit, Spartan says there have been problems of M&G brakes causing all the air in the system to be drained rendering both chassis and toad without brakes.  I will know more about the particulars after I call them tomorrow.
Smoky S  Ham radio - W3PY

The magic of a campfire
where the fish get bigger
the mountains get higher
the hike was uphill both ways
and new friends become old friends

2005 KSDP3910 Newmar Kountry Star
Toad - Taurus wagon w/ axle lock
On our way to the Poudre River in Colorado for the summer!

Ned

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Re: Trying to select toad brakes
« Reply #52 on: April 27, 2005, 06:03:51 PM »
Tom,

When we had a problem with our seat not coming forward,  I put a 4x4 between the seat and our Apollo and it worked quite well.  I think a piece of 1x4 or 1x6 would work just as well if the seat isn't compatible with the brake unit.  Ours isn't a problem so when the seat was fixed, I stopped using the lumber.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

Bob Buchanan

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Re: Trying to select toad brakes
« Reply #53 on: April 27, 2005, 07:25:40 PM »
Smoky:


Does this sound like a good way to go?


A number of years ago, I recall asking office managers during an into to micro computer class which Word Processor software they preferred. This was back in the days when WPerfect and some others were as popular as Word and some others. Will never forget the response from that class of 30 users. I finally called a break and changed the subject. I thought fist fights might break out at any minute. :D Am reminded of that every time a thread on toad brakes begins.

I am no exception here, in that I will recommend the one that works for me - and can think of reasons I would not want to use the other systems. I use the US Gear system and have been for a number of years now. Others on this thread I see have also recommended it - AND, our own world famous RV Instructor here, Jerry Ray, uses and recommends it. Here are some of the reasons I prefer this unit and why I selected if over the M&G or the one that you stick that big box in the toad, get on your hands and knees and connect it to your brake pedal contraption :-\ and the others:

1. What happens if the MH brakes fail (engine stops or whatever)? The US Gear system has a control on my dash that allows me to apply the Toad brakes - at whatever degree I so desire. In an emergency I can literally lock the Toad brakes to assist in slowing down my rig. No other system will allow that. And if I'm, say, driving around an RV park, I don't need Toad brakes, so I turn them off from the MH drivers seat.

2. Uses the power brakes on the toad: Have you ever stopped your Saturn when the engine dies? It takes a lot of foot power to press those brakes. The USGear system engages the power brakes on the toad so requires a lot less power to brake or stop the toad. No other system does this. If there is a break away, the toad power brakes are engaged full strength.

3. One time install: I decided I would never buy a system that I had to go to my toad and hook anything up to the brake pedal there. Once the system installed, the only item involved each time you hook up your toad is plugging in the electric line from the MH to the Toad. I keep the MH end connected all the time, so all I do is plug in the Toad end as I hook up the Toad lights line. Total time equals 3 to 5 seconds.

4. Progressive "and" Proportional braking: A toad weighs a lot less than a MH (other than Tom's ;D), so the braking should be a lot less and US Gear provides that. I pulled a trailer and then a fifth wheel and got used to being able to adjust the "gain" as I was driving. You have that control at your finger tips "while driving" to make that adjustment. And it's also proportional in that a slightest pressure causes slight braking on both vehicles and so on. If in a panic situation, and I cram down my HM power brakes, I am doing the same with the toad power brakes -- and I like that on grades such as Parley and the Grape Vine. I can stop my MH plus Toad "faster" than I could stop the MH by itself. Think about it. A system such as M&G only brakes the toad enough to slow the toad - but if needed, it will not assist in slowing the HM.

Smoky, here's their website (I see others have posted it as well) and some useful info that you might want to add to your confusion. :)

http://usgear.com/unified_tow_brake.htm

Gosh, I love these, "Mine is better than yours" threads ;D
Bob (fulltimer - Rocklin, CA residency)
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BernieD

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Re: Trying to select toad brakes
« Reply #54 on: April 27, 2005, 07:49:40 PM »
Bernie:

It is true that Spartan has a kit for their chassis to link up with the M&G brakes.  In fact they insist on it in order to abide by warranty requirements.  My Newmar dealer has been working on this and finally got back to me today with a person to call at Spartan.  Don't know how much the kit is to cost me.  They recommend that an M&G dealer install it and that is exactly what I am going to do.

Without the kit, Spartan says there have been problems of M&G brakes causing all the air in the system to be drained rendering both chassis and toad without brakes.  I will know more about the particulars after I call them tomorrow.


Smoky

I have never heard of a problem with the M&G brakes causing air loss. The Spartan kit is a CYA, IMHO, but I would think you are better with it than without.
Bernie & Marlene Dobrin
Home is Goodyear, AZ
Missing our Travel Supreme

Tom

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Re: Trying to select toad brakes
« Reply #55 on: April 27, 2005, 10:00:06 PM »
Tom, When we had a problem with our seat not coming forward, I put a 4x4 between the seat and our Apollo and it worked quite well. I think a piece of 1x4 or 1x6 would work just as well if the seat isn't compatible with the brake unit. Ours isn't a problem so when the seat was fixed, I stopped using the lumber.

Ned, that's a really crude fix to prevent the seat from riding over or under the handle when the BrakePro operates. But IIRC I tried something like that, but it didn't leave much room to get the unit in. The BP has a much larger box than the BrakeBuddy and, with the handle sticking out the back, I had the seat all the way back before inserting a piece of wood.

The BP's adjustable feet also don't accomodate the floor of the Suburban, leaving it unstable. I made a plinth (aka false floor) using 3/4" plywood and a couple of 2x4s to give it a solid flat surface to sit on. This elminated the stability problem and also helped a little with the vertical height of that rear-facing handle. But it was one more thing to put in and out of the toad.

I'd have put up with it if the darned system worked and didn't continually apply the brakes when it wasn't supposed to, or drain the toad battery. It's just a poor design all round, and it was such a relief when I had the M&G installed and put an extra $400 in my pocket. As Terry said at the time "welcome to the hassle-free world of M&G"; He was right  ;D
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Ned

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Re: Trying to select toad brakes
« Reply #56 on: April 27, 2005, 10:12:02 PM »
It appears that the Apollo is better designed than the BrakePro or our car is better shaped to handle that type of brake.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

Tom

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Re: Trying to select toad brakes
« Reply #57 on: April 27, 2005, 10:16:46 PM »
Smoky/Bernie

I wonder if it has something to do with this problem I had with a leaking air connector.
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Tom

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Re: Trying to select toad brakes
« Reply #58 on: April 27, 2005, 10:20:24 PM »
Ned

I haven't seen the Apollo unit but, based on other Apollo products I've seen, I have no reason to doubt that it's a better design.
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Marsha/CA

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Re: Trying to select toad brakes
« Reply #59 on: April 27, 2005, 11:27:03 PM »
Bob,

We have US Gear as our braking system and  love it

Marsha~


2017 Heartland Mallard IDM231 Travel Trailer....Small but mighty.

 

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