Do you advise we get a Brake Buddy?

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RREngr

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You may have read in one of my other posts that we traded my car for a Jeep Grand Cherokee and plan to use it as our toad now instead of the Jeep Wrangler we were using.  The GC is rated at apprx. 5000 lbs. We were discussing the fact that it might be best to have a Brake Buddy installed on it.  Would this be the recommended course of action in your opinion?  Kay
 

Ron

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In most states you are required to have axillary brakes when towing that amount of weight.  We have a GC and have used a Brake Buddy for over 150K miles towing.  Have had excellent service from it and can highly recommend it.  One advantage is if you elect to take the wrangler you can use the same BB in the wrangler.

 

RREngr

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Thanks Ron, I will have Rich read your post.  He didn't know about any laws, but had read one of the other posts on the forum and thought we should probably install one for safety.. Just wanted me to check and see if the forum experts agreed.  We have a two night trip planned the middle of next week, then will get busy getting the new toad ready to go.  We will get the new tow bars on, install Brake Buddy and Pressure Pro, then we should be safe and ready for some longer trips. Thanks again, Kay
 

Bob Buchanan

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Hello Kay:

>> Just wanted me to check and see if the forum experts agreed.
====
Most would agree that a toad braking system is needed. However, I would say that the experts here on each manufacturer agree that the "one they are using" is the best. All the Brake Buddy experts agree that Brake Buddy is the best, whereas all the M&G RVers agree that M&G is the best. And tho I am "not" an expert, I agree with those that use the US Gear system that it is by far the best  :).
 

Tom

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Kay

I've (temporarily) misplaced the file on toad braking laws in the U.S., but we have one for Canada in our library. Click the Library button above, select RV'ing in Canada and click Canada brake laws by province.

Although I have the M&G air brake system, I also tell people that the Brake Buddy is a good option for folks who either don't have air on their coach or don't want to bother with the installation required for an M&G system. M&G requires tapping into an air junction box on the coach and installing, at minimum, an air cylinder between the toad's master cylinder and boost. The Brake Buddy merely requires placing the box on the floor of the toad, hooking up a lever to the brake pedal and plugging into a cigarette lighter. If you buy another toad you just move the BrakeBuddy to the new one, but M&G would require installing an air cylinder on the new vehicle; M&G does offer a trade-in allowance on the old air cylinder.

Pros and cons (simple version): There's no permanent installation required with the Brake Buddy, but there's no box to put in and out (and store) every time with the M&G system.

The only other system I've used and can therefore comment on is the Roadmaster BrakePro sold by Camping World. That system, which is also a box that you put on the floor of the toad but operates on a different principle from BrakeBuddy, was just a disaster and I couldn't recommend it to anyone. Had it worked the way my borrowed neighbor's BrakeBuddy worked, I probably would have been a happy camper and would not have needed to buy the M&G.

There are other alternatives, including the Blue Ox Apollo (another box on the floor) which gets good reviews, and M&G's option for folks who have hydraulic brakes on their coach, but I haven't used any of these alternatives and so can't comment.
 

Tom

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We now have a file in our library which briefly describes various toad braking options. Also included are links to some of the manufacturers, allowing the reader to access more detailed information. Click the Library button above, select Towing and towables and click Auxiliary (toad) braking systems. I'll get some photos added when I get a chance. Photos added.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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I always recommend a toad braking system - there is no situation in which extra stopping power is not a good thing!  It will always enable you to stop your rig in a shorter distance and some time or another that extra margin will avoid an accident.

As to whether you absolutely NEED one, check the towing capacity of your motorhome's chassis.  Many chassis are rated to stop only the GVWR, not the full GCWR (coach + toad).  Others may be rated to stop as much as 10,000 lbs above and beyond the coach GVWR.    In addition to that, the laws of some states and provinces will require braking on any towed vehicle above a certain weight. The 5000 GC will exceed the no-brake limit in most if not all such states/provinces.
 

Tom

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While I search for my mislaid file, here's a summary of tow brake laws on BrakeBuddy's web site.
 

RREngr

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Thanks Tom, Rv Roamer,and Bob,  We do not have air, so the Brake Buddy sounds like the one for us.  Also like the ease of installation, sounds like even I could do it!  (Usually leave all mechanical things to Rich.)  He will check the library for the topic and then proceed. (Sounds almost too simple--so he will want to get all the details on how it works.) Thanks for all the information and especially the pros and cons of various systems.  Kay
 

BernieD

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RV Roamer said:
As to whether you absolutely NEED one, check the towing capacity of your motorhome's chassis.  Many chassis are rated to stop only the GVWR, not the full GCWR (coach + toad).  Others may be rated to stop as much as 10,000 lbs above and beyond the coach GVWR. 

Gary

I am not sure about all, but I don't know of any that are rated to stop up to the full GCWR. Spartan and Freightliner (with 10,000# towing capacities)  are limited to the GVWR for towing without supplemental brakes, as is Prevost. Ford, Chevy and Workhorse gassers are no more than 1,500#s over GVWR. I would imagine that Monaco and Country Coach are in the same ball park.
 

Tom

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Kay

Brake Buddy sounds like the way for you to go and, yes, you could install and uninstall the box before/after each trip yourself with little difficulty.

There are a number of folks here who use the BB, so feel free to ask any questions about it.
 

RREngr

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Good morning,  We appreciate all the information. Rich will check out the article on the library.  One additional question--is there a difference between Brake Buddy and Brake Pro other than the slight difference in cost?  (From the posts here, it would appear that Brake Buddy is more widely used--that must mean something, right?)  Kay
 

Tom

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Kay

The BrakeBuddy and BrakePro work on different principles, although they both employ a box on the floor of the toad with a lever attached to the brake pedal. I bought the BrakePro at Camping World and it turned out to be a disaster. Before leaving CW, the service guys were laughing at my choice and said "you'd better have a good 20 amp receptacle in your car". Since our then-new Suburban has a 20 amp receptacle, I didn't worry about it. But the BP unit appears to be extremely voltage sensitive and was repeatedly applying the brakes when they shouldn't be applied. (That's the short version of the story).

Meanwhile, I'd borrowed my neighbor's BrakeBuddy and it didn't have the problems that the BrakePro has. That's why I can't recommend the BrakePro to anyone.  I finally returned the BrakePro after getting the M&G system installed.
 

Ron

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Well I can assure the Brake Buddy works very well. ?Now that comes from somebody that has used it with two different motorhomes and three different toads over more than 150K miles. ?Actually approaching 200K miles. ?Check on ebay but be carefull not to be fooled by the jerks that are selling something else but uses the words brake buddy so it will be displayed when Brake Buddy is searched. ?Here is one at:BRAKE BUDDY
 

IrishDrum

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For what it's worth, I recently installed a new unit from SMI. I was using the US Gear product for the last few years until it went south on me so to speak. I am convinced that using a power assisted brake makes a lot of sense I chose SMI. The US Gear unit was a vacuum unit as well.

When installing the first system, I spend almost an entire day in the process. The SMI unit took very little time and was much simpler to install. I now only have one connection (electrical) to the toad in place of two. Although I have only had it on for a month, I must say that to date I am extremely satisfied. Great support from the factory was a selling point too.  :)
 
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