We used a Tow-V-Aire for 7 years and it works fine. A nice simple and effective system you can easily install yourself. We replaced it with a Brakemaster when we got a rig with air brakes that was already equipped with the Brakemaster's air port.
The only drawback with a Tow-V-Aire is that the brakes are always applied at exactly the same pressure, what ever amount (pressure) you have it set for. OK for 99% of all uses, but it can be a bit bothersome if you get caught in city traffic or a highway traffic jam and are creeping along & braking lightly all the time. Not a big deal, but the toad ends up braking the motorhome in that scenario, cause you are usually just feathering the coach brake pedal but the toad brake comes on to the pre-set pressure as soon as the coach brake light comes on (the brake light is the trigger for the toad brakes).
Bill, the owner of Tow-V-Aire, is a humorous guy who will bend over backwards to help you if you call with a question or problem.
I spoke with Bill at Tow-V-Aire...he is very helpful....It has come down to Roadmaster or Tow-V-Aire. I have found the Roadmaster on line for $150 less...so naturally I leaning towards Roadmaster. A friend has a Roadmaster and is very happy with his.
By the way, thanks for your comments about extended warranties that I also posted. After weighing all the available options I could find, I went with Warranty Experts.
The Brakemaster.....I found it on line for $599.....but I am not sure if my 06 Suzuki Grand Vitara require a bracket for the arm. If not, that is a good price. The Tow-V-Aire is $745.00 Bill seems like a great guy, but $150 is $150.
Bill sells the Tow-V-Aire at RV shows for $695 and would have given you that price if you asked. But that's still $100 over your $599. Does your coach have air brakes or does the $599 include the air compressor for non-airbrake coaches? Also, is the breakaway included for that price, as it is on the Tow-V-Aire?
But I'm not trying to get you to change your choice - I like the Brakemaster too. I would choose it if the price were equal too.
My coach has air....I emailed Bill again tonight, and he is quick to reply. I like that. I am trying to talk myself into spending the extra money. A friend of mine just bought a new tow car, and he had to buy a new mounting plate for the car...he doesn't know what that cost yet....so maybe Bill's unit isn't that much higher in the long run. I've been spending so much money since I bought the MH, a $145 seems like small potatoes!!!
I can't think of any reason to buy the Tow-V-Aire over the Brakemaster except perhaps for Bill's outstanding customer service. Here's an example: When I sold my 7 year old Tow-V-Aire recently, I emailed Bill about getting a replacement power plug, which I somehow mispalced when I removed it from the car. Bill was going out of town to an RV show and would be offline for a couple days, so he looked my name up in his sales records, found my home phone number and called me to discuss my problem and be sure he knew which power plug I needed (there had been a change shortly after I bought mine). He identified which plug mine used and advised I could get one like it at a local auto parts store or he would get one himself when he returned from the show and send it to me. How's that for service?
The more interaction I have with Bill, the more I tend to agree that doing business with a guy like that may well be worth the $100 difference. Last night I emailed Bill asking about the mounting bracket for my 06 Grand Vitara. He wasn't sure which bracket wouild be right, so he asked me to take some pictures and email them back to him. I did that.
It's always great to do business with someone who appears to appreciate your business and is committed to helping you.
I also asked Bill about honoring the show specials at $699.....
I used my Tow-V-Aire with two Chevy Trackers (badge sister to the Grand Vitara) and never needed any special brackets or mounts. The standard mount worked fine. But mine were a 2000 and a 2003.
Roadmaster has a special bracket available for the GV & Tracker, but I had no problem mounting the standard Roadmaster floor bracket in my 2003 Tracker. Had to remove the seat to get it in place (the instructions suggest that anyway) and use some longer bolts than they supplied, but the mount itself was fine.
Thanks Gary...you've been very helpful in this process of coming to a decisioin. I am still struggeling with the extended warranty issue. I thought I was going to go with Warranty Experts....but several forum members have recommended I take the $4,000 dollars and put it in a savings account....and in their cases, they never spent all the money over 4 years. I suppose the biggest cost issues are engine & trans....the 350 Cummins has 59,000 miles....so the odds of a major breakdown in either seems somewhat remote, but you never know....I am still vacilating...so will hold off for another couple of weeks before I decide. What's your experience with costs of repairs over say a 4 year time frame. My coach is a 01 Monaco Dynasty....350 Cummins, Allison trans and as I said, 59,000 miles. As best as I can tell, runs great at the moment, and all systems working fine, at the moment.
An extended warranty is an insurance policy - you buy it and HOPE you never need it. It's not an investment where you plan on getting your money back with interest.
If you can afford to shell out for a major repair IF it should ever be needed, then by all means bank the money. By major repair, I mean $6-12,000, which is what you are talking about for engine and tranny work. Diesel genset can be a big hitter too. Fridges are the next big item, but we're only talking a couple-three grand there.
By the way, some policies will refund the premium if you never make a claim. How's that for incentive?
With buying an extended warranty you can be lucky or not. In our case we purchased a Monaco Dynasty new in 2000. Nine month after delivery we purchased an extended warranty with: "Warranty Direct" for a 7 year period and 105000 miles. We paid $ 2975 at that time.
We now have 80000 miles on the coach and during that time have only claimed $275 for the replacement of an automatic roof antenna and it only cost us $ 50 for the deductable. Repair not covered by warranty during the period amounts to $ 1600.
For regular scheduled maintenance including tires, batteries(2 x) and storage we have paid $9200.
We go yearly to the Western FMCA rally and the Monaco Come rally. Monaco will have a large service crew available at those rallies and they will take care of 2 problems and only will charge for parts (and sometimes not).
Our warranty will expire in a few months and we have not decided yet if we will purchase a new warranty. I believe that Warranty Direct will not write any RV extended warranty policies any more. But I have heard positive recommendations about Warranty Express.
I am sure that you will be happy with the Dynasty and Monaco is a first class company that will stand behind their products.