Trying to select toad brakes

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Smoky

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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?
 

Tom

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You've opened another Pandora's box Smoky  ;D

First off, I think most will agree that you should ignore the dealer's comment about the coach brakes being more than enough to stop the coach and the toad. That said, there are various options for toad braking, as you've already discovered.

The Brake Buddy works for a lot of folks, especially those that do not have the air option. I've tried it only once, when I borrowed my neighbor's BB, and I see nothing wrong with it. It aso has the advantage of being able to be moved if/when you buy a new toad.

If you discover the coach has air, then the M&G air brake system is definitely a great way to go. Hassle free hooking up and unhooking. If you change toad later, M&G will give you a trade-in allowance on the old air cylinder.

According toRoadmaster's web site, he Brakemaster does not tap into a coach's hydraulic line. If your coach has hydraulic brakes, they sell the model 9000/9006 with an air compressor. If your coach has air or air over hydraulic, they sell the model 9100/9160 that takes air from the coach.

Do NOT let anyone sell you Roadmaster's BrakePro (their alternative to the Brake Buddy).

 

Ron

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Smokey,

We use the Roadmaster Falcon towbar that is rated upto 6000lbs capacity to tow our Grand Cherokee and a Brakebuddy for toad brakes.

Looks to me they are recommending their top of the line towbar whcih has the same capacity rated at 6000 lbs but according to prices in the camping world catalog is $943.33 plus installation.

The Falcon II all terrain towbar with the same capacity of 6000lbs ?is ?listed at 798,89 about $150.00 less and can be connected and disconnected on unlevel terrain. ?This is a good feature but it wasn't available when we got ours.

Unless you like the glits of having the top of the line I can see no reason to go with the Sterling towbar. ?I don't see any mention of the all terrain features on the sterling towbar.

I am not sure about the Brakemaster I have only known one person that tried it and he took it back .

Bottom Line: If it were me I would get the Roadmaster Falcon all terrain tow bar and go with either Brake Buddy or M&G.

Will they also wire the toad breaklights for you?
 

Smoky

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Ron and Tom thanks.

I will ask them about the Falcon.  It might be weight, the Sterling is one of the lightest, but only about ten pounds lighter than the other choices. 

Hey guys, my dealer can install the Brake Buddy.  Do you think that would be sufficent for my Taurus wagon?  I could have Remco install the Falcon or Sterling, and then have the dealer install the brake Buddy.  What say?
 

Smoky

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BTW, the RV forum disappeared from Compuserve's Forum Center.  Just checked again a minute ago.  I can still access via "MY Stuff" but cannot get there via the Forum Center alpha listing.  This just happened today.
 

Ron

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Smoky,

The only thing to installing the Brake Buddy beyond placing it in position in the car is the routing os two electric wires from the brakeawy switch to inside so you can connect them when you install the brake Buddy.  The is a small box that will mount in the fron near where the hitch baseplate is so a cable can be conneced between it and the motorhome.  This is in case the MH and car separate the cable will pull a pin out of the little box tripping a switch which will then cause the Brake Buddy to apply the brakes on the toad.
You could probably install the brakeaway by yourself and the rest of the brake Buddy installation will be the same as you will do whenever you use it. I think if it were me I would buy the brakebuddy and tri installing per the instructions provided. If you need any assistance with the breakawy swithch I can help you at Sam's Camp when you get to MT.

  We use the Brake Buddy with the Grand Cherokee so I'm sure it will do for you Taurus.

The capacity of the Falcon all terrain and the Sterling is eacactly the same 6000lbs.  I doubt your Taurus weighs as much as the Grand Cherokee.  Be sure to specify the falcon All terrain tow bar.
 

Tom

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BTW Smoky, I forgot to mention that we have Roadmaster's Black Hawk tow bar - rated at 8,000 lbs, because we tow the Suburban.

As Ron says, I don't see what's involved in "wiring" a Brake Buddy. You just plop it on the floor of the toad, attach it to the brake pedal, and plug it into the cigarette lighter or other 12V receptacle. The breakway inviolves only minor wiring.

Ron asked the question I forgot to ask - about the wiring of the toad lights. I wired ours while at Moab last year. I bought the Roadmaster diode kits at Camping World. As a temporary measure I'd runnaged through the garage and dug up a couple of those magnetic lights that the tow truck drivers use when towing a wreck. That's what I used when we first got our prior coach, so those lights were 19 years old  :)

Of course, having someone competent like Remco do the work makes life a lot easier if you're not comfortable doing it yourself.

It would be interesting to see the breakdown of the quote when you get it.
 

BernieD

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Smoky

First, you have a full air brake system, no hydraulics. Next I am not sure if you have a Spartan or Freightliner chassis but both "require" that you install toad brakes if your total weight of coach and toad exceeds the GVWR of the coach alone. The 10k# GCWR increase that you get for towing is only if you have appropriate brakes. Since you will be full-timing, you will need every pound of capacity within the coach so if you take the dealers advice, please don't drive behind me :D :D :D.

The Sterling is overkill. It sits on the back of your coach at all times. Since you won't be picking it up very often the weight savings is immaterial. The manufacturers usually admit that the all-steel models just below the fanciest aluminum combo model is stronger. As Ron said, go with the Roadmaster All-Terrain Falcon or, like I use, the Blue Ox Adventa II.

I think that you will find the largest group of satisfied toad brake for diesel pusher owners on this forum to have M&G. They work very well, are very easy to install and can be put on most cars. But be sure to check first with M&G whether it will fit on your Taurus. If it fits, go for it. You'll be much happier.
 

Smoky

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Thanks all.? This tread is very helpful.

Bernie, can you tell me more about M&G?? Is that the one that taps into the air system?? How much do parts and installation typically cost?? How do I find a dealer?

I promise not to ride in your caravan until i get them installed. ;D
 

NC DaveD

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Smoky, we have been using a Falcon II towbar on our Windsor for 6 years towing Honda Accords. 3 Years ago I purchased and installed a US Gear Unified Tow Brake and never regretted it. I looked at the M&G, but our 2000 Honda Accord didn't have the room by the mastercylinder needed for installation. The US Gear unit took a bit of work to get in, but it's permanent (until I take it out when we replace the Honda?? :D), only requires one additional wire plug hookup and break away pin hookup when getting ready to go. If I had been thinking smarter, I could have wired the plug through my existing toad connector. :-\ It is also provides proportional and progressive braking and has saved my bacon once or twice.

Last year the computer part of the unit that is in the car went out and the guys at US Gear helped me troubleshoot the issue over the phone and then sold me a new computer module at dealer cost. It also allowed me to justify purchasing a new mulitimeter for the motorhome. ;D

David Derway
PS....Thanks to Jim Dick for letting me use his Multimeter to help with the original diagnosis.
 

BernieD

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Smoky said:
Bernie, can you tell me more about M&G?  Is that the one that taps into the air system?  How much do parts and installation typically cost?  How do I find a dealer?

Smoky

M&G taps into the air line in the coach. If the KS has a Spartan chassis, Spartan now offers a kit to attach the line to the brake line. Best bet for dealer location is calling M&G. Or check out the dealer page on it's web site http://www.m-gengineering.com/links.html

I don't know what current pricing is but it should run you under $1,000 for parts and installation. You would need to call M&G anyways to determine if they can install in the Taurus.
 

Tom

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Smoky

You could also install the M&G yourself. I watched as they installed mine and another coach/toad. Took around an hour for the two, including answering a lot of questions. In my case, they tapped into one of the air junction boxes already on the coach. They have (or used to have) instructions for installation on their web site.

I paid $800, which included $200 installation by M&G while I was in TX. I acquired the breakaway kit via a friend later, and that was an additional $200. So Bernie was right on with his $1,000. This compared with $1,300 I paid for Brakemaster's BrakePro that caused lots of problems and I returned to CW for a full refund.
 

Smoky

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Well the only problem I have is that there are no M&G dealers anywhere near me.  wonder if I could stop at one on my way west without crashing or getting arrested for not having a toad brake.

Then again the other two alternatives are having Remco install the Brakemaster, or my dealer install the Brake Buddy.

Anyone having an opinion on these three alternatives is most welcome to comment.
 

Ron

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Avoid the brakemaster like you would a hornets nest.  I would either go with the Brake Buddy (which is what we use) or the M&G system.  I know there are a lot of folks that have not toad brakes at all.  I don't agree this is the right thing to do.  But if you wanted to locate a M&G dealer along your route it might be an option.  I believe the cost for the Brake Buddy or the M&G is pretty close to the same and maybe a little more for the Brake Buddy.
 

BernieD

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Smoky said:
Well the only problem I have is that there are no M&G dealers anywhere near me.  wonder if I could stop at one on my way west without crashing or getting arrested for not having a toad brake.

Then again the other two alternatives are having Remco install the Brakemaster, or my dealer install the Brake Buddy.

Anyone having an opinion on these three alternatives is most welcome to comment.

Smoky

We had our M&G coach hookup done at Tom Johnson's in NC. Did a good job. If that is too far out of the way, there are dealers listed in Pennsyvania, Ohio and a lot of other places on your way west. I'm sure you could arrange to stop at one and have it done. You can drive bare until then and I won't say a word  :D :D. You won't have any major mountains to worry about until then and just drive careful.  However, I will drive behind you ;D ;D ;D.

Tom also had a good recommendation of doing it yourself. He thought it didn't look that difficult.
 

Smoky

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Avoid the Brakemaster also?  Why?

Tom said avoid the Brake Pro (also by Roadmaster) but he said nothing about avoiding the Roadmaster Brakemaster.  Isn't that the Roadmaster version of the M&G?
 

Ron

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I can give no details first hand.  All I know is what others have told me about brakemaster.  I do know that several in the framily have the m&G and are very pleased with it.  We use the Brake Buddy and are happy with it.  I haven't heard one good comment about the Brakemaster so I wouldn't say it even might be ok.  On the other hand even though we have never used a M&G system ourselves there are so many of the framily that have them and not one negative comment have I heard about it.

Have you called to see if the M&G will work on the Taursus? 
 

Tom

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Smoky

I have no knowledge of Brakemaster, which is why I didn't pass comment on it beyond what's listed on their web site.

Their BlackHawk Tow bar is good, but their BrakePro is IMO a piece of junk. Their tech support really isn't. When I called about the BP they told me that GM installs wires that are too small in all their Suburbans. When I called with a question about the BlackHawk they told me GM drills holes in the wrong place in the chassis. About the only thing they didn't do was call me a dumbo, by I surely felt like that's what they were saying.

When I politely approached them at the QZ show the guy turned his back on me and wouldn't talk to me.

You could do what I did (unintentionally) i.e. buy the BB (I bought BP), use it until you get the M&G installed, then return it. But I didn't tell you to do that.
 

Tom

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Smoky

Here's a few photos that might help illustrate the simplicity of the M&G system.

  • Connector on rear of coach.
  • Connector on front of toad.
  • Air cylinder placed between the master cylinder and boost (on toad)

Note that this is on a Burb, so the air cylinder is relatively large. The ones I've seen for passenger cars are proportionately smaller.

 

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