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Old 08-29-2009, 03:50 PM   #1
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Smile Brake Systems for the Toad

Hello, I have the base plates installed on the Jeep Sahara 2009, the tow bar in the garage ready to put on the coach, and we will take it with us on our next trip. Yes, I aware of the height considerations so Iím thinking I am going to have to drop the stinger down 3 inches so I meet those specs in the middle.

Yes, I know I need a braking system on the toad, but I keep getting conflicting information from all the different brands out there.

And yes, this should be posted in the Towing part of the forum, but since we are all alpine owners, I wanted your input because we mostly have hydraulic brakes on our coaches.

I am shying away from those wireless boxes you put on the floorboard in the drivers cockpit which receives a signal from the coach when the brakes are applied.

Blue Ox makes several systems, as does SMI, and I don't know which way to go. I would prefer not to have to depend on a cable running from the coach to the jeep, since something could break. But I know I am going to have something, and would like input from you other owners before I plunk down my money. I don't think I want to tackle that installation. The base plates were a pain, but now that I have done one, I will remember the areas where problems occurred and be ready, that is if I ever have to do it again. Your comments would be appreciated. Thx.
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Old 08-29-2009, 03:59 PM   #2
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I have the EvenBrake unit and I think you misunderstand how this works. It does not use any signal from the coach but relies on a built-in computer to recognize when the coach is braking and applies the toad brake in unison. It is adjustable for sensitivity and braking force but the default setting seems to work for me. What you have in the coach is a wireless receiver which monitors the brake unit and tells you when the brake is being applied and also warns of any failure in the unit. Hope that helps.
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Old 08-29-2009, 05:43 PM   #3
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I installed the US Gear system on my 2008 Rubicon earlier this year. This is the first time I have ever had brakes on a toad in 30 years of motorhoming. I did the installation and took quite a while to figure how I wanted to mount the solenoid that actuates the car brakes. I am very satisfied with this system. I bought it from the expired ebay auction earlier this year when Monaco was closing their RV supply business. Quite a deal. They were $350 delivered and this is for a system that ran around $1100. This is the only one I can comment on, but I am really happy.
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Old 08-29-2009, 05:55 PM   #4
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Have the Brake Buddy classic and been working fine for over 5 years.
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Old 08-29-2009, 11:57 PM   #5
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Monty,

We have used the M&G system for nearly 7 years now, and we like it a lot! It has been moved to 2 different toads (both were Yukons that weigh over 5,000 pounds) and 3 Alpines, and we can't imagine having anything else. John is not a DIY kind of guy, so all of our installation work was done by Precision Metal Works company in Quincy, WA. They were great to work with and charged only $100 to move the "compressor" from coach to coach (and cut a beautiful metal eagle for us to use as a hitch cover on the back of our Yukon). Of course, there are other outfits that sell and install these systems. We seem to remember that the original unit cost us about $1,000, and we purchased it from Precision.

Yes, there is a cord that extends from the coach to the toad, but it has a secure connection that has not caused us any problem in all of these years, and is quite easy to connect.
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Old 08-30-2009, 11:05 AM   #6
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I see several folks have recommended big boxes you 'install' nad remove every time you hook up or unhook, that sounds like a lot of work to me and a serious temptation to say "oh we are only going a few miles... "

On most jeeps, if your towing vehicle has air brakes, you might consider the M&G air/hydraulic system.

And no mater if you have air or not.. The US-Gear, Unified Brake Decelarator, will fit your jeep as well.

Both of these systems hook up with a single connection, the M&G needs no power (other than compressed air) both have break-away features so that's a 2nd cable you hook up. The M&G has a compressed air cylinder on the jeep which locks the brakes should a break-a-way happen. (This does use a small amount of battery power but otherwise no electricity is involved in braking) an air piston "Backs up" the vacuum booster and applies the brakes.

The US-gear system does use batter power but thanks to the wireing gets it from the towing vehicle, it has an electric solenoid that PULLS the regular brake pedal, just as though you were pushing with foot, a vacuum pump enables the vacuum assist, so it operates exactly as it normally would.. less some jerk at pep boys uses that hose to hook up his vacuum gague and forgets to hook it back up (long story does not really apply)

In addition the US-gear system is progressive, the harder you stand on the brakes, the harder it pulls on them

It is porportional.. YOU decide how hard it applies the brakes compared to what you are doing up front

And it can be "Set" or disabled, from the pilot's seat in the motor home.

In short, it is as close to the trailer brakes on my brother's semi, as you can get.

And, you do not un-install it till you sell the car. it's there all the time (just not working) the "Works" are hidden out of site, normally under the driver's seat. So there is no temptation to say "Too much trouble" and wish you'd hooked it up later.
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Old 08-30-2009, 07:38 PM   #7
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Had the U.S. Gear Unified system installed on our coach before delivery, I guess it works o.k. We pull a PU (4x4, LB, Ext Cab) truck. As I have never experienced towing without the U.S. Gear setup, don't know what it would be like without it.
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Old 08-30-2009, 08:36 PM   #8
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Monte,
I also have the M&G system for my coach/tow vehicle. the one line is a small air-hose. Takes all of 5 seconds to hook up and stays right with the the tow bar. The line runs from the back of the MH to the front of the car. Brazel's did my install, also they are a dealer. If you are a good DIY'er and have some time, you can save yourself a big sweaty wad of $ (BSWM)!
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Old 08-30-2009, 10:02 PM   #9
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Even though we have hydraulic disk brakes on our Alpines, M&G does in fact work very well as they install a small "compressor" (I'm a girl, so don't know what else to call it) that provides the air needed to trigger the braking action in the tow vehicle. As I understand it, this draws off of the same air that is used for our air bags and parking brake. So, contrary to the previous post that seemed to indicate you need air brakes on your coach to use M&G, that is just not true...and the man of the house validates my comments!
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Old 08-31-2009, 08:57 AM   #10
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Brakes for toad

You have an interesting dilemma. You don't want a cable, hose. etc running between the toad & the M/H. You don't want an electrical box that is activated by the coach. ie: SMI plug & play which we use and it is terrific. With the styles you have eliminated I believe your only option would be to throw some type of anchors out the window and retract them with a manual winch. You have pretty much eliminated what is on the market.
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Old 08-31-2009, 09:40 AM   #11
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Monty,
I'll "ditto" everything that others have said about the M&G. Moved it from the '01 to the '05 coach and from the last Subaru to the current one. Takes longer to hook up the Stowmaster than it does to hook up the M&G.
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Old 08-31-2009, 04:52 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gjstacy View Post
Even though we have hydraulic disk brakes on our Alpines, M&G does in fact work very well as they install a small "compressor" (I'm a girl, so don't know what else to call it) that provides the air needed to trigger the braking action in the tow vehicle. As I understand it, this draws off of the same air that is used for our air bags and parking brake. So, contrary to the previous post that seemed to indicate you need air brakes on your coach to use M&G, that is just not true...and the man of the house validates my comments!
You don't sound like a Lady that needs validation.
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Old 08-31-2009, 05:02 PM   #13
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Just had the M&G system installed on my 2008 Jeep Liberty. They had to move the battery and fuse box forward, but it worked out beautifully. Also had the breakaway kit installed. Work was done by Berea Auto Engineering in Berea, Ohio - west side of Cleveland by the airport. They are an M&G dealer. Their main business is to modify older Rolls Royce and Bentleys. They replace the Rolls engine with a Chevy 350 and add a modern disc brake systems, so they know what they are doing.

Don't know where you live, but I'd recommend them.

Good Luck

W8RLM - Bob
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Old 08-31-2009, 05:07 PM   #14
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Dear Jimmy Stewart...oh, you probably aren't that Jimmy Stewart...well, thank you anyway for the compliment. I've learned way more than I ever thought I'd want to know about how our motorhome works!
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