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Old 07-05-2015, 06:29 AM   #15
Skeetobite's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 62
Being completely new to RVing, I researched the daylights out of this topic. After reading several forum threads like this and applying the logic of not only possibly losing a $34k Toad, but potentially harming or killing someone, supplemental brakes became a must have item.

I looked at every model available and researched the good and bad posted by long time users. I decided I wanted a unit that stayed in the vehicle. In the end, it came down to two units; 1)SMI AirForce or 2)SMI Stay-In-Play Duo

I chose the SMI Stay-In-Play Duo because it is a fixed installation. It's not tied into my air brake system, which allows me to tow the Toad with other vehicles if necessary and it was the easiest installation step involved in getting my Toad tow ready.

I was able to test this system with my 2015 Suburban and get the sensitivity dialed in right where I want it. The initial adjustment from the factory was too aggressive in my opinion, causing the front of the Jeep to dip every time I applied the brakes, which was easy to see when testing with the Suburban.

I did "panic" stops with and without the brake system activated. Without the system activated, the ABS in the Suburban came on as I tried to stop quickly. It was obvious that I would have been pushed into a vehicle in front of me or through a stop sign. With the system activated, both vehicles stopped within the same distance that the Suburban would have stopped on its own.

So, maybe this post is longer than it needs to be, but I wanted you to know why I chose to go with supplemental brakes and the thought process of my selection.

Good luck-

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Old 07-05-2015, 09:30 AM   #16
Senior Member - DIYer
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Ford Super Duty Owner
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: NW Ohio
Posts: 3,918
I have a light TOAD (2200 lbs) and have chosen to not install a braking system. I continually look for a used system and am also considering a new surge brake style system.

Regardless if I add brakes to this TOAD, or upgrade somewhere down the line and decide to install brakes on this or a new TOAD, I would do these things and add the additional safety chains and cables. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

These are steps I've taken to prevent a break-away from happening.

The DW and I review and inspect the entire tow system at every hookup and every time we stop. We do this independently, i.e. While I'm filling the gas, she walks around, looks and touches all the pins, clips, chains, locks, etc.

I do the same inspection, we do not inspect together, we do it separately. Before we restart our travel we ask if the other looked at the TOAD. If not, we stop, get out and do it.

I've also added two mechanical items that I rarely see others do, I've bolted one end of a heavy chain to the MH chassis (It loops through a frame lighting hole), the other end is looped through the hitches safety chain loop (the place where the bar safety chains attach). In the event that the entire hitch itself somehow becomes separated from the frame, the chain will hold the hitch to the frame (it won't be pretty, but the TOAD will stay attached to the MH.

I also did the same thing with the TOAD. I used a 1/4 steel cable, ran it trough the cars frame, and through the base plate where the hitch safety chains attach. If the base plate somehow becomes detached, the cable will hold the plate to the car.

1999 Fleetwood Southwind 35S (Ford F53 6.8L V10) - Toad 2003 Saturn Vue.

It won't do MACH 2, but I can get a sandwich and take a pee.
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Old 07-05-2015, 09:44 AM   #17
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Fulltime, USA
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Towed vehicle brake system

When a neighbor, long ago and far away, broke his hitch ball, he had no break-away. The few seconds it took to stop allowed the MH and toad to bounce off each other making about 20 holes in each. A break-away would have braked the toad hard, and not allowed the damage to happen.
When I panic stopped less that 3 feet from the 8 year old girl on the bicycle, with my Brake Buddy making the life/death issue moot, I was made a believer for life. Maybe nobody else has had this experience, but I stopped a lot sooner! The decision is yours. I had a 2300 lb toad at the time. The girl is 12 now.
I shall say no more.

Dave and Nola, RVM1
The Journey is Our Destination!

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brake, tow

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