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Old 03-18-2010, 01:50 PM   #1
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Are TOAD brakes always the best choice

Just bought a TOAD and have a Blue Ox installation (Aladdin) scheduled. My motorhome is a Triton 10 Itasca Suncruiser (35 feet, maybe 23,000 loaded). My TOAD is a Scion weighing in at 2650 lbs empty. Towing capacity of the RV is 5000 lbs.

I have done searches here but didn't quite find an answer:

Given the above factors, is it really safer and best to add a Brake-buddy or similar TOAD brake, even when the TOAD is small and light. Or might it be overkill? I can't find any facts. The great state of Florida says TOAD brakes are not required if the TOAD is under 3000 lbs.

I understand that it is always safest to say "buy them" but just wondering if you more experienced drivers have any guidance as to when it's really a must, and when it's probably not that helpful.

I'll gladly pay the $1300 extra, just don't want to do so if there is reason to believe it is not useful. Just wondering.
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Old 03-18-2010, 02:19 PM   #2
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Hi Rich!

Although I have no engineering "proof" that a toad brake system is a must, I see it as important from a safety standpoint as a tire Pressure Monitoring System, if not more so. No state requires you have a PMS but common sense says they are a good idea. The same with toad brakes.

Others will be along shortly to disagree...
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Old 03-18-2010, 02:31 PM   #3
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One of the more important features of a Toad Brake is the break-away feature. It is also a potential liability if not used and the Toad breaks away. Many people do not use their Toad Braking system for short trips anyway. I know I will get jumped on for my statement, but none the less, it is a fact. From what I see, when available, they are only used about 50% of the time.

In my case, I have assets to protect and have an umbrella policy. It will not pay if I violate any laws that result in the liability.
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Old 03-18-2010, 02:50 PM   #4
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Aside from the breakaway protection (and that's important!!), the rig will always stop in a shorter distance WITH toad brakes than WITHOUT them. I guess it's hard to put a value on that until one encounters one of those unanticipated, come over the hill and traffic's stopped, eyes like dinner plates and stand on the brakes situations.

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Old 03-18-2010, 03:24 PM   #5
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It's always useful, the only real debate is "is it necessary?". As others have said, it can't hurt, and it will usually help, so there's no downside to having one. As for the 50% number previously cited, I think that only applies to the units that you install in front of the driver's seat with an arm that pushes on the pedal. We have an SMI AFO, which only requires connection of the air line and break away cable when hooking up the toad. Which is faster than connecting the tow bar and safety cables, so it's used 100% of the time. I expect the same is true of anyone using an AFO or similar.

Also, remember that your coach chassis is only rated to stop the GVWR, not the GCRW. If the loaded weight of your coach plus the weight of the toad is greater than the GVWR, then you NEED a toad brake system to be "legal".

joe
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Old 03-18-2010, 04:41 PM   #6
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Why not get the ReadyBrake system. Only $360, easy to install, no electrics and works well. Have one to tow my 2800# Ford Escape. They also have a simple break away system.
ReadyBrake Supplemental Brake System for Towed Vehicles - Night Shift Auto
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Old 03-18-2010, 04:50 PM   #7
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I replaced my Even Brake with the SMI Stay N Play 2 years ago. It was the best move I could have made. Plug in the brake lights and connect the breakaway cable and you are good to go. If you plan on keeping the Toad, consider a permanent auxiliary braking system.
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Old 03-18-2010, 05:08 PM   #8
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Well, it looks like at least 13 states would require TOAD brakes even at a weight of 2700 lbs, so I'm going to get them installed for that reason alone. But I didn't think about break-away and the other factors mentioned above.

Heck - in for a nickel, in for a dime (give or take a few decimal points).
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Old 03-19-2010, 06:33 AM   #9
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While a Class A motorhome can easily stop a 2650 toad under normal braking, it's the panic stop you need to be concerned about. I have our brake controller set to come on only during hard braking, and to not activate at all during most normal braking. I always try to leave plenty of following distance, but I can think of at least one instance that the cost of the $1000 toad brake saved me my $1000 insurance deductible because I surely would have rear-ended a pickup truck that stopped abruptly in front of me without the brake.

Also, as Rusty says, it's very important to have breakaway protection. You can't have that without an auxiliary toad brake.
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Old 03-19-2010, 07:56 AM   #10
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I have a couple of real life, need all the brake power that I can get stops in our history. I was coming up on a red light with plenty of buffer to get stopped when 3 cars instantly changed lanes in front of. It is illegal in our State and many others to do that. No matter. Suddenly, I had no buffer and it was my expectation that I was going to stop half way through the 3rd car as I stood on the brake pedal. I stopped inches from that car's bumper. To me, the difference in having a toad brake vs. not having one was very clear at that moment. Yes, the MH could have stopped me but I seriously doubt that it would have been in time.

I also believe that the toad brake relieves some of the pressure on the tow bar in those situations. With the toad braking for itself, the accordion effect on the tow bar joints is less. Is this a big deal? Probably not but it is a consideration.

So, with the considerations of:
  • faster stops in emergencies
  • breakaway feature
  • less potential for problems with LEOs in some States
I considered having a toad brake to be pretty much a no brainer.
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Old 03-19-2010, 08:07 AM   #11
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Thanks for the help. I am on the schedule for installation of an Aladdin hitch, Brake Buddy system, and Blue Ox baseplate whenever the parts arrive. The hitch is a 2-year-used one in "excellent" condition per the installer's recommendation. I'll ask about the SMI braking system before a final decision.
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Old 03-19-2010, 08:19 AM   #12
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You ought to check with your insurance provider before deciding to drive naked without toad-brakes!!!
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Old 03-19-2010, 08:36 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick_Wins View Post
Why not get the ReadyBrake system. Only $360, easy to install, no electrics and works well. Have one to tow my 2800# Ford Escape. They also have a simple break away system.
ReadyBrake Supplemental Brake System for Towed Vehicles - Night Shift Auto
Gotta say that is a "Simple" and "Functional" piece of equipment!

A bit pricey, but still cost effective!

And it takes a fraction of the time to set up and break down as my evenbrake!
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