Go Back   iRV2 Forums > MOTORHOME FORUMS > Toads and Motorhome Related Towing
Click Here to Login
Join iRV2 Today

Mission Statement: Supporting thoughtful exchange of knowledge, values and experience among RV enthusiasts.
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 09-13-2006, 01:33 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
Oemtech's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Jarrell, TX 76537
Posts: 4,243
Send a message via AIM to Oemtech
Should you add an auxiliary tow brake? Some say yes, some say maybe and others say no. Well if you check your state laws on towing you will probably find out that most states require some form of auxiliary breaking for anything 3000 lbs and over. But, it varies from state to state.

Once you decide to add an auxiliary tow brake system then you must decide which one. There are a number of different makes and models. They run from surge brakes, self-contained units that set between the seat and brake pedal to the ones that provide vacuum assist to the tow vehicle braking system. Each system has pros and cons. You may consider Brake Buddy, SMI, US Gear, M & G, Tow Brake International, Roadmaster, VIP Tow Brake, Ready Brake, Fitz and All, Blue Ox just to name a few.

One example of the self contained version is, Brake Buddy. Very easy to install, it transfers from car to car and has some nice features. They only downside I see to this type of system is the "brut force" that is needed to apply the brake. Just try to stop you car with the engine off and you will see what I mean.

An example of the vacuum assist version is US Gear Unified Tow Brake. This system provides a auxiliary vacuum pump, a control box, a solenoid run brake cable and a break away switch in the tow vehicle. It also provides a control module in the motor home with indicator lights, the ability adjust the level of braking and to manually apply the brakes in the tow vehicle. The down side to this system is the install (tow vehicle and motor home) and it is not very portable. IE - move it from car to car.

Another example is M & G tow brake. This system provides a custom-made "air pressure" activated unit that sits between the master cylinder and the tow vehicles vacuum assist. You will need to install the auxiliary air pressure unit (provided by M & G) if this is installed in non-diesel motor home. This system also has a break away function. The down side here is the auxiliary air pressure unit, air lines and non-portability.

The last thing to think about is cost. Most units run between $600 to over $1000. This does not include install cost should that be required. There are some used units available at a much lower cost.

So what did I do? I found a used US Gear Unified Tow Brake for $275. The previous owner sent the unit, original install manual, control modules and lots of extra hook up wire and terminal connectors. Everything was labeled of what wire went where and so on. But, not all the original parts were sent. I had to order a 20-amp auto reset circuit breaker, vacuum check valve and blocking diode. I also had to fabricate the motor home to tow vehicle harness (about 50' of wire #14 red, #16 blue and wire cover). I had to fabricate the umbilical cord between the motor home and tow vehicle. This included getting 2 sets of watertight connectors. I could have ordered both harnesses from US Gear but the 4'+ umbilical cord alone was $30 and $30 for the 2 cable connectors (1 for the motor home and 1 for the tow vehicle) plus shipping. I didn't even call and ask what the 50' harness was.

Costs:
Used UTB $275.00
Blocking diode $31.00
Check Valve $31.00
20 amp circ breaker $15.00
50' #14 wire $10.00
50' #16 wire $10.00
5 pkg 10' Cable cover $12.00
1 pkg 7" tie wraps $2.00
Misc. wire connectors $3.00
TOTAL $389.00



Now for the install of my used US Gear Unified Tow Brake system. I did the tow vehicle in about 4 or 5 hours. On the inside of the tow you need to install the solenoid and route the auxiliary brake cable under the carpet, mount the cable attachment bracket and adjust the cable to the brake pedal. You also need to attach a few wires, mount the control box (I used tie wraps) and route the control wires thru the firewall. Under the hood you need to mount the auxiliary vacuum pump, install the vacuum check valve, vacuum T, install the 40-amp auto reset circuit breaker, install the various control wires and install the break away switch. I just followed the instructions provided in the original install manual.

On the motor home you install the control module either on the shift arm or on a fixed spot on the dash. I chose the dash. You need to find a switched ignition source (I used a unused plug), ground source (same plug), install the blocking diode in the brake circuit and route the control line to the rear of the coach. In the engine compartment you need to install the 20-amp auto reset circuit breaker and find a 12-volt chassis battery source. This provides the 12 volts need to run the auxiliary vacuum pump/charge the battery in the tow vehicle. Now comes the fun part, routing the 12-volt wire and the control module wire from the front to the back of the coach. It took me about 2 hours to route and tie wrap it in. I was able to use a mechanics creeper to roll around under the coach and it made the job much easier.

Now all you have to do is test the system per the instructions.

Almost forgot... Mine inital testing makes me woner why it took me so long to add a tow brake. I can really noticed a difference and have dialed back the amount of brake. It really does not take much.


__________________

__________________
Dale
AKA - Oemy
Oemtech is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 RV Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

iRV2.com RV Community - Are you about to start a new improvement on your RV or need some help with some maintenance? Do you need advice on what products to buy? Or maybe you can give others some advice? No matter where you fit in you'll find that iRV2 is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with other RV owners, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create an RV blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 09-13-2006, 01:33 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Oemtech's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Jarrell, TX 76537
Posts: 4,243
Send a message via AIM to Oemtech
Should you add an auxiliary tow brake? Some say yes, some say maybe and others say no. Well if you check your state laws on towing you will probably find out that most states require some form of auxiliary breaking for anything 3000 lbs and over. But, it varies from state to state.

Once you decide to add an auxiliary tow brake system then you must decide which one. There are a number of different makes and models. They run from surge brakes, self-contained units that set between the seat and brake pedal to the ones that provide vacuum assist to the tow vehicle braking system. Each system has pros and cons. You may consider Brake Buddy, SMI, US Gear, M & G, Tow Brake International, Roadmaster, VIP Tow Brake, Ready Brake, Fitz and All, Blue Ox just to name a few.

One example of the self contained version is, Brake Buddy. Very easy to install, it transfers from car to car and has some nice features. They only downside I see to this type of system is the "brut force" that is needed to apply the brake. Just try to stop you car with the engine off and you will see what I mean.

An example of the vacuum assist version is US Gear Unified Tow Brake. This system provides a auxiliary vacuum pump, a control box, a solenoid run brake cable and a break away switch in the tow vehicle. It also provides a control module in the motor home with indicator lights, the ability adjust the level of braking and to manually apply the brakes in the tow vehicle. The down side to this system is the install (tow vehicle and motor home) and it is not very portable. IE - move it from car to car.

Another example is M & G tow brake. This system provides a custom-made "air pressure" activated unit that sits between the master cylinder and the tow vehicles vacuum assist. You will need to install the auxiliary air pressure unit (provided by M & G) if this is installed in non-diesel motor home. This system also has a break away function. The down side here is the auxiliary air pressure unit, air lines and non-portability.

The last thing to think about is cost. Most units run between $600 to over $1000. This does not include install cost should that be required. There are some used units available at a much lower cost.

So what did I do? I found a used US Gear Unified Tow Brake for $275. The previous owner sent the unit, original install manual, control modules and lots of extra hook up wire and terminal connectors. Everything was labeled of what wire went where and so on. But, not all the original parts were sent. I had to order a 20-amp auto reset circuit breaker, vacuum check valve and blocking diode. I also had to fabricate the motor home to tow vehicle harness (about 50' of wire #14 red, #16 blue and wire cover). I had to fabricate the umbilical cord between the motor home and tow vehicle. This included getting 2 sets of watertight connectors. I could have ordered both harnesses from US Gear but the 4'+ umbilical cord alone was $30 and $30 for the 2 cable connectors (1 for the motor home and 1 for the tow vehicle) plus shipping. I didn't even call and ask what the 50' harness was.

Costs:
Used UTB $275.00
Blocking diode $31.00
Check Valve $31.00
20 amp circ breaker $15.00
50' #14 wire $10.00
50' #16 wire $10.00
5 pkg 10' Cable cover $12.00
1 pkg 7" tie wraps $2.00
Misc. wire connectors $3.00
TOTAL $389.00



Now for the install of my used US Gear Unified Tow Brake system. I did the tow vehicle in about 4 or 5 hours. On the inside of the tow you need to install the solenoid and route the auxiliary brake cable under the carpet, mount the cable attachment bracket and adjust the cable to the brake pedal. You also need to attach a few wires, mount the control box (I used tie wraps) and route the control wires thru the firewall. Under the hood you need to mount the auxiliary vacuum pump, install the vacuum check valve, vacuum T, install the 40-amp auto reset circuit breaker, install the various control wires and install the break away switch. I just followed the instructions provided in the original install manual.

On the motor home you install the control module either on the shift arm or on a fixed spot on the dash. I chose the dash. You need to find a switched ignition source (I used a unused plug), ground source (same plug), install the blocking diode in the brake circuit and route the control line to the rear of the coach. In the engine compartment you need to install the 20-amp auto reset circuit breaker and find a 12-volt chassis battery source. This provides the 12 volts need to run the auxiliary vacuum pump/charge the battery in the tow vehicle. Now comes the fun part, routing the 12-volt wire and the control module wire from the front to the back of the coach. It took me about 2 hours to route and tie wrap it in. I was able to use a mechanics creeper to roll around under the coach and it made the job much easier.

Now all you have to do is test the system per the instructions.

Almost forgot... Mine inital testing makes me woner why it took me so long to add a tow brake. I can really noticed a difference and have dialed back the amount of brake. It really does not take much.


__________________

__________________
Dale
AKA - Oemy
Oemtech is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2006, 04:18 PM   #3
Moderator Emeritus
 
Joe-K's Avatar


 
Tiffin Owners Club
Pond Piggies Club
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Butler, PA
Posts: 1,828
Nice write up Dale.

The Unified Tow Brake installation intimidates a lot of folks but with your write-up everyone will see it's not so bad and as you've shown, you can get a good deal on a used system.
__________________
Joe & Shelly, Justin, Tyler, Alyssa | Butler PA
2008 Tiffin Allegro Bus 43QRP|Cummins 425|Honda CRV
Joe-K is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2006, 04:26 PM   #4
Administrator Emeritus
 
rebelsbeach's Avatar


 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Virginia Beach, VA
Posts: 9,714
Nice post Dale....I just changed my toad to a Chevy 2500HD with hydraulic brakes and chose to go with the M and G with the breakaway...
__________________
2017 40' Renegade Verona LE LTS
2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara 4 door
Blue Ox Avail and SMI Air Force One
rebelsbeach is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2006, 05:17 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
Oemtech's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Jarrell, TX 76537
Posts: 4,243
Send a message via AIM to Oemtech
If I bought a new unit I would probably go with the M&G even though I would have to install the aux air box on the coach. I believe the break away is optional.
__________________
Dale
AKA - Oemy
Oemtech is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2006, 06:27 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
Mutha's Avatar
 
Texas Boomers Club
Workhorse Chassis Owner
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: McKinney, Texas
Posts: 518
Oemtech, just a small note about the M&G system: It works off of AIR PRESSURE not vacumn. It works great too as I have used one since 2000 on my 2000 Trek and now on my 2004. The pressure unit fits BETWEEN the Master Cyl & the Brake booster. The air pressure causes the piston in the M&G unit to apply proportionate pressure(The harder you push on the coach brake the harder it pushes on the toad brake) against the MASTER CYLINDER ONLY. If your Coach has air brakes it hooks straight into the rear brake air line. If your coach has hydralic brakes you need the AIR COMPRESSOR/AIR TANK unit with a air over hydralic proportioning valve (provided by M&G at a extra cost).
Best to you and yours - Glenn
__________________
2004 Safari 31SBD TREK W-20
McKinney, Texas
Mutha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-2006, 03:02 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
slabman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Plano TX
Posts: 2,217
OEM, this is the same location for the unit behind the seat that a dealership wanted to use. But I thought it would look funny and close off the footwell area too much. Are you happy with what you did? Is it bolted to the floor through the mat? And who can I get to do the install? (I'm in the Dallas, TX area).
__________________
Slabman
2014 Newmar Essex 4544
2007 Lexus LX470 Toad
slabman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-2006, 05:25 PM   #8
Moderator Emeritus
 
Cruzer's Avatar


 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Sheboygan, WI
Posts: 4,900
I too run the M&G and really feel it's the nicest setup. But, it's designed for a coach with air brakes. If you have hydraulic brakes on the RV then you do need to add the extra stuff to make it work, which does negate some of its advantages. I have it on my Grand Cherokee and my Wrangler but I when I looked at the 2007 Wrangler Rubicon I'm not sure there's enough room to fit it in because the master cylinder is really packed in there. I may have to go with a different setup, probably the Blue Ox BreakSafe system, when I finally move to the Rubicon.
__________________
Mark & Leann Quasius
2016 Cornerstone 45A
2007 Allegro Bus 42QRP (Sold)
2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited - Rubicon
Cruzer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-11-2006, 04:29 AM   #9
Moderator Emeritus
 
Gary RVRoamer's Avatar


 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Silver Springs, FL. USA
Posts: 18,062
Our new rig was already equipped for a Brakemaster (by Roadmaster) air pressure brake system, so I am switching our toad from the current Tow-V-Aire (similar to Brake Buddy) to a Brakemaster, which is proportional & progressive. I plan to install it in the toad this week. I've decided I'm not using a breakaway device this time around, so the install should be pretty simple.

Anybody want a Tow-V-Aire? I'll be listing it in the Irv2 Classifieds as soon as I get the new system installed.
__________________
Gary Brinck
Former owner of 2004 American Tradition
Home is in the Ocala Nat'l Forest near Ocala, FL
Summers in Black Mountain, NC
Gary RVRoamer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-11-2006, 07:42 AM   #10
Senior Member
 
rogueii's Avatar
 
Workhorse Chassis Owner
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Florida
Posts: 603
I use the Brakemaster 9000 system. I moved it from a 2002 Honda Accord to the 2006 Honda CRV. I is a good unit, that does not wear the brakes out by applying too much force. It is progressive and will respond to the amount of foot pressure you apply to the RV brake pedal.
I had to add the Air Compressor to my RV. (Gas). I had the whole change over from the 2003 RV to the 2004 RV included in the Sales Deal. They had CW do it, and it took them about 8 hours to remove from one unit and install into the new RV. They have to tie into the RV Brake line, to relay the brake pressure to the compressor. With installation, this is a pricey system, but it is well designed and works well.

One Note : Dale mentioned that many states require an auxillary braking system on towed vehicles. You might consider, that an insurance company, might not support a claim, if it is missing and was required by that state. (In case of an accident).
__________________
04 SeaBreese LX 8341 / Workhorse W-22 / GM 8.1 / Allison 5 Speed / Brazel's ULTRAPOWER Upgrade/Taylor Extreme Service PlusCables/DIYCAI
06 Honda CRV4/SE/all wheel drive with Falcon II / Roadmaster 9000 Braking System
rogueii is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2006, 04:39 PM   #11
Senior Member
 
Jetsmania's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Currently on the Boardwalk, Ocean City, NJ
Posts: 1,544
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">OEM, this is the same location for the unit behind the seat that a dealership wanted to use. But I thought it would look funny and close off the footwell area too much. Are you happy with what you did? Is it bolted to the floor through the mat? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
Hi! Dale did a great job of explaining the US Gear Brake system. We just had that system installed in our 2007 Jeep Wrangler. The only difference is; the dealer installed the unit on the upper part of the floor (actually behind the dash almost) on the passengers side of the jeep. You can not see it unless you bend down and look for it. My feet do not hit it either. The dealership told me they have done quite a few that way (going sideways instead of towards the back seat). They have done them that way to avoid them getting kicked or stepped on in the back seat. I love it. You don't even know it is there. Paul
__________________
2018 King Aire 4553 on Order
2016 Cadillac Escalade
Jetsmania is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-17-2010, 08:34 PM   #12
Senior Member
 
azloafer's Avatar
 
Winnebago Owners Club
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 1,170
What are your thoughts on the Ready Brake System integrated into the tow bar? I think that it is called the Ready Brute when it is combined in the tow bar. Joe
__________________

__________________
2008 Itasca Latitude 39W. Cummins ISB 6.7 Turbo 340HP. Allison 6 Speed. Freightliner XCS. Michelin XRV 255/80R 22.5 LRG. SuperSteer MCU. Safe-T-Plus.
azloafer is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply



Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
My aux brake system - A Funny Story Brian_R1 Toads and Motorhome Related Towing 8 02-19-2009 08:25 AM
Need toad aux brake help mountainkowboy Toads and Motorhome Related Towing 9 09-10-2007 03:29 AM
Aux brakes with a tow dolly mrschwarz Toads and Motorhome Related Towing 23 08-06-2006 04:07 AM
Stay-IN-Play Aux Brake Installation BigRedLancer Toads and Motorhome Related Towing 7 02-15-2006 08:17 PM
Trailer brake install price? rotts4u Toads and Motorhome Related Towing 4 04-30-2005 08:23 AM

» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:26 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.