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Old 04-18-2016, 09:45 PM   #1
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Brake Buddy Ruined Brakes

Good day Fellow RVers.
On my trip back home, when setting up my classic Brake Buddy, I noticed that the brakes on my Chevy Captiva went to the floor. Since I was only two nights away from home, I decided to just pull the toad since I was traveling mainly flat interstate roads. I noticed that a pool of brake fluid was puddled around the front right side tire, when I parked it in my garage. I jacked up the car and removed the wheel. I noticed brake fluid on the brake caliper. Since the car had only 24K miles on it and still under GM warranty, I took it into the local Chevy dealer where i purchased it. I got a call back later and was told "Your tow package ruined the all the brakes. You need new brake shoes, new rotors, a caliper, and brake hose, "to the tune of over $1,000 for repairs". I pulled this vehicle from Illinois to Florida, plus an additional 6K miles around Florida last year. This year, I pulled the toad to Apache Junction, Yuma, Tucson, and then onto Port Aransis, Texas, having no problems. If anything, I did not notice any pulling nor "brake smoke" on the final leg of my homeward bound journey.
I have seen Brake Buddy failures on the blog (i.e. not working), but not heard of a Brake Buddy ruining brakes? Have anyone experienced a Brake Buddy ruining brakes on their toad?

Regards
Mark S.
2010 Newmar Dutch Aire 4317, ISL 425HP. 2014 Chevy Captiva
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Old 04-18-2016, 10:42 PM   #2
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I would like to hear a detailed explanation of how this all happened without generating any warning symptoms. To run through shoes you need constant application. Lots of heat. To destroy the rotors they must either warp from the extraordinary heat, or be ground to powder by the rivets or backer plates after you've worn through the shoes. A caliper assembly? Brake hose?! Are they claiming metal shavings from the ruined rotor destroyed the caliper and hoses? I am quite sure you would have felt this, smelled it, heard it.


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Old 04-18-2016, 11:00 PM   #3
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I destroyed the parking brakes on our Odyssey. Never felt/smelled or saw any smoke either.
Note to self: Check parking brake before leaving!!
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Old 04-18-2016, 11:49 PM   #4
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Brake Buddy Ruined Brakes

Did the Brake Buddy appear to be operable when you reached your destination. Seems to me the Brake Buddy would have to engage the brakes for an extended period. Something it's not really designed to do. I would think the Brake Buddy would fail (or at least blow a fuse) before it wore through all four brakes.

This is strange!
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Old 04-19-2016, 08:54 AM   #5
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Get your vendor who installed the brake buddy and the manufacturer of it together with the cruise dealer.

Assuming new car and not used brake buddy.

Something failed and that needs to be determined.

If not installed exactly as designed or manufacturer defect it needs to be corrected or removed as it will repeat as it is.

The cause of failure needs to be identified as well as a "pre-trip" check to determine all is well.

Put some pressure on brake buddy to determine exact cause here.
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Old 04-19-2016, 09:05 AM   #6
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When I first had our Brake Buddy I went over a large bump while turning. At the end of the trip when I went to remove the BB, I found it off at an angle. The design of the seat was such that there wasn't a nice flat spot on the front of the seat to rest against.

The good news is that although it was pressing the brake peddle, it didn't harm the brakes. But after that experience I changed the way I place in and after tens of thousands of miles it hasn't happened again.

I can imagine a scenario where the brake buddy gets bounced and it applies the brakes and you don't know. They are just dragging. But I'm sure you would see the brake buddy off to one side when you removed it.

Could it be the seat was too far forward so the brake was engaged in the resting position?

I can see warped rotors and worn pads but all the other damage is tough to envision.
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Old 04-19-2016, 09:11 AM   #7
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I have not ever used the brake buddy, but have the RVi brake designed by the same folks.

On my system and I would imagine the brake buddy is the same, when the RVi rod is attached to the brake pedal, it adjust itself to accommodate for the distance from the RVi unit to the brake pedal. On my second or third time of using it, I accidentally pushed on the brake pedal after getting it all set up and it apparently readjusted just a little bit resulting in putting pressure on the brake pedal.

After about 30 minutes of driving, I notices my TPMS was reading over 150 degrees on all 4 of the toad tires. I pulled over and went back to check and all the wheels of the toad were in fact hot. I unhooked the RVi brake and got back on the road and the tires cooled down after a few minutes. Luckily, I caught it in time and didn't suffer any permanent damage on the Toad Brakes, but I thought I was going to be in line at the brake shop just as you described.

In talking to RVi folks, they advised to always check the tail lights to make sure the brake light is not lit, as long as the brake light is not light then there is no pressure being put on brake pedal. I always check the brake lights now after setting up my RVi brake and have close to 20,000 miles with no issues with the auxiliary braking system.

Don't know if the brake buddy can reset like the RVi but it sure sounds like you may have had the same type issue as I had. If the Brake Buddy operates differently, I apologize for the going off subject, since mine isn't the same type.

Sorry to hear about your issue, I know the feeling and thought I was going to be in the same boat and it sucked.
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Old 04-19-2016, 09:18 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dutch Master View Post
Good day Fellow RVers.
On my trip back home, when setting up my classic Brake Buddy, I noticed that the brakes on my Chevy Captiva went to the floor. Since I was only two nights away from home, I decided to just pull the toad since I was traveling mainly flat interstate roads. I noticed that a pool of brake fluid was puddled around the front right side tire, when I parked it in my garage. I jacked up the car and removed the wheel. I noticed brake fluid on the brake caliper. Since the car had only 24K miles on it and still under GM warranty, I took it into the local Chevy dealer where i purchased it. I got a call back later and was told "Your tow package ruined the all the brakes. You need new brake shoes, new rotors, a caliper, and brake hose, "to the tune of over $1,000 for repairs". I pulled this vehicle from Illinois to Florida, plus an additional 6K miles around Florida last year. This year, I pulled the toad to Apache Junction, Yuma, Tucson, and then onto Port Aransis, Texas, having no problems. If anything, I did not notice any pulling nor "brake smoke" on the final leg of my homeward bound journey.
I have seen Brake Buddy failures on the blog (i.e. not working), but not heard of a Brake Buddy ruining brakes? Have anyone experienced a Brake Buddy ruining brakes on their toad?

Regards
Mark S.
2010 Newmar Dutch Aire 4317, ISL 425HP. 2014 Chevy Captiva

What was the sensitivity/gain set to on your brake buddy? Also, were you using the wireless sensors that come with the brake buddy and display when the brake buddy is engaged? The wireless tell tale's often fail and are expensive to replace, so ours is now hard wired through the light plug and we have an indicator in the dash that shows when the brake buddy is applying pressure to the vehicle brakes.

If you are not using a tell tale in the coach cab, which would have warned you of a continuously applied brake buddy, and the brake buddy WAS indeed applied all or much of the time, I can see it causing SOME of the damage, but not all (hoses?), however I can also see where Brake Buddy could say it wasn't their fault since you weren't using it correctly (no tell tale).

We have used our brake buddy on two different vehicles, for over 10k miles in the last 12 months and have had no problems.

Good luck in you resolution with Chevy, and/or Brake Buddy, and please let us know what the outcome is!
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Old 04-19-2016, 09:57 AM   #9
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Regardless of the brake system, it sounds like something went wrong... but as far as the damage caused, doesn't seem excessive, I personally have seen melted hubcaps from dragging tow brakes, as well as the other items mentioned, that kind of heat is hard on bearings and seals as well. As thin as new car rotors are, it wouldn't be difficult to warp them beyond what could be machined without ending up beyond minimum thickness specs.
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Old 04-19-2016, 12:46 PM   #10
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Mee too

I had about 30K miles towing my Acura MDX without trouble .... Until there was. I use a Roadmaster EvenBrake but it is very similar to the Brake Buddy.

I was traveling from Carlsbad to Temecula so not a long trip. I didn't notice anything with the braking unit when I disconnected. Took the Toad out for dinner and noticed the brakes were soft and wobbly. Back home, found out the rotors were warped, the caliper boots were melted and pads shot. Apparently, I had not installed it correctly this one time and it "feathered" the brakes for the 100 or so miles. It is important to double check placement of the unit. Perhaps I had locked the car and then unlocked it using the FOB which causes the automatic seat to adjust back to drive position. Maybe I never adjusted the seat to the brake position. Maybe I just forgot to check my clearance. I will never know but it cost me $$$. Ahhh, the RV lifestyle. All as been well since.

On another note, I experienced the brake unit bouncing around and coming out of place the first long trip I used it. I solved this by adding bungee cords to the rear handle and securing to the seat frame. It has never moved since.
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Old 04-19-2016, 12:58 PM   #11
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I used a Brake Buddy for almost 5 years without any problem until I had a problem. I left an RV park and headed over to the freeway entrance where I had to brake to a stop from maybe 25mph to wait for oncoming traffic at the left turn on to the ramp. Loud squealing noises and massive amounts of white smoke. It had locked up all four wheels on the toad and worn flats on the tires. I called Brake Buddy and asked them what might have been the problem. He went into "strong denial" mode saying the units are foolproof and could not possibly have done what I claimed. Looking back I can think of only one thing: I MAY have momentarily turned the key from Accessory back to ON after I had completed the brake bleed sequence an this would have recharged the power brake vacuum cylinder. So the first application would have been with full power brake assist until the cylinder emptied. So to answer the OP's question, mine did not damage the brakes but it did cost me over $1,000 for new tires.
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Old 04-19-2016, 05:44 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dutch Master View Post
Good day Fellow RVers.
On my trip back home, when setting up my classic Brake Buddy, I noticed that the brakes on my Chevy Captiva went to the floor. Since I was only two nights away from home, I decided to just pull the toad since I was traveling mainly flat interstate roads. I noticed that a pool of brake fluid was puddled around the front right side tire, when I parked it in my garage. I jacked up the car and removed the wheel. I noticed brake fluid on the brake caliper. Since the car had only 24K miles on it and still under GM warranty, I took it into the local Chevy dealer where i purchased it. I got a call back later and was told "Your tow package ruined the all the brakes. You need new brake shoes, new rotors, a caliper, and brake hose, "to the tune of over $1,000 for repairs". I pulled this vehicle from Illinois to Florida, plus an additional 6K miles around Florida last year. This year, I pulled the toad to Apache Junction, Yuma, Tucson, and then onto Port Aransis, Texas, having no problems. If anything, I did not notice any pulling nor "brake smoke" on the final leg of my homeward bound journey.
I have seen Brake Buddy failures on the blog (i.e. not working), but not heard of a Brake Buddy ruining brakes? Have anyone experienced a Brake Buddy ruining brakes on their toad?

Regards
Mark S.
2010 Newmar Dutch Aire 4317, ISL 425HP. 2014 Chevy Captiva

I had a Brake Buddy destroy the brakes on my Honda Accord, $800 repair bill.
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Old 04-19-2016, 06:49 PM   #13
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Everybody has horror stories about something. These stories abou supplemental brake systems have delayed my going from a dolly to 4-down.
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Old 04-19-2016, 07:11 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hit_the_Rhod View Post
What was the sensitivity/gain set to on your brake buddy? Also, were you using the wireless sensors that come with the brake buddy and display when the brake buddy is engaged? The wireless tell tale's often fail and are expensive to replace, so ours is now hard wired through the light plug and we have an indicator in the dash that shows when the brake buddy is applying pressure to the vehicle brakes.
Can you post a diagram of how your is wired? I have been thinking about hooking up a led on my dash to the brake switch on the brake pedal. I have yet to see the wireless part of my RVi brake fail so maybe I just being paranoid.
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