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Old 09-20-2009, 08:06 PM   #1
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Brake buddy versus Brake controller?

Just upgraded from a 2004 Winnebago sightseer towing a 1993 Ford Escort to a beautiful 2003 Fleetwood Providence towing a 2009 Jeep Wrangler. We purchased a new tow bar (10,000 pound limit Blue Ox) but were using our Brake Buddy when it "died" on us today. It just simply seemed to lose power? We thought we'd blown a fuse in the jeep - but that wasn't it.

Anyway, our Fleetwood came with a brake controller installed, similar to the one we used to have in our truck when we pulled a travel trailer a few years ago. How can we set up that controller to be used with our jeep? What do we have to have installed in the jeep? Just thinking it would maybe be easier? What's your opinion? Thank you!
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Old 09-20-2009, 09:11 PM   #2
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Brake controllers will not work on toad brakes, unfortunately, unless you get a dolly with electric brakes.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

Stewart
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Old 09-20-2009, 09:14 PM   #3
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If you call Brake Buddy, you can send your old unit to them and get a brand new unit for $450.00 including new brakeaway box, cables and new transmitter/receiver.
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Old 09-21-2009, 06:41 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luv2go View Post
Brake controllers will not work on toad brakes, unfortunately, unless you get a dolly with electric brakes.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

Stewart

Now why would you say that.. As it happens I have a brake controller in my Class A,, And.. It controlls the brakes on my towed.. I am told that the brakes in my towed WILL respond to any standard brake controller, however have not tested that or asked the company that made the aux brake system

The system I have is a US-Gear, Unified brake decelerator

This is an electric over hydraulic system, Now, theO/P knows what is involved with the brake buddy,,,you have to position the system in the driver's seat, extend the arm to the pedal, plug it in and hope you don't drain the towed's battery before you unplug it (Can happen if you are doing a cross country)

Then when you get there you remove it.. Make a mistake and you need a brake job.


Now the US gear system..

Plug in 2-wire electrical connector.

And when you arrive,, Unplug same

The two wires: One is a standard electric brake control wire, I'm told this is compatible with the Teknonsha Prodigy type controllers by the way (However as I said, I've not tested this) The other is a battery charge line, 40 amp breakers at each end, hooks chassis battery on towing vehicle to towed battery,, So no dead battery.

And that.. I just one system... I think it is the best, and it's the one I have.. You can google for it to get all the features of this system.
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Old 09-22-2009, 12:53 PM   #5
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The US Gear Unified brake normally works with its remote dashboard uit as the "controller" for the "power module" in the toad, but I believe wa8yxm is correct that any standard electric trailer brake controller could be used in place of it. Not sure why one would do that, though, since the remote comes with the Unified Tow Brake and has some nice features for the driver. I guess it's of value if you want to tow using another vehicle that already has a trailer brake controller.
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Old 09-23-2009, 09:15 AM   #6
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wa8yxm and Gary:

Well you learn something new every day.

What I should have said is an electric brake controller will not directly control brakes on an toad (i.e. without buying a toad brake system like the US gear system).

It is nice to know that the US gear system will work with a regular brake controller, I'll strongly consider it when I need to replace my SMI Stay-In-Play.

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Old 09-23-2009, 10:19 AM   #7
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Quote:
What I should have said is an electric brake controller will not directly control brakes on an toad (i.e. without buying a toad brake system like the US gear system).
Yeap! That's it!
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Old 09-23-2009, 01:07 PM   #8
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I have used the same Brake Buddy ten years and over 100,000 miles. Still works great. I did have a problem two years ago and I sent it to BB. They repaired it for $35 and they paid the shipping fee back to me.
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Old 09-23-2009, 07:49 PM   #9
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I will say this.. I've watched folks putting the Brake Buddy or another system like it in their car, and I've watched 'em take it out.. And I've read posts by folks who goofed and positioned the arm wrong.

Takes me like 5 seconds to hook up the US gear control lead.. if that
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Old 09-24-2009, 05:31 PM   #10
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I used the Brake Buddy for at least 3 1/2 years. I bought it directly from Dan Decker, the inventor and president at that time of Brake Buddy. My Brake Buddy was a gray metal box. I then graduated to the aero style that is seen today from the original BB Company.

Having a BB if you are on the move all the time is inconvenient. I found it to be a nuisance after a while and the straw that broke the camels back was when it decided to apply the brakes without me telling it to. The BB is autonomous.

I went through 4 - Brake Buddys. One of the Brake Buddys fried the brakes on our "new" 2001 Chevrolet Cavalier. It cost some thing like $1600 to fix which was paid by BB.

I met Peter Schuck from SMI and he installed a Stay-In-Play for me in the desert at Casa Grande. That system worked very well but it needed improvement.

Just this year I installed the SMI Stay-In-Play DUO. What a brake! I don't believe that since I have installed the brake that I have paid attention to it since my install. No switches to throw, nothing to set and no intrusion inside the car.

The DUO is installed under my hood and its out of sight and out of mind. The simple act of connecting the umbilical cable arms the system and stepping on the brake is the only thing that will trigger the DUO to apply the brakes.

The DUO converts the vacuum it pulls from the brake booster to pressure which is directed to a piston attached between the brake pedal and firewall. A six inch long straight pull cable is all that connects the pressure piston to the vehicle. The DUO provides vacuum to the booster and the brake pedal is applied under pressure which closely simulates a real world brake application.

If you see Pete at a Rally or any of the other family members just check out the display and ask them to demonstrate the differences between all the auxiliary brake systems and an SMI System.

The SMI's Air Force One plumbing has been recently integrated into Spartan Chassis. Consider the AF1 if you are running an RDP.
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Old 09-26-2009, 03:15 PM   #11
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Driver (Mike)---

I had a Brake Buddy fry my front brakes on my Saturn. They blamed it on me. Said I caused the problem for not "evacuating " the Saturns, larger than most, vacuum system.

Funny how the new BD (the red one) now does a 5 time test automatically when you press the test button .

It cost me $1300 to fix the Saturn. I also had to paint the front aluminum wheels silver becauce they were gold colored after my incident. I got out of the MH because it was lugging down--- as I watched both front wheel valve stems melt off the rims.

I guess I learned my lesson because I bought a red new one recently--- I now do two "tests" (10 cycles).
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Old 09-26-2009, 04:18 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Max Hubrich View Post
I guess I learned my lesson because I bought a red new one recently--- I now do two "tests" (10 cycles).
I found that dialing in the pressure to exactly what I wanted was difficult but not impossible - it just took a little tweaking. I hope that process is somewhat easier nowadays. I had one of the tan or beige plastic units.

If I recall, I believe that Hoppy bought BB from Dan.

I was one of the first test beds I guess when the remote transmitter was released. That seemed to work OK. I also worked with Dan when he released the brake pedal jaw clamp instead of the original U clamp and & pins. The clamp was a God send. Anything that got me off my knees quicker was a blessing. The BB and I grew up together.
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Old 09-26-2009, 06:28 PM   #13
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I took a look at the brake controller in the Motorhome. It's a Reese Brakeman Compact - and the red light comes on now when I apply the brakes. What would be required in our 2009 Jeep Wrangler in order to make this work with our toad? We currently tow with a Blue Ox. thanks!!
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Old 10-05-2009, 10:10 PM   #14
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I agree. BB folks are the best for service. I would send in the faulty unit. They will totally refurbish it for you.
By the way - in response to earlier post about battery power. I added an extra wire on my controller that runs to the battery and is charged by my coach. No problem!
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