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Old 09-01-2006, 08:33 PM   #1
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I have reviewed older discussions regarding everyone's preferred braking controller, and found the points cited in favor of the SMI systems to be compelling. However, I have stumbled across an unused Apollo controller, still in the box and including the breakaway and remote, all for $450 installed (by experienced personnel). This would go into my new 2006 Saturn Vue which would be connected to my 97 Mountain Aire by a Blue Ox Aladdin towing system.

I imagine that every RV'er (with toad) out there who is experienced with their own system probably still has thoughts of what they would install if they were just starting to acquire the necessary towing hardware. I'd be curious to know what anyone thinks about my choice: install an Apollo or pay quite a bit more for any other system.

The Saturn Vue (automatic transmission) weighs about 3500 lb unloaded. Level roads are the norm around here in Illinois, where I would do the vast majority of my towing.

Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old 09-01-2006, 08:33 PM   #2
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I have reviewed older discussions regarding everyone's preferred braking controller, and found the points cited in favor of the SMI systems to be compelling. However, I have stumbled across an unused Apollo controller, still in the box and including the breakaway and remote, all for $450 installed (by experienced personnel). This would go into my new 2006 Saturn Vue which would be connected to my 97 Mountain Aire by a Blue Ox Aladdin towing system.

I imagine that every RV'er (with toad) out there who is experienced with their own system probably still has thoughts of what they would install if they were just starting to acquire the necessary towing hardware. I'd be curious to know what anyone thinks about my choice: install an Apollo or pay quite a bit more for any other system.

The Saturn Vue (automatic transmission) weighs about 3500 lb unloaded. Level roads are the norm around here in Illinois, where I would do the vast majority of my towing.

Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old 09-01-2006, 09:18 PM   #3
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I've had the Apollo system for about three years now.

In that time, I have had Blue Ox replace it at least three times due to malfunctions. They are very good about taking care of problems, but I don't have a great deal of confidence in the reliability even with a new coach indicator that I now have. All the problems I have had were related to drawing too much current and blowing fuses. The unit I currently have has to have the sensitivity at the highest point to activate at all, and then will activate when I make a gentle stop in the MH. There doesn't seem to be a "sweet spot" as the previous ones had that would only allow activation in a hard stop - it is pretty much all or nothing now.

In my current toad, I am not at all happy with the way it sits - due to the way the seat is made, it does not firmly fit without interference with the bar that adjusts the seat. I had the factory look at my current unit and they seemed to think it was correct the way it mounts, but..... Between that problem, and the need to mount it each use if I were to do it all over again, I would likely go with the SMI system.

JMHO, your mileage may vary.

Chris
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Old 09-02-2006, 07:14 AM   #4
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Chris,

Thank you. Your experience with Apollo malfunctions might be unusual, but I do find the issue of setting the controller up each time (and storing it at other times) to seem like hassles to be avoided. Investing now in a new towing vehicle and hitch and brake controller, I probably won't change any time soon. So saving a few hundred $ up front might be penny wise and pound foolish.

Or so I am leaning. On the other hand, I am rarely aversed to saving money.

Dave Linton
Champaign, IL
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Old 09-02-2006, 11:29 AM   #5
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Dave, the SMI is the way to go....hands down.

I used the Brake Buddy with the '04 Journey and when I changed motor homes I changed brake controllers....with the SMI you simply flip a toggle switch and plug in the lights...
Saving money is admirable and I can sympathize with that sentiment, but not having to deal with
not only "positioning" that box each time, but then "storing" the box somewhere when you get there is an issue worth a lot of bucks to me...
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Old 09-02-2006, 12:09 PM   #6
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Rebelsbeach (Bob),

Thanks for replying. I almost sought you out explicitly because of some of your earlier posts that I ran across.

A couple of follow-up questions as I enter my final hours of setting up my vehicle purchase - Saturn lowered the price of my intended Vue by almost $4000 through closing time today (to get the 2006 vehicles off the lot).

1. Do you use the Silent Partner or Stay N Play (or another model)?

2. I see you also have a Newmar, but that yours is diesel and mine is gas (and older). I assume you have air brakes. One post indicated that the Silent Partner would be the better choice for diesel (because of its air brakes) and that Stay N Play would work fine for gas units (w/o air brakes). Do you concur?

Thanks again for your help.

Dave
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Old 09-02-2006, 03:22 PM   #7
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I have the Stay-In-Play for my Saturn LS2 and it works fine. As mentioned, all I have to do is put the car in neutral, remove two fuses and flip the switch. The SMI unit sits below the passenger seat out of sight. I have not touched anything since it was installed.

Cheers
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