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Old 03-21-2015, 07:43 AM   #1
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Brakes or no brakes

New to MH and towing car on tow dolly. Previous pulled a 5th wheel. Have to tow my 2007 Toyota Highlander with a tow dolly. Maybe a dumb question but do I need to have brakes on the dolly at all. I assume yes but the guy I bought the trailer from says he did not and he was towing a Buick. Any thoughts.
Thanks Ted
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Old 03-21-2015, 08:31 AM   #2
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Depending on weight, you will be in violation in a number of states, if you do not have towed/trailer brakes. It varies all over the place but for your and everyone else's safety it will pay to have brakes especially for liability reasons. Try doing a Google search and you will find info on all the states in chart form and that should answer your question.
Good luck, good health and safe travels!
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Old 03-21-2015, 08:45 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tedsfam View Post
New to MH and towing car on tow dolly. Previous pulled a 5th wheel. Have to tow my 2007 Toyota Highlander with a tow dolly. Maybe a dumb question but do I need to have brakes on the dolly at all. I assume yes but the guy I bought the trailer from says he did not and he was towing a Buick. Any thoughts.
Thanks Ted
Yes, yes, and yes.
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Old 03-21-2015, 08:46 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tedsfam View Post
New to MH and towing car on tow dolly. Previous pulled a 5th wheel. Have to tow my 2007 Toyota Highlander with a tow dolly. Maybe a dumb question but do I need to have brakes on the dolly at all. I assume yes but the guy I bought the trailer from says he did not and he was towing a Buick. Any thoughts.
Thanks Ted
Ted, it would be foolish not to have brakes, so many things can happen, brakes are an extra insurance and as indicated required in most states and provinces, the added cost pales by comparison to the problems you could encounter.

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Old 03-21-2015, 08:51 AM   #5
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The other issue is without brakes, there is no breakaway.
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Old 03-21-2015, 09:23 AM   #6
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You will only see the benefit of your toad brakes in an EMERGENCY stop. See this example. It is an approximation and only illustrates the difference in stopping distance in simple terms. If you have no brakes on the toad visualize the following: 4,000 lb. toad, 20,000 lb. MH.

4000 + 20000 / 20000 = 1.20 times the normal stopping distance in an emergency stop.

All external influences being equal (road conditions, road friction, tire type, brake condition, etc) your stopping distance will approx. be 20% longer with no brakes on the toad.

You will only see the benefits in an emergency.

PUT BRAKES ON YOUR TOAD VEHICLE!

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Old 03-21-2015, 09:46 AM   #7
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As twinboat and RV735 stated.

I have a proportional braking system controled by air. The more I press on the MH brakes, the more pressure is applied to the TOAD brakes. With light pressure the MH controls the momentum of the TOAD. There is a light under my MH Dash that will illuminate when the TOAD Brake has been depressed.

Besides as stated it will save some on the MH brake wear and tear as the TOAD provides a little assistance.

Different states, different laws but when traveling out of one state the reciprocal agreement is only for the license and registration and not for rules of the road.
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Old 03-21-2015, 10:00 AM   #8
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While we all like to think everything stays attached at all times, things do break, come loose, and of course there is always the added human factor. Laws aside, there is only 1 question you have to ask yourself, if it came disconnected, and it hit and/or killed someone, could I live with the thought that all I had to do was add brakes.
While I know some tow without them, my conscious says to put brakes on it, I could not fathom the thought of my towed coming loose at freeway speeds and freely moving looking for something to stop it, possibly hurting or killing someone else. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 03-21-2015, 10:29 AM   #9
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There is a young girl that is alive because I was able to stop sooner.
Take every safety advantage you can!
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Old 03-21-2015, 11:07 AM   #10
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You'll be well over 3,000 lbs (dolly and vehicle) and brakes are almost universally required over 3k.
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Old 03-21-2015, 11:37 AM   #11
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Required or not, you will be able to stop more quickly if the toad dolly or car has its own brakes. Quite a bit shorter if a emergency stop, and that's priceless!

Your motorhome's brakes are designed to stop the weight of the coach alone, i.e. its GVWR. Anything in excess of that needs to have its own brakes.
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Old 03-23-2015, 10:39 AM   #12
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If you tow all four down, your having all 4 wheels doing the braking. Using a dolly, you only have the dolly doing the braking. Granted most of the weight is on the dolly. Not a fan of dolly towing because of that and the trouble setting it up every time you stop. Four down is the way to go. I know you can't do this with your Toyota Highlander.
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Old 03-23-2015, 02:18 PM   #13
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Recommended, yes, of course. The heavier they are compared to the tow vehicle, the more important it is to have the brakes.

With that said, I have a dolly I use occasionally, it doesn't have brakes. I also have a Civic that I tow 4 down, It also doesn't have brakes. The tow to towed ratio is about 6 to 1 (15k for the tow, 2.5k for the towed.)

Would I recommend you do this, absolutely not.

I'm keeping my eyes open for a small 2nd hand system for the Civic, Until I come up with one, I'll continue with no brakes.
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Old 03-23-2015, 02:24 PM   #14
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We just bought the Magna, weighs some 48,000#'s and tow the Odyssey. Didn't have time to install the air setup on the MH before we left for AZ. Frankly I don't notice the Odyssey back there since the MH has all position air disks and 3 setting engine brake. BUT, when we get it back from the Cummins shop I will install the required air line (RoadMaster BrakeMaster 9160). Will I be able to stop quicker? Maybe. Will I be legal everywhere I go? YES!!
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