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Old 04-27-2010, 06:26 PM   #1
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Question Braking system ?

This has been on my mind and I have to finally ask...we all or at least I know how hard you have to push on the brake if you loose engine power. Can systems like the brake buddy system apply enough pressure just by wedging itself between the seat and the brake pedal? I would almost like to ride in a toad an watch this type or any other type system in operation.

Maybe its as simple as I don't have any experience operating auxiliary brake systems and the answer is something very simple.

My inquiring mind is just curious.
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Old 04-28-2010, 07:48 AM   #2
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In a word, yes. Although I don't have Brake Buddy or similar system, I do have a VIP Towbrake which depresses the brake pedal without power assist. It works. When the brakes are applied in my toad, a Jeep, I can feel the drag from the motorhome.
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Old 04-28-2010, 11:07 AM   #3
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We have the Brakemaster system. With it the pedal pressure in the toad varies with the pedal pressure in the MH because they are both driven by the same air. I've left the piston disconnected in the toad a couple of times and can definitely feel the difference between both vehicles braking and the MH having to do all the braking for both. Unlike the BrakeBuddy, the Brakemaster has a seat bar that it uses for leverage against the toad's brake pedal. I've had DW step on the MH's pedal while I watched the toad piston actuate. Even without the vacuum assist engaged, there is a fair amount of force on that brake pedal.

Because the system is all air operated, loosing the engine should not change anything until the tanks are depleted.
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Old 04-28-2010, 12:21 PM   #4
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Although it's hard to feel the braking action while you are in the MH, I have pulled my Cherokee with our G Cherokee using the Brake Buddy. You can really tell when it operates. I have towed it over 300 miles at least twice and you know when it's working.

I do my best to slow down without causing the BB to activate.
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Old 04-28-2010, 05:55 PM   #5
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I too have the Brakemaster air setup. It's a good idea to pump the brakes on the toad after you shut it's engine off and before you connect the supplemental brake system to bleed out the vacuum in the power brakes.
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Old 04-28-2010, 07:13 PM   #6
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The setup procedure for the Blue Ox Apollo (Brake Buddy type box) states that you should test the braking activity a number of times (there is a test button) prior to getting underway. This is to relieve the residual pressure in the brake system and allow the Apollo to push on the brake pedal without any power assist. Why? I don't know, but I can rationalize that the Apollo is designed to be used on brakes without power assist.
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Old 04-28-2010, 11:20 PM   #7
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The automotive brake uses vacuum to help you apply the brakes. Even with the engine off you have vaccum available to help stop the vehicle for one-two maybe three brake pedal appilcations before the vacuum is depleted.Some of the add on pedal pushers do not need this help/booster. If you do not apply the brake a couple times with the engine off to deplete this vacuum -the first couple times your added on brake system applies your brake it will cause the tires to lock up because it is designed to apply the brakes with no vacuum/boost.

Some add on systems will continue to creat vaccuum and use the that to help with the pedal pusher mechanism.

And besides it good thing to make sure everything is properly installed before you hit the road.
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Old 04-29-2010, 10:38 AM   #8
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Federal vehicle safety regs require that the brakes be usable by human foot-power if the power assist fails or runs out, so the pressure required isn't that high. It feels terribly high compared to the effort with a power assist, but it isn't actually all that much for a mechanical device.
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Old 04-30-2010, 09:58 AM   #9
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I've had three different system on three coaches.

The first was the Brake Buddy. It puts out some serious pressure on the arm that connects to the brake pedal. In fact, the instructions tell you to pump the brakes to dump the vacuum out of the booster first because the Brake Buddy is designed to work with a non-power assisted pedal. The system worked but, like anything else, it has it's pros and cons. It's nice in that it's portable and can be used on just about anything and requires no installation chores (usually). You do have to set it in place and dial it in. If the seat moves you can either lose your braking capacity or drag the brakes. We had that a few times when you press the remote unlock button and the seat retracts for access on the Grand Cherokee. It's strictly inertia operated so going down a grade and using your gears or an engine brake to slow the coach down will cause the Brake Buddy to engage the toad brakes. The BB plugs into the lighter socket so if you tow a lot you may wear down your battery unless you hook up a charge kline to the RV. You also have to unhook it and remove it, then find a place to store it when you want to drive your toad. We wanted something easier to use so we sold it and went to the US Gear Unified Tow Brake.

The Unified Tow Brake is a permanent mounted system. It utilizes an electric solenoid to pull a cable that runs through a pullet that pulls on the brake pedal. It has a vacuum pump to keep the brake booster full of vacuum so it's not pulling on a dead pedal. That's a little different philosophy than Brake Buddy but they both work. The brakes energize via the trailer lighting circuit and a charge lione to the RV is also recommended. The controller is mounted up by the RV's dash and is also inertia operated although you can manually control it if desired. With this system you pretty much connect your tow bar, wiring harness, and breakaway cable to the toad and you are good to go. If you have adjustable brake pedals - forget it. The cable pulls on the pedal and if you adjust the pedal your brakes may drag or else the tow brake will be loose and won't apply the brakes. Also, the pulley takes room in the footwell and needs to line up with the brake pedal and the solenoid is big and needs to find a home as well. On my Grand Cherokee that was a real challenge. After Leann adjusted the pedals one day and my friont rotors were smoked I decided to go another way, which was the M&G.

The M&G was the best yet. It uses the coach's air pressure to apply the toad brakes. I just added a quick disconnect hose coupler next to the trailer lighting socket and the same on the toads (both Grand Cherokee and Wrangler) and connect them with a quick disconnect air line that rides right inside the center of the slinky lighting umbilical cord. This system is totally proportional and the toad brakes only go on when the coach brakes do. The toad module mounts between the master cylinder and vacuum booster so nothing goes inside the cabin. The module is failsafe in that it acts as a big pushrod when using the brake pedal yet applies the brakes via the master cylinder and air pressure whenever the coach's brake pedal is applied. The drawback is that it's only for a diesel with air brakes. You can get a compressor to use this system on a gasser but the extra cost isn't worth it because you are back to the US Gear method of braking so you might as well just get the US GEar or an SMI Stay-in-Play and ave some money.
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Old 04-30-2010, 10:37 AM   #10
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Thanks everyone, especially Cruzer for the pros and cons of the ones you have used.

The M&G has been the way I've been leaning.

Next question. I'm considering buying a 2010 Chevrolet Equinox to tow. By adding the M&G module between the vacuum booster and the master cylinder could there be any warranty issues with GM? The salesman says no, but of course he can't get his GM to put that in writing.
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Old 04-30-2010, 11:08 AM   #11
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Any warranty issues with any vehicle cannot be denied unless it has been proven that the third party device has adversely affected the vehicle and caused the problem. In the case of the US Gear unit causing my brakes to drag when the pedals were adjusted, that's not a warranty issue because the US Gear unit caused the brake rotors to get hot and warp.
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Old 04-30-2010, 03:46 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elkhartjim View Post
Thanks everyone, especially Cruzer for the pros and cons of the ones you have used.

The M&G has been the way I've been leaning.

Next question. I'm considering buying a 2010 Chevrolet Equinox to tow. By adding the M&G module between the vacuum booster and the master cylinder could there be any warranty issues with GM? The salesman says no, but of course he can't get his GM to put that in writing.
I had the SMI stay in play duo installed on the HHR and it works great. I can feel the difference in my stopping . I also rode in the toad and observed the brake action. They make a product for dp. It's called Air Force One.

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Old 04-30-2010, 04:42 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elkhartjim View Post
Thanks everyone, especially Cruzer for the pros and cons of the ones you have used.

The M&G has been the way I've been leaning.

Next question. I'm considering buying a 2010 Chevrolet Equinox to tow. By adding the M&G module between the vacuum booster and the master cylinder could there be any warranty issues with GM? The salesman says no, but of course he can't get his GM to put that in writing.
....and it's not the salesman's call.

I would think warranty issues would depend on the "issue".
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Old 04-30-2010, 06:52 PM   #14
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Quote:
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....and it's not the salesman's call.

I would think warranty issues would depend on the "issue".
And your point is?
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