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Old 12-08-2012, 05:38 PM   #1
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Breakaway cable issue

When I got back into the toad today after a Home Depot trip I noticed the toad driving funny, almost like driving with the emergency brake on. It finally dawned on me after about 2 blocks that the breakaway cable had been activated.

When I stopped and got out I could smell the brakes. Of course I had no tools, but luckily noticed some guys working nearby and borrowed a pair of pliers and undid the clamp that held the cable to the break pedal.

I have decided to add a connection in the cable behind the brake pedal so I can quickly disconnect the cable when not towing and reconnect when I am.

Any suggestions? I'm thinking of using a small padlock between 2 loops of cable because it shouldn't require any extra slack to operate, is as strong as the cable and I have several extras.
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Old 12-08-2012, 07:28 PM   #2
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Why go to all the trouble just put a switch - under the hood - that turns off the wire from the breakaway switch. That way some idiot can't pull the "plug" and activate your brakes in a parking lot. You must remember to turn it on when towing.
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Old 12-08-2012, 08:00 PM   #3
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My brakeaway device is a cable that runs thru a one way only metal block thru the firewall and then to the brake pedal. No switch.
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Old 12-09-2012, 11:35 AM   #4
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What make is your tow bar setup?
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Old 12-09-2012, 03:16 PM   #5
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I agree with the "Which brake system" Sounds like a Ready Brake.

I do not (yet) have that system, Am seriously considering for my next towed.. I have read a lot about it.. ONE poster said he had the exact same problem you have, the break-a-way tripped. He fixed it by adding some more tension to the springs by means of bungee.. I'm nto sure exactly how he did it (Since I don't have one to practice on) but that's how he did it.

There should be two calbes, the heavier one is very likely the main braking cable, it goes to the "Assembly" that is part of the hitch.

The other, lighter, cable goes to the frame of the tow vehicle, via an eyelet or some other means to insure it does not tense up on a hard turn It pulls a lever on the towed as I understand, This cable should be slack at all times, never tight.
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Old 12-09-2012, 07:47 PM   #6
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Yes, sounds like a Ready Brake. I'm really curious as to how the break away was "activated"? Did you forget to disconnect it while disconnecting from the coach?
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Old 12-09-2012, 09:16 PM   #7
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Yes, It's a ReadyBrake. Since I had no trouble driving to HD, I assume that some curious shopper, or their child, pulled the cable that extends thru the front grill and hangs down over the bumper. I clip it and the ReadyBrake activator cable together.

ReadyBrake suggests using a bungee cord attached to the brake pedal to help the surge brake activator return to normal position. I do have a bungee, but it gets in the way when driving, so I disconnect it. The Breakaway cable applies the brake, but locks the brakes down so that the car will stop should it break lose from the tow vehicle.

This is SO much overkill for my 1840 pound Smart Car, but I wanted to be legal. I am considering just making it look as if the breakaway system works since I also have TWO 1/4" metal safety cables and TWO 5/8" hitch pins that would have to fail before the car would be loose.

I can see the value of a breakaway system when a hitch ball is all that connects the toad, but come on Y'all, what are the chances of a lose car using one of our 2 point towbars?
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Old 12-10-2012, 08:35 AM   #8
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I agree re the overkill for a Smart Car. Like you, I have two cables in addition to the towbar. My cables each have a tensile strength rating of 5000lbs. My blue-ox towbar has a rating of 7500 lbs. With a hitch rating on the RV of 5000 pounds. I would think I have a higher probabailty of being hit by lightning twice in the same day than that of my 1840lb Smart car breaking away from the RV.

I also have a Ready Brake and that thought occured to me about the possibility of the break-away cable being pulled out by some inadvertant action so I put a quick disconnect on the cable near the break petal. It is a "clevis" with a pin I can remove. It is on the cable connected near the petal.. I often leave it disconnected inside the car. Well actually. most of the time I "forget" to connect it.

Re asking for a tool to help out. While I have done that I now carry a small tool pouch in each of my 5 vehicles just in case something needs "tweeking". All at least have: vicegrips, a multi tipped screwdriver, adjustable wrench, water pump pliers, needle nose pliers, side cutters, a knife, a small multimeter, plus electrical and duct tape and spare bulbs and fuses. So I am often the guy who provides the assistance to folks who are stranded. My DW on the other hand says all she needs is her cell phone to call me, tools are useless to her.

I carry a greater selection of tools in the RV. When I had my Class A's I even carried an electric chain saw and a tree trimmer so I could cut my way out of a bad situation. (Oh yes I know someone will say it was dumb to get into a situation where you need a chainsaw to get out and I kept telling myself that as I did some conservation adjustments to extract the RV to avoid being all scratched up.)

Anyway you have my thoughts re the brakeaway system for such a light tow that has an extremely low probability of ever breaking away from your RV. I am certain the litigious folks out there might have thier own thoughts on this.
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Old 12-10-2012, 08:46 AM   #9
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Oops Spell checker changed spelling of "Pedal" in my previous post.
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Old 12-10-2012, 08:32 PM   #10
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It's. good to hear another voice of reason about tow overkill. Thanks again, Libero!
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:48 AM   #11
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You know there is an easier way with a Smart Car... Many toy haulers can "Garage" one of those.

It is on the list of cars I'd not mind towing but frankly I'd rather have a jeep.. Bumper height issue to be honest, there are Jeeps I can tow WITHOUT a drop hitch.
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Old 12-11-2012, 09:41 AM   #12
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From the ReadyStop installation instructions: "A push button release manufactured into the Readystop allows for the quick and easy resetting of the break away."

Since you needed tools to disconnect the cable, does this release/reset not work as indicated?
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Old 12-11-2012, 01:31 PM   #13
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View.. There you go READING THE MANUAL. don't you know Real men don't read manuals? (Ok, so one of the things I often do for folks here is download a manual, read it and post the proper line from it, and a link to it).. Guess I'm not a "Real Man" am I .

And though I do not often ask for directions.. That may be because part of a Dispatcher's job is GIVING directions.
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Old 12-11-2012, 02:01 PM   #14
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I just installed the ReadyBrake & ReadyStop (breakaway) system on my Honda CR-V. I havent towed it yet; in fact, I haven't wired the lights yet.

On the breakaway cable, I routed it through the grille near the driver's side towbar connection, per the instructions. Among my "supplies" (wife calls it my junk stash), I found a velcro strap. I strapped the breakaway cable loop to one of the cross pieces of the grille. It's almost invisible there. Of course, it will have to be unstrapped to hook up when I tow the car.

I also would need tools to reset the ReadyStop because I mounted it in front of the battery box under the hood. But I can't get my hand to it without taking a bolt out of the battery hold-down.

The main ReadyBrake cable I routed to the center of the grille, just under the front license plate bracket, where I fabricated an aluminum bracket to anchor the cable conduit. Looks good, except I don't like the cable eye sticking out and hanging down on the bumper. When I get ready to tow, I will experiment with placement of the eye; I can put a hook on the back of the license plate bracket to anchor the eye to, and keep it out of sight when it's not being used, if that won't interfere with brake operation when driving the car.
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