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Old 01-15-2014, 02:09 PM   #1
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Comparing tow bar brake systems

I'm getting ready to purchase a tow bar and brake system for four wheel down towing. I have read lots of the stuff put out by the manufacturers. Now I'd love some input from the users of these products. I know that brand loyalty is often subjective but I'm trying to understand the pros and cons of the different systems.

I'd like for it to be as quick connect as possible, and I want to avoid the 'box on the floor' systems, unless someone can convince me they are somehow superior.

I'll be towing a 2013 Ford C Max which still needs a skid plate. I've never seen any discussion on that topic and was just going to trust to the mechanic who has already earned my trust to install the skid plate.
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Old 01-15-2014, 03:16 PM   #2
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We use Blue Ox base plate for the toad, SMI Stay N Play aux braking system and an Aladdin aluminum tow bar. Light weight and fast/easy hook up and removal. This is coming from someone that is lazier than most. Wrangler toad, BTW.
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Old 01-15-2014, 04:00 PM   #3
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ReadyBrute. Tow bar with brake system. Works well and good bang for the buck.
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Old 01-15-2014, 06:00 PM   #4
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Ready Brute tow bar with integrated brake system. You have the tow Bar, Brake system, all you need extra is a base plate. No wiring of extra bulbs, extra diodes. No extra Air lines to hook up. Your TOAd uses its existing braking and turn signals without modifications. when hooking up it couldn't be any easier. Cost wise it is the least expensive total system. Plus the braking system gives you true progressive braking. Not all four wheels locked up.Safe travels... ed
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Old 01-15-2014, 07:08 PM   #5
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Another ReadyBrute Elite user here. You will have to do some wiring on your toad though to be able to control the brake and turnsignal lights from your motorhome, nothing complicated though, easy and quick to do, just wire in some diodes and the front female connector on your toad.
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Old 01-15-2014, 07:09 PM   #6
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We tow a Jeep. We have a Roadmaster BlackHawk 10,000 GVW tow bar, and the SMI Stay N Play aux braking system. The SMI fits neatly in the engine compartment and has a small control box that fits beside the car brake pedal but out the way of your foot. That control turns the system on and off. The SMI has a 3 LED light bar that hooks to the rear view mirror in the car (facing forward) so you can see the brake operation on your rear view camera. We had one of the first SMI (about 12 years ago) and finally upgraded to the Stay N Play last year. Much better, never had any problems with either. The company is family owned as far as I know and they installed the system for me in their shop. I would buy another if I needed one.
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Old 01-15-2014, 08:32 PM   #7
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There is also the Blue Ox Aladdin tow bar with integrated AutoStop surge braking. A little cheaper than the ReadyBrute Elite, but the warranty is not as good.
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Old 01-15-2014, 08:44 PM   #8
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I have installed a couple of these for friends and have several others who use it.
Easy to install, simple to operated and reasonable priced.

http://www.readybrake.com/brake-systems.html

http://www.readybrake.com/
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Old 01-15-2014, 09:24 PM   #9
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I use a Demco Commander tow bar. When I need to upgrade it I may switch to another one, but this one serves me well and was priced right. You need to be sure to get a tow bar that matches or exceeds the GVW of you toad.

You also want to be sure your hitch on your coach is also rated for the toad weight (also consider a full tank of gas, and any additional weight for the things you may carry in, or on, the toad).

As for the break system, I previously used a BreakBuddy break system. It takes a few minutes to set up each time, but not really difficult, especially if you make it a duty for your travel partner (lol).

I switched over to the Stay-In-Play system. This is a good system for a non-air break coach (like a gasser), but if you have a DP with air breaks, you would want the AirForceOne (both SIM products). These systems require a little more time to do the installation, but they are very reliable systems and are very simple to hook up when getting ready to tow. You hook the car up to the tow bar, flip the switch to "ON" and hang the indicator light over the mirror (this light comes on when the brake system is engaged which is visible on the back up camera).

Good luck on your choice and enjoy towing your toad.
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Old 01-15-2014, 10:05 PM   #10
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I bought a ReadyBrute when my Blue Ox Aladdin broke in half. The ReadyBrute is the best tow bar and brake system I have owned. Both work perfect and cost less than my Blue Ox tow bar did.
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Old 01-16-2014, 10:25 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vsheetz View Post
ReadyBrute. Tow bar with brake system. Works well and good bang for the buck.
I have a blue ox tow bar and am considering their "Auto Stop" system for brakes, HOWEVER if I were buying new today.

I'd go with the Ready Brute, a proven system...

ONE caution though, Cable operated brake systems need to be used from time to time, else the cable can seize up (Just like your parking brake cable) so proper maintenance and regular use are good things.. Mine will get regular use, very regular use.
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Old 01-16-2014, 09:11 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Easyrider View Post
Another ReadyBrute Elite user here. You will have to do some wiring on your toad though to be able to control the brake and turnsignal lights from your motorhome, nothing complicated though, easy and quick to do, just wire in some diodes and the front female connector on your toad.
x2 and would purchase same system again.
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Old 01-17-2014, 02:26 PM   #13
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Thanks everyone. I checked out all the recommended systems and decided to go with the SMI Stay N Play brake system and a Blue Ox tow bar and base plate. Now I'm shopping online for the best price.
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Old 01-20-2014, 02:09 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raining Star View Post
Thanks everyone. I checked out all the recommended systems and decided to go with the SMI Stay N Play brake system and a Blue Ox tow bar and base plate. Now I'm shopping online for the best price.
Star...I didn't care for the SMI controller being in the engine compartment. My year Wrangler, the engine compartment seems super HOT with the V-6. Our SMI controller is mounted on the co-pilot's side, forward foot well and under the carpet...wife doesn't even notice that it's there. I'm hoping that with less heat, vibration, dirt and moisture, the controller has a chance of lasting longer. Something to consider...
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