Go Back   iRV2 Forums > MOTORHOME FORUMS > Toads and Motorhome Related Towing
Join iRV2 Today

Mission Statement: Supporting thoughtful exchange of knowledge, values and experience among RV enthusiasts.
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 06-15-2009, 08:06 PM   #1
Senior Member
mrschwarz's Avatar
Winnebago Owners Club
Texas Boomers Club
Freightliner Owners Club
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 844
Send a message via Skype™ to mrschwarz
Do I really need aux. brakes?

I know this has been debated to death, but I have a variation that I haven't seen before. I just got a new coach and took it to a public scale to weight. Here are the numbers.

GVWR - 29,410
GCWR - 39,410

When I weighed everything, the coach and toad combined, with everything loaded (including the navigator and me), full tanks, and including the weight of the toad (3,740 lbs.) weighed around 28,500 lbs.

According to the weight plate, if I don't use aux. brakes on the toad, the GCWR becomes the GVWR plus 1,000 lbs., which is 30,410.

Without the brakes, I am still 2,000 lbs. below the max. Here's the (loaded) question: Do I really need aux. brakes? I have a Roadmaster Evenbrake that is being repaired. Other than safety for a breakaway, what does it give me (ducking and running)?

2010 Winnebago Tour 42AD, Cummins ISL 400, Allison 3000, Progressive EMS, Aventa II, Air Force One, Tire Safeguard TPMS, Blue Ox Tru Center (maybe), Lotsa LEDs
mrschwarz is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 RV Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

iRV2.com RV Community - Are you about to start a new improvement on your RV or need some help with some maintenance? Do you need advice on what products to buy? Or maybe you can give others some advice? No matter where you fit in you'll find that iRV2 is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with other RV owners, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create an RV blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 06-15-2009, 08:18 PM   #2
Senior Member
UFO Pilot's Avatar
Winnebago Owners Club
Workhorse Chassis Owner
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Sonoma County, CA
Posts: 4,033
Laws regarding trailer brakes vary by state. Look at this site for rules for each state: http://www.towingworld.com/articles/TowingLaws.htm

Wayne & Roberta and Maggie the Miracle Dog
08 Winnebago Destination 39W Gas UFO Workhorse Chassis
Making the Journey in our Destination

UFO Pilot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2009, 08:30 PM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Auburn, CA, Havasu, AZ & Mulege, BCS
Posts: 5,172
Mrs. Schwarz- I'm a few thou over your numbers, but at that level same situation- maybe 2k over GVWR loaded & w/toad. I haven't used an aux brake system (yet, just bought a used evenbrake for $20, supposedly working) and have never had an issue. Of course that means I've never used a break-away safety, which I consider a good idea; just one I've never availed myself.

Nothing, and I mean nothing, beats regular inspection of the toad setup including all safeties when you stop for whatever reason. Its amazing what kinda weird stuff happens to towing gear when you are not looking, so I try to make it a habit to always check the setup before I get back in the rig.
Baja-tested '08 2-slide 36'
Alpine: The Ultimate DIY'er Project
EngineerMike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2009, 09:14 PM   #4
Senior Member
BigSkyBob's Avatar
Monaco Owners Club
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Western Montana on the Divide
Posts: 1,110
To answer your question, yes you should use aux. brakes on your toad. Axle weights are a moot point when you are faced with a crisis emergency stop.
Bob Retired Army Traveling alone now.
2008 Camelot 40 PDQ 4 slides ISL400 towing a 2016 Dodge Ram 1500 4x4 Quadcab
Western MT in summer, AZ, NV in winter
BigSkyBob is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2009, 09:15 PM   #5
Senior Member
Meandering Retiree's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Illinois
Posts: 400
When I towed the suburban, I used a brake and it helped tremendously in a panic stop in Knoxville, TN (regardless of what the driver of a car who pulls in front of me thinks, I cannot stop my MH on a dime). We now pull a Mini Cooper and I do not have a aux brake in it as it is so light. When ever we stop at a rest area, I do the walk around, checking tires, pins, and cables. I also use a bungee cord to keep the pins locked in position.
Meandering Retiree is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-16-2009, 09:55 AM   #6
Senior Member
Damon Owners Club
Workhorse Chassis Owner
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 21,176
The simple fact is this: If you have to make a panic stop, then with ALL WHEELS BRAKING your skid distance is much the same if you are driving the towed, the motor home sans the towed or the combined vehicle (Consist)

However if you do NOT have a supplemental braking system on the towed and you panic stop then the skid distance is much, much greater, as much (per the experts) as 30 percent (I have never measured) I do know the math, and it gets real complex at this point.

Also, heaven forbid towed and towing part company, hey, it happens, a good supplemental brake system includes a "Break-a-way" switch. Locks 'em up NOW

So the bottom line is which do you wish to risk,, The cost of a supplemental braking system or the legal costs when you rear end someone who knows about brakes.

Next question "What system"

Systems such as Brake Buddy or Even brake are nice, I mean there is little to install and they can be quickly moved from car to car. HOWEVER they are big, bulky and offer limited control by the motor home driver

M&G air over hydraulic gets good reviews from the DP crowd when you can use it, there is also another system that fits on cars that M&G dont' fit (IE MINE)

I use US-Gear Unified Brake Decelerator (My MH is a Gasser) and from what I can find it is the best. It is proportional (I can set how hard it applies the brakes as compared to the MH) so that the towed is stopping the towed, not the motor home

It is progressive.. The harder I stop, the harder it stops

And. I can control it from the driver's seat in the coach.. I once hooked up on a hill, now with the Aventia II tow bar I had to "hold back" the towed till the bar locked in place.. I pushed the lever, and did just that.

A first class system, it is as close to the control my brother has over his trailer brakes as any system I've seen (Brother... Is an over the road semi driver)
Home is where I park it!
wa8yxm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-16-2009, 10:20 AM   #7
Senior Member
Ronnie Bledsoe 2006 Dutchstar 43''s Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Manteca, Ca
Posts: 1,335
I use an Aux braking system (M&G). God forbid a situation occurs where the authorities get involved and a braking system determines fault! I travel in the West and the aux braking system really assists on some downhill stretches plus the knowledge I'm legal in all states and Canadian Provinces.
2008 Jeep Sahara '4Dr"
Ronnie Bledsoe
Ronnie Bledsoe 2006 Dutchstar 43' is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-16-2009, 11:17 AM   #8
Senior Member
bdpreece's Avatar
Monaco Owners Club
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Woodburn Oregon USA
Posts: 2,344
This topic has been beaten to death . People will quote weights as examples or laws that really don't exist as they are for trailers. What it all comes down to is what are you comfortable with. Over the last few years we have towed a 1997 Malibu, a 2004 Suzuki XL7 and now a 2008 Ford Explorer. I was able to stop the first two vehicles in a distance I felt comfortable with also the compression brake on hills would hold me back enough I did not have to use the coach brakes. With the Explorer behind I found the extra 1000 pounds to be more than I wanted to deal with with only coach brakes. I installed the Air Force One system and am once again comfortable towning.
Brian, Loretta & Daisy (Golden Retriever)
2008 Holiday Rambler Endeavor 40 PDQ , ISL 400
2014 Ford Explorer toad
bdpreece is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-16-2009, 11:22 AM   #9
Registered User
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 53
Always an informative bunch here.
GatorDog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-16-2009, 08:15 PM   #10
Senior Member
mrschwarz's Avatar
Winnebago Owners Club
Texas Boomers Club
Freightliner Owners Club
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 844
Send a message via Skype™ to mrschwarz
Thanks for all the responses. Most of you echoed my own thoughts. I originally towed a Mini without brakes and I didn't really notice the stopping distances change with or without it.

I know have a Saturn Vue and the weight is not all that different than the Mini Cooper was. I have been using an Even Brake, which broke. I have returned it to Roadmaster and they are not quite as quick with the repairs as they originally claimed. I have gone on a couple of short trips without the Even Brake. Again, I really didn't notice a lot of difference without it.

This probably has something to do with the heavier coach and air brakes. After getting weighed and comparing the weight to the coach specs, I wondered if I really needed the Even Brake. I am not going to be uncomfortable without it, but since I already have it, I'll continue to use it, provided Roadmaster returns it to me.

Thanks again.
2010 Winnebago Tour 42AD, Cummins ISL 400, Allison 3000, Progressive EMS, Aventa II, Air Force One, Tire Safeguard TPMS, Blue Ox Tru Center (maybe), Lotsa LEDs
mrschwarz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-16-2009, 08:52 PM   #11
Senior Member
W4RLR's Avatar

Appalachian Campers
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Sewanee, Tennessee
Posts: 713
Send a message via Yahoo to W4RLR
I feel that if you are in a financial position to own a motor coach and toad, you have enough cash to put in auxiliary brakes for the toad. Not doing so is saving money the wrong way, and putting you and everyone else on the road at risk.

It is better to have them, and not need them than to need them, and not have them.

Pony up for the brakes. They're not THAT expensive when you figure what you have invested in the coach and the toad.
SSgt. Richard L Ray, USAF (Retired) - Laura L Ray
Our second home is a vintage 1995 Jayco Eagle 277RB 'The Love Shack"
towed by a 2008 Ford F-250 Lariat Crew Cab short bed "The Green Goblin"

W4RLR is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-17-2009, 04:29 AM   #12
Senior Member
rmmpe's Avatar
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Northeast PA
Posts: 1,146
In a world with a scarcity of simple answers, I have one.

Bob (Squidly Down Under) & Peg - 2013 Ford Focus pushing a 2011 Phoenix Cruiser 2552S
"In God we trust" to preserve our country and bring our Troops safely home.
Carry on, regardless..................
rmmpe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-17-2009, 06:08 AM   #13
Moderator Emeritus
TXiceman's Avatar

Vintage RV Owners Club
Texas Boomers Club
Oklahoma Boomers Club
Ford Super Duty Owner
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Full Time, TX Home Base
Posts: 17,139
Blog Entries: 21
You have a lot of $$$ tied up in the coach and the dinghy. I would want the max in safety for me and everyone else around me. Getting a good dinghy brake system should be an absolute requirement in my opinion.

The group that tries to justify not setting up the dinghy brakes by playing word games with it is not a trailer and it is a towed vehicle are just fooling themselves. I have yet to see a motorhome that is designed to tell if it is pulling 3500# of rocks on a trailer or 3500# of a towed vehicle. The extra weight is extra weight to stop and it is not just the weight. When moving it is now momentum and the numbers are much higher.

DO a search here and you will find lots written on the subject.

Amateur Radio Operator (KE5DFR)|Full-Time! - 2012 6.7L Ford Crew Cab Dually -2013 HitchHiker Champagne 38RLRSB - Travel with one Standard Schnauzer and one small Timneh African Gray Parrot
TXiceman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-17-2009, 06:25 AM   #14
Senior Member
H. Miller's Avatar
Monaco Owners Club
Texas Boomers Club
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 2,516
No one has mentioned it however, there MIGHT be an insurance problem should an occurrence (loss) arise. Especially if it happens in a geographical location that requires aux brakes.
US Gear
Saturn Vue

Hal & Ginny Miller '04 Beaver Santiam PRT40
'04 Saturn Vue - US Gear Brake - Blue Ox tow
4 "girls" (3 Irish Setters - Retriever)
H. Miller is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
My History of Brake Fluid & Brakes Petro Workhorse and Chevrolet Chassis Motorhome Forum 15 11-28-2008 04:29 PM
Brakes come and go Just Because Fleetwood Products Owner's Forum 12 11-12-2008 03:10 PM
Brakes come and go Just Because MH-General Discussions & Problems 3 10-12-2008 01:36 PM
Aux. brakes Craig H Toads and Motorhome Related Towing 4 02-06-2007 03:59 PM
Aux brakes with a tow dolly mrschwarz Toads and Motorhome Related Towing 23 08-06-2006 03:07 AM

» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2015 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:59 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.