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Old 05-18-2016, 04:29 AM   #85
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Originally Posted by Sue46 View Post
Don and Mary,

Most states(maybe all) will require a braking system for your toad. No problem if you don't get stopped or in an accident. If the worst occurs your insurance company will probably bail on you also plus the tickets.

X2, many state provide random checks of toad braking.


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Old 05-19-2016, 09:32 AM   #86
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Originally Posted by Dutch Star Don View Post
"Sweetbriar".....Thanks for the heads up on the Robot Check. I'm anal and I like the amber lights to work, so I ordered one.

I called SMI today and they were $460.00 for the car parts I needed, so I decided to go with brakes. I know I have the braking power, but I would like to have a break away system, I'll add a Fuse switch to kill the brake lights.

Lots of wiring coming up as soon as my hand heals.
That is in interesting thought about "breaking power". I always considered the extra weight of 4,ooo#+/- as being adversely significant on my coach breaking system. A good towed breaking system is good money spent and added safety.

Many, many years ago "trailer" breaks were often not used, especially with tag-along camping trailers. This practice caused many problems with the tow car breaking equipment causing early break shoe replacement and fading/overheating breaks in heavy downhill breaking or emergency stops, which usually brought on a jackknife situation.

Break lights for a towed have always been required as far as I know, but service breaks have not in all situations. Today many states have a weight limit on surge break applications as are often used on tow dollies. But, in truth, in my 10 years on the road full-timing I have never been stopped to have an equipment inspection. My state of residence has no inspections either. Keeping my equipment maintained and safe is solely up to me. I hope I am not taking any unwanted shortcuts in this department.

Happy trails,
Rick Y
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Old 05-19-2016, 09:37 AM   #87
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Originally Posted by F4Gary View Post
Until 2015, all CRVs have a lot of road noise. And the OEM tires are junk.
I agree and I got rid of them after only 10k mi. I just put Toyo tires on the CR-V and coach drive tires. The CR-V is riding nicer and the noise is not gone, but it is much better than it was.

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Old 05-19-2016, 05:50 PM   #88
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Rick.....When I was towing my Silverado behind my Monaco Diplomat with an exhaust brake and four wheel drum, I definitely needed braking help. My 2014 Dutch Star, is one of the shortest coaches (40') out there with a tag and a two speed engine brake. I have disc brakes on the front and drum brakes on both rear axles. I have more than enough braking for the coach and even the Honda CRV. I installed the SMI system because I was still towing my truck at 6K when I bought the Dutch Star.

In California, the rules have been interpreted as needing brakes on any trailer over (I think) 2000 pounds. When you read further, the rules talk about towing other things, like vehicles and the rules change. They state that at 20mph, you must be able to stop the combined vehicles within 50'.

My coach can stop the CRV in that distance without issue, but what I wanted was a "break away" system. Since I was already plumbed for the SMI equipment, I just went with a second under hood box.
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Old 05-21-2016, 12:27 AM   #89
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Originally Posted by Dutch Star Don View Post
Rick.....When I was towing my Silverado behind my Monaco Diplomat with an exhaust brake and four wheel drum, I definitely needed braking help. My 2014 Dutch Star, is one of the shortest coaches (40') out there with a tag and a two speed engine brake. I have disc brakes on the front and drum brakes on both rear axles. I have more than enough braking for the coach and even the Honda CRV. I installed the SMI system because I was still towing my truck at 6K when I bought the Dutch Star.

In California, the rules have been interpreted as needing brakes on any trailer over (I think) 2000 pounds. When you read further, the rules talk about towing other things, like vehicles and the rules change. They state that at 20mph, you must be able to stop the combined vehicles within 50'.

My coach can stop the CRV in that distance without issue, but what I wanted was a "break away" system. Since I was already plumbed for the SMI equipment, I just went with a second under hood box.
Don, I have absolutely no issues with my SMI system. The only "complaint" I can think of is the way I mounted the car control box. It vibrates when I am stopped and in gear. I haven't taken the time to correct that yet. I need to get off my old duff and correct the vibration before it fatigues the mounting. I bought and installed a commercially tail light harness with diodes built in. Works great.

About breaking in general. For most of us with real cars/pickups in tow I am certain we fall under the law of required. I have not installed the breaking relay for when I am using the exhaust break. I have had no adverse issues in the western mountains. As you know, as soon as I touch the service break the car breaks apply proportionately.

Your rig with the tag is a good setup. You have good stability with the tag. I have never had a tag rig. Does the tag assist with breaking and is it set up to drive along with the forward duels?

Rick Y
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Old 05-21-2016, 12:37 AM   #90
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Originally Posted by Dutch Star Don View Post
In California, the rules have been interpreted as needing brakes on any trailer over (I think) 2000 pounds. When you read further, the rules talk about towing other things, like vehicles and the rules change. They state that at 20mph, you must be able to stop the combined vehicles within 50'.
WA, OR and CA all have that for "combination vehicles", meaning a powered vehicle is towing another powered vehicle. CA and WA use the same requirements, OR is a little tougher.
Our rig has all wheel disk brakes and weighs about 50,000#'s and the 3 stage engine brake. The Ody weighs less than 10% of that and I don't feel any need for a braking system and can meet/exceed WA, OR and CA's requirement EXCEPT that a breakaway is required in WA.
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Old 05-21-2016, 01:55 AM   #91
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Rick.....this is my third SMI toad control unit that I have installed. The first and second generation boxes had a metal lip on the sides for easy mounting. The newest version has what looks like a wire drawer handle on each side. I mounted it with clamps similar to these, but rubber lined instead of plastic.....available at Home Depot in the electrical departent...Closed Clamp 1/4 Small- Galvanized Vinyl Coated On one side, I used a preexisting bolt on the radiator frame and on the other side, I made a metal bracket that attached to an existing bolt and used a bolt to attach to the bracket. Since the clamps are rubber lined, the unit doesn't move.
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Old 05-22-2016, 10:01 AM   #92
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Originally Posted by Dutch Star Don View Post
Rick.....this is my third SMI toad control unit that I have installed. The first and second generation boxes had a metal lip on the sides for easy mounting. The newest version has what looks like a wire drawer handle on each side. I mounted it with clamps similar to these, but rubber lined instead of plastic.....available at Home Depot in the electrical departent...Closed Clamp 1/4 Small- Galvanized Vinyl Coated On one side, I used a preexisting bolt on the radiator frame and on the other side, I made a metal bracket that attached to an existing bolt and used a bolt to attach to the bracket. Since the clamps are rubber lined, the unit doesn't move.
Don.... Thanks for this info. We must be traveling the same roads. I am in Grants Pass at the moment. Where, in your CR-V, did you mount the SMI controller box? I put mine on top of the engine because I couldn't find a easy access place other than that. Only two screws are holding it in place because of the lack of mounting area. It vibrates when stopped with the break applied. I would like to relocate it to a better spot.

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Old 05-22-2016, 03:26 PM   #93
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Here is where I mounted it. I looked at several spots, but this kept it out of the heat and pointed in the right direction for easy connection with the battery, brake booster hose and bumper.



In this picture you can see that I used a left over piece of "Z" shaped aluminum from a solar panel mount. I used an existing bolt on the radiator support and then clamped to the SMI unit.



In this last picture, it may be hard to see, but I used a piece of 1" wide flat stock steel, about 12" long bent into an "L" and then a short bend on the end (Home Depot).



In the middle right of the photo, there is a 19mm bolt with a dot in the center that is just to the right of the clamp that holds the A/C tubing. It's a long bolt that goes through the engine vibration dampener. I drilled the flat stock (1/2") at one end and placed it under this bolt. You can see the flat stock (black) going from the bolt to the SMI unit. I bent the flat stock up so it came up under the handle on the SMI unit and then put a small bend in the end where I could attach another cable clamp. The unit is rigid and out of the way. No special tools, other than a vise to bend the flat stock.
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Old 05-23-2016, 12:01 PM   #94
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Don, your new control box is of a better design than mine. Nice job mounting.
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Old 05-23-2016, 03:52 PM   #95
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Yes, mine is third generation. The first generation was the size of yours, but required an additional 8" x 4" diameter ping tank be added for the air supply. The next generation was yours with the tank inside. Your is what I have in my truck, I bought it just before this current generation unit which is about the same size, but thinner.
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Old 05-24-2016, 07:36 AM   #96
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Towing 2014 Toyota Avalon

Anyone towed an Avalon? If so, would appreciate your experienced advise.
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Old 05-24-2016, 10:06 AM   #97
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Yes, mine is third generation. The first generation was the size of yours, but required an additional 8" x 4" diameter ping tank be added for the air supply. The next generation was yours with the tank inside. Your is what I have in my truck, I bought it just before this current generation unit which is about the same size, but thinner.
Don, mine was bought in the summer of '14. I thought SMI had been around for a long time. Improving is always good for the newcomers. We, with the older style, must do with what we have. lol
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Old 05-24-2016, 10:31 AM   #98
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Anyone towed an Avalon? If so, would appreciate your experienced advise.
Can't be done because of the design of the transmission. ALL Toyota automatics can't be towed that's why we went to a 2012 Honda CRV for a toad. Our Sienna is our highway car.
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