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Old 01-22-2013, 12:17 PM   #1
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Installation of Unified Tow Brake (pic heavy)

Warning: Photobucket is no longer working for me, so I'll be loading all photos directly to this site. It will take a while.

TOAD: 05 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited

MOTORHOME: 2013 Newmar Dutch Star 4347


I finally decided to ditch the box brake and magnetic tow lights. Both have worked flawlessly for 4 years and 40,000 miles, just tired of the extra hookup work.

After looking at all the different options, I was down to 2:

Unified Tow Brake

AIR FORCE ONE | SMI Manufacturing Inc.

As a side not: M&G was ruled out simply because it does not fit.

I picked the US Gear Unified Tow Brake. For 2 reasons:

1- I had to pick one of the two.

2- All electric hook up. No tapping into anything, coach was prewired for electric brakes. (all Freightliner chassis since '02)

What all I purchased:

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What was in the boxes:

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2013 DSDP 4347, all electric, 450 H.P. ISL
Air & hydraulic leveling
14 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland toad
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Old 01-22-2013, 12:30 PM   #2
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Break down of the UTB box:

Solenoid. This hooks to the cable that pulls the brake pedal.

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Vacuum fittings

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Vacuum pump and hoses. This hooks inline with the hose leading to the vacuum booster on the master cylinder.

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Wiring. Not all of this will be used. The kit I got was for a non prewired chassis, so I had lots of extra wiring.

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Cable ties, pulley and the cable's pedal fastener.

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Break away switch

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Brain box

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2013 DSDP 4347, all electric, 450 H.P. ISL
Air & hydraulic leveling
14 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland toad
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Old 01-22-2013, 01:09 PM   #3
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My number 1 12 volt wiring tool is the Power Probe III. It not only senses + voltage, but ground wires as well. Then you can also introduce + or - into a wire for testing circuits.

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I take cars apart for a living, so when working on my own I disassemble.

I removed the grille and bumper cover. The reasons: 1 check all fasteners on the Blue Ox mount. 2 makes running wires down lower (beside the radiator) easier. 3 it's only a hand full of fasteners that hold all plastic bumper covers on.

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For access to the pedals I removed all the plastic covers on the drivers side.

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I next needed to find a place to mount the solenoid. I first looked under the center console. No room there, but there was a heck of a mess. This was a good time to clean stuff up.

On a side note the silver square box with the yellow wire connector, next to the E-brake lever, is the air bag sensor.

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So to the passenger floor it was. I removed the filler panel and the glove box for more space. Then set the solenoid in for a test fit. I had to cut out a chunk of floor insulation first. There is nothing on the other side of the firewall.

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With the test fit complete, I marked the carpet for cutting.

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Here is the solenoid mounted in place with the cable connected and capet back in place. The cable runs under the heater box over to the driver side. I used a spacer to compensate for the contours of the floor.For mounting bolts I used 2 1/4 bolts with lock washers and red locktite.

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I then had to find a place for mounting the vacuum pump. Turns out the top of the anti-lock brake unit was a perfect spot. Hose hookups are: factory hose-check valve-hose-T fitting- hose to vacuum booster. Top hose out of the T fitting goes to the input bib on the vacuum pump.

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2013 DSDP 4347, all electric, 450 H.P. ISL
Air & hydraulic leveling
14 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland toad
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Old 01-22-2013, 02:15 PM   #4
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On to the pedal hookup and wiring

The cable that hooks the pedal to the solenoid is 4 feet long. Plenty of length for most vehicles, but can require some unique twisting to place the extra.

I was able to go up and over the gas pedal, allowing the cable to terminate at the base of the steering column. The cable sheath stops in a block allowing the cable to continue to the pulley where it turns straight up to the brake pedal.

The brake pedal mount need to sit on the arm at a point where there is a inch and a half of movement. To find this you start the vehicle, while it idles you press the pedal down while holding a tape measure. Once you find the spot mark it, shut down the engine. Then fasten the pedal mount.

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I did all my wiring at once, together. So at this point I needed to run the taillight harness. I decided to try out the Demco harness.

Started by removing the taillights (2 screws each). Then remove the factory plug. These can be stubborn, especially with high mileage. You have to push the tab in while pulling the plug away.

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Starting at the driver side. The Demco harness is run up along the factory harness between the bumper cover and the body. Then a ground wire is attached to the Jeep body. All the connecters snap right together, plug the Demco harness into the factory harness. Then plug the Demco harness into the taillight.

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Next I had to drop the spare tire, so I could run the Demco harness along the factory harness to the passenger side. It runs above the spare tire mount.

While the spare is down it's a good time to double check it's air pressure.

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Then the four wire harness was run a long the the factory harness, above the fuel tank and different heat shields, to the firewall. I couldn't get a picture of this part, not enough showed to even tell what was in the picture.

With the tail light harness up to the hole in the firewall where the UTB harness was to come out, I could mount the brain box. You can see the plug I remove in the picture of the vacuum pump, it's right behind the check valve.

hooking up the brain box was as easy as connecting the proper color wire to its corresponding terminal. All the ends were put on at the factory. Just push them in place.

You can see some of the extra wire stuffed under the heat/AC box.

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All wires where run in the same harness around to the battery, where the ground wire was hooked directly to the negative post.

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Then to the front of the battery where I mounted the 20 amp circuit breaker. On the right side is the power supply for the UTB and the charge wire coming from the motor home. The left side goes to the positive battery post.

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From there it goes down beside the radiator to the 6 pin hook up and the break away switch.

I forgot to take picture of the back of the 6 pin connecter and could not open it back up to get one. I filled the air space with dielectric grease.

As an after thought I added diodes to the tail and brake wires so it could not back feed to the coach. The white you see in the photo is silicon to try and keep things water tight.

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2013 DSDP 4347, all electric, 450 H.P. ISL
Air & hydraulic leveling
14 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland toad
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Old 01-22-2013, 03:14 PM   #5
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Jeep complete onto the coach

Once everything tested OK it was time to put everything back together.

Bumper cover back in place.

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Driver side covers back in.

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passenger side and center console all back.

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Next was time for the coach.

First up was where to mount the controller. Newmars' dash design made this simple as could be. Right beside the instrument cluster is a nice flat spot, directly in my line of sight while driving.

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Now for the elusive factory pigtail, that supposedly makes hook up a snap.

Turns out it's right there behind the yellow and white wires. Just to the left of the steering column.

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Close up of the pigtail

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There is a great many ways to connect to this pigtail. You can buy a harness:

Us Gear Pigtail Harness, Freightliner Chassis

You can by the plug and build your own harness, such this thread:

Trailer Brake Controller

Thanks for finding all the parts RVRandy.

Or just hook up the wires by operation. They're well labeled, after all.

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Which is what I did.

The panel-lp and vbatt are unused.Panel-lp comes off of the dash lamps, it works through the dimmer. The vbatt is live 12 volt direct from the batteries, non-switched.

The ING blunt is not actually hooked to the ignition switch. I will at some point run a trace on this wire to see where it is not hooked up. So it too is not used. Instead I found a unused purple wire under the dash that provided switched 12 volt power.

TRLR_BRK hooks to the controller's blue wire.

BRK-SW hooks to the orange wire.

GND hooks to the black wire.

While this was on the counter somebody forgot to take a photo. I'm not saying who, but it rhymes with OP.

Once plugged back in, there was nothing really to see. Let a lone take a photo of. Looks like a controller on the dash is all.

Now it was show time; test drive.

Hooking up was much easier. No running wires for the lights, nor placing a braking box. Just hook up a pigtail, tow bar, safety cables and a break away cable.

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I had my wife run the controls (while stationary) to check pedal movement and make fine adjustment to the cable.

Then off we went. While coasting, with no engine brake on, if I pressed down on the manual control we could feel the Jeep pull against the coach.

When using the engine brake the UTB did not apply the Jeeps brakes. As soon as I applied the coaches brake the UTB applied equal towed brakes.

We did a 40 mile test drive on interstate as well as back roads, so far very impressed.

2 things I did notice:

1 it will not lock up the Jeeps brakes (which I'm OK with).

2 When using the blinkers and stepping on the brake pedal (in coach) the Jeeps lights will stop blinking and go full brake light. It has no effect upon the coaches lights.
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Air & hydraulic leveling
14 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland toad
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Old 01-22-2013, 04:05 PM   #6
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Looks like you did a great job! However, it's waaaaay to much work for me! I think I will stay with the Brake Buddy.
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Old 01-22-2013, 06:22 PM   #7
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I have installed the UTB on my JK and my F150. I mounted the solenoid on both vehicles like you did, on the passenger side. I think that is the best place and totally out of the way.

Good report and pics.
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Old 01-22-2013, 06:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gripper View Post
Looks like you did a great job! However, it's waaaaay to much work for me! I think I will stay with the Brake Buddy.
Thanks.

Only work on the up front. If I added up all the time I spent doing it the other way, I'll be time ahead shortly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich and Cork View Post
I have installed the UTB on my JK and my F150. I mounted the solenoid on both vehicles like you did, on the passenger side. I think that is the best place and totally out of the way.

Good report and pics.
Thanks.
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Air & hydraulic leveling
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