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Old 04-13-2016, 05:18 PM   #1
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Is braking system necessary?

Hello all, long time lurker, read a ton here before buying our Dynamax Force HD. Quite a resource to learn from, thank you all.

Now that the fun has begun, I'm getting a blue ox towbar/baseplate system for our Honda Odyssey, and the local dealer feels "strongly" that there is no need for a braking system given the specs of the tow vehicle. 20k tow capacity with 20k hitch, GCWR fully allowing 20k while fully loaded.

I understand state laws are one thing. Installer is a long time fixture in town, has RV's lined up on the lot, and has a solid reputation in a small town.

Aside from the "always err on the side of safety no matter the expense or degree of marginal payoff" crowd, does EVERYONE install brakes? I called blue ox and another dealer, both of whom informed me about half of customers do, and half don't.

Am I fool to be considering not installing brakes?

Most use of the toad will be interstate, flat, with intermittent periods of elevation.

Thank you for your guidance,
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Old 04-13-2016, 05:31 PM   #2
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POOP HAPPENS AND IT DID TO ME! I was towing my new 2005 Saturn Vue behind my new 2005 Adventurer to the RV dealer for minor RV repair. Luckily I was traveling a less traveled back road rather than the main highway. When I stopped at an intersection the baseplate broke free from the Saturn and the car slowly drifted through the intersection to a nearby curb...not damaging any other property. The Saturn baseplate separated taking the front end off the car. The hitch shop took responsibility and made all the necessary repairs. I had a BuddyBrake but I did not bother to put it in place for this short trip, as it was a hassle. Yeah, right. I now tow with a ReadyBrake, which just snaps on. I use the supplemental brake for even the shortest of trips.
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Old 04-13-2016, 05:31 PM   #3
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A toad is a trailer and all states require break-away brakes depending on weight. A few at 4500 lbs, most at 3000 lbs and some at only 1500 lbs.

Unlike a trailer trailer or a fifth-wheel trailer, if a toad should disconnect from the towing vehicle, it can freewheel, making it a missile on the highway.

Regardless on how some will read into state laws looking for an exemption for toad brakes, there is a moral obligation to not be towing a trailer that freewheel down the road and kill someone,
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Old 04-13-2016, 05:32 PM   #4
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You have a pretty heavy duty rig and would have no issues stopping the toad.....but, what does your State law say. The other part of a braking system is that it has a break away feature, which has nothing to do with the ability of your tow vehicle.

If the Odyssey comes loose from the coach, what will stop it?
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Old 04-13-2016, 05:33 PM   #5
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grace2day-

I understand the thinking that braking force from the toad may not be needed.

What happens if the toad completely breaks away from the coach, though?
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Old 04-13-2016, 05:45 PM   #6
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I was talking to a fellow camper one day and he got totally screwed for not have toad brakes. He had a accident where someone pulled out in front of him and he hit them. Long story short since he didnt have toad brakes he was liable for the whole accident because he wasnt towing correctly within the law. The way they see it if you are breaking the law the vehicle shouldnt be on the road and the accident would never happened.

So do you need toad brakes? probably not. Is it law to have them? yes.

Its better to be safe than sorry ... get them
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Old 04-13-2016, 05:48 PM   #7
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Braking system is not required unless, you see your toad in the mirror. At that point it would be really nice to have. Has not happened to me personally, but I do know two folks that it did happen to. Not Good.
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Old 04-13-2016, 05:59 PM   #8
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Although you didn't mention the year of your Odyssey - the specs on the Honda web site for a 2016 Odyssey list the weigh as somewhere between 4,300 and 4,500 ..ish pounds depending on model and equipment. Clearly well over the threshold at which brakes are required for most states.

Other than avoiding the cost of an auxiliary brake system ($1,000 - $1,500) ... why would you even think about foregoing an important safety feature? If you're ever involved in an accident - the lawyers will have a field day with the situation (and that will most certainly cost you far more the brake system would have). You put the lives and the safety of you, your passengers - as well as those around you in jeopardy if an emergency stop is necessary.

That's one helluva gamble to save a lousy $1,500 bucks.
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Old 04-13-2016, 06:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale & Mark Bruss View Post
A toad is a trailer and all states require break-away brakes depending on weight. A few at 4500 lbs, most at 3000 lbs and some at only 1500 lbs.

Unlike a trailer trailer or a fifth-wheel trailer, if a toad should disconnect from the towing vehicle, it can freewheel, making it a missile on the highway.

Regardless on how some will read into state laws looking for an exemption for toad brakes, there is a moral obligation to not be towing a trailer that freewheel down the road and kill someone,
Actually that is not true. Several states (at least WA, OR and CA) define a "trailer" as an unpowered unit designed to be towed behind another vehicle. That in no way covers a vehicle designed to move under it's own power like your towed.
In WA, OR and CA, your vehicle becomes a "combination vehicle" when you tow one motorized vehicle with another. In those three states you don't need aux. braking if you can stop in XX ft from XX mph. WA and CA have the same requirements with OR being a little more stringent.
However, in at least WA you are still required to have a braking system that will hold the vehicle, disconnected, for 15 min on any normal highway grade. That pretty much means you need aux. braking.
Then there's the safety factor of having them.
Our Ody weighs less than 10% of the MH's empty weight, and with all wheel disks and three stage engine brake it not lacking for braking! Still have the braking in the towed just because.
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Old 04-13-2016, 06:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dutch Star Don View Post
You have a pretty heavy duty rig and would have no issues stopping the toad.....but, what does your State law say. The other part of a braking system is that it has a break away feature, which has nothing to do with the ability of your tow vehicle.

If the Odyssey comes loose from the coach, what will stop it?
An RV'ers state of origin or registration doesn't matter for braking requirements, only the state you're in at the time since there is no reciprocity on braking laws unlike drivers licenses and insurance.
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Old 04-13-2016, 06:25 PM   #11
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Is it necessary...that depends on the state you are in not just where you are registered. Most have some requirements and in some cases it is based on the toad weight. Some are based on stoping distance. Some states don't have any requirement.

TOWING LAWS

As already stated, another important function is the brake systems "break away" feature. Again, most states will require that feature.

The other thing that I think a braking system can help is avoiding front end problems on the toad. When you apply coach brakes without an aux system for the toad then the tow bar and plate have to absorb all the energy of the toad. IMHO, that is unnecessary wear and tear on the towing system. On top of that, especially in "lighter" RVs, the toad's inertia can affect handling during hard braking and I would seriously be concerned in wet/slippery conditions.

Also, if the height of the hitch compared to the tow pins on the car are not correct, then the toad will want to either dive down or rise up on the toad's front suspension. This can cause the toad's suspension to also take an unnecessary beating.

I don't think going cheap by nixing an aux brake system is the best decision for anyone.

YMMV.
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Old 04-13-2016, 06:28 PM   #12
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I appreciate the quick responses. Please don't misunderstand; to be clear, it isn't the cost that I'm concerned about. It's the dealer's recommendation not to do it, backed up by another dealer and blue ox confirming that "half" do not.

Hence the inquiry. It's a home on wheels - I can find 500 things to spend money on. Are brakes important? Of course. If half the people out there don't use them, and aren't even recommended by the dealer, or passionately advocated for by the manufacturer, it's a fair question.
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Old 04-13-2016, 06:41 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grace2day View Post
Hello all, long time lurker, read a ton here before buying our Dynamax Force HD. Quite a resource to learn from, thank you all.

Now that the fun has begun, I'm getting a blue ox towbar/baseplate system for our Honda Odyssey, and the local dealer feels "strongly" that there is no need for a braking system given the specs of the tow vehicle. 20k tow capacity with 20k hitch, GCWR fully allowing 20k while fully loaded.

I understand state laws are one thing. Installer is a long time fixture in town, has RV's lined up on the lot, and has a solid reputation in a small town.

Aside from the "always err on the side of safety no matter the expense or degree of marginal payoff" crowd, does EVERYONE install brakes? I called blue ox and another dealer, both of whom informed me about half of customers do, and half don't.

Am I fool to be considering not installing brakes?

Most use of the toad will be interstate, flat, with intermittent periods of elevation.

Thank you for your guidance,
I am not intending to be disrespectful, but YES, you are a fool if you consider not installing brakes.

Read all the posts on this forum. Everyone will pretty much state they have brakes on their toad, except for a few who are trying to save a $ or two.

In most states it's the law. If you are involved in an accident without toad brakes, and any good lawyer gets their hands on you, you will be paying much more than the cost of installation.

Any RV service dealer who suggests that half of the people don't install brakes, and it's OK to do so, is providing really BAD information, for your safety and for the safety of others. I'm in the business.

There are many studies done regarding the stopping capability being much shorter with toad brakes. Why put yourself or anyone else in harms way?
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Old 04-13-2016, 06:43 PM   #14
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All the guilt motivation aside In todays entitled society just the liability is motivation enough to get brakes. It'll cost about the same as two years insurance and could save you a lifetime of grief.

Your call though. Lots of folks go without and nothing happens. The chance of you getting a ticket is pretty slim, but if you are stopped for any other reason and the Cop looks he could add it to the list of charges.

Dick
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