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Old 09-12-2012, 10:07 PM   #1
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New to towing

We just bought our first toad (2005 ford focus manual tranny), dinghy manual says its a go for 4wheel towing with no restrictions. We will be towing it behind out '04 Winnebago Vectra 40AD. My question is this, the previous owner has told me that I don't need any auxiliary braking system with this car but I see everyone talking about some sort of system like Brake Buddy. Who is correct? Do I need this or is the rig big enough and the car small enough to not need it. We are planning our first trip with the car on Oct 1, so have time to get it if the consensus is that we need it.

Thanks in advance everyone

John and Judy
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Old 09-12-2012, 10:15 PM   #2
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I have a friend that has a 40ft diesel pusher and he uses the brake buddy and told me it is law law in some states. I pull a car dolly and don't use a brake system and have never had a problem
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Old 09-12-2012, 10:15 PM   #3
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John, I also tow a Ford Focus and I use a Brake Buddy. I can install or remove it in a couple of minutes, including setting it up. My coach would probably tow it ok, but you still have to stop it. Either with the coach brakes or the toad aux system. I personally do not want the extra use put on the coach brakes. The Focus is about 2700-2900 pounds. Lighter than a lot and heavier than others. I find the brake buddy gives me peace of mind when towing.

You may want to look into State Laws where you will be towing. Some states require aux brakes on towed vehicles.
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Old 09-13-2012, 07:13 AM   #4
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I don't care how big your motorhome is or how small your car is, you need auxiliary braking for your toad. Yes, a DP will be able to stop a toad, especially a smaller toad. BUT - you will stop faster and sooner in an emergency situation with an auxiliary brake. Do you want to take a chance you will stop 10' under the back of the semi, or do you want to stop before you hit the semi? We have had just a couple of panic stops in our motorhome over the years, but there is one in particular that I can remember where I was really glad I had a brake in the toad.

Breakaway, even though it is unlikely, is an even more important reason to have a toad brake to me. If the toad breaks away, there is nothing to stop it without an auxiliary brake. Don't get a toad brake without the breakaway feature.
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Old 09-13-2012, 07:36 AM   #5
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You won't know if you need one untill it's too late. The old saying( It's better to have and not need than to need and not have)
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Old 09-13-2012, 08:58 AM   #6
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First of all, the brakes in the motorhome are designed to stop only its own weight, i.e. the GVWR. It is almost sure that the coach laden weight plus the toad weight is greater than the motorhome GVWR. On that basis alone you need some braking to handle the extra weight of the toad.

But the more important reason is stopping distance. Providing braking for the toad will always shorten the stopping distance. ALWAYS!
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Old 09-13-2012, 09:10 AM   #7
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Yep. The previous owner was wrong. Many folks tow without aux brakes with no problem whatsoever... until there is a problem.

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Old 09-13-2012, 09:46 AM   #8
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Ok, can someone explain to me how the systems like brake buddy address the issue of vacuum assist on power brakes? With engine not running, power brakes become very hard to use after a push or two.( experienced that one day when my car had to be towed and the good Samaritan only had a 6' rope to tow me...long story).
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Old 09-13-2012, 10:02 AM   #9
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There are only 10 states in the US that don't require braking systems on tow vehicles. NJ, Mass, NH, Kentucky, MO, KS, ND, UT, WY & OR. I also believe that if you are tagged in these states other states will not honor your states requirements.

All vehicles have the ability to apply brakes when the vacuum assist has been depleted. Brake pressure is significantly increased but brake application is still possible.
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Old 09-13-2012, 05:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WannaFTit View Post
Ok, can someone explain to me how the systems like brake buddy address the issue of vacuum assist on power brakes? With engine not running, power brakes become very hard to use after a push or two.( experienced that one day when my car had to be towed and the good Samaritan only had a 6' rope to tow me...long story).
Vehicle brakes are designed to be able to stop the vehicle without vacuum assist. Granted, you have to push the pedal hard, but you can stop. Brake systems that do not use vacuum assist push the pedal hard.
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Old 09-13-2012, 07:16 PM   #11
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You have to follow the state laws where you are towing. Some are as low as 1000# for a towed load needing aux brakes. Some will argue that some laws use the word "trailer" which is not a towed car. Trouble is the laws of physics do not know if you are towing 2500# of rocks on a trailer or 2500# of car.

Also, you need a break away braking system as tow bars do brake and you do not want a 2500# plus missile out of control.

If the brakes on the dinghy can stop you 6" quicker, that 6" may be the difference between stopping and a wreck.

Another way to look at it is you can afford a 40' diesel pusher and the cost of safety should not be a concern to add a braking system.

ken
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Old 09-13-2012, 07:22 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary RVRoamer View Post
First of all, the brakes in the motorhome are designed to stop only its own weight, i.e. the GVWR. It is almost sure that the coach laden weight plus the toad weight is greater than the motorhome GVWR. On that basis alone you need some braking to handle the extra weight of the toad.

But the more important reason is stopping distance. Providing braking for the toad will always shorten the stopping distance. ALWAYS!


Absolutely correct!
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Old 09-13-2012, 07:26 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toneumanns View Post
There are only 10 states in the US that don't require braking systems on tow vehicles. NJ, Mass, NH, Kentucky, MO, KS, ND, UT, WY & OR. I also believe that if you are tagged in these states other states will not honor your states requirements.

All vehicles have the ability to apply brakes when the vacuum assist has been depleted. Brake pressure is significantly increased but brake application is still possible.
Actually OR does as does CA and WA, but all three of them use a "performance spec" for motorized vehicles being towed, ie: stop in XX feet from XX mph and you don't need aux brakes. CA and WA are the same, OR is more stringent.
Problem is that you must be legal in ALL states you go through, there is no reciprocity like there is for driever licensing and insurance. Equipment laws are totally up to each state
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Old 09-13-2012, 07:28 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by WannaFTit View Post
Ok, can someone explain to me how the systems like brake buddy address the issue of vacuum assist on power brakes? With engine not running, power brakes become very hard to use after a push or two.( experienced that one day when my car had to be towed and the good Samaritan only had a 6' rope to tow me...long story).
We have the RoadMaster BrakeMaster unit, uses air from the RV's brakes. No problem locking up the towed's wheels!! I had to do it once when a car driver decided to hit the brakes to try and make an exit we were passing. After I hit the air horns right on his bumper he decided to take the next exit!
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