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Old 05-07-2013, 06:11 AM   #1
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Our Auxiliary Brake Experience

Well, they say you have to have them so of course we purchased ours. Found a deal on a used unit that was supposedly used just twice but heck looked brand new. Anyway I hooked it up for our trip to FL and all went well on the way down but I did notice that the slave unit only registered my braking maybe twice on the way down. Thinking about it I don't use a heavy foot when I brake and there were no sudden situations or panic stops. Discussed it with a few people and they didn't see anything unusual with the way it acted.
So for the return trip, hooked it up, activated it with slave unit in hand to make sure things were talking to each other and all was good. Started our destination trip home and other then the rain we encountered all was going good. After stopping for our 2nd gas up I was inspecting the toad as I usually do as the moho is filling up. I glanced at the driver side front tire and it appeared that the hubcap was loose on the rim. I bent over to give it a tap but NOPE that's not what's wrong. It was HOT and deformed. I then walked over and looked through the driver window at the auxiliary brake device and sure enough the braking lights were illuminated. I unlocked the door and yup the pedal was still mashed to the floor. "GREAT" I said to myself as I unplugged the system from the power outlet. Anyway I finished gassing and I drove over to the RV section of the lot to take a better look at things. Started the car to check the brakes but the pedal just went to the floor so I knew they were toast. I had the wife drive the moho around the lot as I walked beside the car just to make sure there was nothing hanging up and we continued our trip home without any other incident. Thankfully for that part of the trip it pouring rain or things may have been much worse. I believe water from the rain kept things at a temperature that a fire didn't occur.
I can't figure out in my mind why this would have happened or why the master unit did not talk to the slave unit that there was a problem. Has anyone else ever had a situation like this? I don't know if it's even worth contacting the manufacturer.
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Old 05-07-2013, 06:41 AM   #2
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What kind of brake? With our Brake Buddy classic we have to pump the brake five times at set up. If you do not the power brakes on the towd will lock up. I do not know if they will release on their own or not, as the one time I forgot and locked the brakes I knew right away and stopped. I do not know if the "slave" unit as you are calling it will stay on if the rod is extended as I have never checked. I think it just comes on when the brake is activated, and then the light goes out until the next time.
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Old 05-07-2013, 06:42 AM   #3
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I hate to hear storys like this. makes me worry about mine. what kind of brake unit is it? on the way down did you have it set at a low setting so it only activated brakes in the car when the rv braked hard? was the brake holding the pedal to the floor by being activated or was the unit crooked and holding the pedal down without being activated?
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Old 05-07-2013, 06:45 AM   #4
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I had a similar experience with brake in a box. It was intermittent communication between dash monitor. Just to many things that could go wrong. Manufacturer couldn't figure it out. Sorry for your misfortune


I switched to Ready Brake with brake pedal monitor in the toad that allows me to see when the brake pedal is applied and released in the toad. Simple install, mechanical actuation, foolproof.
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Old 05-07-2013, 06:52 AM   #5
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Sorry for your trouble. This scenario is exactly why we decided to purchase a M&R brake system. After reading the advertising literature for other brands of towed braking systems it was an easy choice.
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Old 05-07-2013, 08:35 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jzick View Post
What kind of brake? With our Brake Buddy classic we have to pump the brake five times at set up. If you do not the power brakes on the towd will lock up. I do not know if they will release on their own or not, as the one time I forgot and locked the brakes I knew right away and stopped. I do not know if the "slave" unit as you are calling it will stay on if the rod is extended as I have never checked. I think it just comes on when the brake is activated, and then the light goes out until the next time.
Ours is the Brake Buddy and yes we activated the unit so it airs up and then press the start button so it goes thru it's cycle of 5 brake pedal depressions to set the brakes for travel. All went good there as I stand at the rear of the car and count the times it activates, watch that the brake lights are working and also watch the slave monitor to make sure they are sending a signal back and forth.
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Old 05-07-2013, 08:40 AM   #7
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I hate to hear storys like this. makes me worry about mine. what kind of brake unit is it? on the way down did you have it set at a low setting so it only activated brakes in the car when the rv braked hard? was the brake holding the pedal to the floor by being activated or was the unit crooked and holding the pedal down without being activated?

I had the activation setting set for the weight of the car as specified on the chart attached to the unit. Never changed the setting between going down or coming home.
The brake pedal was being held down by the activation of the unit. The extension rod was extended and the brake light activation indicators were lit on the unit but never had any indication on the remote unit in the coach and the remote was turned ON.
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Old 05-07-2013, 09:49 AM   #8
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Quote:
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Ours is the Brake Buddy and yes we activated the unit so it airs up and then press the start button so it goes thru it's cycle of 5 brake pedal depressions to set the brakes for travel. All went good there as I stand at the rear of the car and count the times it activates, watch that the brake lights are working and also watch the slave monitor to make sure they are sending a signal back and forth.
I also have a Brake Buddy. it quit pumping up one time and they said I had to send it back to them for repair. (no one else) I forget the exact cost, but I think it was $250. they said same price no matter what the problem is. as far as I know it works ok, but I always keep it on the lowest setting. if it is to high it seemed like it would activate if I hit bumps or go over rough railroad tracks. and yes I do slow down for them.
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Old 05-07-2013, 09:56 AM   #9
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I too have a Brake Buddy Classic. Last year while traveling through Mississippi I noticed the Allison downshifted to 5th. This was on a rather flat section of road. I goosed the throttle a bit and she shifted to 6th. Then, it shifted back to 5th. About that time I look in my rearview monitor and see smoke. Holy crap

Luckily, I was coming up on an exit. As I came to a stop at the end of the ramp, it became clear it was my Jeep smoking and not the motorhome. I pulled into a fuel station and found the Brake Buddy was "full-on" almost as if the breakaway had activated. I unplugged the BB and checked the brakes on the Jeep. They were REALLY hot, but ok and still worked. I think I caught it pretty quick. Anyway, turns out a circuit board in the BB had failed. I sent the unit back and had it repaired and it's been fine since.

Next time I see the Allison shift for no apparent reason, I'm checking for a boat anchor behind the motorhome
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Old 05-07-2013, 10:08 AM   #10
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I have used the M&G Brake on a Liberty and a Tahoe. No electrical involved. I would not use anything else. It is foolproof.
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Old 05-07-2013, 10:16 AM   #11
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I too have a Brake Buddy Classic. Last year while traveling through Mississippi I noticed the Allison downshifted to 5th. This was on a rather flat section of road. I goosed the throttle a bit and she shifted to 6th. Then, it shifted back to 5th. About that time I look in my rearview monitor and see smoke. Holy crap

Luckily, I was coming up on an exit. As I came to a stop at the end of the ramp, it became clear it was my Jeep smoking and not the motorhome. I pulled into a fuel station and found the Brake Buddy was "full-on" almost as if the breakaway had activated. I unplugged the BB and checked the brakes on the Jeep. They were REALLY hot, but ok and still worked. I think I caught it pretty quick. Anyway, turns out a circuit board in the BB had failed. I sent the unit back and had it repaired and it's been fine since.

Next time I see the Allison shift for no apparent reason, I'm checking for a boat anchor behind the motorhome
Yes it was strange to happen. Never felt anything in the coach. The trans never downshifted. Just got a call from my buddy. He doesn't have a figure put together yet but it doesn't sound pretty at all. He said he's never seen anything get that hot. I should call him back and see if he has a payment plan. I'm sure there is nothing Brake Buddy would do. They probably would want me to send the unit and have them check it out and bill me for that too.
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Old 05-07-2013, 10:34 AM   #12
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I had the old Brake Buddy (analog gauges). We pulled into a park and shut off the coach. DW went to th jeep and said the Brake Buddy was going mad. It was going on then off repeatedly. Brakes were hot!! drove the jeep to cool the brakes. Sent it to BB (Hopkins) and they replaced the board, compressor and made the gauge digital. No problems since but I am not a fan of he unit.
If you have had a problem I would send it to BB.
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Old 05-08-2013, 05:43 AM   #13
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Yes it was strange to happen. Never felt anything in the coach. The trans never downshifted. Just got a call from my buddy. He doesn't have a figure put together yet but it doesn't sound pretty at all. He said he's never seen anything get that hot. I should call him back and see if he has a payment plan. I'm sure there is nothing Brake Buddy would do. They probably would want me to send the unit and have them check it out and bill me for that too.
When brakes get that hot it is best to completely flush and change the brake fluid too.
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Old 05-08-2013, 12:02 PM   #14
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That's the reason I bought the ReadyBrake! Simple, no electronics to go haywire, just about foolproof! JMHO
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