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Old 01-22-2011, 09:57 AM   #1
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Proportional Braking for Toad

I've been towing for almost 10 years now, with a Roadmaster system. Since I have changed tow vehicles about 4 times now, I have used it several types of vehicles. The latest is a jeep wrangler unlimited, which I haven't set up yet. What is nagging at me is that the Roadmaster system advertises that it is a truly proportional braking system, but as I have used it over the years, it clearly doesn't engage when braking the motorhome softly. I have spoken to the technicians who have installed the system for me and also the folks at Roadmaster. They say that this is the way it is supposed to function. To me that isn't a truly porportional braking system. Before I reinstall my roadmaster system, I wanted to hear what some others have to say on this issue and anything anyone may have to say about other braking systems. My idea of proportional, is that the Toad brakes each and every time that I step on the motorhome brake. If I step softly, the Toad brakes softly. If I step hard on the motorhome brake, the Toad brakes should be applied hard. What can anyone out there share on this issue, along with recommendations on other types of systems. Thank You
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Old 01-22-2011, 10:11 AM   #2
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After extensive research, I just bought a Brake Buddy Vantage Select. Here are some of the features (from PPL site). Have not had an opportunity to use it yet, but look forward to doing so in the spring.

"The BrakeBuddy Vantage Select features a new technological advancement making it the only portable auxiliary braking system that allows you to choose between Full and Proportional braking technology at the touch of a button.
  1. Full Braking removes the entire weight of the towed vehicle when stopping
  2. Proportional Braking mirrors the braking action of the motorhome
Whether you prefer Full or Proportional braking, or to switch between modes based on different driving conditions, only the Vantage Select™ gives you the power to choose.
“On-The-Fly” Braking Adjustability
Wireless Diagnostic Remote allows you to choose between Full and Proportional braking and adjust the sensitivity settings “on-the-fly” from the coach. This gives you peace of mind knowing that the BrakeBuddy« is fully functioning. It also notifies you of braking mode, a breakaway situation, and diagnostic information."

These are very pricy, but I pickup mine used from a fellow camper who had it for a year and swore by it. He moved from a motorhome to a 5r.

Bob
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Old 01-23-2011, 05:50 AM   #3
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Quintin, welcome to iRV2.

You don't say which Roadmaster brake system you have, but our Roadmaster Brake Pro (no longer made - now replaced by the Even Brake) has a setting for sensitivity (how soon you want the brake to come on) and also a setting for how hard you want the brake to come on.

I have our Brake Pro set to only come on with fairly strong coach braking. The coach brakes can more than handle normal, gentle stops, and I feel there's no reason to overwork the toad brakes unless I'm making a fairly quick stop.
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Old 01-23-2011, 06:28 AM   #4
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If you have an coach with air brakes look at SMI Air Force 1. It is a proportional braking system. After hooking up you can have someone push the coach brakes and watch the toad pedal to verify,
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Old 01-23-2011, 07:33 AM   #5
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Quinten:
I started using a B Buddy a couple summers ago. I started with it NOT set to proportional and quite often would see the monitor unit light up when I braked.
Last summer I set it to proportional and I have to admit, I'm not certain if/when its working, even on some hills down in Missouri this past summer (Michigan is quite flat!)
Side Note regarding Brake Buddy: The Michigan Winter, salted road splash, etc. "ate" my breakaway switch mounted low up front. I'll have to replace that this year and figure some protective cover for it, since I use the Jeep as a second car when we're home.
I'm eager to read what others have to say about proportional braking.
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Old 01-23-2011, 07:35 AM   #6
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Another vote for the SMI Air Force One....truly proportional braking system. They have a similar system for gas coaches.
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Old 01-23-2011, 12:18 PM   #7
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Since you have a gas coach I'm assuming you have the Roadmaster Brakemaster 9060 braking system. We've used this system towing our 04 Jeep Wrangler behind our Winnebago Adventurer for over 7 years with no problems. It is a truely proportional system in that with light brake pedal pressure in the motorhome we also have light braking by the Jeep. The braking in the Jeep follows directly with the pedal pressure all the way through the range.

There are several areas to look at if you feel the system isn't working properly.

1. Is the compressor putting out sufficient pressure? (ours is 110 psi)
2. Is there moisture in the air? (there's a drain valve on the bottom of the storage tank)
3. Are the quick connect fittings at the rear of the coach and the air cylinder clean, and do they seal properly?
4. Are all other air fittings sealed properly (any air leaks will require more coach brake pedal pressure i.e. more air volume through the system to activate the tosd brakes)
NOTE: When setting our system will hold air pressure for over a week before it bleeds down sufficiently for the pump to start.
5. Is there a possible restriction (kinked or melted line) any place in the system?
6. Is the air cylinder bracket in the toad properly adjusted so that the cylinder can apply pressure to the brake pedal immediatly when you apply pressure to the coach pedal?
7. Does the monitor LED on the coach dash come on with light pressure on the brake pedal. (this LED is supposed to be connected to the cold side of the brake light switch in the toad. When it is lit the brake pedal has been depressed enough to activate the brake lights).

These an other diagnostic procedures are covered on pages 31 and 32 of the installation manual. Here's a link to a PDF version on the Roadmaster site:
http://www.roadmasterinc.com/pdf/85-1811-07.pdf

The system should activate through the entire range of brake pedal pressure.
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Old 01-24-2011, 06:37 AM   #8
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The US Gear system is proportional and can be adjusted "on the fly".
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Old 01-24-2011, 06:49 AM   #9
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When I bought my Class A, I did some research as well and first decided on Brake Buddy Advantage (Full or proportional, remote indication, comes with break-away, etc.) I bought it and then after much discussion purchased a 2010 F-150 STX for my toad (Can place my motorcycle in the back and have best of both worlds). Well, discovered one issue about the Brake Buddy - it needs carpeting to operate properly! The stx has rubber floor interior and an aftermarket carpet (floor saver) slides just nice on it! I taped the carpeting (commercial double-sided tape) and that worked allright. While camping, this was a short trial run, my neighbor saw me "modifying" my new F-150 and showed me his Roadmaster 9060 by Brakemaster. The rest is history. I bought the roadmaster as soon as I returned. The BB was great but the roadmaster is easier and less to lug around, I used the BB only the once.
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Old 01-24-2011, 07:03 AM   #10
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Second US Gear, I have it installed on my Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. It is proporational, has break away and charges the toad battery.
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Old 01-24-2011, 09:15 AM   #11
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Here is another approach, it seems very simple. If you have not seen this yet- watch it- o0nly takes a couple of minutes.

RVEducation 101 RV Video Tips
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Old 01-24-2011, 01:45 PM   #12
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Proportional means that the brakes on the towed may come one with more or less force than the motor home brakes WHEN THEY COME ON.. Progressive means that the harder the motor home breaks the harder the towed breaks.

However with teh brake in a box systems like the roadmaster, (The box you have to Install EVERY TIME you tow) there has to be some "lag" before they come on.. That is if you brake gently, they do not engage,,, if they did, then every time you go down hill the system would be draging the brakes on the towed.

This is ONE of the reasons I do not like them.

Not also that you only need the towed brakes when you are SERIOUSLY breaking the motor home. at mild breaking you really don't need 'em.
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Old 01-24-2011, 03:34 PM   #13
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If you have a Monaco product it may have the prewired US Gear plug below the steering columm. It make the install in the MH a snap and does it all Proportional , breakaway,ect with all the lights, bells.
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Old 01-25-2011, 09:18 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paz View Post
Quintin, welcome to iRV2.

You don't say which Roadmaster brake system you have, but our Roadmaster Brake Pro (no longer made - now replaced by the Even Brake) has a setting for sensitivity (how soon you want the brake to come on) and also a setting for how hard you want the brake to come on.

I have our Brake Pro set to only come on with fairly strong coach braking. The coach brakes can more than handle normal, gentle stops, and I feel there's no reason to overwork the toad brakes unless I'm making a fairly quick stop.
I'm with you, Paz. I have my VIP TowBrake set the same way. I can't see wearing out my Jeep brakes.
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