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Old 08-07-2011, 11:56 PM   #1
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Readybrake Dash Light Suggestion

Hey All,

Just got done setting up my 08 4dr Wrangler for towing. It took me longer than I was hoping but it went pretty smoothly. I just wanted to throw something out there for others installing a new Readybrake system on their toads, specifically the Wrangler:

I took my rig for a test drive with the vehicle in tow. My LED dash light Readybrake supplied was hooked up like all the new ones are and that is it comes on when the actuator bar moves from its normal position. The light came on whenever I hit the brakes, as expected. What this setup does not do however is tell you if your cable is well adjusted or not, i.e. whether your toad is actually braking or not. Apparently the older systems had you hook into your brake light switch so you could see when the toad brakes were actually applied. I prefer the older system, but they had discontinued it.

For those who have new ones and only have the option to wire it to the actuator bar, I modified my setup so it hooks directly to the brake light switch. It was very easy to do with just a few dollars in electrical parts from Autozone. I'm 99% sure it would work with other toad makes and models too because I think most brake switches are wired very similarly.

Now my LED light comes on whenever the toad brake switch is activated, giving a more accurate picture of what's going on back there.

I know there's some caution about voiding warranties and stuff when splicing into factory wiring harnesses, so if that worries you then this probably isn't for you. My warranty had expired so I don't much care.

If you're interested the in the mod, let me know and I'll share the specifics.

Dashdriver
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Old 08-08-2011, 05:32 AM   #2
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At the suggestion of another poster, when I installed mine, I purchased an additional dash light from NSA. I have two lights. One for the Ready Brake and one for the road brake. Works well, you know that both are working.
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Old 08-08-2011, 09:26 AM   #3
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I thought about doing that but did not want to crawl under the motorhome again to run another wire.
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Old 08-10-2011, 01:43 PM   #4
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The problem I see with the NSA cable/suggestion is that it only indicates that the actuator arm has moved off the contact. By 3/64ths or 1 inch, it doesn't matter, the light comes on. It in no way reflects if brakes are being applied to the toad, because that is based on the slack in the cable from the readybrake to the toad cable.

I want to do something like dashdriver did, but I too am leary about messing with my brake light circuit. I tow the car occasionally, but I drive it daily :-)
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Old 08-10-2011, 03:55 PM   #5
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I have heard of others who have added a led clearance light to the toads brake light switch then put the lamp on the dash of the toad so it can be monitored with the MH back up camera. They say it works fine, but I still don't think it would be accurate enough to properly adjust the brake cable for the ready brake unit. When the brake lights are activated in the toad it may take quite a bit more pedal travel to activate the brakes.
I mentioned an idea on another thread that I would buy if someone produced it.
NSA should produce a surge pressure gauge that mounts on the ready brake lever so you could monitor on the fly the amount of pressure that is being applied to the surge brake system. Say a gauge with remote read out that reads 0% to 100% travel of the surge brake actuator. Then it would be a simple matter of performing a road test then making a hard stop and adjusting the cable to get the actuator to max out at around 80% travel. That would also make it easier to monitor how the surge brakes are operating going down a long grade.
If the cable is adjusted properly, the gauge should never read over 80% when the brakes are firmly applied.
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Old 08-11-2011, 09:02 AM   #6
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I use mine as a daily driver too and the brake lights still work just fine. I used quick splice connectors to splice into the factory harness so I didn't really cut anything. The rest of it was just running the wires through the firewall and attaching to front bumper like you do with the aircraft cable.

I agree, I only know when the toad brake lights have come on, and there is more travel required to activate the brakes themselves. One can get somewhat of a feel based off of how quickly the LED comes on after you begin light braking in the MH. If the LED is on quickly with light braking then heavier braking will obviously pull the cable more and thus the likelihood of the toad brakes actually activating goes up. for me the biggest thing is making sure the cable is actually pulling on the brake pedal in the first place. Once I know it has tension on it enough to pull the pedal (activate the LED), I'm confident the brakes will be applied when they really need to be (moderate to heavy braking). Not perfect, but a much better opton that just seeing when the surge brake actuator arm has moved.
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Old 08-11-2011, 09:14 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dashdriver View Post

If you're interested the in the mod, let me know and I'll share the specifics.

Dashdriver
Dashdriver,

If you don't mind sharing the details, I'd be interested in what you have done. I have the Ready Brake installed but have not yet run the light to the dash. I just was not sure the trouble would be worth the information I would get from it. However, seeing if the toad brake lights come on would be a much better indication. Any info would be appreciated.

Thanks
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Old 08-11-2011, 09:33 AM   #8
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I posted a few years back about installing a dash gauge or digital bar light.
toad brake indicator gauge
Never had any comments in regards to the technical aspect of making this work.
Still use the Ready Brake system but I think it can be improved.

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Old 08-11-2011, 12:31 PM   #9
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Well that's at least 2 people that would buy it if someone made it...
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Old 08-11-2011, 05:42 PM   #10
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Dashdriver,

We also have a ReadyBrake but have never run the wire to the dash. Might motivate us to do it if we knew we'd be set up like you are. So add me to those who would like to know what you did. We have an out of warranty '08 Wrangler, too.
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Old 08-12-2011, 11:10 PM   #11
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Ok, so here are the details on how to get connected to your 2007+ Wrangler's brake switch. (Like I mentioned earlier, most brake swtiches will work similarly, so even though these instructions are for a Wrangler, other cars will be similar...just a matter of finding the signal and ground pins on your brake swtich).

Firstly, you need to run the wire and install the LED on your dash in the MH. I chose a nearby 12V cigarette lighter to run the 12V feed to the light. I hooked the MH up exactly the way you would as if you were going to connect it to the actuator bar instead of the brake switch. The only thing is you don't actually plug it into the Readybrake.

Step 2: Find yourself the same type of the connector Readybrake uses which is a two-pole flat connector. I found some at Autozone. I actually bought two matching sets of connectors. I then bought some 16 gauge wire (red and white for me but you can choose whatever color you want!) and made myself a 5ft harness to go between the MH and the Jeep (flat connectors on each end). I then ran some more red and white wire through the firewall in the Jeep and routed it alongside my Readybrake aircraft cable. I put one of the two-pole connectors on the bumper side of those wires and wire-tied it right next to the umbilical cord connector on my base plate.

Step 3: Remove the two plastic panels under your steering wheel and then the metal plate behind the plastic panels. This reveals the area your brake switch is in. Push on the brake pedal, grab the brake switch and rotate it counterclockwise about 30 degrees and it should pop right out of the bracket.

Step 4: Now...my brake switch had the wiring harness attaching to the left (driver's side) of the switch. The service manual shows the wiring harness attaching to the right (passenger side) of the switch. What you need to do is find PINs 1 + 2. If you're like me and the wires go in on the left side, those are the two pins nearest the plunger. If your wires are on the right side, they are the two furthest away from the plunger.

To verify you have the right pins, grab a multi-meter and do a continuity test between pins 1 and 2. When the plunger is extended (brakes on), there should be continuity between those pins. When the plunger is reracted (brakes off), there should be no continuity between those pins. I tested mine several times with the multimeter hooked up. Sure enough, whenever I pushed the plunger in, continuity stopped, as soon as I let go of the plunger, I got continuity again.

Step 5: Using some quick splice connectors, splice your red (signal) wire into the wire going to pin 1. Splice your white (ground) wire into the wire going into pin 2 (ground).

Step 6: Replace your brake switch by lining it up with the bracket you pulled it out of, then rotating clockwise 30 degrees to lock it back in. Have someone check the LED light while you pump the brake pedal on/off.

Step 7: Once you're all excited that it's working correctly, you can put your panels back on under the steering wheel and put your fuses back in. Then test your normal brake lights to reassure yourself that they will still work and you haven't just toasted your brake lights on the toad :-)

A note:

I installed a quick battery disconnect and tried this setup with the battery disconnected. For some reason with the battery disconnected, the LED was on all the time but at a lower intensity (Probably something to do with not being properly grounded without the neg connection on the batt?? I don't know I'm not that electrically inclined). When the brake was applied, the LED would light up to full brightness. With some playing around I finally figured out it was my battery being disconnected that was causing the LED to be on all the time, so I reconnected the battery and just pulled the IOD fuse and the M1 fuse (brake lights). Pulling fuses instead of the battery disconnect worked perfectly. The LED was off until my son pushed the brake pedal, then the LED came on instantly.

I now have a system where my brake lights are disconnected, meaning the toad does not override a turn signal input from the MH and my LED is powered from the MH meaning I do not need to run power from the toad.

If you want some pics, I will take and post them.
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