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Old 12-22-2008, 08:20 PM   #1
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Hi everyone,
I'm new to this forum so please bare with me while I settle in... I recently purchased a SMI Stay N Play Duo system to flat tow my wife's 2002 K2500 Yukon XL under two different towing applications 1.) I want to tow it behind my 2003 GMC K2500 duramax diesel from where we live in Central Alberta Canada to the west coast of Canada through the rockies. (Lots of ice and snow) 2.)I would also like to tow the Yukon behind my HR Navigator later next year on another trip we have planned to California / Arizona.

I spoke with Peter from SMI at length before purchasing the Stay in Play. We decided that in my application (hydraulic brakes in the Duramax and air brakes in Navigator), the stay in play would be easiest to adapt. I was sold on the idea of the SMI system for reason that the brakes in the Yukon (Toad) would be pressurized as if they were power brakes with the engine OFF. I didn't like the idea of having a "bomb" going off and the excess wear and tear on the front seat of my Yukon and the related stresses that the brake pedal and associated mechanisms must sustain with a "dead brake" pedal. I'm referring to what brake Buddy has to offer.

I received the system approximately two weeks ago. I immediately read the installation manual thoughly at least two times. I would consider myself "handy" and I'm confident that I can install the system myself. I spoke with Peter S. a couple of times on the toll free #. He's very accomodating and supportive. So two weeks have passed and I have everything installed except the "Operating Unit" Although the instructions notate that the "Operating Unit" is installed first. I installed the "G - Force controller" first. I had the Yukon in the stereo shop having a DVD player installed for my wife for Xmas. I took advantage of the oportuinity to have the stereo tech drill a hole through the firewall, refit the hole with a rubber grommet and had him fish all necessary wires including the air line. This equated to a more professional install, in my opinion.

After I arrived home, I was preparing to install the "Operating Unit" when I noticed that there weren't any vacuum hoses to connect the supplied fittings and rubber hoses to. The manual notes that this part of the install was for vacuum assisted brakes and also noted that if I had a HYDRA-BOOST style brake system (no vacuum lines)I should contact the help line. So I did. I called Peter again. He said that it wasn't a problem and that I should remove the factory installed rubber vacuum line from the "operating unit" as I wouldn't be needing it for my application. I thought no more of it.
A few more days have passed and I've been mostly proccupied with Xmas shopping and trying to get other things arranged before we head out on January 1st for the west coast. Anyway, I'm driving along today and it dawned on me... I won't have any assisted brake pressure in my Yukon when the brakes are applied! I called SMI 's hotline again. I couldn't get hold of Peter so I spoke with another support person. It may have been Peter's son, I don't know. I explained to him that I was concerned about NOT having assisted brake pressure with the way Peter had instructed me to install the unit. He said that I shouldn't be alarmed either way as the system would still work fine the way I was told to install it. He also mentioned that I should/could check with a recognised RV forums if I still felt uncomfortable. He said there were many Rv's like me with he same type of towing application as mine. He recommended this site to me. This is why I'm here. Does anyone have the same towing application that I do with respect to having a "Dead pedal" to contend with. Maybe I have this all wrong... I just don't see where I have an advantage here with the SMI system vs. what's on the market IE. Brake Buddy? Please help, Steve

Now here's the question
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Old 12-22-2008, 08:20 PM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2008
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Hi everyone,
I'm new to this forum so please bare with me while I settle in... I recently purchased a SMI Stay N Play Duo system to flat tow my wife's 2002 K2500 Yukon XL under two different towing applications 1.) I want to tow it behind my 2003 GMC K2500 duramax diesel from where we live in Central Alberta Canada to the west coast of Canada through the rockies. (Lots of ice and snow) 2.)I would also like to tow the Yukon behind my HR Navigator later next year on another trip we have planned to California / Arizona.

I spoke with Peter from SMI at length before purchasing the Stay in Play. We decided that in my application (hydraulic brakes in the Duramax and air brakes in Navigator), the stay in play would be easiest to adapt. I was sold on the idea of the SMI system for reason that the brakes in the Yukon (Toad) would be pressurized as if they were power brakes with the engine OFF. I didn't like the idea of having a "bomb" going off and the excess wear and tear on the front seat of my Yukon and the related stresses that the brake pedal and associated mechanisms must sustain with a "dead brake" pedal. I'm referring to what brake Buddy has to offer.

I received the system approximately two weeks ago. I immediately read the installation manual thoughly at least two times. I would consider myself "handy" and I'm confident that I can install the system myself. I spoke with Peter S. a couple of times on the toll free #. He's very accomodating and supportive. So two weeks have passed and I have everything installed except the "Operating Unit" Although the instructions notate that the "Operating Unit" is installed first. I installed the "G - Force controller" first. I had the Yukon in the stereo shop having a DVD player installed for my wife for Xmas. I took advantage of the oportuinity to have the stereo tech drill a hole through the firewall, refit the hole with a rubber grommet and had him fish all necessary wires including the air line. This equated to a more professional install, in my opinion.

After I arrived home, I was preparing to install the "Operating Unit" when I noticed that there weren't any vacuum hoses to connect the supplied fittings and rubber hoses to. The manual notes that this part of the install was for vacuum assisted brakes and also noted that if I had a HYDRA-BOOST style brake system (no vacuum lines)I should contact the help line. So I did. I called Peter again. He said that it wasn't a problem and that I should remove the factory installed rubber vacuum line from the "operating unit" as I wouldn't be needing it for my application. I thought no more of it.
A few more days have passed and I've been mostly proccupied with Xmas shopping and trying to get other things arranged before we head out on January 1st for the west coast. Anyway, I'm driving along today and it dawned on me... I won't have any assisted brake pressure in my Yukon when the brakes are applied! I called SMI 's hotline again. I couldn't get hold of Peter so I spoke with another support person. It may have been Peter's son, I don't know. I explained to him that I was concerned about NOT having assisted brake pressure with the way Peter had instructed me to install the unit. He said that I shouldn't be alarmed either way as the system would still work fine the way I was told to install it. He also mentioned that I should/could check with a recognised RV forums if I still felt uncomfortable. He said there were many Rv's like me with he same type of towing application as mine. He recommended this site to me. This is why I'm here. Does anyone have the same towing application that I do with respect to having a "Dead pedal" to contend with. Maybe I have this all wrong... I just don't see where I have an advantage here with the SMI system vs. what's on the market IE. Brake Buddy? Please help, Steve

Now here's the question
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Old 12-23-2008, 05:06 AM   #3
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First let me welcome you to IRV2. Glad to have you here.

If you are asking whether unassisted brakes work ok and stop the toad, the answer is yes. I use the Brakemaster system, which is an air-applied system powered direct from the coach air supply, and it works just fine. It does not push against the seat or have any of the other drawbacks you attribute to the Brake Buddy.

Your Stay In Play Duo will work essentially like the original Stay In Play, which did not have a vacuum assist. That unit was used by thousands of RVers for years before the Duo vacuum assist model became available.
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Old 12-23-2008, 06:11 AM   #4
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Thanks Gary. I'm still not 100% convinced that the small air cylinder that is used to pull on the brake pedal can generate enough force to stop a nearly 7,999 lb. vehicle. And if it can I would still be afraid that it the screw would pull free from the firewall. I've driven enough vehicles that needed to be towed without braking assist from the engine. It takes 2 grown men and a small boy to apply enough brake pressure on the pedal to slow the vehicle at best! Especially when it is minus 20 to minus 40 below freezing. I'm still skeptical but I'll finish off the installation because that is what I set out to do from the beginning. Merry Christmas, Steve
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Old 12-23-2008, 08:24 AM   #5
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Snowman, I won't "bare" with you--too cold for that! Our toad brakes work effectively without power assist, but a 3200# HHR is probably no comparison. Is there no vacuum assist at all in your brake system? So, an aux. vacuum pump is probably not a solution?
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Old 12-23-2008, 07:47 PM   #6
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Thanks Two2go. I'll investigate the auxillary vacuum brake pump theory tomorrow. I'm going to try to get in touch with Peter at SMI as well. Note: My Yukon is 6,800# not 7,999# as previously noted. Either way it's still heavy towed behind a truck that weighs about the same. It pushes me real hard and I'm worried about being on ice and snow especially going around corners. I've already tow tested it around the block in the neighborhood. It pushes me sideways immediately when I try to turn a corner on ice. That's driving at under 10 MPH. There's next to no weight in my pickup bed so it's easily knocked of her tracks! I'm not worried about towing it behind the Navigator because of the weight factor of the motorhome. Now you know why I'm having second thoughts about towing with my Duramax on icy road conditions through the mountains. I may abandon the whole idea of towing it and fly back to pick up my pickup truck in January sometime. It's an extra added expense but at least I know I will have a better chance of getting both vehicles to the coast without killing myself. The roads should be clear when we head back to Alberta in May so I may or may not attempt to tow the Yukon back here. It just seems like whole lot of waste of time and money to do it this way?? Steve
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Old 12-24-2008, 05:42 AM   #7
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There should be plenty of pressure in that air piston, far more than you can generate with your foot on the brake pedal. And federal highway safety law requires that the unassisted brake pedal be able to stop the car with only human foot power on the pedal.

Your problem is that the toad is equal in weight to the tow car when behind the truck. The tail is as large as the dog that is trying to wag it! There is a delay in brake application at the toad, so you get a good push before the toad begins to slow on its own. And yes, that would be scary on icy roads. I'm not sure any auxiliary brake system is going to solve that for you.
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