Go Back   iRV2 Forums > MOTORHOME FORUMS > Toads and Motorhome Related Towing
Click Here to Login
Join iRV2 Today

Mission Statement: Supporting thoughtful exchange of knowledge, values and experience among RV enthusiasts.
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 09-14-2011, 02:18 PM   #1
Senior Member
johnnyringo's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Vero Beach, FL
Posts: 263
SMI AF-1 or Brake Buddy

Our (new to us) 2004 Phaeton has a SMI brake sytem installed on the coach. It also came came with a Blue OX tow bar. We've bought a 2011 CRV and called our local RV shop about having the two co-joined. They suggested NOT using the SMI system. They said the Brake Buddy is the way to go. I've not heard horrible things about SMI (AF-1) and find it kind of difficult to just forget about all the SMI stuff that's already on the coach and buy something else.. Thoughts?

2014 Keystone Bullet 22RBPR
2014 Yukon Denali
johnnyringo is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 RV Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

iRV2.com RV Community - Are you about to start a new improvement on your RV or need some help with some maintenance? Do you need advice on what products to buy? Or maybe you can give others some advice? No matter where you fit in you'll find that iRV2 is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with other RV owners, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create an RV blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 09-14-2011, 02:24 PM   #2
Senior Member
Elkhartjim's Avatar

Newmar Owners Club
Texas Boomers Club
Freightliner Owners Club
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Don't mess with Texas
Posts: 3,117
Sneaking suspicion your RV shop sells Brake Buddy. Stay with the SMI and you'll be much happier.

Jim with Judy
2017 Newmar Ventana 4369, 2005 Jeep Wrangler (Rock Crawler), 2016 Jeep Wrangler (Mall Crawler)
Elkhartjim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-14-2011, 07:08 PM   #3
Senior Member
Fleetwood Owners Club
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Plymouth, MI
Posts: 177
Originally Posted by Elkhartjim View Post
Sneaking suspicion your RV shop sells Brake Buddy. Stay with the SMI and you'll be much happier.
Perfect set up for us. Our RV Center didn't know ANYTHING about SMI. Went to a Cummins shop for installation. Love the ease of hookup and away we go.
2015 Providence 42M, Cummins 450 ISL 9L), Allison 6-spd transmission, Freightliner chassis. Towing - 2017 Jeep Patriot (manual trans) with Air Force 1 brake system.
Fencebuster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2011, 04:49 AM   #4
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2008
Location: On the Road
Posts: 324

The AF1 is very straight forward to install. Plus, there's no need to remove it to drive the car like Brake Buddy. Just disconnect from the coach, and go.

'07 Bounder Diesel 38N
'08 Jeep Liberty Pusher
SSteve is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2011, 10:18 AM   #5
Senior Member
wagon217's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Lake Mary, Fl.
Posts: 161
I have used the airforce one system on my jeep since 07. When you say your coach has the system installed on it, the only components that are associated with the coach is a connection box with a flat tow electrical connections and an air line connection. The tow vehicle gets the control box and brake components. This system provides true proportional braking between the coach and the tow. So, with all that said I would guess that the brake buddy system might be the cheaper of the two systems. My recommendation if you're interested would be SMI.
wagon217 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2011, 10:42 AM   #6
Senior Member
bench's Avatar
Monaco Owners Club
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 126
Had a brake buddy-worked but mickey mouse. Have Air Force 1 b SMI and its wonderful. I'd find a new RV shop fast. Good luck.
2009 Monaco Camelot
bench is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2011, 11:23 AM   #7
Moderator Emeritus
Gary RVRoamer's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Silver Springs, FL. USA
Posts: 18,632
The SMI is well ahead in terms of convenience and performance. That's not knocking the BB, but since you are part way to having the SMI AF1 anyway, I can think of no reason at all to go to a BB.

But when yu say you have the part in the coach already, be aware that is almost nothing. Basically just a tap into the coach air system. All the major components - and all the expense- is on the car side. So don't expect to save money by going that route. Youwill, however, end up with a first class brake system.

The only real advantage to the BB is its portability. If you trade cars often, or tow more than one car, a portable brake system is easy to move form one vehicle to another. Not so with the SMI brakes.
Gary Brinck
Former owner of 2004 American Tradition
Home is in the Ocala Nat'l Forest near Ocala, FL
Summers in Black Mountain, NC
Gary RVRoamer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2011, 08:51 PM   #8
Senior Member
JDT's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 1,310
I would not say the part on the coach is nothing. It consists of a small air tank and control valve, 2 DOT approved T's for 5/8" and 3/8" air hoses, the connection for the car and some lengths of 1/4" air hose. The coach part costs well over $300, I'm thinking $370 something.

I would call SMI directly, tell them what you have and see what price they have on the car part of the kit. It should be less than a new BrakeBuddy. Of course, you will have installation costs unless you do it yourself. I did my own and it was not all that difficult.

In case you are wondering how I know this, we recently sold our 08 Acadia to some friends which had the SMI Air Force One and left as part of the deal. While I was deciding what we were going to do vehicle wise I called SMI to price the part for the car but just can't remember what they told me. I do remember the $300 something for the coach part which would have been for my friend to buy to mount on his coach. We decided to go a different direction and just this afternoon I pulled the SMI parts off our coach to give to my friend. Its still sitting in my garage.
2013 Excel Winslow 34RKM
2017 Ford King Ranch dually, PowerStroke, 4X4
JDT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2011, 08:56 PM   #9
Senior Member
Damon Owners Club
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Annapolis,MD
Posts: 1,268
SMI, either Air Force One, or Stay in Play Duo are both way ahead in
convenience. I've had Stay in Play on my DP for two years, works
great, easy to use.
macandphyl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-16-2011, 10:49 AM   #10
Senior Member
wa8yxm's Avatar
Damon Owners Club
Workhorse Chassis Owner
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 23,856
The SMI is powered by the tow vehicle, it takes no battery power and it works very well, I've never heard so much as one bad word about it, it is easy to hook up and stores under the seat when not in use.

The Brake buddy uses towed vehicle power, it is NOT controlled by the tow vehicle but rather senses when slowing down and applies the brakes (So going down hill can apply them) and it is much harder to install when you tow and much harder to store once you remove it so you can drive the car. It is also more likely to "Grow Legs" and walk off.

Also, it is easier to install WRONG.. You have to install it every time

With the SMI you only do the last step (hook the pedal pusher to the pedal)

No, the SMI is by far the better product. I rank it #3 on the list of good ones.. Brake buddy and it's competitors I put last on the list (as a group)

#1: US-Gear unified brake decelerator,, Full control from the cockpit, same as a semi driver has over his trailer, in fact better.

1.5 The "invisi-Brake" You do not have the same remote control ability but it too is controlled by the tow vehicle other wise it works like #1.

#2: M&G All the advantages of the SMI, in fact with one exception everything I said about the SMI applies.. that being you don't hook up the pedal pusher since there isn't any, it installs between the vacuum booster and the master cylinder Downside: May not fit all cars.

#3 is Air Force one, works lot like the M&G, fits more vehicles. You do have one device to hook up when you tow (The pedal pusher)
Home is where I park it!
wa8yxm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-16-2011, 11:06 AM   #11
Senior Member
mfire1339's Avatar

Monaco Owners Club
Workhorse Chassis Owner
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Glendora Ca.
Posts: 1,372
wa8, There is no pedal pusher with SMI. It pulls and does not need to be moved for driving.

2004 Monaco Monarch
Blueox, SMI, 1990 Wrangler YJ
mfire1339 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2011, 06:11 PM   #12
Senior Member
National RV Owners Club
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 288
SMI AFO, the Brake Buddy does not compete.

USN, Retired
2002 Tradewinds LTC Founders Ed
2004 Tundra Double Cab toad, 2007 Honda Goldwing
Submustang is offline   Reply With Quote


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
brake buddy losing air TXredfish Toads and Motorhome Related Towing 4 06-28-2010 02:32 PM
Brake Buddy Remote Roadking Toads and Motorhome Related Towing 1 03-15-2009 03:45 AM
Brake Buddy question ctcamper Toads and Motorhome Related Towing 3 03-14-2009 12:50 PM
Brake Buddy Securing codgerbill Toads and Motorhome Related Towing 5 04-08-2008 05:38 PM
Saturn Brake Harness with SMI Silent Partner? AKBrick Toads and Motorhome Related Towing 5 05-27-2006 11:56 PM

» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:45 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.