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Old 07-11-2010, 04:50 PM   #1
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Supplemental braking systems

There are "progressive" systems and those that apply only full pressure on the brake pedel. What road &/or driving conditions would prompt a driver to elect "progressive" or "full pressure? The answers would determine which system to select or which method if the unit has both as options. Your help and experience would be appreciatd. Waterdog4315
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Old 07-11-2010, 06:31 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waterdog4315 View Post
There are "progressive" systems and those that apply only full pressure on the brake pedel. What road &/or driving conditions would prompt a driver to elect "progressive" or "full pressure? The answers would determine which system to select or which method if the unit has both as options. Your help and experience would be appreciatd. Waterdog4315
Some would say progressive braking is superior in all circumstances. Taken from a website for ambulance drivers:

"Progressive braking technique
The progressive braking technique achieves the best possible braking results for the space the driver has given him or her self to stop. Whether you have much room for slowing or stopping- or have only the minimum space to stop -you should brake progressively.
In braking progressively, you move through several stages of braking. This will occur regardless of the speed you are travelling or the space you have allowed yourself to stop in. You apply brake pressure in a way that best suits the stage of braking the vehicle is at." See full article: Extra info - Progressive braking technique

Basically is involves light braking at first, then heavier pressure, and then somewhat light pedal. (Look at the graphs).
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Old 07-11-2010, 09:22 PM   #3
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Progressive or proportional braking is probably best but unless you are pulling at/near yr max of 10K lbs, I am of the opinion our Alpine disc brakes [and the "jake" brake] can/do handle most normal braking situations for both the coach and the tow. That is--notwithstanding some of the problems people have reported about hard braking with the adjustable peddles.

Accordingly, I see two reasons for aux brakes on the tow: 1--its the law in most states and Canada; and 2--in an emergency situation, the ABS will dictate braking for the coach and the tow will do what it can to help; in which case, proportional Vs full probably doesnt matter that much. I am sure opinions will vary on this.
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Old 07-11-2010, 10:55 PM   #4
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I'm of the opinion that the only Auxiliary Braking System worth buying is one that uses a surge brake to stop the Towed vehicle. As Well as a pair of really Big Cables or Chains! It Is even more Important that the towing Vehicle has the ability to Stop both It and the Towed vehicle on a regular and continuous basis.

From what I have been able to determine None of the Auxiliary Braking Systems currently being marketed have any sort of Department of Transportation approval nor have any of them been independently Tested therefore None are approved for use for the intended purpose.
Furthermore upon inquiry of several levels of Government here in Canada no Department will stick it's neck out and accept Any kind of responsibility for these devices. In short there is No Approval therefore there is No requirement.
You are free to install whatever You want or Not!
I Personally have no problem with any of the Braking systems although I have run across several individuals who have experienced various Failures!
I have also met several Folks who have had Catastrophic Failure of Their Tow Bars, resulting in Loss of the Tow Cars! I wonder if Any towing systems are approved by any kind of Testing facility?
As To statements that "The Law" requires these devices , that would be something that I have a tough time buying into!
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Old 07-11-2010, 11:02 PM   #5
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RobRV,

See this link for a summary of the towing laws by state:

http://www.towingworld.com/articles/TowingLaws.htm
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Old 07-11-2010, 11:31 PM   #6
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It took me a while to get around to using a supplemental brake. However, after now having used an Even Brake and then installing a U.S. Gear Unified Tow Brake, I can assure you the coach stops MUCH quicker. It's kinda like throwing an anchor out.

I have seen claims that a towing setup with supplemental braking will stop faster than the same motorhome without any tow at all. I will decline testing out that claim.
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Old 07-11-2010, 11:38 PM   #7
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Hate to say it but I think Rob has it right. Setting aside the issue of the law for a minute, there are maybe three generic situations for an aux braking system in yr tow. 1--If you have a smaller coach or a really big tow, some extra braking could help; 2--in an emergency stop, the extra braking in the tow probably helps but do any of the aux systems offer ABS-like braking? Because my first/perhaps only instinct in an emergency [rain, snow, ice, mud, oil, etc. excluded] would be to mash the brake pedal to the floor and let the coach's ABS sort it out; 3--tow bar failure [my step-down hitch broke at low speed turning out of an RV park. Guess what? The break-away lanyard doesnt engage unless the safety cables also fail. So what you get is a 3000-6000 lbs "slinky" that is going to beat the hell out of the back of you coach. I escaped with limited damage [not counting the tow bar]. Cant imagine a good outcome from a tow bar failure at highway speeds--does anyone know of one?
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Old 07-11-2010, 11:52 PM   #8
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Old:

My thinking is that reason

#3 the insurance company for the guy you hit finds out that you had no braking system and the law required it. You will likely lose even if he pulled out right in front of you.

I've recently been reading of cars that broke away and killed others. Seems like the best reason, now.
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Old 07-12-2010, 12:12 AM   #9
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Dale ,
Your Towing World List would indicate an overwhelming number of States and Provinces have either No Laws regarding or offer suggestions but no opinions regarding Towing Cars!
The thing is that although a few and only a few require brakes They are careful to Not recommend any specific Type!
The Bottom line here is that the fact that No standard is in place has left these so called "Laws" in question.

It's stupid , and a lot like the Motor Cycle Helmet Problem!

I think that it is Very Important that I can Stop My Combination Vehicles Safely and prevent accidental disconnection of the same. I take every possible precaution and am confident that I am operating in a Safe manner at all times.

I also think it is Very Important to point out the obvious BS that is promulgated on these Web sites! There are No universal standards and certainly No Universal Laws!
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Old 07-13-2010, 03:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Scout View Post
Progressive or proportional braking is probably best but unless you are pulling at/near yr max of 10K lbs, I am of the opinion our Alpine disc brakes [and the "jake" brake] can/do handle most normal braking situations for both the coach and the tow.
I'm with Old Scout on this one. Just returned from a 1,300 mile trip and only activated the proportional braking on my Brake Buddy Advantage twice. Both were in agressive braking situations. It did exactly what it was supposed to do.

I like proportinal braking..less wear and tear on the toad brakes...there if I need the additional stopping power. Just my $0.02
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Old 07-13-2010, 04:34 PM   #11
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Progressive: The harder I brake the harder IT brakes
Purportional: You can adjust the "Gain" as it were so that a light press on the Towing brakes gives a light, medium or heavy press on the towed brakes.

Manual override means you can either disable the towed brakes (Gain to zero will do this) or apply them partially or fully, independent of the Towing brakes.

System that has all the above: US Gear Unified Brake Decelerator.

Many of the "Box" systems (like even brake) are progressive, and some you can adjust the gain but it's a lot of work to install the system EVERY TIME you tow. .Easy to say "Oh to heck with it, this is a short trip" and regret that decision later.

The US-Gear system is installed, once. and then you just plug it in.
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Old 08-05-2010, 07:19 AM   #12
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I always use progressive , that's all my system (D-Brake Professional Tow Brake) does and that's all any system should do. Full pressure is not good every time you break because it applies a lot of brake pressure to your towed vehicle when you do not need it. With progressive braking, it gives you the right amount of brake pressure for your current braking situation every time.
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Old 08-05-2010, 09:06 AM   #13
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I'm here to tell you, folks, I'd not tow without my Even Brake, which is Proportional.

When I had the Alpine I tried towing the Edge without a braking system on a trial and the slowing was abysmal. With the Even Brake it stopped a lot quicker.

As far as the Breakaway feature: the lanyard for it must be shorter than the safety chains so it engages before the chains/cables reach full extension. In event of tow bar failure, you want the TOAD trying to stop faster than the rig hauling it. Even if the TOAD's brakes lock-up it'll stay behind and aligned.

Regardless of "legislated Laws", the "Laws of Physics" are inviolate and not using an auxiliary/supplemental braking system is just plain foolish.
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Old 08-05-2010, 09:26 AM   #14
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My VIP TowBrake is not proportional and I actually prefer that. I have it adjusted so it only applies the toad brakes when I need a hard fast stop. I can't see wearing out my toad brakes every time I apply the brakes in my coach.
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