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Old 03-28-2006, 07:18 PM   #1
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Have a 03 Fleetwood Southwind 32VS on a Workhorse Chasis 8.1 Chev engine. Just bought a 04 Jeep Wrangler 4.0 engine, auto transmission as a toad. Bought a Blue Ox aventa II tow bar. All hooked up and works great.....but I want to ad a brake system. I don't think I want something like a brake buddy. I think I want a progressive brake system......not just an emergency brake.......and don't want to have to install and remove each time. Have read about the US Gear Unified Tow Brake and the SMI system.........just curious what the recommendations would be.....is one better then the other....or is there something else out there I should be looking at. (What is the best SMI system too?) Thanks for your input.
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Old 03-28-2006, 07:18 PM   #2
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Have a 03 Fleetwood Southwind 32VS on a Workhorse Chasis 8.1 Chev engine. Just bought a 04 Jeep Wrangler 4.0 engine, auto transmission as a toad. Bought a Blue Ox aventa II tow bar. All hooked up and works great.....but I want to ad a brake system. I don't think I want something like a brake buddy. I think I want a progressive brake system......not just an emergency brake.......and don't want to have to install and remove each time. Have read about the US Gear Unified Tow Brake and the SMI system.........just curious what the recommendations would be.....is one better then the other....or is there something else out there I should be looking at. (What is the best SMI system too?) Thanks for your input.
Brian
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Old 03-28-2006, 07:24 PM   #3
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I use the SMI Silent Partner.....one toggle switch and I'm on my way....Also have the Alexus tow bar.
My brother uses the Aventa II that I sold him when he bought the Journey from me...
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Old 03-29-2006, 01:52 AM   #4
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We tow a 2000 Jeep Wrangler and have been using the Unified Tow Brake from US Gears for the last three years without problems. I didn't want to tie into the Jeeps wiring harness so we also mounted extra bulbs in the taillights and run brake, signal and running lights from the coach.
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Old 03-29-2006, 05:39 AM   #5
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We've had the UTB for 2 years now and has worked great! Would definitely do it again if we got another toad.
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Old 03-29-2006, 08:35 AM   #6
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The Unified Toe Brake is an excellent system and I'm sure you will be very happy with it. However, I think you are underestimating the Brake Buddy by referring to it as an "emergency brake".

The latest models of BB are quite sophisticated and do indeed vary the braking pressure in response to the rate of decelleration sensed by the controller.

I'm not a BB owner, so am not defending my own choice of a brake unit...
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Old 03-29-2006, 12:33 PM   #7
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by RV Roamer:
The latest models of BB are quite sophisticated and do indeed vary the braking pressure in response to the rate of decelleration sensed by the controller. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I am an owner of a BB and you're right Roamer. We've found it does a very good job holding our toad in check.
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Old 03-29-2006, 12:42 PM   #8
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To, Questioner re; Which toad brake system??

I've hed brake buddy since 2000, and it has done everything it's supposed to including applying the toad brakes when I use jake brake in moho.

The thing you cant do with installed systems is; use them in another vehicle. I have an extra brake away cable that I run outside toad when using others,

As I said, you don't have that option with an installed system and tapping into toads brake lines could cause warraty problems. Just took delivery of new toad and when service mgr. heard I would be installing base plte etc. , he cautioned me about making any changes to vehicle systems because of possible warranty issues, I think that's why Blue Ox light kit adds bulbs to taillight holders so as not to splice into vehicle lights. There has to have been some problems out there and I thought I'de make you aware of that possibility.

Hope this onfo is useful

Thanks==== Aime=====AJBJRVERS
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Old 03-29-2006, 02:52 PM   #9
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Aime, unless you have base plates on more than one vehicle,which I "guess" some do, it's not likely you'd use the brake system on more than one vehicle....Wouldn't think "too many" people set up two complete vehicles as toads....

In regard to your "void the warranty question" here is a quote directly from the SMI web site.

10. Will the insertion of such a plastic "tee" connection void my automobile warranty?

SMI Manufacturing, Inc. has studied the written warranty policies of Ford, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Jeep, Saturn, and others. Without exception, all the warranties provide wording that "after market" installation of any product into any vehicle will NOT void the warranty UNLESS such installation causes specific damage to some related system in the vehicle. Since the SMI System utilizes the towed vehicle's braking system as it was designed by the factory, no such damage is likely, nor has any occurred to date. In addition, the SMI system simply removes air in the booster by means of the vacuum pump in the operating unit. The SMI Systems are non-invasive to the towed vehicle.
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Old 03-29-2006, 03:18 PM   #10
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I was going to by the BB, but people here told me about SMI. I went to PPLmotorhomes.com and purchased the Unified. The main point for me was safety...The Unified uses the power brakes of your toad and not dead brakes like the BB. The remote control allows you to see it's working and it warns you if it comes disconnected. I would recommend that if you are using a 6-way, you may have two empty slots and use them for the Unified wires.

It is a bear to install, but you only have to do it once. With Unified, there is no swtich to turn it on. You plug it in and it's ready to go.

I agree that there are very few people who have more than one Toad. But, if you get a new Toad, it can be removed and installed on the new Toad. It is expensive. The suggested retail is $1,300; however, you can find it cheaper as I did at PPLmotorhomes.com (saved almost $500). This is not a plug, just my experience.
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Old 03-30-2006, 03:02 AM   #11
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Rebelsbeach;

Good morning,Bob,

No, I haven't got 2 vehicles set up for toading,good idea though.

On 2-3 trips where my toad wouldn't take passengers , we swapped toads to a larger toad with set-up ,but no supplemental braking.

New laws, in most states now require toad braking so swapping may not be neede, but if that situaion arises , you have an option that is not available in an installed system.

Any better response to Charlotte??

Take care==== Aime
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Old 03-30-2006, 02:15 PM   #12
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">The main point for me was safety...The Unified uses the power brakes of your toad and not dead brakes like the BB. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>


That's really a non-issue, Webster. By federal law it must be possible to safely stop the vehicle using human pressure on a dead pedal, i.e. no power assist. Power brakes may be safer for some human drivers (less pedal effort needed), but they aren't for a machine with plenty of oomph to put on the pedal. And the scare stories about breaking brake pedals because the power assist is off are just that: scare stories.

Again, I'm not saying everybody should buy a Brake Buddy, but I hate to see a decent product maligned for insubtantial reasons.
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Old 04-03-2006, 06:23 PM   #13
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OK, so while we are on the subject about brakes how about the Apollo by Blue Ox. I've been towing on trailer for years and have finally decided to switch to four down. Been reading these posts with great interest, but did I miss anything about the Apollo?
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Old 04-12-2006, 06:17 PM   #14
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Bob,
I have used M and G Engineering's system for the past 10 years on my 91 Wrangler and a second one on my 04 Liberty. There system is simple and pretty bullet proof. And a DIY er
http://www.m-gengineering.com/BrakeSystem.html
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