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Old 11-14-2009, 08:32 AM   #1
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Toad Brakes

I'm new to your forum so I apologize for asking something you probably have discussed before. I'm getting ready to setup a 2003 Trailblazer as my Toad. It weights 4600 lbs and will be towed behind our 2005 Monaco 40' Class A. What would be the best braking system to use? Keeping the cost down would be a plus but I would like a good system. I will also replace this Toad with a Jeep Wrangler in a year or two, so I will have to move the brake system too.
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Old 11-14-2009, 08:48 AM   #2
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Jeepsrule, I installed the SMI stay-n-play two years ago on my jeep wrangler. Works great and very adjustable.

Mike
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Old 11-14-2009, 09:15 AM   #3
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There are numerous discussions about dinghy brake systems which can be found with the Search function in the upper tool bar.

One that is easy to move from rig to rig is the Brake Buddy.

And welcome to iRV2.

ken
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Old 11-14-2009, 09:21 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeepsrule View Post
I'm new to your forum so I apologize for asking something you probably have discussed before. I'm getting ready to setup a 2003 Trailblazer as my Toad. It weights 4600 lbs and will be towed behind our 2005 Monaco 40' Class A. What would be the best braking system to use? Keeping the cost down would be a plus but I would like a good system. I will also replace this Toad with a Jeep Wrangler in a year or two, so I will have to move the brake system too.
Jeepsrule,

I use the Unified Tow Brake system from US Gear installed on my 09 Rubicon Unlimited. Monaco, Winnebago, Freightliner and a few more Mfg's pre-wired there coach's for this system. I am a Jeeper like you and I also use the Blue Ox base plate and Cooltech wiring harness which is simple to install. There are good beaking systems out there to look at but I chose Unified because I felt that if all of the MFG's pre-wire there MH's they must think it is a great system. So far it has worked great with no problems. (If you can use tools you can install it yourself, I did along with the Base Plate and wiring harness).

Good luck

U.S. Gear Corporation Home Page
Cool Tech LLC. JK Switch Mount
Blue Ox BASE PLATE BX1126 07-09 Wrangler - $349.99

I agree, "Jeeps Rule"
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Old 11-14-2009, 12:32 PM   #5
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Actually, they all work pretty well. Some are more elegant than others, do a better job or proportional braking, maybe a bit easier to hook up, etc., but they all do a credible job and none of them are much of a chore to hook up.

To keep the cost down, I'd look around for a used one and buy what was available.

If you have a gas chassis coach, your choices may be more limited because several of the systems need an external air supply that is built into a diesel coach. Most of the toad brakes that need air have an available compressor to install in a gas chassis coach, but that increases the price.
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Old 11-14-2009, 03:26 PM   #6
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thanks for all the great ideas and comments. I should have mentioned that the Monaco coach is a diesel pusher with air available.
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Old 11-28-2009, 10:34 AM   #7
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ReadyBrake here on a 2007 Jeep Wrangler Unlmt. Many miles, no problems
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Old 11-29-2009, 07:17 AM   #8
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I went with a Unified Tow Brake--so far it works great, and it's easy to connect up.
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Old 12-03-2009, 12:31 PM   #9
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From a cost perspective all the better brake systems are fairly close in price, within a hundred $ or so depending on options. Your coach should be wired for the Unified Tow brake by US Gear. The downside is that some coaches were not wired correctly by Monaco which can be a headache. Thankfully, US Gear is aware of the issue and will help you sort things out. My preference is either the SMI or M&G because they are truly proportional and require no tweaking after installed nor do you have to mess with a "box" that must be placed on the floorboard of the toad and removed when you want to drive the toad. From the tweaking and "box" issue I think the cost of ownership (time is money" is less with the SMI or M&G. Arguably, a downside to the M&G and SMI is that they are intrusive in that you tap into the air brake line. Some fear and the marketing folks have grabbed onto this but the reality is that SMI has integrated protection and a Pressure Protection Valve (PPV) can be installed along with the M&G to protect the coach air brake system. I had a PPV installed when I installed my M&G.

The above is my opinion so do your own homework. I have 20k miles on the M&G and it works great. Once the air line line chuck did not engage ( I thought it had). I very quickly felt a difference in how the coach was stopping and the tattle tale light did not come on indicating that the toad brakes were not being activated. My fault, should have caught it during pre-departure checklist.

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Old 12-04-2009, 07:31 AM   #10
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Thanks for the great info Sixpack98. My next project, blue ox tow bar, just arrived, but once that's done I'll figure out the braking product.
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Old 12-04-2009, 08:22 AM   #11
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Thanks all. I believe I've digested enough to decide on the SMI Air Force One. This looks like a great system with nothing in the toads cabin and I can move it to another vehicle. I've read many posts that love it and have installed it themselves (a plus). So thanks again for all the input.
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Old 01-20-2010, 07:02 PM   #12
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OK, OK, I know I said I had decided on the SMI braking system, but now I'm reading about some recommendations on the M&G Braking System. I live pretty close to Athens, TX and they install for a really reasonable price. Who has experience or knowledge of them and their product??
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Old 01-21-2010, 11:58 AM   #13
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Recently someone said he liked the Brake Buddy because you don't have to install it.. Fact is you have to install it every time you tow.

The SMI Stay & play is installed once, then activated with, as I recall, the flip of a switch

I use the US-Gear Unified Brakign system. and it's also installed once, when driving the towed, I know it's there because... Well I know it's there... My Wife however is unaware of it unless I pull a cover off and show her. (In short it is 100% transparent to the driver you have to know where to look to see it)

To set it up for towing.... Well, I do it the hard way.. but I asked the dealer to set it up the easy way (They did not)

SO what's the easy way? Use a 7-pin Light connector and cable, PLUG IT IN, Then replace the dummy break-a-way plug with the "live one" in the break-away switch and you are done.

The hard way...... Well.. I plug in the flat-4 light cable, then a second 2-pin Brake control cable.. Takes perhaps a couple of seconds.

Brake Buddy "Oh, I"m only towing a couple of miles. it's too much work to have to wrestle that thign in and out"

US-Gear.. Takes less time to plug in than to say the above sentence.
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Old 01-21-2010, 12:37 PM   #14
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I cannot help you with either the M&G or the SMI systems. If I were doing it over, I might look at them. That said, however, I have the Roadmaster Brakemaster system and am really very pleased with it. Here are a couple of considerations:

1. If you install the system yourself, you know how it works. While mine has never failed in 5 years, I'm happy that I understand it.
2. If you are going to swap vehicles anyway, you are really looking at double the installation costs (assuming that you pay someone else to do both.) I installed the Brakemaster on our first toad and recently moved it to the new one. That is a lot of installation money in my pocket. Having done it once, the second install went much faster and I probably did a better job of locating parts of the system than I did on the first time. It is now even more convenient to hookup when we travel.
3. I did my own baseplate and wiring for some of the same reasons I did my own brake install. Since I was working on the car anyway, the extra effort to put the brakesystem in at the same time wasn't all that much. I now know exactly how everything is setup and wired. I periodically check the baseplate bolts as Roadmaster recommends. I know exactly which ones and, believe it or not, can even remember the socket sizes. Perhaps I'm just anal but I have a greater sense of security about all of it because there was noone involved in any of the toad prep but me.
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