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Old 01-25-2014, 01:35 AM   #1
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Toad braking requirements

We recently upgraded from our starter RV after 3 great years. Unfortunately our toad gave up the ghost shortly afterwards and we just bought a new Chevy Equinox to tow behind our "new" 2005 Windsor 40PST.

Our salesman made a big point of telling us that this very nice coach was designed with oversized brakes to make a supplemental braking system unnecessary in the toad.

I can attest that when you brake hard this coach grows claws and grabs the road, but I am quite skeptical of this claim, and now that I have to fit our new toad with tow baseplate, wiring etc, I want to get this right.

Anyone know if there is anything true about what we were told?

If I put supplemental brakes I want to get the best system I can, and the most troublefree...AND I don't want to have to connect some bulky contraption to the brake pedal and remove it to drive the car.

Any voices of experience who can advise?
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Old 01-25-2014, 05:08 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tricotec View Post
We recently upgraded from our starter RV after 3 great years. Unfortunately our toad gave up the ghost shortly afterwards and we just bought a new Chevy Equinox to tow behind our "new" 2005 Windsor 40PST.

Our salesman made a big point of telling us that this very nice coach was designed with oversized brakes to make a supplemental braking system unnecessary in the toad.

I can attest that when you brake hard this coach grows claws and grabs the road, but I am quite skeptical of this claim, and now that I have to fit our new toad with tow baseplate, wiring etc, I want to get this right.

Anyone know if there is anything true about what we were told?

If I put supplemental brakes I want to get the best system I can, and the most troublefree...AND I don't want to have to connect some bulky contraption to the brake pedal and remove it to drive the car.

Any voices of experience who can advise?
Bobby,

You know how to tell if a salesman is lying. His lips are moving! Yes you should install a supplemental braking system on your toad. There are reasons besides braking efficiency. One is that in many states it is required by law if the vehicle is over 3000 lbs. I think your Chevy Equinox is because we have been looking at that model as a possible purchase for our next toad.

Another reason is that when you make a panic stop the vehicle you are towing will try to jump over or under the tow bar, depending on the hitch inclination. If you can always set the height so the tow bar is level when the coach is at ride height. Even then the toad will apply stress to the tow bar and base plate.

There are many supplemental braking systems to choose from and it can be confusing. We have the Roadmaster air cylinder that quickly attaches to the brake pedal using a bracket mounted under the seat. It is connected to the coach air brakes and his a proportional braking system. There are several good products that can be permanently installed in your vehicle so you don't have to install or remove them each time you start or stop towing. The down side to these is you can't move them to a different vehicle without difficulty.

Many folks use systems like the Brake Buddy that you install between the seat and the brake pedal. These are my least favorite because they use quite a bit of power from the toad while towing and are large and bulky. If you settle on one of these I would suggest a charge line from the coach to keep the battery in the toad charged while going down the road.

Just my two cents,

Bob
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Old 01-25-2014, 05:11 AM   #3
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You have to love salespeople. They would tell you anything so long as it helped sell the unit and frankly, there are some that don't know anything about the products they handle, they just know how to sell.
I, and many others on this forum will advise you that to go down the highway without an auxiliary toad braking system is a safety/liability risk and in most states illegal over a certain weight (differs by state). Your stopping distances will be longer without the brake and if you need 10 feet less so you won't hit the car that's stopped at a red light in front of you, you'll be the first one at the scene of the accident.
Yes, it is possible to go down the road without a brake in the dinghy, I just wouldn't want to be in front of you and stop quick. Some others on the forum will disagree and say they've been towing without for years with no problem....but IMHO. They have been very lucky.
I wouldn't go without it.
As far as what to use, you will find a hundred different opinions. Almost all braking hardware is satisfactory, it's just your personal choice. I use a Brake Buddy and have no issues with moving or storing it, but that's for you to decide.
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Old 01-25-2014, 05:42 AM   #4
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It doesn't matter how large the brakes on the MH are, the laws of physics still apply. The combined MH/toad will always stop in a shorter distance if the toad is braked than if it is unbraked. It's the same principle as me unhooking the trailer brakes on my 5th wheel - I can guarantee you, that is a scary situation! The weight proportions change with a MH and toad, but the fact remains that braking a towed load will reduce the required stopping distances.

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Old 01-25-2014, 05:55 AM   #5
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But if under 3,000 # brakes not required, correct
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Old 01-25-2014, 06:09 AM   #6
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But if under 3,000 # brakes not required, correct
In Florida, the law is brakes required for towed car over 3000 #. Correct. In NY State, there is no car specific limit but instead just a trailer weight limit of #1000 before needing brakes.
But, legal or not, if you can "choose" to have 10-25 feet less stopping distance, why take the chance?
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Old 01-25-2014, 06:39 AM   #7
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yes, but it reads "trailers weighing over 1,000 pounds unladen, and trailers having a maximum gross weight in excess of3,000 pounds, must be equipped with brakes"

So 3,000 lbs is the way I interpret it
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Old 01-25-2014, 06:44 AM   #8
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Just a reminder. If you travel outside your home state, trailer/toad braking laws of your home state don't matter. Your rig must conform to the laws of the state through which you travel - this includes towed load braking. Driver license reciprocity has nothing to do with this vehicle configuration question.

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Old 01-25-2014, 06:57 AM   #9
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All the above comments are good advice. Also remember that the reciprocity agreements between states applies to license, registration and insurance coverage only. If you are pulling a toad thru a state that requires supplemental braking and are involved in an accident, you will be in for problems, fines, liability lawsuits, etc.

SMI makes Air Force One, a supplemental braking system that is easy to hook up and disconnect, without having to install a bulky box in the front floor to attach to the brake pedal. There are others.

Hope you take the good advice.
Edit: Rusty beat me to it.
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Old 01-25-2014, 07:07 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tricotec View Post
If I put supplemental brakes I want to get the best system I can, and the most troublefree...AND I don't want to have to connect some bulky contraption to the brake pedal and remove it to drive the car.
I went to a professional towing-only shop for everything. They always recommend M&G for air brake coaches...if the towed has enough real estate in the engine compartment. No muss, no fuss, works fine, lasts a long time. The simple breakaway system completes the package.

M & G Engineering - Car Braking Systems: Home Page

PS...If you were ever involved in an accident without supplemental braking, you may well incur liability. Crossing the northern border may be another problem.
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Old 01-25-2014, 08:59 AM   #11
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I would also recommend the M and G braking system. Had it installed on a 2011 Honda CR-V, and only an air hose and a breakaway cable to hook up. Takes only 20 seconds to do.

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Old 01-25-2014, 09:15 AM   #12
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Required or not, I wouldn't leave home without a toad braking system!
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Old 01-26-2014, 05:59 AM   #13
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towing laws by state

Here is a neat site:
Towing World Official Website

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Old 01-26-2014, 08:12 AM   #14
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Air Force 1

I just purchased the Air Force 1 system. I did a lot of research on both the "box in the toad" type braking systems and the M&G and Air Force 1 type systems. I went with the Air Force 1 system. You will find a wide range of prices on the system. I believe their list price is essentially $1200 complete. I have been told that an experienced installer can install the whole system in about 3 - 4 hours. I bought mine for about $950 on line with free delivery. I anticipate paying about $300 to have a pro install it for me. It works with virtually all toads, and uses no power from the toad.

I have watched friends install and uninstall their box type systems on the floor of their toads before they depart or after arriving and my observation is that it often takes them 5 minutes to install. That is not bad, but not for me. The Air Force 1 system requires connecting an air line from the coach to the toad using industry standard air fittings, and that is it. The system is "proportional", and the people that have them have a lot of good things to say about them. The system also has built in break away protection for both the coach and the toad. Its not an extra. This is just my opinion, but explore closely. There are lots of options with lots of different costs.

I have pulled my toad without braking systems now for about 5,000 miles. I have had one occasion where a light went red suddenly and the car in front of me spiked the brakes to stop and I had to brake hard to avoid hitting him. We stopped just fine, but the experience made me think about the advantages of the toad doing part of the braking. I thought about it enough to convince myself that I needed to have this system installed.

Gary
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