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Old 01-21-2009, 02:56 PM   #1
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Hi Folks,

For background info go to my post(NAVYBLUE) (8) posts underneath this one. I am leaning towards a BLUE OX tow system and a Brake Buddy system. Interested in opinion. advice and alternatives. Fully loaded 2008 Winnie Voyage 32H coach(including gas/1/3 tank water/full propane) is 19,500 lbs. GVWR is 20,500. Toyota Tacoma is 4,200 lbs. Coach GCWR is 26,000 lbs. Looking for system to stop me safely. I normally drive 60-65 MPH, but mostly 60, and very defensively. Want a system that when I apply coach brakes TOAD brakes engage a microsecond later. Thanks in advance for any inputs.

NAVYBLUE

PS: Have read other posts but want to make sure my combo idea is not out there in left field.
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Old 01-21-2009, 03:18 PM   #2
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navyblue,

That is the system that I have been using for two years. The new Brake Buddy Vantage systems are proportional which is a step up from my system. It's an easy system to install & remove. I've had no problems with and am very satisfied with my Blue Ox tow bar and base plate.
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Old 01-22-2009, 06:23 AM   #3
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navyblue -
We have a 32H that we outfitted for towing a week ago. Blue OX was the clear choice for us for the baseplate and towbar. We debated on the braking system. We seriously considered the Brake Buddy, but chose the US Gear unified tow brake/controller. More $$, but setup is a breeze.

With one weekend trip under our belt, it was smooth sailing!

Hope this helps,
Natasha
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Old 01-22-2009, 07:53 AM   #4
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Navyblue,

I'm using a Blue Ox baseplate, Blue Ox Aventa II towbar, and U.S. Gear Unified Tow Brake system to tow an 08 Honda CRV behind my Allegro Bay on a Workhorse W-24 chassis for going on a year now. I have been pleased with all the components, particularly the U.S. Gear system. As historyljc said, hooking up the U.S. gear system is easy ... connect one cable between the coach and toad, connect the break-away brake connection, and you're good to go. Disconnecting is just as easy.

One thing I would do differently next time around is to first measure the height from the ground to the center point of your coach's hitch receiver and from the ground to where the base plate tow bar connections would be on whatever hitch plate system you decide upon.

The reason is that Blue Ox (and probably most other tow bar mfg's) recommend there be no more than 4" difference between the two measurements to prevent the toad from pushing under or over the tow bar connection points in a severe stop.

In my case the toad's connection were 6+ inches lower than the center point of the hitch receiver, required the using of a 6" drop receiver. The addition of the drop receiver added about 4-5" to the total length of the entire setup and additional cost. A lot of play between all the component's connection points was also introduced which required the use of hitch receiver immobilizers (more cost also) which eliminated almost all the play.

As I said, I'm pleased with my system but if I was doing it again, I would make the above measurements and then make my decision. My understanding is that the Roadmaster base plates allow making any height adjustments at the base plate, at the expense of the tow bar being visible at all times. The Blue Ox base plate is all but invisible when the tow bar connectors are removed.

Either way, I'm sure you'll be happy with your decision!
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Old 01-22-2009, 12:12 PM   #5
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historyljc/boris and natasha/wayneey,

Thanks all for your replies:

Historyljc: Any negatives with having to push seat back, disconnect from pedal to go sightseeing, etc and then reconnecting Brake Buddy. Also how comfortable did you feel with the remote control to adjust the settings and any problem with TOAD battery going dead


Boris/Natasha and Wayneey: NOW you got me thinking about the US GEAR Unified. Only negative to Brake Buddy was temp install between seat and brake in front of drivers seat. Researched US Gear and I like the permanent install, My Toyota has electric hydroboost brakes making US Gear cheaper because I don't need vacummn module and I like how I can put controls on the gear shift lever. I am going to research Roadmaster and others, but the RV dealer that will probably do Blue Ox tow bar installation is a US Gear installer.

Thanks for every ones input/NAVYBLUE

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Old 01-22-2009, 04:12 PM   #6
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Hi navyblue,
I'm a happy and satisfied USGEAR customer. 45K miles and it works as advertised. I would make the same purchase again.
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Old 01-22-2009, 04:34 PM   #7
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navyblue,

I don't have to have to move the seat to install or take out the Brake Buddy. It's a two minute install and 30 seconds to take it out. It works nicely the way I have the seat positioned for me. No problem adjusting the sensitivity from the remote.

I got a good price on the Brake Buddy. Could I start from scratch, I would probably go with a permanent install that hooks up when you hook up the tow bar. I sufficiently ignorant of those systems not to be able to comment on which one is best.
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Old 01-22-2009, 06:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by navyblue:
Please don't forget to consider our forum sponsor SMI Manufacturing. The Air Force 1 and Stay In Play DUO products work extremely well, are mounted under the hood of the car completely out of sight and out of mind. Plug in your umbilical and away you go! That's it!

I ran a BRAKEBuddy way back from the from Dan Decker days for about 3 1/2 years however after having installed my new SMI Stay-In-Play I was a very happy camper. No more kneeling in the street and getting both myself and the interior of the car soaked by rain.

The new DUO is installed under the hood and works better than the original SIP. The DUO's pump makes vacuum for the booster and the brake applicator piston uses air pressure to apply the power brakes and not vacuum like others.

If you are looking for the best solution look no further that SMI.

In regard to towing equipment, Blue Ox all the way!
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Old 01-23-2009, 07:24 AM   #9
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Like others have stated, the choice of components is a compromise. I chose Blue Ox draw bar Aventa 2 for the weight carrying ability 10,000#, (even though my current toad is less than 3,500 #) ease of hook-up and reputation. Chose the Blue Ox base plates because of the claim of an easy one hour install on the toad(Suzuki GV.) Install turned out to be many more than that, however, and they stick out well beyond the bumper.

Chose both the Brake Buddy Vantage and Aventa because of the inter-changeability between toads. Have permanently installed lights on the Suzuki and a set of magnetic hang on lights for any other toad that I might use. It was a toss-up between Brake Buddy and SMI system. All components on the BB can be removed and used in another unit, in minutes. For my application the SMI required a permanently installed vacuum generator on the toad for brake activation.

Brake Buddy also has a remote unit for the motor home which allows an "on the fly" choice between direct and proportional braking; as well as well as sensitivity, plus a indicator light that shows when you are activating the toad brakes. Changes while driving allow an operator to fine tune the braking system for terrain changes, such as mountains or heavy traffic where more aggressive toad braking might be desired

I think that all the systems pretty well meet an owners demands, some are a better fit for a particular application. All systems should last for many years, so price differences really are a minor concern.

Tom
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Old 01-31-2009, 07:15 AM   #10
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We are using a system from readybrake . com. Towbar and aux braking for $902.00. It's a simple system that works flawlessly. With brackets, lighting and base plates, we are in for less than 1400.00 and a day of my labor.
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Old 01-31-2009, 04:44 PM   #11
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Hi all,

Just found out from Brake Buddy they do not recommend their product for the Toyota Tacoma because it is almost impossible to adjust the sensitivity to where it worked and did not burn the brakes up because of Toyotas electric hydro boost system where the ABS and power brakes work even when the engine is off. I have narrowed down to US Gear, SMI and Roadmaster and am checking specs and prices. Thanks all for your replies.

NAVYBLUE
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Old 02-01-2009, 05:28 AM   #12
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I'd vote Roadmaster since I have put over 14,000 miles on in the last year and am very happy with the system. Works great and less than 10 minutes to hook up or remove.
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Old 02-02-2009, 03:13 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Works great and less than 10 minutes to hook up or remove.
Korryp, I call your 10 minutes and raise (actually lower) you 30 seconds using the SMI Stay-In-Play Duo "or" Air Force One.
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Old 02-02-2009, 06:46 PM   #14
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Korrp,

I called and spoke to Roadmaster tech and am concerned about hooking DIRECTLY into coach hydraulic lines. The "box" type systems aren't usable for 2005-2009 Toyota Tacomas. Concerned that if there is a fluid leak somewhere in coach I now have (2) vehicles that can't stop.

NAVYBLUE
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