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Old 08-20-2016, 10:01 AM   #1
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Towing newbie needs advice/help!

Hi guys

I've recently bought a smaller Class A DP (Winnebago Forza 34T) and am trying to figure out how best to tow my wife's little Fiat 500 Abarth stick shift behind the MH.

I think I may go the flat-tow method, but have what I think is an important safety question related to braking capabilities on the towed car. I believe my MH has an air-brake take-off quick disconnect at the rear, to easily plug into an air-hose supplemental braking system that I could fit to the Fiat, BUT.....before I do that, my question is how does everybody get around the lack of power brakes on the towed vehicle with the engine not running?

I ask this because as a teenager, I learned the hard way that just about any car with power brakes NEEDS the engine to provide the power-assist on the brakes, as after 2-3 "pumps" of the brake lever, the reserve vacuum in the brakes is depleted and it's virtually impossible to press hard enough on the brake lever to actually stop the car!

What has changed over the years or with these towing configurations that would prevent that from happening after the first few stops?

In my mind, any device that simply activates a mechanical arm to press on the car brakes will have the same problem (whether that is electrically actuated or with the MH's air brake hose.) Thoughts?

Thx!
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Old 08-20-2016, 10:14 AM   #2
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Everyone of us has a toad with power brakes, that are not powered while it is being towed. The commercially available supplemental brake systems take this into account. No worries.
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Old 08-20-2016, 10:26 AM   #3
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What you say is true. Without your car's vacuum boost it takes way more pressure to activate the brakes. Most braking systems just press harder to overcome the lack of a power assist. You may want to look at the US Gear - Unified tow brake system that will utilize the vacuum power assist on your car. Its takes more to install it the first time but you don't have to install anything later when hooking up the car to tow.
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Old 08-20-2016, 11:37 AM   #4
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Thanks, this is VERY helpful to me!
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Old 08-20-2016, 11:43 AM   #5
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RviBrake2

We use RviBrake2. It's a box that mounts in your floorboard. It's easy to install and remove. It also has Toad tire pressure monitoring capability. Braking systems are discussed in detail in other IRV2 posts.

Regards, Jerry
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Old 08-20-2016, 02:17 PM   #6
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I use a brake buddy system. The system, and any like it, probably don't brake as well as if the power steering was running but the system pushes the brakes pretty hard and definitely helps in stopping.
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Old 08-20-2016, 10:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Baldy View Post
Hi guys

I've recently bought a smaller Class A DP (Winnebago Forza 34T) and am trying to figure out how best to tow my wife's little Fiat 500 Abarth stick shift behind the MH.

I think I may go the flat-tow method, but have what I think is an important safety question related to braking capabilities on the towed car. I believe my MH has an air-brake take-off quick disconnect at the rear, to easily plug into an air-hose supplemental braking system that I could fit to the Fiat, BUT.....before I do that, my question is how does everybody get around the lack of power brakes on the towed vehicle with the engine not running?

I ask this because as a teenager, I learned the hard way that just about any car with power brakes NEEDS the engine to provide the power-assist on the brakes, as after 2-3 "pumps" of the brake lever, the reserve vacuum in the brakes is depleted and it's virtually impossible to press hard enough on the brake lever to actually stop the car!

What has changed over the years or with these towing configurations that would prevent that from happening after the first few stops?

In my mind, any device that simply activates a mechanical arm to press on the car brakes will have the same problem (whether that is electrically actuated or with the MH's air brake hose.) Thoughts?

Thx!
Old Baldy,
First, I'd like to clarify something. You state: "I believe that the coach has an air brake take off quick disconnect at the rear...."

Questions: Are you the first owner?
By the sounds of it, YOU did not install this Air quick disconnect at the rear of the coach, who did?
If you are not the original owner, did the previous owner (if that's who you bought it from) or, a dealer, (if that's who you bought it from) TELL you that, that air fitting is for air brakes? Have you followed the line to see where it goes? Does it go to the brake application side of the brake cans?

I'm asking all this because it sounds as if you're NOT SURE that, that is a air brake line. I'm sure you wouldn't want to get some form of auxiliary braking system for your wifes car, that would depend on that air, and it's really NOT an air brake line but, just a an air fitting for other applications. Just want you to be sure before you proceed in that direction.

Second, yes, you are right, once the vacuum is bled from a power brake booster, it does become difficult to apply brakes. But, some cars/trucks etc. are harder than others to get a vehicle stopped without vacuum. I've coasted in many cars (for various odd reasons) and had push quite a bit harder than normal when the vacuum was depleted but, none the less, was able to brake the vehicles and stop them as needed.

Mechanical auxiliary braking systems are way strong enough to overcome this "Non-vacuum" situation. You won't have to worry about that. Just make sure that, if you plan on towing your wifes little car, that you correspond accurately with the owners manual as it pertains to being towed behind an RV. Good luck and have fun.
Scott
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Old 08-21-2016, 08:24 AM   #8
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Thanks for the reply and advice. You're correct, I'm not the first owner. The rig is 7 months old. I'm still checking options on the toad brake systems and whether there is an air brake take-off at the rear or not. I won't be buying any supplemental system that hooks into the air line until I'm clear if that exists or not.I may simply have misunderstood the guy who walked us through the coach.

Regardless of that air option (or not ), I'm starting to think I'm moving towards the Unified system by US Gear, for it's apparent ease of hook-up (once installed the first time) and the level of control of the toad braking from the coach. Seems like the kind of solution that makes sense for me (but am still doing a lot of research on options, of course).

Thanks again!

OB
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Old 08-21-2016, 02:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Baldy View Post
Thanks for the reply and advice. You're correct, I'm not the first owner. The rig is 7 months old. I'm still checking options on the toad brake systems and whether there is an air brake take-off at the rear or not. I won't be buying any supplemental system that hooks into the air line until I'm clear if that exists or not.I may simply have misunderstood the guy who walked us through the coach.

Regardless of that air option (or not ), I'm starting to think I'm moving towards the Unified system by US Gear, for it's apparent ease of hook-up (once installed the first time) and the level of control of the toad braking from the coach. Seems like the kind of solution that makes sense for me (but am still doing a lot of research on options, of course).

Thanks again!

OB
OB,
It's always a good move to make sure of what you have, before making any decisions. The M & G Braking system is equally as nice of a system because it too, just like the one you mentioned, is a one time setup and then, from that point on, it's a curly que air line from the coach to the toad and that's it.
Scott
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