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Old 09-04-2012, 04:17 PM   #1
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Worn out Brakes

I tow a 2012 Ford Explorer with a 2004 Winnebago using a Brake Buddy. The Break Buddy came with the MH which was bought from a widow so I got NO INFORMATION. The Explorer has 8 to 9 K miles. The front brakes are GONE. I mean GONE. The rear brakes are in poor condition. The Ford guy told me that mostof the braking is done by the front brakes, so that makes sense.

So, $774 dollars later, I need to figure out what I am doing wrong.

I thought I followed the instructions that came with the brake buddy.

Was sonmething hooked up wrong, possibly> Or am I doing something wrong. One way or the other, something has to be changed. Any help will be appreciated. We have about 3-4 thousand tow miles.
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Old 09-04-2012, 04:44 PM   #2
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I have never towed an Explorer but have used a Brake Buddy classic for the last five years. From your description it sounds like perhaps the sensitivity for the BB is set too high and is activating too often. Ours is set so that it only activates when needed, i.e. when we are in a sudden stop situation. When you set the BB up, are you checking to be sure the arm is not pushing the brake pedal? If you are dragging the brakes you could wear them quickly.
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Old 09-04-2012, 05:02 PM   #3
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Here's a link to the manuals for Brake Buddy, I don't know which model you have.

Installation Manuals | BrakeBuddy - Braking systems for motorhomes towing a vehicle

Do you have the remote alert system to tell you when it's applying the brakes? I have a Brake Pro that the first time you activate it you have to 'level' it, then it's set. Without the level step, my BP would not activate properly. Not sure if any BB models need that step. Other thought is the unit is too close to the pedal so it doesn't release all the way.
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Old 09-04-2012, 05:18 PM   #4
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I would get an IR gun and check all the wheel temperatures. Then I would drive the car 20 miles and measure the temps again.
I would then hook up to the RV and tow the car 20 miles and then check the wheel temps.
The temps should be roughly the same for driving and towing.

I use an IR gun on all my wheels/tires every time I stop.

It gives me a good heads up to potential problems.
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Old 09-07-2012, 06:42 PM   #5
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Well, I just got an $800 lesson. When you go through the procedures of running the car every 6 hours, if you shut down the engine and DO NOT do it the right way and the ignitiopn is NOT in the accessory position, the computer thinks the car is moving and not supposed to be moving, so it puts on the brakes.

Good news is the car is back in new shape, and the service manager showed me the error of my ways.
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Old 09-07-2012, 07:20 PM   #6
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A vehicle that applies the brakes via the computer sensing movement? Sounds ultra high tech to me. If this is true, then Ford should have a simple programming solution.

Can you describe in detail just what the tech told you to do?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 09-07-2012, 07:49 PM   #7
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One of the problems I have with systems such as the brake buddy, what I call "Brake in a box" systems.. Is that though they claim "No installation required" the fact is they need to be installed EVERY TIME they tow... And the posibility of a mistake which will cost you a brake job is always there.. I had an "Installation required one time" system and the technician screwed it up and cost me a brake job. Others have had that happen too, but once fixed, it's fixed.

The other problem I have is the tendency to say "Oh it's too much work installign it" for a short trip.

That said.. I see someone has pointed you to the manual download.. I will take this chance to make a recommendation.

There are many sub systems in your RV.. Now the odds you can download a manual for th eRV itself.. LOW (not zero, but low) however...

Radio, Television, Jacks, Steps, Microwave, Fridge, Furnace, Water heater, Air conditioners, and all the other "modules" that go into the RV.. THOSE very likely have on-line PDF type manuals you can put on your hard drive where they are hard to loose.


NOTE to folks buying a brand new complete with manuals RV.. Same advice.
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Old 09-08-2012, 01:22 PM   #8
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Another aspect of setting up the Brake Buddy is that it may be applying too much braking, i.e. it is using the toad brakes to slow the motorhome when you press the coach brake pedal. You probably wouldn't feel the toad dragging (and you should not), but it may be happening. The amount of braking force is adjusted via the Air Regulator.

What model Brake Buddy is it - there are minor set-up differences. Classic, Digital Classic, Vantage, etc.?
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Old 09-08-2012, 09:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KoolBell View Post
A vehicle that applies the brakes via the computer sensing movement? Sounds ultra high tech to me. If this is true, then Ford should have a simple programming solution.

Can you describe in detail just what the tech told you to do?

Thanks in advance.
The key is making sure that you are in the accessory mode. There is NO key, push button start only. I have to run the engine for 5 minutes in the morning and every 6 hours. I thought it was to mix fluids for cooling/lubrication. Tech told me it is to make sure the battery is charged.
If the engine is shut down wrong, or the battery loses power, the brakes will be applied. He also told me, "If you are going to tow the vehicle, I'd get rid of the battery every 3 years". Never let the battery wear out. My note: When the car was set up for towing, the RV place put a wire to the battery to keep it charged if the RV is running. RV place told me to bring it in or check (I think) the 7 o'clock pin to make sure there is power going to the battery. If so, the battery will never go dead (unless it short out or something)

Anyway, Ford told me:
1. Start vehicle (Press brake and button)
2. Run 5 minutes
3. put shifter in R
4. Put shifter in D
5. Put shifter in N
6. DO NOT PUT ON BRAKE. Push button to shut down the engine
7. DO NOT PUT ON BRAKE. Push button again. MAKE SURE IT SAYS "accessory position" on advisory panel
He told me "Brakes will not be applied if the car moves while in the accessory position. If the car moves in any other position, the computer(?) will automatically apply the brakes."
Just to be sure, i think i am going to call Ford hearquarters. I don't want to put new brakes on. I was pretty sure that I followed the Brake Buddy instructions. We have a light in the RV that lights if the car's brakes are applied. It rarely lights. It takes a good breaking to make it light. I think that is what I want. Everybody tells me the DP brakes will stop that car. The BB is for added security in emergencies. Thanis for your interest.

they
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Old 09-08-2012, 11:13 PM   #10
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I'm a little confused about the brakes applying themselves.

If you are driving down the road and put the car in neutral while at say, 30 mph, it will apply the brakes?

I've never heard of a car putting on the brakes by itself. Could you elaborate?
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Old 09-08-2012, 11:39 PM   #11
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I've done some searching and can't find anything that says a '12 Explorer applies the brakes on its own. It can park itself, it can sense and alert to a collision automatically increasing brake-assist sensitivity to provide full responsiveness.(?) to It can sense rain and turn on the wipers, obey voice commands, hill descent control sets speed going off road down hill, even alerts when cars are in your blind spots. Nothing about automatically applying brakes when it senses car in motion.

I'd check the owner's manual or ask another service manager at another dealer if this is truly a feature of this car. Sounds like a fairy tale to hide a malfunction to me.
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Old 09-09-2012, 11:13 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BFlinn181 View Post
I've done some searching and can't find anything that says a '12 Explorer applies the brakes on its own. It can park itself, it can sense and alert to a collision automatically increasing brake-assist sensitivity to provide full responsiveness.(?) to It can sense rain and turn on the wipers, obey voice commands, hill descent control sets speed going off road down hill, even alerts when cars are in your blind spots. Nothing about automatically applying brakes when it senses car in motion.

I'd check the owner's manual or ask another service manager at another dealer if this is truly a feature of this car. Sounds like a fairy tale to hide a malfunction to me.
I did a search also and found nothing other than traction control. I've towed two cars with traction control and it doesn't create any problems.

I think I'd check at another Ford dealer.
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Old 09-09-2012, 02:59 PM   #13
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The most obvious problem is not bleeding the vaccume out of the car system before using the Brake Buddy - it is designed to work without vaccume assist and if used with vaccume assist it will lock up the brakes. Did you bleed down the vaccume system after starting and running the car at lunch? You use the "test" button on the older Brake Buddy and I believe the new model is more automatic - to prevent this problem.

I goofed only once and required new front rotors and pads.
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Old 09-09-2012, 09:12 PM   #14
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Applying the brakes if the car moves with no key in the ignition may be part of an anti-theft feature. In lieu of a steering wheel lock, for example.
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