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Old 06-20-2022, 07:36 AM   #1
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Ready Brake adjustments / issues

We have a Forest River Georgetown 351DS (Ford F53) and a 2010 Honda Element toad. Using a Ready Brute Elite tow bar & Ready Brake cable toad braking system.

Set it up last year, had a lot of trouble with excessive friction in the brake cable assembly and replaced it after the first trip. Seemed better but we didn't take another trip with toad until last week.

This trip was better, however I find that it takes a fair amount of braking / deceleration on the part of the MH before the toad brakes get engaged (I have the dash light indicator that comes on when the toad brake pedal moves). I have played with the cable tension and don't think I can really make it much tighter (as it is now, it will sometimes trip the toad brakes when I go over larger road dips that make things bounce).

Not really happy with this setup, as I feel I'm making the MH do more braking work than it should - I would rather that the toad brakes engaged earlier so as to spread out the brake wear and not put so much on the MH.

Any suggestions? Beginning to think about finding a different toad brake system, but wish I wouldn't need to.

Thanks in advance!

Edited to add: I did work with a very helpful guy at NSA last fall when I was troubleshooting my installation. He sent me the replacement cable at no charge. Based on my discussions with him, I felt that my cable routing and such was well within their recommendations (tightness of turns, etc.). He indicated that while the force required to pull the cable once the power brakes were "flat" would feel high to one's finger, the Ready Brute was more than capable of generating plenty of pull to activate the toad brakes.

Also, last fall I did test the motion of the tow bar's brake lever (per NSA guy) by putting a short pipe on the lever and moving it. The system seemed to be moving fine per his description. I did buy the bar used, so I suppose there is some chance that it has an issue, but...
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Old 06-20-2022, 09:43 AM   #2
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Have you tried having someone follow you to see if the toad’s taillights come on? The issue may be that the indicator light itself doesn’t always come on when the toad’s brakes activate.
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Old 06-20-2022, 09:53 AM   #3
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Thanks for the suggestion. The indicator light is tapped directly into the toad brake light circuit, which activates upon pedal movement (just like it would when one is driving the car).

I will double check that the toad brake lights come on as expected during normal operation. I would expect that they do, but never hurts to confirm.
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Old 06-20-2022, 09:05 PM   #4
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Your indicator light must be wired differently than my set up. On mine the indicator light is driven directly from the surge brake movement - no feedback from toad. If surge brake moves, then in theory brake pedal will move, if cable is adjusted properly. I have had problems with cable binding and toad brakes dragging. Fix is to connect short bungee cord from brake pedal to seat frame.

On our setup, brake lights on toad come on any time service brake on RV is actuated. You have to monitor the third brake light to make sure the surge brake is actually pulling brake pedal.
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Old 06-21-2022, 05:05 AM   #5
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Yes, I'm wired differently - I'm not using the little pigtail plug on the hitch itself (which is what I think you are doing). I installed the wiring kit directly to the brake pedal because I wanted to know what was happening on the "business end" of the setup - at the pedal.

I am also using the same bungee trick to help ensure brake release, and that doesn't seem to be an issue currently (thankfully).
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Old 06-21-2022, 05:39 AM   #6
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You may also sit in the parked Element and press the brake pedal while someone stands behind the car to let you know when the lights activate.
If the pedal has to travel very far with the car off in order for the lights to come on, it’s possible that the Ready Brake just isn’t able to pull the pedal far enough.
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Old 06-21-2022, 05:53 AM   #7
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Good idea! Will definitely test this...
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Old 06-21-2022, 06:02 AM   #8
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When you stop is the slack in the cable the same as when you hooked it up?
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Old 06-21-2022, 06:05 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vyndance View Post
When you stop is the slack in the cable the same as when you hooked it up?
Yes. Cable clamps are not slipping as far as I can tell. There seemed to be a bit of initial stretch-out, but I have the in-line turnbuckle which makes adjustments easier, so I have done fine-tuning as necessary. I think I have about 1"+ of up/down "play" in the cable when connected.
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Old 06-21-2022, 06:34 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steverino View Post
Yes. Cable clamps are not slipping as far as I can tell. There seemed to be a bit of initial stretch-out, but I have the in-line turnbuckle which makes adjustments easier, so I have done fine-tuning as necessary. I think I have about 1"+ of up/down "play" in the cable when connected.
Should have gone farther. After driving and you stop the coach if you go and check do you still have 1 inch up and down or less? If it is the same after you stop on level ground the brake is not working correctly. Also 1 inch is not enough slack.

Not sure an indicator light showing the car's brake lights is the best way to test the Ready Brake. Buy a cheap IR gun at Harbor Freight and shoot the brake and the bumper after using the brakes.
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Old 06-21-2022, 07:08 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vyndance View Post
Should have gone farther. After driving and you stop the coach if you go and check do you still have 1 inch up and down or less? If it is the same after you stop on level ground the brake is not working correctly. Also 1 inch is not enough slack.

Not sure an indicator light showing the car's brake lights is the best way to test the Ready Brake. Buy a cheap IR gun at Harbor Freight and shoot the brake and the bumper after using the brakes.
Thanks for the reply! So just to be sure I understand, you're saying that after a stop on level ground (and making sure MH doesn't move forward at all), I would have less slack because the surge brake is still somewhat compressed and toad brakes would be applied?

Also, I understand using IR gun to check toad brake temperature, but what do you mean by checking bumper temperature?

Edit to add - yes, I agree that 1" is not quite enough slack, which is why brakes are getting briefly engaged over large dips, etc.
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Old 06-21-2022, 08:43 AM   #12
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Not the previous poster, but I think the intent is to get a baseline by checking the bumper’s temp. Then when you check the rotors you will know if the rotor is hotter than the baseline.
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Old 06-21-2022, 08:45 AM   #13
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Not the previous poster, but I think the intent is to get a baseline by checking the bumperís temp. Then when you check the rotors you will know if the rotor is hotter than the baseline.
Aha! Makes perfect sense - I just didn't connect the dots... Thanks!
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