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Old 10-10-2017, 06:30 PM   #1
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Brake systems

I'm looking at setting up my Cherokee for towing. This will be my first toad and I'm planning on keeping the vehicle for the foreseeable future.

I'm leaning toward a Blue Ox towing system, but am undecided on a braking system. I've looked at portables by Blue Ox Patriot & RVI but I'm leaning toward an SMI Stay n Play for convenience. Does anyone have experience with this product, or a recommendation for one over another?

Thanks
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Old 10-10-2017, 06:42 PM   #2
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Several good braking options out there... You've seen the primary decision is portable versus built in..

I haven't used the SMI unit (hopefully others have and can chime in) - I went for the Roadmaster Invisibrake.
I wanted built in - and I didn't want to be braking with a 'dead pedal'. Invisibrake provides the vacuum for the power brakes on the toad.
Have had no issues in over 5000 miles of towing.

For rest of the equipment - Blue Ox and Roadmaster seem to be the two dominant brands... Shop pricing between them as I'm sure both support the Cherokee.
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Old 10-10-2017, 09:38 PM   #3
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Just installed the smi stay in play duo on my Jeep Wrangler unlimited prior to a 1000 mile trip, and I HIGHLY recommend it! It's a very detailed and involved install (I have a friend who is a talented mechanic who helped me), but once you get it installed, you hook up your toad to the tow bar, flip a toggle switch located in the toad, and you're on the road. While it is the first and only braking unit I've used, I can't imagine another system being easier to use...or more safe. It is an inertia based system, meaning the harder the coach brakes, the harder the toad brakes. A++
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Old 10-10-2017, 10:38 PM   #4
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I agree with gmc. I have the roadmaster invisabreak on my 2012 Wrangler. It works very well, and wasn’t very hard to install. It works off the Motorhome power except for the break away system works off the toads battery. The only thing you need to do when you tow it is plug it into your Motorhome which you have to do anyway for the lights.
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Old 10-10-2017, 11:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LockChuck92 View Post
... It is an inertia based system, meaning the harder the coach brakes, the harder the toad brakes. A++
What steered me away from systems like this was the inertia based system... Sounds great that it brakes when the coach brakes - but it doesn't know the difference between me hitting the brake pedal - or downshifting and engine braking... and I don't want the toad brakes engaged when I use engine braking on the MH.

Personal preference maybe... but why I chose what I did.

The Invisibrake is just the normal umbilical to the MH.. one additional wire attached along that for the monitor light on dash of MH, and of course the break away cable... Invisibrake takes care of charging the toad battery as well. All out of sight under the drivers seat of my Wrangler.
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Old 10-10-2017, 11:20 PM   #6
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There is absolutely no problem with the inertia systems. I have the RVI 2 Brake system. It transmits/receives WiFi to a unit in the RV. I can change sensitivity at will. This is the same folks that created the Blue Ox brake system. They left and created the RVI System. It is 1/3 the size. BTW - good choice for towing. There is now an RVI 3 System.
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Old 10-11-2017, 12:18 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmc View Post
What steered me away from systems like this was the inertia based system... Sounds great that it brakes when the coach brakes - but it doesn't know the difference between me hitting the brake pedal - or downshifting and engine braking... and I don't want the toad brakes engaged when I use engine braking on the MH.

Personal preference maybe... but why I chose what I did.

The Invisibrake is just the normal umbilical to the MH.. one additional wire attached along that for the monitor light on dash of MH, and of course the break away cable... Invisibrake takes care of charging the toad battery as well. All out of sight under the drivers seat of my Wrangler.
GMC, I thought the same thing before I dug a little deeper into the Stay In Play. It doesn't brake solely off of inertia; it is wired so that it detects when the brakes are actually applied in the motor home. Once the MH brakes are applied, it uses inertia to determine how much brake is needed. It will not brake unless the brake pedal is applied by the MH driver. Plus, it has a LED light that mounts on the back side of the toad rear view mirror (that you can easily see with your MH's rear view camera) that tells you when it is applying the toad brakes. I've read where some owners have extended the wiring to mount the LED in the cab of the MH. Regardless, it is one slick little system!
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Old 10-11-2017, 05:00 AM   #8
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RV mechanic talked me into M&G brake system. It is air operated, so you connect an air house between coach and toad. If you have hydraulic brakes, like me, they as a small 12v compressor and tank on coach.

They tap into hydraulic line and the T valve allows for proportional braking. The harder you apply coach brakes, the harder the toad breakers are applied.

On the toad, they put a device in line, behind master cylinder, unlike some that have a cable hooked to brake petal and pulls petal, with M&G the brakes are applied purely by the device on the master cylinder.

It's truly hook up the air house between coach and toad and you are done.

Obviously, if you're coach has air brakes than the extra compressor isn't needed, and they put the original valve on the air brake line rather than hydraulic.

By the way, what I describe is not their new 2.0 brake system, which has a pull mechanism rather than master cylinder booster.
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Old 10-11-2017, 03:45 PM   #9
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I use all Blue Ox tow equipment, and a U.S. gear braking system. Nothing to do but plug the umbilical into the motor home and the car, and its active. All proportional braking.
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Old 10-11-2017, 04:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laco View Post
I use all Blue Ox tow equipment, and a U.S. gear braking system. Nothing to do but plug the umbilical into the motor home and the car, and its active. All proportional braking.
US Gear sounds interesting. How does it connect to the brake petal? Is it a cable that pulls the brake pedal down? You leave it in place all the time and don't have to hook it up each time you tow? Based on your post, this is what I'm assuming.
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Old 10-11-2017, 04:42 PM   #11
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Yes it is a pulley cable that runs from a motor under the seat, to the brake. It was installed in 2007, haven't touched or even thought about since then, and it still works perfectly. The system also has its own vacuum pump so it can use the cars own power brake system. Its wired so while underway the cars battery is trickle charged through the umbilical from the motor home. Have had zero problems with it in years of towing. Had the stuff in the motor home transferred from my former DP to the current Gemini.
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Old 10-11-2017, 09:47 PM   #12
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I have a 2003 Grand Cherokee I tow behind a 2015 Vegas.
Use Blue Ox and SMI Stay n Play.
went to Alaska and back to Florida (13,500 miles) in 2015 without any problems.
Also, I don't know what year your Cherokee is, but if it is a newer one, make sure it has all the updates for the computers. One of the other's on the tour had a new Cherokee that locked up while being towed. The Jeep dealer in Anchorage fixed it by updating the computer.
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Old 10-11-2017, 10:09 PM   #13
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I went with the Invisabrake on my 09 Mini Cooper and also the Roadmaster all terrain tow bar. I pulled it from NC to Camp Gulf a couple of weeks ago and pulled with no problems.
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Old 10-11-2017, 10:47 PM   #14
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i trade my cars as soon as warranty runs out. the patriot brake controller works fine.
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Old 10-11-2017, 11:08 PM   #15
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We also use the US Gear system. Moved it from our previous coach to our Vegas, and the in-car unit from our previous tow car to the current one. I mounted the actuator under the glove compartment, and a cable runs to the pulley behind the brake pedal. Install wasn't too bad, if you can follow directions. Has worked like a charm for almost 10 years.

Good point, if you switch tow cars often, a portable unit might be a better choice. I prefer the luxury of plug in and go, without having to store the portable brake unit when not towing.
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Old 10-12-2017, 01:38 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laco View Post
Yes it is a pulley cable that runs from a motor under the seat, to the brake. It was installed in 2007, haven't touched or even thought about since then, and it still works perfectly. The system also has its own vacuum pump so it can use the cars own power brake system. Its wired so while underway the cars battery is trickle charged through the umbilical from the motor home. Have had zero problems with it in years of towing. Had the stuff in the motor home transferred from my former DP to the current Gemini.


The invisibrake works just like this. It has its own vacuum pump, and all you have to connect is the umbilical.
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