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Old 05-01-2017, 11:50 AM   #1
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Is a Breaking System for the Toad Required vs. a good idea?

Okay,

I was looking around this past weekend while camping and noticed two DP that were each towing a vehicle 4 down with Blue Ox towbar so I "walked the dogs" over to observe disconnection process. Both times I did not see any breaking system so I asked the second time and was told he did not use one.

My questions are: Is there a weight ratio of RV to Toad that dictates the need for a breaking system? Is it the law to have a breaking System for the Toad? Is it a safety issues? My Kia weighs in at just over 2400lbs?

Planning this season to start towing so trying to find out the rules and issues involved here.

Doc
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Old 05-01-2017, 12:43 PM   #2
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From a law standpoint - here is a good summary:
Towing Laws | BrakeBuddy - Braking systems for motorhomes towing a vehicle
In this case - not just the state you are registered in - but whatever state you are traveling through...
Some states have weight requirements - some just have stopping distance requirements or 'break away' requirements.

From my viewpoint:
  • It is certainly extra wear/tear on the MH brakes to stop an extra 4,000 lbs (2,400 in your case) pushing behind me at highway speeds... I'd much rather take that load on the cheaper/easier to replace brakes on the toad.
  • From driving with the aux braking - I can say I have never felt any impact on stopping having the toad behind me - I haven't tried without it - but fairly certain I wouldn't be able to say the same thing...
  • If something does go wrong (break-away) - I want to know the vehicle is going to stop - and not pass me on the highway...
  • I am using a $100,000 motorhome to tow a $40,000 vehicle - I'm not going to skimp on a $1,000 braking system. (Same reason I didn't go for the $50 towbar an uncle tried to talk me into...)
A DP will certainly have a toad that is a lower percentage of its overall weight... and likely less impacting... The smaller the rig and heavier the toad - the larger the impact.


Watching a campsite neighbor pull out with a near 5,000 lb toad behind a 20 something foot winnie with no brakes and the towbar at least 6" off from level made me cringe...



Certainly your decision what is right for you - and what chances you want to take based on the states you are driving through...
Based on your posts in past - being a 'belt and suspenders' kind of guy - I can guess which way you will go.
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Old 05-01-2017, 01:02 PM   #3
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GMC,

Thanks for the info! I plan to save the listing you provided.

You are correct as I have planned on getting a brake system of some sort based on postings on this Forum. But after this weekend I just wanted to be sure I would not be viewed as a "Snipe Hunter" when I approached a dealership with checkbook in hand.

Doc
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Old 05-01-2017, 02:01 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by DocMike View Post
....cut....

My questions are: Is there a weight ratio of RV to Toad that dictates the need for a breaking system? Is it the law to have a breaking System for the Toad? Is it a safety issues? My Kia weighs in at just over 2400lbs?

.....cut.....
In Texas I rented small U-Haul trailers in the past with loaded weigh rating up to 2,000 pounds that didn't have surge brakes. The larger tandem axle trailers did have brakes. Anyway, a 2,000-pound GVWR trailer behind my 3,500-pound pickup was legal at the time, and didn't feel that unsafe to me as long as I took much longer stopping distance into account. And no doubt it would make a great difference in stopping distance -- extending over 50% based on weight alone.

Some would argue that extending stopping distance by 50% is unsafe in itself, and it's a valid point of view. On the other hand motorhomes in general don't stop as quickly as sports cars, so if unsafe to stop longer than 120 feet from 60 MPH, not many motorhomes would qualify as safe.

You are correct that proportionally speaking, that same 2,000-pound trailer behind a 12,000-pound motorhome would make much less of a difference, and behind a 40,000-pound DP even less.
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Old 05-01-2017, 04:40 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmc View Post
From a law standpoint - here is a good summary:
Towing Laws | BrakeBuddy - Braking systems for motorhomes towing a vehicle
In this case - not just the state you are registered in - but whatever state you are traveling through...
Some states have weight requirements - some just have stopping distance requirements or 'break away' requirements.

From my viewpoint:
  • It is certainly extra wear/tear on the MH brakes to stop an extra 4,000 lbs (2,400 in your case) pushing behind me at highway speeds... I'd much rather take that load on the cheaper/easier to replace brakes on the toad.
  • From driving with the aux braking - I can say I have never felt any impact on stopping having the toad behind me - I haven't tried without it - but fairly certain I wouldn't be able to say the same thing...
  • If something does go wrong (break-away) - I want to know the vehicle is going to stop - and not pass me on the highway...
  • I am using a $100,000 motorhome to tow a $40,000 vehicle - I'm not going to skimp on a $1,000 braking system. (Same reason I didn't go for the $50 towbar an uncle tried to talk me into...)
A DP will certainly have a toad that is a lower percentage of its overall weight... and likely less impacting... The smaller the rig and heavier the toad - the larger the impact.


Watching a campsite neighbor pull out with a near 5,000 lb toad behind a 20 something foot winnie with no brakes and the towbar at least 6" off from level made me cringe...



Certainly your decision what is right for you - and what chances you want to take based on the states you are driving through...
Based on your posts in past - being a 'belt and suspenders' kind of guy - I can guess which way you will go.


Also consider the liability of not having a brake system. If in an accident you could be sued/fined and your insurance could possibly refuse to cover you.
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Old 05-01-2017, 06:10 PM   #6
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Just a note, some Toad braking systems are not visible like a Brake Buddy. On my toad there is an actuator on the brake pedal that is controlled by a unit under he hood. It's made by SMI and they make one that works off air pressure for the DPs. All I do is flip a switch in the toad and I'm good to go.

So, they may have had a braking system, just not visible.
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Old 05-01-2017, 07:11 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Jmccombe View Post
Just a note, some Toad braking systems are not visible like a Brake Buddy. On my toad there is an actuator on the brake pedal that is controlled by a unit under he hood. It's made by SMI and they make one that works off air pressure for the DPs. All I do is flip a switch in the toad and I'm good to go.

So, they may have had a braking system, just not visible.
If you were referring to my post - and cringing at my camp neighbor leaving... we talked... he had no brake system... and for the angle - he's 'always towed it that way'... Didn't stop me from cringing...

I have Invisibrake - also an 'out of sight' installation... But you know its there if standing next to it when I hit the brakes. (vacuum pump)
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Old 05-01-2017, 07:33 PM   #8
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All,

Busy day here at the office. Just got a chance to look again, thanks for the input. Now I just have to figure which brake system to go with. I like the "out of sight" systems now to find a "set it and forget it" model.

Doc
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Old 05-01-2017, 07:44 PM   #9
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Hi gmc,

I was referring to DocMikes original post. Fully agree with you. I cringe at the idea.

. Also, I'm sure we all leave that extra space in front of our rigs when driving. More times than I care to count, someone has swooped into that space in their car, then slammed on their brakes. During those times, I am very grateful my toad has its own braking system!

Safe travels all!

Jim
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Old 05-01-2017, 08:23 PM   #10
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I also cringe when I see people with no braking system.

Make sure you also have a break away system.
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Old 05-01-2017, 08:48 PM   #11
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Most states require braking systems on toads. Those that do not, should, and regardless it is IMO common sense to have an active braking system on your toad. Yes there are some braking systems that are not visible, IE; I use a U.S. gear braking system, uses the toads own braking system, connected through the umbilical, so just looking you would see nothing but the break-away cable.
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Old 05-02-2017, 02:06 AM   #12
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I have used a US Gear Unified Tow Brake for years, now on our second motorhome and second towed car. Well worth the money spent, for peace of mind alone. Some like the Brake Buddy, but it takes a bit more to connect, and then it has to be stored somewhere when you unhook.

I agree with what gmc said about a $100,000 motorhome and a $40,000 toad, although my numbers are a bit smaller.
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Old 05-02-2017, 03:23 PM   #13
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That U.S. gear system IMO is certainly one of, if not the best one out there. I had the system transferred from our former DP to the Gemini, and though the Gemini is certainly challenged towing, its ok for short trips, that do not involve traveling over mountain ranges. The nice thing about the Gemini, is because of its compact size, you can actually get it into parking lots to stock up on supplies. If we are staying in one sport for awhile, I rent an econobox. The logic in towing without a braking system in the toad, legal or not, eludes me. Even with a 40,000 pound DP, which we had previously, without toad brakes, if you slam the motorhome brakes, the toad will whip around back there like a snake. Need those brakes to keep it lined up.
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Old 05-02-2017, 04:46 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Mr Sunshine View Post

....cut....

I agree with what gmc said about a $100,000 motorhome and a $40,000 toad, although my numbers are a bit smaller.
You are both correct from a monetary standpoint, which begs the question why some experience owners feel differently?

If not to save $1,000 which isn't much compared to $140,000, then what?
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Old 05-02-2017, 11:28 PM   #15
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Suppose some folks think they have been getting along just fine without. They haven't had an accident or a lawsuit, and haven't been in a panic stop situation. Their towed car didn't break free and hit a bunch of kids. We haven't had those events, either, but I wouldn't tow without brakes and safety cables on the towed vehicle or trailer.

I see so many people on motorcycles without helmets, too. (An old joke is another name for a motorcyclist without a helmet is "Organ Donor!") Same attitude, but that's off-topic.
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Old 05-03-2017, 01:31 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by DocMike View Post
Okay,

I was looking around this past weekend while camping and noticed two DP that were each towing a vehicle 4 down with Blue Ox towbar so I "walked the dogs" over to observe disconnection process. Both times I did not see any breaking system so I asked the second time and was told he did not use one.

My questions are: Is there a weight ratio of RV to Toad that dictates the need for a breaking system? Is it the law to have a breaking System for the Toad? Is it a safety issues? My Kia weighs in at just over 2400lbs?

Planning this season to start towing so trying to find out the rules and issues involved here.

Doc
You need a supplemental brake system. I just traveled two months and installed, uninstalled my brake at least 30 times. 18 states. Many mountains, a few hard braking situations. It takes less than 3 minutes to install and initialize a brake and less than a minute to remove. I purchased a blue ox Patriot just before the trip and I'm very happy with it. Unwise not to have one.
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Old 05-03-2017, 01:39 AM   #17
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Just a FYI, in some states, Oregon for one, I know of someone driving a DP with a toad behind it, that was pulled over for a 'safety check'. When the trooper discovered there was no active braking on the toad, he required that it be disconnected on the spot, and driven under its own power as long as it was in Oregon.
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Old 05-14-2017, 12:01 AM   #18
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Our neighbor had a large DP and a 4x4 Rubicam Jeep Wrangler no auxiliary breaking system. On the I15 grade going down into Baker he had a really bad time trying to slow the rig, scared the crap out of him. He's a cop to, don't scare easy.

Another friend was just leaving his house and got to the first steep downgrade, his jeep rode up onto the back of the motorhome.

I had the surge activated ready brake - it broke. Safety cables and breakaway switch worked fine, no damage. I bought a new Demco tow bar and the Blue Ox braking system. No hard wire, no cable, activated by an accelerometer in a RF device in the cab of the motorhome. It's adjustable and can be manually operated.

I will test it Tuesday down the backside, several smiles with a 10 to 16% downgrade and several switchbakes. It looks like it is easy to hook up.
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Old 05-14-2017, 01:17 AM   #19
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I'm somewhat troubled that your 'cop friend' would have even considered towing without an active braking system on his toad. He should have known better.
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Old 05-14-2017, 03:28 AM   #20
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I'm somewhat troubled that your 'cop friend' would have even considered towing without an active braking system on his toad. He should have known better.
Funny thing is cops are people too and may not have any training in traffic safety or towing just driving fast. I had a SMI Air Force One on my DP (air brakes) and I loved it. Now with the Axis I have a Patriot unit and like it but the SMI was easier but now I can do it in a few minutes. Just under $1000 well spent on Amazon.
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