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Old 01-12-2010, 07:58 PM   #1
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2001 31' Land Yacht
Spokane , Washington
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Braking System

Hello all,

New to this site, but have a question. I have a 2001 Land Yacht 30 and have just purchased a 1986 Samurai 4x4 with a Roadmaster StowBar installed. Everything works great....and now I'm looking at a braking system. The toad has a curb weight of 2064 lbs. I'm looking at a BrakeBuddy Classic, with breakaway and wireless indicators included, for $950. Is there any reason, with this curb weight, to look at either a BrakeBuddy Advantage system with added proportional braking for an additional $300, or are there other systems out there that anyone may recommend? I'm a fulltimer.....and expect to be traveling in the neighborhood of 6,000 miles a year. Pros/cons to BrakeBuddy? I know there are a multitude of units available, but I'm not towing a Cadillac Escalade...(Wish I was!)

Any issues involving setting this unit on the floor space given in the 1986 Suzuki Samurai?

Thanks,

Jeff
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Old 01-13-2010, 09:33 AM   #2
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I just finished researching brake systems and we are having a SMI system installed on our Jeep Wrangler toad this Friday 12/15/10. I will let you know how it works out.

I chose the SMI because once it's installed all you do is turn on a switch in the toad and it is working. You dont have to move it in and out of the toad every time you hook up the tow. The price is about the same as most of the other systems and you can install it your self. I am having it installed by Camping Conection in Kissimmee FL because we are full time and I may not have all the tools needed onboard.

Check it out:
SMI Manufacturing, Inc.
P.O. Box 14040
Evansville, IN 47728
Toll Free: 1-800-893-3763
Direct: 1-812-428-2794
E-Mail: info@smibrake.com
www.smibrake.com
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Old 01-13-2010, 09:49 AM   #3
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I will "second" the SMI system. I did an on-line search and liked what I saw on the SMI system. The local company that installed my tow bar and associated items recommended it highly. I had mine installed in late December on a 2010 Toyota Corolla. After hooking the car to the motor home, all I have to do is flip a toggle swtch near my left foot and we are ready to go. There are no brake activation items to install or uninstall. I will put my system on the road in about a week, but to date I do not have any experience on how it will work. From what I have read, I expect it to be great.

Sam
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Old 01-13-2010, 11:54 AM   #4
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Bill and Sam,

Just called SMI and they would have to send a couple different parts to make it work on my Samurai, but they did state that the Duo unit is now only 7" long and 4" wide, so I "can" mount the control unit in the engine compartment. Is this where you have it mounted? What about the indicator light? Using your backup cameras to see them, or wired up to the dash in your MH?

Thanks,

Jeff
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Old 01-14-2010, 07:12 AM   #5
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I would guess that my control unit (SMI Brains) are about the size of a reem of paper and is mounted under the hood of the toad. Another small box is mounted over the left foot rest in the drivers compartment of the car. This box picks up the inertial signal that the motor home is breaking. It has a "sensitivity control" rheostat and the on/off toggle switch. There is a small air cylinder mounted behind the brake pedal inside the toad.

The indicator light is mounted on one of the tow bar arms and can be observed with the back-up camera. I assume that it could have been mounted on the dash of the MH, but SMI installation documents show it mounted on a tow bar arm.

Sam
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Old 01-14-2010, 08:56 AM   #6
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I am headed for the install at Camping Connection in Kisimmee today. They install tomorrow. I have already run a wire from the rear of the rig to the dash and will be installing a light on the dash. We will tave both lights, backup camera and dash.

More after the install tomorrow...
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Old 01-14-2010, 05:10 PM   #7
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Jeff, I have the Blue Ox braking system, which is very similar to the BrakeBuddy. If I had it to do over again I think I would go with the SMI system or another brand with a similar format. The Blue Ox is ok but the putting in and taking out and storing the box, can be kind of a pain. Not that it takes that much time, but why mess with it when SMI appears to be much more user friendly for about the same money.
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Old 01-15-2010, 07:00 AM   #8
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Bill, when they installed my SMI unit, the MH's rear view camera lowest position (mine has two positions and I assume yours is the same) showed the windshield of the toad. It would not go low enough to see the SMI tow bar mounted indicator light. The installer made a modification that allowed the camera's lowest position to see the indicator light. I think, but am not certain, that they cut off an interference point on the plastic camera housing. After their modification, I can see the indicator light on the lower camera position and see behind the toad on the high camera position.

As an aside, the installer should give you a large package of information from SMI. The package should include a written installation manual, a DVD of an actual SMI installation, and a CD album of a local Evansville singing group. There was good information in the package about how to adjust the sensitive of the breaking cylinder. I ended up taking mine by the SMI facility here in Evansville to check the adjustment. Mine didn't seem to be coming on soon enough. In fact, I couldn't see the indicator light come on even in a hard MH stop.

There is a plastic plug on a cable that goes into the break away switch on the toad. I pulled out the plastic plug and stored it with the safety cables and other items needed to hook the toad to the MH. I didn't want the plastic plug to "disappear" when the toad was not connected to the MH.

Sam
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Old 01-15-2010, 10:25 PM   #9
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Thanks to all for the info!

Bill, how did the install go? I'm having it done next Wednesday and am now planning on running a wire as well to the front dashboard. One 14 gauge "should" be enough...? The installer knows about the tow bar setup and now knows I want it on the coach dash, but didn't mention any extra labor for runing the wire. Good idea to run it in advance. Please post as soon as you have it installed....especially with the dash mount light description!

Sam, I only have a backup camera that is activated when in reverse....so the "camera" option won't work for me, plus I don't trust my eyes looking at a 3" screen at a light, even if I did have a constant rear view camera. Someone should have told me when I was born that my eyesight would get worse with age...
And they told me at the factory that the Duo main box is now 7" long, 4" wide, and 3" high. Bill will hopefully have the correct dimensions after his install. I'm a little worried about my '86 Samurai......may have to bolt the box in vertically next to the brake master cylinder if I want it under the hood.

Gloran, I looked at the Blue Ox and was told by the mechanics I asked that Blue Ox was a nightmare for them....return-wise. Lots of complaints about reliability, apparently. Glad it's worked for you.

Cheers,

Jeff
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Old 01-16-2010, 06:13 AM   #10
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Jeff, I don't think the main control box has a preferred orientation. Mine is installed vertically (kind of like putting a slice of toast in a toaster). I wouldn't have thought that the installer could have found a spot under the hood for the box, but he did.

As an "aside", I understand that an earlier model of the main control box mounted under the drivers seat. SMI seems to be working toward making the control box smaller to aid in installation.

I like the idea of a light on the MH dashboard. I think the tow bar indicator light will be visible after dark, but I don't do much night driving.

Jeff, that is a "bummer" on the rear view camera only working while in reverse. It is a handy means of seeing what is going on behind the MH while underway.

Jeff and Bill, keep us posted on how the install and check out goes.

It is sure good to see other Land Yacht gas MH owners joining in with comments.

Sam
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Old 01-17-2010, 11:25 AM   #11
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Sam, I found the same model wireless "backup" camera in the store yesterday that I haved installed on my MH. Started looking at the instructions....read about splicing into the "rear backup light wiring".......went back home and switched my existing wires over to a "rear lamp", and now I have a full time camera whenever my lights are on. I'm still laughing at myself for not being more creative earlier.

I wonder if they locked Bill in the garage over the weekend?

Jeff
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Old 01-18-2010, 06:48 AM   #12
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Jeff, congratulations on the backup camera. You will enjoy having the ability to use the camera anytime.

Since the weather warmed up in Florida, we can assume that Bill did not get snowed in.

Sam
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Old 01-20-2010, 05:43 PM   #13
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Sam, yes...it is nice to see behind me all the time. Just hooked up the toad and am headed for Coeur d'Alene, Idaho in the morning to have the Duo installed. No word from Bill, so I'll try and post some pics here when it's done.

Jeff
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Old 01-21-2010, 07:03 PM   #14
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Bill is alive and well in Key West

Sorry to be out of touch but we have been network challenged for a few days. Did a little boondocking in the Everglades.
We are now in Key West and back on the net. The install went well. It took them about four hours to install the whole system. They did a nice job and every thing fits and looks good on the jeep. (I think I an posting pictures )





I installed the light in the dash panel of the coach and the shop installed a six pin cable to replace the four pin we have been using.



The six pin accommodates the existing light wires and the new “coach notification” light wires. I ran two wires (pair), but the shop said I could have run a single wire and used a common ground somewhere under the dash.
So we have not traveled too far with the new system yet but it seems to be working well. I'll post more as we learn more.
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Old 01-22-2010, 07:45 PM   #15
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Bill,

No need for me to post pics now......yours look just like mine. I love this unit! Coming back from Idaho I had some mountains to test it.....worked perfectly. I have the "airport runway lights" up front on my dash. WOW.....they're bright! Same situation with the plug.....he cut off my four way flat and installed a six way round. One connection....done! I realize I'm only pulling a 2200 lb. toad, but having the breakaway makes me feel good. Can't put a price on potentially injuring someone else with a runaway toad. As a bonus.....I, and you, are now completely legal in the states and Canada. Nice feeling.......

Enjoy Key West. I should be hitting that area in a couple of months. My trip is taking me from WA, down to San Diego, across to Houston and then Miami, then up to Quebec, and across the Trans-Canadian to Vancouver, maybe up to Alaska, before arriving back here. I'm giving myself 8 months. There is no "hurry-up" when RVing....right?

Jeff
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Old 01-23-2010, 05:18 AM   #16
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Bill and Jeff, glad you like your set-up. We have our rig hooked up and am planning on heading south this morning. It will be our first trip with the toad.

Bill, if you don't have a place in San Diego, check out the San Diego RV Resort. It is adjacent to a trolley / bus station that will take you most anyplace in the city. We have stayed there and really liked it..

Sam
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Old 01-23-2010, 09:13 PM   #17
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Sam, I think you meant me when you recommended the SD RV Resort. It looks great and the trolley will take me from the park to the Convention Center, where I have a 2 day conference. Only 3 days allowed on Passport America, but there is another site in La Mesa that will allow me another 4.

I'm pulling out on Monday........and getting excited about the trip. Thanks to all for the suggestions and comments.

Jeff
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Old 01-24-2010, 05:23 AM   #18
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Jeff, yes I ment you on my message. Sorry! Check with SDRV Resort on a weekly rate; that may be an option. There are additional trolley stops up toward LaMesa. There is one stop just east of SDRV Resort called Grossmont. They have a large parking area at track level and up a steep set of steps and about a block away is a super Target, super WalMart and a nice shopping center. Write me off line if you have any questions or want any San Diego suggestions (airstream12557 at aol.com).
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Old 02-01-2010, 07:56 PM   #19
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Bill,

I'm having problems with my Duo. Are you experiencing any? I had to adjust the sensitivity higher...per the installer....and it worked for about 20 miles.....then the "runway lights" flicked on for a couple of seconds and then went out. I've checked the main SMI fuse under the hood and it's good, but I'm not getting any braking. (I think). I'll try to set it even higher, but the last time I did that the lights came on immediately upon braking from the MH....with NO forward inertia!

Any thoughts?

Jeff

Sam, thanks for the SD info. I just posted a message under "brakes" about my Auto Park. Seems like this is going to be interesting "maiden voyage".

Jeff
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Old 02-02-2010, 04:59 AM   #20
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Jeff, SMI has an 800 number in their information. I would recommend giving them a call. They are located in my "base" town, so I went by there after a phone call and had them make the final adjustment on my sensitivity. They seem to be very customer oriented.

I have not experienced the problem you related.

Sam
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