Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Great Lakes for summer
You always want a brake system on yer toad, mostly for break-away whether it's required by your state laws or not.... AND I think that for the most part vehicle laws apply within the state yer in as opposed to operator licenses which depends on your state of residence....
I carried a Smart Cabrio up the butt of a class-A coach which had a 12' garage in back. It was neat for about a week or two.... then it dawned on me that flat towing a REAL car is mo bedda for extended use. We live in our motorcoach for about nine months or more each year.
If you have a diesel pusher coach, it will PROBABLY have air brakes. In that case I like a proportional air operated toad brake unit, like SMI's AF1. A "brake controller" is not usually something applicable to flat towing a car or truck but rather a trailer with electric brakes...
An AF1, or M&G type unit, will have a small unit mounted under the rear of your coach which attaches to the air brake line and will restrict the amount of air loss if you cut your umbilical hose, etc... and also provide a proportional amount of air to operate a brake pedal in the toad with vacuum assist AND have an electrical break-away switch up front which will lock up the toad brakes if it gets loose on ya. MANY folks have had tow bars or base plates come loose for various reasons, and it ain't gonna be pretty.
Also, having brakes on your toad would allow you to come to a stop in the event of a tow bar problem without the toad eating the back of your coach ....
You can also get systems for coaches with hydraulic brakes that wok pretty much the same way but without the air line parts.... and you can get "portable " systems like Brake Buddy and such that you can just put in front of the driver seat and adjust for sensitivity and plug it into your 12V power.... which may or may not require a "toad charge" lead from your coach.
Lots of choices and it depends on what type coach rig you have and how you use it to some extent. ReadyBrake is another approach to a simple toad brake system.
I prefer the AF1 or M&G, cuz it's simple and reliable and won't cook your toad's brake rotors and it doesn't operate at all unless the service brakes are applied or the break-away is operated. This allows me to "coast" down long grades on my engine compression brake system without heating the toad brakes. Some toad systems operate on pendulums and/or coach brake lamps and such. Useable but not optimal IMHO.
We're in AZ right now and will have to set up a TH for towing prior to late spring when we head back to the great lakes area. We'll probably stop for a bit in Santa Fe and maybe Colorado enroute this trip. I'm trying to get my ducks in a row prior to purchase on the details of setup and license transfer and such. It's a bit of a PITA, but if I wait until summer I'll have to do the base plate and wiring install myself and I would rather have a good shop here do it. It's not a Wrangler, which is very easy to do this stuff on. Nobody is all that familiar with the new KL yet, including ME !
You can probably get a good dealer to handle your tow bar, base plate and wiring harness for you, BUT a good RV shop or specialty shop are maybe a better bet.
If you are in Carefree, AZ I would suggest Cliff's Welding in Mesa. A great shop and they are the distributors for SMI, BO, HydraLift, etc.... They installed a HydraLift on our motorcoach and did a very good job for us. I spoke to them just last week about doing the TH transfer work and they said no sweat after mid January or so ....
I HOPE I answered some of your questions, if not I'll try it again!
Last edited by kannonvaggon; 12-23-2013 at 08:01 PM.