Archive for the ‘Roadmaster Braking Systems’ Category

Towed Vehicle Brake Light Options

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

Magnetic tow lights are the quick and easy way to connect the towed car’s turn signals and brake lights to the motorhome’s . The quality kits include the motorhome side socket, the vehicle side plug, the wire harness and two magnetic lights. Deluxe magnetic tow light kits come with the a storage case and anti-scratch pads to place between the magnet and the body of the towed vehicle. No splicing into the towed vehicle required, Magnetic tow lights are compatible with all makes of automobile and are DOT approved.


Universal wiring kits designed to splice into the vehicles electrical system are available. The best Universal wiring kits come with diodes which make connection easier and prevent electrical feedback to protect the towed vehicles wiring system. The diodes have two wire connections on one side and one on the other. Diodes are designed to be placed inline and have the second wire connection on the input side for the wire harness connecting the motorhome. Again a complete kit will come with diodes, a motorhome side socket, a vehicle side plug, mounting brackets, extension cord to go between the motorhome and the towed vehicle, plenty of bonded, wire connectors, and detailed instructions.


The most recent design is somewhat of a hybrid between the previous two styles of towed vehicle brake light systems. Tail light wiring kits with bulbs require little modification to the towed vehicle and at the same time can be neatly and permanently integrated. Tail light wiring kits with bulbs are like magnetic tow lights in that they operate completely independent of the towed vehicles wiring system however there are no magnets or lenses. Separate sockets and bulbs are mounted inside the towed vehicles tail lights conveniently bypassing the towed vehicles wiring system and protecting the manufacturers warranty. The wiring can be routed underneath the towed vehicle and the socket mounted to the grill or bumper facia. A good kit will include the motorhome side socket, the vehicle side plug, and extension cord to go between the motorhome and the towed vehicle, plenty of bonded wire, light sockets and bulbs.


As a final note, if you are going to splice into the vehicle’s electrical system check to see if the brake and turn signal configuration is the same. If the motorhome has separate brake and turn signals but the towed vehicle does not a wiring converter is required. If the motorhome and the towed vehicle both have separate brake and turn signals a total of 6 diodes is required. Post your questions and happy trails.

The Facts About Towed Vehicle Braking

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

roadmaster, brakemaster proportionate towed car braking system,
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Like every other law of physics, the second law of motion isn’t open for debate. “Mass” (the weight of the towed vehicle) times “acceleration” (65 miles an hour, in the examples above) equals “force.” Always. Which creates, in effect, a 3,000- to 10,000-pound battering ram aimed directly at the back of the coach.

Motorhome brakes aren’t built to stop an additional 3,000 or 4,000 (or 10,000) pounds of towed weight. They’re built to stop the weight of the coach and its contents. But even if you had an extra two or three tons of braking capacity, the weight of a towed vehicle isn’t over the motorhome’s brakes. It’s pushing on them from behind.

It’s the “battering ram” effect of the towed vehicle’s momentum (mass times acceleration) that adds braking distance to a towed vehicle-motorhome combination.

So it’s not surprising, that safety is the number one reason most people add a supplemental braking system. Supplemental brakes take the load off the motorhome. The motorhome and the towed vehicle brake in tandem, taking significantly less time and distance to come to a controlled stop approximately 34 percent less, according to a study* by ROADMASTER

Supplemental brakes also relieve stress on the tow bar and the mounting brackets. an emergency stop without supplemental brakes is a leading causes of tow system failure. Towed Vehicle Supplemental Braking Systems also keep the combination straight as you brake, so there’s less chance of a “jackknife.” A Towed Vehicle Brake System will also prevent catastrophic failure caused by sustained braking on a decline.

Safety notwithstanding, there are several other compelling reasons to add supplemental brakes…

It’s required — To one degree or another, every state and province in North America has recognized the significant benefits. Which is why supplemental brakes are required in virtually every state and province. The majority of states, plus many Canadian provinces, specify 3,000 pounds as the maximum weight which can be towed without supplemental brakes, according to the American Automobile Association.

There’s currently no national standard, and the towed weight limits vary from state to state (and in Canada, from province to province) — 4,500 pounds in Texas, 10,000 pounds in Massachusetts, and 3,080 pounds in British Columbia (again, according to the American Automobile Association).

There is, however, that universal standard — “force equals mass times acceleration.” Whether you’re in Texas, Massachusetts or British Columbia, every towed vehicle combination is always in compliance with the second law of motion.

Chassis warranty and liability — Some motorhome chassis manufacturers will void your warranty (and insurance adjusters will void your policy) against damage claims if you tow without supplemental brakes. Workhorse will void your chassis warranty if you tow more than 1,000 pounds without supplemental brakes; Ford stipulates 1,500 pounds.

Wear and tear — Supplemental brakes cut down on everyday wear and tear — on the tow bar and the bracket, and on the frame of the towed vehicle. So they last longer. And because they aren’t braking for two vehicles, your motorhome’s brakes last longer, also.

It just makes good sense — Every other trailer on the road today has supplemental brakes — fifth wheels, travel trailers, semi-trailers — they all have their own braking systems. When you’re towing a couple of extra tons — or more — shouldn’t you have a supplemental braking system to stop it?

* Test data — Motorhome: 34-foot 1996 Winnebago Adventurer, Ford Superduty chassis with a 460 gas engine; GVWR: 17,000 pounds; brakes: hydraulic four-wheel disc. Towed vehicle: 1995 Oldsmobile Aurora; GVWR: 4,690 pounds (actual test weight: 4,110 pounds). Braking pressure: 80 pounds of force directed to the brake pedal representing a “hard stop.”