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Brake Buddy Stealth Supplemental Braking System Review

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Review of the Brake Buddy Stealth Supplemental Braking System

Hi, there neighbors. Today we're going to be taking a look at the Brake Buddy Stealth Supplemental Braking System. There's five main components you'll need when flat towing your vehicle behind your motorhome. You'll need your tow bar, which is the connection between your motorhome and your vehicle. You'll need your base plate, which is the connection point on your vehicle that you'll attach your tow bar to. You'll need your safety cables, which is a supplemental connection in addition to your tow bar.

You'll also need your diode wiring, which will take all the lighting signals from your motorhome and transfer them to the lights at the back of your vehicle, as well as your supplemental braking system, which will apply the brake pedal in your vehicle when you hit the brakes in your motorhome to help you come to a safe stop. This supplemental braking system is going to apply the brake pedal into your vehicle when you hit the brakes in your motorhome.And it does this using a brake controller, which is significantly different than a lot of your other braking systems. It sends that brake signal down through your 7-way at the back of your motorhome to the flat 7-way connector for our Brake Buddy Stealth System here, which then activates the unit inside the vehicle to apply the pedal. Here we have the operating unit inside of our vehicle. And what I like about this braking system a lot is just how nicely compacted this unit is.

It's not real deep. It is a little bit tall, but it still fits under most seats. It's fitted under the seat of our Jeep here. It comes with plenty of cable lengths so you can run it from all the way in the back of your vehicle or right here into the seat, up to the front where we can attach it to our pedal, where it will pull the brake pedal down, and it does that remotely from this location using that pedal.This cable's routed from the operating unit. And it's hidden underneath of our carpet here, where it connects to a pulley system that gives us a perfect straight angle of attack here to pull our pedal.

And this ensures that our cable doesn't get damaged and it has nice smooth operation. Here it attaches to our pedal with the cable and you have a little bit of slack here so that way we can ensure our pedal's not being applied when we're just driving around town under normal use. When the system activates the cable we'll then go inaudible 00:02:05 pulling the pedal. It also activates a vacuum pump under the hood. The vacuum pump here under the hood is activated when the pedal applies to pull a suction on your brake vacuum booster.

It's tapped in line with the brake vacuum booster line here, and it pulls a suction on it so that way you have power braking assist when the system activates making it have less stress when applying the pedal.Our brake controller is located right here and the braking system inside of the vehicle is controlled by this controller. What's nice about that is we can make all the settings right here on the fly while we're driving the motorhome. So if it seems to feel like our vehicle has not enough braking force or too much braking force, unlike a lot of the other braking systems that you have to go back and adjust while you've stopped, we can make those right here on the fly and increase that brake pressure or decrease it as we need to. inaudible 00:02:58 I can get a little bit more speed up because it is an inertia-based system. So if you're going really slow, the braking system may not activate because it goes, "Well, you're not going fast enough, you don't need it assistance."But as we hit the brakes now, it says BB on our controller. And if it says BB that means that it is currently applying the brake there. So it's nice that you have that input right here to know that it's working properly. So we're heading back from our test course now. We we're able to get it dialed in, driving around, being able to adjust it here on the fly. And that's really probably my favorite part of the system, is the way that I can adjust it on the fly. Because you're just so often hooking up, the first time you have your flat-tow set up, you just don't know exactly where to set it. And there's really no set formula to tell you where to set it because it just depends on the weight, your motorhome that you're pulling it with. Because the heavier this motorhome is, the less you're going to feel it there in the back.So if you've got a lighter motorhome, you might need more brake pressure. So being able to fine tune it for your particular setup while driving, it's just going to save you a lot of time. And then once you get it all set up properly, your vehicle is going to be wearing properly. Because if you've got it set too aggressive, it can wear the brakes on the vehicle you're pulling overtime because it's applying too hard and you're pulling it with your motorhome, wearing out those brake pads. Let's take a quick look at the unit because we we're talking about making our adjustments, which are these buttons right here. And the write-up on top, so you can easily press them. This is going to increase our brake pressure here, and this is going to decrease it. And you can see the numbers changing there on your screen.On the side here, we do have a button that'll allow us to change it from flat-tow mode, which is the picture of the car here, inaudible 00:04:35 little indicator light underneath of it, to regular trailer-tow mode, which is the little trailer picture down here. If we hit the button, we'll see the indicator change down there. And this just changes the strategy of the brake controller, which is optimized now for our flat-tow to then be optimized for our trailer. And it's nice that we have the two modes because maybe you don't always want to bring your vehicle. Maybe the next place you're going to go down at the Lake, some of your buddies, they already got a vehicle with them and it's your task to bring the boat. So you could easily bring your boat with you or your jet-skis or your trailer, whatever it is for your the location you're going. Hit with a click of a button, it changes its strategy for trailer mode and then you're good to go.One of the things you're going to notice different about the trailer mode versus the flat-tow mode is that when you're in that dinghy-tow or flat-tow mode, when you press the test button, it says BB on it indicating a brake event. When going into the trailer mode, it acts like a more traditional brake controller. So the harder you press it, the more it's going to apply to your trailer at the back, just like on your regular brake controllers. And instead of indicating BB on the indicator, it's going to tell you the power value of how much it's sending force to the electric brakes on your trailer. And lastly, there's a sensitivity adjustment for the internal inertia sensor. This will affect both modes and it has seven different sensitivity values. The higher the sensitivity, the more responsive it's going be to the movement in the vehicle. Which means that less movement is going to apply more brake pressure.So that way, if you've got a larger vehicle or a larger trailer that you're towing, you can increase that sensitivity. So when you hit the brakes, it will apply that brake value that you've got set here on how hard you want to press more aggressively, it'll put it up to the higher number faster. So you can get a. Just get better breaking out of it for those larger components. And another thing I like about this system, that's pretty unique to it that the other ones don't have is that it's also a battery charger here. So when you're connected to your motorhome, it's going to be charging your battery as you're going down the road. So that way, when you get to your location, you don't have to worry about your vehicle having a dead battery from operating your braking system. In most cases, that's not going to happen, but if you go on a very long trip, maybe an eight to 16-hour drive trip, and you only stopped to get gas and that's it.You don't start your vehicle or anything, you're just trying to get there, your vehicles battery may be dead when you get there. With something like this, that's not going to happen. And it's nice that it's integrated into the system. So when you're installing your braking system, you just happen to also be installing a battery charger and you don't even really realize it because it's so well integrated in. It also has a unique 7-way flat connector. And this is special to the Brake Buddy here. Your typical flat-tow uses around a 6-pole connector at the front, but this has a fully operating 7-way going to it. Meaning that our vehicle's getting your brake controller signal, plus all your lighting, that charge line, it's got it all running right here to the vehicle. Also, what's unique about this cable, just like your brake controllers typically do when you disconnect your trailer from your vehicle, your brake controller usually indicate to you that the trailer is not connected.Well, we can use that same signal to determine, "Oh no, we've disconnected." And this functions as a breakaway switch. If we pull this out, it's going to activate our system to apply the brake, to help our vehicle come to a safe stop. The other side of our cable here is just a standard 7-way that plugs into our motorhome, and it is an afterglow. So when you got your tail lights turned on, it does have a subtle thing glow to it. It's not real visible in the daylight here, but at nighttime, it does add a little bit extra visibility at night. So this will help ensure that people notice you when going down the road, especially noticing that you've got something hooked up to the back of your motorhome.Comparing the Brake Buddy Stealth to other permanently installed braking systems, such as Demco Stay-IN-Play Duo, they're both very good units that are going to do exactly what you need. But the Brake Buddy Stealth here is going to be a little bit cleaner of an install. The Stay-IN-Play Duo does have that canister it's mounted on the pedal. So depending on how big your foot is down there, you might want to consider this system over that one, especially like me I've got pretty large feet, so that canister for me just kind of really bothers me when I'm driving. So this would be a better option for you guys with larger feet. You also get a brake controller with this system. The only reason I wouldn't choose this one over the Stay-IN-Play is because the installation is quite a bit more involved because you do have to go over on your motorhome and install a brake controller.And depending on your motorhome, that could be a quick and easy task if it's got the wiring routed up to the front already and with a connector, but you may have to route all of your own wiring, which could be a much bigger installation process. But I also like that it has a charge line that's built in with it. With the Stay-IN-Play, if you wanted to get that feature, you just have to buy an extra component and add that on. It's not just integrated in with it. Now, those two braking systems are the one I would choose between if I had a motorhome with hydraulic brakes. But if your motorhome has air brakes, then I would go with Demco's Air Force One.That's just the best possible braking system for a motorhome that has air brakes. It's directly proportional since you're using the air brake system to apply the pedal on your vehicle here. And if you do use your jake brake on your vehicle, with electric systems, such as our Stay-IN-Play and our brake buddy here, it could potentially activate the system when going down a hill, which could cause damage to the brakes on the vehicle when pulling it behind you. With the Air Force One it's specifically designed to work with those air brake systems so you won't have those issues. And that completes our look at the Brake Buddy Stealth Supplemental Braking System.

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