| NEW PRODUCT REVIEW
RV News sees a lot of new products and when we see one that seems outstanding we like to call it to the attention of our readers. At first look Toad Stop Vac-Brake seems to be a revolutionary answer to braking a towed vehicle. Unlike mechanical systems, Toad Stop is a remote operated vacuum assist braking system that applies the brakes on a towed (toad) vehicle, using the towed vehicle's brakes.
The day John Greaves, inventor of the Toad Stop, dropped by our offices to demonstrate the new system, there was a steady rain falling -- ideal conditions for putting the system through its paces. We went to a nearby empty parking lot that had long stretches of both gravel and asphalt parking areas. Greaves brought the vehicle up to about 50 miles per hour, took his hands off the steering wheel and used a remote switch to apply the brakes on the simulated towed vehicle. We made several passes on both the gravel and paved areas and each time, the vehicle came to a quick, smooth stop without locking up the wheels or pulling to either the right or left. It was an impressive demonstration.
Greaves explained that Toad Stop Vac-Brake features a design that uses normal pressure on the brake pedal of the towed vehicle that mimics the way users apply the brakes. This results in a braking action that is very controlled. He said, "The action can be set to activate the brakes to any degree of performance. Because we are applying the brakes in concert with the vacuum assist active, no extreme force is needed to apply the brakes. You never apply extreme force to the brake during normal operation of your vehicle, and there is no need to do that with our Vac-Brake system."
Greaves said the Vac-Brake has been extensively tested and in his opinion it is the absolutebest way to apply the brakes to a towed vehicle. According to Greaves, Vac-Brake has been tested at 80 mph with excellent results. He said, "The vehicle was brought to a quick controlled stop without the need to hold the steering wheel. It was tested again at 80 mph, but this time the transmission was shifted to neutral and the key turned off, the vehicle stopped quickly and with full control. This system works equally well at allspeeds, and will make your toad "disappear" during the stopping of your RV. With this system the towed vehicle will no longer push you through your stop because it applies its own brakes, it stops better than your RV so it virtually disappears during a stop."
Greaves pointed out that one of the safety features of the Vac-Brake system is that it will not jam your brakes on with extreme pressure that would lockup your wheels and square your tires or abuse your braking components on your toad. Vac-Brake applies even vacuum pressure to the brakes of the towed vehicle just as you would in a stop. He said, "Just try applying the brakes on your vehicle with the engine off and moving, you will practically have to pull the steering wheel out to apply enough pressure to make a stop, and that stop will be the poorest quality stop ever, because the vacuum assist is not on. Vac-Brake works in harmony with your power assist to bring your toad vehicle to a controlled quick even stop."
The secret of the Vac-Brake is that it does not cut into the brake lines, and according to Greaves, it will not void the vehicle warranty. Vac-Brake operates all four wheels with power assist active braking action.
Greaves also claims the braking performance is not the only benefit to the Vac-Brake. He says it could also save the RV owner money on insurance. "When it is installed on your toad vehicle it becomes an anti-theft kit. You can set your brakes to engage when the engine starts, and that foils any unauthorized driving of your vehicle. The Vac-Brake device will lock your brakes up until you turn them off or the engine is stopped. If you arm the system as you leave the vehicle during a car-jacking, the car-jacker will think its a successful getaway, only to find that when shifting the vehicle into drive, it will not move."
Also, Vac-Brake allows a versatile remote controlled braking system. For example the motorhome driver can operate the brakes of the towed vehicle from the cockpit of the RV without having to apply the RV's brakes. Greaves said, "This comes in handy on a down grade when you have already down shifted the RV and the toad vehicle needs to be slowed, just push a button and the toad will brake itself. If you ever encounter "black ice" or loss of traction, the ability to apply just the toad vehicle brakes may help to avoid a loss of control. If you want to completely disengage the braking on the toad vehicle, a simple flip of a switch can accomplish this task."
Installation of the Vac-Brake is simple and will take usually no more than a half hour to an hour. The system is weather tight from the vehicle's fire wall to where it mounts under the vehicle's hood. And should the owner buy a new vehicle to tow, the system is portable and can be removed from the old vehicle and installed on the new vehicle. And it doesn't leave any damage on the old vehicle.
RV News believes this is a product worth consideration by motorhome owners who need to tow a vehicle behind their motorhomes.
For more information contact: John Greaves, Toad Stop, 190 Wilson Blvd., N. Naples, FL 34120. Phone 1-800-478-7883 or 941-352-8771.