brake buddy extra legal questions

Discussion in 'Tech/Mech General' started by adammarshall, Aug 7, 2008.

  1. adammarshall

    adammarshall Deleted User

    I am possibly interested in buying a brake buddy, but I have seen various posts questioning the legality of this device. From what I understand the main argument is that they are illegal because the legislation specifies that braking must be by a prescribed means (mechanical), and this does not include electronic or electrical.

    I gave towtal a ring and they said that this was “news to them”. They said that over the years they have sold thousands of units and have not had one problem. They then questioned if the legislation only specifies mechanical, how is hydraulic braking allowed, and what about the electronic systems used in ABS braking? They then said that people spread rumors about products for many different reasons, and likened this to spreading rumors about aliens and the supernatural.

    I just wondered what peoples view on this was and if anyone can directly quote the relevant sections of legislation that make the brake buddy illegal?
     
  2. American Dream

    American Dream Read Only Funster

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    Hi Adam,

    This subject and "A" Frames have been the subject of much debate on this forum in the past.

    Have you read all the comments >>HERE<<

    I too am interested in towing a vehicle and the Brake buddy concept so will be watching with interest.:thumb:
     
  3. Geo

    Geo Trader - Funster

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    Before I try to answer your question, let me say I use an A frame and Brake Buddy system, are they legal? Dunno?? do they comply with regs? the short answer is NO!!!! the referance you have made to mechanical braking is coverd in the trailor regs and means cable operated.
    Instead of getting into a legnthy discussions ask towtal to put it in writing that they are legal and your decision can be based on their willingness to do that
    OR NOT(they have been asked before):thumb:
    Geo
    ps has anybody been prosecuted for using one ,NOT to my knowledge
    Do insurance companys allow A frame use, I have seen documented evidence that they do
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2008
  4. adammarshall

    adammarshall Deleted User

    Yes I have read all previous posts, however they tend to be based on opinions, and rarely deal with the legislation directly. I am very interested to know word for word which legal paragraphs of the legislation possibly make brake buddy illegal? If anyone could help with this I would be very grateful.
     
  5. Geo

    Geo Trader - Funster

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    This is the paragraph often quoted highlited in red
    1. <LI class=liOl>Unbraked trailers manufactured after 1 Jan 1997 must be fitted with a secondary coupling that will provide some residual steering in the event of an unplanned uncoupling. This device should also prevent the ball coupling hitting the ground in similar circumstances. It must be connected to the towing vehicle when the trailer is being towed.
    2. Braked trailers must be fitted with a parking brake that operates on at least two road wheels on the same axle. At all times it must be capable of being maintained in operation by direct mechanical action without the use of hydraulic, electric or pneumatic systems – i.e. Operated by rod or cable action. The efficiency of the handbrake must also comply with EEC Directive 71/320/EEC; i.e. It must be capable of holding a stationary trailer on a gradient of at least 16% (1 in 6.25)
    Geo
     
  6. adammarshall

    adammarshall Deleted User

    I note in the paragraph you quoted it is only talking about the parking brake being operated by “direct mechanical action without the use of hydraulic, electric or pneumatic systems”

    How does this affect the brake buddy? The user is still able to use the cars handbrake which is operated by the use of a cable? Where is electric braking on a trailer outlawed for normal braking operations? I have just read a letter from protow that confirms my view:

    “Yet another misunderstanding is that 'trailers' may not be fitted with hydraulic brakes, the correct regulation is that trailers may not use a hydraulic parking brake. Cars are fitted with a mechanical parking brake (handbrake) and providing this handbrake lever can be operated from the ground, i.e. with feet on the ground, this handbrake conforms to trailer requirements and is completely legal.”

    As for your first paragraph what is meant by:

    “Unbraked trailers manufactured after 1 Jan 1997 must be fitted with a secondary coupling that will provide some residual steering in the event of an unplanned uncoupling”

    From what I gather the brake buddy will automatically apply the trailers brakes in the event that the car becomes uncoupled.
     
  7. Geo

    Geo Trader - Funster

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    Adam
    I am not the one who needs to research or quantify any of the regulations or arguments for or against I have made my decision, and this subject has already been posted to death, all your arguments have been put forward before and lengthy postings made in reply as I said all you need to satisfy what you require is the following, it is really very simple

    I Hereby certify and guarantee that the use of an A frame and American Brake Buddy system complies with all UK and European legislation and trailer laws

    Signed ----------------------------
    Towtal
    and your troubles are over:thumb:
    Will they sign it? they are after all the supplyers and experts---------------- No they wont, that for me says all that needs to be said

    Or do what the rest of us do and hook up your rig and chance it:Wink:
    Geo
     
  8. adammarshall

    adammarshall Deleted User

    I am not looking to bring up the whole discussion about the legalities of using an A frame, I have also read posts on this to death. My question is very specific and this centers on whether brake buddy is illegal to use due to the fact that it utilizes an electric braking system? Is anyone aware of any legislation that prohibits electric braking? The only regulations that have been put forward so far state that the hand brake must be mechanically operated (it is on a car). I can see nothing that prevents electric braking mechanisms other than the handbrake.
     
  9. Geo

    Geo Trader - Funster

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    Ok lets forget cars for a moment and talk trailers, it is the parking brake on a trailer that is applied in the event of hitch failure and the parking brake must be conected by mechanical means.
    when your car is connected via a Brake Buddy, electrical over hydraulic is used for normal over run braking,and there is a kit that will apply the brakes in the event of a breakaway ( I have one )and its electrical over hydraulic too. how do you intend to apply the mechanical parking brake should the hitch fail when towing?
    now if you wish, you can play semantics all night and say its doesn't mean that. and because it doesn't say it. it must mean ???ABC etc.

    So trailer law says Mechanical parking brake, we all know and except that the parking brake is applied mechanically on a trailer
    the law says also that when your car is hitched it also becomes a trailer, ergo mechanical operation of the parking /failsafe device is reqd.

    If that does not answer your question its because, its not the answer you want to hear, and I wish you good luck in finding it, because it doesn't exists
    I also note a lack of response from other posters,I wonder why:RollEyes:
    THE END
    Geo
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2008
  10. RuthRv

    RuthRv Read Only Funster

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    until someone is taken to court no one will ever really know. its the same as the hgv licence debate until there is a test case on that then some will argue this point too, each time I read the various posts on both these matters my headache gets worse:BigGrin: we also tow on a A frame and take our chances along with lots of others and hope that the test case on A frames won't be us:Eeek:
    ruth
     
  11. camcondor

    camcondor Read Only Funster

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    I couldn't agree more Ruth, the discussion on the A frame issue always seems to become very acrimonious as well, for heaven knows what reason!!!!

    We have a Brian James trailer for our Smart, but its really hard to manage on our very steep driveway so we are having an A frame fitted next month. I'm hedging bets by keeping the trailer for intended European tours, though. I've booked the Smart into Towtal for a cabled A frame and will use that in the UK. They did an excellent job with the towbar and their A frames have a good name. So just like everyone else out there who uses one, despite the legislation and its ambiguity, we're taking our chances with an A frame.

    Laurie
     
  12. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    while this post is NOT about a frames and brake buddies it is about electric brakes/mechanical handbrake.

    5th wheel dealers NICHE MARKETING have 5'ers with electric service brakes (motors on drums) and a mechanical handbrake

    in the event of a de-hitch the electric brakes WILL activate only if the onboard batteries are charged but the handbrake will not as there is no mechanical link between the pickup and the 5'er

    the handbrake is a hand lever on the 5er.

    another dealer (name escapes me) uses vacuum service braking but no handbrake. (thats why the conversion is so expensive)
    principal being 'no vacuum, brakes applied' like an artic trailer.

    the latter is 'failsafe' the former is not.....flat battery, no brakes.

    as to whether any are legal ....only a test case will decide.

    we all interpret the law as we see fit. ie: im ok to drive as i'v only had two pints.

    john.
     
  13. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    you wont regret it Laurie. :thumb:
     
  14. adammarshall

    adammarshall Deleted User

    One other interesting point is that I have a friend who drives a specially adapted car that was his disabled fathers. On this car I believe braking etc is operated via electric hand controls. This is just another example of where electric braking seems to be permitted.
     
  15. ruffingitsmoothly

    ruffingitsmoothly Read Only Funster

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    Hi Geo

    Aren't these Brake Buddy's electric over air? Mine is as when you power it up a compressor starts inside and when you press the 'drain' button it dumps the air!

    I believ that they work with a small pendulum which opens the air actuator when you brake!

    Regards Pat
     
  16. adammarshall

    adammarshall Deleted User

    You are correct as Total confimed to me that the brake buddy works via electrical over air.

    As for Geo even if your argument is followed that you believe the handbrake must be operated via mechanical means in the even that the trailer becomes detached from the car, all you would need to do is integrate a breakaway cable directly from the hand brake to the tow vehicle, and not use the brake buddy system in the event of detachment of the trailer from the car. Saying all this I believe the brake buddy complies as it is and am only playing devils advocate. Where is your problem with this argument?
     
  17. Geo

    Geo Trader - Funster

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    No problem whatsoever,now your seeing the light, let me know when you have one that works
    Geo
     
  18. TJ-RV

    TJ-RV Deleted User

    Interesting following this thread. Looks like the EU is determined to come up with even more illogical and indecipherable legislation than we have here in the US. We don't have this one.

    OTOH I can't help thinking if, using the worst case interpretation, my M&G air brake system would be "legal" over there. In the event of a breakaway, a pre-charged air cylinder under the hood/bonnet of the toad applies the brakes, and they don't come off unless/until I manually release the air.
     
  19. Geo

    Geo Trader - Funster

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    I don't think it would Tom they seem to be hooked on this mechanical link IE cables.
    Having said that things have got to change they allow electric braking on heavy good trailers and have allowed air brakes on them for God knows how long
    the legislation i was looking for to show Adam seems to have disappeared from the web and a new even more grey set of rules seem to apply with no mention of cables or mechanical
    then we have a new quad bike 4wheeler appear on the EU market with a hydraulic hand brake (parking brake) and they should Fail our Mot test but we testers have been told to pass and advise it may fail next year, Wots that all about?
    Geo
     
  20. TJ-RV

    TJ-RV Deleted User

    I wouldn't want to be in your shoes attempting to interpret this stuff Geo. I spent many years trying to digest and interpret US military and aerospace specs and contracts, and was glad we eventually decided to get out of that business.

    Reading your message reminded me what that logo was in your avatar. It's been many years since I had to look around for one of those.
     
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