Frequently Asked Questions
What is RVibrake3?
Q. What is RVibrake3 System?
A. RVibrake3 is the smallest, easiest to use, portable auxiliary braking system available. The law requires that a tow vehicle have a braking system when RV towing a car with a Tow Bar or A-Frame system.
Unlike other portable braking systems, RVibrake3 housing pushes against the floor pan (the rise in the floor where the driver’s seat is mounted) instead of the soft seat when activating. This allowed RVibrake3 to be designed as small as possible making RVibrake3 easy to install and easy to stow.
Is RVibrake3 Required?
Q. Why do I need RVibrake3?
A. For safety and it is required by law (throughout most of North America).
Many people are towing a car behind their motorhomes with Tow Bars or A-Frames. A towed vehicle becomes "dead weight" behind a motorhome and will push on the coach as it tries to slow down or stop. In many cases, the towed vehicle can put so much stress on the motor coach's brakes that they may fade or completely fail.
The additional weight of the towed vehicle also greatly increases the distance it takes to stop the motorhome. RVibrake3 takes the entire weight of the towed vehicle off the motor coach's overburdened brakes. RVibrake3 greatly reduces your stopping distance by reducing the added weight of the towed vehicle for a safer more secure stop. (See Towing Safety)
Q. Will RVibrake3 fit in my vehicle?
A. Yes. RVibrake3 fits in all vehicles. If needed a beautifully engineered custom stop plate will be created for the towed vehicle to ensure proper installation. A custom stop plate is needed in about 5-10% of all towed vehicles.
Q. Is RVibrake3 easily transferable between most vehicles?
A. Yes. RVibrake3 is small, lightweight, and fully adjustable to accommodate the different needs of each towed vehicle. Setup and removal can both be done in about 30 seconds.
Q. Is RVibrake3 a proportional system?
A. Yes. RVibrake3 is the only portable braking system that is truly proportional. RVibrake3 installs against the floor pan (the rise in the floor where the driver’s seat is mounted) keeping RVibrake3 stationary. This allows all the of the force of RVibrake3 to go against the brake pedal. Other braking systems install against seat cushions, which actually absorb force and create movement upon activation.
Q. How long does it take to setup RVibrake3?
A. Setup and removal can both be done in about 30 seconds.
Q. Is there any installation to the motorhome?
A. No. RVibrake3 is installed in the towed vehicle. The Command Center tablet is plugged in to the 12-volt receptacle of the motorhome to view and adjust RVibrake3 settings.
Q. How do I pair Command Center to RVibrake3?
A. Pairing is simple:
- Plug in and setup RVibrake3 in the towed vehicle.
- Click ADD DEVICE on the tablet dashboard. This will walk you through the pairing process.
- Boom! You’re a genius!
Q. Can I setup or change the settings of my RVibrake3 without my tablet?
A. Yes, should something happen to your Command Center tablet or hub, you can press and hold the “Auto Position” button for 10 seconds and the Audio Assistant will walk you through changing the settings on your RVibrake3.
Q. How does RVibrake3 know when to brake, since it is not connected to the motorhome?
A. RVibrake3 is an inertia-activated system designed to detect brakings. This allows RVibrake3 to take the weight of the towed vehicle off your motorhome every time it activates.
Q. What if I set up RVibrake3 incorrectly in my towed vehicle?
A. Not a problem. RVibrake3's Audio Assistant will alarm immediately in case of Brake Lock being detected.
Q. Will RVibrake3 ride the brakes down steep grades? A. No. RVibrake3 applies the brakes in the towed vehicle only when you apply the brakes in the motorcoach. RVibrake3's advanced software adjusts for slope, whether you’re going uphill or down. Downshifting or using exhaust brakes will not engage RVibrake3.
Q. Will RVibrake3 wear down my car battery?
A. No. Depending on your towed vehicle's make and model, you may tow for 1-2 days without having to worry about the battery in the towed vehicle. There are two things that can affect your towed battery:
1) If you have a vehicle that requires putting your key in the accessory position with a high amp draw, we make a product called the Towed Battery Charger
that will keep your battery topped off.
2) Life of the battery can also affect performance.
Q. My towed vehicle engine is not running. Will RVibrake3 still have the power to operate the brakes without vacuum assist?
A. Yes. RVibrake3 is specifically designed to push with enough force to overcome the absence of vacuum assist.
Q. Since RVibrake3 is an inertia-activated system, will I get any unwanted braking on bumpy roads?
A. No. RVibrake3 uses the highest level of technology available. The surge suppressor inside the unit will not engage unnecessarily on bumpy roads, bridges, or railroad tracks.
Q. How does RVibrake3 interact with my anti-lock braking system (ABS)?
A. When the engine of the towed vehicle is not running, the ABS, which is an electrical feature, is not functioning. If the ignition is on but the engine is off, ABS is active.
Q. What if I only want the RVibrake3 to perform during panic stops and breakaways?
A. No problem. Just choose the SENSITIVITY setting of PANIC. Here's how the sensitivity works:
NORMAL: RVi3 will perform 60-70% of the time you put your foot on the brake pedal in the motorhome. The rule of thumb in NORMAL is, if you feel your chest getting gently pulled forward in a braking then the RVi3 will brake. The harder you feel your chest getting pulled forward the bigger the graph will grow.
PANIC: RVi3 will only perform in a panic stop. In this type of braking you definitely don't have time to look at the monitor.
Q. How should I brake in my motorhome with the RVibrake3 in my towed vehicle while going down a mountain?
A. This depends on whether you have a gas coach with hydraulic brakes or a diesel coach with air brakes.
Gas coach: It is recommended that you use your transmission to assist in braking and feather your brakes to get the RPMs higher to assist in braking. This is regardless of the RVibrake3.
Diesel coach: It is recommend that you allow the exhaust brake to handle most of the braking and to steadily hold the brake pedal.
Q. How do I know if my towed vehicle's brakes are VACUUM or ACTIVE?
A. Vacuum assist vehicles use vacuum to boost the pressure when braking and Active brake vehicles have constant electrical or hydraulic systems to assist in braking whether the engine is running or not. Most hybrid vehicles use Active assist brakes. Most vehicles on the market use engine vacuum (Vacuum assist brakes) to assist in braking. This means when the engine is off, 2-3 brakings of assist are stored in master booster and must be depleted by the RVibrake3 in setup. To determine what brake type your vehicle has, consult your Manufacturers Owners Guide.
(Note: Failure to properly set the vehicle selection to the proper setting may cause severe tire and/or vehicle damage.) If you still have questions or don’t know what type of braking system you have call us at 800-815-2159.
Q. How do I know RVibrake3 is working?
A. The Command Center tablet gives you complete, continuous braking information — a glance at the monitor assures you that RVibrake3 is fully operational.
(Note: if the Command Center tablet or hub is not plugged in, RVibrake3 will still continue to work.)
Q. What if I think it’s braking too hard, or not hard enough?
A. Braking force and sensitivity can be modified on the fly from the Command Center tablet in your motorhome. No matter what, RVibrake3 will always respond with full pressure during an emergency stop.
Q. I have to disconnect my battery for towing. Can I power the RVibrake3 with the motorhome from my umbilical cord?
A. You never want to power your RVibrake3 off of the motorhome. The reason is if you have a breakaway, then the RVibrake3 no longer has power. You need it connected to the towed battery. If you have to disconnect your battery for towing or your stock 12V outlet is bad, you'll need to use something like our 12V Direct to Battery Kit.
Q. Why do the tires on my tow vehicle squeal on my first 2-3 brakings of the day?
A. Most vehicles on the market use engine vacuum (Vacuum assist brakes) to assist in braking. This means when the engine is off, 2-3 brakings of vacuum assist are stored in master booster and must be depleted by the RVibrake3 in setup. If you let the engine run during or after installation of the RVibrake3, then the master boost will store vacuum assist, causing excessive braking for the first brakings of the day. Always unplug the RVibrake3 anytime the engine in the tow vehicle is running.
Q. The Audio Assistant on my RVibrake3 is talking anymore. What am I doing wrong?
A. Check to see if the red LED is lit on the male plug of the RVibrake3. If the LED is lit, then we at least know that it's not a dead 12V outlet. Most vehicles have good current flowing through the factory 12V outlet in the towed vehicle, but not all 12V outlets are created equal. Try the other 12V outlets in the towed vehicle as well as a 12V outlet in the motorhome. If you continue to have the issues contact RVi Support.
(Note: If after testing in multiple outlets the Audio Assistant still doesn't come on and you are trying to leave that day on a trip, leave RVibrake3 plugged into a good 12V outlet for an hour to see if the unit jumpstarts.)
Q. After going down the road, I hit a bump and got the message "Brake Pedal Depressed" on the tablet. What's going on?
A. This is the cause of one of two things:
1. You have a rounded rise in the floorpan that the RVibrake3 pushes up against, where when it pushes on the brake pedal the RVIbrake3 goes up the curve and if the towed vehicle hits a bump it slides down. The way to fix this is to put our stop plate behind the RVibrake3 so that it doesn't have to interact with the curve in the floorpan.
2. The back end of the RVibrake3 is higher than the front and is on a downward slope, and when the towed hits a big enough bump, gravity pulls the RVibrake3 down. The way to fix this is to contact us for a custom bracket for your stop plate.
Q. After setting up the RVibrake3 on the pedal and running it through the Auto Position, I get the message "Brake Pedal Depressed". What am I doing wrong?
A. This means that while setting up the RVibrake3 through the Auto Position process, the brake pedal was held down by your hand or foot and now the brake pedal is depressed. We made a video about this that you can watch HERE.