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Brake Buddy Classic 3 Portable Supplemental Braking System Installation - 2009 Jeep Wrangler Unlimit

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How to Install the Brake Buddy Classic 3 Portable Supplemental Braking System on a 2009 Jeep Wrangl


Rob: Hey everybody, it's Rob here at etrailer.com and today, we're going to be taking a look at the Brake Buddy Classic 3 Supplemental Braking System on our 2009 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. Now, keep in mind that it's only going to be one component you need for a complete safe flat tow setup. For its complete setup, you're going to need a base plate, a tow bar, tow bar wiring, a braking system, and finally safety cables. And whenever you're flat towing your Jeep, it is important to have a supplemental braking system. Because let's face it, our Jeep may not weigh that much, but we're adding quite a bit to the back of our motor home and we're relying on our motor home to not only stop itself, but also slow our Jeep down.So it can have a very big effect on our braking performance and the wear and tear that's on our motor home, not to mention our Jeep. So having that supplemental braking system will allow the Jeep to slow and stop itself down while we're towing it, so that whenever we do get where we're going, we won't have to worry about any worn down brakes, possibly bald spots in our tires.

This is going to make it that much more enjoyable, not to mention most states and provinces are requiring a braking system when you're towing, so it can also be legal while we're at.Now the Brake Buddy Classic 3 is what I consider a transferrable braking system. A lot of people refer to them as a portable braking system and that's because the actual unit itself here is only going to be in place while we're towing. Whenever we're not, we can take it out, obviously, so we can drive like normal because with this in the seat, we're not going to be able to reach the pedals. But it's a pretty simple setup. Simply just put our box in, plug in a few cords, and attach the anchor to the brake pedal itself.

And then we don't really have to worry about too much else, everything else is going to be happening for us.So whenever we slow down in our motor home, our Brake Buddy will fly the brakes in our Jeep and we can have that come to a nice, easy stop. But again, since it is portable, we are going to have to have a reoccurring setup each time we want to tow. Now it's not very in depth, setting it up the first time is going to be the longest process, just because we are going to have to connect some wires and mount a few things. But once we have everything in, you're going to have this in or out in a matter of minutes. But the Brake Buddy is extremely easy to use.We're going to have different levels of sensitivity.

And typically what these settings are going to be is, low is going to be really good for a compact small vehicle, medium will be good for maybe a medium sized vehicle or a small SUV, and then high is typically going to be better for full-sized trucks and full size SUV's. Now there is some settings in between each one. If we hit the breaking power button, you can see the little light is going to go in between, progressively going up as we go higher scrolling through the settings. But for our Jeep, I think either right below medium or at medium would be a good setting, just purely based off of weight. Now, one other thing that our Brake Buddy has, if I remove the transmitter here, we can see that over here, we have a light that says standard and hybrid, and this is going to be the braking mode.A lot of portable braking systems are not compatible with hybrids or with power assisted brakes, but our Brake Buddy is.

We can simply just push the button, switch it over to hybrid mode, and that's going to change how our braking system acts according to the vehicle. Now our Jeep is not a hybrid and it does not have power assisted brakes so we're going to go ahead and leave it on standard. And the box you saw me pull out earlier right here, is actually the alert system. It's just going to plug right into these prongs here and still be pointing towards our motorhome, and this is going to send the signal out to the receiver so we know when our Brake Buddy is working or if there's an event where there's a problem with it.Now you can see how our Brake Buddy is going to plug in. We have these easy, full connectors. A lot of times you just come in and grab the end of it, but they went the extra mile, went ahead and put a nice pull ring on there so it's really easy to disconnect and to plug in. So one end will plug directly into the Brake Buddy itself, then the other end of the cable, we actually have ours mounted right here at the floorboard where the rest of the harness is going to go into. So we don't have to worry about having a separate 12-volt outlet kit, which a lot of supplemental braking systems need, especially if they're a portable system. This is all going to be self-contained and hardwired directly to the battery, so we don't have to worry about a 12-volt kit and if our batteries are going to drain, everything is going to be nice in a neat little package, and self-contained to this one plug.Now, since our Jeep's floorboard is very irregular. If you haven't noticed there's a lot of dips and raised ridges, that's where these high rise leg/feet come in, definitely makes it a lot easier to get our Brake Buddy nice and level on the floorboard so we can get everything hooked up. We're going to have adjustments all the way from one inch up to four inches, that way we can raise or lower our Brake Buddy according to how we needed it to get sit nice and level, so it can be flat pushing on the brake pedal. And speaking of the brake pedal, you can see that we have these jaws, they're going to wrap around the brake pedal. It's actually hooked directly to the actuator that's going to be pressing on it.Now, again, once we have everything set up extremely easy, just have this lever on top, it has a red handle on it. We can turn it and that'll loosen up the brake pedal clamps so we can easily remove it. And then to lock it down, we just want to press it the other way and you can see it's nice and snug on the pedal and it's not going to come off. So that's all the components on the Jeep side, we're going to have the Brake Buddy in the floorboard that's going to be doing all the work, but obviously there is some safety concerns in case the tow bar or the Jeep gets disconnected from our motor home. And the Brake Buddy does include a breakaway switch. Most braking systems are going to have it. We chose to mount ours underneath our light bar here because we wanted to keep as clean of a look as we can.But in the event of a breakaway, the pin here is going to get pulled and our Brake Buddy is going to activate the brakes at full strength in our Jeep, bringing it to a safe stop. And finally, everybody wants to know what's going on with their Jeep, especially while they're flat towing it. So they went ahead and gave us a receiver for that alert system. Now, this is going to allow us to see when our Brake Buddy is breaking and in the event of breakaway, it's going to give us an audible alarm as well as some lights. This way while we're driving down the road, we can clearly know when the Brake Buddy is activated, the red lights will come on so we can continue driving down the road and still see those lights coming on without having to take your eyes off the road.So I think our Brake Buddy Classic 3 is a really nice breaking system if you are looking for a portable system. I think portable systems are really good for people, especially if they don't tow a whole lot, maybe a couple of times a year, and they don't really want to spend the time or the money on a full system that's fully hardwired into their vehicle. Or if you happen to change vehicles a lot or tow several different vehicles, it's very easy to transfer a portable system from one vehicle to another. Whereas the full systems that are more in depth, aren't as easy. Now the downside to our system is that it is going to take a reoccurring set up each time we want to tow, and then once we want to drive, we're going to have to take it out. Now, again, it only takes a couple minutes to get it in once you have all the wires ran and everything's adjusted, but it is an extra step that we have to do each time that we tow.But now that we've seen how our Brake Buddy looks like and gone over some of the features, let's show you how we got everything wired up and how we mounted our breakaway switch so you can do it at home. To begin our installation, we're going to start with our breakaway switch. So we'll come to the very front of our Jeep and we want to mount the switch to where this pole ring here is going to be accessible to the front of the Jeep. And we also want to keep a clean look on the front of our Jeep. We have this light bar right in the center. And fortunately for us, our breakaway switch fits right underneath the light bar. So I'm actually going to slide it under the light bar, just so that I can get access to that bracket right behind the light bar and we can mount it securely to the front here.So we can see back here that we have plenty of room behind the light bar to put a couple of screws in, to hold the breakaway switch in place. So before we do that though, you come to the bottom, we are going to see that we have some hook and loop fasteners. So I'm going to go ahead and pull that off. Get a rough idea of where we're to be mounting the switch. Now it is raining outside so we need to dry this off. We can peel the backing off and stick our hook and loop directly to the bumper, but we do still want to use screws, we don't want to rely on the hook and loop alone to hold the switch in place. Take our hook and loop and estimate about where it needs to go. We'll stick it directly on the bumper, but for now, I'm going to go ahead and pull that bracket off the top of my breakaway. I'm going to line up the hook and loop on the bottom of the switch and loosely get it in place.So now that we have our switch loosely in place, I'm going to take a self tapping screw. Now these screws don't come with your kit. There are some sheet metal screws that come with them, as well as some Allen bolts and nuts, but getting access to underneath the bumper in this location is a little bit hard so we're going to use a self tapping screw so we won't have to use a nut on the backside. Make sure the switch is nice and straight. Now that our switch is in place, we want to slide that bracket back over the top of the breakaway switch so it straddles it like that. You want to be mindful of your wires, but we'll come back with two more self tapping screws. We can put those in each one of the holes, so it'll be nice and secure, and we won't have to worry about the breakaway moving.Now, in the back of the breakaway switch, there's going to be a length of wire. It's going to have a red wire and a black wire on it. Now these need to hook up to a few other connection points that are going to be in the engine bay, so you're routed along the front. And typically you should be able to gain access to the engine compartment if you come underneath the outer section of the grill here, you should be able to just feed our wires up behind that area and we should be able to reach your hand in and potentially grab them behind the head light.Now there may be some other wires that are present, you just have to work your way around until we can get access to those wires. And poke up right here. Again, go into the engine compartment. And for now. We just want to get most of the slack. I would like to leave myself a little bit of extra because we can always come back, put some wire loom on there, some electrical tape, then we don't have these bright colored wires on the front and it'll help protect it. But again for now, we just want to leave our wiring loose up here in the engine compartment. Our next step is going to take place inside of our Jeep. I'm going to grab the harness that has the plug connector on the end, it should have four wires coming out of the back.Now this is what our Brake Buddy actually is going to plug directly into, so we want to find a spot on the driver's side, somewhere that we can easily mount this plug. Now we found a spot right here just to the outside wall on the driver's side here, so whenever you manage your plug, you want to make sure that the plug is actually accessible and it's not going to interfere. You can also mount it on the bottom of the dash. You just want to keep in mind that we have our diagnostic port here, we don't want to cover that up, as well as this panel underneath here is removable and doesn't have a whole lot of structure. We don't want to interfere with reaching our pedals.So down here would be a really good spot. It's out of the way, but it's still extremely accessible. So again, your kit is going to come with a couple different sets of screws. There's some machine screws, as well as those nuts and bolts that you can use. However, again, we're going to replace those with a couple of self tapping screws, just for ease of mounting it. We'll find the spot we want to put our plug. Once we have our plug position, we'll take our self tapping screw and go directly into that panel.So now that the plugs mounted, we need to run the length of wire here with the four wires coming out the back into the engine bay. Now, since our Jeep is an automatic, we don't have a clutch pedal, which actually helps out a lot. Because if you go underneath the dash all the way on the left-hand side against the firewall, there's a rubber grommet where the clutch would be. So since it's not there, we can pop that grommet out and use it to pass our wires through. So here you can see the grommet that's against the firewall, and they actually used that grommet to pass a couple other wires through already. So there's already a slit in it, so I just took my bundle and pushed it through that grommet. And we can always zip tie the excess over to the side so it won't interfere with our feet.So here's where the grommet's going to come out. It's just going to be to the left or the driver's side of the brake booster. Again, directly against the firewall, there's just a rubber plastic type of plug. And typically you can just poke your finger through it, you don't actually have to take the whole thing out. And then our wire came out right there. Now coming off of our harness here, we're going to have four wires coming out of the back. We want to pay attention to our Brown and red wires first. Now I'm going to go ahead and take a heat shrink butt connector, and I'm going to crimp them onto each end of the brown and red wire.Now the butt connectors are not going to come in your kit, but I do recommend using heat shrink butt connectors, even though it's underneath the hood, it's still going to be somewhat exposed to the elements. So the heat shrink butt connector has definitely helped keep all that moisture and corrosion from building up inside the connector. With those two butt connectors in place, we want to grab the wires that are coming off of our breakaway switch, and we want to route them towards the connector. We don't have to necessarily bring it all the way over, but I like to leave myself a little bit of room so we can tie everything up and make sure we have a clean look to our install. So I'm going to give myself a little bit of slack of our black and red wire. I'm going to cut them.And we can separate the two, just come in between the two, make a small cut. We can pull them apart so we have two individual wires to work with. And we want to strip back the end of these. Then we're going to connect them to the butt connectors we just installed. Let's take our red wire, hook it into our butt connector that also has the red wire on it. We'll crimp it down. It's always a good idea to give them a quick tug and make sure they're connected. Then we'll take our black wire, put it into the butt connector with the brown wire and crimp it in place.I'm going to use a heat gun to shrink down my connectors. If you're using an open flame, like a torch or a lighter, you should be extremely careful not to burn or char the wires or the connectors. So we still have those two wires coming off of the main harness, it's installed on the inside of our Jeep. It'd be a white wire and a black wire. We want to add two more butt connectors, one on each one of those wires. Let me just slide them over each one of the stripped ends and crimp them in place. Once we have those in place, I'm going to grab the fuse holder out of our kit. Now one end we'll have a stripped end on it. I want to take that and we're going to put it into the end that has the black wire on it and we'll crimp it down into that butt connector. Now this wire is going to be the power source for our Brake Buddy, so this is going to get ran over to the positive post of the battery.Now for our last wire here, our white wire, that's actually our ground. Now we don't have any extra wire in your kit, but we did trim off the wire coming from our breakaway switch so we can actually just take some of that black wire and put it into this butt connector so we can extend it out. So I did, I just separated that black and red wire, the excess wire that I had, and I crimped it into the new connector here. That way we have a length of wire, so we can ground our system out to either a factory ground or find a spot of sheet metal that we can use a self tapping screw. Now for our ground wire if we move forward from where our harness came out, we actually have a factory ground right here that's going to be right against the fender, which works out really well because we can just use the short length of wire and trim off the excess.And then I'm going to strip back the end of the wire. I'm going to take a ring terminal and crimp it in place. Now the ring terminal is not going to come with your kit, but you can find them here at etrailer.com. Now I always like to have a couple of sets of ring terminals, dial that with grease and zip ties on hand, that way we can just clean everything up. And again, if you only have one you need, a lot of times you can misscramp and it's always a good idea to have a couple of them in case we cramp it down wrong. We'll grab a 10 millimeter socket and remove the nut. Just slide our new ground in place. You want to make sure you put the nut back and all the other grounds are there as well if any of those ring terminals came off.Now for our red wire that has the fuse holder and ring terminal attached, we want to route this over towards the passenger side because that's where our battery is. So you just run along the firewall, zip tying it in place until we can get over to the positive post of the battery, where we can attach the ring terminal at. So now that we've got our wire ran over to the battery, we need to loosen up the terminal that's on top of the positive posts. We'll take a 10 millimeter socket, loosen up the nut then take the ring terminal, slide it over.And again, make sure that all the other ring terminals that we're there previously go back, because we don't want to cut power to anything that needs it. Then we can tighten up the nut. We can always take a few zip ties and tie up the excess wire. Keep the fuse holder tucked out of the way. Now the kit's also going to come with a battery charger, it'll have three wires coming out of the box here. Now this can be routed pretty much anywhere so long as you have room to hook up the red wire to the positive post on the battery so it can get power. The white wire is going to be your ground and then the black wire is going to go to the auxillary power source that's going to be charging the battery.Typically, this is mounted to the front socket on your tow bar wiring, so that way, whenever you plug in the umbilical, the 12-volt source from your motor home will continuously charge your Jeeps battery, that way you don't have to worry about it draining. However, on our application, we're actually using magnetic lights, so we don't have a plug to plug into. So we're not going to be putting this on today, but we can install this later on if we decide to upgrade your diodes and have a socket on the front of our Jeep. So that's all the wiring that we need to do on our Jeep. So we can go ahead and take some time, maybe put some electrical tape, some wire loom, make sure that it's going to have a nice clean look to it and protect all the wires that we have in place. After we have that done, we can move to the inside of our Jeep and get the operating unit set up.So before we put our operating unit on the floorboard, there is a few things that we need to get in place. If we look at the front of our operating unit, we're going to have this threaded rod that's coming out. You actually need to attach the clevis to it and this is just going to thread on. Just want to thread it on until it's all the way threaded onto that rod. And when you are threading it on, keep in mind, you want the holes to be on the side. We don't want it to be up and down. So we'll throw it on as far as we can get it on with the hole still on the side. Now, one thing I do want to mention, before we actually put the operating unit in the floorboard of our Jeep and get everything hooked up, we want to hook up our tow bar and have our Jeep behind our motor home because once this is in place, obviously we're not going to be able to sit in the driver's seat and move our Jeep.So we've got our Jeep hooked up to the tow bar and hooked up to the motor home. So now we want to grab the pedal clamp out of our kit. We're going to move to the inside of the Jeep, right at the brake pedal. So here we got our clamp and the way this is going to work is, you'll see that it has these jaws that go on the end of it, those are meant to go around our brake pedal. But as you can see, it's a little bit too big. So the easiest way I've found is if we just screw the bottom up while it's still detached from our Brake Buddy, and then to test it, we want to turn the lever over to the side. You can see how it draws it up. It's still a little bit loose, so we'll want to tighten it out, so we have a nice snug fit around the brake pedal.This is only going to be a one-time adjustment. Once we have it set, we're not going to have to mess with this anymore. But you just want to make sure that again, it's nice and snug against the brake pedal and grabs onto it nice and firmly. Right there seems like a really good fit. So now we can go ahead and leave this attached to the brake pedal to make it easier for ourselves. Now we can grab the actual braking unit itself. On the back of it, on the black section right above this gray plastic piece, we lift up. That'll allow us to rotate the handle to the upright position, that'll lock it in place. We want that clevis that we just screwed onto the front of it, we want that to be facing towards the brake pedal towards the front of our Jeep.So remove the seat as far back as it'll go. We'll take our brake buddy, we'll sit it directly on the floorboard towards in front of our seat. So once you get your Brake Buddy in the floorboard of your Jeep, we're going to want to go ahead and release the legs on our Brake Buddy. We just want to turn them and that'll allow us to make any kind of adjustments for height so we can actually bring it up a little bit. So you can see that clevis up front and this will lineup with our brake pedal. And since the floorboard of our Jeep is odd shaped, once we get to this section back here, we're going to leave our feet as short as they can be so that they can sit right on that ledge and then have the front ones go up.So you can see it'll actually bring that cylinder up a little bit higher and make it easier for us to connect the clevis to the brake pedal. So I'll extend these out. Let me just turn them, our lock in place. Next we want to get the clevis lined up with the clamp that's on our brake pedal. We're going to have a small pin, that'll go through the clevis through the clamp. I'm sure it goes all the way through. And there's a small hole on the other side. I'm going to take the included clip and pass it through and then the pin will come out. Now we want to grab the connecting cable, one end will be black, one end will be gray. The black end we'll plug into the port that we screwed into the bottom of the dash. So we can plug that inAnd then we'll take the gray end, and there's actually a plug right on the front of our Brake Buddy, that we're going to plug it in. We're on the driver's side corner. With our Brake Buddy plugged in, we can see that we have a light coming on so we know that it's getting power. Now we need to move our seat forward just where it's barely going to touch our Brake Buddy, but you want to make sure that it's not pressing on the brake pedal. So I like to grab the Brake Buddy and pull back a little bit. And then again, we're going to move the seat just a little bit forward to where it touches the Brake Buddy. You may want to raise the back legs up so that the Brake Buddy will have a little bit more grip on the seat itself.So we do it in the same way, unlocking the legs, finding a good height and then locking the legs back into position. Now we want to take the alert system, this is going to be the one that has the prongs on the back of it. We're going to plug this directly into the top of our Brake Buddy here. We're just going to take our transmitter, just plug it into the two prongs on top and you want to hit the auto start button. That'll allow the Brake Buddy to start cycling through and it's going to apply the brakes a few times. Now we also need to make sure we hook up our breakaway switch. Now we do have a coiled cable. We're going to take the small end, we'll hook it on to that ring that's already mounted on the end of our breakaway. Make sure it's securely attached, then we're going to route this over to the hitch on our motor home. I'm just going to bring it over.Now you want to make sure you attach this directly to the hitch, not to the safety chains or the safety cables. So I'm going to wrap it around my hitch and then tie it back to itself, that way we know we have a secure connection. Now the final step is to take the receiver end of our alert system. We're just going to simply plug this into a 12-volt outlet that's in our motor home. Fortunately for us, we have one right here in our dash. You'll initially see a red light come on and then it'll go out. But then that light will only come on when the braking system is active and actually braking. But at the same time, we'll get those red lights as well as an alarm in the case of a breakaway.But now that we have everything hooked up, we're ready to hit the road. Again, I'm Rob here at etrailer.com. That'll finish up your look at the Brake Buddy Classic 3 supplemental braking system on our 2009 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited.


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