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Supplemental Brake Systems

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My wife and I have years of experience with travel trailers. As new Motorhome owners we are looking for advise on supplemental brake systems. I have been looking at the US Gear system but would appreciate any solid information available from the veterans out there.

Thanks

Bill

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Excellent Choice. We picked up a new Monaco in Coburg, OR in April 2007 after driving West from Pennsylvania in our new tow car (Saturn Aura). The local dealer in PA installed the Blue Ox baseplate and the US Gear brake hardware as the Monaco is pre-wired for this equipment before we left. Hook up of the controller in the coach was done by Monaco at the factory as part of coach delivery.

We came home, had several east coast trips, and another two-way west coast trip (Santa Rosa) last winter/spring with no problems with the supplementary braking system.

Chuck

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Guest Wayne77590

I use "Air Force 1" by SMI Manufacturing

http://smibrake.com/

So far, so good.

Edited: M&G is a good system but it would not work on the '07 Saturn Vue so I went with Air Force One.

Both are air systems with permanent installation. One only needs to hook up the tow bar, air hose, safety cables and plug in connector for light operation.

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I have been using US Gear for 4 years. The system works great and I have had no problems with it. the hook up is incorporated with the light wiring so I only have to plug in lights and attach a break away switch. There is nothing to hook up in the car as it has been installed in its permanent position. I did all of the installation myself and it was very easy to do. I will use US Gear in my next motorhome. Don

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Look into a system by M&G Car Braking Systems. I've had it on two trucks i've towed, a GMC Canyon and now have it on GMC ext cab 4X4 full size.

Very happy with the system.

Keith

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Would be interested in the replys, I do not think the diesel brake system can hook up on gas.

Any of the systems that depend on the coach air brakes will not work on a gas chassis without the addition of an auxiliary air compressor on the coach. There is one system that does have that option, but it was far more expensive than the US Gear system when I was shopping. I have four cross country trips, over 30,000 (we take the long way) with the US Gear system and would not want to be without it.

Brake in box systems are fine for people with multiple cars to set up to tow, but they are a bit more of a hassle to setup and take down. Especially if you need to break down the tow in traffic it could be a real pain. Don't ask how I know about breaking down the tow in traffic :rolleyes:

Paul

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This is another vote for USGear. 45K miles of problem free towing. USGear works as advertised and I would make the same purchase again.

If you remain unsure, have the salesman demonstrate hooking up and unhooking the system you are considering. Then do the tasks yourself. If you are comfortable with the tasks then that is the system for you.

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US Gear is my choice. I have used it with two coaches. One gas and one diesel. It works equally well with both. It uses full vacuum assisted braking, is fully proportional with breakaway and system monitoring in the coach a standard feature. The systems that tap into the air brake systems such as M&G and SMI on diesel coaches are frequently not installed properly. Most installer just tap into the rear brake air. If they are installed with out the appropriate protective air system parts being installed on the coach chassis they can cause big problems if there is a fault. The US gear system is totally non-invasive and my choice for either gas or diesel. Properly installed it works with the chassis engine brake to provide barking to the towed vehicle as required. To my knowledge, none of the air controlled systems are capable of this.

Al

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Bill:

We've been using the US Gear system for almost five years and wouldn't drive without it.

We have had only one minor problem and US Gear techs at a Rally quickly corrected that. Of all the systems I looked at, US Gear is one of the easiest to use. This is the second car that this system has been on.

Star1898

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US Gear is my choice. I have used it with two coaches. One gas and one diesel. It works equally well with both. It uses full vacuum assisted braking, is fully proportional with breakaway and system monitoring in the coach a standard feature. The systems that tap into the air brake systems such as M&G and SMI on diesel coaches are frequently not installed properly. Most installer just tap into the rear brake air. If they are installed with out the appropriate protective air system parts being installed on the coach chassis they can cause big problems if there is a fault. The US gear system is totally non-invasive and my choice for either gas or diesel. Properly installed it works with the chassis engine brake to provide barking to the towed vehicle as required. To my knowledge, none of the air controlled systems are capable of this.

Al

Sounds like US Gear is what I am looking for,,,,Is it truly non-invasive??????

I don't want to tap into toad breaks,,,,,electrical system attttttalllll.

Looks like all I need to do is find a competent Texas dealer to install the system.....After my research of readybrake fell apart,,,,,,I have been in limbo trying to decide on the braking system.

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Gator,

In the mid 90's when evaluating various braking systems I preformed a simple test. While coming down a straight stretch of mountain road with no traffic, I turned off the engine and applied the brake. After one or two pumps, the residual vacuum was gone and the brake pedal had no effect as hard as I could push on the brake pedal on a 5300 pound vehicle.

This is the basis of most supplemental braking systems. Granted, the box-on-the-floor systems will have much more push (or pull, depending on the system), but how much stress do you want to put on a pedal and it's linkage designed for the average human leg strength.

I opted for an M&G system and found when towing it actually stopped the MH faster because of the four wheel braking of the Bronco added considerably to the really lousy air-over-hydraulic all disk brakes of the Beaver Patriot. When getting ready to travel, I quick connected a coiled air line from MH to towd. That's it. Done. No switches or levers to adjust. No LED's to watch. We now have a bus conversion with much better full air brakes, but still I use the M&G when towing our 6100 pound van.

Two points:

1. Compare costs of systems with and without installation labor. The cost of most box-on-the-floor supplemental braking systems will meet or exceed the M&G system in most cases. And no, I have no relation to M&G other than the fact I appreciate a well engineered and simple system that does not put excessive stresses on portions of your towd that it was not designed to have.

2. ANY supplemental or primary braking system can exhibit problems if it is not installed properly.

The only downside to the M&G system is they do not have cylinders for all cars and trucks. Particularly the smaller ones. My wife's 2300 pound Escort fell into that category due to the compactness within the engine compartment and the fact that model is not highly used as a towd.

So you pay your money and hopefully ride safer.

Chuck & Elva Newman

F162285

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Based on advice from a well-experienced RV tech, I chose the M&G system for my first MH, a pre-owned DP with full air brakes. Installation of a Blue Ox towing setup and the braking system was done by the tech and I am very happy with the whole setup. I purchased all of the Blue Ox components from RVUpgrades.com and saved a bundle. They're great to do business with. Bought the M&G stuff factory direct. As mentioned in a previous post the M&G cylinder selection can be an issue. Be sure to check with them first, AND be sure your installer is experienced in doing the work, whatever it is. Enjoy your new rig!

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We installed a system by Brakemaster on our coach, a 1994 Monaco Dynasty diesel, in 2002 when we went to towing four wheels down. The system is powered by air from the air brakes of the coach which operates a cylinder to actuate the brake pedal in the toad. As such, the system is strictly proportional. The harder I hit the brakes on the coach, the greater the pressure on the brakes in the toad. Our Trialblazer toad is now going on 7 years old and I just replaced the front brakes last spring (at 6 years old). The Brakemaster system certainly isn't causing excessive wear on the car brakes. A small cylinder installed under the hood provides break-away stopping for the toad. Hook-up involves attaching the actuator pedal for the brake, attaching an air hose from coach to toad. This hose also has an electric connection that indicates when the brake is active and also if the hose is attached or not. The indicator light for this is installed on the drivers panel on the left side near the transmission information panel. I wouldn't have a system that didn't have some kind of indicator to indicate proper operation. The final piece is simply a cable from the coach hitch to the plug that activates the break-away system to engage the brake on the toad. If the two vehicles are separated the cable pulls the plug and the brake on the toad engages and stays engaged. It would be possible to install the electric wire for the status light in the wiring system from coach to toad if desired.

Unlike the brake in a box, this system will not activate if I am using the engine brake while descending a steep incline. I prefer this as there is no need for extra braking on a routine descent and the toad brakes will be cool as are the coach brakes if needed for extra stopping power. We had no difficulty moving this from the original coach to our present coach, a 2004 Monaco Windsor. It took the staff at Dixie RV Superstores in Louisiana less than two hours to do the whole job. We really haven't had a hitch since installing this system. My wife and I can rip the toad off the motor home in under 10 minutes even if we have the Coastline Cover Tow Car Shield on the Trailblazer.

I don't know how this system compares to the US Gear system so popular above. Guess I'll have to look at that if a change is ever necessary.

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M&G is the very best in my book. We have a diesel pusher with air brakes and I am not certain how it would hook up with a non air brake coach.

M&G Engineering makes both electric and air braking systems. If you understand power brakes you know how hard it is to stop a vehicle when the engine is not running. M&G unit fits in between the power brake booster and the master cylinder. When the brake is applied (Air or Electric) it applies pressure right to the master cylinder with the same force your coach brake is appling. Great, great, great unit. With a life time warrenty.

Happy RVing

Herman

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I am planning on buying a supplemental braking system at Bowling Green. I have done my research and I am leaning toward the BRAKEMASTER by Roadmaster. I have read all the posts in this thread and see that M&G and US Gear are the most talked about. What I am looking for is if anyone has any reasons why I should not purchase the BRAKEMASTER system.

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I was reading a site on ReadyBrake Supplemental Brake Systems and it sounds good, has anyone tried it? or do you have an opinion on it?

I have used the Ready Brake for many years without incident. It's easy and quick to connect and disconnect. Braking is smooth. It's design is simple and trouble free. An LED wired into the towed vehicle's brakes lights to let you know the pedal is being depressed. The harder you brake, the more pressure is applied to the towed vehicle's braking system.

I've got two vehicles equipped and ready to pull - one an Aerostar and the other an Olds Cutlass (similar to a Malibu).

After connecting the safety cables and electrical cable for the brake lights, two small braided cables are attached between the loops on the Ready Brake mechanism on the hitch and the loops on the towed vehicle. One is the main operating cable fastened around the brake pedal through a sheath to the front bumper/grill and the other is a safety cable with a little slack in it which runs through a device that allows pulling it out but prevents it from retracting - this is the brake-away cable which will bring the car to a halt in the event the towed vehicle is separated from the MH.

I'm very satisfied with the Ready Brake system.

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