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Old 11-11-2015, 11:01 PM   #1
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Air supplemental toad brake with Alpine’s hydraulic brakes

Main question: To get air pressure to activate my toad’s Blue Ox BrakeSafe air cylinder, should I tap into our Alpine’s air compressor system, or install an add-on 12V compressor in the Alpine?

Details: A year ago we bought our 2001 Alpine 36 that came with a Roadmaster All Terrain tow bar and all the associated peripheral cables and bar components that connected to the previous owner’s toad. They had a Ford Escape with a Stay-n-Play by Air Force One supplemental brake. Recently we bought a 2001 Jeep Cherokee from a couple who had towed it behind their non-air diesel coach, so it has all the toad towing components including a Blue Ox BrakeSafe air cylinder supplemental braking system. He also included the 12V air compressor that had been installed in his coach to provide the air pressure to activate the BrakeSafe cylinder. The air compressor system also has a hydraulic connection to tap into the coach hydraulic brake line so that the compressor’s air valve can provide proportional braking to the toad.

My inclination would be to install the 12V air compressor since it links to the coach’s hydraulic line to sense brake line pressure and provide proportional air pressure to the BrakeSafe cylinder. Alternately, I could use one of the air connectors in the Alpine’s engine diagnostics bay, but then how do I incorporate proportional braking with hydraulic pressure? Proportional braking would seem to be preferable to brake light-activated full on/off braking. How do other Alpines (hydraulic brakes & air bag suspension) connect to supplemental braking systems?

1. Which way should I go – 12V add-on compressor or use Alpine’s air compressor?
2. Where should I get it done in Western Washington? Roadmaster is in Vancouver WA, but they may be biased against my BlueOx BrakeSafe and try to sell me their similar system. The Blue Ox website lists Brazels in Centralia WA as a dealer, and I have read generally good reviews of their service on this forum. Any suggestions?

2001 Alpine Coach 36 FDDS
2001 Jeep Cherokee Sport

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Old 11-11-2015, 11:15 PM   #2
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I've put a fitting into the MH's system for our RoadMaster braking system. Technically you should have an isolation system for it that is not connected directly to the brakes. Spartan used to sell a unit like that but it was over $400.
We have an all air braking system though. Doesn't the Alpine have an air over hydraulic system?
Last time I checked with RoadMaster they really didn't want to work directly with consumers unless you had a problem with their products.
Brazils is a good place to go and I'm sure they can set you up correctly. I've been to both RoadMaster and Brazils and used to be a RoadMaster dealer for a very short time.

2009 45' Magna 630 w/Cummins ISX 650 HP/1950 Lbs Ft
Charter Good Sam Lifetime Member, FMCA, SKP
RV'ing since 1957, NRA Benefactor Life, towing '05 Odyssey
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Old 11-12-2015, 12:18 AM   #3
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What I did, which was the easiest way to go was to tee off an air line on top of the air reservoir tank. On an Alpine you should stay close to the tank, because if tee off somewhere else down the line you do have less pressure to the airbags. I have used this way for 15 years with my Roadmaster Brakemaster and it has worked fine.

A dealer may not want to hook in to the coach Air system, I am guessing they would want to follow the manufactures recommended way to install the kit with the air compressor, so you may not have a choice with them.
2007 Apex MDTS (425 hp) #75723
2007 Toyota 4-Runner
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Old 11-12-2015, 05:37 AM   #4
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Hydraulic to air

Mike, I have not done this yet, I have purchased a used set up as you did. I called Road master and they said to put a Proportional Valve at the rear brake line and tap into the air back at the blow down valve. Then run the air to the toad. On the proportional Valve in the pic I see wires so it has to be some type of switching valve. I have a ford Escape and I don't know how long I will keep it and hate to spend $400.00 for bracket for a short time when it doesn't fit anything else. On my Alpine somebody set up to run a Transmission pump as they traveled. There's no wiring diagrams. They had two types of plugs one the pump came though and the other electric brakes. So I'm waiting to see what all you do and see if I can use that idea. The more parts you use the more trouble shooting problems you have. I'm sure others have been here.

Larry Pate
2003 38FDDS 350 Cummins
Boston Ky
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Old 11-12-2015, 11:57 AM   #5
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When I set up for proportional breaking I took the Coach to Brazil's. They tied into the air line. They did a very good job.
'99 Alpine Coach
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Old 11-17-2015, 09:47 AM   #6
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Ken L.

Ok, I just recently went through this. I have an 03 Alpine pulling a new wrangler using Roadmaster parts. I used the Air available at an air manifold mounted on the bulkhead just forward of the rear axle. It is the
air manifold provided for the rear Air Bag system, it had a couple spare ports with plugs installed. Just remove the plug [make sure the air pressure is bleed off before removing the plug]. Use the air for your proportional brake valve. I connected the Hydraulic Brake system to the
proportional brake valve by installing a Tee into one of the brake lines to the rear wheels at the flexible hose connection at the frame. I mounted the proportional valve to a bracket I mounted on the frame just 12" from the
brake line Tee connection. Make sure you bleed the air from the system.
I would recommend since you are opening the hydraulic system that you use the opportunity to CHANGE out ALL of the existing BRAKE FLUID in the system. I am on the road with the car and the brake system is working great. You can do this if you a bit mechanical-----these are your BRAKES you know. Good Luck Ken
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Old 11-17-2015, 01:01 PM   #7
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Agree that changing out the brake fluid on a periodic basis is a great idea for Alpine owners but to get "all" the fluid changed out, requires a "wheels-off" approach....outside calipers are not reachable with wheels left on.
Old Scout
2003 40' MDTS
Garden Ridge, Texas
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Old 11-17-2015, 07:16 PM   #8
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Our Alpine's previous owner told me there was an air attachment for supplemental brakes already installed, and I found it conveniently located near the tow hitch. I have made an appointment with Brazels in early December to install a brake line proportioning valve, and to check all our old used tow equipment components to ensure they are serviced and safe. I don't need a brake fluid flush & bleed yet because I had it done at Cummins Coach Care a year ago, so I'll do it again next year. Thanks for all the comments - I'll update this when it's all done.

2001 Alpine 36FDDS
Bellevue, WA

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brake, brakes, toad

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