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Old 06-01-2015, 11:11 PM   #1
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Installed my M&G Brake system, easy stuff!

Gang,
Well, I was a tad skeptical in the onset of this venture. Not sure why, I've delved into a whole lot worse in repairs/maintenance/issues on this coach than what's involved with this additional braking system install. So, after contacting a member for some advice and, the factory, I dove into it with both feet and, ordered one up. It arrived in a couple of days and, I was ready to tackle this project.

The coach is an '04 Itasca Horizon, 36GD with the C-7 330HP CAT and, a Freightliner "Evolution" XC Chassis. The toad is: an '11 GMC Sierra 1500 Extended Cab. Installing the components on both of those, was seriously easy. In all reality, knowing what I know now, I could most likely install both components in about 30 minutes. It takes longer to run the air lines and wire tie it all down, than it does to do the technical work.

For those that are not familiar with the M&G toad braking system, it's a very simple system that, like many of the other braking systems out there, applies the brakes on the toad, to assist in slowing and stopping additional weight. The primary difference between this one and most of the others is, this one does not "Push" on the brake pedal. Because of its style of design and where it's placed in the braking system of the toad, it applies pressure on the master cylinder piston via a separate mechanism. And, by sheer design, it has no effect(s) on the braking system of the toad, when being driven. And, once it's installed, YOU'RE DONE, FOREVER! No adjustments are ever needed. No electrical connections, no relying a toad battery to be kept charged for proper operation, and more.

It is a completely proportional system. The more you apply the brakes on the coach, the more the toads are applied. There is also one more additional benefit of this this system. Because it applies pressure directly to the piston in the master cylinder via it's own diaphragm and shaft, it will not trigger the toads brake lights because it's not pushing on the toads brake pedal, like just about every other auxiliary braking system out there. To some, that is a plus, to others, it might not be.


All that's needed for the connection of the coach to the toad is, a coiled, 1/4" air line which, you can purchase from M&G or, you can make one yourself. Oh, I forgot. Our system is designed for air brake systems. M&G does design and sell, other types of systems. You'll have to venture over to their website for further information on those systems.

But, in a nutshell, the unit is installed, between the master cylinder and the power brake unit. That's the main component. The other part of the system
is a simple tie-in to your coaches rear service break application line. As with many folks I've corresponded with, I was a bit displeased with M&Gs instructions and photos. The issue is that they're just a bit fuzzy in the detail department of what's to be done, and to what.

But, now that I've done it, to two coaches and two toads in the last couple of weeks, I will admit that, their instructions are actually pretty right on. You just need to know what they're saying. Anyway, it was a simple install for both main components. On my year/era chassis, there is a Wabco ABS rear brake valve that actually sends brake pressure to each of the rear service ports, on the brake cans.

But, there is a black, 3/8" plastic air line from that Wabco air brake valve, that leads to the emergency brake relay valve, right under the Wabco one. All that's needed to be done in that area is simple. You simply cut that 3/8" line, someplace in the middle, and install a "T" in it. The T has to have 3/8" fittings on each end but, the middle one needs to be 1/4" for the air line supplied by M&G. Then, you simply run the supplied 1/4 air line, along the frame and where ever you deem it is safe for it to be, all the way to the rear of the coach, to meet up with the fitting and mounting bracket.

Mount the bracket and, attach the line to the fitting and, you're done. Now, as for the toad part, it too is fairly simple. You just remove the master cylinder and, insert the M&G component, in between the master cylinder and the power brake unit. Now, here's the deal. There are TWO critical adjustments, in side that M&G unit, one on each end, that will basically allow that M&G unit to act simply as an extension rod between the two components on either side of it.

When the adjustment is done correctly, there will be a very small gap, as in around .030 and about .050 thousandths, between the two shafts and, the M&G shafts. The end result they (and you) want is when you're driving the toad, to not even notice there's been anything done with the brake system. It's not hard, just takes a few minutes to get the adjustment right.

So, that's it. As all of you experienced RV folks with toads know, there's multiple toad braking systems out there. I used the Ready Brake for years on multiple vehicles. But, due to things I personally was not happy with, I decided to venture over to this M&G system. Everyone's got to go with what makes them happy in this part of RVing. I've not towed with it just yet so, that will be next. I suspect I will not notice anything different other than, I will not have the "slop" in the tow bar-hitch assembly I had with the Ready Brake. This is a personal preference, nothing against R/B.

Below are some pics of the unit outside the vehicle, and, installed. And some of where the M&G system connects to the coaches air brake system and, the fitting on the back of the coach. To those who've installed and are using this system, you already know all this stuff. To those that are thinking of a new system and or, purchasing your first braking system for a toad, and, you've got a diesel coach, so far I'm really happy with which the ease of how it was installed and, how it works.
Scott






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Old 06-02-2015, 02:27 AM   #2
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X2 on the M&G. I also replaced a Ready Brake with the system and couldn't be happier with the performance. It's just not mobile between toads.


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Old 06-02-2015, 11:35 AM   #3
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Nice install! I just had this installed yesterday on my 2009 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and was going to post install pictures, but your nice clean engine and sharp photos would make my 6year old Jeep's engine compartment look even dirtier than it is!!

I do like this system.
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Old 06-02-2015, 12:16 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firedoc View Post
X2 on the M&G. I also replaced a Ready Brake with the system and couldn't be happier with the performance. It's just not mobile between toads.


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Well, the ability for a toad braking system to be mobile for different toads is surely a plus, without a doubt. In all the years of camping/towing/traveling years though, we've only owned and towed, one toad at a time. But, if and when we change from our present toad, the GMC, to something else, yep, it's gonna cost me to exchange the unit for one that will fit the next toad. But, it is what it is.

Based on the design and simplicity of the system and, ease of hook-up and disconnect during towing operations, and the fact that we don't change toads every ten minutes, (most likely every 5-6 years or more) it's not going to be that much of a hit when I do have to exchange the unit.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Statgeek View Post
Nice install! I just had this installed yesterday on my 2009 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and was going to post install pictures, but your nice clean engine and sharp photos would make my 6year old Jeep's engine compartment look even dirtier than it is!!

I do like this system.
Statgeek,
Thanks for the nice comments. That "clean" engine compartment that you see is the result of on-road driving only (even though it's a 4x4) and it rarely goes off road and, it does get a douse of spay soap and water every so often.

We Jeeped for well over 25 years, all over the western U.S., Colorado-Ouray-Silverton-Montrose-Durango-Delores and more. Utah-Moab-Three Peaks State Park in Cedar City-St. George and more. Southern CA-Borrego-Mountains-Deserts and whole lot more. Yep, my engine compartment got a bit ugly too, quite a few zillion times.

While I doubt I'll be able to tell just how effective this new M&G system is vs the old Ready Brake, I know for sure that I will NOT feel the slop (my opinion only) of the action of the R/B unit. It will be a more positive/tighter setup. Again, this is my opinion only. I was happy with the Ready Brake for years. I even modified the install procedures to make it seriously more user friendly and way nicer looking both inside the toad and, the link cable between the two vehicles.

It served us well for quite a few years. But, as things and time changed, I just grew tired of the slop associated with that system. This is just a personal thing with me. We'll see how the new system goes. I suspect it will be just fine.
Scott
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Old 06-03-2015, 02:49 PM   #5
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Fire-up.
I switched over from the Blue Ox Patriot system, which is very similar to the Brake Buddy. While I'm confident that I was safer with that box than with nothing, I must say that I never felt like it was really that effective for slowing the Jeep. It would activate on HARD stops, and sometimes inadvertently while going down steep grades, but the system presses the brakes in with the same uniform lack-luster speed regardless of how hard I hit my RV brakes. Once the Patriot determines that it needs to activate, it activates at the same speed no matter what, and the force/speed was more like "Gee, maybe I should stop" than it was "Stop this beast now!" I felt that in a true emergency stop, the Patriot wasn't as good as it should be.

I can tell you that driving home from my mechanic on Monday with the M&G for the first time, even with my 40'DP, I could feel the difference. I had them install an indicator light so that I knew when the M&G was being pressurized, and I like that my engine brake does not activate the M&G, but when I tap the brakes on the RV, my Jeep brakes are activated as well. I also like how quick and easy this is to connect, but that was not my main reason for switching. For me, it's all about safety.
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Old 06-04-2015, 04:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FIRE UP View Post
[COLOR=black][FONT="Verdana"]

Now, here's the deal. There are TWO critical adjustments, in side that M&G unit, one on each end, that will basically allow that M&G unit to act simply as an extension rod between the two components on either side of it.

When the adjustment is done correctly, there will be a very small gap, as in around .030 and about .050 thousandths, between the two shafts and, the M&G shafts. The end result they (and you) want is when you're driving the toad, to not even notice there's been anything done with the brake system. It's not hard, just takes a few minutes to get the adjustment right.

Can you explain the adjustments a little further. Do you have to keep taking the unit in and out to make adjustments? How do you measure the distance to obtain the .030 - .050?


Also, Statgeek, did you have one of M&G listed dealers do your install, or did you just take it to your local RV mechanic?

Thanks.

Randy
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Old 06-04-2015, 06:04 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by rmcobb View Post
Can you explain the adjustments a little further. Do you have to keep taking the unit in and out to make adjustments? How do you measure the distance to obtain the .030 - .050?


Also, Statgeek, did you have one of M&G listed dealers do your install, or did you just take it to your local RV mechanic?

Thanks.

Randy
Randy,
Well Sir, in reality, yes, you do have to keep removing the unit to make those adjustments. But, here's how it really works. M&G does not have any detailed, cross section drawings of the unit itself so, to show the small shafts that are adjustable, picture a tube, laying on its side, with a spring loaded diaphragm in it, about mid length. protruding out either end of the tube is a small, threaded shaft. Each of those shafts is adjustable in and out.

And, each is designed to work with the ends of both, the power brake booster shaft, and, the piston cup of the master cylinder. You see, when the master cylinder is bolted to the power brake unit, the shaft of the power brake unit is only a few thousandths from the piston cup of the master cylinder.

Well, when you install that M&G unit, you're basically inserting a very large spacer (the M&G unit itself) in between those two. So, what you want is, for the shaft from the power brake booster to be ultra-close to the receiving shaft of the M&G, literally a few thousands, and, conversely, when you install the master cylinder, you want the same tight clearances in the shaft-to-piston cup.

The less of a gap you have between the two mate-ups, the less you'll notice you installed that M&G unit. Now, to get that gap as close as possible, it's a simple "trial and error" system. The basics are, you mate up the M&G to the brake booster first. Now, in doing that, you unscrew the shaft in the M&G enough that, when mating up to the booster, you can tell it's sticking out too far because the M&G "rocks" back and forth, indicating that the shafts are touching prior to the mate-up.

Now, you screw that shaft in a full turn, then, mate them up again. If it still rocks, you're still out too far. Then turn it in again, another full turn. If it now mates up, without rocking, you're ultra close to perfect. You then back pull it back off and, "un-screw it" 1/4 turn at a time, while re-installing it between each 1/4 turn 'till it feels like the two shafts are touching again.

When you feel it's at the perfect adjustment, you then drip a drop or two of the included LOCKTITE 290 right at the joint of the adjustment threads. You're now done with that end.

Now, it's time do to the same exact procedure, at the master cylinder end. Believe me, it's taking longer to type all this in an explanation, than it takes to make the adjustments. Once the master cylinder adjustment side is done, you them put the same LOCKTITE 290 on those threads too. That way, both adjustments will stay locked for the duration it's installed.

If, in the end, you drive your toad and, you feel you've mis-adjusted either of the two shafts, it's not a big deal at all. You simply remove that M&G unit and, heat either end up, which ever end you feel might be mal-adjusted and, when the outer ring of LOCTITE just begins to smoke a slight amount, you can, at that time, do some re-adjusting of that shaft. Let it cool down and, re-install it, You're done. Hope I've cleared up or, answered your question. If not, surely let me know.
Scott
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Old 06-05-2015, 11:50 AM   #8
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I installed the M&G system on my 2004 Ford Explorer about two weeks ago. The installation on the Explorer was not quite as easy as on the vehicle described earlier as the studs on the master cylinder have to be cut and the nuts are difficult to access when adjusting the unit.
It was still not overly difficult.

Overall once finished though, the braking was very positive.

I have no real framework for comparison as we only got the RV a couple of months ago and I am just setting up the TOAD for towing.

So far so good. We are now ready to tow on our trip out west this summer.
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Old 06-05-2015, 11:54 AM   #9
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I might add that one reason I liked the system was also that it did not rely upon any movement of the brake pedal. The brake pedals on the explorer are electrically adjustable for different drivers, and automatic with that drivers key.
I did not want to have to make different adjustments to either a cable operated surge system or a floor mounted brake system dependent upon who had drive previously.

just my thoughts --
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Old 06-05-2015, 02:43 PM   #10
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Scott,
GREAT explanation. Thanks This system is definitely on my short list. Its between this and the SMI Air Force One.....decisions, decisions.
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Old 06-06-2015, 12:01 PM   #11
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[QUOTE=rmcobb;2587802



Also, Statgeek, did you have one of M&G listed dealers do your install, or did you just take it to your local RV mechanic?



Thanks.



Randy[/QUOTE]


Yes--I had Smitty's install mine--they are on the M&G list of recommended installers. They do a ton of them. And lots of other RV specific installs and mods. They were welding a motorcycle lift on an Rv when I was there. Interesting to watch.
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Old 08-15-2015, 08:55 PM   #12
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[QUOTE=FIRE UP;2587896

When you feel it's at the perfect adjustment, you then drip a drop or two of the included LOCKTITE 290 right at the joint of the adjustment threads. You're now done with that end.

Now, it's time do to the same exact procedure, at the master cylinder end. Believe me, it's taking longer to type all this in an explanation, than it takes to make the adjustments. Once the master cylinder adjustment side is done, you them put the same LOCKTITE 290 on those threads too. That way, both adjustments will stay locked for the duration it's installed.

If, in the end, you drive your toad and, you feel you've mis-adjusted either of the two shafts, it's not a big deal at all. You simply remove that M&G unit and, heat either end up, which ever end you feel might be mal-adjusted and, when the outer ring of LOCTITE just begins to smoke a slight amount, you can, at that time, do some re-adjusting of that shaft. Let it cool down and, re-install it, You're done. Hope I've cleared up or, answered your question. If not, surely let me know.
Scott[/QUOTE]

Scott thanks for taking the time for the detail write up on the M&G install but if you need to readjust the rod try a drop or two of acetone next time instead of heat.
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Old 08-15-2015, 10:35 PM   #13
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Scott thanks for taking the time for the detail write up on the M&G install but if you need to readjust the rod try a drop or two of acetone next time instead of heat.
Walt,
The torch I used for heating the shaft/threads is a tiny, pensile tip torch, about 6" long and about 3/8" in diameter. It didn't have any detrimental effects on any other parts/components of the M & G system.

But, if and or when I ever do need to re-adjust either of those two shafts, I will most certainly try your idea of the Acetone. I just happen to have a gallon of it hanging around, along with a gallon of Lacquer Thinner and a gallon of Paint Thinner.
Scott
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Old 08-15-2015, 10:43 PM   #14
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Scott another use for the acetone is mix it 50 50 with trans fluid for the best penetrant I have ever used, just shake it up as it will separate spray it on I think you will find it a lot better than the bought stuff.
I do appreciate the write up as I will be installing a M&G on our 13 F150 4X4 in a couple weeks.
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