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Old 11-25-2007, 04:58 PM   #1
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We have had our 07 TropiCal for several months now and will be making a trip from Dallas to San Diego in December. I would like to know what everyone might recommend for a supplemental braking system for my Toad (2006 Jeep Wrangler, 6 Speed, about 4300 lbs). I am using the Roadmaster Stowmaster 5 on the Jeep. If I wanted to put in a system like the BrakeMaster which uses the air from the motorhome, would this void my warranty on the motorhome?
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Old 11-25-2007, 04:58 PM   #2
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We have had our 07 TropiCal for several months now and will be making a trip from Dallas to San Diego in December. I would like to know what everyone might recommend for a supplemental braking system for my Toad (2006 Jeep Wrangler, 6 Speed, about 4300 lbs). I am using the Roadmaster Stowmaster 5 on the Jeep. If I wanted to put in a system like the BrakeMaster which uses the air from the motorhome, would this void my warranty on the motorhome?
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Old 11-25-2007, 08:22 PM   #3
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Freightliner will tell you in no uncertain terms that the ONLY location to tap into the air supply system is at their supplied manifold. Any other connections are NOT approved.

We have been using a Break Buddy for six years and like the unit.
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Old 11-26-2007, 03:38 AM   #4
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MCB128
Have been using a Brake Buddy for 5 years, works great and only takes a few Min. to set up.
You should get the information you are looking
For on this forum.
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Old 11-26-2007, 06:18 AM   #5
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We have an 03 diesel Trop. When we started to look for supplemental brake system, my first concern was not to break into the air system of the Coach and to have something that I did not have to worry about setting up and then storing after use. There are 2 systems we looked at: the M&G and US Gear. The US Gear was recommended to us and that is way we went.

The only thing you have to do is to plug in the electric cord into the toad. After that, set the pressure you want on the Toad brakes with the dial installed on your dash. After that, nothing. It just works!!!!

They run installed around 1500.00 and the peace of mind is well worth it.
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Old 11-26-2007, 07:02 AM   #6
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I use a US Gear system to pull my '06 Wrangler Unlimited. Works beautifully and has been trouble free. Takes seconds to hook up. Can be bought on-line from several sources at a big discount from retail list.
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Old 11-26-2007, 12:09 PM   #7
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MCB, you may want to take a hard look at the SMI Air Force One System. It does tap into the air system of the coach, but I believe there is little to worry about, and it is a true proportional braking system. Check out www.rvupgrades.com for a very good price on it.
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Old 11-26-2007, 12:11 PM   #8
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MCB, you may want to take a hard look at the SMI Air Force One System. It does tap into the air system of the coach, but I believe there is little to worry about, and it is a true propurtional braking system. Check out www.rvupgrades.com for a very good price on it.
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Old 11-26-2007, 01:21 PM   #9
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"There is little to worry about?" Only if you are not concerned with Freightliner's written policy. The information below is directly from Freightliner's chassis guide...

Auxiliary Air Supply

" Manifold provided for
auxiliary air source
Up to 120 psi
" Can be used for:
Air horn supply
Fill tires
etc.
" The only approved location for tying into the air system.
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Old 11-26-2007, 07:01 PM   #10
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Larry, where do Freightliner tractors get the air supply for the trailers they pull? I believe they mean for any other auxilary appliances, not meaning additional braking systems. IMHO, until I call FCCC tomorrow for a ruling on this issue. I wonder if SMI was in contact with FCCC during development of the AFO?
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Old 11-26-2007, 07:23 PM   #11
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Steve,

I guess I don't understand how Freightliner's position could be any clearer... As for Freightliner tractors, an air supply connection point is specifically engineered for the purpose of air supply for trailers. As for a motorhome chassis, your question was asked and answered by Freightliner at one of their seminars. Their answer... "our position is clear and documented in our owners and chassis manuals," and that is where I got the information posted.

Additionally, the following is another quote from Freightliner's Owners Manual:

Towing With the Vehicle

"WARNING -
Freightliner neither recommends nor approves
connecting a trailer or other towed vehicle's
braking system directly to the vehicle braking
system. Freightliner LLC also neither recommends nor approves tapping into the vehicle air brake system nor operating a towed vehicle or trailer's braking system by means of the vehicle braking system. Failure to observe this warning could result in severe injury or death, or substantial property damage.
Do not tow unbraked vehicles if the combined
weight of both vehicles is more than the sum of
the gross axle weight ratings (GAWR) of the towing vehicle. Otherwise brake capacity will be inadequate,which could result in personal injury or death."

Clearly, all of the system air supply is coming from the same compressor, but it is WHERE you access that air supply that is important. And by the way, Spartan has has specific requirements where their air supply can be accessed as well. Owned one of those too.
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Old 11-27-2007, 06:35 AM   #12
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06 Tradewinds:

That is why we went with the US Gear. Had it installed and have used it since. Works easily, simple to hook up. No muss, no fuss. Recommended.
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Old 11-27-2007, 06:35 AM   #13
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The above statement from Freightliner is a broad, bury-my-head-in-the-sand statement. This is the equivalent of saying you can't tap-in to a 12v source because you may do it improperly and cause damage to the vehicle. Make no mistake; there is a right and many wrong ways to tap-in to the air and I realize that there is a lot more riding on your brakes than a 12v accessory. The point that I am trying to make is that just because there is a wrong way to do something doesn't mean that it should be entirely avoided.

All chassis manufacturers follow the same basic template for their braking systems and use essentially the same parts (Bendix, Wabco, Haldex, Velvac, etc.). Much of this uniformity comes of necessity from DOT. The variation comes in with the towed-vehicle braking system. There are currently no DOT regulations for towed-vehicle braking systems tapping into the air of the towing vehicle. The closest related regulation is Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 121 which refers to a vehicle with air brakes pulling a vehicle with air brakes not at all what we have here (e.g. "The trailer must be able to hold the pulling vehicle on x% grade," etc.).

This is why you see the variation. Everyone is left to make up their own rules. Freightliner takes the "just-go-away-and-leave-me-alone" approach. Spartan takes bits and pieces from the above Safety Standard to make their "kit." Roadmaster Chassis (Monaco products) doesn't care what you do as long as you don't cause any problems. DynaMax Chassis (County Coach) will tell you where the easiest place to tap-in to the air is. Remember, they all use the same components that do the same things.

Working with Mike O'Neal of Spartan Chassis and Chuck Eberling of Bendix we have put together a kit that meets Spartan's recommendations and requirements for a supplemental-braking-system air tap-in. Since it meets Bendix and Spartan's (FMVSS 121) recommendations, it should also meet Freightliner's; but we have not gotten that far with them yet.

It is 100% illegal to void a manufacturer's warranty merely because of the presence of an aftermarket product. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975 (United States federal law 15 U.S.C. 2301 et seq.) protects the consumer and states that in order to void a warranty, the aftermarket product must be 1. Related to the system in question (aftermarket radio can't void the braking system) and 2. The aftermarket must be proven to have cause the problem. The burden of proof is 100% on the manufacturer.

That said, with the thousands and thousands of braking systems we have out there, I have not heard of one single case where the coach's warranty was in jeopardy because of one of our systems; and we will continue to work in cooperation with the chassis manufacturers.

Brent Schuck
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Old 11-27-2007, 07:19 AM   #14
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Brent,

A very comprehensive reply by an aftermarket manufacturer selling these systems. However, you still CANNOT say that your product meets the WRITTEN requirements of Freightliner. Sorry... the facts are the facts. Now, maybe someday you will get that approval, maybe not. But until then, anyone who installs your system is in direct violation of Freightliner's WRITTEN policy.

You are correct about any manufacturer not being able to void a warranty for simply having after-market parts/accessories on any vehicle. However, when they have specifically written a policy about THEIR product, it would be interesting to see how it would play out if there were a failure of some sort. There are just too many other good systems out there that do not require that you tap into the air system.

Safe travels.
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