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Old 03-22-2022, 08:06 PM   #1
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Air Force One Braking System on a Super Star?

As noted in this thread...

https://www.irv2.com/forums/f103/new...rs-574227.html

...my wife and I recently took delivery of a 2022 Super Star.

Our last two motorhomes have been Class A diesels - a 2010 Tiffin Allegro Bus and a 2018 Entegra Cornerstone. With both of those coaches, we towed a 2012 Jeep Wrangler and used a Demco/SMI Air Force One system for supplemental braking of the Jeep.

The Air Force One system requires certain components to be installed on the motorhome and other components to be installed on the towed vehicle. When we sold the Allegro Bus, I agreed to leave the coach side of the Air Force One system in place. In return, the new owner bought a full Air Force One kit, had the vehicle side components installed on the car he was going to tow, and gave me the coach side components which I installed on our Cornerstone.

I now have a similar situation in that I plan to leave the coach side of the Air Force One system on the Cornerstone for the next owner. My dilemma is that I can't find any documentation confirming the coach side of the Air Force One system can be installed on the Freightliner M2-106 chassis our Super Star rides on, and if so the specific steps for completing the job.

I'll be calling Demco to see what they have to say, but thought I'd ask here to see if any Super C owners with coaches built on the M2-106 platform have installed an Air Force One towed vehicle braking system. I'd also be interested in knowing about other supplemental braking systems that may be in use by owners of Newmar and/or other brands of Super C's, especially Super C's built on an M2-106 chassis.

Thanks in advance for any & all advice!
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Old 03-24-2022, 11:18 AM   #2
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Called Demco yesterday (3/23/2022) and talked with a very helpful individual named Brian. He said I should be able to follow the instructions & photos they've published for the Freightliner Class A chassis products to install the coach side of the Air Force One braking system on our Super Star with its M2-106 chassis. He said Freightliner is pretty consistent across their product lines with regard to the components that relate to an Air Force One coach side installation.

I ordered a coach side kit from eTrailer and will report what I learn once I receive and install it.
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Old 03-24-2022, 12:07 PM   #3
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Larry, I've installed two of them on a Freightliner. Neither simply fit into a spot next to the Freightliner valving without making a bracket to cleanly hold it in place. You might get lucky.

One of the things I do, is take a Sharpie and mark the ports on the AF1 module so when you're under the coach, it's easy to determine the connections. Take a color photo of the Freightliner valving with your phone. Then you can sit and match it to the photos that AF1 provides. It helps you understand the connections better.

Lastly, make sure the air fittings they send you, especially the large "T" is complete with all the small pieces. I thought mine were and once everything was cut, part of the "T" was missing. It has small rings that can get lost. They sent me a new one but delayed the project as it's not an easily located valve.
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Old 03-24-2022, 12:49 PM   #4
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Hey Larry,
we installed the M&G on ours and it is very similar in concept to the Air Force One. M&G was the pioneer of this kind of braking system, so thats one of the reasons we went with them plus they are all made in Texas!!
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Old 03-27-2022, 02:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dutch Star Don View Post
Larry, I've installed two of them on a Freightliner. Neither simply fit into a spot next to the Freightliner valving without making a bracket to cleanly hold it in place. You might get lucky.

One of the things I do, is take a Sharpie and mark the ports on the AF1 module so when you're under the coach, it's easy to determine the connections. Take a color photo of the Freightliner valving with your phone. Then you can sit and match it to the photos that AF1 provides. It helps you understand the connections better.

Lastly, make sure the air fittings they send you, especially the large "T" is complete with all the small pieces. I thought mine were and once everything was cut, part of the "T" was missing. It has small rings that can get lost. They sent me a new one but delayed the project as it's not an easily located valve.
Don, thanks for your comments and insights.

I’ve installed two Air Force One braking systems – one on our 2010 Tiffin Allegro Bus (Tiffin PowerGlide chassis) and one on our 2018 Entegra Cornerstone (Spartan chassis). When doing the installation on the Tiffin PowerGlide chassis, I ran into the same issue you cited – couldn’t find a particularly good place to mount the control module near the air lines I needed to tap into.

I ended up mounting the control module in the engine compartment, as you can see in the first of the photos below. That gave me more flexibility with the mounting, and it located the control module in an area where it would (and did) stay a lot cleaner than being underneath the coach. I ended up doing the same on the Entegra installation – see second photo below.

In the interest of full disclosure, that mounting location wasn’t my idea – it was recommended to me by a guy at Cliff’s Welding in Mesa who has done innumerable installations of SMI Air Force One braking systems.

As SMI (now Demco) will point out, the one potential downside to this approach is that you have a not just a metered air line running from an area around the drive axle to the back end of the coach, you also have a supply air line doing the same. Obviously you want to be careful with the routing of ANY air line, but with a supply line that care is especially important. On both coaches I used high-temp split-loom tubing around the air lines, then routed them with great care (and numerous tie wraps). No issues on either coach.

Our new Super Star is a bit different in that it doesn’t have an aft engine compartment, but based on a quick assessment there are several potential control module mounting locations at the back end of the coach. My coach-side kit should be arriving soon and I’ll report what I end up doing.

Thanks again for your comments – much appreciated!
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Old 03-27-2022, 02:26 PM   #6
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Does Freightliner install Brake Sync on your Super Star chassis like they do on Newmar freightliner chassis? Then it is just plug in to the provided air quick connect near the hitch. No other hardware required on the coach side.

I did not see it mentioned on the Super Star Freightliner spec sheet.

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Old 03-27-2022, 03:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GUS2000 View Post
Hey Larry,
we installed the M&G on ours and it is very similar in concept to the Air Force One. M&G was the pioneer of this kind of braking system, so thats one of the reasons we went with them plus they are all made in Texas!!
Yep, I think highly of M&G braking systems too. Not only that, I was born in Texas!

Back in mid-2012 when we took delivery of our 2012 Jeep Wrangler, M&G’s only towed vehicle braking system was their original design. That version required an air cylinder to be mounted between the Jeep's master cylinder and vacuum booster - see photo below.

The problem was that there wasn’t enough space under the hood of our Jeep to do that, unless you were willing to do some cutting and relocating. The company I mentioned in my post above – Cliff’s Welding in Mesa – has been in business for many years and does a lot of RV-related work. They carried both the M&G and SMI braking systems at the time, so I drove the Jeep out there and talked with their expert. He looked at my engine compartment and recommended the SMI Air Force One system, which wouldn’t require the surgery that would be necessary if I went with the M&G system. So that’s what I did.

Since then, M&G has developed their “M&G 2.0” braking system, which is more like the Air Force One design and doesn’t require the air cylinder between the towed vehicle’s master cylinder and vacuum booster. M&G pretty much had to do that because the engine compartments of most vehicles these days have so little space available under the hood.

Bottom line, if I happened to be starting fresh today, I would happily consider M&G along with the SMI (now Demco) Air Force One system.
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Old 03-27-2022, 03:10 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FloridaSon View Post
Does Freightliner install Brake Sync on your Super Star chassis like they do on Newmar freightliner chassis? Then it is just plug in to the provided air quick connect near the hitch. No other hardware required on the coach side.

I did not see it mentioned on the Super Star Freightliner spec sheet.

Regards
Unfortunately no. Freightliner's Class A motorhome products are produced by Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC) and are specifically configured for the RV industry. The M2-106 cab & chassis that the Super Star is built on comes out of mainline Freightliner and the vast majority of the M2-106's end up as regional delivery trucks and the like.

The good news about that is that our Super Star is built on a cab & chassis of which there are easily hundreds of thousands on the road. In other words, it should be a tried & true product.

The not-so-good news is that there isn't much incentive for Freightliner to offer an M2-106 with RV-specific features or functions.
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Old 03-27-2022, 03:22 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LWBAZ View Post
Yep, I think highly of M&G braking systems too. Not only that, I was born in Texas!

Back in mid-2012 when we took delivery of our 2012 Jeep Wrangler, M&G’s only towed vehicle braking system was their original design. That version required an air cylinder to be mounted between the Jeep's master cylinder and vacuum booster - see photo below.

The problem was that there wasn’t enough space under the hood of our Jeep to do that, unless you were willing to do some cutting and relocating. The company I mentioned in my post above – Cliff’s Welding in Mesa – has been in business for many years and does a lot of RV-related work. They carried both the M&G and SMI braking systems at the time, so I drove the Jeep out there and talked with their expert. He looked at my engine compartment and recommended the SMI Air Force One system, which wouldn’t require the surgery that would be necessary if I went with the M&G system. So that’s what I did.

Since then, M&G has developed their “M&G 2.0” braking system, which is more like the Air Force One design and doesn’t require the air cylinder between the towed vehicle’s master cylinder and vacuum booster. M&G pretty much had to do that because the engine compartments of most vehicles these days have so little space available under the hood.

Bottom line, if I happened to be starting fresh today, I would happily consider M&G along with the SMI (now Demco) Air Force One system.
We will be installing the M&G 2.0 on our 2018 Jeep JL at the factory on our trip from Florida to Arizona with a stop over in Athens, TX. Thanks to GUS2000 for the recommendation.
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