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Old 06-19-2021, 01:23 PM   #1
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Ready Brake VS Air Force One

I have a friend who will be towing a Ford Expedition which is about 5700lbs. He is considering getting a Ready Brake surge brake rather than something like the Air Force One system. My question is considering the weight of the tow vehicle, is the ready brake adequate to handle it or would the Air Force One be the better choice?
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Old 06-19-2021, 02:03 PM   #2
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I use the ReadyBrake but my vehicle is much lighter. For a 5700 lb toad I think the AF1 would be the better choice.
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Old 06-19-2021, 03:21 PM   #3
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My choice would be either Airforce 1 or what I have been using for the past 21 years, M&G Engineering system. Both excellent proportional braking systems.
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Old 06-19-2021, 05:06 PM   #4
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Another vote for AF1
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Old 06-19-2021, 06:43 PM   #5
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I have had and used both and much prefer the AFO.
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Old 06-22-2021, 07:40 PM   #6
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What makes the afo better?
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Old 06-23-2021, 06:33 AM   #7
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What makes the afo better?
Which system is better is mostly in an opinion. In my opinion. both the M&G Engineering and the AF1 are best at ease of use...hook up one air line using a quick connect, and snap on a toad emergency breakaway cable and you are done. No adjusting, no moving components, the systems are truly proportional braking systems in that they match the toad braking to the coach braking and they do not energize unless the coach air brakes are actually on slowing you down.

But to be honest, all systems have their plusses and minuses.

To be honest, I only have experienced one other system, and it was the Brake Buddy one. That one was not for me and switched to the M&G Engineering system back 20+ years ago and never looked back.
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Old 06-23-2021, 08:57 AM   #8
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What makes the afo better?
I am of the impression AF1 offers more braking for the toad. If that's not the case I misspoke. I love the ReadyBrake, have towed three different SUV's over the last 15 years with it. It's easy to install, simple, works great, and is less expensive than most systems. I don't particularly care which system offers more or less braking. I don't believe I need a aux brake in the first place I have it to be in compliance.
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Old 06-23-2021, 09:12 AM   #9
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The weight of the vehicle doesn't determine the braking ability on the Ready Brute. The adjustment on the brake cable does. Since the braking is accomplished by the brakes on the towed vehicle, as long as the brakes are in reasonable condition they will slow or stop the towed vehicle as necessary.

Either system, or many for that matter will achieve toad braking. The manner in which the brake pedal in the towed vehicle is applied is the difference.
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Old 06-23-2021, 10:29 AM   #10
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I am of the impression AF1 offers more braking for the toad. If that's not the case I misspoke. I love the ReadyBrake, have towed three different SUV's over the last 15 years with it. It's easy to install, simple, works great, and is less expensive than most systems. I don't particularly care which system offers more or less braking. I don't believe I need a aux brake in the first place I have it to be in compliance.

As I have reported before, I became a believer in toad brakes after witnessing a large diesel pusher almost pushed off a road.

I was following the coach towing a pickup truck down a two lane winding mountainous type road on the way to a campground. It was raining and misty and the road was slick. . A deer jumped out in front of the motorhome just as it was going around a sharp curve and he hit the brakes. His toad pushed the rear end of the motorhome toward the outside of the curve toward a sharp drop off causing the rear wheels on that side to drop off the pavement edge! He tried to steer the coach back onto the road when the toad started to push the rear end in the opposite direction right into the opposing lane of traffic.

At the campground I asked him if he was OK, and he said "the first thing I'm going to do when I get back home is get the best toad braking system installed and kick that salesman's butt for telling me I didn't need toad brakes"! He said "I could just feel that toad pushing the rear end outward and there wasn't anything I could do to stop it."

Its not just the straight line stopping on dry pavement you have to worry about.
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Old 06-23-2021, 10:53 AM   #11
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ReadyBrute Elite II (aluminum) is good up to 8000lbs.
ReadyBrute Hercules (steel) is good up to 12,000lbs.


Simple, easy to hook up, mechanical tow system.
I love mine.
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Old 06-23-2021, 05:03 PM   #12
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I just ordered the ready brute elite II for my self. It sounds like my friend could get by with the same.
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Old 06-23-2021, 06:41 PM   #13
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All any supplemental brake system does is apply the toad brakes. If the toad brakes are sufficient then the method of application is irrelevant.

Ready Brake has a weight rating because it is also a towbar. It has nothing to do with braking ability.
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Old 06-24-2021, 06:24 AM   #14
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I owned and used both the Ready Brute Elite and AFO systems. I first used the Ready Brute Elite on a 2015 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk and it initially performed well. However, after 25k to 30k miles of towing I noticed that the tow bar had really loosened up. I kept tightening the bolts which took some of the slop out out but the slop would quickly return. Then I noticed that I was getting pulsating when braking in the Cherokee and found that the car’s rotors had warped so I checked the RBE brake sling cable adjustment and found that it was highly variable depending whether I checked it on a up slope or down slope as the slop in the tow bar would allow the car to move forward or backward a couple of inches. That movement would result in a tight cable when the car was pulled back (under acceleration or pulling up hill) or extremely loose under coach braking. I suspected that the warped rotors had resulted from unwanted braking from a tight cable as the tow bar began loosening up so I readjusted the cable with more slack and contacted NSA. They recommended I send the tow bar to them for inspection and I did so. NSA installed new bolts and found that the spring assembly in the brake unit had failed and replaced it under the lifetime warranty. So the system seemed to work well when new but the performance degraded in my unit as it aged and I had never considered that the sling cable adjustment would change as the tow bar loosened up and NSA did not indicate that possibility in their documentation. However, they were great in support and repair of the unit and returned it in just a few days so I was happy with their customer support. I also did not like the NSA braking notification light system as that only indicated when the cable pull arm began moving and not actual braking in the toad. Friends following me indicated that my toad brakes rarely operated (although I often got illumination of the notification light) as evidenced by the third brake light on the toad unless I really braked hard which I surmised was a consequence of adjusting the cable on an up slope with the car back to prevent unwanted braking. I could have wired the system to indicate actual toad braking but that really shouldn’t have been necessary and should be part of the RBE system. There is really no way to test and verify the actual braking performance of the normal and breakaway performance of the RBE. RBE users should watch for wear and the impact of that wear on the sling cable adjustment and address that wear before adverse impacts result.

I then bought a 2018 Equinox and decided to purchase new towing equipment and decided to go with the AFO system this time. IMHO, the AFO is quicker and easier to connect and disconnect each time although the difference is not great. There are NO adjustments to make or that change as the system ages, the car’s brake pedal simply mimics that of the coach’s brake pedal. Push the coach brake pedal and the toad’s brake pedal does the same. The braking notification light system indicates actual toad braking although it can be difficult to see in the coach rear view camera under certain lighting conditions. And it’s extremely easy to test and verify actual braking operation. Use a helper to push the coach’s brake pedal and observe simultaneous movement of the toad brakes. Then pull the breakaway key and observe full depression of the toad brakes. However, my AFO has not been trouble free either. I have had two instances of check valve failures that resulted in continuous vacuum leaks in the Equinox that resulted in check engine light illumination so the supplied check valves seem to be a weak link in the AFO system but Demco also provided good customer service and sent out new check valves for easy replacement.

In summary, in my experience both systems have pros and cons and have certain failures modes. The user should periodically inspect and address those conditions as they arise. Based on my experience, I prefer the AFO for the ease of testing and verification of actual braking performance (normal and breakaway braking), the slightly greater ease of connection and disconnection, the ability to verify actual toad braking while towing without the user adding additional wiring, and not having to make any adjustments (either initially or as the unit ages).
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