Independent Product Reviews
Getting Our Toad's Braking System Installed | M&G Engineering
RV Towing with Blue Ox Tow Bar and M&G Engineering 2.0 Brakes
DIY Install of M-G Engineering Braking System on Jeep and RV
RV Life - Patrick Buchanan, 9/11/19. Entitled, "Tow Vehicle Ingenuity – The Secret is Out
We’ve all heard tales of the secret menu that In-And-Out Burger offers. Not a July 4th goes by without reminders of Area 51, courtesy of the movie Independence Day. Rumors regularly circulate about the new iPhone or secret Android devices that are just around the corner. Then there is that magical, hidden campground with perfect campsites, exquisite scenery, sans all other campers. It seems there is always some secret facility or unique operation that only a lucky few have found. Add this one to the list, M&G Brake Systems in Athens, Texas. Less than two hours southeast of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, “hidden” on Highway 19, is such a facility.
Here, M&G Brake Systems designs, fabricates, sells, and installs their ingenious tow vehicle braking systems. At an installed price lower than most other available systems, who better to install it than the folks that designed it? ... Add a Breakaway Kit and you can hit the road, not only at a significant savings but with meticulous care and precision as their name implies. These folks are truly Engineers in the highest sense of the word, as evidenced by their attention to detail and immaculate shop and workspaces. With M&G Brake Systems, you can tell that you are dealing with folks that care and understand the magnitude of what they are doing and how it affects you, the RVer. Turning over your keys to someone to service your car or truck is often hard. Turning over the keys to your beloved RV is gut-wrenching. Putting BOTH in someone else’s hands is all but impossible.
Fortunately, when those hands belong to M&G Brake Systems, you can rest easy, knowing their attention to detail will provide a safe, long-lasting braking solution for your tow vehicle, while treating your RV as if it were their own. You’ll often find M&G Brake Systems, long-time FMCA Commercial Members, at various FMCA rallies and events. M&G Brake Systems in Athens, Texas will continue to install top-notch Car Braking Systems for your RV tow vehicle in secret anonymity. As your one-stop shop, M&G will also install tow bars, base plates, and can wire your vehicle for towing as well. You’d better contact them soon if you need to equip your toad for next season, their secret is out! Author’s note: Recently, I was fortunate enough to use the services of M&G Brake Systems. Having recently purchased a tow vehicle, I made my appointment with Monty and headed south. Once we arrived, we pulled both vehicles into immaculate work bays. For the motorhome, the service pit offered the M&G team easy access to the rear-end components of the motorhome without having to mess with jacks or lifts. In the time it took to check my email, catch up on Facebook, and skim through a couple of RV magazines, everything was ready to go. As expected, the equipment, fit, and finish were all first-class. Monty explained the new hardware. No maintenance, adjustments, or fine-tuning were necessary as the unit I received was vehicle-specific. Although our Jeep already had them, courtesy of the previous owner, Monty was ready, able, and willing to install any towing hardware or wiring for lights if needed.
Independent Review by Mark Quasius
I've used a Brake Buddy and US Gear's Unified Tow Brake in the past but after trying the M&G Brake System I'm spoiled. The M&G Brake System is a great setup. It utilizes the existing air brake system of any coach with air brakes to proportionately actuate the toad's brakes. For RVs without air brakes they do offer an air compressor setup, but this does add to the cost. The beauty of this system is that there are no electrical connections and no decelerometers. When descending a grade the jake brake will not prematurely engage the toad's brakes. The only time the toad's brakes work are when the coach's brakes are applied. Being totally proportional the amount of braking depends upon how hard you step on the brake pedal so the toad and coach are always in sync.
Installation on the coach is very simple. You simply tap into one of the brake service lines at the rear axle with a tee fitting, then run the extra nylon line to the rear of the coach where you install a quick disconnect coupling. Tapping into this line is no different than feeding a tag axle. In the event of a failure the brake system's isolating valves would still give you 3 wheels worth of braking and the air pressure loss by a severed line would be very minimal because it's the service line, not the "hot" emergency line.
So, after having this system on my Allegro Bus and Grand Cherokee for some time I felt it was time to add it to the Wrangler for when we tow it. Following details some of those steps. First, you have to install the M&G adaptor.
This adaptor fits between the master cylinder and the vacuum booster. It consists of a housing with an internal split shaft. Where the shaft is split the piston on the frontmost half is acted upon by the air pressure input. Whenever you are not towing, this system acts as a large pushrod allowing the brakes to function normally. This is a fail-safe design so even if the M&G module was to fail you would still have manual braking. However, when towing, there is nothing pushing on the pedal. Instead, the air pressure from the coach is applied to the M&G module which works the front half of the split shaft to apply the brakes evenly and in direct proportion to the coach.
I did have to relocate the cruise control diaphragm unit which was in the way of the master cylinder but that was easy enough. I just relocated it to a wide open space underneath the master cylinder (it's barely visible in the lower-right corner of the above photo).
The RV connects to the front of the Jeep with a short nylon hose with a male and female quick disconnect fitting. I find that running it inside the coiled trailer light umbilical makes it nice and simple. There is nothing to hook up or install inside the towed vehicle and once installed it's totally invisible. You just plug in the hose and go.
I also ordered the optional Breakaway Kit. This kit consists of a small air reservoir tank that will supply air to the M&G module should the toad come loose from the RV.
This air tank is charged up after 3 good pushes on the brake pedal and holds enough air pressure to lock up the brakes on the towed vehicle should it come unhooked from the RV. It is connected to a 3 way solenoid valve.
This valve allows the tank to charge up while driving and directs normal braking air pressure to the M&G module. Upon breakaway, the valve dumps the contents into the M&G module and locks it up to keep the toad from going ballistic. This does require wiring in a breakaway switch. One wire goes to ground an one goes to a battery "hot" source.
I mounted both the breakaway switch and the air inlet fitting on the front bumper of the Wrangler. The breakaway cable, as well as the air line, fits neatly inside the coiled trailer light umbilical cord to protect it from dragging or snagging. Both the hose and cable were cut to the exact lengths to eliminate any excessive "stuff" hanging out.
M&G recommends that you just leave the hose loosely coiled up under the hood of the towed vehicle, then hang it out the hood when towing. I wanted something more stationary so I mounted everything in the bumper. Besides, it's a Wrangler, not a Ferrari. Laugh
The only drawback to this is that you can get dirt into the fitting. M&G states that the end of this hose should not be capped off or else air pressure could increase within this hose as things warm up under the hood and you might find your brakes dragging while driving. To rectify I took a right angle spark plug boot and inserted a short whip of the nylon brake tubing into it. This gave me a vented dust cap which keeps dirt out, yet allows venting of the system.
Letter of Recommendation from Tom Tomlinson
Received November 2022. In the early 90s my wife Mary-Ann and I owned and operated a small RV park in LaPine OR. There was an FMCA rally scheduled in Redmond OR, and many rally vendors would stay at our park. One of our customers was Leon Meadows, owner of M&G Brake Systems. Being somewhat of a mechanical person, I spent considerable time talking to Leon about his braking system. Leon impressed me with his engineering knowledge and explained in detail the operation of his braking system. I also learned that Leon was also a pilot at one time.
I decided I would like to become a dealer for the braking system. We went on to establish "RV Power Supply" where we sold several RV related products including Flow-Rite battery watering systems.
Our first customer for the M&G system were the Good Sam representatives who visited and graded our RV park. Shortly after installing the system they were involved in a rear end collision in CA. The accident was not their fault, but the first question the CHP asked was to see the braking system. They showed and explained the braking system and the CHP was totally satisfied. We learned that many states did (do) require RV braking systems.
While we were nowhere near one of M&G's biggest customer we did sell a number of the units including on our own vehicles.
The biggest selling point of the system was once installed and adjusted it was virtually maintenance free. In addition there were no clumsy boxes to place and connect to the brake pedal, and no cables or wires to install. Throughout our dealership experience. I did speak to Leon when ordering, but usually Monty was our contact person. Monty was always polite and helpful in ordering the correct system. We are no longer in the RV supply business, but when asked I do not hesitate to recommend the M&G system.