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Demco SBS Air Force One Supplemental Braking System Installation - 2020 Ford F-150

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How to Install the Demco SBS Air Force One Supplemental Braking System on a 2020 Ford F-150


Hey everybody, how's it going Today, we're going to be going over and showing you how to install the Demco Air Force One supplemental braking system here on a 2020 Ford F150. A supplemental braking system in its most basic form, it's gonna be applying the brakes on our towed vehicle here, in an amount proportional to that of our motor home. So why this is important is, when we have larger towed vehicles here, like this truck, it's going to place additional force and strain on the motor home's brake. So we're not going to be able to come to a stop as fast. And it's also going to put additional wear and tear on the motor home's brake. So adding a supplemental braking system like the air force one, it's going to be an excellent option for both safety and longevity.

So we mentioned the system is being proportional, but we didn't quite tell you exactly what that is. So it's a pretty basic theory, if you're familiar with trailer towing, you've probably heard of a proportional brake controller. And the principle is going to be the same here for our braking system. So when we're in the motor home, out in the highway we're towing our truck behind us, say somebody cuts over in front of us so we really need to come to a quick stop. So we're going to be applying a lot of force to the motor home's brakes.

So because the system is proportional, we're going to get a lot of braking force into our truck here, helping us come to a smooth and effective stop. Now, as opposed to where we're just driving around town maybe coming to a stop at a stoplight, we don't want a lot of force into the truck here because we're just coming to a slow stop. Therefore we're not going to get a ton of pressure here on the truck's brakes and everything is going to be proportional from the truck to the motor home. So our braking system is going to be composed of a few main components. The first one is going to be the operating unit.

So the operating unit is sort of like the brains of the operation. This is what we have our airlines running from, from the motor home to the actuator inside the vehicle here. So this is pretty much what controls the pressure of everything. So that's going to be the main unit. On the motor home here is our air tank.

This is actually going to go to the valve which gets mounted on the rear of the motor home. So here's our coil connector here, it's just this nice little flexible line. And the reason it's coiled is that obviously gives us plenty of extra length to make those tight turns or some of those longer turns. But that's also going to help it preventing from dragging on the ground because everything's going to be nice and tight to the bottom of your tow bar. And if we simply just follow this over here, we can see it attaches to a similar port which we have mounted on our motor home. So another key component of our system here, is going to be the breakaway switch. And here's what that looks like. And essentially the breakaway switch is a last line of defense, if anything we're to happen with our tow bars and our safety cables, it's gonna immediately engage the brakes on our braking system, helping the towed vehicle come to a slow and safe stop. And then the last thing of our braking system here, we have the actual actuator. So this physically mounts onto the brake arm of our brake pedal, and it's anchored to the firewall. And then we have an airline tubing up here which runs to the operating unit. So once the operating unit sends out the correct amount of pressure to our actuator here, that's going to hold like so, and then our brake pedal is going to depress and this is what actually applies the brakes here in the vehicle. So the first thing we're going to need to do on the motor home here is we're going to need the finest spot to mount our air tank. Now we really don't have to put this in a specific location, we have definitely some freedom here. Yours probably may look a little bit different depending on what motor home you have. But a lot of them have this little cross beam here, just directly in front of the rear axle. We actually just drilled our tank straight into this. So you won't be able to give you the hardware that they give you with the tank in order to drill it here. This cross beam is a little bit larger, and that hardware isn't going to work. But really we just need two bolts holding this tank on, that'll be plenty secure as you can see here, it's not going anywhere. But we just took a drill bit and we ran it up through both sides of this cross-member here. And then we swapped out the factory hardware for some longer ones, and this is how we have our tank mounted. So the next thing we need to do, we need to go ahead and splice into our supply line here on the motor home. So, if we look on this end of the tank here, we're going to have two different sides. One of them is going to have the dual ports, this one has a single port. You can see we have this little cylinder shape here, this black cylinder. So this is going to be the side for the supply. So on the end, we're going to have a little push to connect air fitting. So we're going to take the quarter-inch airline that comes in our kit here. We're going to make sure that we have a pretty straight cut on one end. And then we just simply push that into the end of the fitting as hard as we can. And then we'll pull out to lock it in place. And then we're going to take the other end of this, we're going to route it up to where our supply line is. So up in this area here, the supply line is actually pretty easy to find. You can see we have those two green lines there that really stick out. One of them is a little bit smaller diameter. We're actually looking for that larger diameter green line. So in order to splice into that line, we're going to take some airline tubing cutters. We're just going to make it as straight of a cut as possible. And then these could the T there that you see it's going to use the same push to connect fittings that we just explained. So although it's a little bit larger line there, we'll simply just press it all the way on, and pull it off, lock it into place. We'll do that on both sides of the green line. And then the other end there is going to go to the tank and that's the wire that we, or the airline that we just routed up to there. So now if we jump to the other side of the tank here, the one we talked about with the dual ports, so both of these are the same push to connect fittings we've been using throughout. So this one here, sort of on the top side of this little cylinder this is going to be for our metered air supply. So we're, again, we're going to cut a section of our airline tubing off and we're going to run it from this port all the way back into about the same area that we found our supply line but instead, we're going to have to find the metered line. So the metered line is a little bit harder to see, it's what we have right here. So this is a little bit of a smaller diameter black cable. I believe it's three eights, and it simply goes between these two valves here. So before we splice into this, we want to make sure that we get all the air out of the motor home's brakes. So you'll need to get in your motor home and pump the brakes to make sure, because before we cut that line you want to make sure there's no pressure in there. And then essentially we're just using the same style of T that we use on the supply line but it's obviously for a little bit smaller line. So then finally the last port we have on the side here, this is actually going to go to the valve which gets mounted on the rear of the motor home. So we basically just need to find a path to run that we're free of any moving parts like the suspension or any components such as the exhaust which could get hot and burn our airline tubing. So the remaining of the tubing we have left simply put it into that little fitting there. Then we actually routed it up over these lines here, and we pretty much just ran it from the frame there all the way back. More likely than not, you're going to have a bunch of existing wiring loom in the frame there. Tons of other wires and lines. And if you're careful, you can actually just zip tie it to those. And that's going to help provide some support while we route it to the rear. So here's what our valve looks like, and this is a quick disconnect valve so basically this is going to accept one end of our coiled hose, and the other end is going to attach to a similar fitting on the vehicle there, but it mounts up pretty simple. We're going to have a two hole bracket here. We just simply drilled into the bottom of the fascia here. And then on the back, we'll have that same push to connect fitting we've been using throughout. So again, just make sure we have a nice and clean cut on that line there pressing in the air then lock it in place and then pull it out. So the first step for the vehicle side, we need to go ahead and find a place to mount our operating unit. Now, we don't really have to mount this in a specific location, but unfortunately for this vehicle, I didn't really see a lot of other good options, but we did find one suitable. It's here on the bottom and on the inside. We'll take around here so we can show you a closer look. So here's where we have our operating unit mounted. Now there is a little bracing here depending on what model you have, this is an Eco Boost model. So we have this intercooler here with this aluminum bracket. So if you have that, it's pretty easy to drill through, we just drilled two holes up here. Then we use some stainless steel screws to go through that. And then in the bottom here, this little fascia lip that we drilled another couple holes and used more screws. So it probably didn't need all four, but it's pretty dang solid right it here. So this is going to be perfect, we don't have to worry about it getting wet or anything, everything is encased in here. So once we have our operating unit mounted the next thing we're going to Mount is what it looks like right here. We have this little two hole bracket and this is pretty much going to be a valve. So, it acts as sort of an intermediate between the motor home and the towed vehicle here. This is what your coiled air connector is going to attach to. So we can transfer the air from the motor home to the towed vehicle. So all we did is we just use two self-tapping screws here, we drilled into the bottom of this fascia here, there's some metal supports up above there to keep it nice and sturdy. But once we have that attached, on the back, pre-installed, we're going to have this little push to connect airline fitting. So what we did is we went ahead and drilled another hole here. It's kind of harder to see. So we mounted our electrical connector here for the diode system. So therefore we had to drill a hole anyways into the bottom of this bumper fascia. So we went ahead and just used that hole for our airline tubing. So you're going to want to cut off a good amount of your airline tubing here probably a couple of feet or so just for this section here because we want to attach one into the back of our valve here, then we'll run the other end of our airline tubing through that hole here. We're just going to be coming around here and attaching it to the air in port here on the operating unit. So one thing we do want to make sure of is that we don't have to sharpen angle here, right where the airline goes into the fitting there. That can actually cause leaks, but as you can see here, our bend doesn't happen till about out here. So that's plenty of extra room, perfectly fine. So the next thing we're going to do is install our breakaway switch here. So again, this is pretty easy. We went ahead and just drilled a hole here around the same location that we have our electrical connector and our valve here for the coiled tube. So we just drilled a hole through this plastic piece here. What we did is we actually use the provided bolt that comes with there. I drilled the hole up through there. Then I came on the inside with our bolt here, and just pushed it down. You don't have a huge opening, but it's enough to get your bolt through there. And then on the bottom side I have our lock nut I just simply secured it. You're going to need to use a wrench up top in this area here, and then you can use a socket to tighten it down. Now we do want to make sure that we can have a little bit of movement, but you obviously don't want it too loose as well. And then as far as the two wires that come from the back of the breakaway switch, we're going to run those in that hole there, and come out behind the operating unit, just like we did for the airline. So here's the two wires from our breakaway switch here. Now it doesn't matter which one we use, but we're just going to go ahead and use the black one here just to make this consistent. So the black wire coming from the back of the breakaway switch, we're going to attach that directly to one of the two wires that come from our operating unit. So they're kind of hard to see they start on this side of the box. We just wrapped it around the backside, but it's essentially just two plain black wires. Doesn't matter which one we have. Here's part of one now, we're just going to simply attach one of those directly to the black wire from the breakaway switch. So then we should have one more black wire coming from our operating unit, we're going to tape that to our orange wire from the breakaway switch. And we're going to run both of those two wires up into the engine bay. Now there's a nice little slot over here that we can run it up there sort of between the radiator and the frame. There's plenty of other openings you can use as well. Whichever one you feel is a little bit easier. So here we have our two wires in the engine bay here. So if you noticed it was orange underneath, we actually needed a little bit more wire. So you may need to extend yours as well but for all intents and purposes, the orange wire is now going to become the red wire. So for the black wire that we ran up here from the operating unit, you're going to have to extend that one as well but we we're able to keep that black, we're going to attach that directly to the negative battery terminal. So there's going to be a nice little post here we can use. You'll just take a 10 millimeter socket, remove that nut, crimp on one of our yellow ring terminals to the wire, to the black wire and then just tighten that nut down. And then for our red wire, or the orange wire we actually have this ran to the positive battery terminal, but we also have an inline fuse holder in line here. So what you're going to do is you're just going to cut the loop here on the fuse holder. We're going to crimp on a butt connector to one end, and then a ring terminal to the other end. And then before we actually crimp on the ring terminal, we want to actually go ahead and tie another wire into this. In your kit you're going to get a coiled up Brown wire. So you're just going to tie the Brown wire with the end of the fuse holder. Then we can crimp it onto that butt connector and attach it to the positive battery terminal. You do however want to make sure that the fuse is not inserted in the fuse holder, we'll do that last. And also, if you want to reinstall your cover here, you'll have to cut a little slit just like that. So now what we're going to follow the Brown wire here. So this is what it looks like. We have it zip tied to some existing wiring here. We can follow up in around here, but we actually need to run this into the cab, preferably on the driver's side. So what you want to do is, there's going to be a little metal retaining nut there. You're going to take that off and you can actually just peel back this fabric here, and run our wire behind that all the way over to the driver's side. So here we're over on the driver's side, you can see our Brown wire here. We have it ran behind this black plastic housing, because once we get over here, sort of in this pocket, we're going to have a grommet down in there. We'll try to give you a little bit better view of that now. So that grommet is pretty much what we're going to use to pass both that Brown wire, and an airline tube which we'll show you a little later into the cab of the vehicle, because we have a couple connections we need to make in there. So that grommet's pretty tough, I actually access most of this from the inside. I just grab the wire artist there, it's pretty easy to get to in there, and just pulled it through. And I actually was very careful, I used to drill bit to drill a hole in both sides of that grommet, cause it's a double layer grommet. And then that was actually to sneak our wire and our airline tubing through there. But I'll go ahead and warn you now, that grommet is pretty tough, so it's definitely kind of challenging to get your wires in your airline through there. So now we're going to come back to our operating unit here cause we mentioned that other airline, and this is where it comes from. So the air outside here on the operating unit which is there, we basically just have that ran up into the fire, up into the engine bay rather, and then through the engine bay to that grommet in the firewall. So here's the other side of that grommet there. You can see we have our airline tubing in that Brown wire. So for right now, we're just going to coil both of those up. Make sure you give yourself plenty of extra slack, and we're just going to tug it sort of behind this panel here, because we have some other connections we're going to need to attach to those. But we have to install those components first. So next we're going to mount the monitor light, and basically what the monitor light does is while you're sitting in your motor home towing your vehicle and you press the brakes, we want some sort of indication that shows us that the brakes are being depressed in the towed vehicle. And that's pretty much what the monitor light does is. So we need to go ahead and mount this in a location that we can easily see from the driver's seat of our motor home. So more often than not, we just use the back surface of the rear view mirror. So if we take a look over here, directly behind here you can kind of see that, we have the monitor light strip. It just has a double sided adhesive backing. We'll just peel that protective layer off there and just stick it right to the back of the rear view mirror. And then we're going to have our wire lead. We're going to run up in between the headliner and the windshield we'll run that all the way up here And then actually came across the eight pillar here, this whole plastic panel, you may need to pry it back a little bit. And I just tuck the wire down through there, then I came over here on the other side, and then we'll show you how we got from there all the way down under the dash. So basically all we did was we just went ahead and peeled back this little weather stripping here, and there's plenty of room to sneak that wire down from the monitor light. We have it ran all the way down here, just like so, keep going down. And then about this area here, there's this little panel if you want, you can actually just pry that back just held in place with some push fasteners and then we just snuck it behind the panel and it's going to just droop down here into the foot well. So now we're going to go ahead and Mount the actuator. So the actuator receives air from the operating unit, and this is actually the physical device that depresses the brake pedal. So what we're going to have to do is, you can see we've cut away some of this carpeting back here this fabric material, we need to cut out a section directly behind the brake pedal, because then we're going to have this little black three hole bracket. We'll start by mounting it on the outer two holes here, with the included self-tapping screws. And once we get that in a good location, we're actually going to test fit our actuator to the brake pedal. So you'll take a three eight socket, and there's going to be the nuts on this backside of the bracket we'll just simply loosen those, and then we can place the device over the brake pedal arm here. And I would note the actuator actually comes attached to this bracket here. So you don't have to worry about attaching that. But we're just going to go ahead and loosely attach it here. Preferably, we want the brake pedal here to be towards this side in our bracket here, so we can make some finer adjustments. But once we just get it on there, nice and loose we don't want it too tight. We can go ahead and anchor our third hole here, which is what this looks like. So this is pretty much our anchor point. That's going to be installed in the center hole of our three hole bracket. And what I like to do is I like to actually just sort of map out how much slack I need here on my wire. So we don't want too much slack obviously but we don't want it too tight to where it's actually pulling the brake pedal arm. So I just go ahead and map out how much I think I'm going to need. And then there's actually going to be an Allen key here, here, you'll need an Allen key for the Allen screw on the top of this. And that's what pretty much tightens the wire inside this bracket. And then I go ahead and drill the self tapping screw into the firewall. And then what I can do is I can come back to the brake pedal arm here, and I can loosen the nuts on the side of our bracket. And then I can sort of adjust the actuator front to back to make sure I have the correct amount of tension on our line. This is pretty much what we're looking for. So we have a couple of connections we need to make here. So if you remember the airline tubing that we ran into the firewall here from the outside of the operating unit, we're just going to simply run that to the push, to connect, fitting on the top of our actuator. And then we have a Reed switch, now most of these actually come already in position, some of them don't. There's a Phillips head screw here on the top. You'll simply just slide it into that bracket and tighten that Phillips head screw to expand it. That's going to prevent it from coming out that yours may already be installed. And then there's actually going to be three wires inside this jacket here. We'll route that into pretty much the same location that we had our monitor light and the Brown wire coming from the operating unit. So all your wires are pretty much going to be dangling in this area here for this next step. So here you can see pretty much our bundle of wires. So, there's three wires coming from the reed switch and you'll be able to see those colors when we get towards the end of that sheathing. So there's going to be a Brown wire. We're going to use a butt connector to attach that directly to the Brown wire that came from the breakaway switch. So that's the Brown wire. We routed into the firewall, and then we're going to have two wires left. We're going to have a blue wire and a black wire. So the black wire from the reed switch we're going to attach that directly to the red wire from the monitor light, and then the blue wire from the reed switch, we're going to attach that to the black wire for the monitor light. But before we seal up that connection, we're actually going to put another wire lead in there with our butt connector, and then we're going to crimp on a ring terminal to the other end of that wire. We're actually going to ground this directly to the body. Now, if we look up in there, we should be able to see that we have a self-tapping screw there securing the ring terminal and this is going to act as the ground for our system. So the last thing we need to do is make our vacuum connections. So we'll start out on our operating unit here. You're going to want to cut out a maybe five to six inch section of our hose here. Once we get that cut out, we're going to install a check valve. So we have two of these check valves on our kit. Now for this particular one, the black side is going to be going towards the operating unit. And then the green or clear side is going to be going up into the engine Bay. So we'll attach the other end of our vacuum hose to the other end of the check valve. And you can just kind of see here where we have it routed outside the frame rail, and then up into the engine Bay. So here we have the other end of our vacuum hose that we just showed you. This is up into the engine Bay here. So we're going to attach this to the end of one of the T's that come in our kit here those clear plastic T's the once we attach it to there we need to go ahead and locate the vacuum line that runs from the brake booster. We follow this into here, you can see that goes directly into the brake booster. And then the other side of that is actually going to go to the throttle body. So that's the vacuum line we're going to be T-ing into. So normally there's just going to be a hard plastic section of this line here. There's no cheese that goes straight from here to the other end and then routes to the engine. So we're actually going to go ahead and cut out about four or five inches of that hard plastic line there. So you can actually just use a pair of tubing cutters and then we're going to be using our vacuum line. Now I'll give you guys a little bit of a fair warning, It's kind of hard to get the vacuum line over those hard plastic lines. I tried soap and water, which usually works, but for this one, it was just too tight of a fit. So if you actually have a heat gun or a hairdryer, you can heat up this rubber vacuum line and it makes it a lot easier to slip it over the Hard plastic vacuum line. So we're going to cut out a few inches of our vacuum hose here, and then we're going to be installing another check valve. So the orientation of these check valves is critical for this particular one, the clear or sort of greenish tint side is going to go to the brake booster and the black side is going to go to the engine. So then we're going to cut out another few inches of our hose here. They're actually pretty easy to slide on the check valve in that barbed fitting here to spray it down with some soapy water and they slide right on, then the other connection which is a little harder to see we basically just mere that connection over here. We cut off about two or three inches attach it over to the hard plastic line. And then we have these little band clamps. Anytime that we have the vacuum sliding over the hard plastic line to keep it in place but that's pretty much it for the vacuum connections. And that's going to do it today for our look and installation of the Demco Air Force One supplemental braking system here on our 2020 Ford F-150..


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