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Demco SMI Air Force One Braking System Review

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Review of the Demco SMI Air Force One Braking System


Hi, there, Rvers. Today we're going to be taking a look at Demco's Air Force One supplemental braking system. You've got your nice new motorhome and you're wanting to take your vehicle along with you. You have probably already looked into installing base plates and other components, but you have a big decision to make on which braking system you're going to want to put in your vehicle.There's a few things you're going to want to consider when deciding on the appropriate braking system. One of the biggest factors is your motorhome. If your motorhome has air brakes, then you want to choose the appropriate braking system that corresponds with that, and the Air Force One is one of the best systems out there for motorhomes that have air brakes.Most places that you travel will require that you have a braking system installed on your vehicle when flat towing it.

With the Air Force One installed, you'll have the peace of mind knowing that you're going to be legal where you travel and you're also going to be keeping your family safe.This system takes advantage of the fact that your vehicle already has brakes on it. It applies the brake pedal in the vehicle when it receives an input from your motorhome. You'll see it operating here. This is a truly proportional braking system. What that means is that when you apply the brake pedal in your motorhome, it applies the brake pedal in your vehicle with the same pressure and intensity.Now there are many advantages of having a proportional braking system.

For example, if you apply the brakes in your motorhome and you panic stop there, you'll also panic stop back here on your vehicle, ensuring that you help come to a complete stop quickly. Some other advantages are the way that it's going to feel when pulling your vehicle behind your motorhome.Proportional means that it's going to be equal inside as well as out here on the vehicle so the brakes back here aren't going to be applying too harshly, causing a tugging feel at the back of your motorhome, like you're dragging the vehicle. It's also not going to apply them too softly back here to where it feels like the vehicle is pushing the motorhome whenever you try to stop. It's going to be nice and even because they're both braking equally to one another.Since this braking system uses air pressure from the motorhome to determine how hard to apply the brake pedal in your towed vehicle, you don' have to worry about any false braking that can occur with an inertia sensor applied braking system. An inertia sensor applied braking system has an inertia sensor in the vehicle inside of its unit that checks inertia and applies the brake, depending on that inertia.Sometimes when coming to a stop, this inertia sensor can trigger falsely and apply the brakes too hard in your vehicle and you can feel that at the back of your motorhome, like you're pulling something.

What this means for you is it's not only going to feel better when pulling your vehicle in your motorhome. It's also not going to wear the brakes as fast as inertia sensor type braking systems on your towed vehicle.Since this braking system does run off of the air brake system on your RV, we're going to have components installed on both our motorhome and on our towed vehicle. On your RV, you're going to have your air tank and relay valve assembly. This is what's going to store air pressure and send the brake pressure signal back to your towed vehicle.When you apply the brakes in your motorhome, air is exhausted out of the system. When that air is exhausted out, the springs on your brake assemblies apply the brakes.

This unit captures that air that's being exhausted and sends it back to your towed vehicle and then that can be measured and used to apply the brakes in your towed vehicle.The output of the relay valve goes to a quick connect coupler located at the back of the motorhome. This is where we'll make our connection with our airline hose between our motorhome and our vehicle. Likewise, on the vehicle, you're going to have a quick connect coupler as well to make that connection between the motorhome and the vehicle. The air is then directed through the coupler in the front up to our operating unit that's installed in the vehicle. The operating unit monitors that air input and uses it to apply the brakes inside the vehicle.Inside of our vehicle, we have our operating cylinder. This is attached to the output of the operating unit so air comes down our hose here and applies the cylinder, pulling our pedal towards the firewall, depressing it, applying the brakes. The operating unit is also tapped into the brake booster's vacuum line so that way, it pulls vacuum on the brake booster, ensuring you have power brakes when applying the pedal. This will ensure that it's applying the brakes hard enough for it to stop under those panic conditions.What this means for you is that your towed vehicle is going to have power brakes at all times, just like when you we're driving it. Now you might be wondering, "Well, what if my vehicle doesn't use vacuum for its brakes, such as hydro boost systems" There is a small kit of components that does come included with the system in case you don't have a vacuum assisted brake booster, you have a hydro boost system, that you'll install to keep it compatible with those as well.Now while it's never fun to think about, in the event of a catastrophic disconnect between your motorhome and your towed vehicle, there is a breakaway switch that is included with your system, that when installed, will have a cable attached between the switch and the motorhome. When it is disconnected, the switch will get pulled just like this and the brakes will be applied inside your vehicle, helping it come to a safe stop.For peace of mind, there is an LED indicator installed on the back of the mirror that will illuminate when your system is applying the brakes in your vehicle. This way you know your system is operating properly when driving down the road. This can typically be seen in your rear view camera on your motorhome.One of my favorite things about this system is that once it is installed, you don't have to do anything else and it's hidden inside the vehicle so you don't even really know that it's there. When you're taking your kids to soccer practice, you don't have to think about your braking system, but it's there when you need it so you can take your vehicle with you on your adventure.With your vehicle along for the ride, you don't have to be worried about being stuck at the campsite, having to take your RV on those supply runs. You can just quickly disconnect, hop in your vehicle and go, or you could burn rubber when Aunt Kathy starts talking about her cats again.Compared to portable systems, like Blue Ox's Patriot, the Air Force One is going to always be ready on your vehicle when you need it whereas the Patriot will have to be installed every time you want to use it and whenever you want to drive your vehicle, you have to take it back out. While that's not an extremely long, time-consuming process, with the Air Force One, you don't have to worry about any of that.That being said, if you do have more than one vehicle with the base plate installed, the Patriot is a pretty good option to get a supplemental braking system on both of those vehicles at a lower cost. You will need a few additional components for a complete flat tow setup. You'll need the base plate installed on your vehicle. You'll need your tow bar to make the connection between your base plate and your vehicle and the motorhome. You'll need diode wiring to transfer the lighting signals from your motorhome to your vehicle. You will also need safety cables and a supplemental braking system, like our Air Force One.That completes our look at Demco's Air Force One supplemental braking system.


Burneall

5/13/2020

This video is wrong on how the brakes work on a Air Brake system. The air brake system on the RV uses air pressure to apply the brakes, the more pressure the harder the brakes are applied. When you park the vehicle you release the air from the parking brakes and the springs apply the brakes. The springs are for parking only!

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