M&G Brake System

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Smoky

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OK, I am in a quandry after speaking with Newmar, Spartan, and M&G.

Spartan maintains if I install any system that "tampers" with the chassis my warranty will be void.

However if I use their air brake "kit" I can have a professionally installed toad brake system that runs off chassis air.  The kit costs $365 and gets added to the $1500 the M&G dealer wants to charge for installation and parts for the entire system excluding the kit labor.  Don't have an estimate yet on kit labor.

Not only is the price getting out of hand, but the entire purpose of the M&G system is being bastardized according to M&G. 

M&G tells me today that the kit that Spartan provides was not designed for the M&G system, but rather to give Spartan peace of mind that they would have a buffer between their chassis air system and "any other" air brake system provided by a third party.  According to M&G, the gallon external tank in the kit increases the number of taps into the lines and adds to the risk of things going wrong.  The M&G guy agreed I was between a rock and a hard place because of warranty requirements.  He said this was new this year and he does not like the idea of a gallon container being added and riding along under the rear axel.  It does isolate the coach air system from the toad air system and insures that if the air container is ruptured, the toad brakes will go not the coach brakes.  But more is hanging out there to go wrong.

I am getting very close to reverting back to the blue ox and brake buddy combo that my dealer can install for under $2000.

If I go the original route with M&G plus Roadmaster Falcon All Terrain hitch I am up over 4 grand now with everyone fussing with everyone else about the merits of the brake system modifications.

I still need to do the axel lock on the Taurus regardless.

Unless I bite the bullet, take a loss on the Taurus and buy a used towable vehicle.

Ever heard of the tail wagging the dog?  I think I have a case here of the toad wagging the pusher.  I want to spend time on the pusher and planning my routes and now today I spent 4 hours on this toad thing and got nowhere.
 

BernieD

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Smoky

IMHO, Spartan is blowing smoke :D :D. A lot of us on the forum have had the M&G installed without the kit (I don't know of any who have it installed) and not one problem has been reported. It is strictly CYA from Spartan. And, unless they can show that the warranty item was specifically caused by the M&G installation, Spartan cannot deny you warrany coverage. They cannot void your warranty just from the installation of the M&G.
 

Tom

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Smoky said:
the $1500 the M&G dealer wants to charge for installation and parts for the entire system excluding the kit labor.

Smoky, IIRC M&G charged me $800 for parts and labor, but the breakaway kit was another $200.

I too would be concerned about the warranty issue. It's just a shame that the manufacturer won't talk to M&G.
 

John From Detroit

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As someone said, for Spartin to void your warranty they have to show the M&G system was the cause of the problem, not just that it was installed.

This however will ultimately end up with lawyers and judges slugging it out,,, Hopefully, on the very slight chance you end up being the test case, you can ask M&G if they would be willing to assist there.

Also you might wish to check with one of those attornies you hired for clairfication of the warranty requirements

Every warranty in the US contains the words "You may have other rights which vary from state to state" For the most part these are mostly the same (one state is very different) but there are slight differences.  You need to know just what that means in the state where the transaction is completed... The state attorney general will usually be willing to provide some information,  no charge

Also the state department of motor vehicles,  May well regulate auto sales (including motor homes) and be willing to provide info
 

Smoky

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If I could somehow be assured that installing the M&G system the way M&G recommends it to be installed would not violate the warranty,I would go that route.  However, I don't believe I can afford taking a chance on such a big item.
 

BernieD

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Smoky said:
If I could somehow be assured that installing the M&G system the way M&G recommends it to be installed would not violate the warranty,I would go that route.  However, I don't believe I can afford taking a chance on such a big item.

Smoky

Let me say it again, Spartan cannot void your warranty solely because you installed the M&G. I believe the federal statute is from the Magnuson-Ferguson bill passed by congress. Talk to your lawyer.
 

Smoky

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Well Bernie, I do not doubt your word.  I just wish I could find some assurance about that.  Spartan was very specific when they said if I don't use their kit my chassis warranty is voided.  I asked them several times.
 

Ron

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I believe Bernie is correct. Spartan would have to show some evidence that the installation caused a failure.  However, if they show a the M&G installation contributed to a failure then it would be your responsibility to prove otherwise.  Personally I wouldn't worry about it.
 

Smoky

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I am close to not worrying about it.? I would feel better if some non M&G owners gave me a reference that I could rely on that Spartan cannot mandate warranty compliance.? My fear is that if, for example, the coach had a suspension failure, they would not tell me that my entire warranty is void because I disobeyed their command to install the kit.? ?:eek:

I am pretty sure now that I will NOT install the kit.? The decision now is either to be an M&G outlaw or to go brake buddy.

Here is a letter I posted on the Newmar diesel pusher owner news list:

*****
I have become very interested in the M&G toad brake system.

I like that the toad can be hooked and unhooked with a quick disconnect to the coach air system.? No ?boxes? to install and uninstall on the toad footbrake.

The downside is that it taps into the coach air system, but friends of mine who own this system tell me M&G has a very well designed system and no one has ever heard of any problems.

However, the Spartan chassis company just this year has come out with a ?mandatory? kit to be used whenever a brake system is installed that attaches to the coach air system.? Freightliner and Roadmaster do not require such kits to be added.

The idea behind the kit is the installation of a gallon air container over the rear axel.? This container serves to isolate the toad air system from the coach air system.? It is not designed specifically for the M&G system but for any 3rd party air brake system.? After I questioned Spartan intensively about this, it became obvious that this kit was not created with the customer in mind but with Spartan in mind.? The outboard air container guarantees Spartan that if anything goes wrong on the toad side of the system, the coach side of the system will not lose air.?

On the surface this is good for the customer.

However, M&G points out that placing an air container at the rear axel increases the chances that something will be damaged as the motorhome travels along.? A stray rock or collision can damage the air container.? Guess what happens then?? It puts the toad at risk.

M&G?s point of view is that the original system which simply taps the coach air system and then runs a small diameter air line back to the toad to a cylinder which activates the master brake cylinder is a clean and straightforward system with the lowest degree of risk.? I asked M&G what happens if there is a break in the airline?? They responded that because of the small diameter of the air line the coach and toad would gradually lose air and there would be plenty of time for the driver to make a controlled exit to safety.? At least 15 minutes. They also pointed out that because of very little exposure to the elements, the risk of this happening is very small, compared to the Spartan outboard tank.

I am in a quandary.? Spartan says tapping into the coach air system without the kit will void the warranty.

Friends tell me they cannot void the warranty for such a reason.? Is this true?

Also if the chassis has problems not related to the air system, does the failure to use the kit void the warranty on non air system related problems?

Also, there is nothing in writing that anyone can find where Spartan requires installation of this kit.

I am interested in opinions on the warranty issue, the effectiveness of the outboard tank kit, and the M&G brake system as it was originally designed.

I feel caught between Newmar, Spartan, and M&G on this, and if I do not come up with a good plan of action I will revert back to the old brake buddy system, even though the M&G system appears to be far superior.



Smoky?
2005 Newmar Kountry Star 3910 Pusher
On order for late May, then fulltiming


 

Ron

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Smoky,

While you are in the letter writing business write Spartan a letter asking them to confirm their position regarding voiding the Warranty unless their kit is installed when installing the M&G toad brake system. Also ask that they request their attorneys  review the Magnuson-Ferguson act  passed by congress to confirm their response is in compliance before responding.  You might just Tell them that according your legal advisors there position stated over the phone is not in compliance.

Make put it in writing. ;D

I am no Lawyer but from my understanding they cannot legally void the warranty because you instal the M&G sytem.  Any failures attributed to the M&G system would most likely be on M&Gs back.

 

Smoky

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Ron:

The only thing I can find in the Magnuson-Ferguson Act that applies to this situation is are the sections on "Tie-In Sales Provisions".? Keep in mind that while tie in sales are generally not allowed, it is possible to obtain a waiver from the FTC if it can be demonstrated that the product will not work properly without a specified item or service.  Spartan is contending that without their kit the coach braking system will not work properly i the third party M&G system is defective. 

I will ask for a copy of the Spartan waiver from my dealer since the MF act requires that manufacturers provide warranties at the "point of sale" and not directly to the consumer.? I will ask Spartan also, though it would not surprise me if they refer me to my dealer.

If you know any other specifics about the MF act that will support my ignoring the Spartan mandate given to me yesterday, please elaborate.

I did discover that Freightliner does not have a kit, but does have working in their manuals prohibiting the use of outboard brake systems that tap into the coach air system.  Whether this affects warranty or not I do not know.

God I hate these kinds of complications.  One would think when you are spending money of this magnitude, issues such as trying to be safe on the road would not be so troublesome.

Ron what type of towbar and brake system are you using?
 

Tom

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Smoky

Save yourself a lot of trouble and anguish, and buy a Brake Buddy. Although I have M&G, I've heard nothing but good things from folks who bought Brake Buddy. BB has the added advantage of being able to be readily moved to a new/different toad.
 

Smoky

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Well saving time is important, but no anguish really. 

I prefer the M&G system, but am just doing my due diligence to make sure I don't screw myself.  I have been diligent through the entire process of selecting a coach and don't plan to change my approach at this late hour lol! 

Besides the more I learn about these things before I get my coach, the better equipped I will be to master a new learning curve after the coach arrives.
 

Tom

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Smoky

Based on your earlier comments re your timing, different dealers, and other concerns and constraints, it still seems that Brake Buddy and Blue Ox is the "obvious" way to go. Note that I own neither of these products, and never have, so I have no bias towards either of them.

Your story re the warranty reminds me of a friend who had ordered a $1.3M boat. He went back and forth with the manufacturer over the issue of voiding warranty if he subsequently installed an inverter, which the boat manufacturer didn't offer as an option at that time. When he couldn't get the assurances he felt he needed, he cancelled his order. Several months later he received a call from the manufacturer saying they'd give him a letter confirming the installation of the inverter wouldn't void his warranty. He re-ordered.
 

Ron

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Smoky,

We have the Roadmaster Falcon II tow bar and the Brake Buddy brake system.

Interesting thing is when we bought the first Roadmaster tow bar, it was the one that remained on the car, I had rejected Blue Ox because I did not like the size of the pins they were using to attach it to the car nor did I like the configuration of the coupling the pins went though.  I believe they have cjhanged this now but the pins are still smaller than those used on the Roadmaster.  Note it was not these pins that failed in the photos provided in another thread.

Suggestion if you do not feel comfortable with the M&G installation due to Spartan Warranty concerns why not just order the Brake Buddy and have it shipped to you where you are now.  Then when you pick up the motorhome you can use the Brake Buddy since there is no real installation that has to be done other than placing it in position per the directions provided which.  The break away wiring is not absolutly necessary to use the brake Buddy and when you are in Mt I can help you route the break away wiring in less than an hour.
This way getting the Roadmaster Falcon All Terrain towbar and the Brake Buddy would not impact your schedule.


 

Smoky

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I am thinking hard about doing that Ron.  But I sure got sold on the M&G system listening to everyone here talking about it.  :D

Let me ask you this.  How long does it take you to unhitch and be ready to drive somewhere?  And how long does it take you to hitch back up and get the brake buddy positioned?

I got a nice pitch from M&G on how much time I would save with their quick disconnects.

Is it easy enough to do that you would think nothing of unhitching at a Wall Mart while going cross country and taking the toad out to dinner and back?  I know there were many times in 2003 I was just too tired to unhitch my truck from my trailer just to take the truck somewhere in the evening.
 

Ron

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Smoky,

I am sure the M&G system is easier to hook up when hitching the toad up.  However, it takes just a couple minutes to install or uninstall the Brake Buddy.  Sam said if even that long.  It is not as fast as just connecting an air line but I wouldn't think the difference between installing a Brake Buddy versus connecting the M&G system is great enough that I would brag about it. ;D 

I have never run into the occassion where removing and installing the Brake Buddy has been a consideration whether or not we would unhitch the toad.  The brake Buddy installation/removal is not a big deal for us. If it were me I wouldn't even consider the time difference to hook up the BB versus the M&G in deciding which to buy.

Like I if you decide on the BB go ahead and order it and have it shipped to where you are now.  If you don't want to take the time to route the break away switch wires we can do that when you get to Sam's Camp.



 

John From Detroit

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Smoky said:
Well Bernie, I do not doubt your word.  I just wish I could find some assurance about that.  Spartan was very specific when they said if I don't use their kit my chassis warranty is voided.  I asked them several times.

Smokey, Bernie and I have both told you where to find that assurance, Bernie even better than I (He named the law)

TALK TO YOUR LAWYER,  Since what you are asking for here is legal advice (Again) TALK TO YOUR LAWYER (Again)

Worked last time, should work again
 

Smoky

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LOL John!  Do you have any idea what it would cost to retain a lawyer to discuss MF?  My own lawyer certainly is not equipped to do that.

But if you read further down you will see I have reviewed MF myself.  The only clause I find related to this issue is the clause relating to specifying tied in parts and products.  MF assures the consumer that they can specify who does warranty required maintenance and what parts or products they use with the purchased product.  However MF does not cover design changes or products which can cause harm to the product under warranty.  Also a manufacturer can get an FTC waiver to insist on a tied in product if the viability of the product depends upon it.  Whether Spartan has done this or not I do not yet know.

So far no one here on the forum (or on other forums) has shown me anything specific that entitles me to move ahead with M&G without warranty concern.

Got something specific from M-F you would like to quote for me John?

I may well end up getting the brake buddy instead John, but while I still have time I want to get copies of the Newmar and Spartan written warranties and do further research on the M-F act.  I don't like dealing in conjecture or undocumented "facts".  Especially with something costing in the neighborhood of a quarter of a million dollars.
 

Ron

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Smoky,

WHat is the Spartan warranty now any way.  Is it 1 or maybe 3 years?  Sparatan cannot legally just cancel the warranty on the complete chassis because the M&G is installed.  I really think if it was me I would just go ahead with it if that is the braking system I prefered.  I still think it would be worthwhile to write them a letter like I suggested earlier and see what they say in writing after you suggest they check with their leagal department before responding.  You might just be suprised at what their position might be if in writing to a direct query from you.

For just the cost of postage you may find it not as bad as it looks.  You might even ask them if they feel they can legally discontinue the warranty what areas of the chassis are they refering to.

 
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