Today at the GMCWS rally in Auburn Chuck Aulgur and Rick Flanagan gave a presentation on the "reaction arm" braking system that they designed and developed for the GMC. I believe that Chuck is the inventor and initial designer and engineer and then Rick made changes that make it manufacturable.
After the presentation anyone who wanted to was allowed to drive Rick's coach which is one of only 4 coaches with the system installed. We went for a ride around Auburn and were encouraged to get the coach up to speed and then stop as fast as we could. I would have to say Rick's coach stopped as easily and quickly as a car. A panic stop at 35 mph and up made virtually no skidding noise. If any tires made noise it was the front and not the back.
Steve Ferguson said that the coach stopped better than his 2010 pickup truck and called this the best single improvement in the GMC motorhome since its inception.
Thanks to Rick for letting me drive it - amazing and on my list of future enhancements for my coach.
'76 Eleganza II
With no reservations I must add that I think that there has been no other improvement or device made since production of the GMC that
ranks even close to Chuck Aulgur's reaction arm system. I have seen
and heard the presentation twice before and it does not do the device
justice. Once Chuck starts speaking like a rocket scientist, he
loses nearly everyone in the audience and I think that has been the problem. Rick Flannigan did the CAD reverse engineering on Chucks device to simplify manufacturing of the parts and has one of the four units out there installed on his coach. No matter how hard Chuck worked to explain how the device worked, no lights came on until the rubber hit the road. To simplify the explanation, Chuck's reaction arm harnesses the energy that causes weight transfer, or the braking action that causes the rearl of the coach to lift, when the brakes are applied in ALL situations and in every braking application. Word spread quickly once a few of us rode in, or drove Rick's coach and got to try the device through town, then out on the freeway on flats, hills, and stop and go traffic.
I still can't believe how incredible and controllable the coach's brakes were. After just two stops, it felt as though I had been driving it for years. I have 9 vehicles registered and on the road and none of them brake as well and as predicable as Rick's coach. Stop after stop, mile after mile, those brakes stopped as well and as consistantly as they did at the first stop sign out of the park.
Armand quoted me correctly when he said that I reported that even my new 2010 Chev pickup truck doesn't respond to braking action as well as Rick's coach, neither does my '94 Caprice. If you've ever pulled a towed with a tow car braking system installed and had to do a hard stop, you were probably thankful for the toad's brakes. Well, multiply that by two and you will just begin to understand how well the reaction arm enhances the GMC brake system, with one exception, NO nose dive, Nada, zip, none. Word spread quickly at the rally and by the time dinner was served, about half of the attendees at this rally either rode in the coach or test drove Rick's coach and all had the same reaction. Every GMCer walked out the door shaking his head and
was smiling in amazement. No BS, just fact. You could have cooked
anything you wanted on Ricks Alcoas by the end of the day because of the heat from the hundreds of braking applications but what is significant about this statememt is that ALL wheels were within a few degrees of each other meaning that each brake was doing the same amount of work.
This is without a doubt, the single best innovation anyone has come up with for the GMC in the history of the GMC. No matter what GMC coach the future holds for me, this system is now at the top of the list.
BTW, that bicycle gizmo was a mock up of the reaction arm complete with gauges used to quantify the reaction forces that occur during a typical brake application. I almost understood how it worked until Chuck started explaining it to me :>) I tell you, these rocket scientists...........
I drove the coach and rode along while 2 others tried their best to make flat spots on Rick's rear tires but, even though they were very worn tires, no one could make them slide no matter what they did. A great system.
I had a chance to drive Rick F's coach and I can attest to how well this system works. That coach just flat stops when you hit the brakes. It stops nice and straight too, NO squirrellyness at all!!
While I was testing it, I got the right wheels in some of that sand Jim was talking about and there was absolutely no problem with handling under hard braking, even under those conditions. This is a mod that we ALL should have. You will truly have all six wheels hooking up and have better brakes than most SOBs or even trucks which only have four brakes and more rolling inertia on the dual wheels.
'75 ex Palm Beach