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Old 03-20-2008, 12:17 PM   #1
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After much reading and thinking I had decided that the AFO would be the braking system for my new HHR. There is much hype on this site about the AFO and in particular how AFO used Spartan and Bendix to help develope their system. Problem is no one must have told Sparan.
A little more background. I have an air over hydraulic system. According to SMI the AFO was not going to work. Then when I pointed out that the web site said it would the tune changed and it will work. So SMI said they would send me an instalation sheet good enough. The directions were sent Still no directions though as to how to hook up to the Air over Hydraulic system. Another call to SMI the tech person did not have the answer but said someone would call. Never herd back. So I called spartan and explained twhat I needed to do and pointed out that it would be the SMI AFO unit I was going to put on. The tech rep from Spartan was quick to point out that I would need to purchase an additional kit $400.00 that would provide a seperate tank and hookup I told him that SMI stated there was no need for the Spartan kit as they were covering it. By now I am totally confused. Spartan has been a great company to deal with and the Tech ther told me that no matter what (straight air or air/hyd) that they would not recognize it as an acceptable install unless the Spartan kit was installed. At the price now I guess I will go back to using a US Gear Tow Brake. Problem is that I sold the old Tow Brake with my previous toad so will need a new one. Why is this information being distributed by SMI if in fact Spartan takes a different position. I had assumed that I was getting a straight story here. Also it seems that Roadmaster has taken a similar position. I could have saved myself some money if I had not taken SMI's word and checked with Spartan first. Live and Learn.
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Old 03-20-2008, 12:17 PM   #2
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After much reading and thinking I had decided that the AFO would be the braking system for my new HHR. There is much hype on this site about the AFO and in particular how AFO used Spartan and Bendix to help develope their system. Problem is no one must have told Sparan.
A little more background. I have an air over hydraulic system. According to SMI the AFO was not going to work. Then when I pointed out that the web site said it would the tune changed and it will work. So SMI said they would send me an instalation sheet good enough. The directions were sent Still no directions though as to how to hook up to the Air over Hydraulic system. Another call to SMI the tech person did not have the answer but said someone would call. Never herd back. So I called spartan and explained twhat I needed to do and pointed out that it would be the SMI AFO unit I was going to put on. The tech rep from Spartan was quick to point out that I would need to purchase an additional kit $400.00 that would provide a seperate tank and hookup I told him that SMI stated there was no need for the Spartan kit as they were covering it. By now I am totally confused. Spartan has been a great company to deal with and the Tech ther told me that no matter what (straight air or air/hyd) that they would not recognize it as an acceptable install unless the Spartan kit was installed. At the price now I guess I will go back to using a US Gear Tow Brake. Problem is that I sold the old Tow Brake with my previous toad so will need a new one. Why is this information being distributed by SMI if in fact Spartan takes a different position. I had assumed that I was getting a straight story here. Also it seems that Roadmaster has taken a similar position. I could have saved myself some money if I had not taken SMI's word and checked with Spartan first. Live and Learn.
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Old 03-20-2008, 01:18 PM   #3
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I am currently investigating the installation of the AFO brake system for my toad and am concerned about this posting. Are they good, appropiate, reasonable and easy to install on a new 2008 GMC Saturn? Is this posting unique or a common problem?
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Old 03-20-2008, 06:03 PM   #4
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Blackjack,
Spartan doesn't want ANYBODY hooking into their air system except via the auxiliary air tank method, which they support via the Spartan air tank kit. It's a liability thing - you can decide for yourself whether you trust a tee fitting in a main brake line or not. I have such a tee on mine, but it's a Freightliner.
Any aux brake that is driven from the coach air brake system has some risk of contributing to a motorhome brake failure if the tee is improperly installed or the air line connected to it blows out and drops the coach air supply below 65 psi. There are thousands of coaches around that have these tees, but now the lawyers have manufacturers running scared.
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Old 03-20-2008, 06:25 PM   #5
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Gary,
That is really the way Spartan explained it to me, That any system would require the Kit if using their air supply. The little problem I have here is that SMI does not make that clear and in fact they will tell you that you do not need the Kit, which condridicts the Spartan position. Why not just state that it is the responsibility of each installer to contact the chasis mfg/ for their recomendation.Using Spartan and Bendix's name in their advertising is misleading at best.
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Old 03-21-2008, 05:41 PM   #6
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No argument there - ought to be up-front about it.
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Old 03-23-2008, 10:57 AM   #7
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By the way, Freightliner takes the same position where they do not condone using a 'T' in the air lines to supply air to an auxiliary braking system. Nor, to my knowledge, do they offer an auxiliary tank like Spartan does.

Even though AFO may be a superior braking system, I for one don't want the liability which could be pointed at me by 'T-ing' into the air brake line of the coach, whether real or not.

I have pretty much made up my mind to go to US Gear's system because of this issue.

Here's another thread on the topic.
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Old 04-06-2008, 07:11 PM   #8
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I had the AFO installed at the Brooksville FMCA rally. The AFO uses a seperate valve and air tank that is very similar to the spartan supplied kit.
Mike O'Neil, at Spartan indicated that the AFO met the same federal specs for safety when hooking in to the air brake system. I did not have to buy the Spartan kit.
Check with Pete at SMI on this.
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Old 04-07-2008, 06:20 PM   #9
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I had the Air Force One installed at the SMI office in Clarksville, In. I was aware that Spartan recommends their own version of the auxillary air tank, and SMI had one waiting on me from Spartan when I arrived.

I have no doubt that the tank kit from SMI is every bit as effective and safe as the Spartan kit, but as I was still under Spartan chassis warranty, I did not want to void it. Even though the price added an additional $400 for Spartan's kit, I wanted the Air Force One enough to think it was worth it from a performance standard. It has been a real joy to use with much easier hookups than my old box in the floor auxillary braking system. I definitely like the total proportional braking, also.
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Old 04-19-2008, 01:14 PM   #10
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I just got the AFO installed on my motorhome and tow car. SMI changed the AFO kit in Jan 2008 to include a ping tank and valve assembly. This makes SMI fully compliant with all the safety requirements.
The trade-off to maintain the previous installation time is to replace the dash indicator with an towbar mounted light assy, which will show the brake operatiion in the rear-view monitor.
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Old 04-19-2008, 03:12 PM   #11
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Andy, welcome to iRV2.

We're glad to have you aboard, and we look forward to your participation in the forums.
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Old 04-19-2008, 04:32 PM   #12
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andyh...
Welcome to iRV2! I am sure everyone will appreciate anything you can share...along with us helping you too.
It may help if you put what type of rig you have in your signature for everyone else. Some things may be manufacturer specific...so that information can be helpful...

Again...welcome to iRV2! please visit & post often.

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