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Old 07-05-2014, 08:59 AM   #1
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Air Force One Install

I researched every braking system and finally ended up selecting the SMI Air Force One. I have a 2013 CRV and rear diesel pusher and wanted something other than a surge or brake light activated system. I wanted a system that gave true proportionate braking and DID NOT activate with the exhaust brake. The Air Force One seems to be just what I was looking for. I ordered the system and viewed the installation video that came with it. I must say the instructions could have been a little more detailed, or so I thought at the time. I was a little nervous about cutting the right air lines on the coach to install this thing, so I got a price to have it installed by my local RV dealer. After being told $2000 to install it, I told myself "you can do this" and climbed under the motorhome to figure it out. Once under there looking at the air lines and brake valves, the instructions become very clear. I took my sweet time installing it over the next few days, and it took me about 7-8 hours total for the install. It was really a straight forward easy install considering they wanted $2000 labor to do it. The coach part of the installation ( the part I worried over the most) turned out to be the easiest part. The hard part was finding a place to mount the unit on my toad under the hood. I ended up making a bracket like someone showed on this forum. There is not much room to mount stuff under the hood of a CRV. Anyway, my point for writing this is to inform anyone struggling with the idea of tackling this job is, that with a little mechanical knowledge it's a very doable self install. $2000 buys a lot of diesel fuel and I am glad I kept it in my pocket. Below are the pictures of the bracket and mount I used on the CRV. I hope this information helps somebody who is looking to do it yourself. Oh, one last thing. I love the way this system works! No regrets on buying this system.

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Randy W


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Old 07-05-2014, 09:19 AM   #2
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Nice install!

I installed AF1 on my Ford Cmax hybrid couple of months ago and went through the same worries. Like you said, once I crawled under my coach with a light and the instruction sheet it was no problem.

My stumbling point was finding a place to drill through the firewall for the air-line. Space is tight under the dash, and nonexistent under the car. With the extra hybrid equipment, I had to remove some cable anchors to move the main HV battery cable to safety away from the drill.

All in all, a worthwhile project, and I believe that I bought the best braking system for my rig. My coach seems to stop better with my toad than without!
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Old 07-05-2014, 12:23 PM   #3
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My local auto mechanic installed my AF1 for $350.
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Old 07-05-2014, 12:47 PM   #4
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$2000 labor to install a $1200 Air Force One unit is ludicrous. Obviously your local RV shop was NOT a certified SMI Installation Approved Dealer.

You shouldn't have to pay much more than 4-5 hours of labor to have it installed. $500-$600 sounds more reasonable.

Great job though and look at all the money you saved!

Dr4Film ----- Richard
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Old 07-05-2014, 10:38 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr4Film View Post
$2000 labor to install a $1200 Air Force One unit is ludicrous. Obviously your local RV shop was NOT a certified SMI Installation Approved Dealer.



You shouldn't have to pay much more than 4-5 hours of labor to have it installed. $500-$600 sounds more reasonable.



Great job though and look at all the money you saved!



Dr4Film ----- Richard

Yea, Richard I agree. Their labor rate is listed at $150 an hour (unbelievable but true). I thought the AFO and the labor together shouldn't be more than $2000. I think they really didn't want to install it since I didn't buy it from them.. Anyway, it all worked out for the best because I only paid $900 for the unit and nothing for the install....Dance!

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Old 07-05-2014, 10:57 PM   #6
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I just installed the AF1 on mountain Aire and suburban. Took about 5-6 hours, as the OP stated the coach side was the easiest. Getting all the wires routed and mounted on the tow vehicle took longer. Just completed first 500 miles and the system worked great.
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Old 07-06-2014, 07:49 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr4Film View Post
$2000 labor to install a $1200 Air Force One unit is ludicrous. Obviously your local RV shop was NOT a certified SMI Installation Approved Dealer.

You shouldn't have to pay much more than 4-5 hours of labor to have it installed. $500-$600 sounds more reasonable.

Great job though and look at all the money you saved!

Dr4Film ----- Richard
just had one installed here in Minneapolis area for $600
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Old 07-06-2014, 07:57 AM   #8
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Reason for the HIGH installation cost was that you already had the unit and the RV dealer missed out on the $ mark-up on selling it to you, so he was making up the difference in the cost of the labor.
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Old 07-07-2014, 01:19 AM   #9
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You want a tight install? Your CRV install area looks cavernous compared to our Honda Fit. LOL
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Old 08-30-2014, 03:48 AM   #10
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Honda Fit 2013

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Originally Posted by sfischer View Post
You want a tight install? Your CRV install area looks cavernous compared to our Honda Fit. LOL
I'm thinking of the Air Force 1, for the Honda Fit Sport I just purchased. My coach was already set-up, by the previous owner.
Any chance of some pictures of the different components and their placement on your Fit? I have a good mechanic, I can work with, but would appreciate any and all advise.
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Old 08-30-2014, 04:41 AM   #11
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Changing coaches

We use the Air Force One now and love it, but we are getting ready to upgrade. How easy is it to move it to a new motorhome?
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Old 08-30-2014, 12:11 PM   #12
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Randy,
Outstanding partner! I asked (on another forum) about opinions of the AF-1 system vs the Ready Brake system which, I've been using for quite a few years but, it and, our Blue Ox Aladdin tow bar are both worn out to the point that both need a complete rebuild.

And, like you, I'm tired of the "surge" system that applies the brakes on the toad, if I even think of "looking" at the exhaust brake. I too want a true "Proportional" braking system. So, I've inquired about the AF-1. I sent an email to the company and got an answer, all be it about a week later, and they're not much for words, that's for sure. But they did show me some pics of installs.

I've been wrenching my whole life as a DIY type. I've done more work on this diesel coach, an '04 Itasca Horizon 36GD with the C-7 330HP CAT, then any other coach we've had. It is what it is. The coach is ultra nice but, it, like any other thing man made, CAN BREAK. So, anyway back to the point. I applaud your "diving" into the project. We tow an '11 GMC Sierra 1500 4x4 Extended Cab and that truck, much of the time is hauling a 2008 Honda Goldwing GL1800. So, needless to say, it's got some weight behind that coach.

I've got square miles under the hood of the truck to install any components of the AF-1. So, reading this thread just re-assures me that it's not all that complicated and, I should be able to tackle it with ease. Thanks for taking the time to write this install up. Very encouraging.
Scott
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Old 09-20-2014, 08:38 PM   #13
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Iwillbeit - Can you post a photo of the connection and where you made it to the brake vacuum line on your CRV? I have a 2014 CRV and am almost ready to install the AFO. I spent this afternoon working on most of the base plate install. I am uncertain of exactly which hose to tap into for the connections to the AFO unit.
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Old 09-24-2014, 01:55 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by CWHTRAINS View Post
Iwillbeit - Can you post a photo of the connection and where you made it to the brake vacuum line on your CRV? I have a 2014 CRV and am almost ready to install the AFO. I spent this afternoon working on most of the base plate install. I am uncertain of exactly which hose to tap into for the connections to the AFO unit.

Hey just saw this .. Will post some pictures this afternoon when I get home and take some...

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