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Old 11-20-2013, 04:41 PM   #1
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Braking system for Equinox

I bought a 2012 Equinox AWD 3.0L last weekend and have the baseplate and towbar ordered. Planning to install this weekend.
I'm trying to determine which braking system to go with.
I really like the Air Force One as it is a truly proportional system and only activates when I stomp on the RV brakes.
Problem is finding someone to install it. I got a list of 'authorized' dealers from SMI. First (and closest) one seems to have gone out of business. Second one has done one install and said it took 10-12 hours. SMI say 2-3 hours.
Third one I called hadn't even heard of it.
I'm sorely tempted to try it myself but concerned about cutting into the braking system of both the RV and toad. Not to mention working under the RV.
I don't want either a surge type or inertia type of system or one that just activates off the brake lights. I have a tow dolly with electric brakes and nearly burned out the brakes descending a long hill with the exhaust brake on.
I'm fairly handy and can tackle most jobs. I just don't want to 'break' either vehicle or worse
Any advice or words of encouragement????
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Old 11-20-2013, 05:18 PM   #2
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Go with the AF1. If you are the least bit handy, you can do the install. I ended up doing mine in a campground in Valdez, Ak after my Blue Ox "brake in a box" failed for the third time on the way up. In addition, the help I've gotten from SMI on the phone was great. Once you get the parts and pieces and see what you're dealing with, you can take your time to lay it out in your head (and on the ground) decide where you'll put pieces like the ping tank and control box, and then get to work. As a technique, I'd suggest you work from the hitch forward and back, and not cut into the toad or RV systems until everything is attached, wired and ready. It's not difficult when you take your time and don't have any deadlines.
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Old 11-20-2013, 05:36 PM   #3
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Thanks Pigman. It really doesn't look too complicated.

How long did your install take?

I've looked in the Equinox but there's very little space to work and could not locate the brake vacuum tube. I didn't remove any covers so maybe if I remove some clutter I can find it.

I'm thinking the control box will fit behind the grill. Will know better when I do the baseplate install.
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Old 11-20-2013, 05:40 PM   #4
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Here's a link to the install video.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?autoplay=...autoplay%253D1
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Old 11-20-2013, 05:51 PM   #5
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Cliff, I have watched that (several times). It goes into great detail on the car install but seems to skip very quickly through the coach install.
I asked SMI for instructions specific to my vehicles but they just sent me the generic install document and a link to the video.
I haven't had a chance to look under the coach yet.
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Closely followed by a 2012 Equinox AWD
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Old 11-20-2013, 11:11 PM   #6
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I took a day to install it on the Bus and another day on the pickup I had at the time. I actually never cut an airline on the Bus. I found the proper air brake can on the bus and pulled the airline fitting that goes from the line to the can. A trip to the NAPA store got me a T fitting, the necessary nipples and an angle fitting so the new line would lay close to where I wanted to secure it instead of hanging out in the air. I used corrugated split wire loom over the air line I installed and a whole mess of zip ties to be sure the line was held tightly in place. When I switched the AF1 over to a new Bus I did it in a CG in Tucson and that took about 2 hours. (Experience helps, LOL). When I put it into the 2013 Bus it took about 2 hours but I was home and had to make a new bracket to hold the AF1 QD box to the trailer hitch on the Bus rather than bolting or drilling. (sort of gilded the lilly on that one).

Same applied on the toad. A day the first time finding where I was going to put the fittings, run the wires and most importantly, cut into the booster vacuum line. I also put in diodes for the brake lights and ran the wires back for those. I had to get a couple of hose adapters there as well, but no big problems. Trusty NAPA store again. The install on the 2011 Silverado required a special switch as the stoplight switch above the brake pedal runs a computer that runs the brake lights. You get nothing when the key is off. I got a NAPA part number from SMI and instructions on where to put the switch. It's simply an air brake switch to tell when air is being delivered at the brake pedal pull cylinder. You might ask SMI before you order if you need to do anything special on your toad. A phone call and about 10 minutes got me the info and part number.

Good luck with your system. We've got close to 200,000 pull miles on ours and our only problem was that the brake pedal pull cable broke once. I sent the cylinder back to SMI and they put a new cable on for about $26 bucks and had it back to me in 10 days from when I put it into the UPS system.
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Old 11-21-2013, 09:45 AM   #7
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I pulled the engine cover off and located the vacuum line. Problem now is there is very little to play with. I have maybe 3 inches of tube to tie into.
On the left side, there is a connection which may be an existing check valve. Anybody have insight into that? If I can get by without the check valve, all I need is the tee which may be doable. Otherwise, I'm looking at some fancy re-routing work.
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Old 11-21-2013, 09:54 AM   #8
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Actually, just blew up my own photo and noticed an arrow on that connector so I'm guessing my assumption about the check valve is correct...
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