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Old 03-27-2016, 01:54 PM   #1
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SMI AFOne...Check Your Brake Pedal

OK...this might fall into the DOOH category but....

I always ASSUMED if I had brake lights on the Honda CRV that I also had a properly functioning AFO. My ERRONEOUS misunderstanding was that my toad brakes were activated by the pedal movement. That is true in normal operations but once I hook up my light cables the coach now controls the break lights since my light system disables the brake light switch. I should have known better.

Today while doing a very thorough preflight of the coach after sitting for a few month I decided I would double check the cable that connects the foot pedal actuator to the firewall and discovered the cable had snapped somewhere inside the actuator.

So...as part of my normal preflight checks, along with the lights I will also check to make sure the brake pedal moves.

I will keep you posted on how well SMI handles this situation after owning the system about 2.5 years.
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Old 03-27-2016, 02:33 PM   #2
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Yes, but as you said, it depends on exactly how your brake lights are wired and what they're showing. We had a cable break a few years ago and I picked the problem out right away as part of my lights were run by the toad system and another part run by the coach power through diodes. We made a temp repair on the road with a 1/4" bolt and 2 washers to hold the cable together. I sent the cylinder to SMI and they returned it in less than a week with a new cable. My cost was less than $30 which included shipping. I had owned the unit since 2005 and thought the price and turn around time was outstanding..

I found the titanium lug which holds the cable to the fire wall had definite sharp edges which cut the cable. A bit of file work solved that problem. I've since heard that the lug had been redesigned with more rounded edges.
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Old 03-27-2016, 02:39 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pigman1 View Post
Yes, but as you said, it depends on exactly how your brake lights are wired and what they're showing. We had a cable break a few years ago and I picked the problem out right away as part of my lights were run by the toad system and another part run by the coach power through diodes. We made a temp repair on the road with a 1/4" bolt and 2 washers to hold the cable together. I sent the cylinder to SMI and they returned it in less than a week with a new cable. My cost was less than $30 which included shipping. I had owned the unit since 2005 and thought the price and turn around time was outstanding..

I found the titanium lug which holds the cable to the fire wall had definite sharp edges which cut the cable. A bit of file work solved that problem. I've since heard that the lug had been redesigned with more rounded edges.
Unfortunately, my cable broke at the actuator so nothing to splice until later. We are also on a heavy travel schedule for the next month. The lug on the firewall does not seem to have sharp edges so perhaps that is an improvement since you got yours.

Of course, I just realized that I won't have any break away protection until it is fixed.

I'm considering buying a new actuator and then having this one repaired for back up.
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Old 03-27-2016, 03:00 PM   #4
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I just did the same thing. After getting home from getting everything installed and pulling 150 miles, then I hooked everything back up a few days later and checked peddle movement then lights, everything stilled worked the way it should. I always check lights and turn signals in the past never checked the peddle but I will from now on, only takes 2 seconds. After reading all the problems with the Roadmaster Invisibrake and having it happen to me I left it on my Honda instead of installing on my Ford Edge.
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Old 03-27-2016, 03:01 PM   #5
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Call them Monday AM and explain your situation. They are EXTREMELY helpful.
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Old 03-28-2016, 10:41 AM   #6
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A few things from calling SMI this morning...

1. Fixing it should cost about $20 plus shipping but turn around counting shipping could be around a week. The turn around time is a problem for me.

2. The actuator is the most expensive individual component at about $259 plus shipping. Overnight shipping is about $60. They had upgraded the steel cable from the one it had when it was first built. I need to double check the the cable is a straight pull out of the actuator. Based on it snapping at the actuator the most likely reason for failure is it rubbing on the case.

3. There is now a program costing $350 for a lifetime warrantee. They are allowing me to buy the warrantee and then replace the actuator under warrantee.

4. They have a swap program that costs $50 and shipping. They send out a replacement and you return the broken one within 30 days. That does require them to have one in stock to swap.

My final answer is that I am buying the SMI Care package. That will cover a swap and normal shipping but I will pay extra for over night deliver. It may be overkill and some will feel a foolish waste of money but I'm good with my choice.

So, my "problem" is that I feel VERY STRONG about having a WORKING system when towing. While I would not worry so much about the actual act of towing a relatively light Honda CRV, my major reason is that I just don't like the loss of the break away system.

It is MY fault I didn't properly check the brake peddle actuator on a regular basis and ASSUMED brake lights meant the system was working properly. It is also my fault if I didn't properly set the cable angle to make sure it was within specs. While it is possible the actuator shifted on the peddle mount I doubt it since I don't see any indications it has. Clearly, I will need to double check the cable angle with the new installation.

BTW...in the last year SMI added a proximity switch to the actuator that provides a better indicator that the brake system is working. The old style, like mine, had an LED indicator but it was based on power to the brake lights via the brake light switch. That can be a problem with some vehicles. The new set up puts the proximity switch directly on the actuator. When the actuator moves the switch closes activating an LED light thus telling you the peddle has been "pushed" by the AFO system. I adds about $50 to retrofit it to an older cylinder without that system. In effect, it now tells you that the actuator has been activate and is working but it will not tell you the brake lights are on if they are not wired and/or working properly.
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Old 03-28-2016, 01:03 PM   #7
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Please comment a bit more on the LED light, location, etc. I've got a 2-year old SMI AF One and don't find a light - did have the cylinder re-worked by the factory and have been very pleased since. Sure wouldn't mind having a 'double-check' system like the light would provide ... many thanks
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Old 03-28-2016, 01:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lv2Roam2 View Post
Sky_Boss
Please comment a bit more on the LED light, location, etc. I've got a 2-year old SMI AF One and don't find a light - did have the cylinder re-worked by the factory and have been very pleased since. Sure wouldn't mind having a 'double-check' system like the light would provide ... many thanks
The newest version of the AFO foot peddle actuator has a switch on it that can be used to activate an LED light you can route that light up to your dash and perhaps to the back of your rear view mirror. The idea is that you can see that light in your rear view camera when ever you hit the brakes. As part of your preflight, who ever is monitoring your lights can see that light also.

The previous versions had a similar LED set up but it was connected to the brake switch. The problem, according to an SMI tech, is that some autos now kill power to the brake lights under certain conditions.

Page 25 of the linked owner's manual shows the new switch set up.

https://smibrake.com/Instructions/AF...2010192015.pdf

This may be a non-issue for most and certainly not something to consider if your brake lights all work normal. I certainly don't feel for that particular "upgrade". BTW...I think the actual LED light is the same as before, they have just set up a different way to turn it on.
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Old 03-29-2016, 02:20 PM   #9
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SMI came through and I got my new actuator at 10:05 this morning. 2 major improvements.

1. Cable is about twice as thick with a very perceptible coating on it that I would think help it slide over parts easier.

2. The hole at the end of the cylinder that the cable goes through now has a slight bevel to it. My older cylinder had a sharp edge and I'm certain that was part of the issue but I see I had too much angle too. I wouldn't mind seeing a bit more radius on that bevel but I think this is an important change.

Based on talks with Logan at SMI I opted to do a full re-install because of a couple things. The first was I could now see where I had too much angle of the cable out of the cylinder and that was quite evident when I removed it and saw the wear line. The second was that I opted to move the cylinder from the right side to the left side of the peddle arm thus requiring a new anchor point.

The install went pretty much by the instructions. Working in those tight areas I found that I needed to estimate how much cable was required from the end of the cylinder to the anchor. I would then run the cable through the anchor, loop the end and then tighten down the retention screw. The first reason for this is that the cable loop will want to spring out of the anchor. The second is that accessing that retention screw once you mounted it to the firewall was a bit more difficult to do. I was happy that my first estimate was correct.

I feel better now but it is raining hard so I still need to hook it up and test things but I don't see any reason it won't work as before.
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Old 03-29-2016, 02:22 PM   #10
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BTW...with SMI Care there are no shipping charges. That would include expedited shipping if needed.
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Old 03-29-2016, 09:27 PM   #11
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Good thing you knew what you were doing!
I trusted a ' qualified SMI instaler' to do the install in my toad.
Drilled thru the firewall into the brake booster!
One completely burned out set of brakes 1600 miles later !!
Installer covered the repair bill, about 3800$
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Old 03-30-2016, 05:21 AM   #12
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One check I perform after I arm the SMI Duo system is to pull the breakaway plug and ensure the pedal moves.

I did not install the SMI brake activation light. The light system I use in the toad has a brake light activation lead. It sends a signal when the toad brakes are on (i.e., when the pedal is depressed). The SMI Duo control is set to activate around 25 miles per hour. Above that speed, I know if I see the LED in the coach dash illuminate when I brake that the brake pedal is being depressed in the toad.

Stationary, though, the only test I can perform to exercise the SMI vacuum cylinder and move the pedal is to pull the breakaway plug.
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