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Old 10-08-2013, 02:51 PM   #15
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Hi Wes,

I installed the AFO on our coach and the CR-V. If you are handy with the toolbox, and if you are comfortable with mechanical / electrical systems, and if you can follow video and written instruction fairly well, and if you have several hours to spare and a place to work.... I would go for it. In my opinion, the two most difficult or nerve-racking tasks were:

1) Drilling a hole through the firewall for the anchor screw that holds the pneumatic cylinder under the dash. Care must be taken not to drill into the vacuum chamber or other components.

2) Cutting TEE's into the coach side air brake lines requires care to be sure you have selected the correct lines. The actual install of the fittings is not difficult, but you must be 100% certain.

Frankly, just to be absolutely certain, I phoned SMI and spoke with a tech to identify the correct air lines while lying under the coach. They were most helpful. They also have an excellent on-line video which I view several times before starting. FWIW, I was able to use an electrical fish tape to pull the small vacuum line and necessary wiring through an existing wiring grommet in the firewall of the CR-V. It was tight but it worked without drilling a new hole for that purpose.

A couple other comments.

a) I'm fine with the LED lights mounted on the tow bar because I always have the rear camera active and it's easy to occasionally check that the LED's are illuminated via the camera. Just personal preference on this one.

b) I did not use the CR-V lights for brake / turn lights and therefore diodes were not necessary. I removed the tail lights and installed new sockets and bulbs inside the lens. Again, fairly simple to do if you are comfortable with the tooling. Simply snaked the wiring under the car being sure it is secured and protected at all pathways. Wiring and lighting kits for this purpose are available on-line. This works very well.

c) I purchased a small rocker switch and installed it in a vacant switch blank on the dash to the left of the steering wheel. The switch is wired to the fuse panel (forget which fuse number) to switch off the CR-V navigation when towing. If you don't pull the fuse or use this switch arrangement, the navigation will drain the battery in several hours.

All of this is time consuming but, in my opinion, it can be an interesting project and not too difficult or complex for the average. Hope this info is helpful and hope things go well for you if you choose to do the install.


Installed two of them already, in different coaches, never cut a coach brake air line to install them. Yes in the instruction it shows that, but just change the fittings are much better way. Also the toad brake light up by the dash is the best way to go.
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Old 10-08-2013, 04:59 PM   #16
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Installed two of them already, in different coaches, never cut a coach brake air line to install them. Yes in the instruction it shows that, but just change the fittings are much better way. Also the toad brake light up by the dash is the best way to go.
So just buy fittings and tie into existing fittings? That was kind of my thoughts too instead of having brass fitting in the middle of a line.
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Old 10-08-2013, 05:26 PM   #17
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Yes you might have to buy a few different fittings. I added a tee fitting where the line was to be cut into. When you trade up to a different coach you can just remove your unit & put the old one back the way it was.
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Old 10-08-2013, 06:14 PM   #18
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Yes you might have to buy a few different fittings. I added a tee fitting where the line was to be cut into. When you trade up to a different coach you can just remove your unit & put the old one back the way it was.
Did you mount the tank near this area? Or nearer to the back
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Old 10-08-2013, 06:26 PM   #19
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Yes you might have to buy a few different fittings. I added a tee fitting where the line was to be cut into. When you trade up to a different coach you can just remove your unit & put the old one back the way it was.
I purchased my 2005 Airstream 396 XL in March of this year and found out that the Air Force One coach unit was already installed and ready to go. All I needed was the toad unit. But they only sell these as a complete unit. I have made plans buy the entire unit and have the toad portion installed next month. I will save a couple of hours in labor and end up with a spare coach unit.
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Old 10-09-2013, 03:41 PM   #20
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Got my kit at noon today! picking up coach here in a few. Got me a project for tomorrow!
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Old 10-09-2013, 09:20 PM   #21
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Did you mount the tank near this area? Or nearer to the back
I mounted my tank right in front of the drive axle on the coach body. I mounted the tank and the valve on the coach body separately because it was a lot easier to that way. That way I only had a short distance from the valve to my tank. Then I ran the toad line alone the frame back to the rear of the coach on the drivers side frame.
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Old 10-09-2013, 09:31 PM   #22
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I mounted my tank right in front of the drive axle on the coach body. I mounted the tank and the valve on the coach body separately because it was a lot easier to that way. That way I only had a short distance from the valve to my tank. Then I ran the toad line alone the frame back to the rear of the coach on the drivers side frame.
Thanks. I am going to get under it tomorrow. They are calling for rain but at-least I will be under it, I can put the jeep in my shop to work on it.
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Old 10-09-2013, 09:31 PM   #23
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I purchased my 2005 Airstream 396 XL in March of this year and found out that the Air Force One coach unit was already installed and ready to go. All I needed was the toad unit. But they only sell these as a complete unit. I have made plans buy the entire unit and have the toad portion installed next month. I will save a couple of hours in labor and end up with a spare coach unit.
I will keep an eye out for you if you want to sell the coach part of the unit. That would work good for somebody just changing coach and not the toad. Yes they are not hard to install and the money in your pocket is better then someone elses pocket!
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Old 10-10-2013, 09:40 AM   #24
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Did you get the AFO?

I had AFO on my 2007 Saturn. The new owner, when I sold it, did not have air brakes so I took it with me when I sold it. I had it installed on the 2013 MKX. I did not do it myself. If you are getting the one that hooks to the air brake system on the MH they you may want to have that professionally looked into installation. AFO has a good fail-safe system but it all has to be done correctly.

In my 2007 Saturn Vue the AFO box was mounted to the top of the battery box. In the 2013 Lincoln MKX it is also mounted to the top of the Bat box.

Happy trails.
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Old 10-10-2013, 09:56 AM   #25
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Did you get the AFO? I had AFO on my 2007 Saturn. The new owner, when I sold it, did not have air brakes so I took it with me when I sold it. I had it installed on the 2013 MKX. I did not do it myself. If you are getting the one that hooks to the air brake system on the MH they you may want to have that professionally looked into installation. AFO has a good fail-safe system but it all has to be done correctly. In my 2007 Saturn Vue the AFO box was mounted to the top of the battery box. In the 2013 Lincoln MKX it is also mounted to the top of the Bat box. Happy trails.
If this is directed to me, yes I got the AFO, as far as installing it I believe I can do it, and if I get stumped I got two neighbors that mess with semis and SMI has good tech support plus I have to knowledgable people here IRV2

But thanks for the advise!
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Old 10-10-2013, 11:48 AM   #26
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If this is directed to me, yes I got the AFO, as far as installing it I believe I can do it, and if I get stumped I got two neighbors that mess with semis and SMI has good tech support plus I have to knowledgable people here IRV2

But thanks for the advise!
I guess it was a "directed" question. I never saw a follow up so was just wondering. I'm a proponent of AFO. With all that technical help standing round I'm sure it will go well.

Happy trails.
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Old 10-10-2013, 01:43 PM   #27
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I guess it was a "directed" question. I never saw a follow up so was just wondering. I'm a proponent of AFO. With all that technical help standing round I'm sure it will go well. Happy trails.

Thanks, I think it is one of best systems out there, I have talked to a few people that have it and love it. I am pretty handy with a tool box so I feel I will be alright. Yesterday while I was getting my coach I had the chance to look under a coach that had it installed looked very simple, his was not a spartan chassis. Today it is pouring rain so I am going to start on toad.

If nothing else it will keep me busy for a few hours!
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Old 10-11-2013, 08:16 AM   #28
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Question Exhaust Brake

I have a question for any and all. With an exhaust brake in operation, does the AFO have the possibility of operating? If you ride the brake pedal gently you won't get much braking on the toad. If you ride it hard you will slow down more than you need and need to release it completely. The exhaust brake is normally sufficient to maintain the speed contol of the MH, and the toad will not be heavy enough to make much difference. What's the best way to approach this situation? Thanks, Bob T
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