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Old 01-21-2016, 04:39 PM   #1
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SMI Air Force One installation costs

This has been an ongoing saga for me, and some of you may have seen earlier posts where I mentioned the dealer quoted me $3,000.00 for the AF1 and installation. They also said I needed a "pink tank". They explained that this tank was necessary because I have a Spartan chassis, and this is one of the reasons the installed price was so high.

I have been on the phone with SMI this week, and have determined that this "pink tank" is really a "PING tank". This serves as an air reservoir under the coach that supplies braking air to the toad, so coach air does not come directly from the coach's braking system. The ping tank is standard and comes with all AF1 kits. SMI's time estimate for the complete install was 4.5 to 5 hours max. With a typical dealer labor rate of $120/hour, this should add about $600 to the $1,249.00 MSRP cost of the AF1 unit. Total installed cost should therefore be in the neighborhood of $1,850.00.

I asked SMI if they'd heard of a different SMI-dealer/installation facility that is in my area (found this on SMI's website), and they mentioned that this place has done over a hundred AF1 installs in the past several months. Unfortunately, this is not my dealership. To be clear, they did not bad-mouth my dealership in any way at all, nor did they steer me elsewhere. I called the other shop, and their installation quote was $1,825.00. This does not include the toad wiring harness and light kit, which would add another $250.00 if I have them do it.

It pays to shop around. Sometimes you will pay more for convenience, but there comes a point where the spread is too great for convenience to prevail.

P.S. In an earlier (different) post, someone mentioned that SMI's Stay-In-Play Duo toad braking system was not a good choice for DPs. I had briefly considered this as a (hopefully) less-expensive alternative to the AF1. SMI concurred, saying that DPs with exhaust brakes typically light the coach's brake lights during exhaust braking. I have no idea if mine does, but if they do come on during exhaust braking, this plus deceleration would trigger toad braking. You do not want the toad to be braking the MH.
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Old 01-21-2016, 06:29 PM   #2
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I replied to your last post so here is what I'm getting
Air Force One---$1062.95 Have it
SMI Air Force One Supplemental Braking System for Motor Homes with Air Brakes - Proportional SMI Tow Bar Braking Systems SM99243
Base plate---$399 Have it
2011 Ford Edge Base Plates - Roadmaster
Wiring they will supply
Roadmaster Tow Bar 10,000lb Need to order
RoadMaster Blackhawk 2 All Terrain Tow Bar - 10,000 lbs Roadmaster Tow Bars RM-422
They will meet this price plus another 10%
https://www.rvupgradestore.com/Black...-p/14-6289.htm
Install prices
Air Force One---$300
Base Plate---$200
Wiring----$175
Total----$675
Road trip to get installed around 120mi
2 stroker
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Old 01-21-2016, 07:46 PM   #3
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Excellent price on the AF1 unit. I'm pretty sure I'm going to go ahead with this, and may consider buying the AF1 from eTrailer and having the shop install it.

I decided against a baseplate because I knew I'd want to swap out the stock front bumper, and bought the LoD mid-width bumper with bull bar. LoD is one of only two bumper manufacturers I found that provide towbar ears on their products. I will post pics when the bumper is installed.
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Old 01-21-2016, 08:01 PM   #4
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I cant tell, you how simple it is to i stall the AF1 on the coach.

It involves drilling a couple of holes to mount the air resovoir (ping tank).
Maybe making a L bracket.

Then a couple more holes for the air coupler at tge hitch.

The rest is cutting nylon air tubing and using Push-Loc fitting to connect thing up.
It involves 3 air lines.

If you have a little bit of mechanicalskill, you can do this.

Now the air control on the toad is almost as dimpke, but the toad has tight quarters to work in.

I kniw the shop needs to make money, but they dont have to rob you.

Regards,

Dan
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Old 01-21-2016, 09:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dpinvidic View Post
I cant tell, you how simple it is to i stall the AF1 on the coach.

It involves drilling a couple of holes to mount the air resovoir (ping tank).
Maybe making a L bracket.

Then a couple more holes for the air coupler at tge hitch.

The rest is cutting nylon air tubing and using Push-Loc fitting to connect thing up.
It involves 3 air lines.

If you have a little bit of mechanicalskill, you can do this.

Now the air control on the toad is almost as dimpke, but the toad has tight quarters to work in.

I kniw the shop needs to make money, but they dont have to rob you.

Regards,

Dan
Thank you for the installation summary - I've heard a number of people say the AF1 installation isn't terribly difficult. I think the hardest part for me would be working on the coach outside in sub-zero temps as I don't have anywhere other than a parking lot to work on something this size. I can't negotiate the turns down my street to the house, and if I could, it won't fit on the driveway because we live in a townhome. I'm also unfamiliar with the air system and a bit leery of cutting air lines. I have much more confidence in the toad installation, but for less than $600 for the whole installation, having the dealer do all the work is what I will probably do.
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Old 01-22-2016, 12:24 AM   #6
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Barmats, glad to hear you found a place with reasonable rates. Can't wait to see pictures of your bumper. I can't decide between mid or full width. Did you go with the zinc coating? How long did it take to get in and how was it shipped?

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Old 01-22-2016, 05:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlaRider View Post
Barmats, glad to hear you found a place with reasonable rates. Can't wait to see pictures of your bumper. I can't decide between mid or full width. Did you go with the zinc coating? How long did it take to get in and how was it shipped?

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The bumper is sitting in my living room at the moment, and I hope to be able to install it over the weekend. It's pretty hefty (I think it's about 70# or so) and definitely a 2-person job during the installation phase. I went with mid-width because I liked the look. It was also lighter and a bit less-expensive than the full-width. The full-width stretches all the way to the stock fenders and meets up with them very nicely... but if you think you'll ever replace the stock fenders with something else, the bumper may end up looking a bit wide. Also, check the bumper laws for your state. Mine say that the bumper must extend 10" or more beyond the frame attachment point, which it does. I went with the zinc plating because of the harsh winters and salt used here in MN.

Unless you buy from a reseller who has bumper stock, ordering direct from the manufacturer like I did means they'll manufacture the bumper for you per your order configuration. It shouldn't take more than 2-3 weeks to build, but it depends on their current orders.

I really like the bumper, but I'm very dissatisfied with their customer service. I was overcharged, and when I requested a refund, they refused.
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Old 01-24-2016, 05:59 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barmats View Post
The bumper is sitting in my living room at the moment, and I hope to be able to install it over the weekend. It's pretty hefty (I think it's about 70# or so) and definitely a 2-person job during the installation phase. I went with mid-width because I liked the look. It was also lighter and a bit less-expensive than the full-width. The full-width stretches all the way to the stock fenders and meets up with them very nicely... but if you think you'll ever replace the stock fenders with something else, the bumper may end up looking a bit wide. Also, check the bumper laws for your state. Mine say that the bumper must extend 10" or more beyond the frame attachment point, which it does. I went with the zinc plating because of the harsh winters and salt used here in MN.

Unless you buy from a reseller who has bumper stock, ordering direct from the manufacturer like I did means they'll manufacture the bumper for you per your order configuration. It shouldn't take more than 2-3 weeks to build, but it depends on their current orders.

I really like the bumper, but I'm very dissatisfied with their customer service. I was overcharged, and when I requested a refund, they refused.
Thanks for the update. How did the install go? Did you have them drill the holes for the 6 pin trailer connection? Did you deal with Chris from LoD, Not good that you had problems with their customer service.
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Old 01-24-2016, 01:54 PM   #9
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Have not installed the bumper yet, it has been a busy weekend. Will update when done. Answers to the other two questions: no (it never occurred to me to have this done) and yes.
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