I finally got some time to finish the SMI Silent Partner Installation.
The toad is a 2001 Acura MDX w/touring package.
MH is a 2006 Bornfree on a Chevrolet C5500 (Kodiak) cutaway chassis.
The brake system works well and is easy to operate once you know how it works. The install took a bit longer than I thought it would but I am also very careful about routing wires, cables, hoses etc, to keep them away from moving parts and to keep them out of sight. Despite a broken check valve (blamed by SMI on UPS shipping) and having to break up the installation over several days due to work and other time constraints, I would estimate it took 5 hours to finish the installation in the car and another 4 hours in the MH.
I am sure it can be done faster but this was the first time I had taken the car interior apart and some of the items took longer to get apart than I thought. Also, the brake pedal set up took a lot longer because there is not a clear spot to install the firewall screw and much experimentation and careful looking on the other side of the firewall was required to avoid putting the screw through the vacuum booster or other brackets while maintaining a good angle of pull for the cylinder cable.
1. The instructions are vague in many areas; especially in the required or allowed tolerances for installation of the toad brake pedal vacuum cylinder pull angle and the tilt requirements for the motorhome control box.
2. The tri-connector used to connect the battery to the other wires in the engine compartment could be a bit more robust. I had some problems with it not holding the stripped wire and found that I could easily over-crimp the wire and it slid out. I had to reshape the crimp area and start over.
3. The control box in the motorhome has a wierd wire connector assembly that defies logic as to its' design or purpose. It mostly gets in the way and makes it hard to route the 5 wires and connectors that all attach on the same side of the box with this wierd connector harness. Also, the instructions only say to have it face the rear of the coach and that it needs to be tilted. My coach was out of place to mount anyting out of sight so I called SMI to find out what "tilted" ment. It turns out this box houses the decelerometer(sp?)and MUST be verticle with a 1/4" to 1/2" tilt (top of box forward relative to bottom of box). This is critical to the sensitivity of the adjustment for the braking point sensitivitiy set on the control panel dial. Too upright and it won't work...too tilted and it will be too hard to set it within the dial range.
4. The instructions say to call them to find out what color of wire on the toad and MH are the cold side. I called SMI and they said they can't provide this anymore because their internet source no longer allows "free information" of wiring colors. I had to do it the hardway and that too some time in the car because the wires are small and the connector too small for the voltmeter probe. Also, I am not exactly "petite" and that makes getting into the tiny places to trace wires etc. very difficult and time-consuming (but that is not SMI's fault
5. Setting up the MH reciver and transmitter takes some time if you want to hide the wires and the hardware. I finally did it but it took some doing. Everything is now installed, taped, wire-tied and tucked away. The receiver is actually inside the passenger side kickpanel as it gave the best results for a place out of sight. The antenna is tucked up under the dash and attached to a metal crossbrace where it can face straight back through the open part of the coach to the rear window for best line-of sight.
6. There are no operating instructions. The least they could have done is to print a small card or seperate sheet of paper with the operating instructions on it to clarify what happens in "Latched" vs "Real Time" modes and how to adjust the dial for sensitivity.
The SMI Silent Partner system is well built, for the most part, easy to operate and is out of the way once fully installed. The instructions need some work but their Tech. Services was outstanding. Calls were returned within a few hours or sooner. I even talked with a guy on Saturday and he was very knowledgible and very helpful. All were friendly and seemed to care about your safety and the quality of your installation.
2008 Allegro Bus, 42ft QDP, 2007 Spartan chassis, RS3000 Xantrex inverter, 2001 Acura MDX Toad, Blue Ox baseplate, Blue Ox Aventa LX towbar, SMI Silent Partner, Toad Charge, Cobra WX75, Garmin GPS/XM