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Old 07-11-2015, 11:03 PM   #1
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Success! Just finished Install of Blue Ox Base Plate / Light Kit / SMI Air Force One

I am exhausted but satisfied with successful installation of Blue Ox base plate, Blue Ox diode light kit, and AFO on my 2015 Thor Palazzo 33.3 towing 2003 Honda CR-V (Auto/4wd). It was a lot of work, but I have to admit most of the work was self-inflected. I worked on the Honda quite a bit, but a lot of the time was related to make a 'neat' job. I think I took the front bumper off four times trying to get everything routed the way I wanted. I basically disassembled the interior so I could shampoo all the carpets and find a good routing for the taillight wires.

I am pretty impressed both with Blue Ox and SMI. Both kits were very well put together with decent instructions. The Air Force One Coach install made me the most nervous. It is pretty daunting to crawl under the back of a nearly new DP and have the nerve to cut a couple of the air lines. The instructions were decent, but the pictures could have been better. I have been studying air brakes for a few weeks, but it is still confusing to know which is the 'service brake relay' and which is the 'spring brake relay'. If possible, it would be nice to have some sort of 3-D cutaway view of what you should be looking for on various chassis. I think the utube video I watched actually was upside down! ha.

At any rate, almost everything appears to work. The air system must be right as my wife watched the CR-V brake pedal go down as I applied them in the coach. I think I only have one 'bug'--the CR-V right rear blinker does not work yet. I must have a loose connection at one of the diodes.

Tomorrow, I am going to tow "ToDo" for the first time. Wish me luck. We leave for a 5,000 mile trip on Friday.
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2015 Thor Palazzo 33.3 ("Marco")
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Old 07-12-2015, 12:22 AM   #2
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Old 07-13-2015, 09:38 AM   #3
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Short update:

Got my right hand blinker 'bug' fixed. I had wired to the wrong green/yellow wire. It was the wire intended for trailer lights on CR-V. I found the 'other' green/yellow wire going to taillight housing and moved diode connection there. RH Blinker now works.

Did a short road test yesterday evening after hooking up in the street. Wife and daughter were flying observation in our minivan while I cruised around local roads. CR-V seems to track very well. All brakes seem to work well. Got it up to 60 mph on a local 50 mph 2 lane section line road with plenty of dips and expansion joints. CR-V tracked well and braked well under all situations. Was able to hitch and unhitch in under 5 minutes even though I don't have a lot of experience with these things.

The only thing that is weird is remembering to put CR-V back in park when you are ready to unhitch. Otherwise, you might have a surprise!

Oh...I have one other 'bug' to ponder. The CR-V is effectively a '5-wire' lighting system (separate yellow turn signal lights). So is the Palazzo, but the 7 pin trailer connector only has 4 wire lighting output (LH turn/brake, RH turn/brake, taillights, reverse light). So...the red brake lights on CR-V come on with the CR-V brake pedal application (caused by MH brakes). But....the LH and RH yellow turn signal lights ALSO come on with brake application. Because the brake signal output of 7 pin connector is tripped by an electric switch in the MH, the yellow lights come on first, followed by the red brake lights (and center mounted brake light) when air is actually applied to brakes in both vehicles. I don't have a solution for this yet. At least people behind me will see lots of lights when I apply brakes. But...it may not be totally legal where brake lights are concerned.
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2015 Thor Palazzo 33.3 ("Marco")
Towing 2011 Honda CR-V EX-L ("Dusty") with
Air Force One, Blue Ox Aventa LX
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