We went for a short test run of the completed Air Force One installation and towed our 2011 Buick Enclave for the first time. I finally was able to install the brake notification LED light in the Buick early in the morning. I can see it come on through my backup camera monitor. That tells me the braking system is working properly. I ran a few wires and mounted it on the backside of the rear view mirror.
I did the initial test after I hooked up the air line from Dreamscape to the Buick to make sure it worked properly. As we were heading out of the RV Park I had Becky sit in the pilot seat while I got in the Buick. She drove a few feet then applied the brakes. I could watch the pedal move, knowing the brakes were being applied. We came to a very smooth stop.
Since this was the first time towing the Buick I was a little nervous. I could tell the difference in the additional weight as opposed to our previous tow cars, Jeep Wrangler and the Jetta. The nervous part was just the fact of towing a car for the first time, it went away once we got up to speed. I stopped after about 7 miles to check all of the towing connections.
We are getting closer to our departure from Abilene to SoCal and have a few things to do to prepare for the trip. I’m glad the installation performed flawlessly so I can check that off the list and move forward.
Here is a shot of how it all looks when the Buick is hooked up behind the coach.
Tow Car Hooked Up
After much consideration and recommendations we decided to install the Air Force One brake system on our bus and towed.
Air Force One – SMI
This installation is for a coach with air brakes. I wanted a proportional system and they are the only ones that provide that.
I installed the necessary hardware on our 2011 Buick Enclave last week and finished installing everything on the coach today. I found several YouTube videos that were a great help. It does come with instructions but watching a video is a great way to see what is involved.
Each towed car is set up different, so you need to decide where the controller and the air tank with the metering valve should go.
I mounted the controller behind the front panel covering the radiator on the Enclave. I decided that would be a good place out of any weather and heat. The toughest part was running the 1/4″ DOT air line through the firewall. They don’t make things easy anymore on these newer cars. I cut into the steering wheel boot and ran it through there. Then I attached the cable for the actuator cylinder just below that. Being careful not to drill into anything, like brake or A/C lines. It worked out just fine.
I called the manufacturer today to ask them if it was necessary to mount the Total Coach Protection tank and valve where they suggested, by the brake valve for the rear axle. The bulkhead was pretty full and everywhere I tried it just wasn’t to my satisfaction. Hoses and suspension parts were way to close for comfort for me. They said I could mount it anywhere, fore or aft. I chose aft. I chose a spot that would be easy for any necessary repair work, although I’m sure it will last a very long time. I installed it in the old A/C compartment next to the engine. I ended up buying more 1/4″ DOT air line due to the longer run.
I will test the system shortly to make sure everything is in working order. I’m confident that it will work as I was very careful during the installation to make sure there would be no hiccups.
Here are a couple of pics showing where the Air Force One Operating Unit is located and also the Total Coach Protection assembly.
Mounted in a 2011 Buick Enclave
Total Coach Protection tank and valve assembly
I finally got around to installing our new dash we bought last year. I tore out the old one and redid some of the wiring to fit the new location of the gauges and switches. We had to also choose a color to go with our interior theme. I really wanted to cover it in vinyl, after talking with a few bus nuts I decide that it was beyond my capabilities. I don’t like saying that but sometimes you have to just say so.
When I first got the bus it has a dash that someone had made our of plastic. I didn’t like it so I built one. That was one of the first things I made out of oak, and you could tell. Becky said it looked pretty good to her, but I’m a guy that likes things to look better.
I could not fit our back up camera monitor in the same area as the stereo so I mounted it overhead above the driver. I think I will like the new location better as I don’t have to move my head to view our toad, just move my eyes up a bit. It’s an older B/W model that is pretty deep. The new ones are a flat screen but I couldn’t justify making a purchase when the old one works just fine.
I will say this, the new dash took a lot of work to get it to fit. I still have a few things to do to finish it off, but it will be just fine for now.
We also will install new vinyl on the inside of the entrance door. I’ll post a pic next week when after we finish it. Along with a new bulb seal to eliminate any air infiltration. The old one is shot and needed to be replaced anyway. I’m also going to design and build a door stop. Right now we have two straps to stop the door from hitting the curb side mirror. We’ve broken two pieces of glass from the wind catching it. It has worked good but with the new bulb seal extending all the way down on the hinge side, a new idea had to materialize.
I also purchased a dash cam for recording our travels, which I hope we never have to use for evidence in case of an accident.
Here is a couple of before and after pics.
I am trying to accomplish a few things before we leave Abilene next month heading to AZ and CA, visiting family and friends along the way. We’ll spend the winter in Murrieta, just north of San Diego and then next spring we’ll make our way up to Bend, Oregon. It will be nice to be closer to our Mom in Salem and also my brother and his wife in Bend. We are looking forward to this journey. Spending the winter closer to our kids and grands will be fantastic! They might get tired of seeing us more often! HA
Besides, Becky retires on October 14th! Hot Dang! No more alarm clocks to wake up to!
After carpet in our living room twice, no more. We decided to look for acceptable flooring and came upon some very nice solid Bamboo at HD. It is tongue and grooved, sides and both ends. I found out that this is just as dense as oak and very durable. We opted for the solid strand woven, harvest finish, 3/8″ thick. There are many styles and colors to choose from, but this one caught our eye.
We purchased 3 boxes, enough to do the LR with some to spare including very little waste. You have to lay down some underlayment, which is basically foam with one side foil. We bought one roll of 100 sq. ft., which enough to do the living room and bedroom.
We moved furniture, electric fireplace and stuff on the driver side and proceeded to rip out the carpet and padding. This was fun! It was a high-end carpet but found out that carpet is very hard to keep clean in such a small space. With two dogs and West Texas dirt, you get the idea.
After installing the flooring on one side, we moved our couch to the new flooring so we could do the other half. The holes in the wall is from two different ideas for an eating table and seating. After installing them we decided that we never ate there, always at the couch. So out they went, which left some holes for me to deal with later.
One half installed
Here are a couple of shots of what it looks like after completion. When I installed the carpet the last time I made up some red oak edging to hold down the carpet. We were very lucky that the new bamboo flooring slide right under the edge, which made for a nice clean finish. It was like we planned that way all along! lol
Close up picture
I nailed down the perimeter along the side walls and the transition to the kitchen flooring. The rest was laid in place using a rubber mallet to make sure each piece was tight and snug to each other. Once the flooring was down we installed some Bamboo 3/4″ quarter round to finish it off, nailed to the oak base. We are so pleased with the end result that we’ve decided to also do the bedroom very soon.
Bamboo Quarter Round
I was finally able to spray some paint yesterday. It’s been a long time coming, but worth all of the work. We also were able to find some front side windows off of a parted out Silver Eagle Model 10 to replace the original ones. These are so much nicer, tinted and tilt out from the bottom. It will add a new dimension to the appearance of the coach.
I hope to add a red metallic stripe centered in the blue today. It might not happen though, we had a severe storm last night with very high winds. I’m sure the paper covering the coach took a hit. We’ll see what it looks like at daylight.
Here are some pics to show the progress.
Blue Metallic on Banding
New Windows from a Model 10 Eagle