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Old 12-01-2012, 03:31 PM   #1
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Need help with frozen air system

Need some help in what to do and how to thaw the frozen air brake system in our 2001 Fraightliner Winnebago Journey. 330 HP diesel.

Been cold here in MInnesota like 10 deg F. Put the rig in outdoor storage about a month ago. Winterized everything same as always. Same as always I did nothing as far as winterizing to the air brake system.

Started the engine last Tuesday when the temp was about +5 F and could not build any air pressure. Therefore assume I must have some water in the system and it froze.

Temp has been in the 50's today and should be again tomorrow. Hoping that will thaw things out and I can take the rig to have the air lines winterized/serviced.

IF [and that's a very large IF], the above hope is not realized is there some action I can take to either thaw the lines or get something in the airlines to thaw them? Barring that, short of a tow truck, is there any way I can drive the rig to a repair shop?

Learning all the time. This will not happen to me again.

Pine Tree
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Old 12-01-2012, 03:38 PM   #2
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Pine Tree,
I don't have a clue as to how to help you thaw your air brakes as we just don't ave those problems here in Florida.
What I can tell you is that without air pressure you can't release the park brake and therefore cannot be towed IMHO.
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Old 12-01-2012, 03:43 PM   #3
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Hello, do you have a air dryer on the coach? If so I might look into changing the filter on it. Look at your air tanks (find them all) and see if they have manual air bleeds on them and if so air up if it will and drain the tanks, there might be a small cable on the valves on the tanks. You will have to get right under it and go from front to back and look for the tanks if you don't already know where they are at. Good luck and let us know what you find out...
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Old 12-01-2012, 03:50 PM   #4
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Starting the rig at five above is not a good idea, if you don't plan to use it. At fifty degrees it will probably start and pump air just fine. Let it air up then open the peacocks one at a time on every air tank and let them blow off moisture while the motor runs. Then shut it down and let sit till spring. Just a little moisture in the air system can cause havoc in cold temps. You coach may or may not have a air dryer, I just don't know. The peacocks are on the bottom of the tanks and allow the moisture to be drained off. Works best with air pressure in the tanks. Some may have cable to pull for this, many do not. If you have a good working air dryer you will never get any moisture anyway.
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Old 12-01-2012, 03:58 PM   #5
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Being a 2001 truck it should have a air dryer. The problem could of been in a stuck air governor at those temps. Sometimes a small tap will get it to pumping. But when it warms up you should be fine. Or it may be pumping air and you have you bags dumped and it just keeps dumping and will never pump up until you close the air bag dump value.
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Old 12-01-2012, 09:05 PM   #6
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pine tree, you do have a air dryer and it is just behind and inside of the left rear wheel. I assume you have not had the air system serviced presently. The air dryer should be serviced on a regular cycle along with blowing down the tanks. There is no telling where the lines are frozen at.
The rear brakes can be released manually with a special tool, that tow trucks carry.
Like KSCRUDE you may have to wait till spring.
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Old 12-02-2012, 06:40 PM   #7
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Try some airline anti freeze in the compressor intake, available at parts \ truck stops.
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Old 12-03-2012, 01:12 PM   #8
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Frozen air line problem

Hi,
Problem is gone. Temps warmed up to the mid 50's. Ran out to the MH, started her up and she built air right away. Backed out and drove to my friendly truck repair facility. They can now deal with water in the line as necessary. Dryer service, drain the air tanks, put some stuff in the air line and I'll be good to go.

Like I said before, "this will not happen again"

Thank's for the suggestions and help.

Pine Tree
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Old 12-03-2012, 01:45 PM   #9
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Hi,
Problem is gone. Temps warmed up to the mid 50's. Ran out to the MH, started her up and she built air right away. Backed out and drove to my friendly truck repair facility. They can now deal with water in the line as necessary. Dryer service, drain the air tanks, put some stuff in the air line and I'll be good to go.

Like I said before, "this will not happen again"

Thank's for the suggestions and help.

Pine Tree
I figured when it got in the fifties you would probably be alright. Although air dryers, governors and compressors can give problems at any temp. But are systems on modern trucks are pretty reliable. The number one problems with air systems is leaks due to airlines rubbing or chaffing on other parts, due to not being properly secured. Look your airlines over and tie them down where necessary. I have spent hours under brand new rigs tying up loose airlines, electric wires and coolant lines. Under the hood of trucks also.
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Old 12-04-2012, 05:00 PM   #10
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Answer to CSCRUDE

Yes, about the hanging wires and airlines. Right at the top of a mountain pass in washington state last summer a 1/4" red plastic air line in the engine compatment got too close to the manifold and that was the end of my air pressure in one of our tanks.

Winnebago had enough redundancy built in to get us off the mountain, but the next day was Sunday and it cost me $250.00 to get a guy to come to his shop and do a 10 minute fix. He cut 6" off the line where the hole was, replugged the line and we were all set to go.

Ever drive a rig with no air in the bags? really bad!!!

Just got a call from the shop that is sevicing our air dryer. It can't be repaired!!! Goning to cost $716.00 for a new dryer.-- Merry Christmas---
Pine Tree
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Old 12-04-2012, 05:16 PM   #11
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Just got a call from the shop that is sevicing our air dryer. It can't be repaired!!! Goning to cost $716.00 for a new dryer.-- Merry Christmas---
Pine Tree
The ones I've seen are in fact rebuildable and kits are available. Now, as to whether that would save any money over replacing it with a new one? With todays labor rates maybe not. But I do my own work so it's worth rebuilding.
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Old 12-04-2012, 05:33 PM   #12
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pine tree, check on a remanufactured unit may save a buck.
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Old 12-04-2012, 05:45 PM   #13
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pine tree, check on a remanufactured unit may save a buck.
we can rebuild a bendex brand dryer with new value kit and cartage for about $150 parts and a hour or two work. On most semis they are easy to access.
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Old 12-05-2012, 06:17 AM   #14
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Air dryer repair

Thank you again for all the great suggestions on how to deal with the air dryer problem in our old Winnebago. I will call the repair shop this morning and ask them about all the rebuild ideas you have provided. They did say it was "unrepairable", so maybe they are right. On the other hand, maybe a "Rebuilt" one could work out.

I too do much of the maintenace work on our MH. Couple problems however, when it comes to rather major situations that would involve being under the MH trying to figure out what to do when the temp is like 10 deg. F is not where I want to go. I'm 78, OK?

DW just suggested, "Maybe its time to sell the reverse cash cow and start thinking about a park model in AZ." Actually not a bad idea. When we were down there last winter you could buy a real nice double wide for under $50K. The association fee is $5K per year, but I think the depreciation on the MH is about that same amount every year.

An old friend used to say "Good thing we're rich." HA!

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