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Old 11-30-2010, 01:36 PM   #1
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1999 Alpine Coach Brake Failure

I was returning from a 2500 mile trip with our 1999 Alpine Coach when my brakes failed less than a mile from my house. A quick inspection showed fluid leaking profusely from the left rear wheel. My wife got into our toad and we used the toad brakes to crawl that last mile.

The next day I pulled the left rear and front wheels and was shocked at what I saw.





The inboard pad on the left rear caliper was totally gone and the pistons were ground down to the point that fluid was flowing directly out of the cylinder. From the pictures it is fairly clear that the metallic pads were very corroded.



My theory is that the corrosion on the caliper caused most of the breaking pressure to come from the inboard pad and it finally disintegrated. I had been judging the pad wear by looking at the front pads. The lesson learned by me is to inspect all wheels and lube the calipers on a regular basis.

When I inspected the front caliper and rotor, I was also shocked to see 2 large cracks that went completely through the outboard surface of the rotor.



I purchased this coach a few years ago and had the tires replaced at that time. I asked the shop to check the brakes when they pulled the wheels. They told me the "brakes looked good". My guess is that these problems existed at that time and they didn't even look at the brakes.

I am going to replace the calipers/pads and rotors on all 4 wheels. The caliper casting number is Bendix 4150844, and the rotor casting number is D6176. With information on this forum and a lot of searching the WWW, it appears to me that the Bendix part numbers for fully loaded calipers are L55250LM (left side both front and rear) and L55250RM (right side both front and rear). All 4 rotors are Gunite D6176M (replaces D6176) I would greatly appreciate it if others can verify if these part numbers are correct.

I found these parts listed at a website called Find It Parts Heavy Duty Truck Parts Online, Brake Parts, Light & Medium Duty Truck Parts, Transit & School Bus, Coach, Trailer, Forklift & Semi Parts-Find it Parts for $107.04 for the rotors and $172.40 for the fully loaded calipers. Please let me know if anyone has done business with this company and if the prices sound good. I found non-OEM parts for considerably less at Ryder Fleet Products Ryder, so if anyone has experience with them, I would be interested.

I will have to remove the hubs in order to replace the rotors. I assume I will have to at least replace some seals when I do that. If anyone has information on procedures, part numbers, torque specs, etc. to reinstall the front and rear hubs, that would be very helpful to me as well.

I inspected the brake lines and they all look in good shape. Naturally I will flush and bleed the brakes as part of this job. But, if others have suggestions for other things I should inspect/replace in the process, that information would also be greatly appreciated.
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Old 11-30-2010, 02:31 PM   #2
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Shocks are easy to replace w/the wheel ends disassembled to this level.

If there was a competition for brake pad wear, you'd win. I'm surprised there wasn't a lot of braking noise indicating a problem once the pads were down to the plate.
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Old 11-30-2010, 03:28 PM   #3
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How many miles on your coach Dave?

jeff
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Old 12-01-2010, 09:00 AM   #4
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I purchased the coach in 2007 with about 62K miles. It currently has a total of about 79K miles.

I am sure that there were a lot of metal to metal scraping sounds coming from the left rear for a while. But, being 30 feet away from it and with a noisy diesel engine back there, I didn't hear anything out of the ordinary. I am sure cars that were stopping with me as we drove the last 20 miles home on local roads must have heard bad noise as well, but no one tried to warn me, to the best of my knowledge. This is the first diesel pusher I have owned. One of the reasons I wanted it was to get the noisy engine in the back. I am learning that causes problems with early detection of problems as well.

Dave Morgan
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Old 12-01-2010, 09:47 AM   #5
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Sorry to hear of this problem as I have the same calipers on mine and hadn't heard of there being any problems before. The 55250 is the Bendix 2.88" rail slide caliper which was replaced by the 73mm pin slide caliper. Both of these have the phenolic piston which has been the cause of some failures and a major recall on workhorse chassis coaches. I was thinking of replacing all my calipers and pads just in case and now I am spurred to do it sooner rather than later.
The only difference between the left and right side numbers you have is due to the pads, the calipers are all the same. so you could get 4 55250 calipers and buy 2 sets of brake pads separately. The cheapest calipers I found were at Top Performance Heavy Duty 2.88" Twin Piston Caliper for Bendix Disc Brakes (NEW)
I have purchased most of my parts before from Ryder so may go that route even if they cost a little more.
Now if only I can get the wheels off!
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Old 12-01-2010, 02:21 PM   #6
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Thanks John. This looks like an excellent source that I will check out further.

I have noticed several people in the forums talking about the difficulty removing the wheels. If the problem is loosening the lug nuts, I built a simple lug wrench that others may want to dulicate.



I bought a cheep 1 5/16" x 3/4" drive impact socket for under $10 (at Harbor Freight Tools I think). Bought 48" & 24" pieces of 1" threaded pipe and a 1" tee from Home depot. Cut the 24" piece into a 16" piece and a 3" piece, welded a 3/4" square piece of scrap steel on one end of the 16" pipe and assembled the wrench as shown. I cut holes in a 2 by 6 to match the various hights to support the wrench on the other end and added a foot to support that.

With my 180 lbs standing at the end of the wrench I produce 720 ft-lbs of torque, which I found more than enough to loosen any lug nut.

I can use the same wrench to torque the lug nuts to 450 ft-lbs by standing at a point 2.5 ft from the pivot point. (You will need to compensate a bit if the long arm of the wrench is not close to being parallel to the floor.)

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Old 12-01-2010, 02:41 PM   #7
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Dave,
Now that's thinking outside the proverbial box! Nice Job!
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Old 12-01-2010, 03:43 PM   #8
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Dave, I actually have a 6x torque multiplier rated to 1200 ft. lbs but the first time I tried it I had to use a 3/4" to 1/2" adapter to match the 3/4" output of the tool to the 33mm x 1/2" socket I had and the adapter broke! I have now ordered a 33mm x 3/4" socket so I can connect directly and see if that works. I used a jack stand to support the tool. Your setup seems a lot simpler.

By the way NAPA seems to have the calipers but their numbers don't match so I have contacted their supplier (Cardone) to see if they are 55250 equivalents.
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Old 12-01-2010, 04:41 PM   #9
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Dave, very clever. I wish I had thought of that before spending $1000 on a Torque wrench, multiplier and socket set. Still waiting on my wheel dolly to arrive.
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Old 12-01-2010, 11:57 PM   #10
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Brilliant, Dave!!!
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Old 12-02-2010, 09:22 AM   #11
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Got a reply from Cardone confirming that the NAPA part # SE8551 is a remanufactured Bendix 55250.
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Old 12-02-2010, 09:52 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RJay View Post
Dave,
Now that's thinking outside the proverbial box! Nice Job!

Darn good idea...I'll have that setup for my coach before the week is out. Cheap...and ingenious! Not only is it great for breaking the lugs loose but having enough leverage to retighten them is very important (and my biggest concern).

Remounting torque isn't rocket science...but all the torque multipliers, big torque wrenches etc. can run into big money for very limited use...

Most tire shops don't use them anyway. I bet this simple system is a "lot" closer than they get . Not that the wheels fall off without torquing in tire shops....just being tight is probably sufficient. But this can be very close to dead on..

Thanks for sharing..
Stan...
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Old 12-02-2010, 12:44 PM   #13
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Cool tool

Glad you and the DW are ok and nothing bad happened from this failure.. Lesson learn is, though, that the INSIDE pad always wears faster. Thats why the inside ones are the ones with the wear sensors - in vehicles so equipped.
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