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Old 01-13-2006, 05:51 AM   #15
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Cruzer,

We still get the "phssst" sound when setting our brakes . Our parking brake is air, or better yet airless activated. We just miss that other sound when lifting off our brake pedal .
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Old 01-13-2006, 11:10 AM   #16
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Thanx Mark for your thoughtfull reply. Does your Alegro have air brakes? And if so, can you stop as fast as you need to? How about a panic stop? How about a panic stop with your toad bakes inoperable? Just asking........
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Old 01-13-2006, 11:53 AM   #17
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Dale:
Thanks for the informative and comprehensive response. I did read the State of Florida's website on air brakes. That was a very complete discussion on Air Brakes used on class 8 (40,000 GVW) vehicles. I had not considered lag time with air.
Here is my concerns
a. Most large RV coaches, (diesel pushers) seem to have air brakes, except for Alpine and Beaver, I believe. I have owned 3 diesel pushers so far. An old 83 model with air brakes and a 2000 and the current one a 2003 Alpine 40fdts with hydraulic over hydraulic. I dont think. in a panic stop I could come close to skidding or locking up the wheels with the Alpine. with the air brake equipped coach I could......That gives me some concern. And also, I never had a bit of trouble with the air equipped coach. Not so with the Alpines particularly the 2000........
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Old 01-13-2006, 02:33 PM   #18
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Stretch,

Our Alpines, even my 2000 have an anti-lock braking system. So we shouldn't be locking up our tires and losing control in a panic stop. Besides if you do slide your tires, you will be seeing one of my fellow "tire guys" for new shoes .

I have to say, I have never driven a RV with air brakes very far, but have driven straight trucks grossing at 26K from time to time. I have panic stopped my Alpine with a toad and I felt it did a very good job, as did the automoblie driver behind me .
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Old 01-13-2006, 02:42 PM   #19
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Stretch,

Yes, the Florida web site is about class 8 truck air brakes, but most of the the info is still applicable.

Air brakes are cheaper to make and install than hydraulic disk brakes with ABS. If you buy a new Alpine Coach and order the air brake option, that option is priced at a deduction from the standard hydraulic brakes.

Prior to most 2001 model year built coaches, the Alpine Coaches had disk brakes with only two pistons per caliper. Beginning with most 2001 coaches, they now have four pistons per caliper.

Also, a number of people have reported problems with the Alpine Coach brakes prior to the 2001 model year. In fact, there were safety recalls on those two piston brakes built from 9/30/1998 to 7/20/2000. See these links:
2001 recall
2000 recall
2000 Recall #2
1999 recall
1999 Recall #2

This is another interesting link about air brakes versus hydraulic brakes on a forum about buses: Bus brakes

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Old 01-13-2006, 03:45 PM   #20
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Stretch:
Thanx Mark for your thoughtfull reply. Does your Alegro have air brakes? And if so, can you stop as fast as you need to? How about a panic stop? How about a panic stop with your toad bakes inoperable? Just asking........ </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yes, the Allegro Bus is on a Freightliner chassis so it has air brakes. It does have anti-lock but frankly, I've never had to stomp on them that hard nor would I want to because even applying medium-to-hard brake pressure causes lots of stuff to get rearranged in the cabinets. I did make one panic stop in my 33' Suncruiser gasser on a Workhorse chassis but it didn't stop near as well as the Allegro Bus. I also didn't have the greatest feeling with the Brake Buddy on the Suncruiser when I did that.

With the change to the Allegro Bus I went with the M&G tow brake system. This is a totally proportional tow brake system that only applies the toad's brakes when you hit the brake pedal. No Jake brake operation or downhill grades will set it of prematurely. The harder I use the Bus brakes, the harder the Jeep brakes go on. I really like this system and it is very smooth and efficient. Plus all I have to do to hook it up is connect a quick-disconnect air hose between the RV and Jeep. Unfortunately it requires an air brake supply to operate. They have an on-board compressor to fit it to gasser chassis but somehow I don't think you'd have the same proportional action that way because you'd be relying on decelerometers and electronics to trigger it.

Without a toad brake connected the Jeep still doesn't push the Bus any, probably because it weighs one tenth of the Bus, but I can see the difference when connected.

I'm happy with the brakes. It didn't take me too long to get the hang of modulating the brake pedal's air pressure but then again, I was a diesel mechanic earlier on so I was used to driving all sorts of heavy vehicles with air brakes. I do have the solid front axle on my 2004 Bus because the IFS with air disk brakes first came out on the Bus in 2005 but when I drove a 2006 42' Allegro Bus with the IFS, front discs, and tag axle I was totally amazed at how fast that thing stopped and how smooth the pedal was during partial braking. That extra tag axle really made a huge difference. I think I'd have to wear a fighter pilot's G suit if I ever had to stand on the brakes in that thing or else I'd bust some part of my body. Again, I don't see that as an air brakes over hydraulics advantage, it's probably just the extra axle giving you more braking area.
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Old 01-13-2006, 04:04 PM   #21
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There is certainly no lack of extremely informative knowledge passing through this forum on air and/or hydraulic brakes. I had felt I was fairly well versed on brakes prior to reading some of this. I believe at this point I shall go to the back of the class and become a good reader and listener. Thanks for all the info.
Tom & Patty, I have also noticed how well the driver of the automobile behind me handles his automobile.

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Old 01-13-2006, 05:47 PM   #22
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Stretch,

I forgot to comment on your statement about "I odn't think in a panic stop I could come close to skidding or locking up the wheels with the Alpine." That is exactly the whole point of Anti-Lock Braking Systems (ABS). The ABS system on the Alpine Coach should not allow you to lock up the wheels.

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Old 01-13-2006, 06:42 PM   #23
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Good point, well taken...........
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Old 01-13-2006, 07:08 PM   #24
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Dale :
you are a fountain of knowledge. I read the recall notices and found the problem with my 2000 40fds; the calipers needed to be replaced. I hope the guy who purchased the coach from me got wind of the recall....
And i read what the bus conversion had to say.

This is what I have concluded from all of our discussions.
The brakes will never skid because of ABS
Which ever system is on the coach, the owners like it the best
For me I somewhat leaning towards AIR. I do believe it is the strongest. And with automatic slack adjusters, air dryers and such, very little maintenance will be required in a rv coach situation. The coach wont get 75,000 miles total while I own it.
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Old 01-13-2006, 07:41 PM   #25
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Stretch,

See this link for info comparing air drum versus air disc brakes for trucks. The graph on page 13 tells it all about brake effectiveness (torque).
Air Disc versus Air Drum brakes

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Old 01-13-2006, 07:45 PM   #26
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Stretch,

This is a link that gives you data on stopping distances for air disc versus air drum for trucks:
Stopping distance - air disc vs air drum

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Old 01-16-2006, 08:00 AM   #27
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I cannot really compare the two systems as I have not driven very far in an Alpine with the hydraulic brakes. My Avalanche has the air brakes and I am very satisfied with the braking system. Compared to my previous coach, a 2000 Pace Arrow Vision with Ford F53 chassis, the brakes on the Avalanche are an order of magnitude better! I feel very comfortable with the braking system on this coach.
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Old 01-16-2006, 08:59 AM   #28
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Webrzn2: thanks for the reply.
Do you know what type of air brakes the Avalanche has? Is it drum brakes or disc? Or disc in front and drum on rear. And I wonder if the Alpine and the Alpine Apex have the same type of air?
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