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Old 12-23-2010, 08:19 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Refuse1 View Post
Teddodd,

Air brakes work great if properly maintained.
Hydraulic brakes work great if properly maintained.
Each have advantages and disadvantages.

The Hydraulic brakes on my Alpine are awesume. They'll stop on a dime and give you change. The pedal feel is very consistant with other vehicles that I drive on a regular basis.

95% of all vehicles on the road use hydraulic brakes. If air was better, why dont cars and pu trucks use air brakes?

Bottom line....why not hydraulic brakes?

Jeff

Maybe cars and light trucks don't use air brakes because;

1) Unlike our coaches the vehicles weight less than 20,000 #
2) It's less expensive to use hydraulic.
3) They don't need an air compressor
4) Wouldn't you love to hear a compressor cycling on and off in your car?
5) They would require an air reservoir
6) They would require an air dryer.
7) Air systems require more space than hyd.

Addressing your response another way. If Hyd systems with disc brakes are so GREAT why don't mfgrs of busses and commercial trucks use it instead of air? IMHO nothing locks up the wheels like air - and with ABS isn't that what we want for fast, short stop? And if you are talking about normal, take your time, I have all day, stops who cares what system you have? They will all stop you.

WRV use to argue that the HYD / Disc system would permit multiple emergency stops without brake fade - and that logic / argument (or lack thereof) is worth about .000002 cents. When in ANY realistic driving situation would you do multiple back-to back emergency stops? If I ever see a coach doing successive full out accelerations and pedal to the floor stops I'm getting out of their way - pulling OFF the road, pull out or not!

As the first responder said "They is what they is" or word to that affect. WRV took a design position, whether good or bad will be discussed as long as an Alpine Coach exists, and they defended their decision by saying "they wanted a sports car feel". Personally if I had any car, sports or other wise, that took that much brake pedal pressure to stop the vehicle I'd be heading for the dealer or brake repair shop. I give WRV major credit as they did offer, as seldom opted for option, of air brakes which most Coach mfgrs wouldn't have done.
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Old 12-24-2010, 08:30 AM   #16
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Oh, I can't let that go. Alpines have had several different designs of disc/hydraulic brakes over the course of the production run. Some have been more satisfactory than others. Relatively few had a hard pedal; ours doesn't.

Drum brakes fade when hot, it matters not how much air is activating them. Disc brakes fade less, depending upon the condition of the brake fluid and shoes. Professional drivers are expected to know the limits of their mechanical system, including how to descend long grades (never mind panic stops.) Septuagenarian/Octogenarian RV drivers may not. So perhaps discs are better for them.

I happen to like the feel of the discs in our Alpine. If the coach had drum brakes, I'd be used to their "feel" instead, and might prefer it. "It is what it is" is a valid answer.
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Old 12-24-2010, 11:57 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorCal C&H View Post
Maybe cars and light trucks don't use air brakes because;

1) Unlike our coaches the vehicles weight less than 20,000 #
2) It's less expensive to use hydraulic.
3) They don't need an air compressor
4) Wouldn't you love to hear a compressor cycling on and off in your car?
5) They would require an air reservoir
6) They would require an air dryer.
7) Air systems require more space than hyd.

Addressing your response another way. If Hyd systems with disc brakes are so GREAT why don't mfgrs of busses and commercial trucks use it instead of air? IMHO nothing locks up the wheels like air - and with ABS isn't that what we want for fast, short stop? And if you are talking about normal, take your time, I have all day, stops who cares what system you have? They will all stop you.

WRV use to argue that the HYD / Disc system would permit multiple emergency stops without brake fade - and that logic / argument (or lack thereof) is worth about .000002 cents. When in ANY realistic driving situation would you do multiple back-to back emergency stops? If I ever see a coach doing successive full out accelerations and pedal to the floor stops I'm getting out of their way - pulling OFF the road, pull out or not!

As the first responder said "They is what they is" or word to that affect. WRV took a design position, whether good or bad will be discussed as long as an Alpine Coach exists, and they defended their decision by saying "they wanted a sports car feel". Personally if I had any car, sports or other wise, that took that much brake pedal pressure to stop the vehicle I'd be heading for the dealer or brake repair shop. I give WRV major credit as they did offer, as seldom opted for option, of air brakes which most Coach mfgrs wouldn't have done.
Norcal,

Almost all buses use hydraulic brakes. Commercial trucks do use hydraulic brakes. OTR trucks use air because of the ease of connecting trailers.

Hydraulic brake systems are more expensive than air.

I do agreed with you that having to rely on an air drier & compressor & air reservoirs adds complications and takes up space. Guess those are just more reasons that hydraulics are a good choice for coaches.

All we are talking about here is the medium that travels through tubes and hoses to actuate the brake pads. Air or liquid. Liquid will not compress under pressure so it gives a consistent pedal feel. I like that. Not saying that everyone does or should. It just works for me.

If you don't like hyd brakes, why'd you buy an Alpine?
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Old 12-24-2010, 01:04 PM   #18
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I don't believe I ever said I didn't like hydraulic brakes. I like hyd disc brakes and have had several cars, trucks and SUV's with discs (some only in the front) going back to a 1969 Volvo.

The six ton (if I remember correctly) dump truck I drove a hundred years ago during college had air brakes and it seemed to me that it took a lot less pedal pressure to stop that fully loaded truck than it does an Alpine. (And before someone feels the need to point out that our coachs weigh more than 6-8 tons let me assure you I am well aware of that).

There are more good reasons for buying an Alpine than just the brakes. I do wish I had test driven an Alpine with air brakes so I could better compare the two systems.

With the compression / Jake brakes we have, and proper downhill speed control and reasonable following distances, there should be very few instances where brake overheating or fade should be a factor - whether disc or drum, unless you are a "two footed driver" with your right foot on the throttle and the left riding the brakes. Commercial and military aircraft use hydraulic disc brakes as well but many of those systems use 3,000 (or higher) PSI. I don't know the Alpines operating pressure but it's probably not that high.

I would like to have seen a little higher boost pressure in the Alpine brakes. Someone once said then you would throw things off shelves and out of cabinets. Maybe, but given the option between hitting something or possibly throwing something on the floor I'd rather have the ability to lock up the wheels and let the ABS do its job!
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Old 12-24-2010, 02:18 PM   #19
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NorCal,

I have the same coach, same year, and I think same color as yours and I don't find it hard to stop. It was always reasonable to stop but it did get better after I had Redlands Truck Service do a brake fluid change on it about 1 1/2 years ago. They changed the brake fluid to Valvoline Premium synthetic fluid and cleaned and lubed the calipers/actuators.

Perhaps the difference in feel is just the difference in operators. I have had to make a few panic stops and it always gets the job done. But I also use a brake in all my toads and they definitely actuate when I'm in a panic stop.

It would have been interesting to compare and air option, but I'm very happy with our brakes and like the simplicity of them. I have enough issues with the air system on the air bags when it's cold, that I'm glad I don't have to deal with air brakes too.
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Old 12-24-2010, 04:14 PM   #20
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OldForester;

I had the brakes serviced and fluid changed last year but didn't notice a BIG difference. I "wanted to see an improvement" so I think I "perceived" a small change. After reading all the forums and calling three oil companies for their recommendations I went with ATF fluid in the hydraulic steering / brake booster system and DOT4 in the brakes.

I use the brake Buddy which definitely helps when a harder or faster than normal stop is required. My Jeep is a Diesel so weighs a little more - 4,350#.

I guess I'm use to driving vehicles where the heal of the right foot doesn't have to leave the floor under normal conditions. With the MH I feel I have to place the full foot on the brake pedal and put some leg behind it to obtain a suitable deceleration rate. OTOH I have to agree with other comments when you REALLY NEED the brakes and really put your foot into it the coach stops but I have had more than one anxious moment when on a sudden stop from relatively low speed that I wasn't sure I was going to avoid the vehicle ahead of me who stopped short.
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Old 12-24-2010, 04:59 PM   #21
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NorCal,

I would agree it was an improvement to change the fluid but not a BIG improvement, as you found.

We use a BrakePro, which works like your Brake Buddy. It helps me stop my Tundra, which when I'm towing elk hunting, weighs nearly 6500 lbs, and I don't experience any issues with it. On the RAV4, which weights 3800 lbs, I don't set the braking pressure up very high because it rarely needs additional braking.

I would also agree that when you put your foot into it the coach really stops, but it can produce an anxious moment when have a vehicle stop short in front of you, or worse yet, cut in and then stop short. And I agree it does take braking action with your foot off the floor which is different that a car or pickup. But it's also a lot bigger, heavier, vehicle.

Seems like you see it the same way I experience it.
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Old 12-25-2010, 11:51 AM   #22
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Brakes

When I had my '06 APEX I got the "feel of the road" I could feel the road going by underneath me as I stood on the brake pedal with both feet and my backbone pressing into the seat. I have had three other coaches, including one Prevost, and I was not at all happy with the brakes on the Alpine.
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Old 12-25-2010, 01:23 PM   #23
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Big jimbo,

Have you considered just starting you own thread about everything you hate about Alpines?

If you could just post all the hatred at once, it would save you alot of work looking for a new thread to bash us.

Jeff
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Old 12-25-2010, 01:47 PM   #24
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Quote:
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Big jimbo,

Have you considered just starting you own thread about everything you hate about Alpines?

If you could just post all the hatred at once, it would save you alot of work looking for a new thread to bash us.

Jeff
Jeff, I realize there are a lot of happy Alpine owners out there. In the early years of WRV building Alpine coaches, I was very interested in them. Unfortunately for me, I waited too long before I purchased one and my expeience with Alpine was short lived and less than a happy one.

There is not enough room on this forum for me to state all of the problems I had with mine and the amount of time and frustration spent at the factory trying to get things worked out.

The original poster of this thread was asking about brakes and I posted what my experience was with the Alpine braking system on my 06 APEX.

I would suggest that if reading of other peoples experiences, good or bad, upsets you this much, you should stick to the Sunday funnies.

Merry Christmas
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Old 12-25-2010, 02:34 PM   #25
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Jim,

Thanks for your suggestion and Merry Christmas to you too.

Please accept my apology if I implied that I was upset with you. I am not at all upset and value your experience and contributions to IRV2 !

It just seems that most of your posts are very negative & tend to bash Alpines. I understand that you had alot of problems with the 2 year old coach that you bought as new. It is surprising to me that a person of your obvious intellect and RV experiance wrote a check for a sizable amount of money for a machine with so many problems.

I am not implying that you didnt have alot of screws loose. Some would say that we as consumers are ultimately responsible for our purchases, while others claim to be victims of what other people cause in our lives and claim to have no control.

I am not a big fan of the "Sunday funnies", but to each his own. I am a huge fan of reading IRV2 and enjoy the good and the bad experiences of the people posting here. It is kinda sad that some people seem to only complain and post problems and bad experiences.

Well anyway, I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year too. I really hope that things get better for you and you are able to post some positive experiences in 2011!

Jeff
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Old 12-25-2010, 03:44 PM   #26
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I kinda like the funnies!
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Old 12-25-2010, 03:48 PM   #27
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Possible problem/solution for "bad" hydraulic brakes

I have a99 Beaver Monterey with 4 wheel disk. Brakes are boosted by the PS pump. I'd heard a lot of griping (especially from salesmen) about the Beaver/Safari hydraulic brakes and I'd driven a 2003 Beaver of identical specs to mine and the brakes were horrible.

I took the coach to a Cat dealer for routine service and it scared the $#!t out of the service manager when he took it for a test drive. They fooled around with it for a couple of weeks and couldn't find anything wrong.

Second part of the story. I use the Beav as my support vehicle for racing. I drive open wheel formula cars, and I have a good engineering knowledge of braking systems, right down to properly picking pad compounds for a given operating temperature and properly sizing the master cylinders for a given wheel cylinder and weight distribution. Stopping a race car requires MAXIMUM application of the breaks nearly every time you come up to a corner, so the leg effort required of my coach was not a big deal to me, but it was to my wife and daughter, so I spent a couple hours under the coach, found, and quickly fixed the culprit.

On these coaches there's a bellcrank between the pedal and M/C that provides a considerable amount of mechanical advantage. In order for the bellcrank to work it must NEVER go over-center. Mine started out at center and immediately went over, decreasing the assist all the way through the travel. It was a simple adjustment to remove the bellcrank attachment at the clevis, clamp the pedal up to maximum height against the floor, and then screw out the clevis to it's new position, unclamp, re-attach the return spring and you're good to go. It cut my braking force in half I'd say.

You may have to re-design the pedal extension or cut a slot in the plywood floor if your linkage is poorly designed. In my case it was just not assembled properly.

We run into problems like this all the time with rent-a-racers. Someone puts a big guy in a car set up for a short guy and screws the M/C pushrods in to back up the pedal and accommodate leg length. If the driver knows what he's doing he usually reports brake fade. It's not fade, it's progressive loss of mechanical advantage throughout the stroke.
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Old 12-25-2010, 06:33 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Refuse1 View Post
,

Have you considered just starting you own thread about everything you hate about Alpines?

If you could just post all the hatred at once, it would save you alot of work looking for a new thread to bash us.

Jeff
Refuse1/Jeff;

I was about to give you some less than polite direction as to where to go and what to do but "big jimbo" was much more subtle and diplomatic in his response. You however still felt the need to respond to him sarcastically.

Maybe you live in a cave or under a rock or possibly are just one of those people that every day is perfect and when you step in doggie doo doo it smells like roses to you. Sh-- happens live with it!

If as you say "I am a huge fan of reading IRV2 and enjoy the good and the bad experiences of the people" why do you get upset when you read something negative - should we report only the rose colored, fun and positive aspects of life so you don't get offended or get your feelings hurt?

There are positive and negative sides to everything. Most try to see the positive side but it is not always possible to report negative events in meaningfully and honest positive terms.

So may I just encourage you to relocate your cranium position and be a little more tolerant of diverse viewpoints and less than rosy reviews not meeting your lofty standards.
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