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Old 11-15-2010, 07:22 PM   #1
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alpine brakes

I am looking at an 05 dds 400 alpine. am concerned about the brakes. the owner says the brakes are hydraulic with air parking brake. this is a diesel pusher why would it not be full air? if someone could explain I would appreciate. thanks.
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Old 11-15-2010, 08:28 PM   #2
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It is what it is.
FYI the parking brake is spring activated and released by air pressure.
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Old 11-15-2010, 08:31 PM   #3
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is the coach full air or not?
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Old 11-15-2010, 08:34 PM   #4
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A 747 lands with hydraulic disc brakes--so why does a DP have to have air brakes? Doubt if anyone here will convince you that one is better than the other--preferrable perhaps, but not better. If you like, do a "search" on brakes on this forum--lots of info to consider.
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Old 11-15-2010, 11:31 PM   #5
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Like other DP's ours are full air-ride, but they use hydraulic over hydraulic brakes instead of air over hydraulic. They are also all-disc. The result is a brake reaction you can feel and control, instead of a big sloppy squish.

The designers and founder of these coaches wanted the feel and drive of a high end European sedan and that includes the "feel of the road" through the braking action.

Like Old Scout says, look through the several discussions on this forum. A few people have favorites, but the braking ability is equal, just different in how it happens. We would be proud to welcome you to our not-so-little group. I think you'll find the answer to all-things-Alpine, right here.


NOTHING DRIVES LIKE AN ALPINE!
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Old 11-16-2010, 02:04 PM   #6
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teddodd,

The discussion of "air over drum", "air over disc", and "hydraulic over disc" brakes has come up before. See this link for a good discussion of the issues:

Air Brakes or Hydraulic Brakes?

Also, see these links that are referenced:

http://www.dtic.mil/ndia/2002tactical/ganaway.pdf
Test results support advantages of air disc brakes over drum brakes

Tractor trucks towing a trailer require air over drum or air over disc brakes, so they can have air controlled brakes on the trailer. However, Alpine Coaches don't have that requirement unless you are towing a trailer with air brakes; hydraulic over disc or even air over disc works quite nicely.
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Old 11-16-2010, 02:41 PM   #7
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teddodd,

By the way, several high line coaches use disc brakes - some air over disc, some hydraulic over disc, and some with front disc and rear drum. These are a few samples:

Foretravel - air over full disc
Tiffin Powerglide chassis - air over front disc and rear drum
Monaco Signature series - air over full disc
Newell Coach - air over full disc
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Old 11-16-2010, 04:40 PM   #8
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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
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Old 11-16-2010, 09:26 PM   #9
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Todd:

Test drive the coach...that will help you more than anything. If you really like the drive and stopping power (and you will) it will help you decide.

As an old mechanic...the all wheel hydraulic disc brakes in these coaches is simple and easy to maintain...plus they will STOP now.

You won't beat the drive....with anything, IMHO. I just bought a 2001 Alpine 3 weeks ago myself...after considerable research!

Good luck..Stan
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Old 11-19-2010, 09:14 PM   #10
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Thumbs down

Jeff:

Pardon my correction but we have had two Alpines, an 00 and an03. The oo brakes would fade out in stop and go traffic. They also would get hot on a long 6% grade where the PacBrake would not hold us back and we had to use the brakes to assist.
When we bought the 03 it had a different designed brakes, much better. The engine had a true Jake Brake and not a Pacbrake, much better. Still when I had to panic stop that damn pedal would get way too close to the floor.

My present coach has true air/air disc brakes. And I have an engine with true Jake Brake. a GIANT improvement. At time I dont even use a toad brake cause I have learned that in a panic stop the air disc will stop, no problem. I would never dream of not using toad brakes.....

Jeff, you coach may have really strong brakes, but I know for a fact that a lot of Alpines do not................
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Old 11-19-2010, 10:04 PM   #11
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Just do the search on this forum "Alpine brake problems", it'll bring up over 5000 hits. Do your due dilligence on any purchase.
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Old 11-20-2010, 12:03 PM   #12
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Having driven our Alpine 42K miles through the western US we have descended many grades with just the PacBrake. Tioga Pass, 8% for 6 miles, never used the brakes, Highway 12 in Utah, up to 12% never used the brakes, and the Colorado Rockies, 2 lane roads north to south, never used the brakes. We drive the grade out of Shaver Lake CA. many times a year, it is 7% for miles. The Grapevine, 6%, I have to step on the throttle to keep my speed up. If you start off in the right gear, your trip down the mountain might be slower than with a Jake brake but it is doable.

We have had a few PANIC stops in our 00 Alpine and we stopped faster than I thought possible. Maintenance if the key point. Change brake fluid and lube the calipers. Our coaches sit much more than a car does.

Never had brake fade in stop and go, but maybe I'm a better driver. We are not in a BMW even though it handles very well. So I drive in traffic like it weighs 32K GCVW.

Not that I haven't had a caliper stick because of poor maintenance, but the fix is easy, few bolts and a little bit of grease. I learned my lesson.


Most coaches used a PacBrake or exhaust brake. The Jake, which retards the exhaust valve opening, came in later years as Stretch mentions. Stretch also bought 2 Alpines before he purchased his Navigator.

Drive the coach, then drive an air brake equipped coach.

Trucks use air because mostly for the simplicity of hooking up to trailers.

Just my 2 cents, worth a bit more because I still own an Alpine.
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Old 11-20-2010, 02:01 PM   #13
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Stretch,

You are welcome to you opinion, but please do not try to "correct" mine or infer that my experience is wrong.

Thanks,

Jeff
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Old 11-30-2010, 11:38 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stretch View Post
When we bought the 03 it had a different designed brakes, much better. The engine had a true Jake Brake and not a Pacbrake, much better. Still when I had to panic stop that damn pedal would get way too close to the floor.

...

Jeff, you coach may have really strong brakes, but I know for a fact that a lot of Alpines do not................
Early Alpines did have brake issues, which the factory addressed, and PacBrake retarders. The newer Alpines with ISL's have 2-stage Jake Brakes. My '01 has four-cylinder Dayton calipers which have always worked well for me.

As for brake fade, it may be caused by old fluid - elsewhere in this forum people more experienced than I have counseled replacing it every 3 years. Disc brakes are inherently less prone to brake fade than drum brakes are.

Personally, I would have no concerns over an '05 Alpine's brakes; however, if you're prone to worry, a quick perusal of this forum will reveal plenty of other potential trouble spots - as is the case with any coach from any manufacturer.
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