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Old 08-06-2009, 02:06 PM   #43
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Dale,

This is exactly the kind of response I was hoping for so that we might be able to figure just what build numbers appear to have the "non-steel" brake line over the differential. So far, no one has responded with a number earlier than ours, 75609. Your 75646, Bob's 75734, and Mike's 75786 build numbers are definitely showing a trend as to when WRV began substituting steel for whatever it is we seem to have; be it plain Home Depot copper tubing or this cunifer stuff. My shop, R.V. Specialists, here in San Diego seems to think it just might not be regular copper tubing. When my line finally comes out I plan on taking it a Volvo, Audi or Porsche dealer to see if they can identify the material. But, then again, as Mike said a couple days ago, his problem seems more of a tight bend and an unsupported line issue. Someone is going to have to give me a good sell on whatever is in our coaches before I would NOT put in a regular steel line.

Mike, one thing you might consider when you start to make up your NAPA steel line. My shop said at least one end, maybe both I don't recall, have a compression fittings. They definitely don't like compression connections on brakes and are going with aircraft quality double flare connections. You are probably already into your replacement project; so if you have any compelling reasons why one should go with compression vs flare I'd appreciate your input. I always value "Engineer Mike's" critical analysis of these interesting problems.

Bob,it's good to hear that you also discovered another potentially significant rub/wear area in and around your rear break lines. It's amazing what one can find when you start looking around, in and under these beasties. WRV probably just did these little things to keep us interested in our coaches -- busy hands are happy hands.
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Old 08-06-2009, 03:40 PM   #44
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IMO the flare would be better, but I don't have any particular reason to fault the compression type. Basically they are both a compressed-cone, mash-em-together type system. The flare fitting removes any issue of annular seal of the ferrule used on compression, but compression is a reliable seal unless the original installer WRV'ed it up.

To me the important problems to be resolved here are:
1) is the assembly adequately supported against strain/fatigue?
2) is everything stayed off where it won't rub on moving parts as I float obliviously down the road at speeds my driver's training instructor might have found questionable?

If those two concerns are adequately addressed, nuff said. The kink(s) oughta be addessed, but if 1 & 2 are covered, the kink(s) are not a panic issue and could be handled whenever you have the coach in for service, or for DIY'ers- you have a hot day and want to take advantage of the cool shade underneath your coach.
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Old 08-06-2009, 03:48 PM   #45
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Mike,

I took a quick look under mine just now. I didn't find that cool shade you talked about. Mine looks like steel, coach #75758. I will look closer and take a photo in the AM when I might have some cool space to work.
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Old 08-06-2009, 04:12 PM   #46
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Dale,

Well, there goes my theory on maybe all the units between my 75609 and Mike's 75786 might be non-steel. I just got an e-mail from Mark Harrah and here's his quote on the subject of WRV using non-steel brakelines, "I had no clue that production used copper brake lines. Don't know what they were thinking." I guess that's the same question that most of us with non-steel lines are asking ourselves. If they were indeed using the cunifer or copper type lines; apparently Mark and the other Customer Service technical representatives were never informed.

Mike,

Thanks for your engineering opinion on compression vs flare on these hard lines. I totally agree with both your points regarding bend radius and proper support. I'm more familiar with aircraft hoses and lines; they are universally flare connections on all hose and hard line fittings. The the primary goal in any aircraft installation is proper bend radius, well supported lines and the assurance that all lines will not chafe on anything. The same philosophy should have been followed by WRV. Maybe in its next life...
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Old 08-07-2009, 11:00 AM   #47
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I scanned NHTSA's req'mts for brake systems & brake hoses. No prohibition for copper. All requirements are based on ability to pass certain standard tests rather than statements of what isn't acceptable. Somewhere no doubt there is a big book of stuff that has passed & is therefore "DOT approved," but couldn't find that.

There are articles I ran across warning of copper as an inferior material for reliable connections, but again, no governmental prohibition.

Anybody know different? Just curious.

I crawled under the coach for some shade again yesterday, and zip tied on a 1/2" dowel (which undoubtedly is not DOT approved) onto the diff/axle-housing. It runs diagonally from the .25" x 1" x 2" brake line support welded to the axle housing, upward across the differential cone to the driveshaft, upward to the end of the non-steel brake line. Zip ties at the support, in the middle of the non-steel line where it is fairly solid, and at the fitting at the cantilevered end. It is now, temporarily, well supported so no more flex at the kink, which should make it to OR and back for the Guaranty rally next week. Don't tell my wife.
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Old 08-08-2009, 01:04 AM   #48
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And don't tell the termites!
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Old 08-09-2009, 11:39 AM   #49
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Here are photos of my brake lines. I included photos of lines by the air bags, as I could not see how the lines could rub the bags. Mine must be run different than Dick's.

Here is how I air up the bags W/O starting the engine. I don't like to disturb the neighbors in the early AM (cool time here at home) and don't like to start engine for short runs.

These are air connectors that I added.


Here I coach hooked up to air compressor.


This is the steel line over axle and both flex hoses from axle up to tee fitting on chassis.


Brake line to the pass side.


brake line to the drivers side.


Brake line drivers side from the caliper to the axel viewed from rear of coach.
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Old 08-09-2009, 01:52 PM   #50
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Dale- Your 3rd photo shows the cantilever section of the subject brake line perfectly. Mine has a hard bend down, right in the middle of the support loop on the diff, where yours has a modest bend downward followed by an upward bend. Concern is that up/down movement of the diff will strain the cantilever over time, fatiguing the brake line & breaking it, as was the case for the OP.

I don't think I have any rub issues either.
Just for a set-it-&-forget-it type fix, when I get to this I will replace the bendy metal brake line w/steel AND add a support for the cantilever that isn't prone to termites. I figger if I travel for a coupla weeks w/the woody support, the termites can't get too far in their work before I replace the whole shebang. I'm thinking of a sheet metal support that spans to both clips that are bolted to diff and then extends the 5 or 6" to support the free end, but I'll keep figgerin on that till I get to it.
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Old 08-09-2009, 06:33 PM   #51
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Great pictures, Dale!! I too agree; the third shot is excellent and really shows the area of probable failure. Tomorrow I’m taking your photo and Mike’s comments over to my shop, R.V. Specialists, and show them what you’ve come up with; and your ideas for a possible reinforcement. I wonder why WRV didn’t either:
1. Shorten the hard line to a point closer to the Adel clamp where it would be better supported and then run the flex hose, or
2. Run the line downward in a gradual bend from the existing clamp to the next bolt to the left on the differential, mount a tab and clamp, and then attach the brake flex line.

I really don’t like to see an unsupported hard line like this where it attaches to the flex hose; the metal line would be doing way too much flexing with vibration and differential movement. This is definitely a built-in failure just waiting to happen. As we have already discussed, be the line steel, conifer or copper tubing; all have a very real potential for failure when the hard line is not supported properly. Then, of course, when a sharp bend is placed between the clamp and the connection with the flex line this makes the problem even worse.

As with the steering box problem, it looks like all Alpine owners should inspect their coaches for both sharp bends and non-supported areas of their metal brake line over the differential. Not having a copper line is no longer an assurance that the line might already be in a future failure mode.

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Old 08-09-2009, 07:11 PM   #52
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Dick- I don't know how easy it is to move that tab to the next diff bolt, not a lot of working room to attack it in this position, & the bolt may have 75-100 ft-lbs of torque; itsa big bolt. But that would solve the problem. The shop could add a bend to conform to the hump of the diff. Better still to add another tab.

BTW- for those w/HydroHot exhaust over the axle as shown in Dale's Famouns Photo #3, there is a "rubber" support for the exhaust pipe just off to the left of Dales photo coverage. I say rubber, but not really any sort of real rubber. It is the sort of stuff that has a half life of 6 months, maybe the same stuff that "hangs" the end of the generator exhaust. Mine is torn clean thru, and the pipe is free to rotate till it rubs against other stuff. I safety wired mine up to the black, U-shaped cross member @ upper left of Photo#3, and sideways to a jamb nut & large fender washer added to a convenient frame bolt. Should hold it for a few weeks till I do some more permanent work in the cool shade of the motorhome.
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Old 08-09-2009, 07:44 PM   #53
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Mike,
I too think a tab and additional Adel clamp to the left of the existing tab and clamp would be excellent. It would be good for a couple reasons; one, you could make a very gentle bend from the first clamp to the second clamp. Then, after the second clamp a very gradual upward bend to the brake flex line coming from above could be blended very nicely. An additional benefit would be to get even more clearance from the HydroHot exhaust (which I also have) in case the supports let go where it might come close to the brake flex line. WRV built a little monster back there didn't they?
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Old 08-09-2009, 08:04 PM   #54
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I read the Country Coach Group postings every day from Yahoo. If you think we have issues, you should see their stuff, and on coaches that generally started at about time & a half of what Alpines sold for and went up nicely from there. They stuffed things (that might require maintenance) into false bottoms of closets fairly regularly. And if you think we can't find fuses.....
I'll take my Alpine. At least it is laid out professionally as a starting point, even tho some of the fine work isn't quite up to snuff.
Famous quote from a retired banker who owns an Alpine, "I wish the complainers would go back to their tent trailers and leave the motorhomes to the men." I quit complaining in front of him.
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Old 08-09-2009, 08:16 PM   #55
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Just an update, as I can't edit my post now. The two brake lines wouldn't go "up to a tee," but each separately to the anti lock brake assembly. I couldn't actually see up there and was thinking of days of old. Some of the photos were taken by holding the camera up above my head, I could not accurately see where the camera was aimed. I just shot a bunch and picked the ones that looked good.
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Old 08-09-2009, 08:58 PM   #56
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Dale, your setup for pumping the air bags is very nice. My question is, why do need to pump up your air bags?
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