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Old 12-27-2014, 01:51 PM   #1
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Brake Failure - Total Brake Failure

2005 Alpine Coach 36' FDDS
I was going south on I - 77 in Charlotte North Carolina on Christmas night preparing to exit and I had no brakes. I mean no brakes at all. The brake pedal went straight to the floor. I passed the exit and applied the Jake Brake. The coach slowed down and I guess the towed car brakes finally stopped us. The dash warning lights showed ABS & Brake Failure. I called Good Sam Road Service and was told they could help because all tow trucks were controlled by the county. (That proved to be miss Information) The told me to call 911 and I would have to pay for the tow and GS would imbues me. I her that was not going to happen and for her supervisor. 45 minutes later I hung up and called back. By then she had found a tow truck but not a place that qualified to make repairs. She wanted the tow driver to drop me at a Cracker Barrel and tow me later when they could a repair shop. Well, the tow driver arrived (now 2 hours later) and said he knew a shop that repairs coaches and buses and ask if I would like to go. So here I am waiting for them to open on Monday the 29th.
Now here is the question. I and the tow truck driver both think it'should is a master cylinder failure. The MC is full of fluid and appears to work mechanically. There are no brakes fluid leaks that I can find. As I said, the MS is full of fluid. If I need a new MS, does anyone what is the best one to get? Have there been any upgrades? I thought I read where there were.
HELP !!!
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Old 12-27-2014, 01:55 PM   #2
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Interesting, I would of guessed air brakes on your Coach.......?
Found it....
Quote:
15 inch ABS disc brakes were engineered into the Peak Chassis.

This would leave me with a very unconfortable feeling driving one, knowing that a complete failure with no backup could happen..........lot of weight to stop, glad you are OK and got stopped........what if, no TOAD?
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Old 12-27-2014, 02:17 PM   #3
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I have had master cylinder failures and the pedal would sink to the floor with light pressure but work when I hit them hard.
The ABS light may be a clue to a problem with ABS control. I would be looking there.


Good Luck
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Old 12-27-2014, 03:09 PM   #4
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Is this an air over hydraulic brake system? Do you have 2 air pressure gauges on dash, low pressure alarms, etc? I wonder if the foot treadle failed to apply the air pressure to the master cylinder, which I'd think would have dual chambers and circuits so at least 1/2 the brakes would work. To lose all brakes without a prior warning sounds very strange. Please let us know what happened.
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Old 12-27-2014, 03:56 PM   #5
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This officially scares me because it has been a scenario in the back of my mind for a while. I had a master cylinder fail years ago in another MH. Luckily, I had just gotten off the interstate and was not going that fast. The car on the dolly gave me enough drag to coast into a parking lot. My last MH had air brakes so I could always monitor the pressure and, if it was lost, the brakes would lock up. With hydraulic brakes what is the fail-safe if the master cylinder goes? Does the parking brake function on air and act as an emergency option? I think we all need some guidance on this issue in advance of it occurring.
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Old 12-27-2014, 04:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mocha Latte View Post
This officially scares me because it has been a scenario in the back of my mind for a while. I had a master cylinder fail years ago in another MH. Luckily, I had just gotten off the interstate and was not going that fast. The car on the dolly gave me enough drag to coast into a parking lot. My last MH had air brakes so I could always monitor the pressure and, if it was lost, the brakes would lock up. With hydraulic brakes what is the fail-safe if the master cylinder goes? Does the parking brake function on air and act as an emergency option? I think we all need some guidance on this issue in advance of it occurring.
I have air over hydraulic disk brakes, typical air parking brake. The parking brake is applied either by pulling the diamond knob or air pressure drops below 60 lbs. A hydraulic master cylinder for the past 30+ years have dual reservoirs and dual pistons. Failure of the piston seal or brake line rupture still leaves 50% braking. That's why I'll be curious to hear what the OP finds out when his brakes are looked at.
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Old 12-27-2014, 04:51 PM   #7
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A little research on his M/H shows hyd over hyd brakes with a spring loaded driveshaft parking brake. He should have been able to apply the parking brake to stop.
Only he knows for sure
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Old 12-27-2014, 06:11 PM   #8
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Lots of things going on here--I had a similar thing happen on my 03 [doesnt have the adjustable brakes pedals] after excessive stop and go traffic a couple of years ago. Was able to maintain braking by vigorously pumping the brake pedal. After parking over night, couldnt find any obvious problems so as a last resort, slightly "overfilled" the brake fluid reservoir and havent had an issue since. Unsettling but hard to diagnose one incident in 12 years and 150k miles of travels [still suspect it was a random ABS "burp"].

The Alpine brakes are pure hydraulic disc so no issues with air pressure--the parking brake [yellow handle on dash] is spring activated when air presure from the reserve tank [used for emergency brake and air bags only] is dumped so you always have an emergency back up for braking. Hard to remember, but always there.....

Keep us posted on what you find out.....
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Old 12-27-2014, 06:13 PM   #9
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While master cylinders CAN fail, they usually don't go from "no problem" to "failed" all at once. As seals fail, they generally give symptoms such as long pedal travel, need to pump brakes, etc before complete failure.

As far as Preventive Maintenance-- in the roughly 10 years of service, how many times has the brake fluid been changed? In humid climes, a good idea every two years (two gallons will to a complete flush the right way-- under $30).

And, as twinboat (heck we only have one-- and a blow boat at that) said, the emergency brake is on the drive shaft and is spring applied, hydraulic pressure released. That can be used to bring you (speculation, as I have never had to do it) to a smooth stop.

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Old 12-27-2014, 06:30 PM   #10
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PS--flushing the brake fluid is a good idea but with the Alpine calipers, the outside calipers on the front are nearly impossible to get at and the rear outside calipers ARE impossible to reach so wheels-off is pretty much required if you want to flush all 8 calipers. My experience with flushing 4 separate Alpines is that it takes about a gallon of fluid--also note that in three of the four coaches, the rear caliper bleed screws showed signs of water intrusion and rust.

PSS--lots of good advise on this forum regarding available replacements for the MC for newer Alpines with the adjustable pedals--you go from a 2 inch MC bore to a 1 3/4 inch bore--improves pedal pressure. Make sure the replacement has the ABS sensor plug and the extra large reservoir.

PSSS--after hearing the use of air pressure to disengage/engage the spring on the parking brake, many inspection stations declare they cant inspect a coach with "air brakes" and insist you go to a DOT cert station.
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Old 12-27-2014, 06:42 PM   #11
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Is the brake pedal real sloppy? Any chance that the rod from the pedal to the MC has come off? Just trying to make it a simple thing.
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Old 12-27-2014, 07:10 PM   #12
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Wagner MC131759 1 3/4 bore on Amazon for about $175--I think
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Old 12-28-2014, 12:57 AM   #13
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The Wagner MC 131759 is the one several us have used recently.
I replaced mine with that one. You said the master cylinder is full, and there is one fill cap, with a divider plate inside a little bit down from the top. It is possible one side could be empty. I think spills over the top when you fill it.
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Old 12-28-2014, 11:56 AM   #14
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I did not have it quite right. There is two fill caps, but with the divider not going to the top, I think you can fill just one side and goes over the top to fill both sides.
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