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Old 12-06-2019, 11:01 PM   #1
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Lost my brakes in Wilmington N.C.

It sounds really scary, and it could have been a serious accident. However, the Gods of chance smiled on me. We came into Wilmington from Nashville, route 40 all the way, on the last leg of our trip. As we approached the KOA on Bus. rt. 17 in Wilmington, I was stopping for one of the many traffic lights there, and traffic was heavy. I always use the maximum position on the engine brake, and as I was slowing to a stop behind a small car, my brake pedal slowly sank to the floor. I put the trans. in neutral, and stopped before I hit him, and went on through the light when it turned. The entrance to the KOA was right there just through the light, so I went on in, (at a crawl), checked in and got to my spot with no problem. I found a local RV repairman by checking with the office, and he came out the next day. What he found was a place in the steel brake line that feeds the L. front wheel that had rubbed against the frame for the last 13 years until it gave way. It is close to the spot where the line terminates as it passes through the frame and connects to the flex brake line. He's going to cut off the tube at the bad spot, reflair it and bridge the space with an off the shelf length of flex brake line. This will all be inside the framerail, and will re-connect to the fitting that goes through the frame to the flex brake line in the fender well. I'll extend the gen set, and he can work without too much trouble in the space behind it; but it's still going to be a dog to work on.....I've got my fingers crossed. The job is going to be mostly labor, so the time involved will be kind of hard to judge due to the nature of the location. Not sure what it will end up costing.
Who can carry enough tools to cover all the possible scenarios that you can run into out on the road? I guess you just are at the mercy of an honest (?) repairman.
Dudley Do-Right, '06AlpineApex40MDTS
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Old 12-07-2019, 12:12 AM   #2
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WHAT!!!
Oh God definitely delivered you to that KOA.
The timing and location~
I cannot imagine how thankful you are~WOW
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Old 12-07-2019, 08:18 AM   #3
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you dodged a bullet
As you say, who can plan for every scenario
Best of luck on the repairs
Glad you are safe
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Old 12-07-2019, 08:27 AM   #4
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….I had a similar situation with overheated brakes after several hours of stop/go traffic in 100 degree heat in Florida....suspect the issue was excessive moisture in the brake fluid....hard to remember but did you consider pulling the parking brake [yellow handle]….realize how difficult it is to consider all options in a situation like that when seconds count!!!!!
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Old 12-07-2019, 08:28 AM   #5
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Sounds like you did a good job of getting her stopped without any panic. Stomping on a soft pedal can be hair raising. One other option when the brake pedal isn't working is to engage the parking brake. I know that at slow speeds anyway it creates a very abrupt stop.
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Old 12-07-2019, 08:46 AM   #6
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I would consider a double flair in field a temporary fix until you get a whole new line. I would also ask why brakes totally failed if you have a dual master cylinder, should not the rear brakes still work? anyway, I’m no expert, just my thoughts

glad you made it to a safe stop!

also, confirm you are getting a “double flair” and your mechanic had done a few....not easy in tight quarters
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Old 12-07-2019, 08:46 AM   #7
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God was your co-pilot!

It never made any sense to me that Alpine used hydraulic brakes. One of the things I never liked about our previous 40MDTS. Hydraulic fluid is easily contaminated over time and must be regularly maintained.

Air brakes failsafe, and only require greasing and adjusting (and draining the tanks occasionally). Air brakes should be the standard on ALL vehicles >20,000 lbs. There is a reason why OTR trucks are required to have air brakes by DOT rules.
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Old 12-07-2019, 08:55 AM   #8
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...realize its a bit "apples and oranges" but 400,000 lbs 747s land with hydraulic brakes....my understanding was that the designer of the Peak chassis was formally employed in the commercial aircraft industry--perhaps that is where he got the idea???
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Old 12-07-2019, 09:03 AM   #9
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Guess I share the concern about why you had a total brake failure with only one leak. You should have a dual master cylinder / brake system, and a leak in one side should have left the other side functioning.

Might be a good idea to to have someone confirm that the overall system is working properly, so that if this ever happens again you'll still have partial braking.
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Old 12-07-2019, 09:07 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richard5933 View Post
Guess I share the concern about why you had a total brake failure with only one leak. You should have a dual master cylinder / brake system, and a leak in one side should have left the other side functioning.

Might be a good idea to to have someone confirm that the overall system is working properly, so that if this ever happens again you'll still have partial braking.

Agreed. You still should have 1/2 your braking power.
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Old 12-07-2019, 09:50 AM   #11
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Quote:
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...realize its a bit "apples and oranges" but 400,000 lbs 747s land with hydraulic brakes....

Agreed on the apples and oranges. An aircraft only uses its brakes 4-5 times a day and they get regular preventive maintenance. RVs don't get that kind of in detail maintenance that often.. Street vehicles use them much more often. On a trip to Walmart I use the brakes at least 25 times.
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Old 12-07-2019, 10:47 AM   #12
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Disk brakes have better stopping power, much less fade then drum brakes, lighter and take up much less room then air brakes do.

There are less components to fail in a hydraluic brake system then air and they are naturally self adjusting.

OTR trucks are moving more towards disk brakes every year. Every pound the take off the rig equals more cargo. That's why they now run super single tires. They save about 60 lbs per set.
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Old 12-07-2019, 12:07 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Disk brakes have better stopping power, much less fade then drum brakes, lighter and take up much less room then air brakes do.

There are less components to fail in a hydraluic brake system then air and they are naturally self adjusting.

OTR trucks are moving more towards disk brakes every year. Every pound the take off the rig equals more cargo. That's why they now run super single tires. They save about 60 lbs per set.
The disc brakes heavy trucks are using are still air brakes, not hydraulic.

Disc vs. drum is a totally separate conversation from air vs. hydraulic. It's possible to have either disc or drum brakes on both air and hydraulic systems.

Hydraulic brakes are not 'naturally self adjusting' unless they are disc brakes. Drum brakes are still used on many vehicles with hydraulic brake systems, and they have to be equipped with adjusters or be manually adjusted.
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Old 12-07-2019, 01:05 PM   #14
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Air brakes on a tractor trailer combo have one advantage in that you can connect the air for the trailer brakes with a simple disconnect. It wouldn't work well to bleed the hydraulic brake lines every time you hook up. Hydraulic brakes on the tractor and air brakes on the trailer would be extra complication.
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