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Old 12-04-2010, 06:20 AM   #15
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Braking efficiency varies from coach to coach. No good rule of thumb. Air brakes are usually very efficient but they also require more attentive maintenance. Modern RVs with air brakes have automatic slack adjusters that require little or no owner attention - but like anything else they can have problems.

Perhaps some of the descriptions above in the thread are a little over-generalized. For instance, not every RV diesel is delivered with a Jake brake. Some may have Exhaust brakes, and a few have transmission retarders. Some slightly older or smaller RVs may have hydraulic brakes rather than air brakes.

My understanding is that among properly maintained systems that the retarders are most efficient, followed by air brakes and/or Jake-style, and then exhaust brakes. I'm open to correction.

Whatever system you have, the best practice for descending a hill is to stay in the same gear you went up it with, or at least one gear lower. Don't ride the brakes on the descent. Do "stab" braking to keep your RPMS below the point that they would force an up-shift. Engage whatever extra braking system you have.

BTW, someone mentioned AutoPark. The guy I bought my coach from can be found in the technical area of the RVNet/CoachNet forum. He may be the most knowledgeable person in the country on those units and has a tremendous library of information, fixes, etc. His screen name is OldUsedBear. He is a great resource for those with that type of brake.

Ken 1996 Safari Sahara- 3530, 35', CAT 300
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Old 12-04-2010, 08:16 AM   #16
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We have a diesel with hydraulic brakes. Handles like a dream.
A diesel with no air brakes? what a strange setup. We have the same setup

We went from a gasser to this diesel and the most notable difference on the down grades is the use of the exhaust brake however the V 10 with tow haul did a good job as well. The HUGE difference for me with the exhaust brake is sudden stops as when a light turns yellow. It is so much more comfortable and safer with the exhaust brake in the city. I had problems stopping quick in the city with the gasser.

2008 Holiday Rambler Vacationer 340 Cummins
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Old 12-04-2010, 09:04 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by frederick w View Post
Thanks guys for the info. I may look for an older used diesel in the future. The brakes on my 2000 Flair need alot of foot press to stop. I found out on the forums that this is par for the P-32 chassis.
I met a RV owner that had a 2008 that took alot to stop. It was a Hurricane with a Ford V-10.
One would think that the newer MH would be better
as far as stopping. So I guess I'm not alone.

Fred from Pasco, Wa.
Have you had the Hydro-Boost system checked? You really should not have to work so hard to stop. My '88 Pace stops very well, the whole braking system is in tip-top shape. As these units get older you have to work on them to get them back to like new working order. (or better) Air brakes are just flat out more powerful, but the cost of entry is to a good DP is more also. Find a good Hydro-Boost mechanic and get your brakes checked out.

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Old 12-04-2010, 12:19 PM   #18
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Assuming equal weights (rarely the case in gas vs diesel, but it needs to be apples to apples), the size of the wheel will make the difference. An older gas rig will have 16" wheels, whereas the diesel is probably 22.5". Much larger brakes and therefore additional capacity.

Exhaust or engine brakes were often optional on early 90's diesels, but they are a terrific addition and an exhaust brake can be installed if the rig doesn't have it. As has been stated above, an exhaust or engine brake is the ideal answer to long down grades.

Gary Brinck
2004 American Tradition; 2014 Buick LaCRosse
Homebase in the Ocala Nat'l Forest near Ocala, FL
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