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Old 04-18-2014, 02:28 PM   #1
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Emergency Air Brake Emergency

I have posted this before on another forum and two things happened, one the thread got locked and two I never got an answer.

Let's say I'm driving and have a medical problem. I was instructed when I bought My MH to have the wife immediately set the air brake valve then tend to me.

We were told that once you do this the a air system will slow the coach down and finally stop it while keeping it headed in a straight direction. I was also told that at one time Monaco taught this at their driving school.

Has anyone had an experience with having to do this or knows if the info I posted is the correct procedure and will it work. Or god forbid will it just lock up all the brakes and through DW out the front window.
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Old 04-18-2014, 02:37 PM   #2
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It won't directionally guide your rig but it will supposedly slow it to a stop but not abruptly. Some guidance of the wheel would still be needed. I have no personal experience with this but these are the instructions I have given my DW. I assume you have air brakes!
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Old 04-18-2014, 02:55 PM   #3
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We attended the Lazy Days RV Driver Confidence Course in Seffner, FL recently. During the afternoon driving experience, I asked the instructor the question of how to deal with the driver having an emergency health issue. He said that the passenger should come near the mid part of the coach, immediately drop down on one knee to stabilize themselves in order to prevent falling forward into the dash/windshield area.

Once you are in that stable position, you then reach for the wheel and step on the service brake to control and slow the rig in order to bring it to a stop in a safe place. He mentioned nothing about using the air brake.

A bit hard to explain. He demonstrated the technique. I hope I have made it somewhat clear !!

BTW... if you have experienced strong turbulence during a airline flight, you will notice that the standing flight attendants do the same thing - they immediately drop down on one knee to stabilize themselves so they don't fall.
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Old 04-18-2014, 03:15 PM   #4
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I agree with the 'one knee' posture, standing up, the helper could end up on dash, out windshield, or in step well. It would depend where the air parking brake valve is located. Mine is in the far left corner of the instrument panel, almost impossible for anyone but the driver to access. I suggest one hand on wheel, one hand pressing brake treadle until stopped. THEN reach over driver, pull parking brake valve, turn off engine.
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Old 04-18-2014, 06:01 PM   #5
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Dealer demo'd this when we took delivery, 40mph and hit the parking brake. Steer straight and unit came to a nice controlled stop.
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Old 04-18-2014, 07:22 PM   #6
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Not only is pulling the parking brake while driving dangerous it's also stupid. Remember.. when you pull the release you're releasing air from the air chamber and allowing the parking springs to engage the brakes on the rear only. Some park springs are stronger than others depending upon age and how they've been adjusted and it is entirely possible for it to completely lock up the rear tires which could result in an uncontrolled skid, much like the rear being on ice OR worse yet the dreaded wheel hop when the rears lock up but won't skid. With the dreaded wheel hop You may not wreck, but I can assure you everthing mounted to a wall in the RV will be on the floor - TVs, microwave, refrigerator doors, closet doors, partition doors, window coverings, dishes, etc etc. Then they become missiles as you come to a stop abruptly
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Old 04-18-2014, 07:33 PM   #7
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I doubt you could lock up rear wheels of a DP, even a lightweight one, on dry pavement w/the park brake.
All the park brakes I'm familiar with are on the driveshaft, not the rear axle (28000 gvw or more). Even my AutoPark on the old P30 gasser was on the driveshaft.

If you are having an emergency, pull over & stop the coach however you feel safe doing so. I'd pull the park brake and know others who did w/success.
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Old 04-18-2014, 08:43 PM   #8
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Brakes on the Driveshaft?

Somebody needs to crawl under the nearest diesel pusher and find that brake on the driveshaft...... You pull that parking brake and activate the springs that control the rear brakes shoes, and you better be strapped in. 40 mph is one thing, 65-70 is whole lot of different.....

Reminds me of that joke about the two old boys who decided they wanted to be truck drivers, so they went to a truck driving school. The instructor took them out one at a time, and put them through all kinds of scenarios. He proposed the following situation: He said you are at the top of a steep hill, and down below is a train stopped on the tracks, blocking the road. You have lost your brakes, your buddy is asleep in the bunk,what do you do first?

He said, "Well, I would wake up my buddy first." The instructor says, "Why would you do that?". The old boy says," Because he ain't never seen the kind of wreck we're gonna have!"
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Old 04-18-2014, 08:52 PM   #9
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Correct, the parking brake are "spring brakes". Would I want to try the ABS feature at hwy speed, probably not-but I won't get wheel lock either and if the choice is out of control or a controlled crash, I will take the latter.
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Old 04-18-2014, 10:14 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Thomas View Post
Somebody needs to crawl under the nearest diesel pusher and find that brake on the driveshaft...... You pull that parking brake and activate the springs that control the rear brakes shoes, and you better be strapped in.
My diesel pusher (Spartan chassis, Cummins 5.9) has ONE spring brake drum on the drive shaft. It has 4 wheel-air-over-hydraulic ABS disk brakes. As I said earlier, it also depends on what you can reach to assist the disabled driver.
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Old 04-18-2014, 10:40 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by BFlinn181 View Post
My diesel pusher (Spartan chassis, Cummins 5.9) has ONE spring brake drum on the drive shaft. It has 4 wheel-air-over-hydraulic ABS disk brakes. As I said earlier, it also depends on what you can reach to assist the disabled driver.
Your barge is the exception, not the norm. All drum brake rear axle DP and some Fred's have a dual rear air chamber system. Air pressure holds off the springs in the end chamber allowing the coach to move. The lower or inner chamber uses air pressure to directly apply the brakes. I think every driver of an air braked coach should try a stop using the spring brakes by setting park brake while moving. Most if not all will be surprised how mild the stop will be. If the chassis manufacturer did his job the spring strength in the spring brake is set to the GVWR of that axle. I tried mine with a very frightfull DW and she was surprised on how uneventfull the stop was!!
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Old 04-18-2014, 10:59 PM   #12
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Your barge is the exception, not the norm. All drum brake rear axle DP and some Fred's have a dual rear air chamber system. I tried mine with a very frightfull DW and she was surprised on how uneventfull the stop was!!
My 'barge' is not the exception. The problem with some of the above posts is the all inclusive use of 'ALL.' All means EVERY ONE of them. I was pointing out they don't all have spring brakes on rear axle drums. Many do, not all. Many chassis use air-over-hydraulic so they can use the better disk brake system proven to have less fade when they get hot.
Regardless of rear brake type, I do agree applying the parking brake at speed will not cause catastrophic stopping, it is much more gentle than that IN MOST CASES. The wheel hop that you see on trucks making emergency or panic stops is often caused by a lightly loaded trailer, which would not be the case of an RV with the engine and transmission behind the rear axle. Instead of more 'blanket' statements, take your RV out in a large open space, get up to speed and pull the yellow diamond.
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Old 04-18-2014, 11:05 PM   #13
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11B

There is something that hasn't been stated yet so I'll chime in. IF you have a "parking brake" that rapidly slows the rear wheels, either air-over-spring at the rear wheel brakes or the one drum on the drive shaft, be very careful applying it if you are on a wet surface. If you do, you may find yourself in a drive wheel skid and the back end is going to come around.

Remember that the skidding wheels wants to lead and since you have them locked up the ABS probably will not help you. Unlike a skid when the service brake or compression caused by a Jake Brake creates a skid, the "parking brake" can't be quickly released--there is a very small window of time to correct a skid before it becomes uncontrollable with dire results. Remember, if "braking" causes a skid, the fasted way to correct the skid is to "GET OFF THE BRAKES", but with the parking brake pulled, you can't. One may be able to get away doing this action on a dry surface (I for one wouldn't), but wet or icy has a whole different set of forces affecting your MH.

I'm a retired OTR driver and having spent many long days and night on wet and icy roads. I have seen many skid related accidents, and very few were pretty, so I hope I've given you something to think about. Please do as 2LT and BFlinn181 address, that type of action by the DW probably has the best chance for both of you.

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