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Old 02-20-2014, 10:46 AM   #1
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Front brakes steam when i spray water on them...:

To preface, let me give some details.... My motorhome is a 1991 40' bus that weighs prolly 30k lbs and my toad prolly weighs 6k lbs so ....:

In 45 degree Oregon weather... i was driving home from garage where i had my oil changed..... and i got my wheels and tires pretty dirty.... so after about a 1 hour drive home and the last 20 minutes pretty stop and go.... i came to the garage and quickly jumped out and got my hose and washed my front wheels. I sprayed some water on drums and this is when i noticed steam coming from front right brake drum. I put some fingers through the holes in wheel and drum was very hot to the touch.... but i did NOT smell burning and it was not red hot.... but hot enough to steam.

I went to the front left and sprayed it down with water.... and while it did NOT steam..... it was still pretty hot.... but not quite as hot as the front right. I did not notice the coach pulling right or left or notice any brake trouble on way home.

my wheel bearings are in good shape and the fluid resevoirs are full.

ideas? normal to get hot enough to steam in stop and go traffic?
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Old 02-20-2014, 11:13 AM   #2
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Assuming disk brakes. The pads do touch the rotors while driving. The bigger question is if maybe one pad is worn down a little or one of the calipers might be sticking a little. If you are really nervous about it you can pick up a cheap infrared temp gauge at Harbor Freight Infrared Thermometer - Non-contact, Digital Thermometer
Always a handy little tool to have and then if you notice a really high temp difference from one side to the other, you could have the brakes checked.
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Old 02-20-2014, 11:16 AM   #3
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Probably normal. Brakes work by friction. Friction causes lots of heat........
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Old 02-20-2014, 11:24 AM   #4
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I agree, seems like normal heat produced by stop & go driving. If you could touch the drum and it didn't burn your fingers then it is not too hot.
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Old 02-20-2014, 11:34 AM   #5
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Drum air brakes. They need periodic adjustment, look into that.
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Old 02-20-2014, 04:10 PM   #6
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Thanks guys... They are Drum Air brakes... and i noticed no pulling left or right.... but will check out. Seems like so far a very heavy duty part on these bus chassis.
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Old 02-20-2014, 04:22 PM   #7
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Drum , air brakes, normal operating temp 120 c up to 250 c MAX.
More than 300c your in failure territory.

100c = 212f
You could add a laser temp sensor to your tool box, they come on sale often; father's day is coming after all.
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Old 02-20-2014, 04:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skip426 View Post
Drum , air brakes, normal operating temp 120 c up to 250 c MAX.
More than 300c your in failure territory.

100c = 212f
You could add a laser temp sensor to your tool box, they come on sale often; father's day is coming after all.
Tremendous info thank you my friend! My suspision was that stop and go traffic while slowing down 40k lbs will cause quite a bit of heat... and the front drums on this old chassis (gillig) are HUGE.... i guess i never put moisture on them after long haul in stop and go.
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Old 02-20-2014, 05:17 PM   #9
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Yes, thanks for the info. I know what temp disks should run at, but not drums.
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Old 02-23-2014, 01:10 AM   #10
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For the record, I have a 1992 country coach which also has a gillig chassis.... I experience the exact same thing.
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Old 02-24-2014, 08:15 PM   #11
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Hot steaming brakes

Hey Fritz, I am retired like most of these folks and now drive a 40 ft. Blue Bird part time for special needs kids along with my honey do's and golf and everything else. It weigh's in at 38,000 lbs. probably similar to your Gillig. It's real common for the front wheels to put off steam after getting wet. They will do it all the time in the rain. The rears do it too, they are just further under the body and more protected. If your worried about your brake shoes sticking, a simple test that is part of my after trip vehicle inspection is to tap the front brake drums with the tip of your tire buddy/thumper. After tapping it, you should hear a ringing sound. If you hear a metallic clunk, you might want to get your shoes checked, they could be sticking. If you experience pulling, you could be out of adjustment or need replacement.. No need for expensive infra red heat guns or fancy electronics, not this time. I have always felt simple is better.
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