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Old 07-26-2013, 10:13 PM   #1
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How Well Do Your Brakes Work

I am new to RV driving, however not knew to driving large vehicles. I been a professional driver for over 30 Years, Cars, Straight Truck, Tractor Trailers, Tankers, Motorcycles.

History: I just bought a 1997 Winnebago Vectra 37Ft. When I bought it, there was a couple of rusted brake lines, it was towed to the shop. Shop went over the vehicle, replaced 2 broken brake lines and replaced both face plates (Brakes attached) on the tag axle.

When I picked it up drove it around a bit, brakes seemed spongy and I felt the tag axle brakes kicking in to soon. Brought it back and shop said they got rid of some more air in the system. Took it out again and still felt the tag axle kicking in. Thanks to one of the members here he sent me directions as to where and how to adjust the sensitivity of the tag axle.

So as of now, my question is, how is a House on Wheels suppose to feel when using the brakes, Keep in mind this is a 1993 with 80K miles, should it stop pretty quick, or should it feel like I am stopping a house with a pick up truck? The Gas Tanker with 9000 Gallons of Gas I drive stops pretty much like a car.
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Old 07-26-2013, 11:21 PM   #2
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I'm not sure what size wheels are on your rig, but I had a '95 Bounder with 16" wheels and I did find you had to put your foot into it in a hard stop. I did have over heat problems a few times in the seven years I owned it and I tried not to ride the brakes on steep hills.

I recently purchased a an '03 Winnebago 33 V and it has the 19.5 inch wheels and it made a big difference to the spongy feel for me. Just logged 3000 miles with no issues and positive braking.
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Old 07-26-2013, 11:29 PM   #3
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I have 235-85-16 and this is good info, I don't want to drive the shop crazy if thats the way it's suppose to feel.
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Old 07-27-2013, 05:29 AM   #4
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I had a 95 Pace Arrow on a P30 chassis and the brakes on that thing were marginal at best.I remember our first trip on it and thinking this thing needs new brakes bad,after replacing all pads and lines ,bleeding the whole system there was only a small improvement.It had the 19.5 tires on it and i think the brakes were just not heavy enough to stop these beasts,seems like the rotors were to small for the task at hand.We had a 95 chevy utilty bed truck at work and it had the same problem ,after filled it up with tools and stuff it did not have enough brakes to stop the additional weight.We wore out several sets of rotors on that thing.After you get used to driving it you will be able to adjust your style of driving and always brake early so you have time to get stopped.I currently have an 06 f53 chassis ford and this thing has great stopping power but it also has has some pretty big brakes on her.
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Old 07-27-2013, 07:29 AM   #5
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My experience with a 94 34' HR w/MorRyde tag (P-30) was not very confidence inspiring either (also in perfect operational condition). Down hills of any distance were..... disturbing? Normal braking OK, it was the hard stops and down hill I felt was lacking. Like there was just enough brake (for normal conditions), with nothing left over in reserve?

The brakes, and the need for a little more room, the reasons we started shopping for a DP w/slide out. Now we have plenty of brakes AND room! Actually, the diesel exhaust brake makes the service brake something not used near as often as when in the gasser....
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Old 07-27-2013, 10:52 AM   #6
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I have a 99 beaver DP with hydraulic over hydraulic disk brakes. I'd driven a couple of other beavers before buying this one and all the brakes sucked compared to air brake coaches - although I find the air brakes have little feel.

one day I decided to look into it and found that the design of the linkage between the pedal assembly and the master cylinder allowed the bellcrank to go over center, thus reducing the amount of pressure as you went farther into the stroke.

I re-adjusted all the parts of the linkage and reduced the braking effort by probably 30%. It takes a lot more effort than a air brake system but seems to be more controllable. Panic stops take a LOT of leg. When it gets right down to it I could put in a smaller M/C and trade effort for stroke but don't feel like spending the money right now.

When it comes to feel another area to look at is to see if anything in the system flexes when the brakes are on. Sometimes the brackets that hold calipers aren't engineered well.
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Old 07-27-2013, 02:47 PM   #7
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I have a 95 Newmar on a F53 with 16" wheels - the coach is 38', 22000# with tags.

Brakes are ok. Nothing like the car but when you need them they can slow it down just that pressures are much higher then pressing on car brakes and stopping distances are greater.

I have confidence in them but they do take some getting used to. I also drive to save the brakes on hills - use the transmission as much as possible and the toad has it's own braking system.
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Old 07-27-2013, 08:32 PM   #8
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This is crazy that you should not have plenty of brake for what you need. How much more would it gave cost them to beef up the brakes on a f59 chassis

Does anyone know any upgrades I can make to feel a little more confident on the rig stopping. I'm a very conservative driver, ALWAYS leaving plenty of following distance but that's choice not necessity asking with the fact I was an instructor and taught Smith System safe driver course for 15 plus years.
I love the engine brake a diesel gives you, why can't my gasser have that, all cars should
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Old 07-27-2013, 09:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnimalCop View Post
This is crazy that you should not have plenty of brake for what you need. How much more would it gave cost them to beef up the brakes on a f59 chassis

Does anyone know any upgrades I can make to feel a little more confident on the rig stopping. I'm a very conservative driver, ALWAYS leaving plenty of following distance but that's choice not necessity asking with the fact I was an instructor and taught Smith System safe driver course for 15 plus years.
I love the engine brake a diesel gives you, why can't my gasser have that, all cars should
Please post which chassis you have. THANKS.
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Old 07-27-2013, 09:51 PM   #10
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F53 Ford Chassis, with tag axle 235-85-16 tires
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Old 07-27-2013, 11:07 PM   #11
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I have about the same set up you have. I find if you push hard enough it will stop you , but I would like to see a system that would take a lot less pressure. My DW will not drive because she feels she is not stronge enouth to push the brake .
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Old 07-28-2013, 12:43 AM   #12
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I suspect that if you could find a way to lower the pedal pressure then you would have all the braking you need - maybe a way to rework/revalve the booster.

If you really stand on the brakes it can stop - just the pedal pressures are higher than car and it makes you feel as if you have less braking available.
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Old 07-28-2013, 08:26 AM   #13
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I drive a '92 Winnie Adventurer on a P-series chassis. The brakes are adequate -- but the HydroBoost system can be its own worst enemy sometimes. Brake effort is light, with a lot of pedal travel at first, then brake effort comes on steadily but the pedal pressure gets stiff faster. It tends to fool your brake-foot sense by getting stiff quickly even when there's plenty of pedal travel left if you keep stomping down. It just doesn't behave the way "normal" hydraulic brakes do, but I've driven other HydroBoost setups that behave exactly the same so it isn't this particular coach.

My biggest complaint with this kind of setup is that it appears to be designed to encourage gentle, steady braking to a fault. There isn't enough variation in the early range of pedal travel to bring in stronger braking without stabbing the brakes and risking shifting everything forward in the coach. Instead, you wind up committing to a rate of deceleration at the start of your brake application. If you need to increase braking force because of a traffic pattern change or a faster-than-normal traffic light timing, the brakes don't respond quickly to the pedal. The brake force will come on, but it's late and down in the pedal's heavy, less controllable range. You'll get heavy braking in time, but later than expected and at an uncomfortable last-second feeling.

If you know the vehicle and its loading characteristics well, you can adapt your driving and anticipate accordingly. But as a Smith System driver myself, I find it forces you to leave slightly more following distance than desirable in traffic. The bigger gap needed for my rig's braking characteristic is too big and inviting-- other motorists will happily dive right into it, which cuts into my controlled space ahead and forces me to re-adjust in a never-ending cycle. If the brakes allowed for faster and more accurate braking force changes higher up in the pedal travel, it would coincide better with driving reaction times and traffic behavior, which would make the brakes more confidence-inspiring than they are.

It's always seemed to me that HydroBoost-style brake systems are something of an engineering compromise; a way to make simple automotive hydraulic brakes functional in heavier vehicles to save money and avoid having to re-train drivers and mechanics. They work, but it's not an optimal solution. Airbrakes have a much better, predictable response. But they require training and familiarity with their operating principle and maintenance to be used safely.
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Old 07-28-2013, 08:47 AM   #14
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My air breaks feel great - not mushy and stop me just fine. I have no scientific confirmation of this - it's just a feeling that there is some kind of relationship between diesel acceleration and stopping ability that would "feel or seem" out of whack if there were a brake problem. This is probably why auto state inspections (here in Tx at least) have the acceleration / distance to stop checks.

I don't think you really know how good your breaks are until you have to do the "emergency stop" because a yahoo jumps in front of as you approach a turning light - or to make a last minute turn. That's not the time to find out. Go to an empty mall parking lot - secure everything and give em the stomp test. You'll learn two things - 1. How well do your breaks stop you and 2. What you thought was secure and wasn't.

Mall Parking Lots. Taking the guesswork out of driving large vehicles since 1971.

Steve
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