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Old 10-11-2016, 11:26 AM   #1
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Hydraulic brakes

I'm looking at a 2004 Holiday Rambler Neptune and they tell me it has anti lock Hydraulic brakes and an Air ride suspension does anyone have an opinion about a 36 ft MH with Hydraulic brakes not air?

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Old 10-11-2016, 11:31 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by codybones0 View Post
I'm looking at a 2004 Holiday Rambler Neptune and they tell me it has anti lock Hydraulic brakes and an Air ride suspension does anyone have an opinion about a 36 ft MH with Hydraulic brakes not air?

Be aware that this coach has the 4 air bag chassis with trailing arms that were subject to recall. The OEM trailing arms were under designed and prone to break. There is an after market kit by Source Engineering that corrects the issue.

Steve Ownby
Full time since 2007
2003 Monaco Signature
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Old 10-11-2016, 02:10 PM   #3
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Thank you Steve I had heard about that and have done some research about where to get it fixed should we purchase this unit, do you know anything about the hydraulic brake system? heard of any major issues or problems with Hydraulic brakes I would think they are pretty reliable they are on a lot of units but I am used to air brakes on other trucks we have.
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Old 10-11-2016, 02:24 PM   #4
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I believe the hydra-boost, hydraulic braking system was only used on chassis ; up to a certain GVWR, so a 36' coach on a lower GVWR chassis might not have much in the way of CCC.
Maybe worth a look at the weight sticker.
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Old 10-11-2016, 04:54 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by codybones0 View Post
I'm looking at a 2004 Holiday Rambler Neptune and they tell me it has anti lock Hydraulic brakes and an Air ride suspension does anyone have an opinion about a 36 ft MH with Hydraulic brakes not air?
I don't know if this would help you in any of your quest for info on your coach but, if you look up this member and, PM him, you might get some ideas of owner experience here. I don't his coach is EXACTLY like yours but, it's pretty close in that it has hydraulic brakes and, is a Monaco. Here's is user name:


2004 ITASCA HORIZON 36GD, 2011 GMC Sierra 1500 4x4 Toad '08 GL 1800 Gold Wing
Retired-29.5 yrs, SDFD, Ham - KI6OND
Me, Karla and the Sophie character, (mini Schnauzer)
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Old 10-11-2016, 09:11 PM   #6
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That 4 air bag chassis also has a reputation for rough ride. Take it for a good test drive if you get interested.

Fred & Vicki
St. Augustine, Fl.
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Old 10-11-2016, 09:26 PM   #7
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Alpines coaches have used hydraulic brakes since inception of the brand in 1998. Very early models had 2-piston calipers and had issues with rusty slide pins due to lack of maintenance. Later models used 4-piston calipers with no further issues. Cant speak to the rig you are considering, but have been driving a 40ft, 33,000/43,000 2003 Alpine for 14 years and 160k miles with no issues. Don't have much experience with air brakes but suspect both air and hydraulic brake systems have their unique pros and cons.
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Old 10-12-2016, 10:36 AM   #8
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Similar size gas chassis coaches all have hydraulic brakes, so I don't think you need worry.

The main advantage of an air system vs hydraulic is that air doesn't overheat under heavy braking, whereas hydraulic fluid can boil if the brakes & wheels get hot enough. If the brake fluid ever boils, you lose braking force. Not a common problem anymore, but something that can possibly happen.

Another small difference is that an air system has an inherent a "power" brake assist from the high pressure air, whereas hydraulic needs a power booster component to get power assist.
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Old 10-12-2016, 11:24 AM   #9
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You do understand that "hydraulic brakes" are what all cars and light trucks use.
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Old 10-12-2016, 11:43 AM   #10
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Should be fine I had them in a 40' coach.
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Old 10-12-2016, 01:44 PM   #11
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I owned a 36 ft Monaco knight that had hydraulic brakes and four air bags. No problem with bags or rear end frame. Could not get the rear brakes to stop dragging causing damage to calipers and wheel seal. Not saying this coach would have this brake problem. Check the records and make sure the brakes work good. Mine would not release the caliper after 20-40 miles. Changed rubber brake lines to caliper which is where I believed it to be collapsing. We decided to sell it and look for another coach. I did find in the previous owner paperwork where rear calipers were changed before so that could be an indication for you.
Mr. Kim Smith, the one with a beard.
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Old 10-12-2016, 04:42 PM   #12
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This past summer DW and I were fortunate enough to have a European vacation which included the Almafi Coast (south of Naples).

This is where the mountains meet the sea and the coast road is narrow and steep.

It was of great interest to me that the Town to Town buses operated by SITA were all air suspension with hydraulic brakes.

Any brake failures would be catastrophic on the coast road, so I would say a properly designed hydraulic brake system for a 40 foot bus would be very reliable to say the least!

As others have pointed out , the well regarded Alpines were hydraulic brake coaches.
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Old 10-12-2016, 04:59 PM   #13
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If the hydraulic brakes are disk brakes, then they are superior to any drum brake.

The trucking industry is slow, but moving towards disk brakes.

Air brakes are dealing with 120 psi for application, but they have the room for bulky brake chambers and slacks.

Hydraulic brakes work off a thousand psi or more.

Heavy construction equipment have been using air over hydraulic brakes for many years.
The air chamber is probably 10 times as large as the master cylinder, creating a lot of Hydraulic force.

When you pointing straight down a hill, you want to stop.
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Old 10-12-2016, 07:04 PM   #14
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Two important things to look for in hydraulic brakes is the quality of the brake fluid.. it should be clear... if not I'd clean/flush the system.. I personally use a miti-vac hand held vacuum pump and put fresh fluid in the master cylinder and pump from each bleeder until the fluid runs clear... usually 1 qt on a small system and 2 quarts on a larger system... brake fluid by it nature will absorb moisture and later allow rust... and that moisture will cause steam at a wheel if over heated... so keep it clean.... at least every 2 years...

The other killer of hydraulic brakes.... are the rubber boots on the caliper that fit to the piston.... if these boots fail from heat, damage, or age, they allow dust into the seal and I promise you the piston will not retract as required and this will allow a dragging pad... damage to the pads, rotors will result...

Retired Business Owner, Re-manufacturing HD Clutches, Brake Shoes, Air Compressors, Sales & Installation of PacBrake and other Industrial Friction
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brake, brakes, hydraulic

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