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Old 01-05-2012, 08:56 AM   #1
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How long do brakes last?

I am purchasing a used MH, this is my first. I was given the warning that if a salesman's lips are moving he is lying. So at 38,000 mi. I asked if I needed to check the brake lining and he said no, that this was too few miles. I plan on taking a short trip after I get it to work the kinks out then a long trip. Should I pay to have them check the brakes while it is at the dealer and if so how much should it cost? It is a HR Imperial DP 40ft.
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Old 01-05-2012, 09:14 AM   #2
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On the diesel pushers w/air brakes that we have owned a visual inspection can be done in a minute or two with a flashlight. No need to even crawl under the coach.
Disc have wear pin indicators, and w/drum the shoes can be seen easily.
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Old 01-05-2012, 09:24 AM   #3
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lonestarace is correct, very simple to check. Hard question to answer though. When I traded my American Eagle at 86,000 miles, the brakes looked new. I always use the engine brake also.
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Old 01-05-2012, 10:22 AM   #4
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You have to be careful. My 98 Monaco 40' DP has four drum air brakes. It's now at 170,000 miles. I have always looked at the remaining brake lining with a flash light as I was doing my spring PMs. I was down to about a half inch of lining left on all brakes last spring.

This summer during a hard braking I heard a clunk but was still able to stop. We continued on but in a few minutes I had white smoke coming out of the right rear. On inspection I found the actuator arm extended about four inches instead of the normal inch or so. My brakes had worn to the point that the J actuator had passed thru it's movement and was now on the other side. The air pod was pulling it back as I drove and putting the brake on. I also has no normal braking with this wheel.

I had to pull the pin on the air pod and we drove very slowly and carefully home on three brakes.

I ended up doing a full brake job on the motorhome. All the brakes had right at one half inch of lining left, but the new ones I bought had almost an inch of lining. I was used to looking at auto and small truck brakes that have about a third of an inch of lining when new so I thought a half inch was plenty. My problem was coupled by less lining than new and also the drum itself was also worn a little bigger, but still in specs.

So, I would have to say that all us back yard mechanics should be careful as we get near 100,000 miles and maybe get a professional opinion about our brakes.
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Old 01-05-2012, 10:26 AM   #5
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With most gassers it depends on how it was driven. Always on the brakes, never downshift going down hills, panic stops all contribute to early failure. Sitting can make caliper stick, etc., take or look, or better yet, if you have a mechanic you trust, let them take a look. If you don't have a mechanic you can trust - good luck.
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Old 01-05-2012, 10:31 AM   #6
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Big problem with air brakes is the lack of movement at the pivot and anchor pins. The end pins have rollers that seize , this can lead to problems with shoes not returning when brake is released. Using brake engine retarder is most times the cause over several years. Best way to check is to have wheels removed at heavy truck repair place or at RV repair shop.
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Old 01-05-2012, 11:02 AM   #7
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Thanks all, I am beginning to loose faith in the salesman, so when he tells me something I'm glad I can check it out here. I started loosing faith when I looked at the batteries and saw that 2 of the house batteries were bulging a little and the battery compartment just didn't look like someone who cared maintained it. Then on further inspection I saw that the battery fluid level was below the plates. So the salesman tells me they will replace them. After they get it into the shop, they test the batteries and then he says that they are fine and they won't replace them. So when I asked him about the brakes, he tells me that they should be fine and I tell him that I want them checked and he sounds like he doens't really want to get his guys to do that, so now I'm getting a little steamed. I've had several conversations with the head of the shop and I kind of trust him, but I'm not happy with the front office.
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Old 01-05-2012, 11:54 AM   #8
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If its a gas chassis rig you might check, but at 38k I would not be expecting any wear problems yet. If a diesel pusher with air brakes I wouldn't bother to check for wear - you can probably go 138k without concern.

A better reason to check would be for mechanical problems such as sticking caliper pins, which sometimes comes from lack of use or road dirt. Since you are obviously concerned about them, getting them checked is going to give you peace of mind and that alone may be worth the price.

As for the batteries, they probably only needed to have the water topped up and they will be fine.
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Old 01-05-2012, 05:28 PM   #9
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Ok, so maybe I jumped the gun on the salesman, he had his people check the brakes and reports that there is about 70% left. I'm still a little ticked off about the batteries, but I will have them tested independently. Thanks for all your help.
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Old 01-05-2012, 05:52 PM   #10
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Ok, so maybe I jumped the gun on the salesman, he had his people check the brakes and reports that there is about 70% left. I'm still a little ticked off about the batteries, but I will have them tested independently. Thanks for all your help.
If there swollen their life is almost done. Squeeze him hard don't let up.
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Old 01-05-2012, 11:20 PM   #11
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If there swollen their life is almost done. Squeeze him hard don't let up.
Your the customer, and the guy with the checkbook. You might remind him that there are alot of other dealers that would like your check.
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Old 01-05-2012, 11:36 PM   #12
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Your the customer, and the guy with the checkbook. You might remind him that there are alot of other dealers that would like your check.
X2
I run a auto repair shop now, for 7+yrs. I sold cars & RVs yrs ago. Tell that salesman that you've since learned that those batteries are not acceptable, and you want some new ones before you will purchase.

When the water level gets below the plates, that dry part is ruined. Swollen batteries mean they are about dead.
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Old 01-06-2012, 08:23 AM   #13
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I am purchasing a used MH, this is my first. I was given the warning that if a salesman's lips are moving he is lying. So at 38,000 mi. I asked if I needed to check the brake lining and he said no, that this was too few miles. I plan on taking a short trip after I get it to work the kinks out then a long trip. Should I pay to have them check the brakes while it is at the dealer and if so how much should it cost? It is a HR Imperial DP 40ft.
Cpt. Morgan, I have not seen you post what year the coach is anyplace. The batteries if swollen need replaced. I would push to get them replaced. When you post a question here it is best to put the year and model of your coach.
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Old 01-06-2012, 10:22 AM   #14
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Bill2,
Sorry, It's a 2000 Holiday Rambler Imperial. As soon as it is mine, I will update my signature to reflect. I appreciate all the help. I have discovered a RV repair shop nearby and will try them out, I had a good feel after talking with them. Those 4 batteries will end up costing the dealer quite a bit. I plan on putting in 400+ watts of solar and a new set of tires, just to start. None of this will happen at the dealer.
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