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Old 04-17-2016, 02:32 PM   #15
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I would think that the longer medium braking would start to get things hotter then a reasonably heavy application and then a cooling off period.

I was coming down a Vermont mountain in first gear (Wrong turn) and would get up to about 4500 RPM and apply some medium braking to get me down to 1500 RPM a bunch of times.

I'm pretty sure that if I rode the brake the whole way, I would have smoking brakes.
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Old 04-17-2016, 03:14 PM   #16
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Things I found helpful.

1. Make sure you have fresh brake fluid. It picks up water from the atmosphere and that water effects the BF boiling point. In my RV I use severe duty hi-temp DOT 5.1 brake fluid.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DOT_5.1

2. I installed a temperature pressure monitoring system (TPMS) that automatically monitor each tires pressure and temperature. I found the TPMS useful on an extremely long downgrade where I heated up my brakes enough to make them smoke. Fortunately, the TPMS alerted me to the problem (I pulled over and had lunch while the brakes cooled down).

3. When I plan a route I peruse a mountain directory I have that tells you what the steepness and length of grades are all over US (East & West issues are published).
Mountain Directory for Truckers, RV, and Motorhome Drivers

I hope this helps.

Steve
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Old 04-17-2016, 04:11 PM   #17
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Obviously, the brake smoking folks are going too fast or in the wrong gear, probably both. That is the point that I was getting at in a crude way. Excessive use of the brakes is to be avoided and intermittent hard braking or lighter use over longer time periods makes no difference. You need to burn off the same amount of kinetic energy no matter how you play with the pedal. The idea of stab braking comes from the early days of air assisted drum brakes on heavy trucks.
So what would you suggest for a gas engine?
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Old 04-17-2016, 04:26 PM   #18
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A gas engine has better braking than a diesel that doesn't have any kind of compression release or exhaust braking. Many modern diesels now have some type of engine braking. When driving any kind of rig, you need to choose a speed and gear that will keep the service brakes at a reasonable temperature. Repeated cycles of extreme heat followed by no heat is not a reasonable way to moderate temperatures. The term "riding" is often used when really they mean excessive use.
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Old 04-17-2016, 06:15 PM   #19
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I think those of you used to driving mountain terrain or big rigs at any rate totally understand the complications of riding your brakes.

For those who have never lived in a mountainous region or driven a large vehicle before, this is not a common knowledge. For people like this, these types of threads are great for learning the importance of why and what to do or not do.

I don't live in a mountainous area and seldom drive them but had a Dad that taught me a lot of things about driving and other things in life. This was one of the things he taught me.

I recently went to WV and had to drive these mountainous curves and hills and downhill routes. I remembered what Dad taught me and am thankful every time I have to use his lessons that he did teach me. Not everyone learns this so I am glad that someone asked and the others answered.

Great learning experience. Lynne
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Old 04-17-2016, 06:36 PM   #20
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One of my favorite songs that could have a message for the OP along with a bit of humor is "Wolf Creek Pass" by CW McCall. If interested search and listen to it on youtube.

Hope you like it.

Steve
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Old 04-17-2016, 06:55 PM   #21
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The guy behind you will think you are as crazy as I do. Why on earth would anyone think that mashing hard on the brakes is a good idea except in a panic stop?
Speed reduction using brakes converts the kinetic energy of the coach into heat. Applying the brakes for long periods of time does not give the brakes a cooling off period.

Old brakes used to "boil" and the result was brakes that got shiny and had no braking power. New brake pads are better at resisting the fading.

Stepping on the brakes firmly to reduce speed and then letting the engine hold the unit back while the brakes cool will help reduce wear on the brake pads.
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Old 04-17-2016, 07:03 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by lynnmor View Post
A gas engine has better braking than a diesel that doesn't have any kind of compression release or exhaust braking. Many modern diesels now have some type of engine braking. When driving any kind of rig, you need to choose a speed and gear that will keep the service brakes at a reasonable temperature. Repeated cycles of extreme heat followed by no heat is not a reasonable way to moderate temperatures. The term "riding" is often used when really they mean excessive use.
I invite you to come to California and go down 7 of the steepest mountain grades we have here in a gas rig like mine.

I grew up in Williamsport and the mountains back in Pennsylvania are steep in some places but not like what we have out here.

Ours are very long and even when you are down in second gear you will pick up speed with a 24,000lb RV.
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Old 04-17-2016, 08:13 PM   #23
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Most diesel Motorhomes have exhaust brakes which do a much better job of snubbing speed in a descent. The advice by Arch Hoagland to start down slow and gear down to control speed is correct for both gas and diesel chassis. If speed builds up, stab braking is needed to allow the brakes time to cool. The old " Use the same gear coming down as you used to climb the grade" is good advice.

I miss the exhaust brake on my previous Dp. The MB Sprinter uses gear down and stab braking in the mountains, requires a little more finesse than Exhaust brakes. It has "paddle shift" which really helps.
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