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Old 10-13-2017, 10:25 AM   #1
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Hard to stop air brakes 2000 DSDP 3859

Hello all,

The DW and I are on our first RV trip. We're currently up in Sault Ste Marie. We've been at Thunder Bay and have had a great time so far. I have a 2000 DSDP 3859 on Freightliner chassis with 8000 miles. It has air brakes and they require a lot of force to stop the coach. They do work well and thankfully I have a very strong leg, but it's frustrating how much power I have to use to get it to stop or even hold it stopped at idle. Way more than my son's DP rv and much more than a pick up truck. Any ideas?
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Old 10-13-2017, 10:30 AM   #2
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Something is wrong, we've had two DSDP's, a 2000 3865 on FL chassis and a 2002 4090 on Spartan. Neither one took much pressure on the brake tredle to stop.
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Old 10-13-2017, 10:39 AM   #3
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It should have self adjusting slack adjusters, but with only 8,000 miles in a 17+ year old rig, I suspect it has sat for a long time. It could be that the grease has stiffened up and they aren't adjusting, or the brake linings may be glazed up as well. Do a few hard long applications to get the linings scuffed up. Also take a look at the slacks as someone applies the brakes to see if they are travelling too far (that would show you the adjustment is out).
Another thought is maybe you have leaking wheel seals, and there is oil on the linings. If you aren't comfortable checking it out, get a good shop to look at it for you.
Glamping should be fun, poor brakes are not!
Happy Glamping.
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Old 10-13-2017, 10:43 AM   #4
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or the brake linings may be glazed up as well.
My first/best guess is that the linings are glazed (they were over heated) by previous owner.
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Old 10-13-2017, 10:47 AM   #5
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Agree with the above posts. If you push that hard on the pedal it should almost toss you into the windshield. You need to get things checked out. Sooner than later.
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Old 10-13-2017, 11:20 AM   #6
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I am not pushing very hard but further than I would think I should. I've been down some long hills where I used and needed the exhaust brake. It hasn't changed in five days on the road. Yesterday was more hilly
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Old 10-13-2017, 11:24 AM   #7
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We had a old coach, even before auto slacks. Had same problem as you. Found only rt front brake was doing all of work.
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Old 10-15-2017, 05:22 PM   #8
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I have been concerned about my brakes as well. Today I had my wife push on the pedal as I observed the actuators which are working. My concern is the coach has 105k miles and original shoes and they are near 100% remaining. I talked to original owner and he said he never put new brake shoes on. Rears are about 50%.
Bottom line, my brakes seem soft and requires what I deem to be excessive foot pressure.
I am following this thread to see if any good solutions surface.
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Old 10-15-2017, 05:46 PM   #9
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I have been concerned about my brakes as well. Today I had my wife push on the pedal as I observed the actuators which are working. My concern is the coach has 105k miles and original shoes and they are near 100% remaining. I talked to original owner and he said he never put new brake shoes on. Rears are about 50%.
Bottom line, my brakes seem soft and requires what I deem to be excessive foot pressure.
I am following this thread to see if any good solutions surface.
I too had conerns with mine shortly after I aquired my coach. I took it in to 2 shops to have them inspected. Both said they were in good condition, no problems.
Well, I was still sceptical so went to a 3rd shop and asked them to remove all drums, call me when it's apart.
Turns out the RR axle seal was leaking, soaked the shoes. A couple of the drums had heat cracks and the shoes were coming loose from the steel backing.
Bottom line, all new drums, shoes, Springs and hardware. New rear axle seals.
I now have brakes I can count on.
These brakes Cannot be inspected without removing the drums.
Brakes are not something to try and save money on.
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Old 10-15-2017, 05:56 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Oldboots1950 View Post
I have been concerned about my brakes as well. Today I had my wife push on the pedal as I observed the actuators which are working. My concern is the coach has 105k miles and original shoes and they are near 100% remaining. I talked to original owner and he said he never put new brake shoes on. Rears are about 50%.
Bottom line, my brakes seem soft and requires what I deem to be excessive foot pressure.
I am following this thread to see if any good solutions surface.

When you watched the actuators ( brake chamber rods ) move, did you notice how far the rod moved out ?

It should NOT move more then 2 inches, under full brake pedal application. That is with the parking brake off.

If they move more then that, they need to be serviced. Automatic adjusters should never need adjustment.

Your rear shoes will wear faster, they are under the heavy part of the RV and doing more of the stopping.

If the original owner has been babying the brakes, you may need to do some hard stops to burnish the shoes.

Get it up to 50 MPH on an open road and do 3 or 4 hard stops. That may help.
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Old 10-15-2017, 06:06 PM   #11
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My first/best guess is that the linings are glazed (they were over heated) by previous owner.


I would also bet that the s-cam bearings are 'frozen'. They need to be serviced which loosens them up and allows to travel properly to actuate the brake shoes. I had a similar issue with my 2000 coach. The S-cam service really helped!
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Old 10-15-2017, 06:20 PM   #12
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To the OP,
Trust me. If this is a "New to you" coach. Have the drums removed for a complete inspection. If all is well, costs you a couple hundred bucks.

But if there is a problem you can deal with it properly. Going down a mountain grade is Not the time to discover a brake problem.
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Old 10-15-2017, 06:31 PM   #13
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I am in Ontario, and a complete safety inspection only cost around three hundred dollars on my 2000 freightliner. This includes taking off all the wheels, and giving everything a complete inspection. As stated, maybe the slack adjusters are out of whack.At the very least a good inspection, cleaning, and lubrication cant hurt. Any large truck center can do the job.
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Old 10-15-2017, 08:19 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinboat View Post
When you watched the actuators ( brake chamber rods ) move, did you notice how far the rod moved out ?

It should NOT move more then 2 inches, under full brake pedal application. That is with the parking brake off.

If they move more then that, they need to be serviced. Automatic adjusters should never need adjustment.

Your rear shoes will wear faster, they are under the heavy part of the RV and doing more of the stopping.

If the original owner has been babying the brakes, you may need to do some hard stops to burnish the shoes.

Get it up to 50 MPH on an open road and do 3 or 4 hard stops. That may help.
Now would be the time to do it before my wife gets it loaded with missle hazards.
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