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Old 03-25-2011, 11:51 AM   #1
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How hard are your air brakes to apply?

Ok, I'm in a different situation than y'all, I use my arms to do gas and brake, but still...

A little back story: I'm a paraplegic from a mc wreck so use hand controls. Up until recently, I had pneumatic hand controls so had no concept of the pressure needed for stopping. My wife did tell me that she had to really bear down on the brake, but I just thought the pneumatic cylinder was causing the resistance when "my" system was turned off.

I recently switched to mechanical system of hand controls because the pneumatic system failed twice, once slowly locking my brakes up on the highway, and once locking brakes and WOT on a city street, the 2nd after I had done major renovation to fix first failure. I considered them to now be unreliable and unsafe.

So, now that I am using arm power, and no cylinder to blame, the brakes still require hard pressure to apply. I have driven DP's prior to my wreck and always found air brakes easily applied, so I am confused. This is the first Spartan I have driven.

The front shoes were replaced after failure #1 burned them on the highway, and I have done the slack adjuster setting multiple times.

Are Spartan brakes just harder? Is there a setting for "force multiplier" or something? This is a 2003 Mountain Master chassis.
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Old 03-25-2011, 06:46 PM   #2
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Hi McDuff,
My air brakes require considerably more pressure than my auto hydraulic brakes. I've test driven only a couple of other DPs and they seem to require the same pressure as my DP and much more than the auto.
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Old 03-25-2011, 07:21 PM   #3
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I have seen regular hand controls before. are there any extra holes in the levers or other linkages so you change the ratio of you hand lever vs brake (lever)pedal this would change your amount of effort as well.
I have never heard of the air assisted hand controls. I can see why you want to trust them.
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Old 03-25-2011, 08:22 PM   #4
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I am like GaryKD -- the air brakes on my mh require more pressure than my auto brakes.
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Old 03-25-2011, 08:55 PM   #5
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I think I'm pretty strong and there is know way I could stop my coach quick with arm pressure.
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Old 03-26-2011, 06:38 AM   #6
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I think my air brakes are the hardest of the 3 vehicles I own. We have a Chevy, a Jeep, and the Ultimate and by and large I have to relearn the braking pressure when I'm in the RV after driving one of our cars.

Normally I get that done getting out of the campground or storage area. After that, I don't notice them being harder because I've adjusted.

I've tossed the DW abit when going from RV to Jeep.....but she hasn't killed me yet.

Hope you find a good solution.
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Old 03-26-2011, 12:13 PM   #7
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Thanks Guys,

Sounds like I am mis-remembering how hard air brakes were to apply, it was many moons ago.

Mekanic - nope, no adjustments to add more force, just alignment type, and the attachment to the pedal is at the very top, so getting as best I can I think. The air system was nice, there was a cylinder attached to each pedal, and had a small "throw" lever that only moved ~3 inches, half forward for brake, half backward for gas, so it was real touchy. But yeah, having the 2nd failure scared me, so off they went.

I can stop it pretty quick, it is just a pain to do.
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Old 03-26-2011, 05:04 PM   #8
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McDuff,
Someone may have already suggested this but.....Why don't you have someone that has driven or has a coach with Air Brakes give yours a try so they can compare and let you know.
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Old 03-26-2011, 05:42 PM   #9
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I'm in agreement with the others, I find the air brakes much harder to depress than the hydraulics in my car/truck. I always attributed it to the 32K lbs of the MOHO vs. the 3k lbs of the vehicles.

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Old 03-26-2011, 05:56 PM   #10
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I had an 02 Journey the brakes were hard to apply for braking in a short distance. Now we have an 07 Ellipse and the brakes are like auto brakes I feel I could stop on a dime (almost).
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Old 03-27-2011, 02:42 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David K View Post
I am like GaryKD -- the air brakes on my mh require more pressure than my auto brakes.
Same here.
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Old 03-27-2011, 03:03 PM   #12
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the brakes on our freightliner chassis imo are sensitive. it doesn't take much big toe force to slow down in a quick way

i would think that an accessibility company would have some better setups for your use. some sort of force multiplier to help your arms
just pushing down on the pedal with a rod or actuator imo seems ancient and less than adequate
a rotary/linear hand valve to regulate air release from the brake system seems like an approach you could hold in your hand, or place near your thigh on the seat that would take the place of the air release valve at the pedal, or at least be in parallel with the existing valve so a your wife could drive
we make rotary/linear throttle valves for hyd systems, why not one for air??? or a squeezable hand valve.
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Old 03-27-2011, 03:32 PM   #13
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Chcuk1935 - others have driven my coach and never said anything, 'course back then I wasn't questioning them. I'll mention it to the next service guy who drives it.

Powerboatr - I don't think there is enough call for air brake setups for someone in the mobility area to have come up with what you propose. Maybe I'll invent one. But mechanical rods have been in use since there wasn't any power brakes on cars which we know took a lot of oomph, as with my pneumatic system that failed, sometimes simpler is better.
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Old 03-27-2011, 03:59 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McDuff View Post
Chcuk1935 - others have driven my coach and never said anything, 'course back then I wasn't questioning them. I'll mention it to the next service guy who drives it.

Powerboatr - I don't think there is enough call for air brake setups for someone in the mobility area to have come up with what you propose. Maybe I'll invent one. But mechanical rods have been in use since there wasn't any power brakes on cars which we know took a lot of oomph, as with my pneumatic system that failed, sometimes simpler is better.

you may laugh, but i am have running ideas through my brain now since my last post
i have to ask a few questions to get a good grip
is your throttle setup a rod as well that engages the foot pedal?
your engine is it electronically controlled, with a potentiometer under the throttle pedal?

if so
a hand held squeeze throttle could be made along with a squeeze grip brake valve
the throttle potentiometer could be mounted on the steering wheel, like a thumb lever of sorts.
thinking out of the norm here,

not sure what the liabilities are except that a dead man sort of safety backup would be beneficial

i see your near rockwall, over off I30 before ( about 5 miles past bass pro headed west) beltline road is a mobility place that does vans, have you talked to them or are they the root cause of no help


again imo the brake valve seems easy to parallel to keep the stock valve in place and add a hand held valve.
you may have to have an umbilical line to the dash area but that would be a small thing if it gives you better control

you have intrigued me to say the least
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