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Old 11-28-2021, 12:24 PM   #1
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Air brakes don't stop well

Hi, old motorhome owner 1st one was in 1977
just bought my first dp a 2007 Tiffin phaeton
while it's a great coach the brakes seem inadequate
white knuckles when stopping fast it don't seem to stop really well
is this normal for air brakes? I have over 125 # air pressure
on the air gauges. checked the shoes and they looked great lots of material
any ideas or is this normal
always thought that air brakes were the best system
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Old 11-28-2021, 12:40 PM   #2
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I'd check to see if they're glazed.
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Old 11-28-2021, 01:05 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ronjax View Post
Hi, old motorhome owner 1st one was in 1977
just bought my first dp a 2007 Tiffin phaeton
while it's a great coach the brakes seem inadequate
white knuckles when stopping fast it don't seem to stop really well
is this normal for air brakes? I have over 125 # air pressure
on the air gauges. checked the shoes and they looked great lots of material
any ideas or is this normal
always thought that air brakes were the best system
Well,
One of the first things to check here is the travel of the "Slack adjusters". Not many D/P owners have the knowledge and or ability check those. It's not hard but, it does take two people most of the time. If those slack adjusters are out of adjustment, your brakes can require more pressure to work correctly. Glazing is also a potential for higher pressure needed but, not normally. The *Treadle valve* which, is the valve that actually applied air pressure to the brakes as you step on it, can potentially be faulty too but again, it doesn't happen very often. I'm not sure I've ever read on here about a faulty one.
Scott
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Old 11-28-2021, 01:09 PM   #4
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When was the last time you adjusted them?
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Old 11-28-2021, 01:17 PM   #5
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Agree with others, check slack adjusters and glazing of shoes.


You probably have "automatic" adjusters, but have not tried them. Air up the system, remain in Neutral, parking brake ON, and press slowly and firmly on the brake pedal. You should hear a "clunk" type metallic sound from under the floor. That's the sound of the adjusters. Repeat several times.
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Old 11-28-2021, 01:39 PM   #6
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It will need more distance than a car due to weight. My old girl has 4 wheel discs. It can stop crazy hard, if too strong on the pedal under 50 mph. Have you been using engine/exhaust brake as well.
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Old 11-28-2021, 03:54 PM   #7
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I’m just wondering based on where people live if there’s some different laws around this.

Agree the OP should check the applied pushrod stroke for each brake chamber and see if it’s still within the correct adjustment limits for the brake chamber size. I check mine alone using a brake buddy.

For me, If I find any out of adjustment, I’m not legally allowed to adjust them. In Ontario if they’re automatic slack adjusters only a mechanic can adjust them. Certifications courses for non-mechanics only allows adjustment of manual slack adjusters - if you can even find a course now.
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Old 11-28-2021, 04:44 PM   #8
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air brakes

Hi thanks for the reply's
just purchased the coach and I will look in to the slack adjusters
as soon as I google how to do it
the brakes were supposedly redone earlier this year
checking with seller asap
how would I check if the drums are glazed
also at low speeds sometimes there is a squeaky noise coming from front brakes
I use the exhaust brake except when driving on interstate
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Old 11-28-2021, 04:56 PM   #9
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Air brakes feel very different from the brakes that you are used to driving. It takes a bit to get the feel for the air brakes. When I first started driving with air brakes I thought it needed a whole lot of leg power to push the pedal down and to hold it at a stop. Turned out it was just me. I was expecting the same kind of feedback that I was used to. Practice some and get the feel for them. There are many youtube videos out there on how to brake with them. Definitely get them checked, but don't be surprised if it's just your technique.
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Old 11-28-2021, 07:15 PM   #10
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I would agree with the slack adjusters. If they are out on even one axle, you could be pushing the pedal halfway to the floor before the pads/linings even begin to start working. They are easy to check on an eighteen wheeler where there is lots of room to crawl under, probably more difficult on a class A with limited room. This is covered in the Ontario Air Brake endorsement course that is required to drive any air brake equipped vehicle.
You can probably find info and pictures of what to look for on the 'net'

Ken
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Old 11-28-2021, 07:54 PM   #11
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Tie everything down, get on an empty highway, and do 3 hard stops.

See how it feels after that. To many folks baby the brakes, they need some heat.

Here in the US, the DOT says if you need to adjust air brakes, you need to fix the self adjusters, so that they don't need adjustment.

You can check your adjustment alone. Chock your wheels, build full air pressure, push in parking brake knob, and crawl under the rear to physical pry the clevis away from the brake chamber. If it moves more the 1 inch, you have issues.


Measure along the red rod, between the blue lines.Click image for larger version

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Old 11-28-2021, 07:56 PM   #12
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Slack adjusters also need lubing along with all the other frame suspension and steering zirc points..
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Old 11-28-2021, 07:56 PM   #13
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You can check the front by just prying the rod out. No need to release the parking brake.
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Old 11-29-2021, 12:40 AM   #14
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The fact that the brakes were redone is good if they knew what they were doing, bad if they did not. Take it to a reliable truck repair shop and have them inspect the brakes. And the slack adjuster stroke. Ask if they will let you watch them check the stroke and explain what they are looking for. You can decide then if that is something you will feel comfortable doing yourself in the future.
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