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Old 02-25-2018, 01:40 PM   #1
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Brake checks

I have driven the mountains on the east coast with my previous set up, a 32’ TT pulled by a Ford CC dually, never paid much attention to the stop areas for trucks to check their brakes before going down some of the steeper grades.
Now that we have the coach and have air brakes, I think that I should be paying attention to these areas.
As part of my pre-trip routine I check that the low air alarm comes on, the tanks build pressure in an appropriate time, I also apply the service brake and look for air loss on gauges and listen for any leaks, I make sure the spring brakes are working and of course make sure the service brakes stop the coach. Do all of this before every trip.
How many stop at the ‘check brake’ areas? And what are you checking for? Anything other than what would be in a pre trip

Thanks
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Old 02-25-2018, 01:52 PM   #2
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Sounds like your pre-trip check is pretty complete. I suspect many Motorhomes hit the road without much in the way of brake checks.
I must confess that we seldom pull in to the " brake check " areas. If there is an extra steep, long grade ( descending into Laughlin, Nv for example ), I usually pull off to have a walk around, check the tow. I make good use of the exhaust / engine brake which does an excellent job of holding speed on those long grades.
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Old 02-25-2018, 02:28 PM   #3
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We don't use them. We use the transmission and PAC brake to maintain speed going down the hills. A brake check in the morning and we're good.
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Old 02-25-2018, 04:53 PM   #4
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I don’t pull in them but I do look at my tank pressure gauges and tap the brake pedal to check operation. Usually do this when topping a grade to downshift before descending.
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Old 02-25-2018, 07:50 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dougjpr View Post
I have driven the mountains on the east coast with my previous set up, a 32’ TT pulled by a Ford CC dually, never paid much attention to the stop areas for trucks to check their brakes before going down some of the steeper grades.
Now that we have the coach and have air brakes, I think that I should be paying attention to these areas.
As part of my pre-trip routine I check that the low air alarm comes on, the tanks build pressure in an appropriate time, I also apply the service brake and look for air loss on gauges and listen for any leaks, I make sure the spring brakes are working and of course make sure the service brakes stop the coach. Do all of this before every trip.
How many stop at the ‘check brake’ areas? And what are you checking for? Anything other than what would be in a pre trip

Thanks
Doug,
You're doing a pretty good pre-trip. Over 95% of the diesel RV drivers I know, never even think about stuff like that. The truck stop/brake check areas you see are primarily for trucks. Those boys (and girls) are subject to more stringent rules and regs regarding brake systems, brake condition, hoses and all that's involved in the air brake systems. If they're conscientious, they stop, check around, make sure things are what and where they're supposed to be and, move on.

Us diesel coach drivers don't put nearly as many miles on our rigs as they do. Our brakes are not nearly as subject to as harsh working conditions as theirs are. Most of us are fairly easy on our brake systems, especially if (as most are) our coaches have one or the other auxiliary braking systems like an exhaust brake or compression brake.

I do all my own inspections and repairs so, I keep a fairly close eye on all of that. I don't bother with "check brake" rest areas or truck stops because, I already know what kind of condition mine are in, even on a lengthy trip. I applaud you for your due diligence and keeping up on your system. Air system daily checks are not hard, nor are they very time consuming. There are folks out there like you and, take the time and effort to do just what you do. We just don't read on here about them, like you did. Nice work.
Scott
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Old 02-25-2018, 08:39 PM   #6
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Thanks for the support Scott.

I’ve always been more inclined to err on the safe side.

I enjoy learning about the systems on the coach, not only makes me a hopefully safer operator but also more understanding when dealing with mechanics and technicians.

Would love to be able to do all my own work but don’t have the space at the house to do that. Do all the house components, but not most of the chassis stuff.
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Old 02-25-2018, 08:57 PM   #7
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know ahead of time if I'm going to be going down a steep grade. When I see the warning signs, I turn my engine brake on and downshift. Unless it's a super long grade or very steep I rarely need my service brakes.
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Old 02-25-2018, 10:50 PM   #8
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Thanks for the support Scott.

I’ve always been more inclined to err on the safe side.

I enjoy learning about the systems on the coach, not only makes me a hopefully safer operator but also more understanding when dealing with mechanics and technicians.

Would love to be able to do all my own work but don’t have the space at the house to do that. Do all the house components, but not most of the chassis stuff.
You're quite welcome. Yep, been doing my own stuff for decades. Like you, I've always enjoyed learning both academically and, by DOING. You always know what kind of job was done, when doing it yourself.
Scott
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Old 02-26-2018, 04:56 PM   #9
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Here is a procedure for checking your air system.

1. Run engine and air up vehicle
2. Turn engine off
3. Turn key on (engine off)
4. Release parking brake
5. Time 1 min to see if loose 2 PSI after stabilized
6. Apply constant pressure to brake for 1 min to see if loose 3 PSI
7. Pump brake - about 60 PSI should see and/or hear warning light or sound
8. Continue pumping till parking brake comes on between 20 - 40 PSI
9. Test is now complete
START VEHICLE AND AIR-UP
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Old 02-26-2018, 05:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Here is a procedure for checking your air system.

1. Run engine and air up vehicle
2. Turn engine off
3. Turn key on (engine off)
4. Release parking brake
5. Time 1 min to see if loose 2 PSI after stabilized
6. Apply constant pressure to brake for 1 min to see if loose 3 PSI
7. Pump brake - about 60 PSI should see and/or hear warning light or sound
8. Continue pumping till parking brake comes on between 20 - 40 PSI
9. Test is now complete
START VEHICLE AND AIR-UP
Great procedure, toughest part is seeing where 3psi would be on a gauge with so few graduations. Gauge usually does it move once stabilized.

With all due respect if I could add one thing that you probably already do, and that is chalk the wheels, just in case.
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Old 02-26-2018, 06:21 PM   #11
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How can I tell a 2 psi or the 3 psi loss on my gauge?
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Old 02-27-2018, 05:53 PM   #12
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Calibrated eyeballs !! You just have to guesstimate and see if there is movement. If there's a leak, you'll know it.
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Old 02-27-2018, 06:43 PM   #13
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Calibrated eyeballs !! You just have to guesstimate and see if there is movement. If there's a leak, you'll know it.
Are you kidding me, my eyeballs are so old I'm having a hard time telling a boy from a girl these days! I can remember my Dad saying that when us Hippies started to wear our hair long
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Old 02-28-2018, 09:04 AM   #14
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One last thought.. even though you have an air dryer... its important to regularly open the drains on the tanks and empty any water... for 2 reasons... the first, which is most important is that water in the tank limits the ability of the air system to provide air for braking.. and the second is the air in the tanks will allow for rust to start and shorten the life of the tanks...

The above mentioned tests are great... but remember that CDL drivers are required to drain those tanks daily... and those tanks have a snap valve, you just pull the cord and they will spit out the water.. and than the valve snaps closed.
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