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Old 10-12-2021, 09:36 AM   #1
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When the brakes go out, going 90 mph

We were headed down to San Diego for a club jeep run. Heading down a Freeway we have never been down before late at night. We started to Climb the longest up hill grade we have ever experienced and of course I have to comment on it. NEVER SAY IT OUT LOUD. As we finally crest the top of the hill and just start down the back side of the mountain when brake light comes on and the pedal goes to the floor. To the floor like we have no brake fluid goes to the floor.
No Brakes, nuttin as we start down the grade picking up speed , as I look out the window ,I make a comment too the wife look honey there goes the grim reaper of course she missed him he went by so fast. Then I stopped and wonderd why did she miss him and why is he on my side of the rv, but I digress.. My life memories are ticking by at 115 mph with a jeep on the tow. I tell my wife to go to the back of the coach and hang on. Not that it's gonna make a difference but you never know. I get it out of overdrive and get it down to the snails pace off 90 mph. At that moment the light goes off and the brakes come back and we get to the bottom of the mountain I had to pull off for a smoke. Bought a whole pack finished one and threw them away.....I DONT smoke. I did for 10 min though.
We take the RV to multiple places and they say they have it fixed 2 trips later we roll through a stop at 30 mph. I decide to figure it out myself. After some time I stumble across what is causing it OLD BRAKE fluid. 5 shops never checked the brake fluid. It was 10 yrs old, in that coach it should be changed every 4-5 yrs. The Brake fluid collects water. If you have a brake caliper hang up the friction cause the brake fluid to boil. Seems that going 90 mph cools it off pretty quickly.
You asking what kind of coach. Fleetwood 34L 97. I traded it in, it was fixed but I couldn't drive it again. Went on line there are more than one video of RV's crashing into all kinds of things, then I noticed they were all the same coach as our old one.
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Old 10-12-2021, 09:39 AM   #2
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Was not aware that the need to change brake fluid every couple of year WAS SUCH A SECRET.


GOOD GRIEF.


That is just part of basic preventive maintenance for any hydraulic brake system.


Also, basic driving technique says to use a gear that will hold your speed in equilibrium without the use of the service brakes. If service brakes are needed, apply them long and hard enough to allow dropping to a lower gear.
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Old 10-12-2021, 09:44 AM   #3
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We just bought it and thought they had safety serviced it. We were new to the world of RV Dealers, ah the learning curve.
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Old 10-12-2021, 09:53 AM   #4
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WOW !! Glad to hear a positive outcome and im sure a lot had to do with your composure. Forgot the cigarette i would of had to stop at walmart and got me some new briefs.
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Old 10-12-2021, 09:55 AM   #5
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I have owned many vehicles that I have never touched the brake fluid on. That being said I did just swap out a master cylinder on a 21 year old pickup and the brake fluid that came out of the bleeders did not look anything like. But then again that pickup is not a motorhome, at the top of a steep grade, and doesn't have thousands of pounds behind pushing it along. Your lucky. Not too make light of your experience but that would have been some interesting dash cam footage.
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Old 10-12-2021, 10:18 AM   #6
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Yup/ Brake fluid is one of the most overlooked maintenance items. And it's cheap. Buy it by the gallon. It will keep in unopened, but open on the shelf for 1 year, time to toss it.

It also depends on what grade you buy. The old standard was DOT3. DOT5 is the minimum now as it does not absorb water.

Some vehicles do not recommend DOT5, not sure why. But yes, brake fluid flush was/is a standard to do along with coolant flush at least every 2 years.
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Old 10-12-2021, 10:26 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amosnandy View Post
Yup/ Brake fluid is one of the most overlooked maintenance items. And it's cheap. Buy it by the gallon. It will keep in unopened, but open on the shelf for 1 year, time to toss it.

It also depends on what grade you buy. The old standard was DOT3. DOT5 is the minimum now as it does not absorb water.

Some vehicles do not recommend DOT5, not sure why. But yes, brake fluid flush was/is a standard to do along with coolant flush at least every 2 years.
DOT 5 brake fluid is silicon based and not compatible with DOT 3,4, or 5.1. What you state probably applies to manufacturer recommendations on cars that came with DOT 3 or 4 or even 5.1 installed.
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Old 10-12-2021, 10:46 AM   #8
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Where was this hill?
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Old 10-12-2021, 11:11 AM   #9
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It was Frwy 8 heading East.
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Old 10-12-2021, 11:14 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by roadrunner 2 View Post
It was Frwy 8 heading East.
Oh yeah, down the grade to Plaster City! There is a truck runaway escape ramp near the base of the grade, for good reason, but you wouldn't know that if the route was new to you.


Glad you got down safely, that is a killer grade, literally.
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Old 10-12-2021, 11:30 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by roadrunner 2 View Post
We just bought it and thought they had safety serviced it. We were new to the world of RV Dealers, ah the learning curve.
Did the toad have a supplement braking system?

There are internet stories, which must be true, of people slowing and stopping their coaches with only the toad brakes.
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Old 10-12-2021, 11:38 AM   #12
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Did e-brakes become an option?
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Old 10-12-2021, 01:47 PM   #13
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Old 10-12-2021, 05:37 PM   #14
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Glad you didn't get hurt. Hope it doesn't happen again, but if it does, you might want to use the emergency brake. That should slow you enough to start downshifting.


DOT 4 is compatible with DOT 3, but has a higher boiling point. One of the first things I did with my camper was to flush the old, replacing it with DOT 4.
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