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Old 02-28-2004, 10:46 PM   #1
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Larry,

I've been studying your new A to Z Conversion guide for 2 weeks and IMO the chapter on Brakes is lacking explainations of exactly how to apply air brakes without throwing yourself and passengers through the windshield. I was looking to learn how to gently apply air brakes, even in a panic situation without skidding or sliding into a jack knife situation.

I've been driveing a "yard spotter truck" for over 5 years now and I still have difficulty getting used to stopping a loaded trailer with 42,000 to 49,000 lbs. of payload without hesitating to SLAM on the brake pedal. Most times I throw the autoshift lever to neutral and then ease the brake pedal down. I don't know if driving at 65 mph and having to stop or swirve to miss a road hazard or animal that I would be able to not SLAM the brake pedal without considerable forthought due to normal human reactions to STOP the vehicle.

What would you suggest to remedy this natural reaction?

Thanks for all of you information in your "Guide".

Dan in Oklahoma.

1998 Z71 Chevy Extended Cab 3-Door
1988 HitchHiker (no slides)

(Larry, looking foward to my dream rig)

2000 Volvo 610 Auto Shift
Snowbird White Splash Guards
and White Rear Fenders
2004 Carriage csw374 "Ultra-Suite" Quad Slide
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Old 02-29-2004, 07:48 AM   #2
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Hello Dan --

Until Larry can respond -- I'll post my 2 cents worth -- Based on my lifetime as a commercial driver and your post.

As you may know -- there is a slight delay in service brake application and the braking effect. Without going into the brake system -- Just realize the delay of a second or so.

Unlike a hydraulic brake system -- Where the operator has pedel feedback -- That is -- The more application -- The harder it is to push the brake pedel. Not so -- When applying air brakes. The resistance felt in pushing the full service brake pedel is generated by a spring. This doesn't represent the force being applied to the brakes.

To gauge how much application air is being applied to the brakes -- Simply look at the application air gauge on the dash -- To see how much air is being applied.

You mentioned you drive a yard mule. This may leed to a bad habbit -- Stabbing of the brakes to stop a fully loaded commercial trailer. You may be just using the brakes of the yard mule to stop. If the air line is hooked up to the trailer and you are using the trailer brakes also -- Are they in adjustment? Is the balance between the yard mule's brakes and the trailer correct? Usually with a yard mule -- You are hooking up only the charged air line -- As this is needed to release the maxi's on the trailer -- Braking is done just by the mule.

Once you are in a highway tractor -- Braking is completly different -- As that of a yard mule.

You will have a balanced braking system.

You will be sitting up much higher -- And have a commanding view -- Thus you will be able to anticipate service braking much sooner.

It is also imperative -- That one drives Defensively -- Thus avioding the Panic Stop.

When applying the service brakes properly -- There are no problems.

I hope this has helped ......

Dave

To the Administrator -- If this reply is successful -- It is by accident -- As using the "Reply" button has no "Post Now" button to click onto. I've tried responding to other posts this past week with no success on posting.

Dave
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Old 02-29-2004, 12:38 PM   #3
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OLDphoneman,

Thank you for your very informative reply with your years of OTR driving experience. I do appreciate "Hands On" knowledge passed on to those of us less experienced road drivers that will help us avoid life saving costly mistakes while driving the open road.

I need to explain my yard mule driving a bit further to allow you to understand my original question of "How do you use Air Brakes efficiently?"

I am the only one of four yard mule drivers that does always hook up both both the red or fully charged release for trailer brakes and the blue or activater for trailer brakes.

My reason for slamming on the brake pedal in a panic situation comes from an atomatic gate closing prematurely, from yard traffic of delivering drivers, or from employees entering or leaving the parking lot rapidly. At times, our trailer yard has more traffic than some freeway rush hours, only on a gravel surface, not asphalt.

I truly do appreciate you wisdom filled advice and I look forward to practice my braking skills toward a mastery level on the service roads where I live long before I ever travel the open road with my rig.

I do have another question concerning your reply: Do you really watch the air gauge on the dash each time you brake, or is this a feel for the brake pedal you acquire over years of driving. I thought keeping your eyes on the road and traffic around you would better serve your successful stopping of your rig.

Thank you again, your comments and advice are received with my utmost gratitude.

BTW Your WebShot pictures and comments on truck generators are awesome, Super Informative, you are an excellant teacher and illistrator of "How To" and "Why Do" what ever you are explaining. Thank You for shareing your wisdom and experience of all of your projects. Your Red Rig and Alpha Gold are as sweet a setup as I've ever seen on the net or in person. Totally Awesome. Thank You so much and keep the info coming for all of us novices who desire to learn the easy way, not the hard way of accidents, screwups, or worse.

Dan

1998 Z71 Chevy Extended Cab 3-Door
1988 HitchHiker (no slides)

(Larry, looking foward to my dream rig)

2000 Volvo 610 Auto Shift
Snowbird White Splash Guards
and White Rear Fenders
2004 Carriage csw374 "Ultra-Suite" Quad Slide

[This message was edited by DanTheMan on February 29, 2004 at 03:53 PM.]
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Old 02-29-2004, 02:10 PM   #4
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Hello Dan -- --

Thanks for the comments on the pictures I've posted on WebShots -- Just one Old Mans's approach ........ :^)

I understand your working conditions and braking habits. A horrible enviroment for safe braking -- As you've very well illustrated.

Much different on the open road. Also much different between a commercial trailer and an rv. No matter how the electric trailer brake controller is set -- The Tractor is large enough and heavy enough -- Not to be pushed by the 5th wheel. Yes -- It's pushed -- but .. Not uncontrolably.

The application air gage -- For a normal stop .... No. I don't use it (look at it). It's primary purpose is when decending a mountain grade. If one has selected an improper gear for decent (Higher) -- The driver will have to apply the service brakes more forceably. As there is no relationship between the pedel position or feel -- The only way to gage how much air is being supplied to the air cans is via the application air gage.

With my setup -- I really don't need the application air gage. I use just the Jake for decent -- No service brake application -- Until needed .. Such as a turn ahead. I'm not grossing 105 thousand anymore (Extended weight permit) -- Only 33.5K. It's a whole different world for me now.

I can certinally understand your concern for proper braking application -- Considering your work environment. Just practice good Defensive Driving. By doing so -- You will only be applying the brakes gently. By driving defensively -- You will have a safety cushion between you and the vehicle in front of you. If you find that you are still braking hard -- Simply increase your following distance.

I always recommend -- By what ever means one determins their following distance - Double it. Wet pavement/snow/ice -- I'm off the road. Don't need the aggravation any more ..... :^)

Don't be concerned about the brakes -- With a setup like mine. I use um gently -- And have plenty in reserve -- If needed. I'd be scared -- If I had a pickup !!

Sit back -- Relax -- And enjoy the scenery .......

Dave

Administrator -- The only way I'm able to post a response is to use the "Quick Response" button next to the "Reply" button. Again -- The "Reply" button brings up the reply screen with NO "Post Now" button. Thanks -- --
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Old 02-29-2004, 06:37 PM   #5
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hi guys, mase. dan when i bought my chassis i had had no experience driving a big rig. the wheelbase is 282" and with no weight on the rear axel[only the chassis weight] it was easy to slide the rear wheels-- but it did give me an oppertunity to learn gently is best. since i've finished the coach i've nearly met some not so aware folks, grey hair group "oh my gosh where did he come from" and i have nailed em pretty good. great results except inside and that requires some rearanging later. all in all i'm thrilled wirh how mine stops and i'm 11,300 on the front and 21,500 on the back and it stops great-- you'll get used to the sysrem in less time than you think. mase
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Old 03-01-2004, 03:29 PM   #6
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I take a back seat to OLDPhoneman. I have never driven a rig OTR, or one loaded heavily. I have towed travel trailers with 6 different Volvos. Never had any sort of problem with brakes on any of um.

onezman

http://onezman.tripod.com/yourrvhaulercom
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Old 03-01-2004, 06:54 PM   #7
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The added material on the screen has pushed the post button off to the bottom. What I have been doing is dragging the window up to the top of the screen, almost off it, then pulling the corner to stretch the window back out, revealing the post button.
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Old 03-03-2004, 05:59 PM   #8
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Dan -

Here is my experience. Early on I was drove overly defensive to avoid that lock up situation. As time has gone passed I have picked up the feel during heavy breaking when I actually have to let off the brake even though I still have to get stopped. You really sense the air building up in the system.

I will say these things do stop quick if needed, had some chocolate brownies go flying during a emergency stop and thankfully they landed on a carpet running which was easily replaced.

Bill

2003 28' Show Hauler Motorhome on a 1995 FLD 120 www.showhauler.com
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Old 03-03-2004, 06:28 PM   #9
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Two added thoughts for what they are worth:

-- air brake application gauge is an option and not all tractors have them --
and
newer tractors have ABS systems - could be harder to lock up brakes with this system.

don
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