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Author Topic: MCI Parking Brake Question - Update  (Read 3863 times)
paul102a3
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« on: August 22, 2009, 04:49:21 AM »

The other day I was backing into a parking space, set the parking brakes, removed my foot from the service brakes and the bus started to roll backwards.

I was in reverse gear at the time so I set the trans in neutral, reset the parking brake, shifted into reverse to double check and the bus moved a few inches and then stopped.

Since the episode, I have noticed the parking brakes do not hold well in reverse. I can overpower them with a little throttle while in reverse gear. The same is not true in forward gear. I have given a fair amount of throttle in forward and the parking brakes seem to hold fine.

Where do I start to diagnose the problem?

The service brakes seem fine and I have not noticed any change in braking distance.

Paul
« Last Edit: August 24, 2009, 02:30:36 PM by paul102a3 » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2009, 05:05:08 AM »

Sounds like you need to adjust your brakes.  Brakes do not have as much holding power in reverse and will fail to hold in reverse before they fail to hold going forward.  Jack
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« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2009, 05:06:49 AM »

Do you have automatic slack adjusters or manual?

I agree with Jack, maybe the slacks need adjusting.

Paul
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« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2009, 05:08:20 AM »

Interesting. I don't have much to say about your problem.

 FWIW we can overpower our parking brakes. We hate to do it, but after we first got our bus, we got back, parked the bus, and the next day found that there was water in the lines, and the lines to the parking brakes had frozen. We, of course, tried everything (remember we didn't know ANYTHING at all about the bus). We were on the phone with Junior, and everything. I won't go into the rest of the story, but we also had the gasket that is between the oil cooler, and the engine fail. We poured a gallon of oil in every ten minutes, while we were driving to take the bus to the shop (it was pouring out!). We had a forty five minute drive...

So anyways, we used to be able to over power them, but that might have changed after we rebuilt the undercarriage.

God bless,

John
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« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2009, 05:29:51 AM »

Paul, the dd-3 parking brakes sets at the air pressure you have built up in the system try 110 0r 115 lbs before setting the parking brake.
Ah thank heaven for spring brakes.   



good luck
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paul102a3
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« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2009, 05:33:19 AM »

I have no idea if the slack adjusters are manual or automatic. How can I tell?

I had ABC bus do a pre-purchase inspection of the brakes and suspension and they did adjust the brakes at that time. This was in April of this year and a little over 2,000 miles ago. Since they had to adjust the brakes, would that mean the slack adjusters are manual?

Paul

 
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« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2009, 05:38:23 AM »

Luvrbus, Would it be a good practice to wait until the system purges before setting the parking brakes?

Paul
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« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2009, 05:44:24 AM »

Automatic slack adjusters look like this.



Check your manual, also it might be stated what type on your workorder.

Paul
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« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2009, 05:46:33 AM »

Paul,
Yes it would be a good practice, but should not really be necessary!

And FWIW I would bet that you have manual slack adjusters or froze up and worn out auto-slack adjusters!

What yr is yer bus? (not that that really means anything I have seen OLD buses with autos and new buses with manuals)

I agree it sounds like the brakes definitely need adjusted, and/or the brakes may need replaced!

HTH   Grin  BK  Grin
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« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2009, 05:47:18 AM »

Paul, auto slack adjusters can be adjusted manually it is a good idea to do it every so often anyway to check for the ones not working.
Your model bus came with auto slack adjusters.  
Slack adjusters mean just that they take up the slack to adjust the brakes properly do it the old fashion way like ABC did for you


good luck
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« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2009, 05:52:40 AM »

This video will give you a pretty good understanding about adjusting slack adjusters.

Just be safe when underneath, block, chock and lock, put the key in your pocket, turn off batts.

Adjusting air brake system slack adjusters
« Last Edit: August 22, 2009, 05:56:24 AM by Dreamscape » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2009, 05:58:22 AM »

Paul, our instructor at the Bendix school recommend setting the DD-3 at 110 to 115 lbs because it takes 1 lb more of air pressure to release brakes from the set postion and as they wear a little more.

Ps he was not a big fan of the DD-3 parking brake and I am sure he is jumping with joy since Bendix stop make the system 

good luck
« Last Edit: August 22, 2009, 06:06:59 AM by luvrbus » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2009, 06:30:48 AM »

Clifford,

So does that mean that they don't have the "spring applied air released," system anymore, or does that just mean that they stopped making the DD3, but still have that system.

Thanks.

God bless,

John
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« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2009, 06:38:05 AM »

Thanks everyone for the info. The YouTube video was real helpful. I looked through the book last night and thought I understood the procedure but to see the process in action really puts things in perspective.

I think I will take the bus back to the shop and have them look things over. We are leaving in two weeks for a rather long trip up to Canada and then back down the coastal towns of New England and the mid Atlantic states. The last thing I need or want is a brake problem on the road. Being a rather safety conscious person, I would rather leave with the knowledge that the brakes are working as close to 100% as they can be.


Paul

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« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2009, 06:50:05 AM »

John, the spring brakes are what is used today the DD-3 are gone.
I just looked at my notes taken during class and can see why he didn't like auto adjusters or the DD-3 here is the info he gave us fact or fiction I don't know because I have spring brakes

Rebuild kit for a DD-3 brake  has 70 parts
rebuild kit for a spring brake has 9 parts
auto adjusters have 25 parts
manual adjusters have 8 parts  
serviceable parts


good luck
« Last Edit: August 22, 2009, 09:59:06 AM by luvrbus » Logged

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« Reply #15 on: August 22, 2009, 06:59:24 AM »

According to information I have heard, Bendix no longer makes the DD-3 or the parts, as of Dec 2008. That is one reason why I switched to spring brakes on our Eagle, the other was the cost. New, if you can find them, DD-3's were around $1400, rebuild kits were around $90 per chamber. New spring brake cans size 30/30 are about 40 bucks total. DD-3's are getting scarce and so are the parts. You can get spring brake cans at any truck parts place.

Clifford talked me into switching over, sure glad I did. Wink

Keep in mind this was on an Eagle, MCI's might not have the additional room required to cage the brakes.

FWIW,

Paul
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« Reply #16 on: August 22, 2009, 07:00:22 AM »

I strongly suggest anyone who doesn't have a strong background in air brakes get their brakes inspected like Paul at a bus garage on a regular basis.  I have mine checked once a year at C&J Bus Repair when I have my yearly oil change and service done.
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« Reply #17 on: August 22, 2009, 07:18:35 AM »

I strongly suggest anyone who doesn't have a strong background in air brakes get their brakes inspected like Paul at a bus garage on a regular basis.  I have mine checked once a year at C&J Bus Repair when I have my yearly oil change and service done.

I agree, but everyone who drives a bus needs to know how they work so he can be smart when he does take it to a shop.
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« Reply #18 on: August 22, 2009, 07:21:05 AM »

Thats one thing I'm hoping to do when we get to BK's rally, with that huge pit in BK's shop it really makes it a lot easier for an old guy to crawl around.
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« Reply #19 on: August 22, 2009, 08:49:52 AM »

Paul,

I agree with Jack and others, your slack adjusters probably need adjusting.  If you have an MCI 102A3 (per your BB name), it is doubtful you have automatic slack adjusters.  They may have been available as an option, and you may in fact have them, but most MCI's of that era used manual slack adjusters.

"Paul, the dd-3 parking brakes set at the air pressure you have built up in the system try 110 0r 115 lbs before setting the parking brake."

Partially correct.  The DD3 brake chambers, via the park brake system on an MCI, do set to the applied service brake pressure, but only up to 85 psi.  The park brake pressure regulator limits the park brake set pressure to 85 psi, and MCI has a service bulletin out stating the importance of that pressure for proper operation of the DD3 chambers.  I'm out of town a few days but if this board accepts .pdf files, I will post it when I get home. 

"So does that mean that they don't have the "spring applied air released," system anymore, or does that just mean that they stopped making the DD3, but still have that system."

John, yes hundreds (maybe thousands) of DD3 brake chambers still are in use and will be for years to come.  The local college has D series buses purchased new in 1999, and they all have DD3 brake chambers.  Parts will be available for a long time.  In fact, factory new DD3's have been offered on Ebay for that last several weeks.

Yes, they cost more than a spring brake chamber and always did.  And like many bus parts that went out of production (and more that will), maintaining/repairing these machines will be more expensive.  But the picture painted by some that DD3 owners will have no brake parts available soon is simply not true.  When I got into this bus thing 10 years ago, I had people telling me the same thing about dwindling 2 stroke engine parts availability, lack of proper oil availability, and dwindling numbers of "2 stroke mechanics."  But today I'm not hearing about bus nuts that cannot get their 2 stroke engines repaired due to any of the above doom and gloom scenarios having come true.

Have the shop adjust ALL your slack adjusters (you have 6 with an A3 model), and test service brake and park brake functions before you leave the parking lot.  And then, have a wonderful trip!
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« Reply #20 on: August 22, 2009, 09:24:58 AM »

Thanks for the explain, Clifford. Makes sense, and I am glad that we have spring brakes, with auto adjusters (I still get under there and check them).

God bless,

John
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« Reply #21 on: August 22, 2009, 09:44:12 AM »

Chuck, my reference was made to the DD-3 in general MCI was not the only vehicle that used the system there were trucks, trailers and on some heavy equipment and the 85 lbs wasn't for all applications Eagle used 105 lbs Peterbuilt used 115 lbs and who knows what valve he has.
 
Paul was right about Bendix not servicing the DD-3 any longer that stopped in 2008 and a little difference in stopping production and the 2 strokes with parts and engines still being to day by MTU with after market parts by Fedaral and others with parts available for every series of engine except the 51.(over 5 million 2 stroke in use today per MTU)
 
If Midland or others don't start making parts and I am told that won't happen you guys are going to find out it is going to hard to find and pricey as the stock dwindles.  

David and I changed 4 of auto adjusters on his MCI 102A3 Wed. because they froze and his manual showed the auto adjusters for his serial number I am sorry but I thought they all had the auto adjusters.
A 1999 year model bus is 10 years old now times have changed  

oops forgot to tell you guys the other 2 on the front were only 2 months old



good luck
« Last Edit: August 22, 2009, 10:01:31 AM by luvrbus » Logged

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« Reply #22 on: August 22, 2009, 10:14:14 AM »

Luvrbus,

I agree with that.  Especially that this is a new era of mergers and closed doors.  But historically, where their has been a market, and their is a large DD3 market out there,  someone has come along to fill that need.  Obviously to their profit.  It's called free enterprise.  I'm hopeful that is not wishful thinking in this instance.

Now am I at ease with that?  No.  In fact last week with the wheels off I took measurements to see about switching to 30-30s.  I don't know about earlier or later MCI designs, but the 102 series are just 2" short on getting spring brake chambers to fit.     And that would have required moving and rebuilding the height control valve brackets.  Not counting the caging bolt requirements.

So I am having my DD3's rebuilt now, and I may purchase a new one ($525.) for backup. More likely, I'll purchase a parts kit (or two) for the future.  Just in case. 

Hopefully, those plans will outlive my busing adventures.

Chuck

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« Reply #23 on: August 22, 2009, 12:47:00 PM »

Parts for the older buses will probably be available for some time to come, but they will not be on the shelf at every parts house.  you'll probably have to order them and wait unless a local Detroit or Freightliner dealer has the two stroke part you need.

There is a large Napa store that opened in the last year or two that has both truck and auto parts.  They have spring brake chambers sitting on the shelf in the customer area while the counterman might not even know what a DD3 is.
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« Reply #24 on: August 22, 2009, 12:48:18 PM »

Most housings have a bolt on spider that is reclockable. It lets you rotate the brake chambers to a more favorable position if needed. I would spend a few bucks and get the chambers rotated and switch to spring chambers instead of trying to maintain the old technology.
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« Reply #25 on: August 22, 2009, 04:34:16 PM »

Guys, I talked to Mohawk last week. I think the owner Jack Brown. He claims to have a contract with NYC Transit to supply DD3 parts into 2011. They have someone make their parts, Not Bendix. If the demand is still there, he claims to keep the parts after that date.  Hope this helps.  Tom Y
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« Reply #26 on: August 22, 2009, 09:36:33 PM »

That's good news Tom.  Mohawk designs and manufacturers quite a bit of items for the transportation industry.  During the discussions concerning Bendix dropping production of the DD3 brake chamber, I had a feeling Mohawk had or would pick up the slack in that area.  Simply because they are deeply entrenched in the business.

Chuck
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« Reply #27 on: August 23, 2009, 05:44:38 AM »

The Mohawk guy is on the board here perhaps he will answer for you guys because I don't know of any modern transit buses that use the DD-3.
 Eagle stop using the DD-3 in 80's and Prevost in the early 90's or before Bendix gave years of notice they were not going to make the DD-3 it just didn't happen overnight. 
I remember the last DD-3 can I bought from Chalks in Houston in the late 70's cost me 55.00 dollars and I complained big time
Let's face it guys we are the only people that keep these old buses from going to the crushers and there  
is not that many of us    


good luck
« Last Edit: August 23, 2009, 07:02:05 AM by luvrbus » Logged

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« Reply #28 on: August 24, 2009, 02:47:50 PM »

I dropped the bus off at the shop this morning and the news was not good.

The drive brakes were completely worn out with about 1/16 inch of lining remaining. The slack adjusters (manual by the way) were way out of adjustment and I have the start of a leaking seal.

On the bright side, dd-3s are in good condition as were the drums so I saved some money there. The front and tags brakes were both in good shape but did need some adjustment.

While they are under the bus, I decided to have the shop replace the sway bar bushings as they were pretty worn.

It will be interesting to see how the bus stops once the brakes are up to snuff. From my perspective, I had no issues (other than the parking brake), the bus stops in a reasonable distance and there was no pulling left to right under braking.

I think I will have to have a talk with someone at ABC bus. As I mentioned, they inspected the brakes in April of this year and gave the entire braking system a clean bill of health.

Paul
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« Reply #29 on: August 24, 2009, 04:58:20 PM »

You must do a lot of driving to wear out the brakes in five months.
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« Reply #30 on: August 24, 2009, 05:24:50 PM »

Quote from: Len Silva
You must do a lot of driving to wear out the brakes in five months.

Well maybe and maybe not!

OK Paul first don't think I'm picking on you, or saying your stupid or something here.
But so many times I see folks who drive these beasts that have not been around them for yrs who have no idea the proper way to release a set of DD3's. And many times will brive them all over the place with them partly still on. Which in turn wears them out faster!

OK that said the proper way to release DD3's is to let the bus build air up to the max pressure (spit off).
Then Depress the brake pedal while pushing down on the brake release button. Once the button is down push the brake pedal all the way down for 3-4 seconds then release. The brakes should now be completely released. Failure to do this properly can result in one or both of the brakes staying partly or even completely engaged. While most times it is noticed right away by a seasoned driver, sometimes drivers not used to buses or that particular bus will think "man this thing is a dawg!" And not knowing it will be working the engine & trans HARD but still able to drive it!

OK now that said, it also does not say that it is Pauls problem here either!
It could be that ABC told Paul the brakes were good to go when he bought it so that the cost of repairs didn't scare him away and cost them a sale. (once he owns it it doesn't matter what it cost to fix it, because they done sold it!)

SO it could be either of these or it could be something all together different too!

Paul good luck and let us know how it turns out!
Grin  BK  Grin
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« Reply #31 on: August 24, 2009, 05:28:37 PM »

Thanks Bryce, you have accurately shown/described both sides.
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« Reply #32 on: August 24, 2009, 06:27:51 PM »

Another great reason to install a "Brake Inspector".

Monitors the brake stroke, on every application and release, from the driver's seat you know if they came on, you know if they are within adjustment, and you know they fully released.

Busnuts and sticky brake parts go hand in hand....

On sale until the end of the month from the Canadian distributor for $450 CDN. Reg price is $699 or something like that.

http://www.spectra-ssa.com/ and click on the video part way down.

I am a customer, no other benefit to me, blah blah blah.

I wonder in an age when they have regulated tire pressure monitoring in the new cars, why electronic monitoring of brake stroke continues to be ignored, when brake adjustment continues to be the number one commercial vehicle defect by a long way?

happy coaching!
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« Reply #33 on: August 24, 2009, 07:36:48 PM »

BK,

No offence taken on your comment. I was taught the correct method to release the parking brakes from a long time driver and I have added an additional step to help me make sure the parking brakes have released.

When leaving from my driveway, I release the parking brake while the transmission is in neutral. I then let gravity roll the bus for 10 feet or so then apply the service brakes and shift into forward or reverse. I have a very slight slope to my driveway so if the parking brakes did not release, I am pretty sure I would know it.

If I am on flat ground, I follow the same procedure as above except I bump it into and then out of gear to make sure the bus will roll. 

While this in no way guarantees the parking brakes have fully released, it is one more step that can alert me to a potential problem.

After reading your post, it struck me that I would not have a leg to stand on with ABC bus. I cannot prove that I did not cause the problem. On the other hand, they have a document stating that the brakes were fine when I left the shop.

Buswarrior, thanks for the info on the "Brake Inspector". It looks like a nice system and would give us some good feedback.

Paul

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« Reply #34 on: August 25, 2009, 06:43:18 AM »

I too worry about the parking brake not releasing and make sure the bus can roll freely.  Of course, my driveway is a slope, so that's easy for me, but still an easy check.

When I bought my bus, the owner said the brakes would pass a DOT inspection but would probably need replacing soon.  My deal was new shoes all round and a thorough inspection.  when I got it, it had the new shoes but the front slacks were so badly adjusted the cans stroked out.  so the link to a stroke measurement system is ideal!

Brian
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« Reply #35 on: August 25, 2009, 04:01:32 PM »

Not a guarantee, but when I release the brake and put the car in gear, I expect it to roll with no throttle application. 
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« Reply #36 on: August 28, 2009, 06:10:13 PM »

Final Update

Drive axle shoes were replaced along with new oil seals installed. Cams, bushings, cans, adjusters, etc were fine and did not need to be replaced. Drums were in excellent condition with very little wear. No evidence of overheating from dragging the brakes.

Shop believes the wear on the shoes was normal wear and tear which makes me feel better since I have been beating myself up thinking I may have not allowed the parking brakes to release.

They did find one of the devices that locks the adjuster screw on the slack adjuster was not engaged so that did not help matters.

All the brakes are now adjusted and working correctly.

I am a very happy camper.

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2001 Prevost XL II
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