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Author Topic: Can I convert to regular brake chambers from Rotochambers?  (Read 4396 times)
belfert
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« on: September 11, 2011, 04:35:52 PM »

Rotochambers are ridiculously expensive and apparently can be hard to find on the road at times.  Clifford said the Dina brakes are big enough that Rotochambers should not be necessary.  The price of a single rotochamber is high enough that I could replace every brake chamber on my bus with standard ones for the cost of one rotochamber.

Would regular chambers just bolt on to replace the rotochambers?  Would any shop do this job?  I find most shops for liability reasons won't touch air brakes except to return them to 100% operating condition as the vehicle came from the manufacturer.

Just a single rotochamber for my front brakes ranges in price from $425 to $775 depending on where purchased.   I couldn't find rotochambers at Ryder Fleet Products where Clifford says he has purchased them before.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2011, 05:29:08 PM »

If you want to bring your bus to Lakeland, FL. I'm sure John would do the conversion at central FL bus repair. He does a lot of repower engine jobs, tranny swaps, and brake jobs. He has pits big enough for the whole length of your bus and a man there that knows how to do what you're wanting done. You just have to get it here and the good part is, you can stay in the bus while the work is being done!
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Ace Rossi
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« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2011, 06:02:42 PM »

They are not that hard to change out Brian and I am sure John would do it, if you come to AZ I help you change over.
You don't even change brackets the regular chambers will use the same bolt pattern,same relays,same slack adjusters and same foot valve.
The Roto came and went it left faster than it came  all you need to watch is the chamber size if you have a 3030 Roto replace it with a 3030 adjustments for the throw are the same so buy the same length push rod you have cam operated brakes and both types work on the cams type
You will never see those on a highway truck or trailer you don't see Roto's on off road equipment any longer they all went to wet disk brakes in the last 10 years.
Roto chambers must be a Mexican thing when the Mexican owned Eagle they gave it a try but all those were changed I haven't seen Eagle with Roto chambers since the mid 90's.It is a very easy change

good luck   
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« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2011, 06:12:12 PM »

A somewhat related question.  My maintenance manual says the rear brake chambers are MGM TS-T3030.  I can't even find any TS series chambers on the MGM website.  Any ideas what these are?

I wish I had known about whole rotochamber thing before I paid $525 for a new one on the front last week.  The shop called for authorization to spend $500 on a brake chamber and I couldn't understand why it cost so much at the time.  I could probably have had regular type 16s on both sides for less than $300 including labor if the shop would have installed them.  (MCI wants $775 for the same rotochamber!)

I'm learning a lot about air brakes.  My Bendix air brake training DVD came yesterday and I will watch it later this week.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2011, 06:20:22 PM »

installing brake chambers is about as easy as it gets.  I know they are a huge safety item but really this is easier than most things on a bus.  Sounds like the rotos out is a straight swap, just do it yourself, once you do one you will see how easy it is and realizr there is no danger in you changing them
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« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2011, 06:25:27 PM »

Brian, so you have regular spring brakes on the drive the TS T3030 is a spring not a Roto chamber I think the new model is TR-TS or TS-TR lol

good luck
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« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2011, 07:35:16 PM »

I was just checking MCI's online parts store and they do not list the spring brake chamber as a rotochamber.  They do list it as a type 36 while the manual says it is a 3030. MCI wants $420 for it.  I'm hoping I don't need any more brake chambers at this time.  If I do I want to be prepared with less expensive options.

Brake chambers are not a big deal to install, but my concern is that I wouldn't know how to adjust things after I replaced the chamber.  That is what I need a shop for right now.  I won't be going to the Bendix training class until 2012.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2011, 10:37:23 AM »

Brian I'm pretty sure that my Dina has been changed over from Roto Chambers all the way around.
I know the drives have 36/36 chambers as I recently replaced one.
I can see if I can get you #'s for the steers & tags this afternoon since I will be working on that bus this afternoon.
Grin  BK  Grin
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Busted Knuckle aka Bryce Gaston
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« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2011, 10:51:04 AM »

Brian I just called NAPA and verified what I got from him was.

They were MBI (Midland Brake Inc.) GC36/36 my cost was $146. List cost is $194.  (MCI wanted like $600+ for them)
That was for the drives. Like I said when I get "Dino" in the shop this afternoon, I will check and see if I can get a part #, size or something! I know they are regular chambers not "Roto" chambers!
Grin  BK  Grin
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Busted Knuckle aka Bryce Gaston
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« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2011, 12:08:58 PM »

They were MBI (Midland Brake Inc.) GC36/36 my cost was $146. List cost is $194.  (MCI wanted like $600+ for them)
That was for the drives. Like I said when I get "Dino" in the shop this afternoon, I will check and see if I can get a part #, size or something! I know they are regular chambers not "Roto" chambers!

Interesting.  The Dina maintenance manual says they used MGM type 3030 brake chambers on the drives.  The MCI parts online store shows it as a type 36 which appears to be correct based on what you are saying.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2011, 12:45:11 PM »

Brian : prob dumb question here? would your axle weight make a difference to what size replacement chambers you use? if so I can ck see what is on the front of the 89 with 11,400 on front axle.  Mine seems to be well balanced.   Bob
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« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2011, 12:56:54 PM »

I would probably stick with the same size normal chambers as the rotochambers.  My front axle has been weighed and is right around 11,000 lbs if I remember correctly.  It sounds like BK is going to look at what size chambers his Dina has as he doesn't have rotochambers on his.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2011, 03:15:08 PM »

Replace them size for size, according to what is supposed to be on the coach.

And all busnuts be warned:

Are the current lengths of the push rods correct, or just what the last KNOB did to the coach?

The push rods should be cut so that a well adjusted brake shows close to 90 degrees in angle between the pushrod and the slack adjuster.

Too many busnuts have spent good money buying new chambers and then followed the predecessor, cutting them wrong.

Mythbusters: This measurement has also been mistakenly adopted in the past as a check for brake adjustment. The driver is at the mercy of the last installing mechanic, and the effect of a few degrees is quite a travel of the push rod. All together, a foolish and uninformed move by some important folks who should have known better than to advocate this for drivers.

happy coaching!
buswarrior

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belfert
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« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2011, 08:01:01 PM »

Replace them size for size, according to what is supposed to be on the coach.

Are you saying I must replace with rotochambers or just that if I choose to use regular brake chambers they must be the same size as the originals?  I would certainly use the same size chambers as the originals. 

The confusion comes on the spring brakes.  The manual says the original brake chambers are 3030, but Bryce says his are 3636 and the part number MCI sells says it is type 36 also.  I would be confident I have type 36 on my bus now.

I'm not sure my chambers have ever been replaced.  My bus is a 1995 that was taken out of commercial service no later than August 2003.  I bought the bus in April 2006 and it only had just over 300,000 miles at that time.  The brakes needed all new shoes and drums when I bought it as the operator did zero work on the bus apparently.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2011, 05:52:21 AM »

Sorry, I was indicating matching size is important, style of chamber is not.

The issue is that the strength of brake application be similar to what was intended by the manufacturer for brake balance and proper stopping. You don't want one end or the other to be doing a disproportionate amount of work.

And, to muddy the waters further, you may consider long stroke chambers as well, if they will fit.

In deciding whether you need to go with 30/30 or 36/36, you'll need to know what size the linings are, and how heavy you are going to ever be, so someone smart at the brake manufacturer can advise as to which might be the right one, or they might know the reasoning for the conflict between the book and MCI parts.

happy coaching!
buswarrior
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« Reply #15 on: September 13, 2011, 07:21:19 AM »

My understanding (which may be incorrect) is that all chambers need to be either long stroke or short stroke.  It seems I would probably have to retrofit the entire bus if I wanted to go to long stroke.  My bus is currently at the shop getting the brakes inspected from top to bottom.  If they determine any more chambers need to replaced I'll need to see what they say about switching to normal chambers instead of rotochambers.

Bryce has determined the spring brake chambers on his Dina are type 3636 so I would assume mine are too, but the only real way to know would be to look at what I have.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #16 on: September 13, 2011, 07:28:02 PM »

The shop said one of my tag axle brake chambers is bad.  I talked to them about it and they are going to replace the brake chambers on both sides with regular type 16 brake chambers instead of type 16 rotochambers.  I can't go to long stroke without replacing the chambers all the way around.

The labor to swap the chambers and the chambers themselves should be the same or less than just one rotochamber.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #17 on: September 13, 2011, 09:48:55 PM »

Hold the phone.

You don't have to retrofit the entire the vehicle if choosing to upgrade to long stroke chambers.

Good form is to have symmetry on each axle.

So, upgrade an axle at a time, as you need or want to.

With the T16, a long stroke will give you a safe push rod stroke of 2"
the standard chamber is only good for 1 3/4".

happy coaching!
buswarrior



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belfert
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« Reply #18 on: September 14, 2011, 06:51:32 AM »

Here is what I found online regarding long stroke and short stroke chambers on the same vehicle:

"All VENDORS advise to never install long stroke and standard stroke chambers on the
same vehicle. This can cause poor brake balance and timing."

Is that statement incorrect?  It does sound like long stroke is the way to go.  I suspect the shop may have already installed the short stroke chambers last night on the second shift.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #19 on: September 14, 2011, 07:08:38 PM »

What is the source, and how old/new is it?

I am open to new learning, and am very curious as to the justifications for the statement.

happy coaching!
buswarrior
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« Reply #20 on: September 15, 2011, 06:29:20 AM »

I took that quote from http://www.newlifeparts.com/catalog/section3.pdf

The shop that is installing the chambers also said that long and short stroke chambers should not be mixed.  I would need to replace all the chambers to go to long stroke.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #21 on: September 15, 2011, 06:41:53 AM »

I think it's a CYA statement on the part of the manufacturer.  If stroke adjustment is maintained the same on all the chambers, there will be no issue with timing.  If some chambers that are short stroke are adjusted  real short, but the long stroke chambers are left to go to the limit, yeah I can see a timing issue.  I don't know of any regulation regarding this, and I know that my air brake course addressed this and warned us to look for long stroke chambers when checking brake stroke.

All the same, if you were to be changing all the chambers anyway, long stroke is a useful upgrade if they fit.  I plan to go  to long stroke chambers on the front axle of my bus when I change them.  DD3 are already long stroke chambers.

Brian
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« Reply #22 on: September 15, 2011, 09:16:20 AM »

I am not going to be replacing all of the chambers at this time.  If the other rotochamber on the front needs replacement I will consider redoing everything with long stroke chambers.  I won't lose all that much money replacing the type 16 chambers on the tag axle again.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #23 on: September 16, 2011, 07:08:25 AM »

Thank you belfert,

That appears to be a vendor's made-up introduction above the regular manufacturer's catalog information.

Too casual and too vague in certain respects of the wording. And the "performance improvements" are presented out of context, typical of a sales brochure, not an engineering paper.

I'll suggest it is a less than credible source for our decision about retrofitting.

My guess is that the vendor, out of self interest, is trying to prevent the reverse, that is, buying the less expensive standard chambers as retrofits for a long stroke equipped vehicle, which was/is happening. Profit margin is the driver.

If mixing chambers on the whole vehicle was an issue, I'd be very surprised that Bendix or one of the government safety groups would not have already written a paper and it be widely disseminated in the trade press. And, in doing so, become common knowledge.

That is not to say that the book is closed, just that we can't find any more pages.

So, since axle symmetry, versus whole vehicle, has been advocated from many of the credible sources, I guess we'll still go with that.

Keep your money in your pocket!

happy coaching!
buswarrior
 
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« Reply #24 on: September 16, 2011, 07:25:19 AM »

I can't believe somebody would be so tight in the wallet as to replace long stroke chambers with short stroke.  I did a little bit of checking and found that long stroke chambers are only about $10 extra.  I found a Leland type 24 long stroke for $23.95.  It was even less than the short stroke from Velvac.  A spring brake chamber is about $20 extra.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #25 on: September 16, 2011, 07:28:45 AM »

They are closer in price now, that was not the case a decade ago.

Most of this stuff just keeps in lingering, long after the relevance has subsided.

And, $10 is $10.  You wouldn't believe what gets done to keep a nearing bankruptcy truck on the road.

Or a busnut?

happy coaching!
buswarrior
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« Reply #26 on: September 17, 2011, 09:06:33 AM »

I just got my bus back home with the new chambers installed on the tag axle.  Total cost including parts and labor was about $200 less than just the rotochamber alone not including labor.  I wish I would have understood why the front brake chamber cost so much at the time.  I could have had new chambers on both front wheels and saved at least $300.  Sometimes an education costs a few bucks.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #27 on: September 17, 2011, 09:30:15 AM »

Now I would call a rebuilder like Kirk's and sell him the Roto chambers for a core,I am happy for you that it worked out I bet it stops just as good lol

good luck
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« Reply #28 on: September 17, 2011, 10:38:18 AM »

Clifford, you reminded me they didn't give me back the good rotochamber like they said they would.  I'll have to call on Monday.  I do have the bad rotochamber from the front.  I might eventually find someone who wants the good rotochamber. 
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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