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Author Topic: OH S**** what do I do now?  (Read 3369 times)
Jerry Liebler
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« on: August 28, 2007, 06:37:46 PM »

The thread about how to descend a big hill got me thinking about what one should do after a screw up.  Let's say I misjudged the length and steepness of a big hill and started down it to fast, in the wrong gear and part way down I start smelling burning brakes.  What is the smartest thing to do now?  My answer is stop immediately while turning on the flashers and getting as far off of the roadway as I can.  If anyone disagrees please tell us why.
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Jerry 4107 1120
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TomCat
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« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2007, 06:51:09 PM »

The thread about how to descend a big hill got me thinking about what one should do after a screw up.  Let's say I misjudged the length and steepness of a big hill and started down it to fast, in the wrong gear and part way down I start smelling burning brakes.  What is the smartest thing to do now?  My answer is stop immediately while turning on the flashers and getting as far off of the roadway as I can.  If anyone disagrees please tell us why.
Regards
Jerry 4107 1120

If you're still on a downgrade, I'm curious how you'll stop with burning brakes.
If you're on level roadway and don't need to stop, I wouldn't for 5 miles or so, in order for the drums to cool.

Jay
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DrivingMissLazy
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« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2007, 06:52:03 PM »

Jerry, I had this happen to me one time coming out of Vegas down into Death Valley. I was in an old gasoline tractor trialer with about 40 surplus gensets on the trailer. I missed a down shift in the manual tranny and was freewheeling then. With lots of smoke I finally got her stopped beside the road. I really wondered if I was ever going to get her stopped, but finally did. Then I selected the gear I wanted to run in and continued on to LA. It was a five speed tranny with a three speed Brownie (I believe) for a total of 15 gears.
Richard


The thread about how to descend a big hill got me thinking about what one should do after a screw up.  Let's say I misjudged the length and steepness of a big hill and started down it to fast, in the wrong gear and part way down I start smelling burning brakes.  What is the smartest thing to do now?  My answer is stop immediately while turning on the flashers and getting as far off of the roadway as I can.  If anyone disagrees please tell us why.
Regards
Jerry 4107 1120
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Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body. But rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, a good Reisling in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming:  WOO HOO, what a ride
Jerry Liebler
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« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2007, 06:56:28 PM »

Tom,
   The smell of hot brakes long preceeds an actual fire, and there is still braking power left in hot brakes.  and if there is a fire it's even more important to get stopped, so what if it's on a hill.  Proceeding means even more heating and even more likelyhood of fire.
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Jerry 4107 1120
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Dallas
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« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2007, 07:05:36 PM »

Either of two correct answers come to mind:

I would wake up Cat.

or

Remember the old drills we did in grade school? The ones about nuclear attack by the Commies?
Use the "Nuclear attack position*".

*for those of you too young to remember the nuclear attack drills, the nuclear attack position had us get under our desks and place our hands over our genitals and place our heads between our legs.
A heck of a position, but possibly useful if used in a moving 20 ton missile hurtling headlong down a hill toward
certain destruction.
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buswarrior
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« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2007, 07:13:46 PM »

I would suggest that using what brakes are left to get that thing slowed to a more appropriate downhill speed would be goal number one. Grabbing the gears on the way down, of course.

I would be wanting to continue vehicle movement in order to start cooling off the abused parts, and I don't want to be stopped on the side of a highway unneccesarily, bigger target for a collision.

The more stopping you do, the hotter they'll get, and the less effective they will be, so going all the way to stopped just adds unneccesary heat, risking further lining damage and once stopped, then what? applying the parking brake lays the linings right into the frying pan that is the brake drums, finishing the destructive job.

And this is still a moot point. How did you realize you had a problem? Smoke pouring out of the wheelwells under way in volume sufficient to notice in the mirror will be accompanied by a loss of bite by the brakes and won't slow the way you wish they would....

And when it is all done, you should be wondering: what condition the brake linings are now in? crumbly and disintegrating don't make for full braking capacity afterwards.

happy coaching!
buswarrior

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TomCat
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« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2007, 07:16:16 PM »

I have a lot of trips east on I70 into Denver, notorious for catching unwary drivers of all types of vehicles off guard. Makng this trip often gave me an opportunity to witness lots of these events.

Jerry asked about "burning brakes". I have several escalating classifications of 'hot' brakes.

Hot: You can smell them, and know you have dimminished braking.
Too hot: Smoke, plus the above.
Burning: Flames, plus above.
When you get to the burning stage, there is hot gas being generated that will act as a lubricant between the drum and shoe, and repeated pressing on the treadle will only make it worse. When you get to this stage, cooling is your only option to regain any braking.

Jay
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« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2007, 07:17:21 PM »

Dallas   you forgot one part of the drill . The part where you kiss your @$# goodby.   
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73 MCI-7
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« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2007, 07:20:35 PM »

Jerry good question even though it is loaded! On one hand I have to agree with Tom, but as you pointed out you can actually figure out you have a problem before it becomes disaster! (some folks could as long as they pay attention, which most who pay attention wouldn't get in trouble in the first place!) Anyway if you notice the smell while you still have plenty of braking power, then by all means pull over and get out Fire extinguisher in hand, and make sure everyone else gets out and safely away from it (just in-case), go to the rear of the coach and look at both sides of the insides of the drums making sure that there is only smoke and no flames! If you see flames take the fire extinguisher and heavily spray the one on fire from the opposite side hiding behind that tire! (they rarely both catch on fire! & never get close to the one on fire! An exploding tire can/will cause a lot of damage and could kill you) Then take another look! As long as it's only smoking with no flames all is not lost! Put triangles out and then get back in and turn flashers etc. on!  If for what ever reason you can not extinguish the flames get as far away as possible, once a tire catches on fire it is almost impossible to put out! The coach and contents can be replaced human health and life can not! JMHO FWIW! Grin  BK  Grin

Oh yeah on the other hand if by the time you realize it, you don't have good braking power then turn headlights on bright and flash as possible, try to slow down to down shift, and ride it out flashing lights and blowing the horn (trust me if there are truckers around they'll be on the radio telling everybody to watch out for the "idiot in the RV who has lost his brakes") then after it levels out do not stop immediately! slow down but do not stop for at least 5-10 miles to cool off thing so it doesn't ignite as soon as you stop! Again JMHO FWIW ( I did grow up driving tow trucks!)

And if all else fails refer to Dallas's ideas! LOL! But I am serious above!
« Last Edit: August 28, 2007, 07:34:24 PM by Busted Knuckle » Logged

Busted Knuckle aka Bryce Gaston
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www.kylakesidetravel.net

Grin Keep SMILING it makes people wonder what yer up to! Grin (at least thats what momma always told me! Grin)
Jerry Liebler
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« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2007, 07:34:20 PM »

Buswarior's input makes me want to add to my answer that as I slowed with full intention of stopping I'd downshift and see if the engine alone (no braking) would hold a constant speed if I found such a gear I'd proceed unless I saw smoke, then I'd stop and follow Bryce's wise advice.
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Jerry 4107 1120
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Jerry Liebler
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« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2007, 07:54:35 PM »

A very great THANK YOU to all who've contributed to this thread.  I'm sure all who read it will be much better prepared should the find themselves in such a mess.
Regards
Jerry 4107 1120
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maria-n-skip
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« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2007, 07:56:24 PM »

BTDT

  Some minor points.....to think about
   1. keep the RPM up With out air you'll make things worse.
   2. Even at high rates of speed the bus will handle OK but anticipate all corners
       all traffic and use all of the road you pay taxes on.
    3. A prayer never hurts and stay calm!!!!!
    4. If you feel the front end start to give way power through the corner. (at this point say a prayer again)
    5. If all else fails look for an up bank to head to. (IT's probably going to hurt)
        At that point everybody needs to be in seat belt!
    6. If your brakes won't stop you dynamiting them won't do you any good and will make matters worse.

 FWIW
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TomC
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« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2007, 07:57:13 PM »

There is one very important fact that is being left out.  If you do have hot brakes and do get the bus stopped on the side of the road, there's a good chance that the build up of heat through the drums to the wheels without forward motion, will cause the tires to burst.  Since that vast majority of us have automatics, the way I would do it would be to slow down by hitting the brakes pretty hard and shift down to a lower gear.  When you get down to second or so, release the brakes and let the engine do the work of keeping your speed down.  But you should keep forward motion to keep air circulating to the brakes, and that air will cool the brakes down-as long as you slow enough where the engine will do the braking rather than the service brakes.  Good Luck, TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
maria-n-skip
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« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2007, 08:14:40 PM »

TomC,

 That's fine if you can get it into second. (on McDonald pass) Mine was in second shifted into third (over rev have no tach) and
 I could not slow down far enough for it to shift back into second. Loosing air trying to get it down far enough.
 almost 3 miles bad next 3 were not bad and I don't know how fast I was going at that point but
 by the time I could get it pull over there was only a slight amout of smoke rolling out.


  Just my opinion
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gus
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« Reply #14 on: August 28, 2007, 09:37:46 PM »

I don't know for sure about bus ATs but I doubt they will downshift past a certain speed.

If it is a manual the last thing you want to ever do is take it out of gear unless you are going really slow because there is a very big chance you will never get it into any gear.

That goes double for big trucks.
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PD4107-152
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Ash Flat, AR
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