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Author Topic: OH S**** what do I do now?  (Read 3317 times)
Don4107
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« Reply #15 on: August 29, 2007, 12:00:04 AM »

If you have waited until you smell brakes you have waited way to long.  It should only take one or maybe two cycles of the bus accelerating to quickly after a brake application to recognize that you need to be in a lower gear.  This should be long before the brakes are too hot to slow you to a safe speed or stop.  But if you are seeing smoke and not seeing the bottom of the hill the only chance you have is to slow down NOW and shift down. 

Doh!!!  I gave away that I snub brake, YIKES! Huh  But it is easier for me to tell how fast the rig is accelerating between snubs than judge how hard I have been pressing on the brake treadle for the last couple miles sans application gauge.

As a side note, I would never know until seeing smoke.  Lost my sense of smell completely.  Of course my 40 something bus is so tight the smell would never get in anyway.  Grin

Don 4107
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Don 4107 Eastern Washington
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donnreeves
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« Reply #16 on: August 29, 2007, 05:35:20 AM »

If you are trailing smoke off the brakes and have a lot more hill ahead, you are already in big trouble. I have to agree with Tom and Gus. With an automatic trans use what brake you have left and get it into 1st gear, letting the engine do most of the work. With a manual, Don't try to downshift.More than likely in your haste to get it in a lower gear you will try to rush the shift at too high an rpm and miss it. It is best to get it stopped, slide it in 1st then proceed to keep air flowing. If you cook the grease seals and start a fire or the tires start burning it is very difficult to put the fire out with a fire extingusher.The heat usually just starts it back up again. Water works best. it cools the brakes and prevents repeated flairups. I keep a hose and spray nozzle hooked to a hose bib in my holding tank bay for just such an ocurance. The trick here is to recognize the brake fade early and slow down to where you can ease off the brakes. Getting back to stab braking or constant pressure, both are the correct method in the right circumstance. Hard won experiance is the only teacher on which to use when. For those without the experiance it is best to err on the side of caution and just slow down. You will probably find yourself going slow down the hill right beside those of us with the miles under us.  Donn

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Dallas
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« Reply #17 on: August 29, 2007, 06:34:51 AM »

I may have made light of this thread earlier, but please believe me that I take all of this VERY seriously.

Many great answers have been posted and I'm also sure there are many more answers out there.

I've had bus owners come to me for work on their buses that really had no business being behind the wheel of something bigger than an SUV or older than this mornings newspaper.
I tried to get across to one owner that he/she/they needed to learn simple things like how to change a fuel filter, adjust the brakes, run in heavy traffic and navigate in mountainous terrain.
The answer I received was that they had enough money they didn't need to learn any of that "Stuff" road service could take care of any problems they had.
I just shook my head and let it go.

Everyone needs to learn the best way to come down a hill and the best way is to learn by first reading and then by experience.
Each hill is different, each transmission is different, each brake is different.
Whether you use "stab braking", "Constant Applied Braking" or Open the door and Leap out, hoping to survive, there is a time to use each method.
The driver must learn how his/her coach operates in every possible condition and how to react to those conditions, making it as natural as breathing. Going down a hill with smoking brakes is no time to get out the manual and start reading.

My recommendations are to get in your bus, get in a parking lot, stop and start many times and see how fast you run out of air. Stab the brakes HARD and see how the coach reacts, do everything you can to learn how your unit is gonna work.
Make sure you know how to inspect/adjust your brake shoes, drums, lines, valves, relays, and systems. Find a professional driver, (NOT one of those 13 day driving school wonders) to show you what to do and how to do it. Be prepared to pay for the learning experience. His time is worth money, just as yours is.

The life you save may be that of someone you love, or it may be someone who'll never know how close they came to dieing.

Dallas
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cody
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« Reply #18 on: August 29, 2007, 07:23:36 AM »

This is a great thread, many of us are like me, we came from S&S rigs and are now into busses, I am going to go thru a course in how to work with and understand air brakes and am waiting for one up here in our area.  I read everything I can about different situations but we never know how we can react untill it's too late and we're in the middle of it, luckily, I've never had it happen yet, the key word here is "yet".  We prepare for runs carefully and make sure we pack everything we need except for the knowledge on how to get ourselves out of an emergency situation, that extra can of deodorant won't help you at that time tho it might come in handy afterwards lol.  Another thing I'd like to see addressed in a thread is what to do in the event of a runaway, A good friend of mine while driving a logging truck had a runaway and luckily he had the experience of a lifetime of driving to deal with it and get thru it, some of us don't have that bank of knowledge to draw from, but many on this board do.  I'm always willing to admit that I'm a rookie, I'd rather ask and then carefully listen, hopefully to learn, than to just rely on a false impression that I can handle anything that comes up.
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Fred Mc
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« Reply #19 on: August 29, 2007, 07:50:38 AM »

Most hills that are steep enough to cause problems usually have a runaway lane or two(or more).

Has anyone ever had to use one of those and if so what are the consequences.

Fred Mc.
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maria-n-skip
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« Reply #20 on: August 29, 2007, 07:54:09 AM »

 Runaway lanes are mostly on the Interstate. Most state highway passes don't have runaway lanes the
 ones that do are done as a safety project because the history warrents it.


 Oh...I have friends (unbelievable but true Smiley ) that have been forced to use them and they all had to have new frontends installed.

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« Last Edit: August 29, 2007, 07:56:31 AM by maria-n-skip » Logged
cody
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« Reply #21 on: August 29, 2007, 08:05:25 AM »

When you use the term "runaway", is this refering to the inability of the bus to stop because of the brakes failing or is this uncontrolled reving of the motor, dumb question, I know lol.  I could see the term being used both ways.
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Dallas
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« Reply #22 on: August 29, 2007, 08:10:37 AM »

Most hills that are steep enough to cause problems usually have a runaway lane or two(or more).

Has anyone ever had to use one of those and if so what are the consequences.

Fred Mc.

Fred,
After driving commercially for many years, along with operating wreckers and recovery vehicles, I can tell you that the results of using the runaway escape ramps are not pretty.
They are built to stop you and not gently.
I've seen front axles pushed back under the fuel tanks of trucks, fuel tanks that ended up underneath the trailer.
Cabs that became flying objects, engines pushed into the cab or back to the fifth wheel.
I can only imagine what would happen with a nice coach when it hit a 4' deep sandpit with a 3' high wall of gravel in front of it.

Those ramps are built to help the surrounding traffic survive, not exactly to let the offending vehicle survive intact.

The other thing you'll find is that using those ramps isn't free. The state will charge your insurance company or, if they won't pay, YOU for the repair of it.

The last thing I want to do is hit one of those things.

And by the way, the only thing I can think of that is stupider than having to use one of those ramps is the friggin' IDIOTS that decide to pull over in front of the entrance to one with the M/H or camper along with the wife and kids and have a picnic or stretch their legs.

Dallas
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maria-n-skip
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« Reply #23 on: August 29, 2007, 08:20:14 AM »

 As a side note to Dallas's post.

  The runaways don't always work that great.

  A friend was coming down Clarkston Hill (Id.) and at the bottom another truck had gone through the runaway lane and ended up in somebodies house. Nobody was at home at the time never heard what happened to the driver.

  FWIW
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« Last Edit: August 29, 2007, 08:31:36 AM by maria-n-skip » Logged
TomC
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« Reply #24 on: August 29, 2007, 08:24:44 AM »

I'll bet that anyone of you all that have experienced hot brakes and being close to out of control will be going alot slower on grades now! 
I don't know how many ways we old timers to truck driving can say this- GET THE JAKE BRAKE INSTALLED IF YOU DON'T HAVE IT!!  Good Luck , TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
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« Reply #25 on: August 29, 2007, 09:13:14 PM »

If you find that the brakes are not slowing you down the way you expect, any slowing you can get down to 10 mph or slower is going to change the balance of energy being produced and dissipated at the brakes.

If you can slow down to a walk, even if your brakes are too hot, they will begin getting rid of more heat than they are producing. Going slow enough, you can ride the brakes all the way down the longest hill without them overheating.

Going slower gives you more time to make decisions and look for possible places to pull over safely. Going slower means that you will do less damage if staying on the road is unsafe. Going slower means that you will do less damage if you have to pile up the rig to stop it, and it means less change of injury when it comes to a rest, whether you stay with or leave the rig.

I think that too many people tend to think that the energy involved is proportional to the speed, but doubling the speed will require the brakes to produce four times the heat to come to a stop. If you are just stopping once, there is plenty of cast iron to absorb the heat without overheating, if the brakes are properly adjusted.

That won't work when you come down a grade too fast and have gotten the brakes hot, so the best thing is to never let them get hot. I've done it once, and don't intend to ever let it happen again.

The trouble with a runaway is that speed is already way over the safe limit of the brakes for the grade. Adding a stop under those conditions may be more than they will do, but any slowing should prolong the time and distance before you completely lose the ability to control the rig.

My first choice is to slow down; if that's not possible, start looking for the place that I will take the rig from the road. If I'm lucky, maybe the grade will run out before then. If I'm not, I intend to choose where to go off the road rather than wait until I lose control.

For what it's worth.

Tom Caffrey
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Tom Caffrey PD4106-2576
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Jerry Liebler
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« Reply #26 on: August 29, 2007, 09:28:35 PM »

Tom kind of reminded me of the other thread about snub braking and the FACT that it will result in hotter brakes than continuous braking.   Once one realises he or she is in trouble it's no time for snub braking, hold them on as long and hard as needed to get slowed down!
Regards
Jerry 4107 1120
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oldmansax
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« Reply #27 on: August 30, 2007, 05:35:06 AM »

Tom, Jerry and others here are absolutely correct in instructing folks to go SLOWER!!!

In all the years I have driven commercially and recreationally, I have never lost control going down a grade; I have, however been frowned at, cursed at (silently before we had radios) given different variations of the "you're number 1" sign, twice been verbally assaulted in a truck stop, and once threatened with physical harm for going too slow.

If you have not driven the grade before, in the same vehicle, in the same mechanical condition, SLOW DOWN. You can always speed up later. If you drive the same roads a lot, keep a notebook: "Rainelle, 28mph, 4th, until the last turn" Pull out your notes BEFORE you start. If you have not driven the road, ask a LOT of folks who have. Pick the most conservative answer you get and run according to that the first time down.

I know this sounds like a sissy way to drive, but, to paraphrase the military, "Truck wreck scars make better stories"; what should be added is "if you live to tell them"

My $0.02 worth.....

PS: if you prefer not to take my advice, please tell me so I can run BEHIND you..... I'll take the pics for the stories.....
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'82 BlueBird WanderLodge PT40 being rebuilt
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« Reply #28 on: August 30, 2007, 08:28:58 AM »

This is purely a technical question for the experts. If a bus is running down a 6% grade at 60 mph on the jake and there is a mechanical failure (jake drops out or something breaks in the drive line) will the bus brakes be capable of stopping it? Maybe the truck drivers have more info on trucks as I see them running above 70 mph on the jake and I have wondered if they could stop in an emergency.
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DrivingMissLazy
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« Reply #29 on: August 30, 2007, 09:46:44 AM »

This is purely a technical question for the experts. If a bus is running down a 6% grade at 60 mph on the jake and there is a mechanical failure (jake drops out or something breaks in the drive line) will the bus brakes be capable of stopping it? Maybe the truck drivers have more info on trucks as I see them running above 70 mph on the jake and I have wondered if they could stop in an emergency.

In my opinion, an unequivocal yes it will stop with the brakes with absolutely no problem whatsoever.
Under this situation, the brakes are dead cold and one stop from 60 or 70 mph is a piece of cake.
Richard
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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
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