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Old 03-25-2013, 09:52 PM   #1
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Default good air brakes tutorials?

Does anyone know where I can find a good primer or tutorial on air brakes?? I think I should have a little more knowledge on operation and maintenance.


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Old 03-25-2013, 10:26 PM   #2
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Mark, Most States Commercial drivers handbook usually have a very good chapter on air brake system operation and air brake system inspection and maintenance. Should you desire some one on one training, you might check with a local truck driving school, or diesel repair facility, most mechanics or instructors are willing to do a one on one training session, shouldn't take more than an hour, not sure what they would cost.
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Old 03-25-2013, 11:26 PM   #3
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The attached link is to the Bendix Air Brake Handbook. When I first got into the trucking industry, because I knew all about cars, I felt truck stuff would just be bigger...........WRONG!
This Bendix book became my bible. Lots of pictures & all air systems are covered !!!!!!!!!
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Old 03-26-2013, 02:34 AM   #4
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Almost all DMV's that issue CDLs have air brake manuals so people can study for their test. I found this on Google.

Air Brakes 101
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Old 03-26-2013, 03:52 PM   #5
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Texas requires a Class B non commercial drivers license for vehicles over 26,000# and full knowledge of the brake system is part of the written and practical tests for that license.

For those states that don't require a higher class license for the larger motorhomes, it's still critical information for those not familiar with the system. Not everyone is as responsible as you are being.

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Old 03-26-2013, 09:12 PM   #6
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Here is the complete DOT test outline for checking an air brake system, hope this helps.


Start the engine and build air pressure until the compressor cuts out. Step down on the foot brake repeatedly but wait a few seconds in between to see if the air compressor cuts in (should be around 85 psi). Let the air build until the compressor cuts out (should not exceed 130 psi). NOTE: Wait for compressor to cut in between brake applications.

Stop in a level location, or block a wheel to keep coach from rolling. Place transmission in neutral. Turn engine off and release parking brake. Keep foot off of service brake. Air loss should not exceed 2 psi in one minute.

step on the service brake and keep it fully depressed for one (1) minute. After the air pressure has stabilized, the air loss should not exceed 3 psi in one (1) minute.

Turn ignition on. DO NOT START ENGINE. Observe the air pressure gauge and pump service brake until you can see the warning light come on and/or hear the warning buzzer. The low air warning should come on at pressures below 60 psi.

Turn off ignition and reduce the air pressure by pumping the service brake until emergency (parking) brake handle pops out, (should be below 45 psi). Start engine and try to move coach slowly against the emergency brake with low air pressure. NOTE: Caution should be used so as not to apply too much pressure against the brakes and drive train.

Allow air pressure to build up until it cuts out. Put coach in gear. Release parking brake. Move the coach and apply the emergency (parking) brake. This will tell you if the emergency brake works manually.

Set coach in motion slowly and ligthtly hold the steering wheel, apply the service (foot) brake firmly to see if the steering wheel pulls to the left or right. This will indicate whether or not the front slack adjusters (brakes) are evenly adjusted."
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Old 03-27-2013, 05:09 AM   #7
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The CDL standards are a great starting point for those with air brakes, they aren't overly complicated but they do demand some diligence regarding inspection and maintenance. automatic slack adjusters, as such you need to keep in mind that automatic slack adjusters are a great invention BUT....they don't like to be ignored when it comes to lubrication!! I highly recommend greasing not only the slack adjusters but the "S" cams at least twice per year no matter how few miles you drive your rig. Have a large truck mechanic take you through the systems and explain how they work, knowing what happens under you when you step on the pedal can save you problems down the road.

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Old 03-31-2013, 12:02 AM   #8
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Thanks Gordon great information.


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