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 !!!!!!!!!
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.
Here is the complete DOT test outline for checking an air brake system, hope this helps.
"TEST PROCEDURE FOR AIR BRAKE SYSTEMS
AIR COMPRESSOR TEST
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.
STATIC BRAKE TEST
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.
APPLIED BRAKE TEST
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.
LOW AIR WARNING DEVICE
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.
EMERGENCY BRAKE SYSTEM TEST
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.
EMERGENCY BRAKE TEST
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.
CHECK SERVICE BRAKES
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."
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.