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Brake Advice

Unread postby luxagraf on Sat May 26, 2018 9:42 am

I was going to post this in the Facebook group, but I'm tired of armchair experts who don't even own a Travco telling me how dangerous drum brakes are. Cough. Anyway.

Hard won brake advice: check your self adjusters. I don't care what your brake problems *seem* like they might be, check your self-adjusters.

Some background: We live in ours full time. About three months ago the brakes suddenly started to go soft on me. I'd always had to pump once before I got a full pedal, but they slowly started getting worse. Two pumps before a full pedal. Replaced the master cylinder, things seemed okay for a few days. Then out of nowhere I got a vacuum leak. Spent a day chasing that down, got it fixed, things seemed better again. Drove another couple hundred miles and the minute I got off the highway, pedal was soft. Real soft, had to make an emergency right turn when I couldn't stop coming up on traffic at a red light. Good times. Anyway, I got into a shop, pulled the front wheels and saw the shoes, which need to be replaced. That shop couldn't get the parts. And I wasn't convinced that was the whole problem anyway. I was starting to think maybe the vacuum booster was bad. I spent some time on the phone with the reps at Alretta troubleshooting some things and decided I didn't want anyone younger than me working on these brakes :D

Since I was only a couple hundred miles from a good truck mechanic in my home town that I trusted not to f**k it up, I pushed it on back to let him deal with it. And the problem turned out to be... self adjusting screws in the rear had frozen up, front brakes were stopping everything, which wore down the front brakes.

New shoes, freed up adjusters and I how have a full pedal of brakes and the Travco stops like a small japanese sedan.

The funny part is, I'd read the bumfuzzle's adventures in brake problems https://www.bumfuzzle.com/we-were-all-wrong/ and knew that theirs turned out to be self adjusters as well, but because their symptoms were so different I didn't pay too much attention.

Anyway, seriously, check your self adjusting screws.
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Re: Brake Advice

Unread postby KB2CRK on Sat May 26, 2018 10:14 am

Great advice. If drum brakes are so bad why is it that most semis still run them?
Arm chair mechanics are everywhere. Ignoring them works well for me.
Properly adjusted and maintained drum brakes are perfectly fine.
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Re: Brake Advice

Unread postby rjsdotorg on Sat May 26, 2018 10:41 am

The rears on mine had a number of sticky issues, but the adjusters weren't quite frozen.
The fronts don't have auto adjusters anymore - a PO replaced shoes and probably broke adjuster hardware. Manual only now; I could tell by pedal travel they were needing adjustment.
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