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Old 01-11-2020, 08:28 PM   #1
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Engine braking illegal

I just got back from my long trip and had a question regarding some things I saw on my trip.

I kept seeing signs here and there that said "engine braking illegal" or something to that effect. I understand why (people don't like noise, can't appreciate nice things, dislike saving expensive brakes on big rigs, etc), but my question is what that truly means. Am I not allowed to use the jake brake when I can see the sign? Is it illegal in the entire county or state?

I would like to use my jake brake as much as possible to not use my brakes when I don't have to, but I'd also like to not run afoul of the law. Any suggestions?
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Old 01-11-2020, 08:33 PM   #2
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Most of the time it is for within town limits. In a few places I have seen it specify unmuffled engine braking is prohibited.
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Old 01-11-2020, 08:34 PM   #3
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Insert here:

loud audio clip of jake brake at 11pm going down a hill in my little town:

I'm a big rig going where I want on an important mission...

Hello everyone why are you sleeping as I
drive by, look at me,,,
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Old 01-11-2020, 08:37 PM   #4
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Jake brake restrictions are for populated areas to keep the noise down. I doubt that it would be state wide, or county wide for that matter.

FWIW,

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Old 01-11-2020, 08:51 PM   #5
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How did you end up with jake brakes on your bus? Do I have those? How can you tell?
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Old 01-11-2020, 09:06 PM   #6
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So basically if I use my best judgement and avoid the jake brake around population centers, I should be fine?
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Old 01-11-2020, 09:07 PM   #7
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Basically, if no one outside your bus can hear it, you're not likely to have a problem, how will they even know you're using it? And yes, it's basically a noise ordinance wherever you see that posted.
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Old 01-11-2020, 09:08 PM   #8
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Do you need manual transmission to have a jake break?
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Old 01-11-2020, 09:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
How did you end up with jake brakes on your bus? Do I have those? How can you tell?
It came with my bus from the school. I assume because they are deep in the mountains of WV, they had them fitting from the dealer for the downhills. I only know because I have a switch labelled "engine brake" to turn it on or off, and the mechanics at the school I bought it from pointed it out to me.

It works REALLY well. The only downside is my bus is SUPER light right now, so it's a very jarring deceleration for the passengers, so I tend not to use it.
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Old 01-11-2020, 09:11 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by matthews2001 View Post
Do you need manual transmission to have a jake break?
No, I've got a jake brake on my automatic.
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Old 01-11-2020, 09:18 PM   #11
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Please insert sound clip:
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Old 01-11-2020, 09:25 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matthews2001 View Post
Please insert sound clip:
You might be looking for this:


I first found this one:
https://youtu.be/kc9-hYFQR3I?t=51
But it seems really quiet to me for some reason.
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Old 01-11-2020, 11:22 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inhof009 View Post
I just got back from my long trip and had a question regarding some things I saw on my trip.

I kept seeing signs here and there that said "engine braking illegal" or something to that effect. I understand why (people don't like noise, can't appreciate nice things, dislike saving expensive brakes on big rigs, etc), but my question is what that truly means. Am I not allowed to use the jake brake when I can see the sign? Is it illegal in the entire county or state?

I would like to use my jake brake as much as possible to not use my brakes when I don't have to, but I'd also like to not run afoul of the law. Any suggestions?
You don't have a jake on a school bus. Unless its a crown. DT466's don't have jakes.
If its a mountain bus it may have a retarder. You can use there retarder, it doesn't make jake noises.
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Old 01-12-2020, 01:09 AM   #14
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I have the factory-fitted low-restriction Donaldson muffler which is not quiet (it has nothing inside it when you shine a flashlight into the tailpipe!), but even so my Jakes aren't that loud. I think you would need to have straight pipes to make a Jake unpleasantly loud, something most buses will never have*. If I need to use my Jakes, I will - there's no way that a legal safety feature can be legislated against.

The only school buses that used to have Jakes were Crowns and Gilligs with Detroit and big Cummins engines. No other school buses had them then or have them now.

John

* Unless it's my friend Al who removed his bus's muffler just to make it louder:
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Old 01-12-2020, 07:07 AM   #15
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I'm with ECCB, you don't have the right engine for a conventional 'big rig jake brake' which is what those signs are regulating. As long as its not excessively noisy then don't worry about it. In fact, new semis with the emissions systems usually don't have to worry either because the exhaust treatment system muffles the noise. Its also important to understand what an engine brake does so that you don't get yourself into trouble. Essentially an engine brake or retarder is a system which yes saves some brake wear but more importantly it controls the vehicle when physics reverses the force from the engine driving the bus to the bus pushing the engine as in a hill descent. If you get into the habit of using it for routine slowing/stopping and aren't paying attention to the conditiona, you could force a rear wheel traction loss, skid out, and wind up broadside in the road or in a ditch. This is very easy in wet or icy conditions.
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Old 01-12-2020, 10:01 AM   #16
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You likely have an exhaust brake. If it's not super loud I wouldn't worry about restricted areas. I wish my bus came with one. It's on my list of things to add.

Ted
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Old 01-12-2020, 12:38 PM   #17
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jake brakes are illegal because you dont have brake lites hooked to them. they are designed to control speed on steep hills not for stopping at a stop lite. there are engine retarders that are mistaken for jake brakes. they are not the same as a true jake will build excessive exhaust heat so a pyrometer should be utilized.
REMEMBER YOU HAVE NO BRAKE LITES!!!
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Old 01-12-2020, 12:54 PM   #18
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one last note as some fines exceed 500 dollars so carry cash (lots of it)
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Old 01-12-2020, 03:40 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmoore6856 View Post
jake brakes are illegal because you dont have brake lites hooked to them. they are designed to control speed on steep hills not for stopping at a stop lite. there are engine retarders that are mistaken for jake brakes. they are not the same as a true jake will build excessive exhaust heat so a pyrometer should be utilized.
REMEMBER YOU HAVE NO BRAKE LITES!!!

That's false. As a professional driver, I should know. Some trucks I drove *DID* in fact activate brake lights when the engine brake activated (it's a computer setting). I've seen some buses equipped with amber lights that activated when the driver let off the throttle (coasting?) and the bus was marked with wording to that effect. It's true they are intended for speed control, and it's true that some trucks and buses don't activate brake lights with the engine brake. But the restrictions are all about noise reduction, many areas have changed the signage to reflect "Unmuffled engine braking prohibited". There's no real reason you should need engine braking inside of many small towns - or even many larger cities, for that matter.
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Old 01-12-2020, 04:05 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad_SwiftFur View Post
There's no real reason you should need engine braking inside of many small towns - or even many larger cities, for that matter.
I wouldn't totally agree with this because in some regions (PA is bad about this) there will be a state highway heading into a town with a steep grade and then a low speed limit probably with a stop light at the end of the grade. Its precisely that kind of descent that jake brakes are designed for but in their wisdom they decided they prefer runaway trucks to barrel through the town because people who were dumb enough to build a house on a state highway decided they don't appreciate the noises of a highway.
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