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Old 09-05-2007, 11:29 PM   #11
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Re: Every one should look at these pictures of a RV crash

did the aricle say that the motorhome in question had air brakes? If so, the most likely reason it would not stop would be slack adjusters out of adjustment. When you see a sign at the top of a pass that reads "truckers check your brakes" they really mean stop, get out, and adjust your manual slack adjusters. I think pretty much all newer trucks have automatic slack adjusters, but they don't always work properly. It only takes about 30 seconds per wheel to adjust the brakes, and it's done with a 9/16 wrench. if you ahve air brakes on your skoolie and do not know how to adjust yoru brakes, find someone who knows how so they can show you. it's very simple, and very very important to the safety of your vehicle.

i've driven through the rockies several times in a bus now. I used to go painfully slow down the hills, and there's nothing wrong with that. Now i usually try to find a big truck that looks like he's cruising at a reasonable speed, and i try to keep up with him. if the big trucks are slowing down, then i slow down. It's not the downhill that's difficult to handle, it's the sharp curves on the downhill that'll get ya.

my skoolie with dt360 and at545 will maintain a 5% grade at about 65-70 mph without using the brakes. That's nearly every hill along I 80 from chicago to reno.
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Old 09-06-2007, 12:14 AM   #12
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Re: Every one should look at these pictures of a RV crash

I did forget to add that I do not ride my brakes. I lightly press them to slow down a little and release them an when the vehicle speeds up more than I want I do it again. Sometimes I see people riding their brakes all the way down small hills which can also be a problem waiting to happen. The too often curves ahead going through the black hills is what kept me going slow and the unknown area I was in. Once I made at least one trip on the road and I know what is up ahead I did speed up a bit. Up hill was still slow but not by choice.

If the new truck has the automatic adjusters it would be safe to say the trailer may not and the driver would still have to get out and adjust them.
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Old 09-06-2007, 10:22 PM   #13
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Re: Every one should look at these pictures of a RV crash

The saftey is not the reson I wanted bo build mine. My grandfathers latest $320k RV is cheap. The build quality sucked. So I am building my own.
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Old 10-06-2007, 03:30 PM   #14
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Re: Every one should look at these pictures of a RV crash

I get asked quite often why I bought a school bus(or two or three). I explain the saftey aspect of school busses and of course the coolness of having your own school bus. They still look at me like I'm an idiot. But I know just how safe I am, especially after looking at all of those pictures.

While looking at those pictures, I couldn't help but notice how poorly the motorhome was put together. There were many pictures of the cage around the driver area. I think my bed frame is better built and made of stronger steel. If you want a cage, I'll show you a cage.

I don't think that motorhome was an inexpensive one, but you couldn't tell by looking at all those cheap cabinets and how inadequetly they were attached. I don't know if the driver would have survived that same accident if he was driving a school bus type of vehicle, but I know it wouldn't have been ripped apart front and back.

The other thing that was mentioned was that he was riding his brakes at 70mph. I see that all the time. When coming back from AZ with the Bluebird, I had to go over the Grapevine which is very steep on both sides. On the downhill side, I tried to downshift into 1st or 2nd gear, but it would'nt go lower than 3rd. That kind of made me pucker up a bit. I just stayed in the slow lane and applied the brakes when I hit 30mph until I was going 20mph. I intended on making down the grade in one piece. But while I was crawling down the grade, some of these motorhomes were flying past me at 60-70mph riding thier brakes like they didn't have a care in the world. It's one thing to haul ass on the flats or uphill, it's a another when you're going downhill. Just because someone has a couple hundred grand to spend on a motorhome doesn't mean they don't have to watch out for the law. The law of Murphy and the law of physics.

If anything is to be learned from this accident, it is to make sure that everything is securely fastened in your bus.
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Old 10-06-2007, 11:01 PM   #15
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Re: Every one should look at these pictures of a RV crash

wow, and to think i came very close to purchasing a monaco crown royale a couple of weeks ago. i was under the impression they were one of the better built coaches out there. goes to show even the nicer ones are weak. i'm glad i made the decision to go with a dedicated toterhome that has a real frame, steel cab, engine brake, etc.

decents are one reason i'm selling my bus. it's great by itself and you can cruise down about as fast as you want, but when i get 14-15k lbs. on my trailer behind it the brakes start smelling in a hurry if you get going too fast. that's even with brand new functioning electric brakes on both axles of my trailer. they all get hot and fade quickly. with the at545, there's just no compression braking. as long as i keep it to 10-20mph coming down the 6% grades we have in our mountains, it does okay.
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Old 10-11-2007, 11:32 AM   #16
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Re: Every one should look at these pictures of a RV crash

What a crazy wreck. I like my skoolie! I will build it safer than that rv for sure.

I always drive slow on hills. Even in a car I drive slow. I wish others would slow down too. If not for their safety for mine.
"Escapin' through the lily fields
I came across an empty space
It trembled and exploded
Left a bus stop in its place
The bus came by and I got on
That's when it all began
There was cowboy Neal
At the wheel
Of a bus to never-ever land"
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Old 10-21-2007, 08:40 PM   #17
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Re: Every one should look at these pictures of a RV crash

And this is why I got rid of my 84 Winnebago Elandan... I much prefer this bus.

When I teach new driver to drive a bus, i teach them that they are to use one gear LOWER than it would take to go up the same hill. so, if the bus made it up in 4th, then 3rd for down. depending on the grade of course. If its labeled as a hazard, treat it as such.

School Bus Driver/Instructor/Mechanic...

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Old 12-09-2007, 01:34 AM   #18
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Re: Every one should look at these pictures of a RV crash

I might have to eat some of my words after what I saw a little while ago in Minneapolis at the metrodome. They didn't precut this one. It was a late 90's international Bluebird. But I guess not too much will do that well when a 10,000 pound truck flys through the air and comes down right on top of it like this one did.

Of course it did fair much better than this,

I can't wait to see this show on tv.
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Old 01-19-2008, 09:05 PM   #19
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Re: Every one should look at these pictures of a RV crash

Hi, all.

Had not intended to post, for a while, but the issue of safe braking of a large vehicle is literally a matter of life or death.

[WARNING: the following is a rant based on personal opinion and professional experience.]

Accelerating a vehicle requires an expenditure of energy, either heat in the form of burning fuel, or gravity when rolling down a hill. Decelerating a vehicle requires energy, usually as heat and occasionally, as gravity when slowing , by heading uphill.

The energy required ot accelerate a vehicle to a certain speed is the same as the energy required to decelerate from the same speed. Except for rolling resistance, wind resistance, and (rarely) uphill resistance, that energy is dissipated in the form of heat generated by braking systems.

On a down grade, applying the brakes, and then releasing them, until the speed builds up, and then applying again, is a reasonable, effective method, if and only if the braking system and engine braking (relative to the weight of the vehicle, and the slope of the hill) have sufficient excess capacity. This is typically so with cars, but less likely as vehicle weight increases.

Gasoline engines can provide substantial engine braking by virtue of the throttle being closed, which greatly restricts the air (and fuel) entering the cylinders. Diesels, which do not have a throttle plate, always pull in a full charge of air, and at least the idle amount of fuel is injected. Therefore, diesels do not provide nearly as much engine braking as a gas engine.

To compensate for this deficiency, Various devices are used:

1. Exhaust brakes:

2. Hydraulic retarders:

3. Electromagnetic retarders:
[The above can also be used on Gasoline powered vehicles.]

4. Engine brakes:

Many Allison transmissions can be had with hydraulic retarders. I think (but am not certain) that they can be retrofitted to existing buses.

Electromagnetic brakes, and exhaust brakes, can be fitted to existing buses. Retarders generate a large amount of heat, which must be dissipated. So do service brakes.

Which brings back to braking on a hill. Slowing from (shall we say) from 40 to 30 generates a lot of heat. Allowing the vehicle to accelerate back to 40 builds up equivalent kinetic energy, which then must be dissipated as heat by the braking system, the next time you slow from 40 to 30.

If your braking system can dissipate that heat, before you need to brake again, you will be ok. If it cannot, your brakes will fade, then fail, then burst into flame. Nobody wants that.

How to avoid this fate? You need to KNOW how much engine braking your engine and transmission can provide. You need to KNOW how your service brakes are, both in braking force and in heat dissipation. You need to KNOW how steep, and long, and twisty the particular hill is.

Lets say that you become aware that the above factors make "brake and coast" on a certain steep, long, hill much too dangerous. What should you do?

What I, personally do, and have done for decades, is this:

1. determine (by considering the above factors) the safe speed to descend that particular hill.

2. determine which gear would provide maximum engine (and other auxiliary braking systems) braking.

3. allow the vehicle to accelerate ONLY to that speed/gear.

4. apply the service brakes (using light, even pressure) to maintain exactly the chosen speed.

If you allow the speed to increase, you will increase the heat your brakes must dissipate. If you pick a speed which is too fast, your brake system will have to dissipate a large amount of additional heat. This is basic physics:

Energy equals mass times velocity squared
E = M x V x V
The mass (M) of your bus stays the same. At two different speeds (say 30, and 60mph) the energy your brakes must dissipate increases:



FOUR times as much! (It is actually very slightly LESS than four times, since rolling and wind resistance also increase with velocity.)

End of RANT.

Hope this helps.

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