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Old 05-26-2018, 12:00 PM   #1
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Join Date: May 2018
Location: Wilmington, NC
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Year: 1993
Coachwork: Bluebird, 8 window, roof hatches.
Chassis: Not sure on this...
Engine: Cummins 5.9 12v, 121k miles.
Rated Cap: 26,500
What have I done!?

New bus owner here. 93 Ford B700 with Bluebird body. I believed the owners knew what they were talking about when I bought this bus that had "airbrakes." Well, it doesn't. It has the Lucas Gerling ticking-time-bomb brakes.

They seem to be working fine but I'm afraid I just bought, like I said, a ticking-time-bomb of $2-3k. And everything I've read, people spend that much fixing their breaks and then they start leaking a year later. All I've done so far is gut the inside. The underpowered Cummins 5.9l 12v only has 121k miles.

Would you keep this bus? Do I have any other options aside from replacing? Can I replace the hydraulic system if something does go wrong? What preventative maintenance can I do? I'd rather spend $2-3k replacing the system if something goes wrong down the road but I don't even know if that is an option.

I'm so bummed. I thought I did enough homework on the bus before purchasing! Shoot.
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Old 05-26-2018, 12:13 PM   #2
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Just my experience- but if you've fallen out of love get it cleaned up and try to make a few bucks off it on CL.
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Old 05-26-2018, 01:35 PM   #3
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Join Date: May 2018
Location: Wilmington, NC
Posts: 15
Year: 1993
Coachwork: Bluebird, 8 window, roof hatches.
Chassis: Not sure on this...
Engine: Cummins 5.9 12v, 121k miles.
Rated Cap: 26,500
I haven't fallen out of love - but I'm disappointed in myself for not realizing they weren't air brakes. I have even driven airbrake vehicles before. I made the assumption based on the parking switch it has, like airbrakes. I was so overwhelmed by everything else, I guess.

I feel like I'm finally getting to know this bus a little after removing the heaters and playing electrician. I'm really happy about everything else on the bus, it's the brakes (no one's perfect, right?) I want to keep it.

I know the brakes are expensive because they are labor intensive to work on... but do they work well otherwise? Or are they just garbage and I should expect them to fail sooner than later? I'm aware there is no 'for sure' answer here, just looking for a shred of hope.
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Old 05-26-2018, 01:42 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spmccormick85 View Post
I haven't fallen out of love - but I'm disappointed in myself for not realizing they weren't air brakes. I have even driven airbrake vehicles before. I made the assumption based on the parking switch it has, like airbrakes. I was so overwhelmed by everything else, I guess.

I feel like I'm finally getting to know this bus a little after removing the heaters and playing electrician. I'm really happy about everything else on the bus, it's the brakes (no one's perfect, right?) I want to keep it.

I know the brakes are expensive because they are labor intensive to work on... but do they work well otherwise? Or are they just garbage and I should expect them to fail sooner than later? I'm aware there is no 'for sure' answer here, just looking for a shred of hope.
Millions of buses on the roads with hydraulic brakes. When was the first or last time you heard of one failing?
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Old 05-26-2018, 01:59 PM   #5
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I still dont get it ???
So you thought the bus had air-brakes and it has hydraulic brakes.
So what ?
If they get services and maintained, why would anything go wrong ?

There is always a % of something going wrong with anything.
If you like everything else on the bus, I don't see why get rid of it just cuz no air breaks.
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Old 05-26-2018, 02:18 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2018
Location: Wilmington, NC
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Year: 1993
Coachwork: Bluebird, 8 window, roof hatches.
Chassis: Not sure on this...
Engine: Cummins 5.9 12v, 121k miles.
Rated Cap: 26,500
01marc:

Well, I did what everyone recommends when they have an issue with their bus and read through tons of skoolie forums about Lucas Gerling brakes. It scared the crap out of me.

I'm not so worried about them suddenly 'failing,' poor choice of words on my part. I'm worried they are going to turn into a money pit like I wrote earlier due to leaks and minor malfunctions. It looks like every small problem requires a large amount of labor.

Either way, you guys are kind of giving me some hope, so, thanks!
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Old 05-26-2018, 02:40 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spmccormick85 View Post
01marc:

Well, I did what everyone recommends when they have an issue with their bus and read through tons of skoolie forums about Lucas Gerling brakes. It scared the crap out of me.

I'm not so worried about them suddenly 'failing,' poor choice of words on my part. I'm worried they are going to turn into a money pit like I wrote earlier due to leaks and minor malfunctions. It looks like every small problem requires a large amount of labor.

Either way, you guys are kind of giving me some hope, so, thanks!
I still say the "tons" of forums you read are posted by only a handful of posters out of MILLIONS of buses. Think about it, if they were bad or too expensive, they would probably not use them in buses anymore. The more of a product is made there will be more stories of issues, almost always a relatively small percentage.
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Old 05-26-2018, 02:46 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2018
Location: Wilmington, NC
Posts: 15
Year: 1993
Coachwork: Bluebird, 8 window, roof hatches.
Chassis: Not sure on this...
Engine: Cummins 5.9 12v, 121k miles.
Rated Cap: 26,500
Yeah, it’s not the hydraulic brakes so much, it’s the Lucas Gerling brand. They don’t use this kind anymore I believe. And for a reason it sounds like.

I appreciate the input!
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Old 05-26-2018, 09:15 PM   #9
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Year: 2004
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Engine: DT466E
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spmccormick85 View Post
I haven't fallen out of love - but I'm disappointed in myself for not realizing they weren't air brakes. I have even driven airbrake vehicles before. I made the assumption based on the parking switch it has, like airbrakes. I was so overwhelmed by everything else, I guess.

I feel like I'm finally getting to know this bus a little after removing the heaters and playing electrician. I'm really happy about everything else on the bus, it's the brakes (no one's perfect, right?) I want to keep it.

I know the brakes are expensive because they are labor intensive to work on... but do they work well otherwise? Or are they just garbage and I should expect them to fail sooner than later? I'm aware there is no 'for sure' answer here, just looking for a shred of hope.
They'll stop it fine as long as they're working. I had an old F750 fire truck with those brakes and didn't like the feel of them but they stopped the truck.
Parts are hard to find and/or expensive as you know.
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Old 05-26-2018, 09:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oricha1984 View Post
I still dont get it ???
So you thought the bus had air-brakes and it has hydraulic brakes.
So what ?
If they get services and maintained, why would anything go wrong ?

There is always a % of something going wrong with anything.
If you like everything else on the bus, I don't see why get rid of it just cuz no air breaks.
Quote:
Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
I still say the "tons" of forums you read are posted by only a handful of posters out of MILLIONS of buses. Think about it, if they were bad or too expensive, they would probably not use them in buses anymore. The more of a product is made there will be more stories of issues, almost always a relatively small percentage.
Quote:
Originally Posted by spmccormick85 View Post
Yeah, itís not the hydraulic brakes so much, itís the Lucas Gerling brand. They donít use this kind anymore I believe. And for a reason it sounds like.

I appreciate the input!
Yeah they're outdated and nearly forgotten. I understand why you'd not be thrilled about having that brake system.
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