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Old 08-31-2017, 02:21 PM   #1
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Air or hydraulic brakes

Hello all

I am looking at buying a bus but I do not know if I should buy air or hydraulic brakes. I live in a cold weather area but will not be using the bus any if at all when it is cold if that matters. Thanks for any info and input.
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Old 08-31-2017, 02:29 PM   #2
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Hello all

I am looking at buying a bus but I do not know if I should buy air or hydraulic brakes. I live in a cold weather area but will not be using the bus any if at all when it is cold if that matters. Thanks for any info and input.
I prefer air, but my shorty has hydraulic and they do a great job of stopping it.
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Old 08-31-2017, 02:48 PM   #3
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For a larger vehicle, air is preferred. First.. safety, if you lose your air the spring brake will stop the truck. If your system leaks and won't build pressure you can't move it from the driver seat.
Second... There is no fluid to sit in lines and corrode or if it sits for long periods, degrade.
I like the air brakes on my bus.

They do take a bit to get used to. You don't have the same feel as hydrolic.
All that being said, hydrolic brakes can stop a full sized bus.


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Old 08-31-2017, 03:21 PM   #4
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I am partial to air brakes, both for the aforementioned reasons as well as being a professional driver and being very accustomed to them. Also, my driveway isn't flat and I wanted more than a driveshaft brake holding it in place.

Hydraulic brakes are fine and do the job quite adequately. Ultimately you have to decide (and if going to Canada, I do believe they *WILL* require you to have an air-brake endorsement if your vehicle has them).
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Old 08-31-2017, 03:35 PM   #5
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I prefer air brakes for heavier trucks/buses.
I would look at your local DMV to see if you need an air brake endorsement to drive one with air brakes.
Depending on year models? some years also made some air over hydraulic brakes? Stay away from them unless you know them.
Regardless of brakes if you find a bus you like and it is in the range of money and mechanically sound on a good platform?
Then go for it.
Each and every platform was made to stop regardless of the type of brakes were used hydraulic brakes are still used and air brakes are still used.
Air brakes are for medium to heavy duty and hydraulics are for medium to light vehicles.
That is just an opinion
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Old 09-01-2017, 05:19 AM   #6
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I have hydraulic brakes but wish mine were air just for the simple fact that it would a onboard air supply for airing up tires & running hand tools.
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Old 09-01-2017, 05:49 AM   #7
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On my shorty, the park brake is air and the service brakes are juice.
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Old 09-01-2017, 10:51 AM   #8
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I would vote for air brakes for all of the above reasons.

I would vote against wet brakes for all of the above reasons plus one more. Brake fluid is hydroscopic--it absorbs water. Over time the moisture accumulation will degrade the brake fluid and lower the boiling point. It can go down far enough that on a long downhill grade you can literally boil your brake fluid away.

As far as air brake endorsement on a drivers license is concerned, if your bus is registered as an RV there is no jurisdiction in the US that requires you to have the endorsement if it isn't required in your home state. However, if you should ever decide to go to Canada it is required. If you don't have the endorsement and you get stopped your RV will be red flagged and won't be allowed to move until a driver with the correct endorsement shows up to drive it.
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Old 09-01-2017, 12:38 PM   #9
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[/QUOTE]

As far as air brake endorsement on a drivers license is concerned, if your bus is registered as an RV there is no jurisdiction in the US that requires you to have the endorsement if it isn't required in your home state. However, if you should ever decide to go to Canada it is required. If you don't have the endorsement and you get stopped your RV will be red flagged and won't be allowed to move until a driver with the correct endorsement shows up to drive it.[/QUOTE]

We just drove our bus into Alberta the other weekend and had no issues with the endorsement. From what I recall, it is only in the province of British Columbia where you must have the air endorsement...Not 100% sure, so feel free to correct me if I'm wrong...

Thanks!

John
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Old 09-01-2017, 09:23 PM   #10
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As far as air brake endorsement on a drivers license is concerned, if your bus is registered as an RV there is no jurisdiction in the US that requires you to have the endorsement if it isn't required in your home state. However, if you should ever decide to go to Canada it is required. If you don't have the endorsement and you get stopped your RV will be red flagged and won't be allowed to move until a driver with the correct endorsement shows up to drive it.[/QUOTE]

We just drove our bus into Alberta the other weekend and had no issues with the endorsement. From what I recall, it is only in the province of British Columbia where you must have the air endorsement...Not 100% sure, so feel free to correct me if I'm wrong...

Thanks!

John[/QUOTE]

I know the BC weight cops are really serious about the air brake endorsement.

My b-I-l has told me that crossing from MI into Canada can be problematic as well.
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Old 09-02-2017, 08:47 AM   #11
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My b-I-l has told me that crossing from MI into Canada can be problematic as well.
I know a couple people who have traversed the Sault Ste Marie, Ontario and Michigan crossing in their buses without issue (including myself). The only reason for rejection that I've witnessed - several times in fact - is in the case of a DUI. I've had 2 US friends rejected from the Canadian side due to a DUI. I believe it is reciprocated on the state side crossing.
A note about the rejection: you can always try again Wait a day and you'll get a new border agent. It works!

From my understanding Ontario DOES require an air brake endorsement on your license if you'll be driving any air brake equipped vehicle. Will you be stopped and checked? Probably not..
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