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Old 02-20-2018, 04:33 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Retarded controls

I have this retarder control in my bus. I know it has to do with engine braking but how does it work and how do I use it?

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Old 02-21-2018, 07:27 AM   #2
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Trans retard

I can't see your blurry picture very well, but I would guess that joystick is for your ejection seat, don't press the red button.

Can you press the red button - or is that a light? I'd say indicator to let you know your brake is on. The switch looks to be HI LOW. The corresponding retarding power, low for some assistance and high for better braking on steep grades.

I would say the joystick is to select the level to descend a hill. You would prob use 4-6 for highway mountains. Id say your bus was a highway commuter and used in the hills.

But again I can't see squat in your picture
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Old 02-21-2018, 07:56 AM   #3
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The retarder is a transmission brake used to help maintain a steady speed on long down-grades.

By the look of those controls you have an On/Off switch, an indicator light and a lever to select the amount of retardation.
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Old 02-21-2018, 09:16 AM   #4
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We've got a Klam electromagnetic retarder on our bus. It looks different than yours, and I've been led to believe that there are a couple different types of retarders.....electric and mechanical.

Ours has a joystick similar to yours, as well as a power switch and an indicator light to let you know it's on. So in that way, yours looks like ours.

When ours is on, it acts as a brake on the system....but it's frictionless, so it saves wear and tear on the brakes. Level 1 slows the bus slightly, and the highest level slows it down immediately.....almost like aggressively applying the brakes (though not quite like slamming them on). I've found it to be incredibly useful not only in the mountains (no overheated brakes!) but also in normal suburban traffic or on the highway. It's almost my default braking method.

The one word of caution I'd give you, though, is that you MUST remember to put the joystick back to Level 0 when you're no longer braking. That's why it has that red light! You don't want your engine to have to fight against that 1000lb magnet on the driveshaft. I've made that mistake myself a few times and it always results in my wife smacking me upside the head and telling me to turn the retarder off.

Most buses don't have this feature, so count yourself as one of the lucky few!
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Old 02-21-2018, 09:59 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Veganswandering View Post
I have this retarder control in my bus. I know it has to do with engine braking but how does it work and how do I use it?
Good info from other already. Adding to that....

The mechanical version uses an oil bath within the transmission to create a braking action on the drive train. I am told it does add heat to the tranny but I've only seen a hint of this on very long downhills.

Like Drew, the retarder is my go to braking method at anything over about 25 mph.

My retarder, and I think yours, given the zero setting, can be left on all the time. At the zero setting, there is no braking. My manual describes setting/using the cruise and the retarder simultaneously. The effect is that the cruise maintains (or tries to) a certain minimum speed and when going down a hill (cruise still set), the retarder kicks in at about 4-5 mph over the cruise speed.

Get out there and give it a try. Won't be long before you love the thing.
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Old 02-21-2018, 01:18 PM   #6
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Great. Thanks for the info. Seems pretty straight forward.
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