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Old 10-25-2013, 12:58 AM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Vancouver, B.C
Posts: 16
Year: 1994
Engine: International
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Airbrakes Discussion

hey! I know there's a thread about how to check airbrakes...
I just have some quick questions, perhaps skill testing...!
so, I found this bus and I am extremely on the fence about air brakes. sometimes I think they will be fine, other times i feel like they are too much work.
My general questions are:
- If I absolutely HAD to, could I get someone to rip out the air brakes and put in hydraulic, or is that easier said than done? (Answer as if I have the money to do that! Haha)

Maybe that's the only question. It's quite expensive to get my license and do courses for airbrakes.
I don't plan on traveling off the bat, but I may go in the future.
Besides an insurance place, where should I look for the best tips and info on airbrakes?
What are the main pros and cons?

Also I feel pressured in this decision because I found my perfect bus and I know nothing about airbrakes!
Thank you for any help!!

Message me if you live near Vancouver B.C, we could exchange tips and tricks on bus conversions!!
Email me:
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Old 10-25-2013, 03:13 AM   #2
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Location: Southern Maine
Posts: 337
Re: Airbrakes Discussion

Here in Texas it doesn't matter if it has air brakes or not Hydraulic brakes. We do not need a special license, where are you? Are you sure you need an air brake endorsement on your license? it seems to be state to state as to the rules, it may be way less complex than you are making it.
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Old 10-26-2013, 02:13 PM   #3
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Location: near flint michigan
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Re: Airbrakes Discussion

air brakes are more simple and reliable than hydraulic, not to mention they stop so much better.

nearly Every single semi-truck on the road has air brakes. If they were complicated, or problematic, or didn't have tons of stopping power the industry would not use them.

Michigan does not require any special endorsements for non-commercial vehicles with air brakes. I imagine other states have similar laws.

another advantage of air brakes is that you can use the air to fill tires and run air tools.

Newer style air brakes have automatic adjusters. Older air brakes require a 9/16 wrench to adjust/check. It literally takes 30 seconds or less per wheel to adjust the brakes. I'm sure there is a youtube video that shows you exactly how to do it. It's very simple.
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Old 10-28-2013, 04:27 PM   #4
Join Date: Aug 2010
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Year: 1993
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TE2000 FE
Engine: 5.9L Cummins
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Re: Airbrakes Discussion

with the weights most conversions reach air brakes are needed, so its better to learn how to use and adjust. Or spend time at various truck stops along the way
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Old 10-31-2013, 08:10 AM   #5
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Re: Airbrakes Discussion

With air brakes if they fail your gonna know it BEFORE you need them
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Old 10-31-2013, 11:20 AM   #6
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Re: Airbrakes Discussion

Originally Posted by allwthrrider
With air brakes if they fail your gonna know it BEFORE you need them

Most buses now days the parking break will engage when you lose air presure.

When you get to the limit of your break pads, you notice when using the parking break at stops. It wont hold as well when they get worn down.

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Old 11-04-2013, 11:12 AM   #7
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 61
Year: 1990
Chassis: International
Engine: DT360
Re: Airbrakes Discussion

I just picked up my second bus, which has air brakes. I was a little trepidation at first, hearing the same things you've been hearing, but I haven't noticed a difference while on the road. One feature, that is pretty neat is that when an air system is not pressurized, the brakes are in the brake position, and it requires air to unlock. This means you can't even start moving if you have a brake issue, or if you have a failure on the road, the vehicle will brake to a stop. Also makes a handy parking brake.
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Old 11-18-2013, 08:42 PM   #8
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Location: Grand Junk, CO
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Re: Airbrakes Discussion

Air brakes are superior to hydraulic on anything over 18,000 gvw.
If you have air brakes, get with a QUALIFIED heavy truck mechanic and have him walk you and your partner (needed for a proper inspection by applying the brake pedal while you inspect) through the inspection and adjustment process. It is not that difficult.
The only real problems you may encounter on a normal inspection is a stuck automatic slack adjuster, a bad spring brake can, or air leaks.
Doing this type of work yourself can also help motivate you to crawl under the bus and check for other problems that can affect the safe operation of the vehicle (leaky wheel seals, broken suspension, etc.).
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