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Steve 12-23-2003 09:04 PM

What kind of brakes does your bus have?
I have good old hydraulic.

lapeer20m 12-23-2003 09:09 PM

gotcha thinking, didn't I???

by the way, i'd like to say THANKS for creating such a wonderful place for us wacky people to gather and share thoughts on everything skoolie. You've done a wonderful job so far.

John Chance 12-30-2003 11:36 PM

Type of Brakes....
My 91 International has 4-wheel hydraulic disc brakes, with a really weird vaccum assist off the Allison tranny. I still do not understand how that rig operates. :?

My 86 Jimmy has air brakes (twin tanks) with the anti-lock mechanism. :)

My 84 Chevy "Shortie" has front disc, rear drum, anti-lock up mechanism, boosted off the power steering pump. :P

RonS 04-22-2004 10:11 PM

Brake choices
I went with air brakes on this bus for safety reasons.

Back in the late '80s I had an old school bus that had a brake line rust through and blow out leaving me with no brakes. It happened that I was just pulling out of our driveway at low speed and nothing bad happened.

I'd rather not go than not stop if there's a brake failure.


abdabbs 07-16-2004 03:25 PM

good ol hsssss..
...air brakes. Gotta love that sound ! :D

David G. 07-19-2004 10:57 PM

my old 74 chevy skoolie has an old vaccume type brakes......that of course dont work very well............WHOOOOOOA.....PLEASE STOP BUS!!!!!!!

gealto 08-18-2004 03:28 PM

Dual Vacume Brakes
OOps, I mis-cast my vote as having pneumatic brakes. Actually, "hydraulic" brakes are vacume actuated, and the force comes from the pressure of the atmosphere, so they are air actuated.

Maybe the categories should have been air versus vacume actuated?

Air brakes are way over-kill for a skoolie. They're ultra expensive to maintain. Somebody ELSE has to work on them for you, while the dual vacume brakes are easy to work on yourself. Also, no special license restrictionsd apply.

A proper skoolie attitude is to not drive very much, to use back roads, and to never drive over 45 mph. Always asume that the brakes are about to fail. A stick shift greatly reduces the need for brakes anyway, so have one of those, and a good mechanical parking brake is good backup.

Heck, mine just sits in the yard all the time anyway, so why does it matter? Mine has been my dream machine. I spend time thinking about it. I planned to retire in it, still at least 15 years away.

lapeer20m 08-18-2004 11:22 PM

I disagree with that post on so many levels! First of all, I actually drive my bus, it doesn't just sit on my property. Iv'e driven about 15 thousand miles in the past year and a half.

Hydrolic brakes are not actuated by atmospheric pressure, I believe almost all of them use vacuum from the intake manifold.

For must of us, if we had to get a brake job done once on our skoolie, those new brake shoes would last longer than our bus. Re-shoeing a bus with air brakes is actually quite simple.

You can't beat the stopping power of air brakes! They are far superior to hydrolic. If they we'ren't better, semi-trucks would all use hydrolic brakes. A kid can press the brake pedal hard enough to lock up all 6 wheels in a bus with air.

It's super easy to adjust air brakes, it takes about 10 minutes total to adjust all four. I do this once every couple months. (I plan to do it a few times on my 5k mile trip across the USA) IF part of your air brake system fails, parts are readily available at any truck repair shop. Air brake parts are nearly identicle for all big trucks/buses.

One huge safety factor with air brakes: If the system ever failes, your bus stops! If your hydrolic brakes fail, better hope you don't need to stop in a hurry.

Who says a skoolie shouldn't go over 45?? I do plan to get to my destination before I die! Most skoolies don't go much over 55 which is a perfectly acceptable speed.

An added bonus is the availability of compressed air for filling tires, or utilizing air tools, and of coarse using those new air horns.

I appologize for being so argumtative, I"m cranky today!

gealto 08-19-2004 10:23 PM

And I disagree with your disagreement! :-)

A vacume is merely the absense of pressure, it isn't a "thing" of itself. There is no such thing as the force of a vacume. It's the air pressure on the outside doing the work, so "vacume assited" brakes is a misnomer, they're really air pressure assisted.

If you want to blast down the interstate all day at high speed, why not get a motorhome? That's what they're designed for. Skoolies, to have any meaning in and of themselves, must be different. They need to take the opposite approach, otherwise its a pointless endeavor. School buses are NOT designed for efficient high speed cruising. They're designed for back road medium speed driving under average conditions. Many don't understand this, get a schoolie, then want rid of it because it's a no good fuel hogging noisey shakey and dangerous high speed cruiser..

Go ahead and spend a few thousands on that old bus only to find later that nobody will buy it from you, 'cause they want a real motorhome.

Air brakes are mandated on trucks due to public safety issues and the irresponsibilities of commercial drivers. If they were so much inherently "better", then they would be on cars, too, right? Wrong, they will never be on cars, don't need all that stopping power. You would probably put air brakes on your moped, cause they're so much better.

Airbrakes unnecessarily raise the maintenance cost of the vehicle. It aint the shoes, it's the cost of fixing problems when they occur, like air leaks and compressors and such.

busone 08-20-2004 12:02 AM

I have to agree with lapeer20m, air is better. Hydraulic is great for small stuff. I have a real problem saying that commercial drivers are what make hydraulic breaks bad for trucks. Commercial drivers are generally much better drivers than the general public that is why they can drive 80,000LBS down the road. I would not want to be in my car in front of a fully loaded cement truck with hydraulic breaks. I wonder why trains use air breaks and not hydraulic?

School buses are designed to drive on all sorts of roads from city streets to back roads. I went to school in one of the largest school districts in the nation and many of the buses had to travel on the highway to get to the schools. The bus I rode spent half of it's time on the freeway getting us to school and we traveled just fine at 65MPH. Whenever we had a sports tournament we always rode in a school bus and usually it was far away and we would be on the freeway.

Jarlaxle 11-27-2004 05:42 PM

My B-700 has vacuum-assist 4-wheel hydraulic drums.

Demonknight 01-18-2005 05:40 PM

after working in a truck stop for a number of years I'm far more confertable with trucks on either side and in front of/behind me than the dorks in the suvs on thier phones...I KNOW the truck drivers know what they are doing..if in doubt go look at a cdl instruction book and compare it to a worthless thing they give a "normal" driver.

TravelingMan 03-05-2005 09:51 PM

Air breaks on on heavy trucks are a good thing. On tractor/trailer or a train think about how much fun it would be to drop a trailer if you had hydrolic breaks?
Think about going down a long steep grade and your hydrolic fluid is so hot that its boiling in the pistons and now you have air in them. No breaks! :shock:

Air breaks are easy to adjust and you have an air gage or two to tell you when may have a problem.
True if you ignore air breaks you can get into serious trouble.
Air leaks,ruptured air line or a weak compressor? Oops get ready to come to a screeching halt. I hope you know how to cage the rear breaks or fix the problem otherwise you wont be going anywhare soon. :P

Air breaks just make good sence on a big heavy truck.

Branden 04-19-2005 12:58 AM

Lucinda has air brakes.

Guess I need to learn how to cage them. Guess I need to learn what that means.



abdabbs 08-09-2005 11:33 PM

air brakes
i do not think i would be comfortable driving all 19700 lbs of ol betsy down the road with hydraulic brakes.

and yes things do go wrong....

im just in the process of swapping out my ol compressor for a remanned one that cost me 350 smackers. and i have an air leak on the exhaust side of the system thatll run about 75 bucks in new hoses but it will definately outlast the bus once its done.

one day when traveling out to mid states ford here in des moines i had some moron in a jeep liberty think he could dart in front of me and immediately put on his signal and brake from 45 to 10 mph in 20 feet or so.... needless to say i found out how easy indeed it is to lock up all six tires... only if i could have seen his wifes face when she smelled his drawers when he got home !!! (i had to check mine also lol).

air brakes all the way !!

seems like a ramble to me...better stop drinking and hit the sack!

TonyC in Iowa

thomastedder 08-14-2005 04:52 PM

Mine has air brakes. Man do I love that sound! CHSSSHHH.

Griff 08-14-2005 05:44 PM

OK, maybe I should have been paying better attention to the poll results before. . .I am aware of hydraulic, pneumatic & electric brakes, but what other types are available!?! Do those "Other" 3 people have Fred Flinstone brakes?

Wolfman 10-30-2005 09:02 PM

Air brakes. Sorry, but IMO, part of the reason for building an R.V. out of a skoolie IS because the rig is so seriously overbuilt. The brakes should be JUST as overbuilt. As for difficulty of working on, they really aren't that different from hydraulic brakes. Just replace the fluid with compressed air. Air brake parts are bigger, and easier to work on. Instead of a master cylinder, I have a proportioning valve under the dash. Air brake lines arerubber and plastic, and therefore much more resisitant to corrosion than the metal hydraulic lines.

Sturgeon1 06-03-2006 12:32 PM

My old girl is a vacuum assist, hydraulic drum type. All brand new parts from the drums out.... What a job!

The Slims 08-14-2006 10:36 AM

If I said my bus was built like a truck I'd be wrong. My bus IS a truck and I'm happy to have some big ol' heavy-duty air brakes on it for stopping power, safety and ease of maintenance. Once I understood everything I was sold.


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