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Air Brakes - Daily Inspection and Periodic Adjustment Checks

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As we all know, air brakes are the major safety related system on our buses.

There are two major system tests that you should perform frequently.

The first is a test that CDL drivers are required to perform daily. This is a fairly quick test that is done from the driver's seat. A good site with a description of this test is:

http://www.lowestpricetrafficschool.com/handbooks/cdl/en/5/3

As a side note, the CDL inspection is standardized in all states. You should be able to go to your DMV and get a free copy of the CDL manual. It is a great reference document.

The second test is to check your brake adjustment. Again, this is critical. The best document I have found is:

http://www.cvsa.org/programs/documents/air_brakes/2011/CVSA%20Airbrake2011.pdf

update 6/16/13: I have now fixed the above link. There is another good source listed in another post on this link

Many of our buses have automatic slack adjusters. However, they can, and do, go bad (mostly bind up from lack of lubrication). It is just plain good safety practice to inspect them on a fairly frequent basis.

I will make this a sticky so that it stays toward the top of this forum.

Jim
Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
'85 Eagle 10 with Series 60 & Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission - not at all fancy, but fully functional
Bus Project pages: http://beltguy.com/Bus_Project/busproject.htm
Blog: http://beltguy.com/blog/
Email: jim@eaglesinternational.net (Please email me rather than use the PM process)
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beltguy
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Just wanted to let you know that the second link is broken. I took a quick look at their site but didn't see the document page. Didn't turn up in a Google search either.
DavidO - 1970 Model 05 #8284 - www.tinyurl.com/1970silvereagle
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David, one of the problems with posting links is that they change. Like you, I tried to find the document on that site. I assumed that the link simply changed. Could not find it.

I did a Google search on "air brake adjustment" and found several. I think this one is pretty good:

http://www.mpi.mb.ca/PDFs/AirBrakeManual/ABM_Section8.pdf

Update: I just took the time to read the above document and it is both good and "marginal". It describes how the brakes work pretty well. It also has a pretty good description of how to check the adjustment. That said, it must have been written by some damn engineer :lol: :D Pretty text bookish.

It is really much more straight forward than the document would suggest. Simply air up the bus, release the spring brake and have a person apply the brakes. Observe each arm movement. You can eyeball both the stroke (should not be more than 1-1 1/2 inches) and also observe the angle between the brake rod and the actuating arm. It should be very close to 90 degrees with the brakes applied.

I check my brakes before each trip. I have auto slack adjusters and my inspection is mainly to confirm they are working. If you have manual adjusters, you need to check you adjustment more frequently.

Jim
Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
'85 Eagle 10 with Series 60 & Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission - not at all fancy, but fully functional
Bus Project pages: http://beltguy.com/Bus_Project/busproject.htm
Blog: http://beltguy.com/blog/
Email: jim@eaglesinternational.net (Please email me rather than use the PM process)
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beltguy
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