Dirt and brakes don't match says experts

By: Steve Skinner

Technical conference delegates warned to keep brake systems clean, and advised to fit supply line filter strainers

Dirt and brakes don't match says experts
Ian Thomson (right) emphasises the need for filters. Picture: Marcel Voestermans

Brake system upkeep is exercising the minds of those closest to this crucial equipment.

BPW Transpec engineering manager Ian Thomson stresses the simple importance of keeping brake systems clean.

This can be as basic as regularly draining the air tanks; ensuring there are dust covers to keep abrasive grit away from the drum shoes; keeping air lines out of the dirt and grease; and having drivers wipe these clean.

Trailer couplings are potentially a source of contamination which can cause valves further along the system to fail because debris gets caught and they no longer seat properly.

Oil and other liquid contaminants can cause seats to swell and also not seal properly; and excess sealant or Teflon tape can also prevent valves sealing properly.

Thomson says the typical pneumatic brake circuit doesn’t have any in-line filters – in the relay valves, park brake valves and brake boosters.

One of the sessions at the latest ATA/Paccar Technical and Maintenance Conference was titled "Brushing up on Brake Maintenance".

Thomson, one of the presenters, is a member of Australian Road Transport Suppliers Association (ARTSA) which is also joint organiser of the TMC.

"People seem to think that because these valves are fairly inexpensive to replace, they do away with the need for filters – they just let the system cop it and when things go bad, change the valves out," he says.

"That’s been changing quite a lot with the introduction of ABS/EBS where the valves you need to replace are quite a lot more expensive, so you go from changing what might be a $150 valve to one that might be $1,500."

Thomson advocates brake supply line filter strainers to stop dust and corrosion from the supply lines getting into the valves and tanks.

He says there are also EBS valve service kits costing between $150 and $200 that can also save a lot of money.

BPW recommends a complete operational service check of brake systems every three months or 40,000km .

Check out the feature on brakes at the TMC in the current issue of ATN.

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