08Brake Inspections Tech Tip130007032019

TECH Tips CATALOG NUMBER 08 www.midwestwheel.com Order NLINE ™ www.midwestwheel.com Order NLINE ™ Bad brakes: Why regular brake inspections are vital to reducing downtime, roadside violations www.truckpartsandservice.com By Tom Quimby Read any good drums lately? Brake drums help tell the critical story of overall brake performance, which is important since an overwhelming portion of violations — 45 percent during last year’s Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) Inspection Blitz — were owed to bad brakes. In the age of ‘hurry up and get it done’ simply replacing a brake drum and shoes is not an effective way to maximize brake life, safety and productivity. Nor is it the best way to avoid costly violations and irate drivers. “This is the second time they’ve done this to me,” said a driver recently to a Florida Highway Patrol trooper who grounded his truck for bad brakes. The ‘they’ in this case would be the fleet that failed to ensure that the driver’s trailer had sound brakes before hitting the road. But the driver also shares responsibility since the trailer should pass his own inspection prior to hauling. The grounded truck and its driver sat and waited at an inspection station along Interstate 10 for a tech to show up to fix the brakes. Both were still there when the trooper’s shift ended, and with a load that was going nowhere fast. Avoiding violations not only comes from keeping brakes in adjustment it also comes from taking a close look at brake drums, which can reveal how the overall system is performing. Tossing out a drum without closely inspecting it for wear patterns and damage may mean missing vital clues that can point to issues with hardware, shoes and the smallest of road hazards like dirt and sand. “Any irregular wear patterns should be investigated, such as tapered wear across the braking surface or significant grooving beyond the specific drum’s maximum wear diameter,” says Johnathon Capps, vice-president of engineering, Webb Wheel Products. “Causes for this include worn braking hardware (such as the rollers and bushings), dirt and debris infiltration across the braking surface, and inadequate friction material.” Accuride’s director of wheel end product engineering, Greg Sturdy, says on average fleets are not conducting enough brake drum inspections. For guidance, Sturdy points to the following recommended practices from the American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC): TMC RP608 on Brake Drums and Rotors; RP627 Brake Lining Structural Defects; and RP 629 Brake Lining Contamination. “Even wear is critical,” Sturdy says. “If there is any sign of uneven wear or heat discoloration this indicates the system is not running true to the axis of rotation and causing runout. Such runout will cause the brake components to unevenly heat and cool and cause accelerated wear along with crack formation potential.”