Many brake problems announce themselves in the form of squeaking, or a pedal that feels squishy or pulsates when depressed. These are obvious signs that you need to have your brakes serviced immediately-but there are some brake problems that can go unnoticed until the real damage is done.

Because of this, It’s important to have your brakes checked regularly. For example, brake drums may often work to the bitter end before you know anything’s wrong; that’s because if it’s out of round, it doesn’t have a caliper to move like a disc does, so you won’t feel that pulsating sensation in the pedal. It has to be really out of round before you feel anything. By contrast, a brake rotor can be warped by as little as .003-.006, and you’ll feel it in the pedal. The caliper pistons displace a lot of fluid, too; as the pads and rotors wear, you will see a drop in the brake fluid level as the pistons must travel further to make contact with the rotor. Make sure the technician checks not only the fluid level, but also the condition of the fluid to see if it needs replacement. It may contain acids and also water, which can lower the boiling point of the brake fluid.

Brake caliper slides and pins are important too, because if they get sticky, they can cause the brakes to drag. On the P32 chassis, the rear brake caliper slides are prone to corrosion as the lubricant wears out, so the calipers hang up and don’t release properly. Sometimes, this problem will reveal itself as a “groaning” noise at low speeds. The problem doesn’t necessarily surface like a brake rotor problem will (no pedal pulsating), and there is no “wear indicator” on the outside brake pad, so you don’t get that high-pitched squeal that tells you the brake pads are wearing out. As a result, you can be metal-to-metal on these brakes without even knowing it. To prevent the calipers and slides from hanging up, we remove the calipers and clean the contact areas before reassembling with a disc brake caliper slide lube, which is a combination of silicone and moly.

For Workhorse applications, we’re happy to announce that we have just introduced a new brake rotor specifically designed to withstand heavy-duty use and high temperature. This rotor isn’t any larger than the original, because we wanted it to be a bolt-in replacement for the stock part, but it does have additional vanes to help dissipate heat and prevent cracking. More importantly, it is made from a high-carbon alloy with copper and molybdenum for high-temperature strength and durability. To make absolutely sure these brakes work as we intended, we’re currently seeking Workhorse W20/W22 owners in the Southern Oregon area that are willing to have these rotors fitted on their coach at no charge. It would be helpful if your coach had already experienced brake issues so we know that our product solves any problems decisively. The pictures below show the new rotor, as well as the new rotor compared to the stock rotor so you can see the additional vanes.

When replacing the stock rotors with our new rotors, the brake pads on these Workhorse applications don’t usually have to be replaced, because we have found that they wear well. But we do offer an optional carbon metallic pad for even greater braking performance if desired.

No matter what coach you drive or the type of braking system it has, your brakes should never be taken lightly.  Have them checked and serviced regularly, and they’ll be there for you when you need them.

Leave a Reply

16 comments

  1. Catchesthewind

    Im in Fla with a W-22 chassis graced by a 38 ft Winnego Voyage. Ill volunteer for a free brake upgrade.

  2. Hello Catches,

    We want to find a coach owner nearby in the Pacific Northwest that we can monitor. We are hoping to find one that has had brake rotor problems. We will have the rotors on display in Perry , GA at the FMCA Rally. We have dealers in Florida who will be able to install them once will are through with our testing.

    Best wishes and smooth braking, Robert

  3. I realize that driving conditions (hills vrs flat roads) can vary, but is there a “rule of thumb” for how many miles you should go before you have to change your brakes? At 36,000 miles I was told (at the Winnebago factory) that my Vectra had 70% left on the brakes. If I contunue to drive the same that would take me to well over 100,000 miles before I would have to change brakes. Due to some bad pot holes I had my front end alligned and two new tires put on at 42,000 miles. When I looked at the pads and rotors, there was a lot of “meat” on both. — is that standard?

  4. julie rea

    I live in southwest Washington (Vancouver, Washington area). Currently travelling in Arizona, heading back home, through southern Oregon in a few weeks. I have a Workhorse W22, Dolphin motorhome. I have had brake problems on 3 wheels at different times in the last 1-1/2 yrs. Would LOVE to try these new rotors.

  5. We have a 2004 27′ Class C Coach House RV. Chasis is Ford E-450.

    I was hearing squeaking noise with the brakes so I had the brakes checked and the results were good….no problem with the brakes.

    But then, driving from Texas to Florida….same situation….squeaky brakes most times that I apply pressure on the brake pedal & it can be LIGHT pressure. Is there anything else I should check for this noise?

    Thanks!

  6. Hello Folks,
    Many of the newer brake systems on the Diesel pushers are good for 100,000 or more depending on usage and maintenance of your system. .

    What kind of problems did you have with your Work Horse? We are looking for the right candidate. Please let us know ahead of time when you will be coming through.

    Squeaks can be more annoying than anything. If you hear a grinding metal to metal noise, that is what causes the big problems. Some brake systems have a wear indicator that makes a high pitch squaking noise that lets you know you running out of friction material.

    One simple tool you can use to check for signs of a problem is a digital pyrometer available at any good parts house or Radio Shack. Just point and shoot from about 8 to 10 ” away ( per directions) and read the temperatures of your brakes, hubs, wheels and tires. Look for differences side to side that are significant.
    Happy Camping ,
    Robert

  7. julie rea

    I had caliper issues on the Workhorse. Of course, I left all records at home! I know, I know. I should travel with them. My file on repairs on this Dolphin is THICK! Each issue was calipers, however.
    How do I contact you before I come through? Not sure if I will have internet after March 9. I know it should be around March 16 that I will be in that area.

  8. Hello Julie,
    Please call our Service Dept at 541-479-2882 ext 301. We will set up a time to check it out. Thank you, Robert

  9. Michael Prouty

    I have a 1998 22′ Bounder and I tow a jeep to the lower desert about 8 times a year witch is hard on brakes. I normally go camping with a group of campers at least once or twice a month. I have all ready went through a set of brakes and rotors. I was hearing squeaking noise the other day so I have to get them checked again Squeaky brakes most times when I apply pressure on the brake pedal. I don’t know if I should use carbon metallic pad if the are worth the money. I hope there’s no problem with my brakes.

    Thanks
    Mike

  10. Hello Mike.
    I am in Georgia. at FMCA , We have 2 folks from Performance Friction Brakes with us for the next couple days. At dinner last night I asked about a problem we used to have on the early P32 chassis with single piston brakes when we used Carbon Metallic pads ( Performance Friction developed the Carbon Metallic pad) They required a higher pedal pressure on that application. The graphite in the pads makes the rotors last longer due to less drag. Sounds good however we ran into higher pedal pressure being required to stop. We had to switch back to a semimetallic pad.
    I will find out more about the newer formulas and get back to you as we are reestablishing our relationship with them..
    On the multi piston designs like yours I don’t believe it will be an issue.
    Thank you, Robert

  11. Jason

    Where can I purchase these rotors? I live in San Jose CA. My current rotors have heat cracks and need to be replaced. thank you

  12. Hello Jason,

    We carry the Performance Friction Workhorse rotors and pads in stock as we are an authorized dealer for them. What kind of chassis do you have? Workhorse has announced a recall on a lot of their coaches. You may be part of that recall.
    The rotors we sell are a definited upgrade over the stock rotors as I explained in the previous post.

    Thank you and please feel free to ask more questions.

    Robert

  13. Jason Smith

    Robert,

    My coach was seviced for the recall and all Calipers and brakes were replaced as well as rear brake sensor but they did not replace the rotors. I know have pretty have pulsating caused from warped rotors and lots of heat cracks on the rotors. I also have one crack that is a bit larger than the rest which worries me so I looking at the next step of have the front rotors and brake pads replaced. My coach is a 2002 Dolphin LX on a W22 chassis. Would love to get a price on your rotors and brake pads for the front. Would even like it more if I could be part of your test RV’s but either way, I am in the market for new rotors. thank you in advance. I spoke with one of your associates and left my name and number with him. thank you

  14. Bill Mattish

    I have a 2004 Dolphin on a W22 chassis. I am about to have a brake job because I have metal on metal on both rear brakes. I am most likely going to need to replace the rear rotors as well. I don’t know if the condition is due to the recall issue but I am very surprised at the brake pad wear at only 30k miles. I live in Mt Shasta and would sure like to be part of your test group.

    Regards,
    Bill M

  15. John Martin

    I have a workhorse chassis Itasca MH, 2004, purchased new. It has about 29,000 miles on it. I have always preferred to use engine braking when in the mountains, to extend brake life. I was on flat ground and arriving in Pigeon Forge, TN, when I smelled a “hot electrical” odor. I arrived at a campground, checked in, drove to my back-in site. After I dropped the tow, I swung left to prepare to back in my space, and found the brake pedal went almost to the floor ! I looked up and saw the ABS light on. I was lucky to find a local ASE certified mechanic who showed up the same day, checked the brake fluid levels (ok) and started removing and cleaning a LOT of brake dust off the sensors on all 4 wheels. The 4th one (always the last place you look, eh ?) was “fried”. The mechanic has ordered a new sensor, and will come to the campsite to install it. Low mileage case, but beware anyway. Not blaming anyone, just lucky and now am forewarned. [the GREAT mechanic is Steve of D & S Automotive Repairs in Sevierville, TN (865)428-4115]

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