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.