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Old 07-21-2017, 06:19 AM   #1
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Default Brakes...a few questions for you guys.

So I have been on two trips now where I had to descend at fairly low speeds: once coming down from a ski hill in New Mexico and once going down to the bottom of Palo Duro Canyon (in Texas).

Both times my rotors got hot and the brakes where smoking as a result. I took the rig to a brake shop and they said the brakes were fine and that is just the nature of the beast....riding the brakes and not a lot of air to cool the rotors down and a large heavy vehicle.

I was wondering, have any of you had this issue? Can you upgrade your brake system? What are the options?

I will be spending a lot of time in the mountains, so I want to make sure I have the best set up.

Thanks,
Mark
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Old 07-21-2017, 08:26 AM   #2
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.

The science behind the brakes is -- to convert kinetic energy to thermal energy.

The disks will get hot... that's normal.

But how hot is normal?

If it is smoking... I don't think that is good

Can you use the engine to assist your downhills?
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Old 07-21-2017, 01:21 PM   #3
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I think this is natural. You need to keep your foot OFF the brake. Put the transmission in 1 or 2 and descend slowly.
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Old 07-21-2017, 01:55 PM   #4
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Yep, gear down, and don't ride the brakes. Shorter, harder, braking periods will give the brakes time to cool a bit between applications and reduce heat buildup.

From what I have seen, top quality semi metallic pads can handle getting hot to the point of emitting some hot brake smell without damage, but, IMO, seeing smoke is beyond what I would be comfortable with,
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Old 07-21-2017, 01:57 PM   #5
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If you went up the hill in second, go down the hill in second.
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Old 07-21-2017, 07:46 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the responses. Yeah, I have been downshifting to help out, but I was just wondering if anyone else was doing anything I wasn't or had done an upgrades I should be aware of.

Sounds like it's just the nature of the beast.

Thanks,
Mark
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Old 07-21-2017, 07:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saenzm View Post
Thanks for all the responses. Yeah, I have been downshifting to help out, but I was just wondering if anyone else was doing anything I wasn't or had done an upgrades I should be aware of.

Sounds like it's just the nature of the beast.

Thanks,
Mark
Without knowing what your van has in it for brake pads and rotors, it is very hard to say if there is an upgrade or not available.

If you have low end ceramic pads or organic ones, there sre certainly better parts out there. If you have high end light truck semi metallic pads, it may be as good as it gets. Very good pads can easily be over $100 per axle.

If there is any question as to what you have quality wise, probably best just to get some really good pads, like the Light Truck semi metallics from Hawk and see how it goes.

Even though it was checked, you should also make sure the brake systems are in good shape. Need to make sure nothing is sticking and keeping the brakes dragging when hot, clean fluid with no moisture in it, etc.
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Old 07-25-2017, 03:38 AM   #8
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Your problem is not the calipers and pads, it's the danger of boiling the brake fluid.

"... when the brake fluid starts to boil, the brake pedal slackens and the braking power drops significantly. When brake fluid boils, vapor locks are produced that can be compressed. Brake pulses are no longer sent to the wheel brakes, the brake pedal goes all the way to the floor and that dreaded moment when nothing happens at all occurs."

Brake fluid | my-cardictionary.com

If you can smell your brakes, take the next turnout and stop, giving them 10 minutes or so to cool. While it is unlikely you will boil the brake fluid, why take the chance?
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Old 07-25-2017, 04:40 AM   #9
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Your problem is not the calipers and pads, it's the danger of boiling the brake fluid.

"... when the brake fluid starts to boil, the brake pedal slackens and the braking power drops significantly. When brake fluid boils, vapor locks are produced that can be compressed. Brake pulses are no longer sent to the wheel brakes, the brake pedal goes all the way to the floor and that dreaded moment when nothing happens at all occurs."

Brake fluid | my-cardictionary.com

If you can smell your brakes, take the next turnout and stop, giving them 10 minutes or so to cool. While it is unlikely you will boil the brake fluid, why take the chance?

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