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Old 09-03-2010, 11:03 PM   #1
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Tour/Freightliner Brakes

Excuse me while I vent a little.

I brought our 08 Tour in for some warranty work almost two weeks ago. One of the items was a smell from the brakes. After all of this time, they're still waiting on authorization from Freightliner! I think there was a similar problem that delayed our initial pick up of the coach.

We use the Tour pretty often, getting out for a couple of weeks a month. Disrupting that schedule would be annoying. Recently, my mother-in-law has been having some significant health problems. She spent five days in hospice, then recovered last month. We were scheduled to go back to visit her before the warranty visit. I figured a week would be plenty of time.

Tonight, we were told that she's back in the hospital. Our new (2008) coach is still sitting at the dealer, in their shop. It's still under warranty.

I'm beginning to get a little cranky. It's not Winnebago's or Freightliner's problem that my mother-in-law has health problems. It is their problem when something like brakes mean the coach is grounded. We've postponed our trip a week, but at this pace, I'm expecting that we'll have to abandon the coach and make other arrangements soon.

Is the brake smell (leak?) problem typical with the Tour? I'm pretty sure that this is our second go-around with it, in the first year of ownership. I'm starting to think that maybe it's time to get it fixed, then find something with another chassis.
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Old 09-03-2010, 11:19 PM   #2
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I'm not sure what you mean by "smell or leak". If you are speaking of a hot brake smell after a hard stop, that is normal.
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Old 09-03-2010, 11:51 PM   #3
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No, it's after a normal stop. The dealer said it's unsafe to drive like this. I keep the exhaust brake on, so I rarely touch the brake pedal.
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Old 09-04-2010, 08:18 AM   #4
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It sounds like it could be a front wheel oil bearing seal that's leaking, and getting on the brake shoe. Was there any indication of oil on the inside of the wheel? If that's what it is, it sould be an easy and inexpensive (to Freightliner) repair. If that is it, I'd probably just pay the repair, use the coach, and get it straightened out with them later.
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Old 09-04-2010, 10:18 AM   #5
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Have you thought about just taking the motor home to a Freightliner dealer. Sounds to me like your problem would fall under the Freightliner warranty anyway. Just a thought, the less folks in the loop, the quicker the fix, usually.
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Old 09-04-2010, 10:40 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stik View Post
Have you thought about just taking the motor home to a Freightliner dealer. Sounds to me like your problem would fall under the Freightliner warranty anyway. Just a thought, the less folks in the loop, the quicker the fix, usually.
That's sure what I would do. I don't let my Winnie dealer touch my chassis. Since it's already at the dealer, you might call Freightliner Customer Service and explain the situation to expedite a solution. It sounds a little fishy to me frankly.
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Old 09-04-2010, 10:47 AM   #7
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Update - the parts are in. Apparently they're replacing some major items. It should be ready next Thursday.
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Old 09-07-2010, 08:01 PM   #8
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I got a call from the dealer this afternoon. The parts are not in. They don't even have a tracking number yet. It's the right front brake, leaking and "contaminating" the brake shoes. The coach did have the same problem when we picked it up (new). Hopefully, this won't be an ongoing problem.
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Old 09-07-2010, 08:30 PM   #9
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kjburns,
Where are you located? You should take your motor home to the Freightliner Service Center in Gaffney SC. or another recommended Freightliner Oasis Service Center. If not this time... the next time.
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Old 09-07-2010, 08:38 PM   #10
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OK, I'll ask the question outright. Isn't the Tour a DP with airbrakes? Airbrakes don't use brake fluid, hince no brake fluid burning smell. Like Captbill said, maybe wheel bearing oil leak onto/into the drums.

Only a question!
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Old 09-07-2010, 09:39 PM   #11
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I also have a 08 Tour. And yes you do get a brake smell if you don't use the engine brake and use the air brakes hard. It comes from the front air vents pulling fresh air from the outside front area. But with the engine brakes on I don't get any smell unless I lock up the brakes. The brakes do get hot when braking hard. It's a 29900 lb bus not a 4000 lb car. But it does stop!

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Old 09-07-2010, 11:41 PM   #12
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I keep the engine brake on. The smell comes during a normal stop, not just a panic stop. Generally, I use the brake pedal at the end, say the last hundred feet or less. We have a lot of 6% grades here and I rarely touch the brakes at all running downhill. It's really something that we rarely smelled because I rarely step on the brake pedal at all. I only brought it up with the dealer because we'd smelled something a few times over hundreds of miles. I didn't expect it to turn into a two or three week stay in the shop.

Dengraham, I'm in Prescott, AZ so that's a little out of the way. I'll keep it in mind though. It's probably a fluid leak of some sort into the drums. I'm not that familiar with the brakes on a DP. I'm going to see what more I can find out since this is our second bout with this. They are replacing the brake shoes, at least on the right front so something got on them.

I'm not abusing the brakes. Two of my cars are six speed manuals and the engine does a lot braking when I drive. My brakes will probably outlive my cars. The same applies when driving the Tour. I let the engine braking do all of the heavy lifting unless a traffic light changes and I have to stop short.
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Old 09-09-2010, 11:58 AM   #13
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Brake smell

I have had my engine brake re-programmed to work like most cars, that is, I leave it switched on (either lo or high) all the time, and the only time it comes on is when I apply the service (coach) brakes. This allows me to coast when I want to and not having the eng. brake come on when I lift on the throttle. This really allows maximum braking when an emergency occurs and not having to think about turning it on. By doing this , I usally only use the sevice brakes for moderate braking, and if I do use them hard, or moderatly hard, I will burn off the glaze and smell some "hot" brakes. I think the glazing is compounded as I have an Aux. brake itn the toad, which I always have hooked up.
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Old 09-09-2010, 02:53 PM   #14
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On my 2009 Destination I had a bad front wheel seal that got oil over everything including the Toad. It did not smell nice after braking. At the same time the Exhaust Brake (Engine Brake) was not working and I was using the service brakes hard. My Destination has drum brakes on all four - does not stop as well as my old 99 with disc brakes on all four.
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Old 09-09-2010, 09:46 PM   #15
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That may be what's going on here. It was the right front. I haven't had oil on the toad and no problem with the exhaust brake. The Tour is fixed, but I can't pick it up tonight because we'll have 16 tons of landscaping rocks here tomorrow, blocking the driveway. I'll get it Saturday and find out more.
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Old 09-11-2010, 11:15 PM   #16
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Just to wrap up, it was the right front wheel bearing. I picked it up this morning and took it out for a 200 mile trip with no problem. Braking distances seemed to be a lot better. The oil or grease was getting on the right front brake and causing the smell.
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Old 09-13-2010, 05:56 AM   #17
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Interesting, it was the right front on ours also.
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Old 05-24-2013, 11:05 AM   #18
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I realize this thread is a few years old, but kjburns, can you describe what kind of smell you were smelling? We have a Tiffin on a Freightliner Chassis, and yesterday started noticing a smell when the air brakes were applied. Freightliner suggested it could be from the heat (we're in NM right now), but it happened this morning as soon as we started up and pulled out of our campsite. We thought the smell was similar to a propane smell, but we can't figure out how a propane smell could be related to air brakes so we're thinking it's something else. The smell goes away quickly each time. After reading this post I'm wondering if we could have a leak similar to what you had.
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Old 05-24-2013, 04:49 PM   #19
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I realize this thread is a few years old, but kjburns, can you describe what kind of smell you were smelling? We have a Tiffin on a Freightliner Chassis, and yesterday started noticing a smell when the air brakes were applied. Freightliner suggested it could be from the heat (we're in NM right now), but it happened this morning as soon as we started up and pulled out of our campsite. We thought the smell was similar to a propane smell, but we can't figure out how a propane smell could be related to air brakes so we're thinking it's something else. The smell goes away quickly each time. After reading this post I'm wondering if we could have a leak similar to what you had.
jnealy,
You can check for yourself if you've got seal leak. I don't know if you've got drum or disc brakes but, in either case, there's still a hub seal that can go bad. The main difference is that in drum brakes, the hub seal can leak and collect in the bottom of the drum. On disc brakes, it can leak and simply run off the edge of the disc. It can still contaminate the brake pads on disc brakes but, not quite as easily.

All you have to do is, lay something down, card board, a towel, old blanket, whatever and, squirm under there with a good flash light. Also, bring a small, pivotable mirror. With the both of those, you can get a good look at the situation down there and surmise if you're in fact, having a leak of not.

I just did a seal repair on the left rear hub on our '04 Itasca Horizon with the 330 CAT. I noticed it was leaking a couple thousand miles ago when I was doing a brake inspection. I left it alone at the time because it was not all that bad. So, we put a few thousand miles on it and, when we got it home from the last trip, I did another inspection. Well, it was only mildly worse. I probably could have gone another 5-10K miles before it would start to do any real damage.

But, I figured, what the heck, I'm already in there, the wheels, tires and drum are already off so, just FIX IT! Well, $47.00 later for one, single seal, and, it's all back together and working flawlessly.

So, my point, do yourself a favor and get under that rig and possibly catch a problem before it get's any worse. Just a suggestion. And, to the OP and others, trying to stop the inertia of 24K - 30K lb. rig with service brakes only does heat them up rather rapidly. It all depends on the application pressure and amount of times done in a given distance. So, just be aware that it does take quite a bit of braking to slow and stop one of these Kleenex boxes on wheels. The pics below show the condition of my leaking left rear hub. Again, it wasn't all that bad. You'll see it was on the edges of the brake shoes but, not on the contact surfaces. It cleaned right off and the shoes survived.

But, your front hub/brakes can get just as bad as this, with the start of a seal failing.
Scott





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Old 05-24-2013, 05:54 PM   #20
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jnealy - that sounds like what we smelled. I initially thought propane too.
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