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Old 02-27-2007, 06:11 PM   #1
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I am new to RV'ing and have just purchased a 03 Winnebago Chalet 22' on a Ford E350 Chassis. What is the general life expectancy of the brakes? Do the fronts wear out sooner than the rears? I know it depends on the driving and all that other stuff, but what are some of your experiences?

Thanks in advance for all responses, Jim
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Old 02-27-2007, 06:11 PM   #2
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I am new to RV'ing and have just purchased a 03 Winnebago Chalet 22' on a Ford E350 Chassis. What is the general life expectancy of the brakes? Do the fronts wear out sooner than the rears? I know it depends on the driving and all that other stuff, but what are some of your experiences?

Thanks in advance for all responses, Jim
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Old 02-28-2007, 05:06 AM   #3
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Having bought several used Motorhomes the 1st thing I do is take it some place and have the brakes inspected and have the brake fluid changed. I don't care if the thing won't go but I want to make sure that the MH will STOP. Having said that on the class A I own now when they were inspected at 14,000 the shop said they had 50% left.

Many shops will do a free brake inspection, around here I go to a Les schwabb tire store.

Enjoy
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Old 02-28-2007, 05:19 AM   #4
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I would think the "average" life of brakes on a motorhome would be about 75,000 miles assuming it gets driven 8,000 - 10,000 miles per year, and all normal maintenance procedures (including replacing the brake fluid and lubing the slides) are performed. It also to depends on your driving habits, where you drive, and how heavily you load it.

On the Ford F53 chassis (at least for 2001) the braking distribution (according to the service manual) is aprox. 55% front and 45% rear. I'm not sure of the exact distribution on a 350 or 450 cutaway chassis, but the service manual warns not to cut into the rear brake circuit to add an auxillary braking unit for a towed vehicle since there won't be enough pressure to activate it. That leads me to believe that the distribution is probably closer to 65% front, and 35% rear. With that distribution ratio I would certainly think the front brakes would wear out first.

We have an 01 Adventurer on the F53 chassis with 50,000 miles on the odometer. I inspected the brake pads in December of 06 when I replaced the tires. I would say they are still 70% of the original thickness.
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Old 02-28-2007, 05:47 AM   #5
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Hikerdog,
wow 70% left after 50,000 miles. I always thought that 50% at 14,000 was pretty low but now I'm sure. I do have the the workhorse chassis (p30 I think) and I drive in the mountains all the time. but I don't think there should be that big of a difference. Oh well I'll have them inspected again this spring.
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Old 02-28-2007, 09:18 AM   #6
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It's possible that your brakes could be down to 50% if you have a sticky slide, stuck caliper piston, or other mechanical problem. Personally I would either inspect them myself or get a second opinion. If they are really that low there's likely a problem. If they're not there's still a problem in that someone's trying to sell you something you don't need.

I've had several heavy duty trucks over the years and very few have had to have the brake pads/shoes replaced for normal wear at less than 75,000 miles. Sometimes a brake cylinder has leaked or a pad/shoe has gotten stuck and required earlier changes, but those were unusual occasions. But then again less than 25% of our mileage has been in the mountains.

One comforting thought might be comparing the life of your brakes to the people who live in San Francisco. Things have probably improved since then, but I remember reading an article in a professional magazine in the early 1980's ( I owned a couple repair garages at the time) that the average car in Frisco needed new brakes every 11,000 miles.
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Old 03-01-2007, 12:44 PM   #7
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If you really want to extend the life of your brakes/bearings use the low gears on the transmission when breaking especially when you are coming off the highway to an off ramp or on down hill grades...
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Old 03-01-2007, 03:27 PM   #8
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I have worked on many 1 ton truck brakes, and have not seen to many make it past 30k. You may exceed 30k with better driving habits and longer highway runs. The front brakes will usually wear out before the rear brakes. When you step on the brakes, all the weight transfers to the front axle putting more force on the front braking system.
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Old 03-02-2007, 08:28 AM   #9
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You guys are tough on brakes. Of the 12 one ton and larger trucks I've owned the soonest I've replaced brakes was 58,000 miles.

They all spent their lives as road service trucks, towing, plowing snow, or transporting disabled cars.
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Old 03-05-2007, 06:01 PM   #10
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Hi again:

Well I pulled the front wheel and look at the brakes. This Winnie has 29,000 miles on it and the brakes look like they were just installed. Not a sign of wear. The leading and trailing edges of the pads are beveled and the wear isn't even thru that area yet. It looks like these will go over 50,000 miles easy, maybe even 75,000. Looks like Hikerdog has the handle on these things.

Thanks to all for the feedback. Jim in AZ
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