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FC (Forward Control Unique Issues) If you have a unique issue with your FC model coach and it can't be answered in one of the other forums here, then this is where you can list it.......List your FC Parts here too.

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  #1  
Old 06-22-2010
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Rich Johnson Rich Johnson is offline
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Default Brake Slack Adjusters

If you look on Youtube, there is a video showing how to adjust the manual air brake slack adjuster similar to the units found on an FC Wanderlodge. The video shows how the slack adjuster can be tightened by turning the 9/16 hex adjuster in the clockwise direction, and loosened by turning in the counterclock direction. But to loosen you have to overcome a ratchet retainer mechanism built into the slack adjuster.

Yesterday I wanted to see how my slackers operated with respect to the video. I planned to adjust the slacker until the shoe just touched the drum then back off the 1/2 turn or so amount suggested in the video. But before tightening, I wanted to make sure the slack adjusters could be loosened and that the ratchet was working in accordance with the video. I tried both sides of the Wanderlodge or both of the front two slackers, but was not able to overcome the ratchet resistance of either. I did not want to venture any further risking rounding off the adjustment hex, or damage to something. So I stopped. Anyone experience this situation?

Possible work around: Will probably measure the stroke of the Air link, and make subsequent adjustments just to bring it to spec, but not sure how I'm going to be able to loosen shoes if I need to remove drum with brake wear groove. Any ideas appreciated.
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  #2  
Old 06-22-2010
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What Year model is your bus? Are the Slack Adjusters "Self Adjusting"?
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  #3  
Old 06-22-2010
oldmansax oldmansax is offline
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Thumbs up Easy brake adjustment

Some manual slack adjusters have a locking ring around the 9/16 adjusting bolt that has to be depressed before the bolt can be turned. If you can only see the head of the bolt & not much shoulder, that is what you have. When I was a commercial truck driver, I had to adjust the slacks regularly. I found that, even with regular maintenance, they could be a little stuck at times. The easiest way I found to deal with them is this: use a 3/8 drive, 9/16 deep well socket on a breaker bar handle. That would be the one that has a hinge only, NOT the ratchet. Place the socket & handle on the head of the bolt and firmly tap the collar back with a hammer. It is spring loaded so you will have to keep some pressure on it to keep it from springing back into the lock position. While holding the collar back, turn the bolt clockwise until it snugs up. Not a lot of pressure, just snug the shoes to the drum. Back the bolt off 1/4 turn. You brakes should be in adjustment. NOTE: after you adjust the brakes, you should be able to start the coach moving SLOWLY, shift to neutral, and the bus should roll to a stop but not "hang". You can feel it if any of brakes are dragging. Once you do it a few times, you will know exactly how much to back the adjusting bolt off. 1/4 turn is usually enough but I have seen systems with worn components that needed a little more to compensate for the bushing wear.

HTH & YMMV

TOM
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Old 06-22-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldmansax View Post
Some manual slack adjusters have a locking ring around the 9/16 adjusting bolt that has to be depressed before the bolt can be turned. If you can only see the head of the bolt & not much shoulder, that is what you have. When I was a commercial truck driver, I had to adjust the slacks regularly. I found that, even with regular maintenance, they could be a little stuck at times. The easiest way I found to deal with them is this: use a 3/8 drive, 9/16 deep well socket on a breaker bar handle. That would be the one that has a hinge only, NOT the ratchet. Place the socket & handle on the head of the bolt and firmly tap the collar back with a hammer. It is spring loaded so you will have to keep some pressure on it to keep it from springing back into the lock position. While holding the collar back, turn the bolt clockwise until it snugs up. Not a lot of pressure, just snug the shoes to the drum. Back the bolt off 1/4 turn. You brakes should be in adjustment. NOTE: after you adjust the brakes, you should be able to start the coach moving SLOWLY, shift to neutral, and the bus should roll to a stop but not "hang". You can feel it if any of brakes are dragging. Once you do it a few times, you will know exactly how much to back the adjusting bolt off. 1/4 turn is usually enough but I have seen systems with worn components that needed a little more to compensate for the bushing wear.

HTH & YMMV

TOM
Good info Tom and I'd like to add that automatic slack adjusters aren't. All slack adjusters need to be checked and many times you'll find the so-called automatics haven't done the job.
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Old 06-23-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Johnson View Post
If you look on Youtube, there is a video showing how to adjust the manual air brake slack adjuster similar to the units found on an FC Wanderlodge. The video shows how the slack adjuster can be tightened by turning the 9/16 hex adjuster in the clockwise direction, and loosened by turning in the counterclock direction. But to loosen you have to overcome a ratchet retainer mechanism built into the slack adjuster.
Be very carefull with that adjusting! I too was told to turn the adjuster counterclock wise until it stops then back it off 1/4 turn. I went through all my adjusters as my brakes were very weak on my old '63 conversion. After adjusting them they were a little better I guess but really hard to tell. I could push the brake peddle to the floor and the bus would come to a stop, I couldn't lock up the wheels.

I drove this way for a few years. Then one day I experience severe brake fade coming down a mountain and just about lost my brakes. I was able to finally pull over and let the brakes cool, they did smell.

I decided then I would replace all the brake pads as something just had to be wrong. Being the first bus I've ever driven I didn't know what to expect with the brakes. What I found out was when I changed the rear end on my bus with a newer year, different ratio, and with a 2-speed the slack adjusters worked backwards! So for years I was driving with front brakes only!

To verify this I raised the wheels off the ground and had someone rotate them as I adjusted the slack adjusters. Sure enough I could stop the front wheels from rotating with the adjusters, but not the rears. So I adjusted the rears the opposite way and guess what.. I now have rear brakes. I couldn't wait to test drive it so I fired her up and ran around the block. At 25 mph I burried that peddle to the floor and it just about throw me through the windshield.. wish I could have seen the smile on my face that day!

So.. be carefull with your adjustments. As stated there is a spring loaded ring around the adjustment nut and it doesn't take that much effort to spin the nut.
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Old 06-23-2010
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Haha! That reminds me of my first brake job on a motorcycle. I had a 600 kawi ninja with weak brakes and I went through them and replaced pads with newer pads (the old ones were contaminated, I think)

I took the bike out for a test ride, and when I hit the front brakes like I was used to doing, the bike did a stoppie (a wheelie on the front wheel) and I jammed my nuts.

I was grinning anyhow.
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Old 06-23-2010
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Default Thanks Everyone

Hello:

I will try Toms method. One thing I forgot to mention is that the 9/16 hex seems to be very shallow. Only about 1/8 to 3/32 inch from the top surface till a washer looking flange. I thought it was just another bearing flange you see on some bolts, such as for sheetmetal or something that needs extra bearing surface. Perhaps this is the spring loaded collar Tom was talking about. Breaker bar here I come.

Driving with only front brakes must have been a real challenge. I had a rear brake shoe backing plate on a K-10 Suburban disintigrate and spin around the axil. Brake shoes flying out the rear the whole thing. No rear brakes, nothing left but the drum itself and the axil. Stopping with just the front discs really suffered while limping back home.
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Old 06-23-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Johnson View Post
Hello:

I will try Toms method. One thing I forgot to mention is that the 9/16 hex seems to be very shallow. Only about 1/8 to 3/32 inch from the top surface till a washer looking flange. I thought it was just another bearing flange you see on some bolts, such as for sheetmetal or something that needs extra bearing surface. Perhaps this is the spring loaded collar Tom was talking about. Breaker bar here I come.
Rich - I would NOT use a breaker bar on that nut. The shallow ring you mentioned is the spring loaded flange. If it will not go in when you put a socket on it, simply tap the socket with a hammer to loosen up the locking ring and you will feel/see it depress. The adjustment can easily be done with a 3/8' ratchet.... If you have to use a breaker bar something is wrong AND you may damage something!
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Old 06-23-2010
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In BC, as I am sue in many states, it is a requirement to take an air brake course, and get an air brake endorsement on your license before driving a vehicle with air brakes. The course teaches how to adjust and check air brakes, as well as considerations when driving a heavy, air braked vehicle. I suggest that individuals should check if it is a requirement to legally be driving their birds, and I would suggest that taking the course may be a good decision whether or not it is a legal requirement.
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Old 06-23-2010
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Right or wrong as soon as the vehicle is licensed as a Recreational Vehicle then anyone with a standard drivers license can drive it in the US. Not sure how wise that is.. but that's the law.
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