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Preventative maintenance


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Looking for comments about PM on the brakes, chassis in general.

Coach has about 60k miles.  We are original owners. Drives great, no complaints.     I've done all the oil changes, chassis lubes, and basic maintenance myself.    Removing wheels is a little more than I care to tackle myself.    I did have the front wheel bearings  repacked several years ago (mechanic said they really didn't need it, but we did it anyway) along with new shocks all around.  I do 99% of driving and use the Jake as much as possible. Air bags are original and I visually check them regularly.   Tires are only a couple years old.    There are no leaks of any kind. I try to keep the undercarriage and engine area clean.   Coach is kept indoors.

I did replace a couple coolant hoses a few years ago when I changed out my overflow coolant tank since the old hoses were the wrong length.  Most of the other hoses are original, but none are leaking.

Before we leave on an extended trip in September, I was going to have my mobile mechanic come by and remove the wheels, check the brakes, slack adjusters, and do a good visual check since the wheels will be off.     Will repack the front  bearings as well. 

Any suggestions or things we should look for?

 

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You may want to have the procedure for caliper and slack adjuster greasing handy. Depends on manufacturer but mine is pretty specific as far which zerk first, which relieve valve to remove and plug etc, including a specific grease type not used elsewhere on the chassis.

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Your coach will likely have Spicer automatic slack adjusters.  Details on checking the automatic slack adjusters as well as caution NOT to use moly-disulfide grease are described in the attached file - see page 12.  For the automatic slack adjusters to work, they periodically require a full brake application.  This can be done while stopped but with the parking brake released.

It would also be good to verify that with the wet air tank drained and the parking brake released, the primary air tank will hold air pressure with the secondary tank drained and the secondary tank will hold air pressure with the primary tank drained.  The parking brake should stay release with air in either the primary or secondary tank.  This will verify that the tank check valves are working properly.

Bendix Automatic Slack Adjuster Service Manual - rr_brsm-0022.pdf

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thanks for the comments and suggestions.

My manual says to repack the front wheel bearings annually or every 30k.  Annually seems crazy often considering the low mileage we put on these.  What have others done?   I know the oil bath is an option.

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You store your coach indoors.  That is a hugh advantage because you don't get the daily temperature swings and water condensation.  I store mine in an insulated garage.  In the summer, I run a dehumidifier and the disc brake rotors don't even rust.  After 65,000 miles my front grease bearings looked like new.

Your drum brakes can be checked by looking at the rear of the brake drum without removing the wheels.

I'd pay very close attention to inspecting all hoses especially water hoses in the engine bay to be sure they haven't been rubbing on other hoses or metal brackets.

Also, be sure to do a pre-trip air brake inspection and daily pre-trip tire inspection.  The attached file link should help.

 

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thanks Frank.

We're in a very dry climate so I don't need to run the humidifier, but it does get hot.  The garage is fully insulated.  Well maybe I'll just peak at the wheel bearings and make a decision at that point as to repacking them.  As I mentioned, last time we looked at them,  the mechanic said repacking wasn't necessary.

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There is a road master lubrication guide in the files section I think.  It has the required checks, greasing & zerk locations, and other info.  Also includes like other things like PacBrake lube. 

There is much debate on this but back in 2013 I decided to have my front hubs converted to oil bath.  Recommended repacking is annually, which is not followed by a majority of the owners including me.  I had mine done when I first bought the coach and would then visually  check annually for seal leaks etc.  I bought a long horse hypodermic needle that I used to add a little grease to the center of the bearing.   Most people were reporting ~$300 for a repack, which seems high until you realize what is involved, which I did with my experience dealing with heavy equipment maintenance.  To do a repack right it is quite time consuming for the cleaning, inspection, and repack.  Plus IMHO the seals would have to be replaced in most cases due to damage betting the hub off.  I did not have a good place to this or the proper tools.  So I decided to change to oil bath and made an appointment a Josam's in FL.  As it turns out I got tied up with work and had to travel to Spain but my wife took the rig int the Josam's did the job including a chassis inspection fixing some minor issues, cost was $450.   No I just have to pop the half moon hub and do a visual on the oil level easy peasy🙂

One other thing to check is for any structural issues such as cracks or broken welds.  Not common but it does happen.  I've seen reports of this on different models.  So when I'm under my coach with my shop light I take time to take a good look and all the axle supports and other stressed areas.

The other thing I do is take a picture of the drum brake pads.  There are allowances of thickness, you can google this for more details but here a link https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CFR-2008-title49-vol5/pdf/CFR-2008-title49-vol5-sec393-47.pdf

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Near the end of every Monaco Owner's manual are the Lubrication Charts for each individual Chassis....ie the individual lengths.  There is also a wealth of info and a chart on the type of lubricant to use of the various other items.  If you do not have your manual, then you can download one at this link.

https://www.monacocoach.com/service-and-repairs/

I "printed" out the pages for my Camelot using the Print to PDF in Windows.....Mac probably has the same. That way I have a PDF to attach to the "Annual Maintenance" document that I give to my OTR shop every spring.

I also keep a copy of the E manual on my laptop hard drive.....

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I've done my own lubes for years and do a thorough inspection of frames and welds, oil leaks, etc.    I know every zerk.  Some are hard to see.   I do have the manual Tom mentions above and use it.   The only zerk that is a PITA to get to is on the steering column and I have to take the plastic cover off by the brake pedal.   Of course my drive shaft always stops with the zerks pointed in the worst possible direction.

I've considered going to the oil baths, but seems like I forget about it and another project takes the spotlight.

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14 minutes ago, windsorbill06 said:

   The only zerk that is a PITA to get to is on the steering column and I have to take the plastic cover off by the brake pedal.  

Ha, I had mine off yesterday with the intention of re-greasing.

Joint was loaded with clean grease from about 3yrs ago! Didn't even bother getting the gun.

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7 hours ago, Ivan K said:

For those of us with Meritor ADB1560 brakes, there are zerks to grease caliper shaft.

Screenshot_20220716-130732_Photo Editor.jpg

Yeah Ivan, they gave you the good stuff, and gave me the disposable parts :classic_sad:!

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1 hour ago, 96 EVO said:

Yeah Ivan, they gave you the good stuff, and gave me the disposable parts :classic_sad:!

I don't really know how it compares, Ben. When it comes to these big rigs, I only know about the stuff that came with ours. It's not like I knew what I am getting into when we bought it.

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Over the years technology has changed a lot.  Thank goodness for automatic slack brake adjusters and disc brakes with internal auto adjusters.

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I had my coach into Josam this past spring, to get front bearings repacked and chassis inspection. Barry the GM told me there is no need to repack front bearings on a coach with only 50k miles. He said they repacked hundreds of coach bearings in the past only to find them in perfect condition. So, they stopped repacking and now merely pumped in fresh grease. 

Do you guys think this approach acceptable?
 

 

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2 minutes ago, Pduggs said:

I had my coach into Josam this past spring, to get front bearings repacked and chassis inspection. Barry the GM told me there is no need to repack front bearings on a coach with only 50k miles. He said they repacked hundreds of coach bearings in the past only to find them in perfect condition. So, they stopped repacking and now merely pumped in fresh grease. 

Do you guys think this approach acceptable?
 

 

I guess it all depends "Are you feeling lucky"??  My guess is that a majority of the rigs on the road had never had a front wheel repack.  Don't really hear of many bearing failures on greased hubs, or at least people aren't reporting many. 

I did about the same thing for the first ~5 years I owned our coach, I pumped a little fresh grease into the hub using a long horse syringe.  But the only problem I see with doing this is that you aren't removing old grease. 

So I did opt to go to the oil bath front hub in 2013, when I made the appointment with Josam's they did not mention that it wasn't necessary and to just stick with the front greased hubs and "Forget about it".  

 

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I converted mine to oil bath as well.
Did the job myself, and also devised a method to setup the bearings with zero clearance, without buying the special locknut kit to do the same.
Getting all the play out did slightly improve the steering response, and the hubs run cooler than with grease to boot.
I used Lucas hub oil, as it has a great reputation with the trucking industry.

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