Smoking Brakes and towing

2Cross

Caught the Bug
So as I was hauling cattle this morning when the brakes on the rig in front of me started smoking...and I mean a lot of smoke. We were descending a steep, curvy Colorado mountain road at the time. I was concerned for the driver and the cattle and the other vehicles out on the road.

The driver had misjudged how steep the hill was and entered the curves and descent much faster than I had. I had no issues and wasn't far behind him.

So to anyone more experienced than me, the driver kept going and didn't stop.
What is the right thing?

I was thinking it would be good to stop and let them cool off. Or do you keep going ?







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black pearl

Active Member
I'm by no means a professional hauler but have done my fair share of it ... depending on the style of breaks (I believe metallic ) if you stop with them that hot they can weld themselves together


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2Cross

Caught the Bug

Draconianwinter

New member
Yeah not too mention while metal is used in most heavy truck applications they still have a lot of synthetic fiber in them that if hot enough could have ignited had he stopped instead of letting them cool down. I have driven 20+ years oddly enough not once have I smoked my brakes. He was likely in to high of a gear from the start. I have seen many people burn their trucks to the ground in mountain areas and every single time it was driver error. One thing I cannot stress enough is be very careful around large trucks especially in the mountains. If their brakes are smoking badly it is a good sign that they could be about to lose their brakes, and you don't want to be near when that happens.

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2Cross

Caught the Bug
Yeah not too mention while metal is used in most heavy truck applications they still have a lot of synthetic fiber in them that if hot enough could have ignited had he stopped instead of letting them cool down. I have driven 20+ years oddly enough not once have I smoked my brakes. He was likely in to high of a gear from the start. I have seen many people burn their trucks to the ground in mountain areas and every single time it was driver error. One thing I cannot stress enough is be very careful around large trucks especially in the mountains. If their brakes are smoking badly it is a good sign that they could be about to lose their brakes, and you don't want to be near when that happens.

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I was thinking I didn't want to be near too

So helpless just watching and unable to do anything


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jesse3638

Hooked
Rule of thumb is to descend the grade in the same gear or preferably one gear lower than the gear you used to ascend the hill. Manual transmission: never try to downshift if you are in too high a gear as you will most likely not get it back into gear ans you'll be stuck in neutral. I had this happen with a driver trainee while descending the Tioga pass into Lee Vining, CA out of Yosemite. Very scary. My old engine did not have a retarder or true jake brake, just an exhaust break. That'e better than nothing I guess. We began descending the grade in 2nd (Auto trans) but I noticed him still using a lot of brakes to keep it slowed to a safe speed. Light smoke was starting to come off the brakes. I could see the concern on his face. I told him to down shift into 1st (computer wont shift as not to over rev the engine) and brake hard to slow it enough that it would down shift. We had 1-2 trys or we would have lost the brakes. 1st attempt he didn't brake hard enough and it started to run up on him again so I told him to brake and hold it until it down shifted. The engine finally did and we made the rest of the 12 mile descent at a comfortable 15 mph to the bottom. He was pretty rattled. This was a 30k vehicle I could not imagine driving an 80k vehicle down that grade.
 

Sorchea

New member
I have drove seems millions of miles and brakes failures are common from inexperienced drivers. Steady even pressure is the key to keeping brakes cool. And always use gears before brakes the hill you talk about I've hauled overweight loads down talking over 100 k and never had hot brakes kept speed down around ten the whole pass. Steady even pressure when it would run up. To twenty. Then gears to speed again never got the brakes smoking at all. Jab them on creates ten times the heat and you cannot she'd that much heat in short distance especially in warm weather. Usually not even in winter.

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