Can I actually be as dumb as I look?

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jozee

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Feb 15, 2006
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San Diego
Being very new to the RV experience, I had a friend look over the used RV that I had selected before I even agreed to the test drive. He pointed out repairs that the dealership should make, and I got the repairs that he suggested from the dealership as part of the deal.

But I took the test drive alone with the salesman.  When the seat belt on the driver's side seemed jammed, and i couldn't get it to cross my lap and hook into its slot, the salesman told me not to worry about it "RV'ers never use seatbelts anyway", he stated.  The smart part of my brain told me "this can't be true", but the "I want this rig" part of my brain told me to let it go.  Besides, I figured that I could get the seat belt unjammed later.  Aftrer the test drive and the repairs, I did the walkthrough and accepted the RV from the dealer and now it is mine (I have had it for six days, but I bought it three weeks ago).

Well, I can't get the seat belt unjammed and I don't like driving without a seat belt. The bottom line is that I called the service shop that made the other repairs and they said that the dealership has to agree to pay for the repair and they will call on my behalf.  They told me to bring it right back, all work would be done at no charge.  How could I be so stupid to accept any moving vehicle without working seat belts?

At the same time, I realized that the parking brake is not effective.  On my first short drive, I parked on a slight declining hill, put the rig in park, pushed the parking brake to the floor before taking my foot of the "driving" brake, and when I removed my foot from the brake peddle, the whole rig moved forward about two to three feet before stopping.

I called the same service shop and reported this problem, and they said that I need to take my RV to a big parking lot, and back up and use my brakes in reverse about ten times or firfteen times, to reset the parking brake so that it will be stronger.

Can this be true?

Man, do I feel silly asking these questions.  Be gentle.

Jozee
 

Karl

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Jozee,

The first thing you should do is find that salesman and hang him from the nearest tree! RV'ers don't use seatbelts? B.S. :mad:

You didn't specify if you had disk brakes or drum brakes, and that makes a difference. Drum brakes do not self-adjust; disk brakes do. If you have drum brakes, it IS necessary to back up to operate the adjusters, and it may be necessary to do it many times (not just 10 or 15) depending on how far out of adjustment they are. The procedure is not just backing up and stopping; you need to back up at 5-10 mph and FIRMLY apply the brakes. You do not have to come to a complete stop between brake applications; in fact, you can keep your foot on the accelerator a bit to keep the rig moving backwards while pumping the brakes firmly. Don't do this more than 5 or 10 times without waiting for a few minutes to allow the brakes to cool. You'll know when they're adjusted because it will require less braking effort to get the vehicle stopped, and perhaps the brake pedal won't travel down quite as far. That takes care of adjusting the drum brakes (if the shoes are not too badly worn), but does not necessarily take care of the emergency brake. Some rigs use the rear brakes as the emergency brake too, but others use a separate brake drum mounted on the driveshaft specifically for the emergency brake. If this is your case, it must be adjusted from beneath the rig by a mechanic. If you've done the 'back up and apply the brakes' adjustment and your emergency brake pedal no longer goes to the floor, you can be pretty certain that it's part of the regular braking system and not a separate unit on the driveshaft.

What bothers me is that you said the rig moved 2 or 3 feet after putting the transmission in 'Park'. That's just not right; it shouldn't move more than an inch or two - unless you were still moving at the time. Were you?? The 'Park' function will not engage while the vehicle is in motion - that's normal.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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What bothers me is that you said the rig moved 2 or 3 feet after putting the transmission in 'Park'. That's just not right; it shouldn't move more than an inch or two

I would estimate somewhere in between those two figures, maybe as much as a foot, with 2-4 inches beng more typical. It can feel like  a tremendous distance, though, when on a grade.
 

John From Detroit

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Karl said:
Jozee,

The first thing you should do is find that salesman and hang him from the nearest tree! RV'ers don't use seatbelts? B.S. :mad:

You didn't specify if you had disk brakes or drum brakes, and that makes a difference. Drum brakes do not self-adjust; disk brakes do.

RE: the salesman, I agree, in fact he should be reported to the department of motor vehicles as he broke the law selling a rig with deffective seat belts and knowing it,  SERIOUSLY broke the law.

As for drum brakes not self adjusting... Every vehicle I've driven with drum brakes, which is almost every vehicle I have driven, save two, had a self adjusting system on the brakes.

1: A 1950's English Ford, had to be adjusted manually every month or so
2: A 1970's Plymouth Barracuda, the auto-adjusters had been removed by a previous owner but it was designed with them.  NOTE: on many of them the adjusters were frozen and needed a part replaced.

And yes, pressing the brakes while backing up SLOWLY is the accepted method for adjusting self-adjusters. 

I'm not sure you need to be backing up, but that's what they say to do.  I mean if you go back and read the Gus Wilson's Model Garage serries in Popular Mechanics magazine back in the 1960's he mentiones it.  And I've done enough brake jobs to have actually seen the adjuster system on every car I've ever owned.

Parking brakes however, espically on trucks, may have nothing to do with the hydralic brakes.  Several trucks I've driven (not owned, just driven) had parking brakes independent of the hydralic brakes.  These were usually adjusted by hand, and were usually hand operated.  The ones on my motor home are pedal operated though

Finally... At least one model of car I drove had a multiple push parking brake, Yes, you could push the pedal, then let it up and push again, and again, till it held, each time it got tighter (ratchet system) Most unusual, and I suspect not all that safe

Parking brake systems are one of the most neglected systems on most vehicles,,, You may need to replace the cable
 

Howard R

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Jozee,

Welcome to the world of RV'ing ... you're going to like it I'll bet!    :)

Do you know what chassis your coach is on, a Ford or a Chevy?  Is it a Chevy P-30 by chance?  Is there a diamond or square shaped yellow handle at the bottom on the instrument panel by chance?

Howard
 

jozee

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Feb 15, 2006
Posts
53
Location
San Diego
[/edit]
Karl said:
What bothers me is that you said the rig moved 2 or 3 feet after putting the transmission in 'Park'. That's just not right; it shouldn't move more than an inch or two - unless you were still moving at the time. Were you?? The 'Park' function will not engage while the vehicle is in motion - that's normal.

I always come to a COMPLETE stop (even in my regular car) before shifting into park.  I also always completely compress the emergency brake before releasing my foot brake.  In my SUV, once the emergency brake is on, I am locked in place.  With the RV, I still roll.  I was a little nervous, and maybe Gary (RV Roamer)  is right.  It felt like I rolled two to three feet, but it could have been less, and just felt like more.  I certainly did not "lock" into place.  I knew that the movement was too much and stopped only by the transmission adjusting to settling into "park", and not by the parking brake.  Does that make sense?

My biggest fear was that I was falling for another tale.  I could just see myself in the College parking lot (near my home) some evening after classes let out, in this big old RV, backing up, over and over again, and getting stopped by some cop.  I just wasn't sure that "I am re-setting my parking brake, Officer" would ring true.  I have already taken tons of jabbing (even from the dealership's own service center) for falling for the "RV'ers never wear seat belts" line.

Thanks for letting me know that backing up and using the brakes is a bona fide solution to resolve my problem.  I will give it a shot.

Jozee
 

jozee

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Location
San Diego
John In Detroit said:
Parking brake systems are one of the most neglected systems on most vehicles,,, You may need to replace the cable

John, you are absolutely right.  I am a very good driver, but I am too new at the RV experience to risk having to compensate for a parking brake failure.  I will try to re-adjust the brakes using the "back up several times" system.  If that doesn't work, I will get the parking brake checked by a specialist.

jozee
 

jozee

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Joined
Feb 15, 2006
Posts
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Location
San Diego
Howard Rawley said:
Jozee,

Welcome to the world of RV'ing ... you're going to like it I'll bet!    :)

Do you know what chassis your coach is on, a Ford or a Chevy?  Is it a Chevy P-30 by chance?  Is there a diamond or square shaped yellow handle at the bottom on the instrument panel by chance?

Howard

Howard, you will win your bet.  I loved the world of RVing years before I actually took the plunge!  I just didn't realize that it could be so complicated!

I looked through my papers, and don't have the chassis information.  There are more papers out in the rig that I can look through to find out.  I know that I have a Ford 460 V-8 engine.  Does that mean that I have a Ford Chassis?

jozee
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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At our Silver Springs FL home
I know that I have a Ford 460 V-8 engine.  Does that mean that I have a Ford Chassis?

Yes, you most likely have the Ford F53 Rv chassis, unless the coach is a Class C rather than a Class A. A Class C will be built on a Ford van chassis, usually the E350 chassis.  In either case, I believe all the years that had the 460 engine had drum type rear brakes and the parking/emergency brake manually engages the rear brakes.  The brakes may be "self adjusting" in either case, but also can be manually adjusted.  It may not be the brakes themselves - it may be that the cable on the emergency system is slack or broken. In that case, all the back up & braking in the world won't adjust anything.  It may be far simpler to go to a brake shop and have the job professionally done - they can diagnose the problem and make the appropriate repair all at once.  Look for a shop that handles trucks rather than the local muffler & brake shop.

You are right that the rig should not roll at all once the parking/emergency brake is applied. It definitely needs to be fixed.
 

Karl

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Jozee,

Just to clarify things a bit, the backing up and stopping adjusts the distance between the brake shoes and the drums for your service (regular) brakes. IF your coach uses the service brakes as the emergency brake also, then this procedure will help that too. However, if the adjusters have become corroded, they may not work properly or at all, and need to be serviced or replaced.

On the F53 Ford chassis, the emergency brake is a separate unit mounted rearward of the transmission on the drive shaft, as I had mentioned before.

Gary's suggestion to go to a brake shop is, by far, the best solution. They can do a complete front and rear brake inspection and adjust or replace any worn parts. Then you'll have the peace of mind of knowing everything is as it should be. They'll have to remove the wheels to do the job, so you may as well have the wheel bearings repacked at the same time, and get a chassis lube too - maybe even a front-end alignment if your noticing any uneven tire wear, pulling to one side ot another, vibration, etc. 
 

Howard R

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Minnesota
jozee said:
Howard, you will win your bet.  I loved the world of RVing years before I actually took the plunge!  I know that I have a Ford 460 V-8 engine.  Does that mean that I have a Ford Chassis?

jozee

Jozee,

I figured it was a pretty "safe" bet !  ;D

And yes, you have a Ford Chassis ... so I will go back to lurking status and let the Ford folks help you.  :)

Howard
 

John From Detroit

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Davison Michigan
One thing I will say about drum brakes... For quite a time I had what I considered to be excessive pedal travel in my car.  Even the delar's porters commented on the excessive travel however the dealer brake tecnician, someone I would expect to know his job, could find nothing wrong with it,  Said he adjusted the rear brakes a bit and it did seem better, for about 10 miles.

Finally I went to a tire store, and gave the tecnician one specific instruction MIC (measure with a micrometer) THE DRUMS.  Sure enough, worn beyond spec

Drove out with the brakes working "like new" (Well, they should, they were)

This would also affect parking brakes function

As for the dealer's claim that he adjusted the rear brakes some.... Sure he did, the adjusters were froze solid.  You know... the dealer is really rather good at some stuff, but in this case, I'll take my brakes to Belle Tire
 
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