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Old 05-14-2013, 11:27 AM   #1
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345 brakes

I haven't started my '88 chassis '89 model year 345 for about a year. It started fine, but I have no brakes, except hand lever parking brake. As I press the pedal, I can feel it thinking about kicking back at me when it's about 3/4 down, but I can still press the pedal to the floor, and I don't appear to have any brakes at all. No large amounts of fluid anywhere that I've found. Any obvious solutions to this before I start to tear into everything, like maybe something simple and stupid I've done or not done, which is usually the case? Brakes were perfect when parked. Power steering still works fine, but I'm not sure if it's a common system, as I've read something about hydroboost (?) and cannot see a brake servo.

Any advice would be appreciated.
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Old 05-14-2013, 11:58 AM   #2
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I haven't started my '88 chassis '89 model year 345 for about a year. It started fine, but I have no brakes, except hand lever parking brake. As I press the pedal, I can feel it thinking about kicking back at me when it's about 3/4 down, but I can still press the pedal to the floor, and I don't appear to have any brakes at all. No large amounts of fluid anywhere that I've found. Any obvious solutions to this before I start to tear into everything, like maybe something simple and stupid I've done or not done, which is usually the case? Brakes were perfect when parked. Power steering still works fine, but I'm not sure if it's a common system, as I've read something about hydroboost (?) and cannot see a brake servo.

Any advice would be appreciated.
The power steering pump provides pressurized fluid to the hydroboost which provides the power boost to your brakes. After checking all fluid levels I would try bleeding the brakes. If the hydroboost fails you should still have brakes, you just have to push really hard on the pedal.
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Old 05-14-2013, 12:09 PM   #3
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The power steering pump provides pressurized fluid to the hydroboost which provides the power boost to your brakes. After checking all fluid levels I would try bleeding the brakes. If the hydroboost fails you should still have brakes, you just have to push really hard on the pedal.
Thanks Dan.... so since I have zero brakes even when I push down as hard as I can, does that mean there must be air in the system?

I shall go ahead and check fluids and bleed brakes as you suggest. My first hurdle will be trying to get closer to the master cylinder, which appears impossible right now....... Do I have to remove the big sheet of metal on the driver side inner fender to get at it, do you know?
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Old 05-14-2013, 12:33 PM   #4
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Thanks Dan.... so since I have zero brakes even when I push down as hard as I can, does that mean there must be air in the system?

I shall go ahead and check fluids and bleed brakes as you suggest. My first hurdle will be trying to get closer to the master cylinder, which appears impossible right now....... Do I have to remove the big sheet of metal on the driver side inner fender to get at it, do you know?
Mine has an access hole through the sheet metal inner fender but getting to the master cylinder through that hole is challenging. I removed the sheet metal to bleed my brakes. If I remember correctly I had to have help holding a bolt from inside under the steering column.

It's not unusual to have to bleed the brakes after a vehicle has been sitting for long periods of time. I would guess the extreme temperature may make it worse in your case.

Everything mechanical is subject to failure at any time but if everything was working well when parked I would start with bleeding the system. Also I believe you tag axle brakes are electric and would be a separate issue.

Good luck.
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Old 05-14-2013, 01:01 PM   #5
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Mine has an access hole through the sheet metal inner fender but getting to the master cylinder through that hole is challenging. I removed the sheet metal to bleed my brakes. If I remember correctly I had to have help holding a bolt from inside under the steering column.

It's not unusual to have to bleed the brakes after a vehicle has been sitting for long periods of time. I would guess the extreme temperature may make it worse in your case.

Everything mechanical is subject to failure at any time but if everything was working well when parked I would start with bleeding the system. Also I believe you tag axle brakes are electric and would be a separate issue.

Good luck.
Thanks again. At least now I have a plan, although I'm beginning to realise there are considerable challenges in running one of these vehicles, even regular maintenance procedures. Maybe I should cut a big hole in the floor in front of the driver's seat!

Yes, I guess the electric tag axle brake must not be working or I would have felt some stopping power as I pressed the pedal. I'll leave that one for later.

Our low temperatures are hard on everything. It's nice today though.
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Old 05-14-2013, 03:40 PM   #6
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Maybe I should cut a big hole in the floor in front of the driver's seat!
Surprisingly the earlier Argosy motorhomes had a cover plate in the drivers floorboard right above the brake master cylinder that you could remove to service the master cylinder. I didn't see one on the 1986 345 but I know my 1974 Argosy has the cover plate.

Of course the carpet has to be ripped up to get to the cover plate

Good luck on finding your problem.

Brad
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Old 05-14-2013, 06:13 PM   #7
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Hi Pen!

The master cylinder/Hydraboost is accessible from under the drivers wheel arch...
There is... or should be a long steel plate mounted over it with about 6 bolts holding it in place.
Looks like this... but note that its upside down in this pic!
The 3 bolts on the right side should face to the front.


I can get at mine without removing the wheel/tire... just turn the steering.

Get under there and check your fluid levels to start with.

I think I am correct is saying that the controller for the Tag axle brakes is fed brake fluid at the same time and pressure as the other brakes.... No pressure in the system... no tag brakes either unless you push the level manually!
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Old 05-14-2013, 08:22 PM   #8
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Be sure to check the power steering fluid as well as the brake fluid. The power steering is used to boost the brakes.
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Old 05-14-2013, 09:04 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the help, much appreciated. Great photo of the plate, useful knowing where the fasteners are, Keyair. Thanks also for the tag axle info, I won't worry about it yet!
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Old 05-14-2013, 09:07 PM   #10
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Be sure to check the power steering fluid as well as the brake fluid. The power steering is used to boost the brakes.
I'll do that. I guess for some reason I was thinking there was only the one reservoir for both systems. So in normal circumstances would topping up the power steering also top up the brakes? (Dumb question time, I guess.)
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Old 05-15-2013, 01:07 AM   #11
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Taking a brake, here...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Penmaenmawr View Post
I'll do that. I guess for some reason I was thinking there was only the one reservoir for both systems. So in normal circumstances would topping up the power steering also top up the brakes? (Dumb question time, I guess.)
The dumb questions are the ones that go unasked...
the simple answer is "no"...
Turn the wheels all the way to the left to ease the access to the ridiculous hole they supplied for the brake reservoir. Pop the clips loose on top of the reservoir. stick your finger in the reservoir to determine fluid level, or use a mirror-on-a-rod to determine the fluid level. Add brake fluid as needed. Now, the fun begins, as you will get to reseal the top of the reservoir using tongue-twisting, blue-worded encouragement. I hope your top clips don't fall on the ground like mine did.
If the power steering is rough or suddenly manual when you go to turn the wheels for 'easier' access to the brake reservoir, fill the power steering reservoir FIRST(under the front hood) as the problem might just be no boost...I kinda doubt that, but that's just the optimist in me...
Good luck, and keep us posted...m
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Old 05-15-2013, 07:55 PM   #12
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Great info, ScrapIrony-2.... not just hands on advice, but fingers in! Not got to it yet, today I spent locating and getting an air tank, as I found my rear air springs flat and when I tried topping up, there were 2 new holes in the old air tank. That's good though, ;ooks an easier job than the springs, that I thought must be where the leak was located. Guess I'm also lucky not to have had the tank go bang, it just made a whimpering noise.....

Hope to get some real progress made tomorrow, instead of finding new problems.
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Old 05-16-2013, 01:15 AM   #13
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I've heard that whimpering noise...oh, wait...that was me...
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Old 05-16-2013, 07:31 AM   #14
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There is the real possibility you have a flexible brake line that is failing.

A visual check should reveal no "buldges" in the flex lines.

Next, have someone step on brake while you check for pressure buldges in the lines.

Flex lines allow movement of parts but also absorb hydraulic shock when line pressures increase. If the inner cording of the flex lines is failing this shock loading is transferred to the outer wrapper which is not intended to hold the pressures, but to protect from abrasion and buldge when inner core fails.

I have seen incorrect brake fluids cause this. Time and use can cause early life failure too.

All my vehicles are changed to Spiegler (spelling?) at first sign of trouble. They can make any line you need but it is advised you upgrade all at same time for several safety reasons. If one failed you can expect others may follow in short order. Spiegler lines five better "feel" to brake effort but may allow more pressure to the brake where installed.

If you can't get help holding brake pedal jam a board, carefully, between pedal and steering wheel with careful attention to protect steering wheel. It may prove harder to feel the variance between load/release if you can't get someone to pump pedal while you physically hold the flex line.

Good hunting.
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