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Old 08-29-2016, 04:55 AM   #1
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1973 Argosy 26
Norristown , Pennsylvania
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Exclamation A weekend from hell.

Hi fellow Airstreamers;
After almost two years without a single outing due to my treatments for stage four cancer and feeling better after my third round of treatments ending in Cyber knife treatments, we decided to go camping. After much preparations and testing of my newly designed built in electro-hydraulic leveling system we set out for the road last Friday. Coming up on Pa route 940 we came up on a road construction. Bridge was out. No detour sign, no road closed signs. Our usual way to Promised Land State Park was cut off without an easy way to get there. We wound up on skinny mountain roads. At some point on US 423 woman runs a stop sign in front of us. This caused me to do a panic stop. With 7200 pounds trailer behind my 2500 HD GMC it was a scary sight. All I could see is this little convertible sports car turning into pile of crunched metal. During the panic stop a brake line on the truck blew leaving me without a stopping ability. Thanks to sway control and my quick action on brake controller I was able to avoid carnage. After coming to a complete stop about 100 yards further I realized I had no brakes on the truck. I have also stopped on sharp blind turn without any shoulder whatsoever. Working the brake controller I had to get off the curve and try to stop on straight road where oncoming traffic can see me. The harrowing ride down the mountain lasted three and half mile with smell of brakes burning. We found an empty Church lot at Rt 191 and 423. With brake fluid all all over the truck we decided to walk up to a first house in sight to ask if there was a service center near by. An elderly disabled man answer the door. He told us about his friend on PA 191 who owned supposedly reputable service station one mile up hill. He actually drove us there to talk to him. There is your proof that country folks are wonderful people. This service station owner worked Friday afternoon till 7:15 in attempt to put us back on the road to no avail. He met us at 7:00 am on Saturday morning to finish the job despite the fact that he does not work on Saturdays. After splicing in couple of sections of brake lines we were on the road 8:00 am arriving at camp at 9:30. The main reason for this post is not to complain about our horrible experience but to warn others of possibility of brake line failures. My 2006 2500 HD GMC has only 36.000 miles, but the brake lines corroded through at the attaching clamp to the frame right behind left front wheel. I was told yesterday that it is so because the water collects within that clamp causing the corrosion which is a common problem. Such experience on the road as I had is not pleasant at all. Check your brake lines please. This week my truck will have a new Doorman Stainless Steel brake line kit installed even if some appear to be good. Thanks, Boatdoc.

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Old 08-29-2016, 05:11 AM   #2
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2006 31' Classic
Archer , Florida
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Wow- so glad you made it safely through such a harrowing experience. Prayers for your health recovery and thanks for the heads up on something else to check. I hope that your next trip is entirely without mishap. Promised land state park is one of our favorites!

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Old 08-29-2016, 05:25 AM   #3
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Prayers to you personally and thumbs up to your ability to avoid total disaster. So happy you are fine. Peace to you and yours.
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Old 08-29-2016, 05:38 AM   #4
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1973 23' Safari
North of Boston , Massachusetts
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Same thing happened to me a few years ago; having the trailer (and its brakes) attached actually saved my bacon. had to keep going, too, as there was no place safe to be stopped (this was after dark)...first place I came upon just happened to be my destination campground. Wally-ites got me fixed up the next day.
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Old 08-29-2016, 05:53 AM   #5
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There is a growing issue with corroding brake lines. Usually blamed on the salt treatment that is in use today in freezing road conditions. I urge anyone that drives in the frozen north to rinse the under carriage thoroughly at the winter season end.
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Old 08-29-2016, 06:19 AM   #6
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2005 30' Classic
Burlington , Ontario
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Interesting and very useful thread - glad the misadventure all ended reasonably well!

Brake line corrosion to that extent on a fairly new vehicle is something I wouldn't really have expected. For sure I will be taking a look at ours!

Boatdoc - can I ask what the stainless brake line installation costs?

Might be something I will think about, depending on what I see when I take a peek under our truck !

Brian & Connie Mitchell

2005 Classic 30'
Hensley Arrow / Centramatics
2008 GMC Sierra SLT 2500HD,4x4,Crew Cab, Diesel, Leer cap.
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Old 08-29-2016, 06:36 AM   #7
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1994 30' Excella
alexandria , Kentucky
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I believe it happens more frequently than you realize in the rust belt areas. I try to change brake fluid every 2 or 3 years and inspect things underneath while servicing.
Glad you made it safely down the mountain. Good move in getting all the lines replaced. Make sure the flexible rubber lines get replaced too.
Steve, Christy, Anna and Scout (Border Collie deceased 11-30-2016)
1994 Classic 30'11" Excella - rear twin
2009 Dodge 2500, 6 Speed Auto, CTD, Quad Cab, Short Bed
Hensley with adjustable stinger
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Old 08-29-2016, 07:12 AM   #8
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1971 27' Overlander
Monmouth , Oregon
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Cancer sucks! I am happy to hear you are camping and hope you have many more trips. Also, thanks for taking the time to share your scary moment from the trip and remind us all to check our brake lines and fluid.
1971 Overlander Twin bed, rear bath.

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Old 08-29-2016, 07:31 AM   #9
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Santa Rosa Beach , Florida
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We are glad to hear that all worked out in the end. What you described could have easily been a real disaster.

As to your brake line issue, we have a 2005 Suburban 2500 that had the same brake line corrosion that caused a brake failure. Fortunately, we were not pulling the Airstream at the time. This can happen even with no salted roads involved. Our Suburban was purchased new in Florida and has never been on any salted roads. My brake line failure was also behind the left front wheel. I had all of the brake lines replaced as others had started to corrode.

SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
WBCCI #3628 -- AIR #14872 -- TAC #FL-7
2015 FC 25' FB (Lucy) with HAHA
2005 Suburban 2500 Quadrasteer (Olivia) & 2018 Silverado 2500 (Lillian)
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Old 08-29-2016, 07:39 AM   #10
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1973 23' Safari
North of Boston , Massachusetts
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Originally Posted by moosetags View Post
... Fortunately, we were not pulling the Airstream at the time.
IMO, its fortunate that I DID have the airstream in tow. It gave me brakes.

Another time it happened previously, (and I thought everything had been remediated after this, but apparently not!), I didn't have the camper, but I was in stop n go traffic in the right lane. just pulled over into the break-down (brakes down?) lane. But if we had been moving? yikes.
Wbcci: 3752
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Old 08-29-2016, 12:53 PM   #11
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1992 34' Excella
1969 27' Overlander
Longueuil , Quebec
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happened to me too

have a 2500hd 2007 classic and it happened to me also (without the Airstream) . Google it on the net, there is a problem with ruptured brake lines on that series of truck. Solution: change all the brakes lines, stainless prefered, and also, do the fuel line also (the fittings seems to rust also). Also, there is a special bleed sequence (with a computer) for the brakes (and ABS module) to work properly after the line change, usually 30 min at the dealer with the tech2 computer, worth it, pedal will feel like new again .
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Old 08-29-2016, 01:12 PM   #12
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Vintage Kin Owner
Vermilion , Ohio
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Had a brake line failure on my 2001 excursion, I then replaced all the brake lines with stainless steel, I also replaced the transmition lines at the same time. I used a company called classic tube that sells the lines all pre bent. Made the job much easier. I think all brake lines should be required to be made from stainless steel.

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Old 08-29-2016, 01:45 PM   #13
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1999 30' Excella 1000
small town , Maryland
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It's the transmission lines as well. My 2010 F 250 had a elbow rust through going to the cooler. Thank you on the heads up on brake lines boatdoc. They don't make things like they use to.
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Old 08-29-2016, 03:12 PM   #14
Len and Jeanne
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2015 19' Flying Cloud
Creston Valley , British Columbia
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Glad you're safe, and that you're feeling well enough to go camping. Thanks for your words to the wise.

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