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Mike Broaddus
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Do you experience frozen brakes?

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What techiques do you use to thaw out frozen brakes? Have you found ways to make sure the brakes don't freeze overnight?

Update

Great responses guys! I've been doing some of this but not all. From each of you I gained some knowledge! I also learned that CRC makes a deicer for air lines which you can put in your emergency air line, reconnect it and pump it through the system.

Thanks much!

Mike

Edited by: Mike Broaddus ( )

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Your
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Hey Mike;

I've been taught by my grandfather to simply do the following *It takes about 20 Minutes*

Supplies: 4 4x4 or Chalks for the Tires - Hammer

Step 1: Set Brakes to Park (try to find level ground)

Step 2: Clear the area below the landing gear with the hammer or what ever you may use (Incase there is ice use the hammer)

Step 3: Place 4x4 In front/Behind of the Steers or the Drives so the truck Won't roll away when you release the brakes

Step 4: Lower the landing gear onto the 4x4 or on the ground if not in deep snow.

Step 5 Release the Brakes.

To get rolling, Set the brakes, roll up the landing gear, get the 4x4 and be on your way.

I can't remember clearly but it's along the idea of having the brakes not set so the next morning you can set the brakes thus having a great pressure to brake any ice if there happens to be any.

Jake

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MRMTRANS
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some tips: 1) don't set trailer brakes, but only tractor brakes; 2) increase air pressure a little (5 lbs) through compressor governor: 3) make sure moisture is purged from air system (drain tanks regularly in cold, service air drier if needed) to make sure complete force of air is working chamber; 4) try breaking frozen brake shoes by starting in reverse: 5) keep 3 lb (short handle) sledge to bang on frozen drum's/shoes if needed.

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Chris Hileman
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One of the best ways to keep your air system from freezing up is to drain your air tanks everyday or even multiple times a day, even if your truck has an air drier.

When the brake shoes freeze to the drum, sometimes rocking the truck will break them loose or you can hit the drum with a hammer. To help keep this from happening, don't set your trailer brakes.

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Mel Help
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If you decide to use the method of not setting your trailer brakes be sure it's not extremely icy and your on fairly level ground cause I use to do this and had a time when the truck and trailer start sliding down the road and this was not on much of a incline. I normally use a hammer to break the brakes free. I've broke the brakes free by putting in gear but I had it pull the lining off the shoe one time but that's in 37 years of driving.

Edited by: Mel Help ( )

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Steve Joramo
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If you are operating in a slushy conditions, drag the trailer brakes for a short time prior to stopping to dry out the moisture between the drum and shoes. Then after stopping, wait 10 minutes and release the brakes and move truck a few feet back and forth before locking up the tractor brakes for the evening.

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Steve Joramo
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Get the moisture out of the trailer brake drums by dragging the brakes before you stop for the night, then after parking, wait 10 minutes, release the brakes and move back and forth a few feet before locking the tractor brakes and parking for the evening.

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Brent Hedlund
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I've picked up trailers in drop yard with the trailer brakes frozen, and what I've done is dolly down the landing gear. Make sure I have air to the trailer and then used WD-40 and banged on the drums (top and bottom) with a big rubber mallet. That seemed to work every time. Even in northern Minnesota and North Dakota.

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Jason Clarke
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Banging on your drums with a hammer may work but it also my brake a drum. Try a spray bottle filled with washer fluid or methal hydrate, or a mixture of both and just walk back and spray into your brake drums (really easy if there are no backing plates) usually will be unfrozen by the time you get back in the cab. Backing up a little (if possiable) before moving forward also helps

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Your
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Brakes frozen to drums, Buy a 8 to 10 lb a sledge hammer and cut the handle down chock the wheels release the brakes and wack the edge of the drum with the hammer, Frozen air lines stuck relay valve or treadle valve on the tractor. Go to the fleet supply and buy a gallon of Bendix air brake conditioner or a few bottles of dry gas. Take the air inlet line of the air compressor dump the air in the air system. Drizzle the the methanol in the intake as the the system builds pressure. pump the brake peddle when you reach 120 psi. Trailer take the glad hands off the trailer pour the methanol down the airlines through the glad hands reconnect the airlines to the trailer charge the trailer and pump your brake peddle you may have to do this a couple of times

when it's 20 below zero good luck keeping a torch lit. Your better off with a road flare. Heat will distroy the components in a valve. I'm not saying I haven't used a portable heat source. I'm saying it's not the best choice.

Your,

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Zachary Bell
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Yes, I have experienced frozen trailer brakes, and CRC's De-icer works very well. You have to run it through the system 2-3 times for it to really be effective.

If the brakes are really frozen, You may also have to beat on the drums with a hammer and re-adjust the slack adjusters once the de-icer has been run through, but overall, the air line deicer is a very effective product... and a must for your emergency kit when you run in the cold.

These products can cause the rubber seals in the valves to swell and harden and start leaking

Mel Help,

Mel, that's why you use these products as a LAST RESORT... only when all else has failed to thaw the air lines and you can't move it into a heated shop.

Zachary Bell,

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Your
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True air Brake Conditioner like the stuff made by Bendix has stuff in it that keeps that from happning. Keep your air drier serviced and your air tanks drained in both the tractor and the trailer. For that matter most drivers don't know how to cage a spring brake chamber. or change a service brake diaphram

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Wesley Martz
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Go to home depo get a small torch with mapp gas use that on the medals only.

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Jackie Wormley
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I run IA, MN, SD, WY, MT, and ND. I have not had any problems with frozen brakes.

I drop my trailer at the shipper to load so not setting my brakes isn't an option for me.

When I run in wet conditions and it's going to be below freezing I try to use my brakes as much as possible to dry them out (I do not have a trailer hand brake so I have to use my foot pedal).

I also pull forward and back up quite a few times riding the brake pedal before I drop the trailer in the door.

I used to service the air system (change the desiccate cartridge) every 2 years but now since I run up north exclusively I am changing it every year now.

I also drain my air tanks when it is above freezing (I have done it below freezing in the past and had the valve freeze open).

I don't like to put additives in anything so I have been able to avoid that so far. I highly advise that if you do get additives that they are specifically for air brake systems. Straight alcohol can dry out lines, seals, ect.

All the stuff seams to have worked for me as I have been awakened several mornings by the yard driver dragging trailers around with frozen brakes yet I hook to my trailer and they aren't even stuck.

I switched to super singles and the brake drum is more exposed now so I think that helps dry them out faster also.

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Rusty Allen
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Airline antifreeze or alcohol is important to carry in winter, the other day I picked up a trailer in Pa. that the brakes released but the air suspension wouldn't air up. I pored some in my glad hands, and reconnected them. Two minutes later up and aired

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