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Air Brake Conditioner


kfrimr

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A trucker friend gave me a bottle of Air Brake Conditioner. Have you ever used this product? It says in the small print Air Line Antifreeze and conditioner. In the directions it says to pour it into an Alcohol Evaporator jar, where is that? and what is that for? Never heard of it.

Kent

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Kent, having just replaced the compressor, feed lines and dryer assembly I have a pretty good handle on what is used on a Volvo with a D12 engine. The plumbing might be different on another engine.

 

Anyway, the air line from the compressor starts out as a steel pipe that wraps around the front of the engine, runs along the left side and transitions to a flexible hose at the very back of the engine. I considered adding a pre-dryer but to do that I would have to cut the steel line and weld on 1/2" NPT pipe fittings with a union for the install. The alcohol device Jim noted would require the same modification unless you decided to put it under the truck after the dryer. IMHO, that would be a total PITA. Volvo advises that NO alcohol or air line additive should be used in their system. If your dryer is working properly you should not have an issue with freezable moisture in the brake lines. You may get some water in your air tanks - I am sure you know they should be drained as part of every pre-trip inspection. From what I learned, if any water left in the bottom of the tanks should freeze the worse thing that could happen is blocking the drain valves.

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Kent

All the air line alcohol containers I have seen are next to and before the dryer. There is no need for the use of the product, unless you will be in below freezing temp. for a long time.

I know there is another name for it, but at the rear axle all the air lines split to the different brakes is where the air line freezes first.

If your brakes do freeze, just take the metal line loose at the compressor and pour in the antifreeze and reconnect it and start the engine and it will blow the antifreeze through the line and open them.

If you are driving and the air line freezes the air pressure will drop to 60 psi. If you catch it soon enough you can pump the brake peddle several time and it will pump warn air into the lines and unfreeze them. On old units I will pump the brake every 15 to 20 minuets while driving in below 0 temps. to put warm air into the system.

The way most RVer travel there should not be a problem.

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Guest THE TRAILERKING

You'll find alcohol injectors on rigs in the colder climates. Lots of HOT air through COLD lines and tanks......Make lots of condensation.

Good working air drier. Always drain tanks of moisture. Like said above.....In the RV World should have no concern of driving in -40 and air issues. Most should be chasing the Sun.

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Trailerking's advice is the same as mine. Unless you live and work in Alaska or Canada and do not have a good working air dryer you do not need any "treatment" for your airlines. Actually, you should have little to NO liquid in your air tanks when draining them. If you do, and continue to show anything there then your desiccant cartridge needs changing.

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If your brakes do freeze, just take the metal line loose at the compressor and pour in the antifreeze and reconnect it and start the engine and it will blow the antifreeze through the line and open them.

 

I still don't know what engine Kent has, but if it is a Volvo D12 it is between difficult to impossible to take the metal air line loose at the compressor to add alcohol without removing a whole bunch of other fasteners. But, there is an access port on the left side of the engine on the steel tube with a label beside it, "Air Brake Line". I do not know what type of valve is internal to the port, I am assuming it is for a test gauge, that would be the most likely injection point for brake line antifreeze when using the right fitting. But again, Volvo states not to add any antifreeze to the air brake system.

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On old units I will pump the brake every 15 to 20 minuets while driving in below 0 temps. to put warm air into the system.

What would be warming the air you are trying to pump in? The air from the compressor is warmed by compression, then cools as it heads for the dryer. The dryer removes the condensed moisture from the air.

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I've only read part of this thread. But after selling air brake valves for 30 years here is my opinion. Alcohol injectors for the air brake system started out of favor when Air dryers came on the market. They are still used in very cold climates.

If you are not running in cold very cold climates the damage that the alcohol does to the o rings and diaphragms in your valves is not worth it. Drain your tanks, keep your dryer serviced and stay out of the cold. JMO

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Guest THE TRAILERKING

....the damage that the alcohol does to the o rings and diaphragms in your valves is not worth it. Drain your tanks, keep your dryer serviced ...

Yes back in the day when there were no driers........People would always use alcohol. It would ruin seals eventually.

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There is a bit of conventional wisdom that works really well. Once it gets really cold out, keep your stuff outside so it stays acclimatized.

 

Worst thing you can do for the air brake systems is cycle it in and out of a heated building. Just think of all that warm, moist air you are sucking in inside the heated shop.

 

I'm not sure what the dew point range on a properly operating air dryer is, but I wouldn't think you're going to get much better than -40* out of it. Does anyone know the correct answer?

 

Same goes for air leaks to some extent. Try and find them outside if you can, the truck may not leak much at all once it has a chance to warm up.

 

If you are going to use "alcohol" at all, make sure its Methyl Hydrate with lubricants, and add it DOWNSTREAM from the air dryer!!

 

Geo

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I've driven the same roads as those azz hats. I have nothing good to say about any of them. There used to be a grain of truth, but that went out the window when they went overseas.

Lol. I think a good few of us have found much worse places to get into trouble.

 

Geo

 

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Great pic, looks like trailer made tracks, but truck didnt. Dare i ask?

Slipperiest road I've ever been on, much worse than ice and snow.

 

Wet clay like snot. I was being pulled in 3 feet behind a Cat. The trailer took off for the ditch and all you could do was watch. Near a miracle it didn't go all the way over.

 

The guy I was with stopped his 1-ton on the crown of the road just behind me. When he got back in, put his foot on the brake, shifted into reverse and took his foot off the brake. Pickup slid 12' sideways straight into the ditch without him ever touching the accelerator.

 

You can see the tracks going sideways in this one.

 

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171d9a3f.jpg

 

Geo

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Used to ride motorcycle enduros around here...Orange Clay mud...Stuff was so slick you couldn't hardly stand up, let alone push the motorcycle to a spot where you could crank it. Did I mention the 10 or 15 pounds of the stuff that sticks to your boots...

 

The pictures above are exactly what I hated about construction work...

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Exactly so. There are some kinds of mud that simply shouldn't be allowed.

 

The usual problem. Bad communications, someone took some initiative they shouldn't have and so we blocked the road for 14 hours.

 

About 145,000 lbs of abject misery. Licensed for 137,500, but you always allow a bit to blow off during transport :)

 

I'm always willing to learn, but some days I don't like being taught.

 

But on the subject at hand, don't put stuff in your airlines unless you have a compelling reason. If you are having frozen brake problems, fix your air dryer. If you have an ongoing problem, I've heard that putting some brake line anti-freeze direct in your wet tank will gradually sort out the rest of your system.

 

Geo

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I'm guessing on a truck its going to depend on volume (cfm), the incoming air temp and dew point, and how old your dryer element is.

 

I did a little reading, and it seems like at best it might be better than -60 or better, and at worst not good news at all.

 

But that's a guess. Makes you think that a change just before winter really sets in might not be a bad idea. I hate thawing brakes.

 

Geo

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George thanks for posting - brings back not fond mud and chains memories -

 

If you use any product in your system it should be Air Brake Antifreeze that has conditioner in it to help protect the rubber rings and parts of the system from the methanol.

 

Air brake Alcohol Evaporator goes downwind from air dryer if you install one. http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=10&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CEMQFjAJahUKEwiUyfb57q3IAhULNIgKHe1jDZY&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.haldex.com%2Fes%2Fnorteamerica%2Faplicaciones-y-productos%2FLiteratura%2FLiteratura-para-sistemas-de-freno-y-suspenision1%2FSecadores-de-aireLinea-de-aire%2F%3Fpdf%3D%252FDocuments%252Fhbsna%252FAirline-Air_Dryers%252FAlcohol_Evaporator_A72420_Instructions_(English-Spanish)_L31072_4-02.pdf&usg=AFQjCNG3HSZa-3Lav7aQ_RMxeBgMlRHF6A

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