Frozen tractor brakes

Discussion in 'Experienced Truckers' Advice' started by Drama304, Oct 26, 2020.

  1. bavarian

    bavarian Medium Load Member

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    If you can't release your tandems, you have not enough air in the tank. Since you have problems with your brakes not releasing, you have a frozen valve in the trailer. Air brake anti freeze is your friend now. Remove the red glad hand, pull out the rubber seal and get a good amount of alcohol in the line. That's the easiest way for me if I have issues with a trailer. Put things back together and pump air to the trailer. The alcohol works it's way back.

    Best to avoid those issues, REPLACE YOUR AIR DRYER CARTRIDGE ONCE A YEAR.
    I keep on hearing the comment "I drain my air tanks blah blah blah". BS. You have to catch and remove the moisture BEFORE it gets in the system and not after it built up in a tank and further down in a valve.
     
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  2. snowwy

    snowwy Road Train Member

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    I don't have a choice but to drain my tanks. I'm screwed if I don't.
     
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  3. Jenn72

    Jenn72 Medium Load Member

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    Last year in Indiana my brakes froze up. I was banging on them. Finally got them to release. Went on my way 30 miles down the road to my pick up. Every once in a while it felt like my trailer brakes would lock up when driving, less than 30 seconds.

    Did my pick up which took 30 mins load time. Brakes were locked again. Bang on them again got it to release. Went to weigh.

    I notice when I went to move my tandems my button wouldn't release. No air. Brakes locked again.

    Was already at Loves. Had the shop looked at it. I can't remember exactly what it was, but it was a relay on the trailer that did the air for the tandems and brakes. It was a simple fix. Longest part of the repair was waiting for the part to arrive.

    Hopefully you got it resolved.
     
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  4. AKDoug

    AKDoug Medium Load Member

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    If you live in snow country and you have to leave trailers at the door overnight, you learn really quick to get those drums good and hot before you drop the trailer... and we carry big hammers.
     
  5. KB3MMX

    KB3MMX Road Train Member

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    Orrstown, PA
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    Bingo this is the old timer trick ... Ride them to get them hot before pulling in for the night. Works flawlessly.
     
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  6. striker

    striker Road Train Member

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    Denver, Co
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    About 10 yrs ago, running a trailer across 80 from Denver to SLC, brakes kept freezing/unfreezing, did this for 60 miles. Another truck behind me alert me to it on the CB, honestly I couldn't 100% tell because of the ice we were on. I pulled off to check them, he came down the ramp behind me, sure enough you could see random little flat spotting on the trailer tires. Other driver grabbed a bottle of brake line anti-freeze (Air Brake Conditioner and Anti-Freeze), had me set my brakes, pulled the trailer supply line off, dumped about 1/4 cup in, had me releases the brakes, then set them, did this three times. No more brake problems. Ever since, every winter I ask the boss for a quart of the stuff, once temps drop below 30 at night, every container chassis I pull that we don't own, I dump a little in the line before I hook up.
     
  7. striker

    striker Road Train Member

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    Denver, Co
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    There is a multi-valve assembly that joins the air tanks together and the separates the air going to the brakes. This is also where the air purges when you set the trailer brakes. It's very common for that purge valve assembly to go bad, especially noticed when the weather turns cold. When you do your pre-trip, release your trailer brakes and then go back and check, you should hear nothing, if you hear air escaping, crawl under the trailer and reach up to the valve, you can't miss it, and feel around it, probably more common to have that fail than a brake pod.
     
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  8. bavarian

    bavarian Medium Load Member

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    Feb 13, 2014
    Winnipeg
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    Sometimes it's difficult to figure out whether the drums are frozen to the drum or a valve is stuck and won't release the brakes. In both cases, the brakes are frozen. If there is a second issue like the OP had, it clearly points to a problems in the air system.
     
  9. snowwy

    snowwy Road Train Member

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    It's not hard to figure out a frozen line.

    You can hear the air going through the park valve. A clean trailer will air for awhile. A frozen trailer won't air at all. You might get a second or two then stop.
     
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  10. Espressolane

    Espressolane Road Train Member

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    Nov 21, 2009
    Just south of the north 40
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    For air line or other deicing, don’t wast money on the stuff you can buy at the truck stop or parts stores.
    Just get some isopropyl alcohol, 91 or better 99 percent. Add a few drops of propylene glycol to it if you want.

    mix 60/40 with distilled water and put in spray bottle. Got Ice on you windshield or mirrors? Shake spray bottle, spray windshield and wait a minute or two. You will see it start working.
     
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