To cage or not?

Discussion in 'Trucks [ Eighteen Wheelers ]' started by Timdogg, Apr 26, 2015.

  1. Timdogg

    Timdogg Bobtail Member

    Apr 26, 2015
    Hello Everyone,

    My name is Tim this is my first post on the forum I wanted to start off by saying hello.

    I am Graduating HS this summer and will be going to school for HD technician certification in Ohio this September. I work as a mechanic helper for a landscape company after school to get some experience. The problem with the mechanics is that they don't want to or can't explain alot of questions I have.

    So Ive been looking up stuff online and doing alot of reading. 1 thing I can't get a straight answer on though. The mechanics at my shop always rebuild the chambers I never seen them replace the whole thing. I know when rebuilding rear brake chambers with parking brake springs you have to cage the brakes but what if you're changing the entire chamber? Do you still have to cage it even though you're not opening those bands?

    I watched this video and the guy took the chamber out without caging.

    Thanks for your help everyone
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  3. Chaps

    Chaps Light Load Member

    Nov 22, 2014
    South Carolina
    Welcome to the forum Tim!!

    Sorry I'm not even close to being a mechanic so I couldn't help with the question.

  4. Heavyd

    Heavyd Road Train Member

    Feb 4, 2009
    I don't understand what you mean by, "rebuilding the chamber"? I have never heard of any company remanufacturing their own spring brake chambers. The ones we use, and have always used, are crushed over collars. Do you mean they just change out the "piggyback half"? Removing the piggyback half only is dangerous without it being caged. You should always cage it for the sakes of safety. Mechanics do cut corners to save some time and will knock off the piggyback with out caging it, but you should get into the habit of caging every time. As for installing, it is way easier to cage a complete unit so you are not fitting getting it mounted and connected to the slack adjuster.
  5. xsetra

    xsetra Road Train Member

    Aug 21, 2011
    Welcome to the driving profession.
    If you have air to your brakes it is easy to cage as you can release brakes put caging bolt in tighten nut all the way and when you pull the knob they are caged no tightening by hand is needed.
    When removing brake chambers, the reason for caging is so you can remove pins from slack adjusters. No tension on pins. If you back off your brakes before you remove air lines you don't need to cage brakes. Chambers are not caged when buying new.
    At some point you will have to replace the whole chamber and push rod as the corrosion will eat at the diameter of rod. Of course that takes years.
    I always carry extra diaphragms with me to change when needed on the road. 30 minute job in good weather 1 hour when snowing blowing and below zero.

    IF you don't know what you are doing 100% DON'T repeat DON'T work on brake chambers. They can kill you.
    For safety reason you should always cage brakes when working on them . Not saying you can't, safety first.
    Ezrider_48501 Thanks this.
  6. Timdogg

    Timdogg Bobtail Member

    Apr 26, 2015
    I am real sorry if I didn't do a good job explaining.

    The mechanics put the cage bolt in the end of the chamber tighten it and take apart the outside half of the chamber and rebuild it by putting a new rubber piece inside.

    If you didn't rebuild it could you buy that whole chamber already assembled? and if so do you still need to use that cage bolt and cage the old brake chamber to get it off the truck since you're not separating the Chamber yours removing it as one piece

    Hopefully I did a better job of explaining.
  7. Ezrider_48501

    Ezrider_48501 Road Train Member

    Apr 2, 2011
    bismarck, nd
    from a cost saving/time standpoint it makes a lot of sense to just replace the service break diaphram if you have a chamber leaking on the service break side. or put a half can on for a park break side leak. a service break diaphragm is only a couple bucks and quicker to change than an entire can. you must cage the break before starting to work on it if you are replacing a diaphragm or a half can. doing it this way is a time saver because you don't have to cut the rod down or mess with the pins that are always frozen or disconnect the air hoses if doing a service break diaphram. just cage the break, remove the band clamp pull out the diaphragm stick a new one in and put the clamp back on and remove the cage bolt and your done. doing a half can for a park break leak is slightly more work but only extra step is to disconnect the air hoses. i used to just replace the entire can but found it much cheaper and quicker to just replace whats needed.

    if you are replacing the entire break can you don't really need to cage the break. you can back off the slack adjuster rather than cage the break, or you can cage the break you can do it ether way. but if you are going to take the chamber apart you need to cage it or you will release spring tension and things will fly with a high likelihood of personal injury.
  8. allan5oh

    allan5oh Road Train Member

    Jan 6, 2010
    Winnipeg, mb
    You need to cage them for installation for a variety of reasons, full replacement or not. I've always replaced the whole 30/30 unit with haldex lifeseal. I've had those last 7+ years.
  9. spyder7723

    spyder7723 Road Train Member

    Mar 31, 2013
    sarasota, fl
    May I suggest what my father would make me do. until your knowledge and skill increases with time, that you always cage the can no matter which side you are working on. It may save your life if you confuse the service side with the supply side.
    wore out Thanks this.

    OLDSKOOLERnWV Captain Redbeard

    Nov 29, 2011
    West Virginia
    Very good info given to you in above posts, if my memory is right the spring in the brake chamber can create close to 1200 lbs of force. Be careful if you do decide to split one. Safety begins with a careful operator.
  11. black_dog106

    black_dog106 Road Train Member

    Mar 29, 2009
    Welcome to the forum Tim. Just repeating what the members have already said. It is nothing to changing the service diaphragm.
    Just my opinion here, NEVER change the diaphragm on the spring side. In theory it should be easy to change but...? More than likely, parts are rusted and weak, creating more chance for problems. It aint worth the risk. Already said, guys have got badly hurt when the parking spring gets loose. The money saved isn't worth the risk, to me. Replace the back half(or the whole can) and have the satisfaction of new.
    Best wishes in your new career...
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