Spec'ing the correct friction material for your vehicle application and duty cycles is high on the list of things you can do to get the longest wear out of your brake linings and pads. Buying from a reputable source is also crucial. These suppliers, with their years of experience in the truck marketplace, can help make recommendations to ensure you get the best product for your fleet's vocational needs.
There are a number of other things you can do to lower maintenance costs and extend product life. ArvinMeritor emphasizes the importance of regular brake inspections and maintenance. When replacing brake shoes, take the time to inspect other components, like camshafts, bushings and slack adjusters, for excessive wear that can reduce lining life.
Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake agrees that proper brake adjustment and use of quality hardware kits when performing brake jobs are essential for maximizing wear. Also “train drivers to use proper snubbing techniques during mountain descents and how to use the whole system to better stop the vehicle and not rely entirely on the brakes,” says Jim Clark, product line director, drum brakes.
Russ Armer, president of BrakePro, says that proper brake installation has a lot to do with the wear factor. He says mechanics need to be trained not only in proper installation techniques, but also in selecting the right friction product for the correct truck or trailer application, as well as the terrain.
Carlisle stresses the importance of replacing linings with material that is compatible with the OE product, since incompatible friction material can contribute to poor brake balance, inconsistent performance and inferior wear.
Buying aftermarket friction products based exclusively on price should be avoided, according Haldex's Randy Petresh, vp-customer and technical support. Balance and compatibility are also critical to wear. “Fleets can improve lining wear by making sure friction material on their trailer and/or tractor are well balanced with other equipment (other axles),” he says.
David Mohr, vp-technical and OE sales at Performance Friction, tells fleets to look at overall maintenance costs when choosing friction material. Keeping good records and analyzing them, he says, will show what the real costs are. He also says to maintain all hardware properly. Reducing brake drag and caliper maintenance are key to longer brake pad life. The company manufactures brake pads for air-disc brakes in select OEM applications and the aftermarket.
Safety is another good reason for buying friction materials from well-known sources. BrakePro, which manufactures a high percentage of heavy-duty brake blocks for severe-service applications, has recently launched a line of friction material called CCM (conformable, cohesive, metallic), designed for longer lining life and quieter braking.
In the past year, ArvinMeritor launched a new line of Meritor-branded friction products for the independent channel to complement its OEM line. The company says it not only matches friction materials with specific vocational applications, but also makes recommendations based on GAWR.
Michael Caggiano, product line director, specialty products, Bendix, says last year the company introduced a new line of low-cost, high-performance disc pads called Formula Blue for Class 6 and 7 trucks. Bendix has also released the new ES 450 brake lining, which uses cohesive friction technology.
Carlisle Motion Control Industries says it has also recently introduced a long-life cohesive friction material designed to double the life of conventional products. This material is available on new trucks and trailers as well as in the aftermarket.
Haldex notes it has improved its friction with the use of Cross-Link Technology, which it says results in a more complete bonding of resin and fiber for superior strength. On the disc brake side, Haldex notes that all its friction materials use semi-metallic formulations.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CIRCLE NUMBER ON REPLY CARD:
PERFORMANCE FRICTION 317