Flexible Brake Lines

Ken Freund
October 17, 2012
Filed under RV Tech Q&A

While viewing recent issues, I read a letter about the replacement of flexible brake lines (“Brake Hose Deterioration,” June). I also had a flexible brake line fail about 2,800 miles after a Ford dealer in Pensacola, Fla., did a complete brake job on both front wheels.

I was just leaving a gas station in Dothan, Ala., after filling up and suddenly the steering wheel wanted to pull hard left and the coach started slowing down and wouldn’t accelerate. I had only gone about 500 yards, and had to stop for a red light. When I stopped, I saw a lot of smoke rising from the left front tire; then I could smell the burning brake.

With the amount of smoke I thought the engine might be on fire, and immediately grabbed a fire extinguisher and opened the hood. Then I could see that only the brake was smoking. I was lucky this didn’t happen when I was going faster. Good Sam Roadside Assistance arranged for a tow to an RV park, and in the morning they towed me to a garage that specialized in motorhomes and large trucks.

After I paid my deductible I had a bill of more than $800 because some garages will not rebuild just one brake, and no insurance I know of will pay for both sides when only one is causing the problem. I felt I also needed to replace the other line. I was told the flexible brake lines should be replaced whenever the brakes are redone on motor­homes and large trucks.

Gerald Finley l Gadsden, Ala.

We’re glad it didn’t turn out worse and thanks for writing. We seem to be getting more letters about problems with brake hoses and so I am using your letter to get the word out and let people know that rubber brake hoses should be replaced occasionally, along with flushing the brake fluid and regular brake service and inspections. Manufacturers recommend that tires be replaced after seven years, and changing the rubber brake lines at this interval seems to be a reasonable guideline.

— Ken Freund

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