Air Brakes

Having a CDL with full endorsements gets your foot in the door easier with trucking companies plus better pay vs. base CDL drivers.

I drive this creampuff despite having a CDL A w/ TX endorsements, the bump in pay is worth it.

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Air brake systems can tolerate a modest amount of leakage. Air is the working fluid, and there's an unlimited supply of it.

This is not the case with hydraulic brakes, which use closed hydraulic circuits containing a finite volume of fluid. Even a small fluid leak can render the brakes completely unusable after a just couple applications.

When the working fluid pressure drops too low: the spring-actuated brakes on air brakes will lock as there's insufficient brake chamber air pressure to keep them released, but with hydraulic brakes there is no such "failsafe" -- nothing will lock the wheels should pressure not make it to the caliper or cylinder, other than manual application of a separate mechanically-actuated parking brake.

I think 26,000 lb GVWR is the maximum for hydraulic brakes, at least in the U.S.
 
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One thing I noticed with the two trucks I've been learning on, the brake pedal is oddly small (relative to my oddly large feet)
I'd have expected it to be wider, much like the difference in brake pedal in a car (manual vs automatic), the auto pedal is noticably wider
The automatic trucks seem to keep the manual sized brake pedal
Maybe others are different 🤷‍♂️
My sample size is exactly 3, just an observation
 
I just spent $1100 on CDL training, I'm told I need to drag the pre trip/in cab inspections (everything you just listed) up to 45 minutes :(
And this is for a CDL Class B (+ air brake endorsement), I can't imagine the nightmare that's a Class A + Hazmat + Manual)
Starts this Saturday, can't wait 😳
It's a 23' straight box w/air brake, luckily they're all Automatic
And yes, they all have ABS, federally required from 1998
I had to know that to pass the permit test
...only took two tries 😭
Which school did you go to? I'm on the Island aswell. I went with CDL Auto Club on Victory and got my B in September. If you haven't taken your test yet, Friday has the easiest instructors at Fresh Kills. Ironically I failed with them and passed with the terminator a different day.
 
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One thing I noticed with the two trucks I've been learning on, the brake pedal is oddly small (relative to my oddly large feet)
I'd have expected it to be wider, much like the difference in brake pedal in a car (manual vs automatic), the auto pedal is noticably wider
The automatic trucks seem to keep the manual sized brake pedal
Maybe others are different 🤷‍♂️
My sample size is exactly 3, just an observation
The manufacturer just uses 1 pedal for both. Cuts down on parts.
 
Which school did you go to? I'm on the Island aswell. I went with CDL Auto Club on Victory and got my B in September. If you haven't taken your test yet, Friday has the easiest instructors at Fresh Kills. Ironically I failed with them and passed with the terminator a different day.
A fellow Island boy 🏝️ 🫡
I'm using CDL Auto club too, they now use a field behind 494 Chicken on Victory
Vlad makes pre trip fun, however he will instill in a heavy Russian accent properly mount and secure to memory for the foreseeable future 🤣
I've got one more lesson tomorrow, I'm gonna pay for one more hour so I've got a refresher the day before the test, then Monday I'll have them book the test
Apparently you roll out of Fresh Kills sanitation yard behind Dana Ford?
 
Just a note for people trying to get a CDL. Get hired as a forklift driver and most companies have a dock to driver program and save thousands. You get to see how a trucking company works. Been driving a semi in Chicago for 30 plus years. Cars are a hobby I've learned a few hours a day for 40 years. I've been off the forums for years because of life but trying to make time. Followed this forum but never joined but recognize members from previous forums.
 
Just a note for people trying to get a CDL. Get hired as a forklift driver and most companies have a dock to driver program and save thousands. You get to see how a trucking company works. Been driving a semi in Chicago for 30 plus years. Cars are a hobby I've learned a few hours a day for 40 years. I've been off the forums for years because of life but trying to make time. Followed this forum but never joined but recognize members from previous forums.
Agreed. 👍
Hopefully if I pass first try, I'll be lucky to keep this whole endeavor under $2,000
Of course I'll earn it back in a higher paying position, but I recognize not everyone has it to lay out
 
A fellow Island boy 🏝️ 🫡
I'm using CDL Auto club too, they now use a field behind 494 Chicken on Victory
Vlad makes pre trip fun, however he will instill in a heavy Russian accent properly mount and secure to memory for the foreseeable future 🤣
I've got one more lesson tomorrow, I'm gonna pay for one more hour so I've got a refresher the day before the test, then Monday I'll have them book the test
Apparently you roll out of Fresh Kills sanitation yard behind Dana Ford?
Yes, the entrance is straight down from Dana on the service road.

Rehashing the Air Brakes is the most important thing. Unlike the A or B part of the pre-trip, missing one little thing on the air brakes is automatic failure. It can be a bit nerve wracking and awkward with the DMV instructor right there.
 
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God it was cold and windy 🥶
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But I got it done 👍
6 weeks start to finish and ~$1900 later 🫣
Not too bad considering holidays, reschedules, getting COVID, other miscellaneous nonsense
Hopefully the new year brings me more opportunities, that require a CDL B w/air brake 🙂
Now that I'm licensed, I can honestly participate in Swift slander
Stevie Wonder institute for trucking 🤣
 
Congratulations. You're half way there. Get hazmat and tankers or you won't make good money. Also try to learn manual even though most are automated (manual automatic clutch). My company went automated in 2009 which saved my career but still can drive manuals.
 
Congratulations. You're half way there. Get hazmat and tankers or you won't make good money. Also try to learn manual even though most are automated (manual automatic clutch). My company went automated in 2009 which saved my career but still can drive manuals.
I'd have to re-road test for manual, hazmat is just another ELDT online course, and a written at the DMV

I'm hoping in Q1 of the new year, I'll get the job that I am hoping for, hence I went to get the license myself

It would theoretically take me from $26 to $44+, and no OT to 24+ hrs a week OT

That's a significant step forward, for my ~$1,750 outlay, maybe I'd finally be able to move up and on in the world

We'll see what the new year brings

Considering the awful weather, last minute truck change, my shoddy spine, and my instructor telling me I got the worst/strictest road tester of the bunch

And I passed first try 🤷‍♂️

There might be some hope for me yet 🫣

I gotta make an appointment next week to go to DMV, they have to update/endorse my licence

Of course I get the enhanced, they move up the deadline 🤷‍♂️
 
Haz mat requires a back ground check every 4 years and you will need to retest haz mat every renew if no accidents. My next one is my 9th renew. No other tests. Also physicals are required every 2 years or less but the company should pay for that. Tankers endorsement is now required with hazmat because of totes are now categorized as tankers. Basically checking container for leaks and has to be strapped to the wall.

There are manuals still out there I prefer them especially in winter but my rt arm and left leg would disagree. I drove Chicago traffic 20 years stop and go and 20 stops a day with a manual. then automated came out and it took 2 years for my body to heal. It's not that bad if you're driving across country but it takes a toll for all city driving.

Continue to get your class A. If you don't need haz mat for your job don't get it yet but will be required for most other jobs. Manual too but not necessary but good to learn. Different then cars but easier in my opinion.
 
We had a bad accident in our area invovling air brakes. A 26 year old driver backed up down a loading incline that was covered in wet snow. He applied the air parking brake of the tractor unit but not the trailer. Why I’m not sure. He then went behind to open the door and the weight of the unbraked trailer dragged the entire trailer and tractor unit down the slope on the slippery snow and he got crushed between the rear and dock. Very tragic.

By the way the parking mode bleeds off the air and the humungous springs inside canisters apply the brake pads to the brake drum. Very safe and effective when done right.
 
We had a bad accident in our area invovling air brakes. A 26 year old driver backed up down a loading incline that was covered in wet snow. He applied the air parking brake of the tractor unit but not the trailer. Why I’m not sure. He then went behind to open the door and the weight of the unbraked trailer dragged the entire trailer and tractor unit down the slope on the slippery snow and he got crushed between the rear and dock. Very tragic.

By the way the parking mode bleeds off the air and the humungous springs inside canisters apply the brake pads to the brake drum. Very safe and effective when done right.
It would not matter about the trailer brakes.He should never backed down unless he was sure he could get out. Tractor brakes are the 2 front drive axle that is locked. Another reason to have the truck maintain regularly. It would of been an accident just by getting stuck. It's not easy being a driver. Should of never walked behind and never stop on ice.

When you apply the parking brakes the trailer brakes should of been applied by default.
 
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Another $50 🧐
Because why shouldn't there be another fee 😭
I had to go back to DMV, they don't issue you paperwork day of
And now I'm officially licenced, legal to drive
They'll mail me a proper one in 10 working days
Now I can actually apply for positions that require it 👍
The restrictions are for me wearing glasses, and I'm not licenced to drive a manual Commerical vehicle on the road

Slightly OT question, is there a DOT medical card I have to keep with me?
Because I'm getting conflicting information
I had the DOT physical, they submitted it online, and DMV had it on file for me to get the permit
Do I carry it with me?
Or does it come up when my licence is run?
 
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I'm not a professional driver but would absolutely carry proof of passing that physical. At a minimum an image on your phone.
 
When you apply for a job and they call you in for the interview they will send you for a drug and physical. They get your card and you get a copy. Keep it with you but never been asked for it. Most companies report it to the secretary of state but you might have to go back for your first one to declare.it is attached to the license. Your employer will tell you what to declare 1-4. There is also a clearing house you have to register at for drug testing.
 
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Another $50 🧐
Because why shouldn't there be another fee 😭
I had to go back to DMV, they don't issue you paperwork day of
And now I'm officially licenced, legal to drive
They'll mail me a proper one in 10 working days
Now I can actually apply for positions that require it 👍
The restrictions are for me wearing glasses, and I'm not licenced to drive a manual Commerical vehicle on the road

Slightly OT question, is there a DOT medical card I have to keep with me?
Because I'm getting conflicting information
I had the DOT physical, they submitted it online, and DMV had it on file for me to get the permit
Do I carry it with me?
Or does it come up when my licence is run?
In Missouri you’re supposed to carry the card with you but I’ve never been asked to produce it. I actually debated this today at the license office as were required to bring the card and long form in for them to scan and attach to our driver’s license digitally. It costs $2 to do that. She doesn’t understand it either, literally took her 3 seconds to view mine.
 
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