1. Welcome to PlowSite. Notice a fresh look and new features? It’s now easier to share photos and videos, find popular topics fast, and enjoy expanded user profiles. If you have any questions, click HELP at the top or bottom of any page, or send an email to help@plowsite.com. We welcome your feedback.

    Dismiss Notice

Plowing with air brakes. Pro's or con's?

Discussion in 'Ford Trucks' started by jakegypsum, Mar 18, 2002.

  1. jakegypsum

    jakegypsum Senior Member
    Messages: 101

    I am looking at purchasing a new F-650 and considering air brakes on this application. Are there any pro's or con's when plowing with a truck that has air brakes? I have been plowing for over 20 years. Plowed with everything from a Ford Ranger to a Ford F-700. Many different applications. Many jury-rig types also so I have seen the many problems that can occur in the field. I have never plowed with a truck that is equipped with air brakes. I have heavy trucks and have delt with cold weather problems that air brakes can give you but never had a plow rigged up on one. My older F-700's have always had the nasty Lucas-Girling hydraulic set up but they have worked great when plowing. My concirn is that, will air brakes on a plowing truck be more helpful or hurtful? Thanks. Jake.
  2. Pelican

    Pelican 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,075

    I've plowed a street route with air brakes, if you're allready familiar with them, they don't cause any problems. The only place they might cause a problem would be a small parking lot where you'd do a lot of braking and run your air down. You wouldn't really want a truck that big in a small lot anyway.
  3. Plow Meister

    Plow Meister PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,174

    I don't see any reason you can't plow with air brakes. I have also used municipal rigs and drive a big truck for a living.

    My question is why woulld you put air brakes on a 650? Wht kind of bed will you be installing? The gross on this truck is 25,900#'s and hydraulic brakes are more than sufficient for stopping power. Also, now you will then need a CDL to operate it. Plus, I think it is an expensive option.

    I prefer to plow with hydraulic brakes because you can feel the wheels lock up more than with air brakes. And air brakes tend to lock up easier than hydraulics.

    Good luck with your search. When you go pick out your new truck, see if they have an air equipped truck on the lot and take it for a spin.
  4. jakegypsum

    jakegypsum Senior Member
    Messages: 101

    Plow Meister, Man! You hit the nail on the head! I agree 100%. In the past every truck in the 26,000 - 27,000 GVW range has had juice brakes. I have air on all of my heavy "L" models. 60,000 GVW. I am updating some of my equipement and the "Truck" salesman feels as though I should have air brakes on my new F-650. I decided to drop the GVW rating on this truck because of CDL requirement. Air brakes on a truck like this does nothing but complicate things. Air brakes cost another $2,000.00 plus the complications with possible license endorsements reguardless of GVW plus the possibilities of cold weather complications. Been there, done that. Nothing like the feel of hydraulics when working in snow and ice. (First thing that came to mind when thinking about air brake in the snow). My older, 27,000 GVW trucks have been great over the years with juice brakes, why go air now? That's one of my questions.
    Pelican01, You also brought up a good point about air supply. (Not the band) :). All of my work is parking lots. A lot of tricky truck driving. A lot of brake pedal operation=a lot of air. The compressor will get a workout, let alone any possible extra strain on the engine, etc.
    Thanks for the reply's guy's. Jake.
  5. TurfPlus

    TurfPlus Senior Member
    Messages: 179


    It seems that there are some misconceptions on air brakes and CDL license. Just to clarify some questions on if a CDL is required.
  6. TurfPlus

    TurfPlus Senior Member
    Messages: 179

    I forgot to attach file.

  7. jakegypsum

    jakegypsum Senior Member
    Messages: 101

    TurfPlus, Is this actually out of a DMV or DOT book? Everybody that I know who have big trucks or work on big trucks mentioned gray area's of one type or another. There are some people that my mechanic knows, (only a few), who have ran a truck with air brakes under 26,000 but have not had too much a problem because their drivers have a CDL anyway. I like the idea of air brakes but just don't need to deal with any BS on the side of the road at a DOT stop. Even certain DOT officers arn't clear on this subject. Jake.
  8. TurfPlus

    TurfPlus Senior Member
    Messages: 179

    That was a page out of my old CDL study book. I went thru the same problems when I was looking at medium trucks. Air brakes??? Juice brakes??? I agree with you that air brakes are far superior then hydraulic but a truck under 26,000 with hydraulics have more then enough stopping power. After weighting out all my options I settled on an IH 4300 with hydraulic for that fact that everything that was discussed in this thread. I also wanted to avoid any DOT problems down the road since I heard PA is stepping up road inspections. You got a pretty good deal on your F650. What other options did you order? My IH should be here in 4 weeks and then off to the body company. I'll post some pics when I have them. Hope this helps.

  9. jakegypsum

    jakegypsum Senior Member
    Messages: 101

    John, The F-650 that I ordered was pretty basic. I believe that it is an "XL". As for extra's, the salesman that I was dealing with helped me out in some questionable ares. At first I thought that he was trying bump up the cost with BS items. Especially when he originally told me that I needed air brakes and a larger engine at the tune of an additional $4,000.00. Afterwards, when we got the Cat engine and brake question squared away, he pointed out setting the truck up with heavier springs. Front and back. I forget the front rating on this truck but the rear springs are rated at 19,500 lbs. I had many questions about transfer of my equipement, especially the plow. I thought that I would need to do a lot of alterations on the front of the truck and plow harness but we were able to get a truck spec with a stationary grill. No crazy welding or cutting of the trucks grill. This way the hood will tilt over the grill and harness without problem. It was a $100.00 option. A no-brainer. The only other option was the seat back being able to tilt foward instead of it being in a fixed position.
    One last thing that I tried to get was Cast-spoke wheels instead of the "Bud" style but evedently Ford is not offering them on the F-650's at this point in time. All of my other trucks have them and I wanted to try and stay uniform with the fleet. Oh well, can't have it all. Besides that, everything else is pretty much basic.
    As for brakes, I have had many trucks rated at 27,000 lbs over the years and never had a stopping problem. No reason to re-invent the wheel at this time. Plus the BS problems mentioned in the above threads are not needed at this time.
    Funny you mention pictures. I have many people question me about pictures of my trucks. I need to invest into a digetal camera one of these days so i can download and post them. :).
    Catch ya later. Jake.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2002
  10. GeoffD

    GeoffD PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,266

    In Maine, any truck with a GVW over 10,000 must stop at commercial vehicle inspections.

  11. Air brakes are the best.but even with air dryers you need to drain tanks every shift in winter mode and when shut down leave tank drain cracked open so heavier sludge can drain out i have a cdl with air and tanker endorcments. when you apply air brakes on truck,loaders or graders you know you have brakes
  12. BlueLine Ent

    BlueLine Ent Senior Member
    Messages: 570

    I believe, although I could be wrong, but believe its a National DOT regulation that the driver of any vehicle over 10,000lbs GVWR but under 26,000lbs GVWR must have a medical examination card, even though a CDL is not required. In Mass, we also need a medical card for getting a hoisting license for loaders and excavators and stuff like that.
  13. dirt digger

    dirt digger Senior Member
    Messages: 619

    i dont have one to drive a 17.5K F-550 or a 26K International
  14. dirt digger

    dirt digger Senior Member
    Messages: 619

    i also heard, and could be wrong...but the F-650 has the option of air to the rear and hydraulic to the front, since it has the hydraulic to the front you dont need an air certification.
  15. BlueLine Ent

    BlueLine Ent Senior Member
    Messages: 570

    Im unsure about the medical card if its mass or national, but in mass, if theres any airbrakes at all on the vehicle, you need the air endorsement
  16. 351crules

    351crules Member
    Messages: 31

    in mass you either need a permit, lincence or endosment just to take a dump. i hate this state but i'm stuck here for the time being...