Meritor releases braking white paper

News Truck Parts and Service Staff October 9, 2013

When it comes to meeting new federal stopping distance requirements, fleets have some legitimate concerns: Do we have the right brakes matched with the right friction? Does our inventory of brake parts and replacement friction, brake shoes and disc pads fit a vehicle’s exact operating vocation? Do we have the correct technical specs and part numbers? Will our aftermarket supplier have a call center to answer my operator’s question?

All of these questions are valid and real-life issues in the minds of fleet equipment managers and maintenance directors who must specify the right brake and friction material to comply with Phase 2 of the new Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards reduced stopping distance (RSD) requirements, known as FMVSS 121.

The new requirements were established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). When it’s time for a fleet to change the RSD shoes on their new vehicles, replacement with the proper and cost-effective solutions is vital to ensure that all vehicles continue to meet FMVSS121 stopping distance requirements.

Phase 2 of the RSD regulation addresses about 20 percent of the market and includes vehicles such as 4×2 tractors, three-axle tractors and tractors with four or more axles.  Vocations include pickup and delivery, less-than-truckload and special heavy haulers. Changes have been designed into the brake system hardware and complementary friction materials to meet RSD requirements, according to Meritor brake engineers.

“Complete brake specifications and friction combinations are completed, prepared and ready for the North American truck operators,” said Joe Kay, director of engineering, Brake Systems, Meritor. He acknowledged that changing wheelbases, tires and tire sizes were variables taken into account when the respective vehicle OEM approves new brake equipment (both cam and air disc systems).  

While the new requirements address only new vehicles (see chart), servicing after the first brake cycle is important to maintain the braking performance designed into the new vehicle. “The best way to do that is to select friction materials and brake hardware from an OEM supplier to ensure the consistent vehicle operation,” said Tim Bauer, senior director, Undercarriage Products-Aftermarket, Meritor.

As one of the industry’s leading foundation brake and friction suppliers, Meritor has re-engineered its friction materials to meet the new RSD requirements. The industry commonly discusses the materials as being “RSD friction from an aftermarket brand supplier” that is not intended for use during OEM production of RSD brake systems.

We always recommend that fleets replace brake shoes with the same friction material they removed from the vehicle at the time of servicing,” said Peter Freeman, senior product manager, Wheel End-Aftermarket, Meritor. “We highly recommend that fleets use an RSD material for replacement friction to help keep all of their vehicles performing and stopping in the same stopping distances.”

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