The Brake Chamber Break Down

Written by
Jeremy Handel
Published on
February 25, 2022 9:00:00 AM PST February 25, 2022 9:00:00 AM PSTth, February 25, 2022 9:00:00 AM PST

How Brake Chambers Help Stop Your Semi-Truck

If you drive a semi-truck, then you definitely have brake chambers in your air brake system. Are you hoping to learn more about the brake chambers in your semi-truck’s air brake? If so, you’re in luck! Our panel of expert trucking specialists has put together the following to help you learn more about the air brake chambers in your truck. Read on to learn more! 

What Is A Brake Chamber?

So, what are brake chambers? Brake chambers are round metal containers located at each wheel. In this container, compressed air is converted into the force that applies the brakes and stops the vehicle. This makes it an integral part of your trucks air brake system.

How Do Brake Chambers Work? 

Now, you may be asking yourself how the brake chambers in your air brakes work. When you press the brake pedal, compressed air fills the brake chamber so that a rubber disc called a diaphragm moves and pushes out the pushrod, thus applying the brakes. When you let go of the pedal, pressure is released and the pushrod returns to its original position.

When the pressure is released from the brake chamber, the pushrod is returned to the original position near the spring inside the chamber. The push rod and slack adjuster link the chamber to the brake assembly. This means that, when you press the brake pedal, the push rod extends from the brake chamber, which moves the slack adjuster forward. The pushrod’s extension from the brake chamber is called pushrod stroke. The stroke length is the distance that the pushrod travels out of the chamber. The pushrod stroke is dependent on the pressure of the compressed air that enters the chamber.

What Types of Brake Chambers are Available?

Brake chambers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so it’s important to make sure you choose the right one for your vehicle. Today, the two most popular options available are service and spring brake chambers. A service brake chamber comes with a diaphragm, a push rod, and a return spring. A spring brake chamber applies the brakes by means of a large coil spring that that applies force.

To choose which is right for you, you’ll need to determine the brake type and chamber size to the correlating brake adjustment limit. Each brake-chamber style, type, and size have a decided pushrod stroke-adjustment limit that cannot exceed the adjustment limit, so you’ll want to make sure you’re careful when choosing which is right for your truck.

When picking out a new brake chamber, it’s best to choose one that has the same specifications as the original. They are identified by a number that corresponds to the size of the diaphragm. 

When Do I Replace My Brake Chambers?

On average, brake chambers should be replaced every 100,000 miles. During pre-trip air system tests, it’s important to make sure your brake chambers are up to snuff. You’ll want to make sure you look for visual damage to the chambers such as corrosion, dents, and bent pushrods. Damaged parts can let contaminants into the chambers, increasing the odds that corrosion will build up on the power spring or pressure plate.

As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to check your brake chambers when you feel the brake pedal go soft or begin to vibrate.

How To Remove Your Brake Chambers

The first thing you’ll want to do when replacing your brake chambers is to make sure you are parked on a level surface. Next, apply the emergency brake as if it is still hooked up to a semi or make sure the emergency brake is applied for a trailer that isn’t hooked up to a semi. Position yourself under the trailer beneath the brake chamber you are working on, then remove the plug from the back of the chamber.

Now, you’ll want to place the caging tool into the back of the brake chamber, then turn it clockwise until it’s locked into a groove. When you try and pull the caging tool out, it should not move.

Using a 3/4 in. wrench, tighten the nut of the caging tool. After that, pull the cotter pins out of the clevis pins to release the slack adjuster. Remove the emergency and service air lines and fittings from the brake chamber using a 12 in. crescent wrench. The next step is to remove the two mounting nuts from the brake chamber that connects them to the chamber bracket on the axle. 

Shop Brake Chambers Today!

Now that you know more about brake chambers, the next step is to browse around our online store. If you are looking for a replacement brake chamber for your semi-truck, then you’ve come to the right place! With a full selection of brake chambers from your favorite brands for you to choose from, we’re happy to be your one-stop shop for everything you need to make sure your air brake system is running properly.