Brake Chambers

Brake Chambers

Brake chambers are used on heavy-duty truck air brake systems to convert energy from compressed air into force used to apply the brakes. We offer high quality direct replacements and repair parts for all types of suspensions. All our replacement parts used to service brake systems are manufactured to meet or exceed O.E.M. specifications

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SKU S2008
$14.25

Bendix Type clevis kit, 5/8 inch - 18 threads. Includes 1/2 and 1/4 inch pins. Pin center-to-center 1.0 inch. Replaces Automann 179.   Details

6 In Stock as of September 30, 2020 7:30 AM EST.
  • Automann Number:179.YK5011
  • Bendix Number:107158
  • MPN: S2008
SKU SC20-LS
$35.42

Type 20 long stroke brake service chamber. 3/8-18 NPTF inlet ports, 3.000 inch service stroke. 1850 service forces at 100 psi.   Details

3 In Stock as of September 30, 2020 7:29 AM EST.
  • Brake Chamber Type:20
  • Stroke:3.00 inches
  • Inlet Port:3/8-18 NPTF
  • Automann Number:179.SC20L
  • Haldex Number:SC20L
  • MGM Number:1421001
  • MPN: SC20-LS
SKU SC24-LS
$35.42

Type 24 long stroke brake service chamber. 3/8-18 NPTF inlet ports, 3.000 inch service stroke. 2066 service forces at 100 psi.   Details

4 In Stock as of September 30, 2020 7:29 AM EST.
  • Brake Chamber Type:24
  • Stroke:3.00 inches
  • Inlet Port:3/8-18 NPTF
  • Automann Number:179.SC24L
  • Bendix Number:K025365
  • MGM Number:1427001
  • MPN: SC24-LS
SKU SC36
$59.92

Type 36 brake service chamber. 3/8-18 NPTF inlet ports, 3.000 inch service stroke. 3349 service forces at 100 psi.   Details

2 In Stock as of September 30, 2020 7:29 AM EST.
  • Brake Chamber Type:36
  • Stroke:3.00 inches
  • Inlet Port:3/8-18 NPTF
  • Cross References:BSC-36
  • Automann Number:179.SC36
  • Euclid Number:EBC36
  • MGM Number:1436001
  • MPN: SC36

What are brake chambers?

Spring brakes are a service chamber with an additional chamber attached that gives it the ability to apply a parking brake when air is purposefully removed from the rear section or an emergency brake when the air brake system fails, and traditional braking is not possible. These two sections operate independently from each other until air is removed from the rear section and the large compressed coil spring applies the brakes. There is a third less common type of brake chamber called a Rotochamber which is mostly found on off-highway equipment and some busses.

These have a very long travel and come in many application forces. The internal components are different from a traditional brake chamber. Brake chambers are a device that allows compressed air to be converted into mechanical force. They are used on the air brake system of heavy-duty vehicles. Brake chambers are known by many terms including air brake chambers, maxi chambers, brake cans, and spring brakes. The components of a brake chamber are housed in a round canister sealed by a clamp. Brake chambers come in two main types, service chambers and spring brakes. Service chambers apply the brakes when air is applied to the chamber and return via an internal spring to a released position when the air is removed.

This video gives a detailed overview of the various components of service chambers and spring brakes. We identify long stroke, standard stoke, and different chamber types. We also talk about how they work as well as how to replace piggyback assemblies. Understanding and Identifying Brake Chambers

What are Service Chambers?

Service chambers are brake chambers with a single section whose only purpose is to apply the brakes when air is supplied to the chamber. When air is released, the chamber will return to the seated position. Service chambers are available in types 6, 9, 12, 16, 20, 24, 30, and 36. The type refers to the effective area in square inches that the air works against, a type 12 has 12 square inches of surface area and a type 30 has 30 square inches of service area etc. This means as the type of service chamber increases the diameter grows and so does its potential output for braking pressure. Service chambers are normally found on steer axle applications and they can be completely rebuilt if there is no damage to the two sections of the cannister. By removing the clamp ring around the service chamber, the internal components of the chamber can be replaced if needed.

What is inside a Service Chamber?

Inside of a service chamber there are only 3 components:

Rubber Diaphragm
Flexible rubber disc that traps incoming air behind it. This presses the push plate/ push rod forward applying the brakes.
Push Plate/Push Rod Assembly
Metal plate welded to a threaded rod. This transfers the force of the air from the diaphragm to a yoke or clevis allowing application of your brakes through your slack adjusters and brake camshaft / S-Cam
Return Spring
Applies pressure to the push plate and diaphragm ensuring that the brake chamber returns to a seated position when the air is released from the service chamber.
brake service chamber

What are Spring Brakes?

Spring brakes are brake chambers that include a second section that houses a powerful spring. This spring acts as a parking brake or an emergency brake when air pressure is not applied to that section of the brake chamber. The two sections of a spring brake act independently of each other they have their own air supplies and diaphragms. Under normal conditions, they will not interact with each other. These are found on trailer axles and drive axles only due to their automatic ability to apply the brakes when air is lost. This may cause a loss of control if they installed on the steer axle of the truck. The parking spring section of the brake chamber is not serviceable and any attempt to open this portion of the brake chamber may result in death.

What is inside a Spring Brake?

Spring brakes feature two sections, the first houses the service chamber. The internal components of the service section are identical to a non-spring brake service chamber and they serve the same functions.

The second section is the parking brake chamber. The parking brake chamber is also known as a piggy-back, this portion of the spring brake is not serviceable, and it is replaced as a pre-built unit. The piggy-back features a sealed clamp that is not meant for removal. When replacing a piggy-back a caging bolt or t-bolt is used to mechanically restrain the large coil spring. Once a spring brake is caged it is safe for removal and replacement. The parking/ emergency spring can have upwards of 2000 LBS of force. Any attempt to open the piggy-back / spring brake may result in injury or death.

Inside of the spring brake there are four components, none of these components can be serviced.

Diaphragm
Rubber disc that converts air pressure to mechanical force. 60 PSI is the minimum required for the diaphragm to compress the large coil spring and release the brakes.
Parking Spring
This is a large coil spring that applies the brakes when air is released from the parking chamber. This may be on purpose when parking the truck and trailer and pulling the park button on the dash or this may be an emergency application when air is unexpectedly lost during vehicle operation. The parking brake moves a piston which forces the service chamber portion to apply the brakes.
Piston Assembly
A machined shaft that passes through the body of the parking brake assembly to the service portion. The large coil spring pushes this shaft forward and applies the service chamber.
Return spring
Ensures that the piston assembly returns to a seated position when air is applied to the parking chamber, compressing the large coil spring.
cut-away photo of spring brake chamber

Caging Bolts

Spring brakes will have a location cast into the housing to store a caging bolt. The caging bolts or t-bolts are very important for when a chamber needs to be serviced or a vehicle with parking brakes needs to be towed. The caging bolt is inserted into a hole in the parking chamber and a ¼ - ½ turn locks them into place. A washer and nut are threaded onto the bolt and tightened. This mechanically retrains the parking spring releasing the brake without the use of air. This allows a broken-down vehicle to be towed or if a parking brake has failed it will allow the piggy-back portion to be safely removed. Every new spring brake chamber includes a new caging bolt and any damaged or worn caging bolts should be immediately discarded and replaced. A caging bolt is crucial to safely working on spring brake chambers.

caging bolt for spring brake

Long Stroke Chambers

Service chambers and spring brakes will come in a standard stroke and a long stroke variant. The long stroke variants can have a stroke of 3" or more where a standard style will be 2.5". Long stroke chambers must be used on a system designed for them. They can add an extra margin for safety ensuring full brake application on a system that may be slightly out of adjustment or they may be used to eliminate brake drag on some systems, this has made them increasingly popular on newer trucks and trailers.

There are a few ways to identify a long-stroke brake chamber.

  • A part number or serial number on the chamber will contain "LS"
  • The air inlet or inlets will have a square boss
  • Cast in instructions such as, "USE 3-INCH STROKE DIAPHRAGM ONLY"
  • Trapezoidal shaped tag with stroke information
long stroke brake chamber

Brake Chamber Sizes / Types

Both service chambers and spring brakes come in a variety of standardized sizes. Because they are standardized, replacing chambers with the same type will ensure the correct fit of all mounting hardware. Service chambers come in a variety from type 6 to type 36 and spring brakes from 24/24 to 36/36. The type number relates to the effective area of the diaphragm in the chamber which when multiplied by the air pressure applied to give you the force that the brake chamber is capable of.

Service chambers will be identified simply by their type, for example, Type 24. This gives you the effective size and sizing and location for the mounting hardware.

Spring brake chambers will be identified by a double number, 30/30 being the most common with 24/30 and 30/36 being other examples. The double number identifies the size of the two separate chambers. The first number identifies the service brake portion and the second number identifies the parking and emergency portion. Most commonly chambers will match e.g. 30/30 and 24/24 but mixed chambers are also available e.g. 20/24 and 24/30. If no markings or tags are present on a brake chamber they can be identified using measurements.

How do you identify brake chambers by measurement?

Measuring the diameter of a brake chamber is a reliable way to identify the type. A service chamber will need one measurement taken across the inside of clamp ring to identify the type while a spring brake will take two measurements across the inside of both clamp rings to identify the service section and the parking section. Below you will find a chart with the measurements and their corresponding types.

Type Number Outside Diameter
6 4-1/2"
9 5-1/4"
12 5-11/16"
16 6-3/8"
20 6-25/32"
24 7-7/32"
30 8-3/32"
36 9-1/16"

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