Don’t Shoot the Messenger, Get to the Root of the Problem

Jim Park’s Truck Talk
Volume 1 Number 14

It took a tragic accident in Glen Rock, PA to bring the problem with manually adjusting automatic brake adjusters to the industry’s attention. A loaded dump truck careened down a hill, striking several cars at the bottom, killing one person. The truck had less than 20 percent of it’s normal braking capacity, experts say, because its automatic brake adjusters had all back right off.

The adjusting mechanisms were all badly worn due to repeated manual adjustments, and would not hold their settings. Repeated brake applications caused the adjuster to back off rather than tighten up.

It’s no secret that automatic slack adjusters are not to be manually adjusted except during installation and during a reline. Still, drivers and mechanics continue this dangerous practice. Here, two experts from Bendix explain the hazards of making manual adjustments to automatic brake adjusters.

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Jim Park was a CDL driver and owner-operator from 1978 until 1998, when he began his second career as a trucking journalist. During that career transition, he hosted an overnight radio show on a Hamilton, Ontario radio station and later went on to anchor the trucking news in SiriusXM's Road Dog Trucking channel. Jim is a regular contributor to Today's Trucking and, and produces Focus On and On the Spot test drive videos.

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