Top Inspection and Reconditioning Tips For Commercial Vehicles Exposed to Floodwaters

Top Inspection and Reconditioning Tips For Commercial Vehicles Exposed to Floodwaters – We all saw the devastating effects of Hurricane Ian that swept through Florida, which is why we thought it would be a good time to review best practices for commercial vehicles that have been exposed to floodwaters. In this case, inspection and reconditioning of truck safety components are critical.

Massive relief and rebuilding efforts are reliant on the trucking industry and thousands of truck drivers. If your commercial vehicles are exposed to floodwaters, Taylor Oil wants to take this opportunity to advise fleets and drivers on how to inspect and recondition air brake, wheel-end, and other safety components that were submerged, either partially or completely.

Salt Water Submersion

The parts replacement process will have to begin immediately due to the chances of corrosion, if the submersion occurred in salt water. Lubrication can be worn down from this, putting parts at a higher risk for premature malfunction. Replace the brake system valve if it was submerged in salt water.

At the same time, you should also replace:

  • Air compressors
  • Air reservoirs
  • Anti-lock brake system (ABS) relays
  • Modulators
  • Brake actuators

Saltwater corrosion elevates the risk of rust jacking while accelerating corrosion of critical surfaces. Foundation brake replacement is recommended to prevent failure.

When it comes to pneumatic system components that were submerged, disconnect all contaminated air tubes and hoses. Then you will need to flush with clean water, and blow them out to ensure no contaminants are left behind.

Fresh Water Submersion

Power wash the vehicle, including foundation brakes, if the submersion occurred in fresh water. Avoid directly spraying rubber parts and sealing interfaces with high-pressure jets. Always wear personal protective equipment (PPE) while working on flooded vehicles.

Refrain from starting a vehicle if you know fresh water entered the air compressor or dryer via the air system intakes.

Here are tips on what to check on the air brake system:

Charging system

  1. Inspect the air intake, air dryer and compressor for signs of water.
  2. Blow air through the pneumatic tubing using dry compressed air pressure, and look for water or contamination.
  3. Once you have reconnected the pneumatic lines, install a new air dryer to remove residual moisture from the air inlet.
  4. Remove residual water from the service tanks using dry compressed air pressure.

Vehicle valves

  1. Inspect all parts of the pneumatic brake and accessory systems.
  2. Remove all pneumatic and electrical connectors at each valve.
  3. Drain any pressure that is left behind in the service reservoirs.
  4. Check for water or contamination inside the air hoses, connectors, or component.
  5. Blow air through the pneumatic tubes and hoses using dry compressed air pressure, then look for signs of water or contamination. If so, replace the component. If not, reassemble the component.
  6. Inspect tractor and trailer glad hands as well as the supply and control hoses.
  7. Replace nonfunctioning valves.

Wheel-ends and electronics

Water in all wheel-ends can boost the risk of corrosion between the drum brake lining material and the shoe table, so look for this. Water also tends to pool in drums, upping the risk of corrosion. Also, check on the friction couple between the friction and disc/drum.

Take off fittings and mounting stud nuts. Position ports downward so you can be sure no water has entered the brake chambers via the air lines. See water? Replace the actuator, then re-grease the slack adjusters.

Getting Back on the Road

Even if you didn’t see any initial signs of water or contamination, it’s a good idea to test the air brake system before using the vehicle or trailer again. Keep in mind, ABS wheel speed sensors can shift from their normal position after flooding and power washing. Make sure to push them back into contact with the exciter ring to re-calibrate the sensor position.

Retest and perform diagnostic checks of the electronic systems again, following all manufacturers’ guidelines.

Contact Taylor Oil

Have you been sidelined by floodwaters in the Northeast? Just call Taylor Oil for fast and reliable mobile fueling so you’re ready to go once the above inspections have been performed. Rest assured, we specialize in 24/7 onsite equipment fueling.