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Braking over bumps - railroad tracks #5108606 05/18/19 04:32 PM
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spk2000 Offline OP
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Many years ago I recall people telling me not to brake going across railroad tracks or you will mess up alignment.
I adhere to the advice but wonder if it's true.


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Re: Braking over bumps - railroad tracks [Re: spk2000] #5108612 05/18/19 04:41 PM
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BobsArmory Offline
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Brake before the RR tracks then release the brakes just before going over them to bring the front suspension to an uncompressed condition. That is what I was taught.


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Re: Braking over bumps - railroad tracks [Re: spk2000] #5108678 05/18/19 06:10 PM
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I was taught to never brake or slow down on tracks or while crossing them. Slow down before you get to them and then move across them at a steady speed. I was taught this for safety reasons, nothing to do with alignment. You want momentum just in case the car stops, breaks down, etc so you at least coast off of them.

Re: Braking over bumps - railroad tracks [Re: spk2000] #5108697 05/18/19 06:58 PM
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Pelican Offline
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What BobsArmory said! If you brake the suspension cannot do its work and you'll put undue stress on everything.

Re: Braking over bumps - railroad tracks [Re: spk2000] #5108698 05/18/19 06:59 PM
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Uphill_Both_Ways Offline
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For decades everything I drove had rear-wheel drive and solid rear axles. Some cars more than others might wheel-hop over badly maintained crossings if braking while crossing them.

My Mustang was the worst, but it also could be a lot of fun. There was a bump at the top of a hill at a fork on a street I used at least once a day, and when going down I'd hit the brakes on the bump. The car would turn left because the rear wheels would hop right.

I still release the brakes when going over tracks, but I wasn't taught to do so; it was obvious in those cars.

It's reflexive and I don't fight it, which still might be a plus at highway speeds over crossings.


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Re: Braking over bumps - railroad tracks [Re: spk2000] #5108769 05/18/19 08:21 PM
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cappilot Offline
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Interesting discussion. I try to not be using the brakes when on a washboard type surface. I think that habit began 50-some years ago when the first powered vehicle I drove was a 50cc Yamaha motorcycle that had a front-wheel suspension that in some fashion sort of rotated about the wheel's hub. Any use of the front brake therefore reduced the 'give' of the front end if a bump was encountered. It didn't take long to learn that one didn't want to be using the brake at that time!

Re: Braking over bumps - railroad tracks [Re: spk2000] #5108882 05/18/19 09:50 PM
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Skippy722 Offline
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I’ll brake before hitting the tracks, but never going over. I feel like it puts undue stress on everything.


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Re: Braking over bumps - railroad tracks [Re: spk2000] #5108896 05/18/19 10:13 PM
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JHZR2 Offline
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I try to be off the brakes for any major bump or impact with a road surface feature or railroad track.

Re: Braking over bumps - railroad tracks [Re: JHZR2] #5108899 05/18/19 10:18 PM
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opus1 Offline
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Originally Posted by JHZR2
I try to be off the brakes for any major bump or impact with a road surface feature or railroad track.

^This.

I do what I can to slow before the bump, but brakes are released as I cross it.


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Re: Braking over bumps - railroad tracks [Re: opus1] #5108921 05/18/19 11:09 PM
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gman2304 Online Content
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Originally Posted by opus1
Originally Posted by JHZR2
I try to be off the brakes for any major bump or impact with a road surface feature or railroad track.

^This.

I do what I can to slow before the bump, but brakes are released as I cross it.
x3....unload the suspension.

Re: Braking over bumps - railroad tracks [Re: spk2000] #5108939 05/18/19 11:37 PM
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madRiver Offline
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Interesting, never considered this however won’t ever .

Re: Braking over bumps - railroad tracks [Re: spk2000] #5108956 05/19/19 12:06 AM
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joegreen Offline
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The faster I go over the tracks the smoother they feel


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Re: Braking over bumps - railroad tracks [Re: madRiver] #5108976 05/19/19 01:31 AM
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Originally Posted by madRiver
Interesting, never considered this however won’t ever .

I agree.

Never knew this was something worth contemplating.
Certainly not going to start now.


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Re: Braking over bumps - railroad tracks [Re: spk2000] #5109045 05/19/19 06:53 AM
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Kira Offline
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It's like this, see.....
1) Let's say you're braking as you go over tracks
2) Your tires hit the first of the high spots be it a rail or less-than-perfect apron
3) Your wheel goes up in the air a bit and the braking action stops it from rotating
4) Milliseconds later the halted wheel contacts the ground....
5) The momentum of the vehicle forces the wheel to resume rotating
This happens after you've shocked the brakes and sent a harsh punch through any part holding the wheel in place

It really is quite simple Roll over tracks and it's smooth. Brake over tracks and it's loud and rattly.

Whoever mentioned that he goes faster over tracks for a smoother ride is talking about something different.

Re: Braking over bumps - railroad tracks [Re: spk2000] #5109078 05/19/19 07:39 AM
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AuthorEditor Offline
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I agree about being off the brakes when going over a bump, but with railroad tracks there is the added issue of loss of traction while braking. A well used track is pretty slippery on its own. Add water and they can become like ice. Turn the tracks at an angle to the roadway with a stop required and you can pretty quickly be sideways or worse. What you could get was one or more wheels on the tracks sliding while the others off the tracks were gripping. On a bicycle or motorcycle this can be really nasty, even with dry tracks. On my old commute there was a fairly sharp bend in a 55mph secondary highway, and a set of railroad tracks crossed right at the bend in such a way that meant they were on the road at around a 45-degree angle instead of the desired 90-degree angle. You would hit these on a motorcycle leaned over at speed and usually you just had a scary wobble. I was very careful crossing them in the rain.

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