There’s nothing scarier than to have your brake pedal drop to the floor when you’re approaching the red light at the intersection.
That’s how I found that the brake pads on my 22-year-old diesel pusher had reached the end of their life.
The further the calipers have to extend to compress the pads, the more brake fluid is needed. At some point, you just don’t have enough fluid — and the brakes fail.
RV Chassis Manufacturers
My personal experience confirmed that going to the local auto parts store and asking for brake pads for a 1993 Pace Arrow with an Oshkosh chassis is going to get you nothing more than puzzled looks from the staff. Their computer just doesn’t go back that far, and they’re not able to dig deeper with only that amount of information.
Ford or Chevy gas chassis parts are an easier find — but you need to get down to the actual parts manufacturer’s information in order to find parts for heavy-duty truck chassis based RVs.
Oshkosh was absorbed by Freightliner years ago. As it turns out, many of the parts used by Oshkosh were actually Ford parts. Once you have the RV brake parts in hand, you might have half a chance to match them up that way.
Finding Motorhome Brake Part Numbers
For RV brake parts, the easier method is to identify them on your own.
In my case, the word Dayton was clearly visible on the back of the brake shoes once they were removed.
With that information and the actual shape of the brake pad, it was easy to identify the shoes from this Dayton truck brake parts chart that I found on the Internet.
Having the Dayton number (D236, in my case) probably would have been enough information. But just to be sure, I also found a brake pad cross-reference app which allowed me to add other brake part manufacturers’ part numbers to my list.
This makes it possible for any auto parts store to easily match your number to one or more of the vendors they do business with. In my case, the brake pads were readily available at Advance Auto Parts through Wagner Brake, and in 2 days I had my RV brake pads in hand at a reasonable price.
Finding Other Parts For Your RV
Generally, the more information you can bring to the parts store the better — especially when you’re dealing with older RVs because the year, make, and model number of the rig just aren’t going to mean much.
Motorhomes, like all road driven vehicles, are constructed from parts supplied from many vendors. Ford and Chevy are big enough that most of their components are produced in-house or by designated vendors, making those chassis parts easier to identify.
Older diesel pushers with Oshkosh, Spartan, John Deere, or other chassis bought parts from different sources — which will make your search more complex.
However, the fact that a manufacturer of the chassis may be out of business or may have changed hands repeatedly doesn’t mean you’ve reached a dead end though. It just means you need more information specific to the part you are in search of.
This same approach follows through on most components or your chassis. Drive axle manufactures can be Rockwell, Eaton, or others. They will all be stamped with brand and model numbers that will aid in finding parts.
Even smaller components will have identifying information that will allow you to either find the original supplier or match up to a different brand with similar specs — as was the case with an electric vacuum pump that failed on mine.
All it takes is a little online research of your own, and almost anything can be located.
I’ve been involved in RVing for over 50 years — including camping, building, repairing, and even selling RVs and motorhomes. I’ve owned, used, and repaired almost every class and style of RV ever made. I do all of my own repair work. My other interests include cooking, living with an aging dog, and dealing with diabetic issues. If you can combine a grease monkey with a computer geek, throw in a touch of information nut and organization freak, combined with a little bit of storyteller… you’ve got a good idea of who I am. To date, I've shared my RV knowledge in over 300 articles here at The Fun Times Guide!