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rreschran

Re: Mico Brakes

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With the on-set of heavier carriers in the light-duty class, does anyone still have a, "working", Mico Brake in any of their tow trucks?

 

 

 

The Mico Brake company is still around 45-years later. All of my light duty  trucks were out-fitted with a hydraulic, dash mounted, brake-lock. They were a great safety addition to a truck's factory emergency brake to help hold the tow truck in-place during load operations and winching scenarios. Why did they lose popularity, or, are they still being used to prevent those modern day runaway tow trucks?     R.

 

Here's a link: https://www.mico.com/sites/default/files/document-pdfs/84466001Hydraulic Brake Valves.pdf    Page 8

 

 

MIco 1.jpg


Randall C. Resch

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We have them on most of the trucks. They are beneficial on older equipment, have not seen the need for this on the newer equipment.

 

My biggest issue is, if the driver is not following proper procedures and taking the proper precautions. What makes anyone think they are going to use the brake lock. Looking back most companies added these on equipment that was poorly maintained or just worn out. Did the MICO LEVER LOCK do more than Proper Procedures, Proper Procedures, Proper Maintenance?

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Ron ... I'll have to say, "Yes", to Mico Locks doing more than the processes of procedures and maintenance. I'm happy to hear that you still have and use them on your trucks. The question I'll ask is, "Does your company's Employee Handbook, require your drivers to use them in the same manner every company should have policy that requires the use of an emergency brake?"Through the years, as many as a dozen tow operators have been run-over and killed because they failed too use the tow truck's EBrake. In every tow class I teach, drivers fail to  apply the tow truck's EBrake ... it's a consistent practice that occurs all the time.

 

For readers who don't know what Mico Locks are, they are a hydraulic assisted EBrake valve (add on) that, when the Lock's handle is activated and brakes are pumped, the pressure within the system keep the brakes applied like someone seated in the tow truck with their foot on the brake. By design, Mico Brakes are added to supplement a truck's own Factory emergency brake system(s) that oftentimes proves problematic. If the Mico Lock isn't maintained, they too can bleed and not hold as designed. More than one tow operator has been killed because the EBrake in their tow truck failed, and in some mis-guided attempt to try and chase the truck down, they fell under the truck and were run-over. 

 

And, since most tow operators fail to use chock block, Mico Lock brake systems were that secondary system that worked. On all of my dad's tow trucks and all of my tow company tow trucks, the Mico Brake was a standard safety feature that was required by company policy. As my Dad set the tone for safety in his company, I too set the tone of safety in my own company. All of our drivers were required to use both systems. That said ... we never experienced a runaway tow truck because the EBrake popped or failed to hold. The early International's and GMC's with transmission EBrakes were famous for NOT holding. While new or newer tow trucks have better brake systems, those old iron tow trucks would benefit from  a Mico Lock or similar system to act as a secondary, on-board system. Poorly maintained or those who failed to use them as intended were their own best enemy as in much of the problems with the industry today.

 

Accordingly, in this industry, I believe more is better when it comes to safety for the very reason I don't ride a Harley dresser, I ride a Goldwing 1800 that is equipped with an airbag. In the case of the latter, the Goldwing's air-bag is a secondary crash system to back-up panic braking. It may never function in 100-percent of all T-Bone crashes, but in that one-percent, it may be the very thing to save my fat ass in a crash. I believe in the extra safety the system provides. The same goes for the Mico Lock of old. The Mico Lock always worked for me as they were as good as our company's maintenance and the mandated use behind its purpose.     R.


Randall C. Resch

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I have one in my old 97 super duty wrecker, the electronic style and it still works flawlessly although the old girl doesnt get out too much these days. i have considered looking into installing ones in our newer rams (2012 and 2017) but, im concerned about causing issues with the fancy abs, proportioning valve systems and whatnot... truth be told i have only had passing thoughts about it and havent really put any research into it. they still sell the systems so  one would assume it wouldnt cause any harm. 


There are Tow Truck Drivers, Then There is Towing and Recovery operators...... Which one are you??🤨

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So handy for juice brakes. Put a solenoid unit on my pickup and great for steep hill starts, off road use etc (and burnouts.)

 

I doubt usage you describe caused their demise. More like misuse use as parking brake temptation.

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I run a simple Mico lock like picture above in the rear brake line tied in right below the cab on my 2001 F550, have since bought new, manual trans & factory parking brake don't make for a stable park brake scenario on a steep grade.

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     Ditto, Orcas tow.  I have one on my 02 F550 4x4 6spd manual tied into the rear brakes also.  The factory parking brake is a joke and you will brake several foot levers trying to get it to hold (ask me how I know LOL).  It holds exellently.  There is a wire on the mico that you can plumb into your horn button which will sound the horn in the event it is loosing pressure.  Thanks, Steve.


Steve Koob

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Just finished installing a Mico brake lock, 4 channel abs system on our 02 International 4300. It works great!
I've never been comfortable with the parking brake system on this truck , (just parking on a hill was spooky), but after testing this out on a serious grade loaded, it was worth the investment!

Sent from my SM-N970U using TowForce mobile app

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Thanks Chuck for posting the results of your Mico-Brake install. Like you, I too like the added peace and protection that the system provides as a back-up to the truck's factory E-brake. The industry has had far too many towers run-over and killed by their own tow truck or carrier because the E-brake failed. If you wouldn't mind, what did the system wind-up costing? And, did you install it or have a shop do it?      R.


Randall C. Resch

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The purchase price was a little over $2200, & I had our fleet shop do the install. I never have had any faith in the 1930's technology cable park brakes & had grown tired of shutting off the truck ,(a manual 6 speed), in gear & chocking wheels, then reversing the process when ready to drive in order to be confident that the truck would stay still. I had a scary incident while unloading a 15 passenger van on a hill back in November that made the decision for me..
I would urge anyone who has 1 of these International trucks with the cable park brake to at least take a look at the cable as they are very prone to stretching & rusting. A park brake failure will cost more than dollars, it could cost someone their life!

Sent from my SM-N970U using TowForce mobile app

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Thanks Chuck for posting the pricing information. I'm glad to hear that you weren't hurt and I'm hoping your words inspire others to have a  look at the system for their own personal safety.     R.


Randall C. Resch

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I don't care how much Service You do on a F550 Park Brake They will not Hold........They should have had drive line Park Brakes..........Micro Works Great!


hookritesig.jpeg

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