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Old 06-20-2013, 08:01 AM   #1
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No brakes - electrical?

I just took my travel trailer out for the first time this year. It's a Coachman Catalina 19RD. Unfortunately, during my routine check I determined that my trailer brakes weren't working.

I did make the mistake of towing it home from storage without a battery in it. I found out it wouldn't have brakes then. Chalk that up to experience - don't do that again.

Unfortunately even after putting the fully charged battery in the trailer I still did not have brakes. I even pulled the break-away out and still no brakes. I am assuming it has to be electrical. I found it very unlikely that all 4 calipers are "stuck".


I traced the wires and did not see anything obvious. I checked all of the fuses inside the trailer and they were all OK. I did not see any fuses under the trailer. I did find one junction box up by the tongue. I had power going to one wire from the break-away switch, but not the other one. I would think that when the break-away is activated I would have had power to both wires. I did not check the wires before the break-away was pulled my my wife - I was under the trailer.

Any ideas?!

Thanks,
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Old 06-20-2013, 08:07 AM   #2
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Would guess the plug in receptacle terminals are corroded or bent. Also check the plug wiring on the back.
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Old 06-20-2013, 08:12 AM   #3
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Where are the plug-in receptacles terminals you are referring to?

Thanks,
Chuck

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Would guess the plug in receptacle terminals are corroded or bent. Also check the plug wiring on the back.
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Old 06-20-2013, 08:16 AM   #4
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The plug coming from the trailer and the receptacle coming from your car. Make sure both are clean (it is VERY COMMON) for these to get corroded over the winter months and cause a "no connection" between the 2. Clean both those and try again. Good luck
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Old 06-20-2013, 08:17 AM   #5
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The ones inside the receptacle that are visible when you lift the little door and also on the end of the trailer pigtail. The big round plug. Also check the terminals on the back of the truck receptacle as a wire may have come loose. Do you have lights, etc. when plugged into the truck?
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Old 06-20-2013, 08:20 AM   #6
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I have a connection to the trailer brake controller (red light is on) and all of my lights etc are working fine. I will double check them though.

Right now it is sitting in my driveway (off of the truck), if I pull the break away shouldn't the brakes be applied as long as there is a battery in it? They aren't...

Thanks again,
Chuck
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Old 06-20-2013, 08:24 AM   #7
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Check voltage at brake terminal in receptacle. If you have power there with the brake pedal pushed, you have a break in the brake wire in the pigtail or on the trailer itself. Should be a box where the pigtail ties to the trailer, inspect in there too.
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Old 06-20-2013, 08:26 AM   #8
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When you pull the breakaway, are you trying to drag it? If not, do you have a compass? Holding it near the drums will cause the needle to move when the brakes are activated.

Your brakes shoes may just be severely out of adjustment, also.

Also, the brakes will work without a battery in the trailer, but the breakaway is inoperable.
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Old 06-20-2013, 08:27 AM   #9
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Will do. Thanks!

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Originally Posted by OldCoot View Post
Check voltage at brake terminal in receptacle. If you have power there with the brake pedal pushed, you have a break in the brake wire in the pigtail or on the trailer itself. Should be a box where the pigtail ties to the trailer, inspect in there too.
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Old 06-20-2013, 08:30 AM   #10
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When I first realized there was a problem I was trying to drag it. There was no resistance at all. Thanks for the tip about the compass. I was just testing for current after the break-away was pulled. I am going to pull the tires and physically check the brakes tomorrow if I need to. They seemed OK when I parked it in storage last fall though...

Thanks,
Chuck

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Originally Posted by ChooChooMan74 View Post
When you pull the breakaway, are you trying to drag it? If not, do you have a compass? Holding it near the drums will cause the needle to move when the brakes are activated.

Your brakes shoes may just be severely out of adjustment, also.

Also, the brakes will work without a battery in the trailer, but the breakaway is inoperable.
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