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Old 02-14-2019, 02:51 PM   #1
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no trailer brakes

I picked up my new TT last Tuesday and while pulling out of the sales lot, I did not notice the tug on my TV I thought I should feel when the trailer brakes operate. I pulled off safely onto a side road and operated the manual lever and felt a very slight brake drag..even at the most aggressive brake controller settings.
It was a long day, late and I was tired so I drove carefully to my storage lot and dropped the trailer off.
Today I did a "bench test" on the controller in my garage and it seems to operate normally. My test light starts out dim and increases in brightness as the output thumbwheel and sensitivity adjustments are advanced. All digital displays on the unit are normal. It's a Curt model #51140 and I installed the unit before purchasing the TT.
The test light was attached to the correct 4 o'clock male lug inside my 7 pin trailer plug.
Since I am getting slight trailer brake drag with a manual application, I am guessing the trailer brakes need adjustment. Are new Forest River TT's routinely delivered with the brakes opened to the maximum brake shoe/drum adjustment?
Due to snow, ice and bad weather, I am not able to crawl under the trailer to adjust the brakes. Are the brakes adjustable and is it a simple matter of turning the star wheel adjustment with a flat blade screwdriver through the slotted opening in the backing plate? I also assume I need to raise the wheel so I can turn it while I adjust it.
Other than appliance owners manuals, the trailer did not come with a FR owners manual. Does FR supply "generic" owners manuals that covers brake adjustments and general RV knowledge?
I am kind of ticked the dealer let me drive off without brakes but I assume they wash their hands in the matter since they did not install the controller.
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Old 02-14-2019, 02:54 PM   #2
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What type brake controller? Sounds like you need to turn the brake controller up to apply more power to the brakes. There should be no adjustment to the brakes themselves needed.
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Old 02-14-2019, 02:55 PM   #3
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since you say it's a brand new trailer i'd guess the brakes are just not adjusted.

Yes, they adjust just like drum brakes on a car. If it's not too far I would bring it back to the dealer.
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Old 02-14-2019, 03:14 PM   #4
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Lippert Axle break in period and adjustment.
http://www.lci1.com/assets/content/s...ers_Manual.pdf

Break-in Period for Electric Drum Brakes The break-in period is a typical phenomenon with drum brakes and especially electric drum brakes. Electric drum brakes will require a break-in period to achieve full performance. This break-in period applies for new axles and any time new brake shoes and/or magnets are installed as part of regular maintenance. Lippert Components has found through extensive brake testing that the break-in period for our drum brakes can range from 20 to 50 brake applications. Brakes can be seated in by applying approximately 8-10 volts to the trailer brakes at an initial speed of 40 mph and allowing the truck/trailer combination to slow down to 20 or 25 mph. For best results do not use truck brakes during this procedure. The trailer brakes will seat in faster by using them to stop both the truck and trailer. The easiest method is to apply the trailer brakes using the manual activation lever located on the in-cab brake controller. Care must be taken to not overheat the lining material, therefore brake applications conducted at one mile intervals will suffice. The driver should feel a noticeable difference in the brake performance during this period, sometimes in as few as 10 applications. After 50 applications, the brake lining material will be fully cured from the heat and develop close to 100% contact with the brake drum surface. This break in period not only seats the shoe lining material but also seats in the brake electromagnets. During the break-in period, the linings will wear at a faster rate than they do after they are seated in. NOTE: Brakes should be manually adjusted after the first 200 miles of operation and periodically thereafter, approx. 3,000 mile intervals.
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Old 02-14-2019, 03:19 PM   #5
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Something I do when leaving on a trip....and where I live helps a lot. I pull out of drive and I have a short hill to climb on my street and then a long downhill run to stop sign about 5 blocks or so. As soon as I'm heading down the hill, I activate the trailer brakes only and kind of pump them to heat them up. When I hit stop sign and turn, I can then run up to about 25 and test the brakes and adjust my controller if needed. My technique has worked well for the last 11 years for me.
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Old 02-14-2019, 03:26 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cabinfever97 View Post
What type brake controller? Sounds like you need to turn the brake controller up to apply more power to the brakes. There should be no adjustment to the brakes themselves needed.
I maxxed out the output, no change in brake application, just a slight drag. It's a Curt #51140.
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Old 02-14-2019, 03:33 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Towed View Post
since you say it's a brand new trailer i'd guess the brakes are just not adjusted.

Yes, they adjust just like drum brakes on a car. If it's not too far I would bring it back to the dealer.
Thanks, I assume the PDI includes a brake adjustment but as I mentioned the self- installed controller means they don't have a reason to adjust the brakes.
My controller, my problem to figure out if I have brakes.
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Old 02-14-2019, 03:35 PM   #8
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My TT was the same way when I picked it up, needed a lot of adjustment
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Old 02-14-2019, 03:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cabinfever97 View Post
What type brake controller? Sounds like you need to turn the brake controller up to apply more power to the brakes. There should be no adjustment to the brakes themselves needed.
I would have to disagree about "no adjustment to the brakes needed".
Our left side brake was far from being adjusted correctly. Left was loose and right was close to correct.

Go through the brake in procedure and then adjust the brakes manually.
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Old 02-14-2019, 04:28 PM   #10
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While the brakes may need adjusting, don't discount the fact that it may be a loose connection in the wiring on the RV. I found ours had a very loose connection in the junction box at the front of the RV when we go it. It's a lot easier to check a few wire connections that to manually adjust brakes.
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