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Old 08-11-2019, 06:31 PM   #1
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RV brakes not working

Hello all, new to the forum and just got this new to me rv. I have a 2019 Salem cruise lite 273qbxl. My family and I took our 3rd camping trip in it this weekend and halfway through the trip I lost my trailer brakes. I still have all lights and turn signals on the camper working. The number display on my trailer brake controller is only reading around 1.5 even with the power turned all the way up. I also have an aftermarket back up camera with the power wire spliced into the reverse light wire to my trailer receiver. Camera and screen work perfectly except when the rv is hooked up, and brakes are applied, at this point screen goes snowy. I have hooked up my truck to another utility trailer of mine and it works perfectly. Any ideas?
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Old 08-11-2019, 06:38 PM   #2
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I would go for a ground problem.
Try using a booster cable clamped on each frame truck,trailer and see if that corrects it.
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Old 08-11-2019, 07:00 PM   #3
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Could be a ground, could be too much amperage on that circuit (Camera/Lights/Brake controller), could be a weak battery. Seems funny that it fails when brakes are applied so I'm thinking #1 or #2.
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Old 08-11-2019, 07:35 PM   #4
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Trksr can you elaborate a little more on checking ground with a booster cable. Are you talking about a jumper cable?

Also wouldn't most of these problems occur on any trailer? It only happens when connected to my rv.
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Old 08-11-2019, 07:51 PM   #5
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So if I read your post correctly, everything is working properly except the brakes. If you look behind your wheels, you'll see each wheel has two wires going into it. One of these is the power signal going "in." The other is the ground wire coming "out." The ground wire often has a ring connector on it that is screwed to the trailer frame. With dual axles, sometimes they tie both grounds to a single screw. This screw connection can corrode and you lose the ground. Hard to imagine on a 2019, but stranger things have happened. So that's what I would check first. It's also possible that they tied the grounds from all 4 wheels together somewhere and then to the frame with a single wire. That would affect all 4 wheels.

The trailer frame is grounded to the TV in 2 ways: One way is by a wire attached to the trailer frame "somewhere," just like the brake grounds. This wire is then connected to the TV's ground through one of the pins in the 7-pin connector. The second way is directly from the trailer frame to the TV's frame via the contact of the trailer coupler to the hitch ball. But even though there are 2 ways, sometimes they both are inadequate. So Trksr is suggesting you get a set of jumper cables and clamp one end on the trailer frame and the other end on the TV frame and see if that provides a good ground. However, since all your lights and camera are working, it's doubtful this is your problem; I'd say it's something specific to the brakes, so I'm back to the 1st paragraph above.
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Old 08-12-2019, 10:26 AM   #6
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Like what has been said, check the wires going to the brakes under the trailer. Last week I was coming home from a trip, and it didn't feel like the trailer brakes were working as well. Checking the display on the truck, it was doing the same thing as yours, except using the manual, it was normal. I continued home (little over 100 miles) after looking everything over, and on a side road made sure I in fact had trailer brakes.

After making sure the truck wasn't the problem (been in the past), I found one pinched brake wire, and one that was broken under the trailer. Both going to the same wheel. The broken one wasn't separated when I looked on the road. The pinched one was not easy to spot (dirt/wire color), and took bending it to find it. Fixed them, and back to normal now.

With the break, I actually had 3 of the 4 wheels with brakes.
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Old 08-12-2019, 01:33 PM   #7
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Also, check the break away cable for the trailer brakes. If that cable is pinched by a WDH bracket, you will lose your trailer brakes. As soon you "unpinch" that cable, you get trailer brakes back. Another possibility is an inline fuse to the wheels. i am told by a mechanic that some trailers have an inline fuse located near the trailer tires. In my case, the break-away cable for the trailer brakes was being pinched by one of the stabilizer brackets on the tongue.
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Old 08-12-2019, 01:55 PM   #8
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Also, check the break away cable for the trailer brakes. If that cable is pinched by a WDH bracket, you will lose your trailer brakes. As soon you "unpinch" that cable, you get trailer brakes back. Another possibility is an inline fuse to the wheels. i am told by a mechanic that some trailers have an inline fuse located near the trailer tires. In my case, the break-away cable for the trailer brakes was being pinched by one of the stabilizer brackets on the tongue.


huuuhhnnn???? A cable (wire) is a cable and has no power going through it. How would 'pinching' this non-powered wire cause the brakes not to work?
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Old 08-12-2019, 01:59 PM   #9
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You got me there, but I stood over the mechanic as he removed the bracket, freed the cable, and reattached the bracket. Afterwards my truck recognized the trailer again, no error message on my dash, and I had trailer brakes again.
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Old 08-12-2019, 02:03 PM   #10
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Pinched cable pulled the pin on the first turn?
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Old 08-12-2019, 02:04 PM   #11
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You got me there, but I stood over the mechanic as he removed the bracket, freed the cable, and reattached the bracket. Afterwards my truck recognized the trailer again, no error message on my dash, and I had trailer brakes again.
Not poking you with a stick at all... I have heard and have SEE a lot of strange things in my life and open to learning something new every day. If anyone has an explanation, I would like to ponder it.
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Old 08-12-2019, 02:06 PM   #12
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Pinched cable pulled the pin on the first turn?
A pulled pin should have locked the brakes up... I would say that the brakes would then be 'working'??? A pulled pin should not have disengaged the brakes, yes???
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Old 08-12-2019, 02:10 PM   #13
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Good point. Unless it somehow created a not-quite-a-short. Full short should have blown a fuse somewhere.

Or OP didn't see what he thought he saw.
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Old 08-12-2019, 02:42 PM   #14
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No, the pin was not pulled. But apparently the cable had worked itself under one of the stabilizer bracket plates and was being compressed. I had an error message on my dash that the trailer had been disconnected despite having lights and turn signals. But I had no brakes on the trailer, and our gain on the brake output was reading "0". The mechanic searched the problem for over two hours before finding that pinched cable. Upon freeing the cable, the error message was gone and I had trailer brakes. Obviously, I'm not a mechanic, but I am trying to be helpful the best I can. It was a pinched cable that was separate from the bundle going back to the trailer's wheels. It was going to a small box anchored on the tongue of the trailer. Both the mechanic and I believed it was the activator for the emergency break away system. Whatever it was, it was the cause of the error message and the absence of trailer brakes.
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Old 08-12-2019, 06:49 PM   #15
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Pinched cable pulled the pin on the first turn?
I wonder the same. In testing the emergency brakes with my truck plugged in, the truck will show a trailer not connected error, and will not recognize the trailer until the emergency brakes are back off, and the truck turned off and back on.
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Old 08-12-2019, 06:57 PM   #16
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Thanks for all the help so far everyone, I brought a work truck home and hooked it up to the camper and it responded in the same manner. It is an older brake box with just the light that goes from green to red based on braking power, and again it would only stay on green.
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