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Old 10-16-2011, 09:10 AM   #1
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WHOA! brake issue found and fixed...long

Well after checking, adjusting, cleaning, and fiddling with my trailer brakes for the last few years I finally found the problem.

Let me backtrack a little. When we bought our trailer I noticed from the begining it never did stop good, but we went from a light weight shorter trailer to a fullsize heavier trailer. so I thought it was just the nature of the beast. we put it in as a seasonal for a year with 1 road trip during that time. that`s when I felt there was an issue with the brakes. I thought maybe it was my brake controller(Prodigy) at the time so I installed my old controller and it performed the same, so I reinstalled the Prodigy. I adjusted the brakes and it didn`t make much difference, a little if any. then the next year when we took it out of indoor storage (seasonal was up in april). the brakes seemed OK but slowly degraded over the next couple of trips. I adjusted the brakes again, and it helped a little.

A few years ago I replaced the trailer end connector because it was a little sloppy in the TV plug. during this time I also went through all the electrical connections for the brakes, checked out OK. the brakes were a little better, but it may have just been my imagination thinking I found a problem. 2 years ago I went around and inspected, greased and installed new seals all around along with adjusting the brakes. it was just so-so. and I dealt with it. well after one panic stop on our trip to the Smokey`s last year, enough was enough!......as a side note I Gotta give credit to 4 wheel dics brakes. looking back the X`s brakes handled probably 70% of the stopping during that time. anyway I did some searching and found there were people with some brake issues with Lippert axles/brakes, mainly bad brake magnets so I went with that.

We are leaving for FL. in a few weeks so I decided to replace all 4 brake magnets. I went around cleaned all the backing plates, lubed all the areas where the shoes contact the plate, lubed the swing arm/actuator for the magnet, sanded the pads and cleaned up the drums. don`t know if it makes a difference or not, but the replacement magnets were about 25% larger than the ones I replaced. I test drove it and at first it didn`t stop well, because I needed to "burnish" in the magnets (let them seat themselves to the drums) after approx. 5 miles of applying the trailer brakes at high and low speeds the the trailer now stops with authority! I can actually feel it pulling on the back of the X! when I backed inmy driveway I could feel the heat from the brakes from all 4 wheels. they never got hot before! I can now actually lock up the trailer brakes at low speeds on dry pavement with the manual lever. I couldn`t even get them to lockup or drag on gravel before! and no I don`t have them set so they lock up when braking hard! I can`t believe I dealt with this for all these years. I`m willing to bet the magnets were getting weak when they got hot, electrical wise, not heat from the brakes. I now look forward to stopping and "knowing my trailer is back there!"

And as a side note.....I was reading through my Trailer Life (tonite actually LOL) and someone sent a letter into RV action line about a problem with their trailer brakes not stopping well. they too replaced their magnets along with the drums and it fixed the braking problem. and guess what axle manuf. it was? Lippert! luckily my frame is still holding up LOL!

I just figured I would throw this out there. figuring there was someone else with a braking problem they couldn`t pinpoint. I did find a seal that was slinging a little grease and it got onto the magnet surface on the drum, didn`t make it to the shoes or drum braking surface. even though this would hinder braking performance it wasn`t leaking before when I was having braking issues. so it was a lucky catch on my part! and why we should all do PM on our RV`s
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Old 10-18-2011, 10:49 AM   #2
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Excellent writeup! I'm sure it will help someone in the future.
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Old 10-18-2011, 12:23 PM   #3
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Nice find !!!

Our V-Lite has pretty much the same symptoms as you described here and has had since it followed us home for the first time. Our previous 33ft Edgewater would lock all 4 no problem as well as easily stop the entire truck and trailer with the manual lever but not this one. I guess I will be getting some new magnets in the spring as the trailer is put to bed for it's long winters night so to speak.
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Old 10-18-2011, 01:01 PM   #4
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guessing thats why i cant lock up my trailer brakes either!
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Old 10-18-2011, 01:14 PM   #5
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Im not sure how you guys are adjusting your brakes but simple backing up and hitting your manual brake lever numerous times normally adjusts the brakes.
When i bought my 5er 2 months ago the brakes were not adjusted properly so while on pavement on my long driveway i started backing real slow and hitting the manual lever about the 3rd time they were adjusted perfect .
just and fyi that you dont have to crawl under and do it by hand thats for the birds and its hard to have a beer under the trailer anyways .
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Old 10-18-2011, 02:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f1100turbo View Post
Im not sure how you guys are adjusting your brakes but simple backing up and hitting your manual brake lever numerous times normally adjusts the brakes.
When i bought my 5er 2 months ago the brakes were not adjusted properly so while on pavement on my long driveway i started backing real slow and hitting the manual lever about the 3rd time they were adjusted perfect .
just and fyi that you dont have to crawl under and do it by hand thats for the birds and its hard to have a beer under the trailer anyways .
Many trailer campers do not have auto-adjusting brakes. As a matter of fact, this is the 1st that I have heard that any camper does. Mine definitely do not.
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Old 10-18-2011, 02:39 PM   #7
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Mine does not have auto adjusters either. ANd why no beer under the trailer? It is much quieter as no ones seems to want to come under there with a person.
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Old 10-18-2011, 06:32 PM   #8
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I adjusted my brakes tighter this year because they weren't doing much even at full signal from the controller. It helped. I think they could use more but I'm nervous about getting them too tight. I've heard about counting the clicks but I'm not always confident that the adjust has moved; or the tool just slipped. When you spin a free wheel, how much resistance should there be? How many revolutions should you get on the wheel with a good twist?
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Old 10-18-2011, 07:06 PM   #9
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I have heard that you adjust until you can't turn the wheel, the back off 6 clicks. You might hear the brake rubbing slightly at that point.

I too wonder if the brake tool has slipped, messing up my count.
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Old 10-18-2011, 07:15 PM   #10
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Good Info - Have a safe trip to Florida Dodge Guy - You will be in my neck of the woods - where ya gonna be camping at in Florida if I may ask?
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