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Old 07-14-2016, 02:36 PM   #1
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Brake temperature differences

When checking brake temperatures I noticed the forward brakes consistently show 15-20 degrees hotter than the rear brakes. I'm assuming this is due to slightly more weight on the axle when the Harley is not loaded. I'm curious if this is normal or is it showing a problem.

I'll have the chance to compare the readings next month when I have a planned trip with the Harley loaded. FWIW, the tongue weight (Sherline scale measured) is about 150 pounds heavier without the hog on board but trailer weight is about 1,000 pounds lighter (CAT scale numbers).
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Old 07-14-2016, 02:53 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by emm-dee View Post
When checking brake temperatures I noticed the forward brakes consistently show 15-20 degrees hotter than the rear brakes. I'm assuming this is due to slightly more weight on the axle when the Harley is not loaded. I'm curious if this is normal or is it showing a problem.

I'll have the chance to compare the readings next month when I have a planned trip with the Harley loaded. FWIW, the tongue weight (Sherline scale measured) is about 150 pounds heavier without the hog on board but trailer weight is about 1,000 pounds lighter (CAT scale numbers).

It could be a bad connection somewhere and the rear axle brakes are not getting the same amount of current the front ones are. I had a Keystone hybrid and they ran the wires for the brakes back the frame streetside then through the axle tubes from streetside to curbside. Dexter recommended 10 gauge wire and Keystones Einsteins used 16 gauge through the axle tubes. The streetside brakes wore more than the curbside ones
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Old 07-14-2016, 02:58 PM   #3
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I'll throw out a guess it is due to inertia of motion. As you break, the mass of the trailer is transferred forward applying more weight to the front causing the front brakes to heat up and probably wear more since they are doing more braking. I say it is a guess, since inertia of motion affects TVs more since they have a longer wheelbase. Trailers have a short wheelbase between axles, so not sure how much mass is shifted onto the front axle.

In the prehistoric age, when cars/trucks had front drum brakes (now known as suicide brakes); inertia of motion caused the front brakes to wear extremely fast compared to the rear drums. Front disc brakes will still wear faster than rear brakes, but no where as fast as the old drum brakes did.

Brake proportional valves help to add more braking to the rear on tow vehicles.

Could also be the fronts are adjusted differently than the rear and they are wearing more, solenoid is not applying the same for all wheels.
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Old 07-14-2016, 03:01 PM   #4
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I'll throw out a guess it is due to inertia of motion. As you break, the mass of the trailer is transferred forward applying more weight to the front causing the front brakes to heat up and probably wear more since they are doing more braking. I say it is a guess, since inertia of motion affects TVs more since they have a longer wheelbase. Trailers have a short wheelbase between axles, so not sure how much mass is shifted onto the front axle.

In the prehistoric age, when cars/trucks had front drum brakes (now known as suicide brakes); inertia of motion caused the front brakes to wear extremely fast compared to the rear drums. Front disc brakes will still wear faster than rear brakes, but no where as fast as the old drum brakes did.
That sounds logical, especially from a physics view.
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Old 07-15-2016, 09:01 AM   #5
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Now, if I could only spell BRAKES correctly vs. BREAKS..DUH! (Need to type slower.)
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Old 07-20-2016, 08:01 AM   #6
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If the wires are appropriately sized why can't you adjust the front axle brakes slightly looser and the rear tighter to get the same temps on all four. I'm kinda anal in this department also, mine are all within 5 degrees of each other at an interstate rest area where I use only the trailer brakes to stop the rig. Jump out, shoot each drum in the exact same area and adjust for the next layover.
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Old 07-20-2016, 08:21 AM   #7
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Are you sure it's the brakes doing the extra heating or is it the axle bearings? Pull the tires and hubs and inspect, lube then readjust the brakes. It;s a PITA and kills an afternoon of riding, but you'll be sure you did everything you could to insure they are done right.
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Old 07-20-2016, 08:33 AM   #8
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You'll be hard pressed to find any fiver or TT that comes with 10 gauge wire to the brakes despite the recommendation. A Sportsmen, 3 Montanas, and my Silverback ... all 16 gauge. I ran 10 gauge to try and improve braking on one of my Montanas with absolutely no noticable change. Load on axle, wheel bearing adjustment, alignment, brake adjustment will all play a part in temps. The newer units have self adjusting brakes, so backing a set off will just get adjusted back up in a bit of towing.
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Old 07-20-2016, 08:58 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by rattleNsmoke View Post
Are you sure it's the brakes doing the extra heating or is it the axle bearings? Pull the tires and hubs and inspect, lube then readjust the brakes. It;s a PITA and kills an afternoon of riding, but you'll be sure you did everything you could to insure they are done right.
That was one of the first things I checked when I bought the trailer. On another occasion when I checked temps, all were really fairly cool. Discovered a disconnected brake wire in the 7-way. So, I don't think there's any bearing problem.
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