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Old 04-21-2018, 10:39 AM   #1
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Trailer brake adjustment question

We have a new trailer with just over 800 miles on it. It was a new 2017 that sat on the dealer lot most of the year and we purchased it in early 2018. I've read that you should adjust the brakes after the first couple of trips. I've watched the You Tube videos and it appears pretty easy. My dumb question is this....do you turn the star nut up or down to increase drag? Or is it opposite depending on which side of the trailer you're on? I'm sure I could figure it out once I get started, but want to spend as little time as possible underneath a 3 ton trailer and get it done quickly if I can! Thanks.
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Old 04-21-2018, 11:00 AM   #2
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Have you read the paperwork that came with your TT. My brakes auto adjust when backing up. Check your paperwork.
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Old 04-21-2018, 11:26 AM   #3
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I find that the most backup self-adjustment systems do not work well as advertised and you can do a better job adjusting the brakes yourself.

Drum brakes usually can be only adjusted one way as there is usually, but not always, a ratchet mechanism on the adjustment that only allows one way rotation.
Be very methodical and use the "spoon" tool or screw driver judiciously and spin the wheel to ensure that the brake isn't dragging. I prefer just a tiny big of drag but not to much that it builds up heat and can cause tire issues from heat, decreased fuel economy, and trailer brake wear.

If you overtighten, remove the tire and hub and lift the ratchet so the brake adjustment can be loosened.

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Old 04-21-2018, 12:04 PM   #4
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Jack the unit up by the frame to get the tires off the ground. Turn the tire by hand, if you donít hear the shoes rubbing they can use adjustment. Most are adjusted by turning the star wheel up from the bottom, mine were, both sides were the same. If you go the wrong way just reverse what you did. You will know after a few clicks. Tighten so you can barely turn spin the tire then back off till you just hear the pads rubbing.
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Old 04-21-2018, 12:41 PM   #5
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Usually the adjustment screws are right hand thread on one side, left hand thread on the other. You turn the notched wheel in the direction you were rolling it toward the center of the trailer. They should move easily in only one direction without releasing the pawl.
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Old 04-21-2018, 01:17 PM   #6
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Also if you overtighten you can push on the ratchet through the opening with screwdriver just enough to reverse star wheel. Will not have to remove wheel and drum if lucky.
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Old 04-21-2018, 01:56 PM   #7
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Why does my RV have 2 adjusting holes in backing plate?

This is good information that I needed. I have a FR Signature Ultra Lite 5th wheel and the brake backing plates have 2 adjustment holes in each plate. Any Idea what the two slots are for. Normally there is only one for adjustment of the brakes.
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Old 04-21-2018, 02:42 PM   #8
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When I adjust I use the following motions concerning the adjusting tool.
Down and out
Up and in.
"IN" being loosen
"Down" is pushing the shoes out to tighten and increase drag.
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Old 04-22-2018, 02:26 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandy12345 View Post
This is good information that I needed. I have a FR Signature Ultra Lite 5th wheel and the brake backing plates have 2 adjustment holes in each plate. Any Idea what the two slots are for. Normally there is only one for adjustment of the brakes.
A universal plate that can be used on either side without the necessity to keep 2 sets in stock.

The adjusting wheel mechanism is the only difference in one side to the other and this way the backing plate will line up with both right hand and left hand adjustment systems.
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Old 04-22-2018, 09:25 AM   #10
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My experience is that few trailers come with self adjusters. Even if they do, they probably don't work well enough to keep the adjustment correct. To properly adjust you have to remember you're on the back side, so up is out, down is in, but if you've gone out to far the shoes may not spring back properly so go lightly. You should hear the shoes just start to drag while spinning the wheel. That's plenty. Too much pressure and the brakes will heat up and drag. Of course you should have taken the drums off, replaced the rear seals, and repacked your bearings prior to this adjustment. Just saying.
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