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Old 06-23-2013, 07:44 PM   #1
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weak brakes. Help needed anyone.

Hi,

I bought a 2013 365SAQ sandpiper 5th wheel last summer and from the beginning this trailer has been plagued with weak brakes. The axles are 6000# AL-KO with self adjusting brakes. Controller is maxed out 10 and can barely stop the trailer. Trailer weights 14000lbs.

I adjusted the brake shoes as close as possible to the hub. Still have weak brake.

Truck brake controller is working fine as we tested it on a different 365 with Lippert axle. With this trailer we could not get the controller higher then 3.5 on the controller without the wheel locking up.

I've checked each magnet amps individual and they are all drawing 3.2amps. Ohms are OK as well. Amps loading of all the magnet at the plug is 11amps.

I've removed all the drums to inspect if there was any issues, I could not see anything wrong.

I am in the process of replacing the brakes backing plates to 6000# dexter as I have seen that the magnet is a lot bigger on these.

Dealer is no help as I suspect he thinks I'm imagining the issues. There are some brake, but nothing that could stop me in a emergency. It doesn't help that the dealer is also 800miles away!

Does anyone have any suggestion from replacing all the brakes.

Have anyone else experience issues with AL-KO brakes.

Any suggestion would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 06-23-2013, 09:30 PM   #2
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If you have 2 6000 lbs axles and a 14000 lbs of trailer(loaded),I'd say the brakes are too light for the trailer. If you are going to put new backing plates and brakes, I'd go with 8000 lbs brakes. What size axles were the Lippert axles. My 3500 lbs AL-KO brakes aren't very good(trailer weighs 6900 lbs),I have to set the controller at 8 to get good brakes-will not lock up the brakes at max setting.

09grizzly1.
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Old 06-24-2013, 06:03 AM   #3
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09grizzly1,

Thanks for the reply. I suspect AL-KO magnets are to small. When I went to the automotive shop and look at other manufacturer of brakes, the magnet were a lot bigger my AL-KO. I'm not sure if it is because of the self adjuster. It seems to need more room.

Were I live in Canada Ontario, no one stocks self adjusting brakes. They tried to order some from dexter and the reply was that this was new technology and they would have to be ordered from the states.

So, I'm wondering if the magnets are too small for this new design and he axle is at it max. That really the only thing I can see.

There is quite a difference in size of magnet between dexter manual and AL-KO self adjusting. See pics. When a load tested the magnet on the dexter brakes 3.6amps and AL-KO 3.2amps. Logic would dictate bigger magnet, more friction on the magnet to ably the brakes?

I'm not try to sink all AL-KO products. I sure they have some good one out there.
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Old 06-24-2013, 09:20 PM   #4
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I had the same issue with my current 07 Cherokee. The trailer never stopped right. Went through all the systems and everything was OK. I finally just went ahead and replaced all 4 brake magnets. WOW!!! That did it. It took a few miles to burnish the new magnets to the old drums, but once they did the truck and trailer stopped lile never before. I had to back off my controller and turn down the boost on the Prodigy. It's been 3 years now and it still stops like it should.

If you checked all the connections/wiring and brakes as you say you did i would take the chance and replace the magnets. Very glad i did!
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Old 06-25-2013, 05:59 AM   #5
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I think its the magnets too. I will be replacing them this week.

thanks
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Old 06-29-2013, 01:18 AM   #6
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I am having the same problem with my brand new sabre 5th wheel. Brakes are really weak. My dealer is four hours away. I have checked everything. I believe it is the magnets on mine as well. I have the lippert axles. Are you guys replacing the magnets with oem parts or something else?
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Old 06-29-2013, 03:39 AM   #7
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Hmmm... I suspect that this may be the reason why I can't get the brakes to lock on my new Coachmen popup. the backing plates look really cheap.
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Old 06-29-2013, 02:12 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bignugget View Post
I am having the same problem with my brand new sabre 5th wheel. Brakes are really weak. My dealer is four hours away. I have checked everything. I believe it is the magnets on mine as well. I have the lippert axles. Are you guys replacing the magnets with oem parts or something else?
Check the total amp draw on your trailer system. Need a good amp meter. Should draw at least 11 to 12 amps. If this is OK, then check the hub for grease leakage. If this is all OK, then you need to contact the axle manufacturer to see if they can recommend anything. Examples: bigger magnet, different brake pads. Most dealer don't have the knowledge when it comes to brakes. They will know the basics, but once they have done all the check and you still find them weak, then the axle guy are the guys to call.

If they are Dexters, then make bigger magnets for there 7K axles. You would have to contact them to see it would be recommended for your axles.
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Old 06-29-2013, 03:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mber View Post
Check the total amp draw on your trailer system. Need a good amp meter. Should draw at least 11 to 12 amps. If this is OK, then check the hub for grease leakage. If this is all OK, then you need to contact the axle manufacturer to see if they can recommend anything. Examples: bigger magnet, different brake pads. Most dealer don't have the knowledge when it comes to brakes. They will know the basics, but once they have done all the check and you still find them weak, then the axle guy are the guys to call.

If they are Dexters, then make bigger magnets for there 7K axles. You would have to contact them to see it would be recommended for your axles.
One more thing, check to see if they are correctly adjusted. They may not be adjusted correctly
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Old 06-29-2013, 04:03 PM   #10
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When I first bought my trailer the brakes did not do much. They are self adjusting and I remembered reading on here about backing up and applying the brakes repeatedly until they were adjusted. I went to a large deserted parking lot and did this and was soon able to lock up the wheels. If I remember correctly one was a little too tight and I ended up backing it off slightly.
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