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Old 08-10-2018, 08:56 PM   #1
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Microlite 21FBRS and brake controller

I have a 2013 Tundra and a 2014 Microlite 21FBRS. It's a story that doesn't really matter at this point but I am installing a Tekonsha P3 brake controller. Tundra is prewired..plug and play. I have it installed. Everything looks good on the Tekonsha. The 4 reading are Battery Voltage: 13.3v. Stoplight 12.5v. Output Voltage:3.7. Output current:.7. I have no boost on.
I took the rig out today to set the brakes. The instructions say to start at 6V. Get up to 25mph. Then use the manual brake on the controller to see if it will lock up. Well, it did not. I worked it a volt at a time all the way up to the max at 14v. I can feel the brakes at 14 but nowhere near locked wheels.
Any ideas? Everything I've found so far says to check brake adjustment.
These brakes are supposed to be Nevr-adjust brakes right? What exactly does that mean? Another question..If I am driving this rig with no brake controller, are the trailer brakes working at all?
And 2 more questions not related to the brake controller..What bearing is used on these 14" standard wheels? If I had them replaced/packed a year ago, do I need to replace them this year or just repack them? Thank you.
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Old 08-10-2018, 09:07 PM   #2
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Nevr-adjust means they are supposed to adjust themselves. How well they do it is a matter of opinion.

Here's a Dexter video:



Here's some info from etrailer. They recommend starting with a manual adjustment:

https://www.etrailer.com/question-13954.html

If your brakes aren't adjusted properly mechanically, the Prodigy may not lock them. On some large trailers, even properly adjusted brakes don't always lock up, but on your 21BRS, I would expect them to.

I'd start with manually adjusting the brakes, then re-try the Prodigy.
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Old 08-10-2018, 09:18 PM   #3
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Good thoughts from Rockford... I think that the brakes will also become more effective as they wear in so that the brake shoes better mate with the drum surface.

For your bearings, I think it would be very unlikely that your bearings would need to be replaced. Just clean out the old grease and inspect the bearing surfaces for any signs of stress such as pitting, or bluing and repack them with fresh grease and reassemble with a new seal. If you have them repacked any competent mechanic would look over the bearings and advise replacement if they are needing it. Also I know that Dexter recommends repacking every year but unless your mileage was fairly high I do not necessarily feel that annual repacking is essential.
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Old 08-10-2018, 09:32 PM   #4
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what is fairly high mileage? everything I read says 10,000 miles or 1 year. It's been a year and probably 15,000 miles.
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Old 08-10-2018, 09:54 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skeetzee View Post
what is fairly high mileage? everything I read says 10,000 miles or 1 year. It's been a year and probably 15,000 miles.

Given that mileage I would inspect and repack the bearings. To me low mileage would be maybe 3500 or less.
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Old 08-10-2018, 09:54 PM   #6
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I have been driving this truck/trailer since new with no brake controller. Somehow I got it in my head that the Tow/Haul switch was the brake controller integrated in the truck. So very not true. Have my trailer brakes been working at all? On the Tundra forum I was told no..but talked to an RV mechanic today and he said he thought they would be working through the 7 plug connector.
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Old 08-11-2018, 12:34 AM   #7
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If your Tundra doesn't have a factory-installed brake controller, then your trailer brakes have never worked. You need a brake controller, either factory installed or after-market, to activate the brakes.

Tow/Haul does nothing for the brakes. It basically changes the transmissions shift points.
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Old 08-11-2018, 02:45 AM   #8
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Wow, a quick read of the truck's owners manual would have informed you that the Tow/Haul button has nothing to do with trailer brakes.

And don't ever use that RV tech to work on your trailer.🤤
He obviously shouldn't be working on trailers since he knows nothing about how trailer brakes work.
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Old 08-11-2018, 06:35 AM   #9
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Indeed shame on me.. and shame on the truck and trailer dealerships for not being better citizens when I was starting out. I spent a lot of time with both of them and they knew what I was doing. Neither ever said a word about it. Also, I have driven this thing all over the country..up and down mountains and through horrible weather..probably 60,000 miles on the trailer..and the truck brakes were just getting to the recommended to be replaced stage at 80,000 miles when I replaced them. Pretty amazing..
Thanks for the info..I'll update when I have it fixed.
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Old 08-11-2018, 12:56 PM   #10
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The brakes will not lock up by design. I have a 2013 model and went through the same thing. I called Dexter and they told me my brakes were self adjusting and will not lock up. Disregard the info that came from the brake controller people. They said that might work for a small utility trailer but not a travel trailer.
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Old 08-11-2018, 01:09 PM   #11
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Do you have the Tekonsha P3? If so, what do you have yours set to? If not, how do I figure out what to set it to?
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Old 08-11-2018, 01:19 PM   #12
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I think I have the P2 and set with a two for the boost and 5 for the power. I tow with a Yukon and went by the directions that said to set it if the tow vehicle and the trailer were about the same weight. Itís been there for five years and seems to work fine.
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Old 08-11-2018, 01:42 PM   #13
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perfect..thank you..I am having the bearings repacked on Wednesday. The guys said they would check to make sure the brakes were free moving after sitting unused for so long. I think I'm in good shape. Thank you to everyone for your information. I love these forums. Oh and I am NOT using that first RV repair guy. The ones that are the most full of themselves are usually the ones that know the least.
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Old 08-11-2018, 09:19 PM   #14
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My trailer brakes were awful when brand new

I could not get the brakes to work well when new. I could use the manual control on the controller and not get much, if any, braking action. As time went on they got better (auto adjusted). I can slide the tires now with a very abrupt brake application (Not desirable)

I have adjusted the Voltage setting until I have the same brake pressure on the truck whether it is empty or hauling. I think that in many cases I can stop the combined rig better than the truck alone. Use finesse when setting the voltage control. Sometimes a fraction of a volt is the difference between little braking and sliding the tires.
When setup correctly you should have confidence you can stop when needed. Good luck.
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Old 08-11-2018, 09:54 PM   #15
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I had a timed controller and recently got a P3 controller. I read the instructions and decided it was correct. Pulled the RV the 1st time and wasn't real happy....ok it scared me in an oval exit ramp that descended. I had stuff puckerd up for a bit. I tinkered with the controller a bit in the rest of the trip up. Before I left I tinkered some more and changed to boost 2...that helped a LOT!!
I was used to the timed controller and knew what to expect from it.
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Old 08-16-2018, 10:20 AM   #16
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If you have them repacked any competent mechanic would look over the bearings and advise replacement if they are needing it. Also I know that Dexter recommends repacking every year but unless your mileage was fairly high I do not necessarily feel that annual repacking is essential.

I've been a heavy truck mechanic for over 40 years, and have seen more than my share of "competent mechanics. " Most now a days are lucky if they can walk while chewing gum. The old saying goes--the only stupid question is the one you don't ask. Well these youngsters nowadays have done away with that. I hear stupid questions and excuses for missing things on a daily basics. It is absolutely amazing. But back to the OP question, if it was just a year ago I wouldn't worry about the bearings unless they were under water for some time.
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Old 08-16-2018, 12:38 PM   #17
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I took my trailer to the Truck and RV mechanic. First time using them..I like them so far. Started on the driver side of the trailer. Before removing the wheels, the mechanic pulled on the wheels looking for play..front wheel good, back wheel, LOTS. Was told this was from not being seated correctly last time. True? The brakes on this side were very dusty but looked new. They cleaned them. Repacked and moved to the other side.
Pulled both wheels off and the hub and both electronic boxes fell out with broken wires, the bigger springs were still in place but smaller ones fell out. Found a good portion of my brake problem. Not sure what happened between last year and this year but I had them replace both brake assemblies. Drove it home and it all seems fine.
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Old 08-16-2018, 12:40 PM   #18
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I think I have attached a picture of the brakes.
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Old 08-17-2018, 04:40 AM   #19
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Good stuff here. I was also wondering about the bearings. Where do you find the size to buy new ones for this particular trailer? Iím about to do a repack (first time on this trailer) and want to have a set on hand to save time and if I donít use them carry them Incase I need them.
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Old 08-17-2018, 07:46 AM   #20
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Bearing numbers

Trailer bearings are pretty much standard and are only a couple of different sizes based on the axle capacity. The number is on the bearing itself and the race will have a number but you can't read it when installed.

Also it looks like you have a Dexter axle. You can probably get the number off their website. My 2018 Microlite 2509S uses the following: L68149
L44649 bearings. My axle is a EZLube 3500# model and has two different bearing sizes on the same spindle (pretty common). For my trailer Dexter has a K71-717-00 kit that has bearings, cups, seal, washer, nut and cotter pin. You can also buy a bearing set from eTrailer.com for a bit less.

I have always carried a spare bearing set and only used it once, on a friend's boat trailer who paid to have the bearings serviced just before a long trip to Lake Powell. So I pounded them out in the middle of the night and put a new set in on the side of the road for him. To change them you will need a good brass punch, pair of pliers, an adjustable wrench, and a lot of rags and of course, a grease gun full of grease.
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