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Old 11-08-2020, 11:54 AM   #1
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Apex Nano brakes jerking

Hey all, looking for some input or assistance if possible. This is my first trailer but not new to general vehicle maintenance.

RIG: New 2021 Apex Nano 208bhs bought in July, using the Curt Echo wireless brake controller on a 2017 Durango RT AWD. Eaz lift WDH

BACKGROUND: Since first bought I've always noticed the brakes are very harsh and jerk/over brake on slow speeds and turns into parking lots with very light brake pressure. I've adjusted the brake controller from 5 up to 90 with it even doing it at low Max Output. The sensitivity only makes it require slightly more brake pressure, but will still nose dive the trailer and pull the back end down.

A local dealer adjusted the brakes and say they loosened the star gear inside and it seems to have stopped the lockup/unlock bucking issues we had early on. But the brakes still seem to just grab super hard and nose dive the trailer under what I consider extremely low braking scenarios (think 5mph just lightly riding brake to slow a bit into a gas station) it will still go max output and fully brake the trailer.

Sorry for the novel, but seeing if anyone has any input. Thanks!
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Old 11-08-2020, 01:22 PM   #2
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Something to check.

The Curt Echo's "brains" are in the plug in adapter. If it's loose and able to move erratic braking is possible. Kind of like a dash mounted controller that is loose on it's mount, false braking signals will be sent. With the trailer electrical cable hanging off the end of it it might be more prone to move as you make turns.

If the controller has a "boost" setting if it's set to high low speed braking will be harsh and that's with any type of controller.
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Old 11-08-2020, 01:49 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by TitanMike View Post
Something to check.

The Curt Echo's "brains" are in the plug in adapter. If it's loose and able to move erratic braking is possible. Kind of like a dash mounted controller that is loose on it's mount, false braking signals will be sent. With the trailer electrical cable hanging off the end of it it might be more prone to move as you make turns.

If the controller has a "boost" setting if it's set to high low speed braking will be harsh and that's with any type of controller.
Thanks for the input! I did consider the controller adapter being an issue. I've secured it pretty well and the issue persists, but no guarantee that's not causing it.

I did set the "sensitivity" as Curt calls it to lowest setting, but when. The brakes do kick in, it's a big jolt to the vehicle even on 10 max output.
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Old 11-08-2020, 02:02 PM   #4
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Just a thought here,... are you ensuring your foot is off the brake when you make adjustments? I've known quite of few people with Curt Controllers that had the same problem only to find out they were making adjustments with their foot on the brake pedal.
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Old 11-08-2020, 02:06 PM   #5
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I've never even though of that, but I know I've made adjustments usually with no brake applied. However, I do make adjustments when stopped at times where I do have the brake depressed on the TV.

Would this make a difference in the calibration?
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Old 11-08-2020, 02:34 PM   #6
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One more thought.

My Prodigy P3 (and maybe other controllers) will go into "hold" mode if the brake is applied for a long period of time. Don't know exactly how long and it's been a while since I read the manual. I do notice this if I have my foot on the brake while creeping along in slow traffic where I get a sudden increase in braking.

Not often because it's been a lifetime habit to use the brakes as little as possible, choosing to anticipate as much as possible stops, keeping plenty of distance from vehicles ahead when towing, and gearing down for slow traffic rather than riding the brakes.

Just thoughts that might help diagnosing your problem.
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Old 11-09-2020, 02:56 PM   #7
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Brakes grabbing?

You may be describing what professionals call "brake grabbing." Instead of a proportional response, they try to lock when applied.

Surprisingly, this is usually due to lubricant (e.g., grease) on the friction surfaces of the brake shoes. This can happen on trailers, especially those with the grease fitting on each axle cap. When you grease the axles with this fitting, you cannot see how much grease is going in. It's easy to over-grease and get grease where it doesn't belong.

If you are a do-it yourselfer and know how to do this, remove a brake drum and have a look around. Otherwise, any auto repair or brake repair shop can do it.

The bad news is that if there is grease on the brake shoes, they must be replaced. They cannot be reused. The good news is that they are inexpensive, as are the wheel seals. And the drums can be cleaned with brake cleaner.

BTW, loosening the star wheel would have nothing to do with this problem.
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Old 11-09-2020, 03:14 PM   #8
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Larry-NC, thank you for that great input! I have heard about that being an issue, and am concerned that is a possibility in my case. I would assume that being under warranty the dealer should take a look into this, as I can pull the drum, but would make them responsible as they would have been over greased from factory.

I also have no way to truly tell which wheel is causing it, as I could be only 1 or more of the brakes actually hard locking up.

I'll continue to investigate and try to get a service appointment booked.
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Old 11-09-2020, 03:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AZ-Native View Post
I've never even though of that, but I know I've made adjustments usually with no brake applied. However, I do make adjustments when stopped at times where I do have the brake depressed on the TV.

Would this make a difference in the calibration?
Yes, That's what D W was saying in his post. Make all adjustments without the TV brakes applied.
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Old 11-09-2020, 08:27 PM   #10
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Which one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AZ-Native View Post
Larry-NC, thank you for that great input! I have heard about that being an issue, and am concerned that is a possibility in my case. I would assume that being under warranty the dealer should take a look into this, as I can pull the drum, but would make them responsible as they would have been over greased from factory.

I also have no way to truly tell which wheel is causing it, as I could be only 1 or more of the brakes actually hard locking up.

I'll continue to investigate and try to get a service appointment booked.
Not too hard to tell which wheel is locking. Find yourself a sandy dirt road or one with crush-and run (finely crushed rock). Pull the trailer at about 3 mph. Then let off the gas and gently apply the brakes. Stop. Get out and look at the tracks. What jerks on hard pavement will lock on an unpaved road.

It's also easy to do with an observer. Same scheme. Drive by at 3 mph and as the trailer passes the observer, gently apply the brakes. Move the observer to the other side and repeat.

But I would offer this: If one wheel was over-greased, both could be, even if the second one isn't showing symptoms yet.. I would check both or insist that the dealer do it.

If you are concerned about affecting your warranty, you might be able to call the dealer's shop and explain the situation. Ask whether pulling and remounting the wheel would affect a warranty claim. And if you do pull a wheel and find grease, take lots of pictures. (Maybe even post one here.)

Some folks that prefer to do their own work have found that their dealers are amenable to accepting the claim and providing the parts at no cost. Another possible option for you.
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Old 11-09-2020, 10:59 PM   #11
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Larry NC, very good idea. This all did start because someone at a gas station pointed out the front driver side tire was locking up at slow speeds going into a parking lot. I had the controller at a fairly high output at that time, so figured it was that, but maybe that is the trouble brake.

Thanks.
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Old 11-09-2020, 11:10 PM   #12
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"Front driver side"?

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Larry NC, very good idea. This all did start because someone at a gas station pointed out the front driver side tire was locking up at slow speeds going into a parking lot. I had the controller at a fairly high output at that time, so figured it was that, but maybe that is the trouble brake.

Thanks.
Hmm. I thought Apex Nano was a single-axle trailer. "Front Driver side" implies two axles.

Everything I posted is still valid if there are two axle except that the braking-on-dirt-road test will identify the side, but not which axle. The spotter test will be completely diagnostic.
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Old 11-09-2020, 11:15 PM   #13
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Hmm. I thought Apex Nano was a single-axle trailer. "Front Driver side" implies two axles.

Everything I posted is still valid if there are two axle except that the braking-on-dirt-road test will identify the side, but not which axle. The spotter test will be completely diagnostic.
The 208bhs is dual axle. It would definitely be easier to diagnose with single axle, lol.
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Old 11-10-2020, 12:49 AM   #14
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I just want to say that RV dealers are not overly proficient at fixing brake problems. Most people complain on here that wheel bearings are not greased enough from the factory...
Personally I would pull the wheels to see if there is an over-greased situation to begin with.
If there is a problem within the brakes/wheels, then I would either fix the situation myself or let an automotive shop that is experienced working on brakes do the repair and just eat the cost and be glad it was done correctly.

More often then not ( there are exceptional dealers but they are few and far between) a dealer will let your trailer sit for days or weeks claiming they are waiting for warrantee authorization or parts or some other BS, and then do a half-a&&ed job fixing the problem.

just my two cents...
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Old 11-10-2020, 05:34 AM   #15
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I had the same issue with the brakes on my 2019 APEX 265RBSS. While still under warranty, the dealer said they checked them and found nothing wrong " THE TECHS AT GRW" I Wouldn't let them check tire pressure, but thats a story for a different thread. Long story short it turned out that my drums were warped causing the same issue you have. I figured it out by trying to adjust them. Called Dexter filled out a claim had brand new drums sent to the house in less than a week.

Dexter is super easy to deal with, IF you don't have the knowledge to diagnose and replace them Call FR and initiate a claim, You can pick your repair place, pay them and FR will reimburse you.

Ben the APEX rep will take care of you. I even got my local independent RV repair shop FR certified for warranty repairs through Ben.

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Old 11-29-2020, 03:21 PM   #16
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Well, update on this issue. The dealer adjusted the brakes and it still feeling terrible on the test drive, they said it was fairly "normal". I called BS and scheduled an official appointment as it was basically not driveable with brake controller at minimum. (No apt avail until Dec 12)

I bought a P3 controller and installed it in the Durango with that being the only change. SOLVED. Dialed it in and drove it for an hour or so with absolutely no issue at all. Braking is smooth as silk now under every braking condition. Dumba$s tech tried to blame my driving style, which if anything was slow and cautious.

Thanks to everyone for the excellent advice and input!
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