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Old 04-12-2019, 06:25 AM   #1
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Best connector for brake lines

While replacing my tires, I discovered that one of the wires coming out of the brakes is not connected to anything
Assuming I can find and reach the other end, whatís the best way to re-connect it?
(2015 Coachmen Clipper 17bh)
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Old 04-12-2019, 06:58 AM   #2
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While replacing my tires, I discovered that one of the wires coming out of the brakes is not connected to anything
Assuming I can find and reach the other end, whatís the best way to re-connect it?
(2015 Coachmen Clipper 17bh)
You'll have to remove the wheel and get into the brake drum. That broken wire should be connected to the magnet that actuates the electric brakes. Depending on how much wire is left on the magnet end - where it broke - you might be able to reconnect it with a wire nut, or you may have to replace the magnet.

Note: At the Columbus factory, they told me that you should never make a connection inside the drum, because the wire nut could interfere with the operation of the brake shoe.
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Old 04-12-2019, 07:26 AM   #3
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Thanks, and sorry, I meant coming out from the drum. It seems to be attached inside but sticks out from the back of the drum. It appears that 2 wires come out and should be connected to wires from the front of the trailer but one is connected and one isnít. I havenít had a chance to locate the wire to which it should be connected due to rain, but I should be able to find it, I just have no idea what the acceptable ways of connecting it are.
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Old 04-12-2019, 08:02 AM   #4
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While you are at it. I would remove all the wire nuts that most units use and solder all the connections then cover with heat shrink tubing. Wire nuts are not really designed for use in wet areas.
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Old 04-12-2019, 08:16 AM   #5
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The other lead may not connect to another wire.
Many trailers simply connect the 2nd lead to a convenient ground source on the axle rather than connecting it to a wire that goes to ground somewhere else.

It may have come loose or never been properly connected.

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Old 04-12-2019, 08:43 AM   #6
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While you are at it. I would remove all the wire nuts that most units use and solder all the connections then cover with heat shrink tubing. Wire nuts are not really designed for use in wet areas.


Thanks, sounds like a good plan!
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Old 04-12-2019, 08:47 AM   #7
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The other lead may not connect to another wire.
Many trailers simply connect the 2nd lead to a convenient ground source on the axle rather than connecting it to a wire that goes to ground somewhere else.

It may have come loose or never been properly connected.


Oh thank you! I may have driven myself nuts looking for something that isnít there!

Iíll have a good look tomorrow, itís supposed
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Old 04-12-2019, 08:48 AM   #8
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to be nice. Oops, my phone appears to have a mind of itís own
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Old 04-12-2019, 01:55 PM   #9
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Take a look at these:

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Brown-Wa...LS10/305324978


Used on many heavy boat trailers. Easy to use and waterproof.
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Old 04-12-2019, 02:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Take a look at these:

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Brown-Wa...LS10/305324978


Used on many heavy boat trailers. Easy to use and waterproof.
Ive never used these, but I like the way they look.
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Old 04-12-2019, 05:58 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by D W View Post
Take a look at these:

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Brown-Wa...LS10/305324978


Used on many heavy boat trailers. Easy to use and waterproof.


Thanks!
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Old 04-12-2019, 06:33 PM   #12
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I like solder, but if you're not into soldering, heat-shrink crimp connectors may be up to the job.
Link.
I'd add a layer of high quality electrical tape on top of these joints.

If you solder, be sure to use electrical solder and no "flux". Plumbing solder is a no-go. Heat shrink tubing topped with electrical tape for good measure will keep the joint dry and corrosion free.

Bear in mind that all brake wires will likely merge together into one line up near the tongue or perhaps at a central location between the brakes, because a single signal from the 7-pin connector activates all the brakes simultaneously. When you look for the "other end" of your loose wire, you need only trace any brake wire to the point where they join together. When you find that, take a moment to make sure that "manifold" of wires is fully intact, corrosion free, and up to the job of saving your bacon when you need it most.
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Old 04-12-2019, 06:59 PM   #13
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Quote"If you solder, be sure to use electrical solder and no "flux". Plumbing solder is a no-go."
Would you like to expand on this advice … especially the "no flux"? Rosin core solder "or whatever it's branded as now days" contains flux that won't harm an electrical connection. Not all plumbers solder contains flux, so you could use non acid based solder here as well. I realize there are different percentages of alloys in each type of solder, but as far as either's use on a trailer brake connection … both will hold. Lead in any type of solder is on its way or is out.
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Old 04-12-2019, 07:57 PM   #14
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The problems with the factory connectors are they put a nick in the wire and their weight alone will eventually break the wire from the connector bouncing up and down. (Think of flexing a bare wire up and down hundreds of times while driving down the road.) They use those connectors for convenience and to speed up the job.

I slip heat shrink tubing up the wire and either solder the wires together or use a bare crimp connector. When you heat shrink the tubing, it seals the connection and reinforces the wires at the connection. The connection is much lighter than the connectors used at the factory.
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Old 04-12-2019, 08:58 PM   #15
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Quote"If you solder, be sure to use electrical solder and no "flux". Plumbing solder is a no-go."
Would you like to expand on this advice Ö especially the "no flux"? Rosin core solder "or whatever it's branded as now days" contains flux that won't harm an electrical connection. Not all plumbers solder contains flux, so you could use non acid based solder here as well. I realize there are different percentages of alloys in each type of solder, but as far as either's use on a trailer brake connection Ö both will hold. Lead in any type of solder is on its way or is out.
Electrical solder requires no additional acid flux paste, and its composition makes a good electrical conductor - no "cold" solder joints if applied properly. Plumbing solder will "hold" the joint, but it normally requires an acid paste flux (corrosive to electrical wire), is too heavy to melt and flow into the wire strands at the temps a 25 watt soldering iron can deliver, and will go in "cold"...not fully bonding and making a poor electrical connection.

Most plumbing solder requires a torch to not only heat the pipes hot enough, but also to heat the parts to be joined hot enough to get the solder to flow properly. If you get electric wiring, say 12 to 18 gauge used in automotive applications, hot enough to melt plumbing solder, you'll melt the insulation a long distance from the solder joint.
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Old 04-12-2019, 09:13 PM   #16
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If I do find, as stated by 5Picker, that it has simply detached from the frame where it was mounted to ground it, can it be reattached with a soldering iron rather than a torch of any sort? Or any other "easy" way?
Because I'm comfortable with a soldering iron. A torch near my flammable prize possession is kind of out of my wheelhouse!
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Old 04-12-2019, 10:14 PM   #17
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If I do find, as stated by 5Picker, that it has simply detached from the frame where it was mounted to ground it, can it be reattached with a soldering iron rather than a torch of any sort? Or any other "easy" way?
Because I'm comfortable with a soldering iron. A torch near my flammable prize possession is kind of out of my wheelhouse!
A wire won't be soldered to the frame. Typically, the wire will have an eye crimped on the end of the wire and then screwed to the frame.

I have not examined my brake wires, but my hunch is that the brakes probably do not rely on chassis ground. More likely, for something as crucial as brakes, both sides of the circuit will be continuous the 7-pin connector. That's just a hunch.
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Old 04-12-2019, 10:46 PM   #18
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A wire won't be soldered to the frame. Typically, the wire will have an eye crimped on the end of the wire and then screwed to the frame.



I have not examined my brake wires, but my hunch is that the brakes probably do not rely on chassis ground. More likely, for something as crucial as brakes, both sides of the circuit will be continuous the 7-pin connector. That's just a hunch.


Ok, I appreciate the help. Iíll have a look tomorrow!
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Old 04-12-2019, 10:47 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmoore13 View Post
A wire won't be soldered to the frame. Typically, the wire will have an eye crimped on the end of the wire and then screwed to the frame.

I have not examined my brake wires, but my hunch is that the brakes probably do not rely on chassis ground. More likely, for something as crucial as brakes, both sides of the circuit will be continuous the 7-pin connector. That's just a hunch.
You are correct. FR uses two conductor and not the frame for ground. I saw 2 conductor on my 1982 Travel Trailer too. Back in 60s they used the frame or skin for lights for ground.

My Heartland trailers I have owned are soldered with ground return too!
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Old 04-12-2019, 11:00 PM   #20
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I'm not a fan of this illustration. I would not be certain that the axle tube is a good ground source as it appears to be used in one in the illustration. The "connection" between the axle will be through the springs, shackles, bushing, equalizer and hangers (on a spring axle). With the plastic or composite bushings on most springs and equalizers, I would not guarantee any sort of continuity to the trailer frame and it would be subject to change as the springs moved in transit (which is when you actually need brakes).

I would at least take the other leg of the brake magnet to a solid frame ground inside the trailer underbelly. But a run to the tongue connecting to the ground for the 7-way plug (and break-a-way switch) would be better.

The other issue is if that one blue wire from the tongue is damaged you loose all 4 brakes. A "home run" from each brake magnet back to the tongue for the positive leg of the brake circuit would be preferred. Loose connection with one, and you would still have 3 working brakes that way.

I'm about to rewire my trailer with "home runs" for each brake when I replace the brake assemblies with Dexter self-adjusting models in the next week or so. It's a might as well sort of thing at that point.
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