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Old 03-13-2011, 09:32 AM   #1
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This forum allowed me to help another!

My neighbor called me yesterday to tell me they finally bought a used camper: Coleman Sante Fe Pop-up. When she said "they", she really meant "she" as her husband is not really involved.

She had been to uhaul and walmart to get an adapter to mate the 4-prong van to the 7 prong camper. After hooking it up she had no running lights on the camper - thus her call to me to see if I could help. I walked over, tested a few things, checked her fuses, and all the sudden it all worked. She thought I was lying about really doing something - but I didn't find anything obvious.

Later we did a full walk around and I showed her how to use most of the stuff, talked about blue boys, dry camping, hitching, simple maintenance, etc... It felt great to share some of the knowledge that I have gained over the past couple years here.

Her husband decided to get involved and removed a wheel to check the condition. He thought the dry rot was "normal" and that the tread was okay to go. Ahhhhhhhhhh I think she's convinced to get new tires and have the bearings checked. Glad her first trip will be with some experienced travelers. We'll help her along the way and hopefully have a fun *shake down* trip in a few weeks.

Oh, weirdest thing of all. I couldn't find a battery anywhere - no evidence that there ever was one. I figured that since it has a fresh water tank, it was set up for dry camping. I know zip about pop-ups and she did not get an owners manual. Found a few forums and forward those sites to her for reading!

Question: there are B/W wires going to each wheel so I believe it has electric brakes and when you spin the wheel, it sounds like brakes slightly dragging. But, I didn't think the 4-pin connectors allowed for brakes. The 7 pin connnector on the pop-up looks like a DIY conversion - and wrapped so I can't actually tell how many wires are being fed into that end either.

Laura
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Old 03-13-2011, 09:48 AM   #2
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You didn't mention how big this pop-up is. If it is a small one, it may not have any trailer brakes. The trailer having seven pin umbilical would normally indicate that the trailer has brakes. If the pop-up does have brakes, the use of an adapter to make the trailer hook up to a 4 pin on the tow vehicle will render the brakes inoperable. If this is the case, the tow vehicle needs to be rewired a 7 pin connector so that the trailer brakes will operate.

Brian
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Old 03-13-2011, 09:57 AM   #3
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You didn't mention how big this pop-up is. If it is a small one, it may not have any trailer brakes. The trailer having seven pin umbilical would normally indicate that the trailer has brakes. If the pop-up does have brakes, the use of an adapter to make the trailer hook up to a 4 pin on the tow vehicle will render the brakes inoperable. If this is the case, the tow vehicle needs to be rewired a 7 pin connector so that the trailer brakes will operate.

Brian
Thanks for the quick reply.

I think it's a 15' pop up. There are definately 2 wires (black/white) going to each wheel (single axle) - disapears into the backing plate. Would that be a certain indicator of it having brakes? When her husband removed the wheel, I noticed the hub (???) is a lot smaller than on my trailer - like maybe 6" diameter.

Laura
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Old 03-13-2011, 10:09 AM   #4
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When the wheel drum was off, did you notice brake shoes around the hub? The fact that wires go into the baking plate indicates that there are trailer brakes. If there are, they need to be put in operating condition, and the tow vehicle needs to be rewired. They may also need to install a trailer brake controller in the tow vehicle. If you can take a photo of the wheel hub with the wheel drum removed we may be able to tell you more.

Brian
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Old 03-13-2011, 10:25 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by funkill View Post
Thanks for the quick reply.

I think it's a 15' pop up. There are definately 2 wires (black/white) going to each wheel (single axle) - disapears into the backing plate. Would that be a certain indicator of it having brakes? When her husband removed the wheel, I noticed the hub (???) is a lot smaller than on my trailer - like maybe 6" diameter.

Laura
Laura.

People modify RV's all the time.

Some don't think brakes are necessary, on their RV, because they probably have the magical "truck".

The minimum size connector, when brakes are properly wired, would be 6 pins.

The 4 pin, strongly suggests, that the brakes were not intentionally going to be used.

That being the issue, it's very important to remove a hub and drum, and inspect the brakes, since Florida is famous for causing many hidden "rust" problems.

Andy
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Old 03-13-2011, 10:33 AM   #6
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Thanks Brian.

I didn't notice any shoes - the drum was not removed. They just pulled a tire off the studs and put it back in place. I presumed the brakes would be inside the drum like on mine, right?

When they take the wheels off for new tires, I'll sneak back over there and see what I can see - or pull apart...

I think the dry weight is about 1800 lbs & tongue 800 lbs. With my trailer I am kinda sensitive to the safety issues discussed here - especially with regard to correct TV and Hitch. I'm trying to be less *dramatic* when considering her set-up: toyota mini-van, ball hitch, and lack of brakes.

Laura
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Old 03-13-2011, 10:35 AM   #7
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We had a '89 Coleman Fleetwood pop up that we sold when we bought the AS. It did have a battery that was mounted on the A frame in front of the two propane bottles. It had electric brakes, a seven pin connector and a break away switch box on the A frame. Besides the lights, the battery provided power for raising the top and a water pump (under one of the bench seats) from the fresh water tank. Similar to the AS, the interior lights were 12 volt but the AC and a few outlets were 110 volt.

I believe it had a weight of around 2800 pounds, maybe more because it was a hard side with glass windows.

On ours there was a switch that automatically deactivated all of the interior lights when the sink cabinet was lowered to the "travel" position. That was a nice fire safety feature, but a PITB when setting up in the dark. One universally important item in setting up any pop up is to make sure the trailer is fairly level in all directions prior to raising the top so that the lift mechanism doesn't bind. I always had a two foot level and a dozen 2X10X10 blocks packed right inside the door for set up.

It's nice of you to help your neighbor so I hope some of this is useful.
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Old 03-13-2011, 10:39 AM   #8
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Laura.

People modify RV's all the time.

Some don't think brakes are necessary, on their RV, because they probably have the magical "truck".

The minimum size connector, when brakes are properly wired, would be 6 pins.

The 4 pin, strongly suggests, that the brakes were not intentionally going to be used.

That being the issue, it's very important to remove a hub and drum, and inspect the brakes, since Florida is famous for causing many hidden "rust" problems.

Andy
Thanks Andy. It's Sunday!!!!

I'll see what I can do to check this out for her. I don't need another project so maybe I can just point her to a RV shop... I also don't need any discussions with her husband who was visibly offended when I ran home for my drill and rivet gun to make some repairs. But was thankful for me stopping him as he was attempting to pull the TV away from the camper - without first extending the tongue jack (and while the axle was jacked off the ground). Close call! Though we've all done something embarassing - once.

Laura
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Old 03-13-2011, 10:42 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by driftless View Post
We had a '89 Coleman Fleetwood pop up that we sold when we bought the AS. It did have a battery that was mounted on the A frame in front of the two propane bottles. It had electric brakes, a seven pin connector and a break away switch box on the A frame. Besides the lights, the battery provided power for raising the top and a water pump (under one of the bench seats) from the fresh water tank. Similar to the AS, the interior lights were 12 volt but the AC and a few outlets were 110 volt.

I believe it had a weight of around 2800 pounds, maybe more because it was a hard side with glass windows.

On ours there was a switch that automatically deactivated all of the interior lights when the sink cabinet was lowered to the "travel" position. That was a nice fire safety feature, but a PITB when setting up in the dark. One universally important item in setting up any pop up is to make sure the trailer is fairly level in all directions prior to raising the top so that the lift mechanism doesn't bind. I always had a two foot level and a dozen 2X10X10 blocks packed right inside the door for set up.

It's nice of you to help your neighbor so I hope some of this is useful.
Thank you! I couldn't find the water pump - now I know where else to look. It does not have a breakaway either. And no electric crank-up. Kind of a bear to raise the thing - lucky her son takes that chore!

I'm taking a blue boy alternative over to her later - will discuss this stuff with her more.

THANK YOU ALL - Laura
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Old 03-13-2011, 10:43 AM   #10
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We have friends who had a Coleman pop-up before they graduated to an Airstream. Their battery was under the rear dinette seat.

An onboard battery would be implied if there is a breakaway switch & lanyard up by the hitch. Is there one? 15' seems to be heavy enough to have a breakaway required by law.
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Old 03-13-2011, 11:04 AM   #11
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No obvious evidence of battery or break-away: no lanyard, no *stains* showing where one (battery or break away) once was. Required by law eh? Another thing to mention to her.

I looked at the converter/fuse panel and didn't see anything that lead me to believe it was recently routed to a battery either.

Laura
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Old 03-13-2011, 11:47 AM   #12
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If the pop-up has a brake drum, it has trailer brakes. The seven pin connector on the trailer also indicates trailer brakes. The 4 pin connector on the your neighbor's' tow vehicle is going to be a problem. If they go camping without operating brakes, they are taking a significant risk.

From the way you describe the situation, the husband does not sound like he wants any help or advice.

Brian
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Old 03-13-2011, 12:00 PM   #13
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No obvious evidence of battery or break-away: no lanyard, no *stains* showing where one (battery or break away) once was. Required by law eh? Another thing to mention to her.

I looked at the converter/fuse panel and didn't see anything that lead me to believe it was recently routed to a battery either.

Laura
FL law requires trailer brakes as follows: Required over 3000 lbs. GVW, On all wheels (state brake laws)

Most popups are less than 3,000 lbs and don't come with brakes. When we bought our last popup we had brakes installed even though they weren't required. If this trailer has brakes it may have been an add on which might account for the unusual wiring. It would make sense to get them working especially if the trailer will be used in mountain areas.

A lot of popups (including most Colemans) use manual pumps instead of electric. If this popup doesn't have a water heater it probably has a manual instead of electric pump.
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Old 03-13-2011, 12:26 PM   #14
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I had an older PU that came with surge brakes. There was no battery at all. When connected to shore power we had lights but that was it.

If there are wires going into the back of the hubs it sounds like there are brakes installed and that the original wiring was not the 4 wire connector that is currently in place. Installing a battery on the tongue is not a big thing and wiring it back to the original configuration shouldn't be either. The issue here will be with installing a brake controller in the TV and wiring everything to get things to work.

If a battery was installed inside the trailer look for a vent to the outside. Interior batteries have to be enclosed and vented by code. It shouldn't be hard to find a vent on the outside of the trailer if that was the case.
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