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Old 11-04-2015, 11:05 AM   #1
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Brake Controller - Special Type for Vacuum Assisted Brakes?

Bought a 1977 31' Sovereign a while ago & just now getting it ready for the road. It has the vacuum assisted brakes, and I am wondering if a special brake controller is required?

Thanks for helping a newbie!
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Old 11-04-2015, 12:03 PM   #2
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Unfortunately you are going to find that virtually everything about the vacuum disk brake system of the 70's is hard to get and difficult to work with for one reason or another. That includes the special brake controller needed.

I have no direct experience with them, and so will leave it to others to give you the advice you need, but don't be surprised if it is not very positive. I think I recall that most who had the system wound up scrapping the axles and brakes and substituting new axels with electric brakes.

And that said, I may be all wrong. I am digging into my memory pretty far here.
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Old 11-04-2015, 12:15 PM   #3
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In order to use the disc brakes, you will need an electric over hydraulic pump. I use the Dexter pump on my 1979 Safari and 1954 Liner which I converted to disc brakes. You will also need a brake controller which is compatible with the pump, I used P3.

Brake parts for the old disc system are hard to find, I believe that Inland RV is the only supplier. You can always convert to new disc brakes, either Dexter or Kodiak, I went with Kodiak, much cheaper that Dexter.

Disc brakes work so much better than electric drum brakes, no adjustment, no noise, no grabbing just a smooth quick stop.

The pump (actuator) is about $500.

Bill

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Originally Posted by TUselton View Post
Bought a 1977 31' Sovereign a while ago & just now getting it ready for the road. It has the vacuum assisted brakes, and I am wondering if a special brake controller is required?

Thanks for helping a newbie!
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1973 Dodge W200 PowerWagon, 1977 Lincoln Continental, 2014 Dodge Durango
1979 23' Safari, and 1954 29' Double Door Liner Orange, CA

http://billbethsblog.blogspot.com/
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Old 11-04-2015, 01:38 PM   #4
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IMHO the old vac/hyd setups with the controller under the hood were superior to the electrically controlled hydraulic brakes, but it became impossible to use these with the advent of tow vehicle anti-lock brakes..

The amount of trailer braking was strictly controlled by brake pedal movement. (i.e. tow vehicle brake system pressure)

I had to scrap a lot of these systems in favor of elc/hyd trailer units.
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Old 11-04-2015, 03:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wkerfoot View Post
In order to use the disc brakes, you will need an electric over hydraulic pump.
Bill
Bill: I believe the OP has the very old 1970's vacuum disk brake setup, which is not activated by an electric over hydraulic pump. It is a different animal from the newer RV disk brake systems.
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Old 11-04-2015, 03:16 PM   #6
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True, true, but he can convert to the current actuator, which is what I suggested.

Bill

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Originally Posted by idroba View Post
Bill: I believe the OP has the very old 1970's vacuum disk brake setup, which is not activated by an electric over hydraulic pump. It is a different animal from the newer RV disk brake systems.
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Old 11-04-2015, 07:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wkerfoot View Post
True, true, but he can convert to the current actuator, which is what I suggested.

Bill
Ah, didn't know that. As I stated, most of my information is from memory only, and that learned from threads I have read here.
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Old 11-06-2015, 11:06 AM   #8
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vac brakes

Had then on my 77 and LOVED them when they worked!
Maybe you bought my old unit? The old orig 1970s tecumsa controllers work best. What are you towing with? I had a 97 powerstroke and those brakes wore out the vacuum pump 1/2 way across country and at the time (1999) there was ONE man who worked on them in CA! My calipers started leaking and I sent them from FLA to CA for a rebuild that took 2 weeks! luckily I had the time and was in a nice rv park mid state in JAN!

1500.00 later when the brakes were all new and I returned to AZ. I sold it to a retired couple who parked it next to their house as a guest cottage never to be moved again!
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Old 11-06-2015, 05:59 PM   #9
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Carlisle makes a hydraulic pump that has a remote brake controller, cab operated Hydrastar XL, like the Prodigy RF, might be worth looking into.
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Old 11-07-2015, 07:23 AM   #10
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vaccuum brakes advert.

Its edgamacation time
Attached Files
File Type: pdf vac breaks.pdf (588.7 KB, 22 views)
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Old 05-09-2016, 07:17 PM   #11
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Pics of Current/Stock Brake Actuator

It appears that I do have the Excella-Vac unit as depicted in the .pdf above (Thanks alantbird!) - see the attached pics.

I bought the trailer a while back from a TX couple who had passed away - got it from the lot in the Denver Metro area where it had been stored.

We have a 2012 Tundra 5.7 as a tow vehicle since my wife doesn't believe my '68 IH pickup is a viable tow vehicle.

So - based on what's been posted, I am now a bit confused and so will ask a few more questions:

1. I am going to assume that the current unit is not compatible with the Tundra's ABS, correct?
2. I'll need to replace the actuator with either a Carlisle or Dexter or something similar, and then get an appropriate controller unit for the Tundra

I appreciate everyone's help on this...
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Old 05-09-2016, 08:12 PM   #12
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It is a shame that this system became obsolete, they really were a superior system.


Superat stultitia.
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Old 05-10-2016, 08:59 AM   #13
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Answer to #2 is buy a Carlisle 1600 psi unit and a brake controller that is compatible with it.


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