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Old 06-01-2016, 08:22 PM   #1
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Dragging Brakes Question

Looking for a reality check. Towing a two axle trailer. Most times whenever I come to a stop, say from 40 mph to a stop at a red light, the brakes don't seem to release, are least relax. As in, light turns green, give it the gas, vehicle reluctantly slowly moves forward about 10/20 feet then, Pop, the dragging goes away and accelerates like normal. Is this normal? I've had the trailer for about 3 years and I think its always been like this, just recently started to bug me.

BTW - I have a Prodigy aftermarket brake controller, about 10 years old.
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Old 06-02-2016, 02:45 PM   #2
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I had similar issues with my older brake control. Tekonsha I believe it was. There was always a delay upon release of the service brake pedal. It was only a moment but was bothersome to me. I changed to a direct link and it never occurred again. Last summer I traded in my truck for a new Ford with the factory installed control and have had no similar issues. So, I have no explanation as to why this happens. Only that I had it and now I don't.
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Old 06-02-2016, 02:55 PM   #3
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I suppose one way to maybe get a handle on this would be if you have a way to wire a voltmeter into the brake feed line to your trailer.

I would think - unless more knowlegable people tell me I am wrong(!) that as soon as you iift your foot from the brake, voltage in the feed line should go to zero.


If there is a mechanical reason causing one wheel's brakes to drag, then if you have a TPMS
that gives temperature readings as well as pressures, you might see what is happening, although if it is only a brief phenomenon it may not be enough to cause significant heating.


Recently I changed all my brake assemblies - backplates, everything - and then noticed one wheel running hot on my TPMS. Feeling the wheel confirmed things!

I had just set up the brake adjuster too tight on that wheel and backing off a few notches on the adjuster immediately brought the temperature in line with the other wheels!


Brian.
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Old 06-02-2016, 03:17 PM   #4
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If your current controller displays the current while the brakes are on does that current go to zero as you remove your foot from the brake pedal? If so it is not in the controller.

Some backer plates use a single return spring on the shoes. That type plate is know for hangups as one shoe can remain in contact with the drum. Additionally when was the last time you had the brakes adjusted?
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Old 06-02-2016, 03:27 PM   #5
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I bought the trailer new about 3 years ago and have never looked at the brakes. It's got about 8,500 miles on it. At a stop the voltage goes to 2 or so. Letting off the brakes it goes to zero. I have it set to reach up to 8 or 9 volts at max, but I doubt it ever goes that high.

I sort of think its a mechanical thing. Its most noticeable after stopping from a moderately forceful stop. Like driving along a higher speed arterial road, then the light ahead turns red. When it turns green and I release the brake pedal it will not tend to creep forward at all. I really have to gas it to get things moving, then a release, then all is normal. Could it be that this type of brake mechanism needs motion in the wheels to engage and disengage?
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Old 06-02-2016, 04:00 PM   #6
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You are saying voltage. The controller should display current and 2 amps would not even engage the brakes.

First off get the brakes adjusted.

When you use the manual handle on the controller do you feel the trailer is attempting to stop and what current is displayed as you do that?
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Old 06-02-2016, 05:06 PM   #7
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Electric current flow through the magnets pulls then into contact with the side of the drum and rotation of the wheel pivots the magnet arm which is what pushes the shoes against the drum. Jack the wheel off the ground and rotate it by hand while somebody pushes the brake pedal and it should be obvious what is happening. Or try stopping both directions on a slight incline and see if the rig creeps when you let go of the pedal. The magnet arm could be hanging up or the brakes could be way out of adjustment or you could have a broken return spring if the brakes hang. You can't beat pulling off the drums and actually eyeballing the parts to really know what the situation is if the brakes hang with no electrical current!
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