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Old 09-01-2016, 06:41 PM   #1
TAG
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1967 17' Caravel
Somerset , Colorado
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Electric brakes

The electric brakes (new) installed with the new axle on my 67 Caravel are getting hot. The rim is very warm to the touch. Is this normal?
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Old 09-01-2016, 07:33 PM   #2
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1986 34' Limited
1966 24' Tradewind
Conifer , Colorado
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The new brakes on my new axles also got pretty warm. They are 10" drums as opposed to the 12" drums on my old axles, so I'm sure they work harder. I think mine got hot as the brake controller may have been set too aggressively, and we may have been going to fast down some of these mountain roads around here. Drum brakes will heat until they fade and really loose braking force. That's why disc brakes were invented.

It may be your drum brakes were adjusted too tight. You should be able to jack a wheel off the ground and rotate it by hand. You should feel a bit of drag and hear the shoes against the drums. A lot of drag will generate heat even on flat roads, At least until the shoes wear away.

And improperly adjusted bearings can generate heat on their way to total failure. I feel my tires and spindle grease seals every time I stop for fuel to help insure I don't have a tire going out, or a bearing going out.

So, in my view, hot to the touch brake drums are normal if they have been working hard. I have seen pictures of racing sports cars with disc brakes glowing red hot.

I suggest following the brake controller's setup procedures, and using some engine braking on long downhill stretches we find in these mountains.

Those runaway truck lanes along mountain highways are there because of drum brakes overheating or fail altogether. Actually, we can put our tow vehicles in first gear and crawl down a steep grade and not use any brakes at all. I see big semis not doing much more than 25 mph going down long steep grades and I don't see their brake lights coming on much at all.

David
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Old 09-02-2016, 07:27 AM   #3
TAG
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1967 17' Caravel
Somerset , Colorado
Join Date: Nov 2014
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Electric brakes

Hi David,
Thank you for the advice. Where is the lift point on my Caravel? I want to jack it up and check the brake drag/adjustment.
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Old 09-02-2016, 11:20 AM   #4
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1986 34' Limited
1966 24' Tradewind
Conifer , Colorado
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Hello TAG, happy to give a little "free" advice on the brakes.

I only / always jack up my trailers using the frame rail. I place my floor jack or bottle jack behind the axle on the son's 69 globetrotter, and between the axles on my 66 Trade Wind. I think the strongest place on an Airstream frame is near the axle plate. I always place a jack stand under the axle plate after I jack up the trailer if I intend to get under the trailer. Be safe, never trust a hydraulic jack.

Here is a photo of the new axles on my Trade Wind. It shows the "axle mounting plate", and maybe you can see the jack stand behind the rear axle. When I jack up the trailer, I put my floor jack just behind the axle plate and on the frame rail.

So look under your trailer for the axle plate, and then the frame rail behind the axle plate. Jack it up on the frame rail. DO NOT jack up on the axle itself as you will bend it. And you certainly can't jack up the trailer on the flimsy belly pan aluminum, or a cross member, or an outrigger. You gotta be on the frame rail.

You just need to lift your trailer high enough so the wheel can rotate without touching the ground. Then you can assess your brakes.

David
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Old 09-02-2016, 01:09 PM   #5
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Somewhere , South Carolina
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I recommend an infrared thermometer as a tool for checking brake, hub or tire temps.

Brakes create heat from doing their job, stopping the TV or trailer. Correct adjustment critical for long life and effective braking.

The thermometer will not set the brake adj just show you if working and comparing between wheel to wheel.

And darn fancy way to check griddle temp before pouring pancake batter.
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Old 09-02-2016, 05:12 PM   #6
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If the brake shoes are new it is not uncommon for them to heat up the drum. The arc of the shoes is not an exact match to the drum. Most of the time one end of the shoe tends to make contact before the center of the shoe. The shoes need to be "run in" and will eventually come to match the drum.
The rule of thumb for many mechanical devices when it comes to overheating. If you can hold your hand on the device and count to 7. It's not too hot. This is "OLD SCHOOL".
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