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Old 10-08-2012, 02:41 PM   #1
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1972 23' Safari
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Need to replace my brakes - what about the axles

I have a 72 23' safari with tandem axles. The brakes are extremely touchy, they either lock up or don't engage depending on the controller setting. The setting on the controller is very small, full off to lockup is less than 1/8 of a turn on the control. I need to get them working if for no other reasons that they are very hard on the truck's brakes and I have had a couple of times things didn't want to stop well.

The axles appear to be fine, even after 40 years. I replaced the shocks a few years ago. If I replace the brakes now, is it really important to change the axles now? If I wait, I assume the brakes will transfer to the new axles. Of course the major issue will be getting the old backing plates off the existing axles without damaging the hubs on the axles.

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Old 10-08-2012, 02:58 PM   #2
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Not sure about brand of controller, but many have small lever on side for pendulum vertical adjust. If pendulum hinges too far forward, brakes are very grabby, adn if too far rearward, too slack, regardless of setting knob.. Look for little plastic lever on side, and test positions near vertical (pointing straight down or slightly rear of vertical) and see of that helps..

And if axles are leaf spring type, they could still be OK.. If torsion type, rubber rods have petrified after 40 years, and they should be replaced while you are at it...
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Old 10-08-2012, 03:43 PM   #3
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Take the drums off and examine both the flat and braking diameters. If they are really smooth and the magnets are not too badly worn, the problem is with the brake controller. Adjust it as he says above. Test the brakes by slowly using the manual override lever. If you can get some braking without locking up the brakes, the problem is definitely the controller. Buy a new one.
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Old 10-08-2012, 05:38 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Tom Bray View Post
I have a 72 23' safari with tandem axles. The brakes are extremely touchy, they either lock up or don't engage depending on the controller setting. The setting on the controller is very small, full off to lockup is less than 1/8 of a turn on the control. I need to get them working if for no other reasons that they are very hard on the truck's brakes and I have had a couple of times things didn't want to stop well.

The axles appear to be fine, even after 40 years. I replaced the shocks a few years ago. If I replace the brakes now, is it really important to change the axles now? If I wait, I assume the brakes will transfer to the new axles. Of course the major issue will be getting the old backing plates off the existing axles without damaging the hubs on the axles.

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Tom.

Some of the brake parts for 40 year old brakes, are no longer available.

Additionally, most owners today are going with the self adjusting electric brakes.

If your axles need replacing, it's best to replace them complete. Old hub and drums were 3 piece. Today they are one piece machined, are are far superior.

If you decide replacment is in order, stay with the 12 inch brakes.

The following article will help you check out the axles.

The Dura-Torque Axle

Andy
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Old 10-08-2012, 06:09 PM   #5
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Not sure about brand of controller, but many have small lever on side for pendulum vertical adjust. If pendulum hinges too far forward, brakes are very grabby, adn if too far rearward, too slack, regardless of setting knob.. Look for little plastic lever on side, and test positions near vertical (pointing straight down or slightly rear of vertical) and see of that helps..

And if axles are leaf spring type, they could still be OK.. If torsion type, rubber rods have petrified after 40 years, and they should be replaced while you are at it...
I agree. A 40 year old rubber torsion axle will need to be replaces. Make sure it is the original axle before you do that. I would hate to see someone change an axle that isn't very old.
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Old 10-08-2012, 06:44 PM   #6
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Tom
I replaced the original axles on our 77 because of the brake parts WERE NOT AVAILABLE. I agree with Andy. Replace them with everything new YOU WILL NOT BE SORRY.
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Old 10-08-2012, 11:07 PM   #7
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The controller is called Brake-Force and it is a time based brake controller. The GMC dealer installed it when we bought the truck. It is a pretty cheap controller with only a single knob to control the braking. Of course it works in any position. Probably not helping the situation.

If the older axles won't take a new brake system, that will pretty much make the decision for me. The pain of it all.

The axles pass the test for a reasonable angle, the Safari sits like an Airstream should. I looked at a longer Airstream with 3 axles and it obviously needed new ones, sort of looked like it was squatting.

The next question is, do I need to replace the 3 year old shocks?

Tom
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Old 10-08-2012, 11:31 PM   #8
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I will pull a wheel off in the next day or so and share the photos. I will probably be calling Inland before the end of the week, the Safari is slated to go to South Florida over Thanksgiving.

Tom
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:05 AM   #9
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I will pull a wheel off in the next day or so and share the photos. I will probably be calling Inland before the end of the week, the Safari is slated to go to South Florida over Thanksgiving.

Tom
They should be able to set you up with new axles. The job of changing an axle out isn't that difficult, especially considering that they are bolted on and not welded on.
As far as shocks go, I would use the old ones because they should last a lot longer than 3 years. If it was an item that was really hard to get to and it was near the end of it's service life, I would put new ones on, but that isn't the case.
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:24 AM   #10
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Sounds more like a brake controller problem.

I towed once with a time based controller and didn't like it at all. Not much adjustment and i found the I either had not enough brakes or the wheels were locked up.

The new P3 was the best investment I've made in towing. I emailed the manufacturer once and the customer service far exceeded my expectations.


Inspect your brakes and see if they need replacement. I would suggest a better brake controller regardless of wether you change the axels, brakes or anything else.
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Old 10-09-2012, 10:38 AM   #11
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Why do you need to replace the axel to replace the brakes? The spindels and mounting brackets on the axels are the same as they were 40 yrs ago. You can put new backing plates and drums on an old axel. It would be a 5 bolt backing plate and 12x2 drums. Andy correct me if I am wrong?

Generally the axels are bad of the spindle is higher than the axel beam. The control arms would be slopping up instead of down or flat. Also they can freeze in place if the rubber hardens so you need to check for proper movement or jack the trailer up and see if the wheels drop a couple inches. My 81 axels appear to be working and absorbing bumps properly so I have no immediate plans to replace them. I will need to replace the entire brake system at some point.

I agree that the controller might be your problem but if you have contaminated brake shoes or missing brake linings you could get lockup problems. Seals can leak and linings can be worn or missing and return springs can be broken. If you don't know how long it has been since the bearings were packed with grease you need to remove the drums anyway to take care of that.


Perry

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Tom
I replaced the original axles on our 77 because of the brake parts WERE NOT AVAILABLE. I agree with Andy. Replace them with everything new YOU WILL NOT BE SORRY.
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Old 10-09-2012, 11:34 AM   #12
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The brakes may be out of adjustment and worn to the point of cam over. Have you adjusted the brakes to see if that helps?
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Old 10-11-2012, 10:52 PM   #13
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1972 23' Safari
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I pulled one brake off, it seems to be in much worse shape than when we replaced the shocks and wheel bearings a few years ago. The brake magnets are very worn also. The arm that holds the magnet is very loose, sort of resembling a pendulum. Also when I jacked up the camper the suspension made some ugly scraping noises, it didn't sound very good.

When we replaced the shocks and wheel bearings I was concerned that I should have done the axles then and I had a couple of issues with the brakes not releasing after it was all put back together. The brakes didn't work well back then either.

Now the big question is going to be whether or not Andy can get all the parts in time to install them before Thanksgiving week, we have a trip planned for that week.

Plan B is to replace the brake controller, put the brake back together and hope for the best.

Tom
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Old 10-12-2012, 07:07 AM   #14
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Brake parts are plentiful from a variety of online and local sources. You need new backing plates with all the components already mounted and maybe new drums.

Perry
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