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Old 08-24-2003, 03:30 PM   #1
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6V Brake ?

I want to do some work on my brakes before I take my Airstream on the road. It's a 1958 and I read that they had 6 volt brake magnets. I was wondering if one of you could tell from the pic I attached whether they were 6 or 12 volts? I brought the trailer home without brakes because I bought it five blocks from my house so it wasn't a problem. I don't think I would enjoy a trip without them though.

Thanks
Steve
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Old 08-24-2003, 10:07 PM   #2
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6V brakes

I don't think you can tell by looking. There may be a marking on the magnet. Other than that, the drum, linings and springs are identical. You can get by with a selective resistor to reduce the voltage to the brakes. I used trial and error. Keep adjusting until the brakes just start to lock-up.
If you dont use a resistor (looks like a coil of wire mounted on a bakelite block) the brakes will lock up with almost any brake action.
This was with an old Kelsey Hayes controller that was hooked up to the tow vehicle master cylinder.
Had less luck with later (1990's) model electronic controllers (mercury switch and ramp-up models).
I plan to switch out the backing plates and replace the whole system. Parts are probably $150, cheap for the peace of mind and and compatibility with newer controllers.
You can try later model controllers and set the gain real low, but you'll lose sensitivity.
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Old 08-24-2003, 10:51 PM   #3
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6V ?

Steve,

I have never seen 6 V brake magnets. And your pic looks nearly like the 12 V system that I have on my '66 Overlander. The shoes are a little different and you have leaf springs and mine does not.

However, the round magnets that you have look identical to my unit. And it looks like the magnet wear is down to the screw heads. Time to replace them anyway.

Another thing that I will point out. The major auto manufacturers stopped using 6V electrical systems by 1958. Given that Airstream is a premium trailer builder and some what ahead of the curve, I would say the original brakes were 12V. Also I would suggest that in 45 years the brake magnets on your trailer have been replaced at least once before. Most likely they were replaced with 12 V magnets.

Just my musings. No real facts other than the visual.

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Old 08-25-2003, 06:55 AM   #4
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What style magnets will work. I can't find the round ones. All I see are the oval type. Sorry for asking dumb questions I just don't know that much about electric brakes.

Thanks
Steve
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Old 08-25-2003, 12:24 PM   #5
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6V brakes

Go to http://www.inlandrv.com/parts/ and look at part #73400.
A good photo shows mounting holes and electrical taps.
http://www.vintageairstream.com/floy...partslist.html has a great page on parts to use if you decide to go total replacement.
Below is picture of my 6V brakes with the magnet flipped over.
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Old 08-25-2003, 01:35 PM   #6
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The size of the mag ...

Steve,

Most of the replacements are oval. It works better. And a trailer supply store locally might have the part faster. Stores that sell parts for house trailers, travel trailers, utillity trailers, and commercial vehicles

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Old 08-25-2003, 01:42 PM   #7
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Be careful of the ovals-they have different center holes.
Manufacturers switched to oval in 1987, but doesn't mean they interchange with round.
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Old 08-25-2003, 03:00 PM   #8
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A side question. What are you pulling this trailer with. Most likely your tow vehicle is 12 volts. I would look for 12 round magnets. If you do have to use 6 volt magnets you will most likely have to wire them in series rather than the original paralell or install a dropping resister before each wheel.
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Old 08-25-2003, 03:42 PM   #9
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Now that's a tow with some muscle.
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