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Old 07-19-2007, 11:29 PM   #1
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1974 31' Sovereign
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'74 sovereign LY Brake HELP

Hello All! This is my first post here, i've been searching a lot and have learned TONS of stuff about my baby. We were planning on taking her for the maiden voyage out to the lake and I was going to pack the bearings and inspect the trailer brakes (just got a brake controller installed on my '96 PSD F350) and lo and behold, the brakes look to be in pretty bad shape. Here are a few pictures:






The electromagnet:






These things fell out when I removed the brake drum:






The other electromagnet was in a bit better shape:



I am at a loss, Where do those little pins go? One looks horribly worn, almost like a bullet. What do I need to replace? On the second axle, the spring on the bottom of the brake pads has broken in half.

Do they make replacement parts for this stuff? Should I take this 'opportunity' to upgrade my brakes from 30 year old technology to something more modern?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 07-20-2007, 04:36 AM   #2
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Might be Time...

There are parts availble for the rebuilding of these brakes. However, it is usually more cost effective to get a complete new backing plate assembly. If your axles are original, an upgraged axle with new brakes and hubs just might be the route to take. (IMHO)
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Old 07-20-2007, 06:18 AM   #3
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Two choices, clean them up and replace what's needed or get new brake back plates with all new shoes springs & magnets at about $45-60 ea.

one magnet can be $25-28????

If you want to clean them up and need help ask away. They can be referb to 98% of working order.

Oh a third choice is new axles with new brakes at $800 + shipping ea.
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Old 07-20-2007, 07:30 AM   #4
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Just Get New Axles and Be Done With It!

I replaced the backing plates on a '72 Overlander a few years ago before a big trip to Colorado and it I think it cost around $60-$70 per wheel, which didn't include new drums.

This spring, I put new Dexters underneath my Sovereign with NeverLube hubs and it didn't take a whole lot longer than the whole backing plate/bearing repack evolution did back in '04.

In hindsight, the backing plate replacement was a waste of time and money. Your axles are most likely shot anyway. I've found that it make a huge difference in the way the trailer rides (just from watching in the rear view mirror). And you get all new brakes/bearings!

Henschens will run you around $800+ a piece, but Dexters can be procured for considerably less and shipped to a dealer/distributor near you if you're willing to drill a hole or two and widen the axle gap where the axle slides into the frame (assuming you use #11 axles).

PM me if you need any info on this option, as I have done it and there is a forum member who has Dexter dealer pricing.
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Old 07-20-2007, 09:15 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LI Pets
Two choices, clean them up and replace what's needed or get new brake back plates with all new shoes springs & magnets at about $45-60 ea.

one magnet can be $25-28????

If you want to clean them up and need help ask away. They can be referb to 98% of working order.

Oh a third choice is new axles with new brakes at $800 + shipping ea.
I think cleaning them up and replacing only what is needed is the option i'd like to take for now. This project is on a pretty tight budget as is. I'd love some pointers as to where to find diagrams and parts (hopefully locally in Austin, TX). Also, where did those little bullet shaped peices go and what is their purpose?

Thanks again!
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Old 07-20-2007, 11:11 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blimp
I think cleaning them up and replacing only what is needed is the option i'd like to take for now. This project is on a pretty tight budget as is. I'd love some pointers as to where to find diagrams and parts (hopefully locally in Austin, TX). Also, where did those little bullet shaped peices go and what is their purpose?

Thanks again!
The magnet arms have not been available for years.

Your best bet is to replace the backing plates, especially when you consider safety.

Your backing plate are severely rusted, and really should be retired asap.

On the other hand, your axles may be bad as well.

The following articles will explain how you can check them out yourself.

Dura Torque Axle

Andy
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Old 07-20-2007, 12:03 PM   #7
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Thanks for the reply and informative article Andy, I'll check out the axles when i get home today. Looks like i'll be going for the full backing plate replacement....
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Old 07-20-2007, 01:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blimp
... Where do those little pins go? ... Should I take this 'opportunity' to upgrade my brakes from 30 year old technology to something more modern? ...
I believe those pins mount on the brake magnet arm to keep the face of the magnet properly aligned with the armature (wear surface on the drum). Your setup should have looked like this:



The pins are what keep the magnet from wearing on the bottom like yours did.

Take a good look at the inside of the wheel drums to make sure no damage was done when the magnets were wearing funny.

Loaded backing plates are the way to go in your situation. "Later day technology" will provide you with oval magnets instead of the round ones you have. The function/principle of operation is still the same. Be forewarned: Although all the parts on a modern-day backing plate will work fine on your Airstream, the backing plate itself may interfere with the drum. If this should happen, simply transfer the piece-parts from the new backing plate to your original one.

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Old 07-20-2007, 06:04 PM   #9
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Ok, So looking around, complete backing plates run about $75-100 a piece. This is a litte steep for what I can afford so i'm going to try and manufacture new pins to hold the magnets in place, hopefully getting away with repairing them for around $5.

Do these pins hold the magnets securely in place or do they just orient the magnets so they are parallel to the vertical section of the brake drum?

The one magnet may be damaged beyond use, in which case i'll be out round $30-40. Does this sound completely insane? The drums and shoes look to be in good shape, although I think i'll replace a few of the gnarlier looking springs. I'm thinking about putting the backing plates through a parts washer and doing some light sanding to get the rust off.

Other than a bit of rust, do these look unusable to everyone?

thanks again for your time and responses everyone
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Old 07-20-2007, 06:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blimp
Ok, So looking around, complete backing plates run about $75-100 a piece. This is a litte steep for what I can afford so i'm going to try and manufacture new pins to hold the magnets in place, hopefully getting away with repairing them for around $5.

Do these pins hold the magnets securely in place or do they just orient the magnets so they are parallel to the vertical section of the brake drum?

The one magnet may be damaged beyond use, in which case i'll be out round $30-40. Does this sound completely insane? The drums and shoes look to be in good shape, although I think i'll replace a few of the gnarlier looking springs. I'm thinking about putting the backing plates through a parts washer and doing some light sanding to get the rust off.

Other than a bit of rust, do these look unusable to everyone?

thanks again for your time and responses everyone
There are two sane appraches to your brake problem.

1. Replace the backing plates.

2. Don't use the trailer.

WHY?

To even make an attempt to repair those pins, is putting your life, your families lives and probably some innocent persons lives, ON THE LINE..

Do you really think that's the best thing to do.

When you tow, be "SAFE."

If you can't do that, then don't tow.

You cannot properly repair those pins in the arms.

Secondly, you cannot replace one magnet. They must be replaced as a pair one the same axle. If not, "YOU WILL GET" a brake pull.

Safety is the issue, not dollars.

If the budget won't allow proper repairs, then don't tow the trailer.

Your not flirting with a fire cracker, your flirting with a bomb.

Don't want to hurt your feelings, but someone needs to tell you like it is.

Andy
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Old 07-20-2007, 06:15 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blimp
... Do these pins hold the magnets securely in place or ...
You can probably fix the pin issue if you are handy and/or have access to cool tools.

The magnets shown in your pictures are not to be trusted, and IMO should be replaced. If you choose to use them, make sure each magnet measures around three ohms resistance. An infinite resistance reading means a bad magnet - don't even bother reinstalling it.

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Old 07-20-2007, 06:45 PM   #12
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Andy's not wrong, albeit very conservative, if you want to save money and be safe you can.

Don't bother taking the backing plates off to clean them, brakes get rust pretty quick.

I would test the magnets with an ohm meter as suggested above. If they are ok clean them up with "brake clean" and then take 400 paper to the surface.

Take apart the shoes and springs, then clean up the back plates with wire brush etc, rustolium spray paint.

Reassemble replace any part that looks questionable.
re pack the bearingsAdjust the brakes, take it to parking lot and get someone to run along side and see if they lock (or work) up, you can also do this on sand or gravel to see that all are working.

But I know you can get complete backing plates for $45-50 if you use Google.
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Old 07-20-2007, 07:08 PM   #13
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Hey there Blimp! Welcome aboard! Andy does a good job keeping us streight. Don't take short cuts...but hunt long enough and you'll find the parts you need. Hope your axels check out. Not a bad tow to the lake from there though once your safe to roll.

My old girl is a long way from rolling yet, but some day I'll get caught up If ya get out on 29 in the big city of Bertram stop by right behind the rail road depot. Look for the F350 Ambulance (my TV) A look at my old Sov will make yours look much better to ya

rob n terry
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Old 07-20-2007, 11:19 PM   #14
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Quote:
Ok, So looking around, complete backing plates run about $75-100 a piece. This is a litte steep for what I can afford so i'm going to try and manufacture new pins to hold the magnets in place, hopefully getting away with repairing them for around $5.
This reminds me of the threads where someone is trying to rebuild/repair their 35 year old Suburban furnace.

I've been there, done that, bought the T-shirt!

It's not what you want to hear, but Andy is right on the money on this.

Backing plates, purchased separately from axles (like hubs) will cost more than the amount deducted should you choose to purchase bare axles at a later date. They will also require a fair amount of labor in changing them out from one axle to another.

Like I've said, I've changed out backing plates, and I've changed out axles. I'd never waste my time or money again on new backing plates.

In this case, the best option may be to let it sit in the yard until you can round up the funds for axles.

I don't know the details of your purchase, but having restored a 27' Overlander, and then a 31' Sovereign, I do know that my perspective is much different than it was when I first purchased the "all original" Overlander back in Jan '04. (I sold it in '06 with a new fridge, furnace, water heater, water pump, stove top, and, of course, new backing plates.)

I still stand by this undeniable truth:

No one gets out for less than $10K.

If you plan to tow, your running gear (axles, brakes, wheels, tires) are pretty important. 6000 lbs and 31 feet of trailer is a pretty large mass to be travelling behind you with "fixed" hardware.
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