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Old 06-23-2015, 07:25 PM   #1
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1976 31' Excella 500
Providence Village , Texas
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'76 rear brake confusion

TIA for everyone on this issue... We have a 76 Excella 31' - soooooooooo..... I pulled the rear tires off today to check the bearings (which were very well greased) and I am not sure WHAT the PO did or more importantly didn't do...

So both rear axles have disc brakes - the rear set has the hydraulic lines, but they end (are snipped) 14in away from the caliper - (so NO brakes on the rear axle), on the front axle (I did not pull the tire) but could see the wiring for the electronic disc brakes.

In doing research, there should be a disc brake actuator, but I cannot for the life of me find one (based off the images I see online)...

I am not sure if the front set are working or not.

Being that I weigh in about 5500 pounds (partially loaded) - I NEED to have brakes for both axles..

so...

1.) Do I go with electric on both axles (yes, I have heard they are a bit "catchy")?
2.) Do I switch back to hydraulic brakes?
3.) IF, the front brakes are good - best source for new calipers etc. for the rear set, or for peace of mind - just replace it ALL?
4.) If the fronts are good - any thoughts or ideas on where the actuator might be located?
5.) on this - would I wire them to the front set, or would separate wiring be needed?
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Old 06-23-2015, 11:54 PM   #2
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The original vacuum over hydraulic actuator for the disc brakes would be on the tongue behind the propane tanks in a large pvc case. The replacement electric over hydraulic actuator could go in the same place if the steel bottom of the case is not rusted out and an aluminum cover can be fabricated to cover it. Going back to disc brakes will be expensive plus you will need to buy new rims as the 70s rims won't fit with Kodiak or dexter disc brakes. You likely are cheaper just going to electric drums. Parts for the original Ausco disc brakes are not available. I still have them on mine but nobody knows how to service them and I just had a very expensive Airstream service center ruin an original rotor because the idiot put one of the brake pads on backwards so that it was metal on metal. I found it after 800 miles. Now I'm having a hard time finding a shop that will touch the rotor to turn it smooth. I'm coming to the realization that I'm going to have to upgrade to modern discs or drums because I can't find anyone to work on them anymore without doing more harm than good.
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Old 06-24-2015, 10:43 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4RXLA View Post
The original vacuum over hydraulic actuator for the disc brakes would be on the tongue behind the propane tanks in a large pvc case. The replacement electric over hydraulic actuator could go in the same place if the steel bottom of the case is not rusted out and an aluminum cover can be fabricated to cover it. Going back to disc brakes will be expensive plus you will need to buy new rims as the 70s rims won't fit with Kodiak or dexter disc brakes. You likely are cheaper just going to electric drums. Parts for the original Ausco disc brakes are not available. I still have them on mine but nobody knows how to service them and I just had a very expensive Airstream service center ruin an original rotor because the idiot put one of the brake pads on backwards so that it was metal on metal. I found it after 800 miles. Now I'm having a hard time finding a shop that will touch the rotor to turn it smooth. I'm coming to the realization that I'm going to have to upgrade to modern discs or drums because I can't find anyone to work on them anymore without doing more harm than good.
Many parts for the original Airstream disc brakes, are still available.

O rings, piston gaskets, piston boots, clevis pins, bushings, and the brake pads. Overhauling the sync valve service is also still available.

Servicing information is also still available.

Andy
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Old 06-24-2015, 12:56 PM   #4
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1976 31' Excella 500
Providence Village , Texas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4RXLA View Post
The original vacuum over hydraulic actuator for the disc brakes would be on the tongue behind the propane tanks in a large pvc case. The replacement electric over hydraulic actuator could go in the same place if the steel bottom of the case is not rusted out and an aluminum cover can be fabricated to cover it. Going back to disc brakes will be expensive plus you will need to buy new rims as the 70s rims won't fit with Kodiak or dexter disc brakes. You likely are cheaper just going to electric drums. Parts for the original Ausco disc brakes are not available. I still have them on mine but nobody knows how to service them and I just had a very expensive Airstream service center ruin an original rotor because the idiot put one of the brake pads on backwards so that it was metal on metal. I found it after 800 miles. Now I'm having a hard time finding a shop that will touch the rotor to turn it smooth. I'm coming to the realization that I'm going to have to upgrade to modern discs or drums because I can't find anyone to work on them anymore without doing more harm than good.

Thanks for the insight... There is NO vacuum box or actuator on the front on the trailer, but there are some wires coming out of the belly pans I will track down. The front axle has wires connecting to the brakes which are drums.

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Am I correct in thinking that one braking axle is not enough to safely travel with?
Do I convert the other axle to drums as well?
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Old 06-24-2015, 01:53 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by txdxrider View Post

So both rear axles have disc brakes - the rear set has the hydraulic lines, but they end (are snipped) 14in away from the caliper - (so NO brakes on the rear axle), on the front axle (I did not pull the tire) but could see the wiring for the electronic disc brakes.
I have never seen electrically operated disc brakes on a trailer.

Send pics when you get the wheel off.

>>>>>>>>>>>Action
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Old 06-24-2015, 01:56 PM   #6
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Quote:
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I have never seen electrically operated disc brakes on a trailer.

Send pics when you get the wheel off.

>>>>>>>>>>>Action

I corrected it in my last post..,

I pulled the rear wheel off the other day and it has non functioning disc brakes- when I snapped the pic above I noted that the fronts are drum brakes not disc...
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Old 06-25-2015, 05:02 PM   #7
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So from what I figured out - I should be able to buy a set of electric drums and replace the discs on the rear axle... Airstream supply and inland RV have them for sale full kits.... Is this probably the best route for me? This way I have four brakes for stopping versus the two existing.

Any issues that anyone on here sees?
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Old 06-25-2015, 06:00 PM   #8
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You can go to about any supplier and get new backing plates complete with brakes and drums, drums and bearings about $110 and $58 for the backing plates, just picked some up a month ago from a local trailer parts supplier..
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Old 06-25-2015, 06:33 PM   #9
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Have you pulled a wheel from the rear axle? The caliper mounts to something. On a car it is the spindle and the spindle for disc brakes is different than a drum brakes.

Or better yet pull the rotor off of the spindle and make sure the surface fro the bearings matched the bearing race you will get for the drum brakes.

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Old 06-25-2015, 06:50 PM   #10
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Electric brakes and a Tekonsha P3 controller. A great combination.
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Old 06-25-2015, 07:21 PM   #11
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Electric brakes and a Tekonsha P3 controller. A great combination.

I have the P3 as well..... She towed great on the way home...
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Old 06-25-2015, 07:22 PM   #12
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1976 31' Excella 500
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76 rear brake confusion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Action View Post
Have you pulled a wheel from the rear axle? The caliper mounts to something. On a car it is the spindle and the spindle for disc brakes is different than a drum brakes.

Or better yet pull the rotor off of the spindle and make sure the surface fro the bearings matched the bearing race you will get for the drum brakes.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>Action

Luckily from what I've looked at online- the elec brakes are universal to AS axles- but of course I would disassemble prior to ordering...

The new drums come with backing plates, bearing, races, etc.... From AS's site they should be plug -n- play...
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Old 06-25-2015, 07:23 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjdonahoe View Post
You can go to about any supplier and get new backing plates complete with brakes and drums, drums and bearings about $110 and $58 for the backing plates, just picked some up a month ago from a local trailer parts supplier..

That's what I found - circa $250 I have a full set ready to put on from Airstream
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Old 06-25-2015, 07:53 PM   #14
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Just so you know, the photo of the electronic disc brakes are of a drum brake assembly. Not discs.
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