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Old 03-04-2003, 09:19 PM   #1
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Brake controller hook-up

I've never had an occasion to tow a trailer large enough to require supplemental brakes, but my wife inherited an Airstream in Florida. I will need to tow it to New York. It'll be baptism by fire.

It is a 1984 Excella 31'. It has the Vacuum brake system. I understand the need to run the vacuum line, but I am confused about the controller. How does the signal get from the controller to the brake actuator? There is a 7-way electrical connector on both the trailer and the Silverado that lists one of the wires as the "BRAKE" connection, but I assume that is for brake lights. Does it operate the lights and the brake actuator?

I still have not bought a controller. Does it matter which one I get considering the vacuum brakes? Is it easy to wire?

Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old 03-04-2003, 09:35 PM   #2
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Welcome

Dimick,

Forums member DavidZ71

http://www.airforums.com/forum...info&userid=78

is the gruru when it comes to this brake setup. You might want to email him or send him a PM for infor.

John
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Old 03-05-2003, 12:20 AM   #3
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Vacuume Brakes

Hay John. I have the same system on my airstream. I bought a 12 volt vacuume pump to hook up, insted of running vacuume from the tow unit. But I am also not sure on what brake controller to use. If you find out let me know Thanks. The one it showes in the service book has a line to run for the brakes and has a brake fluid line that you T off to go the brake controller. I don't think thay make that kind of controller any more.
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Old 03-05-2003, 05:55 AM   #4
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Suptrker,

Sorry, but I know nothing off these brakes systems. DavidZ71 explained with pics , how it's setup and works. Go to the search menu and see what you can find.

John
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Old 05-14-2003, 11:37 AM   #5
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Vacuum brakes

I made it from Florida to New York with no problems. I mounted the vacuum pump between the "V" on the frame, made the two electrical connections, connected the vacuum supply line using adapters I got from Home Depot and I was in business.

The only concern I had was not having a breakaway switch in the event of a road safety check. I bought one from an RV dealer in Florida for $10 and mounted it to the frame. I connected the cable to the bumper of the truck and tucked the wires under the propane tanks. It was not functional as the original system was actuated in disconnect situation by a loss of vacuum, but to the inspectig officer, it would look better to have one than to not. To install the breakaway feature, I would have needed to wrap a cable around the vacuum line leading from the pump I installed. The breakaway feature would have then operated as the original design was intended. I'll do that before I set out on another trip.

The most difficlt part of the project was to find a vacuum pump that was functional. I tried to have one rebuilt, but I could not find anyone willing to do it. I finally found a pump at a U-pull it yard. I also found a vacuumpump from an '86 Cadillac, but I don't know if it had the self-regulating feature of the pump from the Chevy Celebrity.
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Old 05-15-2003, 12:13 AM   #6
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Break Controller

that sounds like it works real good, can you tell me what kind of break control you used. that would help me out. Thanks
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Old 05-15-2003, 12:59 PM   #7
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I used a Tekonsha Prodigy that I got from E-bay for $100. Worked great.
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Old 05-15-2003, 09:57 PM   #8
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Guys, sorry I missed the first post. I guess I was away turkey hunting and just plain missed it. cgwhite used a Delco vacuum pump out of a Buick Grand National to provide the vacuum source for his system while towing with a diesel (no vac. source of its own). As you found out, there is nothing special with the wiring of the controller. You do not need the breakaway cable and you may find that by faking it an inspector may try the system and gig you when it doesn't work. Just explain that when the hose separates, the loss of vacuum activates the brake system. I used the Hayes-Lemmerz Energize III as recommended by Andy from Inland RV because he says it is the correct brake controller. I guess there are other choices but it has worked fine for me. Andy has plenty of parts for your disc brakes.
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