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Old 01-06-2010, 02:38 PM   #15
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and don't 4get to change the oil, filters, plugs, points, belts and washer fluid on everything...

every 3,000 miles or 4 times a year.

good job devo!

but u don't even need brakes to get to topsail!


all of the true things that i am about to tell you are shameless lies. l.b.j.

we are here on earth to fart around. don't let anybody tell you any different. k.v.
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Old 01-06-2010, 02:50 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by 2airishuman View Post
and don't 4get to change the… points, belts and washer fluid on everything...

every 3,000 miles or 4 times a year.

I've been looking for the points for years and can't find them anywhere. That dang "distributer" is gone and I just don't know how the spark gets distributed. To change the washer fluid, you have to roll the truck—not so good for the roof, but you gotta have fresh fluid. My belt is getting worn and my wife wants me to buy a new one, but I hate to go shopping for clothes.


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Old 01-06-2010, 03:22 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post
I think there's some confusion what a "major brake" is. As I understand it this is an inspection of the brakes, not a "brake job" as Airslide called it.

To me a brake job is a general term meaning replacing shoes, springs, etc. I believe the magnets go first, later the shoes. When replacing shoes, best to replace springs too. At that point you might as well get the entire brake assembly as it's cheaper than the parts and you can now get self adjusting brakes.

Self adjusting brakes have been around for decades, but just appeared in the RV industry, or at least the Airstream part of it. My experience is that the brakes should be adjusted frequently, maybe 5,000 miles. Of course, every time you remove the drum (hub), you have to adjust them when you put everything back together.


In the RV industry, a major brake consists of the following.

Inspect the position of the axle torsion arms.
Place the trailer on jack stands.
Observe that the tires dropped about 3 inches from their loaded position.
Remove all 2/4/6 hub and drums, with the wheels attached.
Remove the grease seals.
Remove all the bearings.
Clean the bearings in a grease cleaner.
Inspect all the bearings for rust, pitting, wear, and discoloration.
Pressure pack the bearings, with a high quality grease, and set them aside.
Remove all the grease from the hub.
Remove all the grease from the spindle.
Inspect the spindle for an unusual wear, or discoloration.
Clean all traces of the grease from the hub.
Clean the drum face and the armature plate.
Inspect the drum face and armature plate for unusual wear and/or scoring.
Sand the drum face and armature plate, with about 150 grit sandpaper, to remove the glaze on those 2 surfaces.
Inspect the condition of the brake magnet, the brake shoes, the brake springs, and the brake adjuster.
Clean the entire backing plate, and the good parts.
Replace any of those parts, if necessary
Replace the adjuster springs if they are 10 years old or so.
Deglaze the brake lining with the 150 grit sandpaper.
Balance the tire and wheel, along with the hub and drum (when possible).
Install the inner bearing.
Add a little more grease to the bearing.
Install a new double lipped grease seal that also has a spring in it.
Reinstall the hub, drum, tire and wheel assembly back onto the spindle.
Add a little more grease to the outer bearing.
Install the outer bearing.
Install the bearing retainer bushing or washer.
Install the bearing retainer nut.
Tighten the bearing retainer nut, while slowly turning the wheel. Tighten to take all the side play out of the wheel, etc. Back off on the retainer nut, until you can just feel a litlle side play in the wheel, and align the hole in the bearing retainer nut with the hole in the spindle.
Insert a new cotter pin into that hole.
Fold the ends of the cotter pin, over the sides of the bearing retainer nut.
Reinstall the grease cap.
Adjust the brakes.
Lower the trailer back onto the floor.

That, is a major brake job.

It takes, ball park, 3 hours, plus or minus, on a tandem axle trailer, to complete that job, depending on how many parts may have to be replaced. Balancing time is extra.

Yes, that is a lot of work. But that work, assures proper performance of the running gear, along with it's safety.

Performing the major brake job, at it's required intervals, will give the trailer maximum life from it's parts, assures excellent braking, and more than likely, no brake problems.

A couple of those steps, can be eliminated, should the trailer be equipped with "self adjusting" brakes.

The procedure is almost the same, for a major brake job, on disc brakes.

Please note, that some infinitesimal steps included in the performance of a major brake job, were not listed.

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Old 01-06-2010, 03:40 PM   #18
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All I wanted to know was which way to tighten the brakes and loosen it.Everything else is done.I just forgot which way and wanted to not go thru the trouble of figuring it out in this cold weather.

Turn the little wheel upwards and the screwdriver or brake tool downward to tighten it up.
It just cant get any better than that.

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Old 01-06-2010, 04:06 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post

A major brake, should be done every 10,000 miles or once a year, which ever comes first. That is now an RV industry standard, in fact Airstream says every 6 months.

All to many things can and do go wrong with electric brakes, as well as bearings.

Alxo, due to long periods of non-use, water gets into the bearings. There is no way possible to determine if your bearings do or do not have water in them, except by visual inspection.

If, by chance, the water is present, and that chance is about 50 percent, then the water attacks the bearing or bearings.

That being the case, the bearings should be removed, cleaned and inspected, then repacked, and reinstalled with NEW grease seals, ALWAYS. Reusing the old seals has a very large risk with it.

After the major brake, then the running gear should be rebalanced again, unless the trailer is equipped with Centramatic balancers, or their equal.

Now the question becomes, how can you assure yourself, that the complete running gear is "hunky dory" without visual inspection???

Safety, safety and more safety is the issue. Not taking steps to being safe, automatically places you in a "risk" category. Most owners live by the proper and timely PM. Some don't mind taking those risks. But when they do, and break down while on a trip, all hell breaks loose when they are told that it may take several days for the parts, and if a bearing fails, it many times takes the axle spindle with it, and I can assure you. that a quick replacement axle, will not be availble, but should it be, then there is the additional wait, and, the addition expenses.

It simply is not worth the risks involved. Do the PM's as necessary.

Travel trailers are not like cars and trucks. They do not have the built in same reliability that the automotive industry does.

Yes, a major brake job, is necessary, as outlined.

But, it's your trailer, your money, your inconveniences as well as those that may be traveling with you. And in the case of a bearing failure, now you must get your insurance company involved as well. They will only take care of the resultant damage, never the cause of the damage.

My 43 plus years with the Airstream program, has not been for naught.



Its not my intention to challenge your 43 years of airstream knowledge. Your right, I have been in the automotive side of the business for nearly 30 years and not in the RV industry. However, if you were to take that brake assembly and install it on a car with a drive axle in place of the bearing stub that exists now you basically have an electric version of a standard brake drum assembly found on millions of passenger vehicles.
If the job was performed properly the first time those components should pass mulitiple inspections before part replacements are necessary.
In my opionion I would say there is a greater risk by opening it all up each time to make all these inspections. Over torque to bearings and lugnuts, improper adjustments to the shoes etc..

Your only as safe and reliable as the last guy that climbed in there to do the inspection.

So Andy... let me be the first to say that I AGREE WITH YOU WHEN IT COMES TO INSPECTIONS. Your right on. Folks need to learn how to pull that drum off and inspect and carefully reinstall and get the bearings and shoes adjusted correctly or take it to someone who knows what they are doing and maybe watch them...

My only question to you was... you dont really mean to suggest that all those inspected parts be replaced when you refer to "Major brake" (i guess I added the "job" part). This would add a significant expense to airstream ownership experience unless necessary due to the type of mileages your traveling.

I just replaced my brake assemblies and wouldnt expect to do it again (based on the way im using the stream) for another 5 years or so..

It will get inspections and regrease on the bearings though

2014 Intl 23' FB
1959 Tradewind 24'
2011 Dodge Dually Crew
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Old 01-06-2010, 04:13 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Devoman View Post
All I wanted to know was which way to tighten the brakes and loosen it.
You just never know where things are going to go here. Perhaps a discussion of the WBCCI will "brake" out.

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Old 01-06-2010, 05:38 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post
You just never know where things are going to go here. Perhaps a discussion of the WBCCI will "brake" out.


If it's to be, it's up to me.
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