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Old 04-18-2007, 01:08 PM   #1
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2006 30' Classic S/O
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Brake Failure

We have had our Airstream Classic 30' for almost two years. To make a very long story short, the Acti-brake system operates intermittantly By that I mean that it goes "out of sync" with the tow vehicle (2004 Yukon XL with factory towing package). As a result the signal from the truck does not activate the electric hydraulic brakes and we are running with only the truck brakes.

We have had two Prodigy and one Genesis brake controllers installed by Airstream dealers and have had a new Acti-brake unit installed in these 20 months. The wiring has been checked from stem to stern:. The only "fix" we have is temporary -- disconnect both batteries and wait 10 minutes or so. This is an effort to drain all voltage from the Actibrake memory chip, like re-botting your computer. When you re-connect the truck to the trailer it usually syncs up properly. But that might last 2 hours or two days before it "un-syncs" again.

The last fix effort in Jackson Center involved wiring the ground directly to the battery to improve the ground performance. That worked for a few hook-ups and then failed.

We are out of ideas! Help!!
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Old 04-18-2007, 02:50 PM   #2
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I would contact Acti-brake asap and talk to an engineer not a customer service person.

I would also write Airstream and Acti-brake noting any work to correct the problem done by Airstream to date with a copy to the National Transportation Safty Board.

Yes we have all had brakeing problems in the past. A shorted magnet, blown fuse, shorted wire, or poor adjustment. These problems are normal wear and tear and once fixed are not expected to reoccur. Braking problems that reoccur after a presumed technically competent individual has worked on them indicates a problem beyound thier capacity.
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Old 04-18-2007, 02:51 PM   #3
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Did you do the re-sync proceedure after dis-connecting and repconnecting?
Sounds like there is a intermittent wire break. Did you have the output of the brake controller checked? You may have to replace or repair all the wires between the controller and actibrake.
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Old 04-18-2007, 03:21 PM   #4
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Michelle,
Was your accident caused by trailer brakes locking up, or am I thinking of another mishap?
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Old 04-18-2007, 03:26 PM   #5
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Wasn't me! I never touched the brakes. I slid on black ice.
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Old 04-18-2007, 03:42 PM   #6
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heads or tails?

hi 4arstrm

frustrating no doubt.

driving with only the tv brakes in front of a 30 footer?

that's no good.

i've had two experiences when the tv brake controller "signaled" no trailer brakes.

both time the 7 pin was loose/poorly connected.

there are so many possibles in your case....

? have you tried the SIMPLE APPROACH to reducing the sources...

1. has the trailer been towed with a different tow vehicle?

or

2. has your Yuk pulled anything else with trailer brakes?

start by 'short'ening the list by 1/2....

cheers
2air'
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Old 04-18-2007, 05:56 PM   #7
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I think also that there must be an intermittant open circuit. Tedious to check. Look at the umbilical, and the plugs especially. Probably vibration/motion related.
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Old 06-22-2007, 11:40 AM   #8
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Here is an update for those who might be looking to understand why the Activ-Brake might not work consistently despite changes in the controller etc. We contacted the tech person at Active Technology ( a third time) and he was again very concerned and tried his best to help. This time he was able to provide a new model of the Activ-Brake unit which he hoped would fix what he called "ground shift" problems. To him it sounded like we were losing our ground connection in the circuit to the brake unit and he acknowledged that the unit was sensitive to changes in power through the circuit.

The new model is "beefier" and the original and less sensitive to these ground fluctuations.

So he overnighted a new unit to the factory in Jackson Center OH (thank heaven we are only 3.5 hours away!) and we had it installed and it seems to be working just great. For the first time I have the sense of the tow vehicle and the trailer braking in tandem every time I touch the brake pedal.

Whew.
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Old 12-05-2007, 10:34 AM   #9
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Brake Failure Resolved!

After this pleading note in April, 2007, we again spoke to the technician at Activ-Brake and were told that a new actuator was available which was "beefed up" compared to the original ones installed over the last 2 years. We again visited Jackson Center and had this bigger unit installed in June and have had wonderful brake performance ever since!! It appears our intermittant braking was caused by loss of ground and the new unit overcomes that problem Fortunately we never hit anything during our nearly two years of travel without reliable brakes on the trailer. I guess the Yukon XL has pretty good brakes too.

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Old 12-05-2007, 11:08 AM   #10
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Interesting! When you hear hoofbeats, you don't first think of a quaga!
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Old 04-13-2009, 08:50 PM   #11
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Potential brake line failure

I'm glad you fixed your intermittent brake activator problem, 4arstrm.

I'm writing to warn you about another potential problem. I lost the brakes on my 31' Classic today because Airstream allows the flex brake lines to each wheel to rub up against the frame. This wears a hole in the flex line, leaking brake fluid.

So please look under each wheel and ensure that the brake lines do not contact (or are in no danger of contacting) the frame with motion of the wheel suspension. Crimping of the brake line might also be the cause of delayed break action or delayed break release (conjecture on my part).

I'm not yet sure about the solution, but I'm working on it.

Trvler

ps - in my experience the Suburban (and by conjecture the Yukon XL) have terrible brakes, so I hope you never have to rely solely on them in an emergency.
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