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Old 03-06-2010, 09:11 AM   #1
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Brake Question

I took my '03 Safari in for new tires yesterday. I also had the bearings packed. On my trip home, I noticed the brakes were very weak. I adjusted the controller to max brakes, but the response was minimal. I assume something was inadvertently changed, but I would like some expert advice. Thanks, Miles
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Old 03-06-2010, 09:43 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by milesmason View Post
I took my '03 Safari in for new tires yesterday. I also had the bearings packed. On my trip home, I noticed the brakes were very weak. I adjusted the controller to max brakes, but the response was minimal. I assume something was inadvertently changed, but I would like some expert advice. Thanks, Miles
Removing the hub and drum, disturbs the dirt that's on the backing plate.

That then gets on the brake shoes and weakens the brakes.

The shop, should have done a "major brake" instead of just repacking.

Did the shop replace the grease seals? If so, which type did they use? There is a cheap "single lip" seal as well as a "double lip including a spring", more expensive seal that's available.

Obviously, the double lip is far superior.

There is no need for you to have that brake proble, "IF" the shop did the job "PROPERLY".

Andy 9.3
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Old 03-06-2010, 10:03 AM   #3
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To pack the bearing they more than likely backed off on the Star Adjuster to remove the drums and did not readjust them when they put them back on.

Have the brakes adjusted and then recalibrate the brake controller.
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Old 03-12-2010, 08:37 AM   #4
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Thanks for the answers. Where is the star adjuster located? Is it on both sides? Thanks, Miles
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Old 03-12-2010, 10:24 AM   #5
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Jack up the trailer and crawl under to look at the back side of the backer plates. Along the bottom edge you will see a rubber plug about 3/8 x 1 in. long. remove the plug and look in with a flash light. You will see a wheel with notches on a barrel with a bolt thread on the other end. That is te star adjuster.

You will need a brake adjuster tool, any auto store will have it, to adjust the brakes. Study the threads on the bolt, one side is right hand and one if left hand. Turning the star wheel so that the bolt extends outward will tighten the shoes against the drum.

While turning the wheel slowly tighten the star till the wheel can not be turned. Now back off 3 or 4 increments on the star. The wheel should now turn mostly free, you may have one spot per turn where the brakes scrap the drum, this is normal as long as the wheel turns free. The brakes are now adjusted.

After the first 20 miles or so of driving I would stop, With Out Using The Trailer Brakes and check each wheel close to the center of the wheel for heat. You should be able to touch the wheel and hold it. If you find heat there the brakes are adjusted Too tight
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Old 03-12-2010, 11:19 AM   #6
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It is easy to learn how to adjust the brakes and worthwhile knowing how to do it. The tool HowieE suggested is inexpensive. It looks like a wide bladed screwdriver that has a slight bend in it. However it is a hassle to jack up the trailer, crawl under and adjust the four individual brakes when it should have been done by the repair shop when your bearings were repacked. I like Andy would be suspicious of the shops quality of work, seals, etc. when they left off the very elemental step of readjusting the brakes. Perhaps they were not used to working on trailers. All cars with drum brakes manufactured in the past 20 or 30 years have automatic brake adjusters that activate when the car is backed up or the safety brake is applied. Only recently Dexter has produced trailer brakes that are self adjusting. In my shop we would always adjust drum brakes after pulling the drum for any reason even if there were automatic adjusters installed. Automatic adjusters are also suscepatable to rust from corrosive environments such as coastal areas or road salt and will freeze up. First thing I do every time I leave with the trailer is get it rolling at about 5mph in a streight line and then apply the brake controller manually. I'm always happy when the rig slows down and stops.
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