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Old 11-09-2008, 08:17 AM   #1
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Brake Shudder Problem

I had a chance to ride in the Airstream yesterday. This is something I’ve wanted to do since we bought the thing to get some idea of what goes on back there when it’s rollin’. Not to worry too much, we had a good road, little traffic and an excellent driver, my buddy Eric. We only traveled about five miles from his house to mine.

The trip was pretty much what I expected except for the brakes--a few rattles here and there and a fairly smooth ride, even with old axles. The brakes on the other hand shuttered like mad every time Eric hit the brakes. No kidding, it was pretty severe. The question is, of course, what is causing this? Anybody got any suggestions?

Before we made our first real camping trip in it back in September, I pulled each wheel and cleaned everything, repacked the bearings and inspected everything I knew to look for. The brake shoes looked to be in good shape, as did the drums. The only real problem noted at the time was one of the brake springs had rusted thru and broken. I still haven’t found a replacement for it yet. I’m off to NAPA today to try and locate a suitable part. This is on the roadside front wheel and this brake remains disconnected, obviously not is use.

I’ve never had a similar problem with drum brakes before on any of my vehicles, but then I’ve never owned a 35 year old vehicle before, either. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Jim
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Old 11-09-2008, 08:23 AM   #2
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Drums most likely need to be cut or replaced....shoes might also need replacement. Visuals sometimes don't tell the full story.
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Old 11-09-2008, 08:28 AM   #3
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Yes, there's no telling how old the shoes are. I would have the drums turned, and replace the magnets and shoes. It's not that much money and that way you will know everything is good.
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Old 11-09-2008, 08:52 AM   #4
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Out of true drums makes perfect sense. I had this problem once on the front disks of my pick up. I'll give that a shot. So now I have to ask where do I get new shoes? I assume I can get them from Airstream, but is there a cheaper alternative for a '73 model?
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Old 11-09-2008, 09:02 AM   #5
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I would look in your local yellow pages for brakes. You most likely have a place that specializes in brakes of all type, and they would have them, and also probably the cheapest. If you were here, I'd be able to tell you exactly where to find them, San Antonio Brake and Clutch.
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Old 11-09-2008, 09:23 AM   #6
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If you want to do the work yourself, I would buy complete brake assemblies with the backing plates, shoes, magnets, and springs included. They only cost about $60 each. Have the drums machined, and put it all together. It's not a very difficult job.

I have always wanted to ride back there as well.
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Old 11-09-2008, 09:29 AM   #7
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Electric drum brakes are not rocket science. A simple visual inspection will most likely tell you what is wrong.

Shoe worn down to the rivets, magnet worn into the coil, broken return spring, grease on drum or shoe. Inspect the drums for cracks.

Slightly harder problems to define would be a drum out of round or the drum armature warped.

Another area to inspect is the electrical system controlling the brakes. An intermittent open in the wiring could also cause a chatter causeing the brakes to apply and release.
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Old 11-09-2008, 09:31 AM   #8
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Jim,
Can you feel any of the shuddering while riding in the TV? I was wondering how much of this sort of vibration gets transmitted up that far.
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Old 11-09-2008, 09:51 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim & Susan View Post
Out of true drums makes perfect sense. I had this problem once on the front disks of my pick up. I'll give that a shot. So now I have to ask where do I get new shoes? I assume I can get them from Airstream, but is there a cheaper alternative for a '73 model?
Jim, you can get loaded backing plates (plate, shoes, magnet, hardware, springs) from almost any trailer supply store. Redneck Trailers, Tractor Supply both come to mind. I've seen 12" backing plates as low as $50 each.


http://www.anythingtruck.com/commerc...-assemblies.mv
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Old 11-09-2008, 11:56 AM   #10
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Have the drums done, ask if they were out of round.

If so that's likely it, don't replace the backing plates if you're sure of them.

You may want to get an ohm meter on the magnets to test them also.

-----

But IMO, cut 'em replace all the backing plates and when you need them your knuckles won't be white.
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Old 11-09-2008, 01:56 PM   #11
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You might want to check the prices on fully loaded brake plate at EasternMarine. Their prices are very good and the shipping is reasonable. Here is the link

Trailer Parts Superstore - Recreational & Commercial Trailer Parts Dealer Since 1981
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Old 11-09-2008, 01:59 PM   #12
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Sounds to me like dirt/rust in the drums.
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Old 11-26-2008, 05:18 PM   #13
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Update

Just thought I'd post what I found. The shuddering was actually a combination of two related problems. The drums were out of round and and the brakes needed to be adjusted because of it. It appears that the drums have never been turned on this camper (I have no idea if they are factory or replacements). Interestingly, the brake shoes and bearings were in good shape.

One of the drums was very, very deformed. I assume this was from normal use (heat, wear, etc). These drums actually need to be completely replaced, but I'm hoping to get new axles in the spring/summer, so I didn't want to spend $100 plus per wheel to rework everything. I think we'll be reasonably safe for the next few months on the short trips we intend to make.

I have more info if anybody is interested.

Jim
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