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Old 05-08-2007, 06:19 AM   #1
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Brake sticking?

When doing some work on my trim at the weekend, I noticed one of the front axle tires has worn unevenly. The four tires were all new replaced at the same time by the previous owner and have only done about maybe 1,000 miles. The tread is worn right off in places. This suggests to me that the wheel sticks in places when the brakes are applied. I'm running with the original electric brakes with a Teconsha Prodigy controller. Everything has been working fine. I can't just drop by a dealer or repair shop as I am in England UK and electric trailer breaks do not exist apart from on 100 or so Airstreams. What should I check for and what can I do?
Ian
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Old 05-08-2007, 07:04 AM   #2
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Jack up that side of the trailer, and try to spin both wheels. Both should spin freely, with just a hint of drag from the brake shoes. If one just spins and spins, it needs adjustment, or possibly the brake shoes replaced. You may have warped brake drums that are causing the wheels to lock at the same spot when braking.
Also, that may be the only brake working on the trailer. You would check this by hooking your tow vehicle's connector up to the trailer, have an assistant apply the manual lever on the brake controller, and try to spin the wheels while they are still jacked up from your earlier test. If the wheel with the flat spots is the only one that won't spin more than 1/3 rotation, the others aren't working, and it is doing the job of stopping by itself.
If this is the case, again have your assistant apply the brake lever, and hold a megnetic compass near the wheels. If the compass doesn't point at the wheel with the lever applied, either the magnets aren't working, or they are not getting power. At that point you will have to start checking wiring, and if a test light illuminates with the lever applied, the magnets will likely need replacing.
If you check all this stuff, and don't find anything, please post back, and we'll talk you through some more tests. BTW, don't leave the manual lever applied more than a couple of mimutes at a time, as you can burn out the magnets.
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Old 05-08-2007, 07:40 AM   #3
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Also, it is possible that you have a very out-of-balance assembly on that location, and , if the shock is bad, it would only exascerbate the problem.
If you have brake problems, the entire assembly, backing plate,with shoes, magnet and all already attached can be purchased from Dexter for a very reasonable cost. Someone over here might even be talked into buying and sending them to you. They are heavy, so weight could be an issue on shipping, still yet, that is better than not being available at all.
And last but certainly not least, what about a bent axle/spindle in that one location. Out of alignment can certainly cause that, especially severly bent ones.
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Old 05-08-2007, 08:32 AM   #4
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Thanks. That's a great help. Hope I find the quick cheap solution!
Ian
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Old 05-08-2007, 10:20 AM   #5
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If you have an even wear pattern around the tire, it is probably balance. A bad drum would cause wear in a specific place. If the brake locked up enough to wear the rubber off, you would probably be able to hear it too.
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Old 05-08-2007, 01:48 PM   #6
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If you have a 1978 trailer with the original brakes I think it is time to pull the drums and have a look. When you pull the drums you will see the magnets at the bottom of the backer plate. The magnets originaly had several dozen 1/16 in holes in the face. As a maghnet wears down the holes will disapear. If you have an area where the holes have disapeared consider replacing the magnet. If when you look at the face of the magnet you see any wireing showing you HAVE TO PLEACE THE MAGNET as it has most likey shorted or will in short order. As for the brake shoes check them also for ware and often on older trailers grease has leaked out on to the shoes.

If the magnets are OK have someone apply the manual brake controller while you hold a piece of metal close to the magnet. When the brake is applied the metal should be held to the magnet, this will check you wiring before you reassemble things. Now check and pack the bearings and replace the drums and wheels on one side. While the trailer is jacked up on one side adjust the brakes. Brakes that have not been adjusted for many miles can cause a brake to stick after application but considering the age do the magnet check first.

Once adjusted spin the wheel and have someone apply the manual brake controller while the wheel is spinning. It should "slam" to a stop.
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Old 05-09-2007, 05:16 AM   #7
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Thanks to all of you who have responded. I know what I'm doing next weekend! Reading the replies together has given me some confidence and it sounds like, with a sequence of steps, I should be able to deal with the problem - or at least know what I need to get!
Thanks again. Ian
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Old 05-15-2007, 12:54 PM   #8
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Brakes sticking?????? More likely some other issue. Balance would be my guess.

What does the wear look like? See the pics.

Tire Wear

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Old 05-15-2007, 05:21 PM   #9
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If all the above very good advice doesn't trace your fault, I should mention an identical problem I had with my trailer about 6 years ago. After 13 stripdowns of the wheel in a field, spread over four weeks, and a wasted holiday (vacation ), I discovered that the brake manufacturer's catalogue was in error. The replacement brake actuating (long curved) lever inside one wheel drum was a slightly different shape to the original. This allowed it to jam on the brake lining, thereby stopping the brakes releasing. When the wheel was first refitted, the brakes would work correctly, but on one wheel the brakes would not release. Hence the tyre (tire ) wear. I invested in complete backplate and shoe assemblies to cure the issue. They are surprisingly low priced. Dexter Customer Services told me that their catalogue error was responsible for the supply of the incorrect part. I know others have had this problem. I originally detected the problem by using an infra-red digital thermometer, which showed the far higher temperature on the offending wheel.
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Old 05-15-2007, 10:41 PM   #10
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Hi, as mentioned by HowieE, if the wheel is actually locking up, it could be axle grease. Grease on brake shoes slip when cold and grab or stick like a suction cup when hot. You should be able to see grease on the backing plate without takeing anything apart if this is the case.
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Old 08-07-2011, 12:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ianrjam View Post
When doing some work on my trim at the weekend, I noticed one of the front axle tires has worn unevenly. The four tires were all new replaced at the same time by the previous owner and have only done about maybe 1,000 miles. The tread is worn right off in places. This suggests to me that the wheel sticks in places when the brakes are applied.
Ian
I have the same issue. One tire has a flat side to it, like it locked while the trailer was still rolling. I've replaced all 4 tires, but went I tested the new brake controller (Prodigy P2), one tire is definitely locking up. What should I do to repair that one brake? Thanks!
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Old 08-07-2011, 12:40 PM   #12
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First you have to determine if one wheel is locking or if in fact that is the only wheel that the brakes work on.

I would jack up the trailer and test each brake. To do this have someone apply the manual slide on the brake controller after you have one wheel spinning. The wheel should SLAM to a stop and then turn freely after they release the controller. If there is any difference in the reaction between the brakes a simple adjust may be all that is required.

Adjust the brakes. While turning a wheel tighten down on the star adjuster until the wheel stops. Then back off 3 or 4 notches on the star adjuster. The wheel should turn freely at this point and that wheel is adjusted. Do all wheels and repeat the spin/brake controller test. All brakes should Slam to a stop when the controller is activated and turn freely when released.

If possible take the trailer to a hard packed dirt road. While going 10 or 15 mph slide the manual lever on the brake controller to the on position. The brakes should lock and leave marks on the road. Compare these marks for evenness. The drivers side may mark slightly more but this is common as the wiring goes down that side of the trailer and there is some voltage drop to the passengers side.

If you are not getting even results from the spin test after adjusting or the dirt road test the brakes have to be opened and inspected for mechanical or electrical problems.
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Old 08-08-2011, 11:32 AM   #13
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testing

Thanks HowdieE,
The driver-side, rear wheel is sticking. I've jacked up the passenger-side and manually tested the brakes. They "slam" to a stop, but it hard to tell how strongly they engage under load. I've inspected both driver-side brakes. Brake pads look good, magnets are not worn, and shoes move easily with the magnet.

I did turn down the brake boost so that the one wheel doesn't lock up all the time at during the last 1-3 feet while coming to a stop.

I could open up the passenger side brake, but I think I'll find them fine, as well.

Any suggestions?
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Old 08-08-2011, 12:17 PM   #14
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If all looks good and the brakes are adjusted, the same all around, is there any chance that wheel has a different magnet or manufacture and is drawing more current?

If you can find one of the old Kelsey Hayes clip on amp meters you can read the current while the manual lever is fully applied and see if there is a difference in current draw.

The only other way would be to move that magnet to another brake and see if the problem moves.
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