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Old 06-10-2008, 08:49 PM   #1
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Brake wiring problem in a 71

I just got my new axles and brakes in and can tell from the get go the brakes themselves are working as they should.

But, I have a wiring problem I also described in a recent post on the Dexter axles. There does not seem to be any other possibility there is a short somewhere in the bowels of the airstream which will not be easily accessible. I've looked. The wiring from the TV to the 7 way coonector all checks out. The short has to be between the 7 way and the brakes. Hoping in vain I could solve the problem I direct wired the brake grounds to the belly pan. That at least got the brakes to actuate. And I took her out for a test drive down the road. For some unknown reason the left turn signal also causes the brakes to apply in sync.The left rear brake also is noticably hotter than the other 3.

I took a look at the break away switch today and it is frozen. Is there some way this could be part of the problem? I don't see how.

I am at a point where I think it is best to bypass the factory wiring all together, running new brake wires back to the TV or umbilical. If I connect to the 7 way I am thinking about drilling a hole through the floor in the front of the coach and running my wires under the belly pan. Or, I could add a separate brake connection to the TV. Also should I ground the brakes to:

1. the TV ground
2. to the coach
3. all of the above.

Any other shocking ideas?
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Old 06-10-2008, 10:00 PM   #2
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What you are describing sounds like a bad ground in the trailer wiring-possibly at the backside of the trailer mounted connector. Try hooking ONLY the umbilical-leave the trailer unhitched with no safety chains and not physically touching the TV. If you have multiple weirdness then the umbilical ground (big contact) is faulty. Best to track it down and fix it so that your rig is normally configured. Look on the back side of the trailer mounted connector.Introducing custom workarounds will usually come back to bite you or the next owner. The breakaway switch connects the trailer battery + to the brakes directly, if were shorted the brakes would remain on all the time-that is why you only test the switch for a short time so as not heat up the magnets. Put some liquid wrench on it and let it soak for a few days.
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Old 06-10-2008, 10:08 PM   #3
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I'm beginning to wonder if Dexter axle replacement can somehow cause the electric brake wiring "somewhere in the bowels" of the trailer to fail. Not really, but it happened to me, also. My wiring checked out perfectly for continuity and the ability to carry 12 volts without burning up or blowing fuses when I tested it at the beginning of my axle replacement. It later developed a direct short.
I fixed the problem by using #12 wire inside a 1/2" CPVC (because that is what I had) conduit fastened to the belly pan. I abandoned all the factory brake wiring.
As for the break-away switch, I would replace it with a new one. Not a hard job and not expensive, either.
And for the ground.................I opted for "all of the above". A majority of all electrical problems are directly related to a poor ground.
This may not be the best way, but is working great for me and I know a lot more about brake wiring now that I have redone it myself.
Good luck with your project!
Sam
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Old 06-10-2008, 10:11 PM   #4
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It's easy to catch a wire under the mounting plate and short it to ground when installing an axel.
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Old 06-10-2008, 10:16 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Excella CM View Post
Best to track it down and fix it so that your rig is normally configured.
That's the catch. There is no way I can think of short of some major dissassembly of the coach to track it down any further. I've done all the simple obvious stuff.

There's something really screwy in the wiring I suspect I am the victim of one of those PO workarounds you mention. I just want to get my brakes to work right so I can use it without tearing in apart.
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Old 06-10-2008, 10:19 PM   #6
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I hear ya!
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Old 06-10-2008, 10:25 PM   #7
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The fact that your brakes actuate with the turn signals makes me think that you may have a problem with your 7-way. You can if you haven't already done so use a volt meter to make sure the brakes and the turn signal aren't crossed on the TV end. If that's OK then check just behind the 7-way on the trailer, peel back some of the jacket and use the probes to pierce the insulation on the wires. Same test here, trying to see if the turn signal shows up on the brake circut. Hopefully you just have a bad connector. That's an easy fix.
If that checks out OK then perhaps you can find the blue and white brake wires under the trailer close to the hitch and test there. Perhaps just before they run into the belly pan. If the problem is there, then you could have a short in or near the distribution panel at the front of the trailer. After the distribution panel the turn signals and brake circuts go in different directions on mine.
Do replace the breakaway switch!
Ground to the TV. Via the distribution panel "through the 7-way harness".
If you take it step by step you may find an "easy fix" without lots of rewiring.
I had to rewire may brakes awhile ago. Mice in the belly pan!!, or as I like to say,"We had a mouse event".
Hopefully others will chime in. I'll help if I can.
Good Luck, Rick
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Old 06-10-2008, 10:37 PM   #8
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.
I had to rewire may brakes awhile ago. Mice in the belly pan!!, or as I like to say,"We had a mouse event".
Good Luck, Rick
I did pretty much all you mentioned.

By the way, this coach was a veritable mouse condo when we got it. Sitting in a field with a 1985 plate on it.
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Old 06-10-2008, 10:47 PM   #9
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Lumatic,

I have a 1968 Tradewind with electrical brakes. Every lighting / brake system worked properly when I bought it.

I later developed a short in the brake wiring system, causing the brakes to not work at all.

When I dropped the belly pans I found some previous owner had applied spray foamed between the belly pan and the flooring, from the tongue to the axels.

After digging and digging through the spray foam I found several old style wiring junction points that had corroided due to the trapped moisture caused by the spray foam. I was more than a little annoyed.

As a fix, I had mounted plastic PVC type tubing from the tongue along the curb side of the frame to the axels. New brake electrical wiring was run through the PVC and the proper connections were made to the brake drums.

The brakes work great, you can not see the PVC conduit unless you crawel under the trailer.

I did not spend 40 hours dropping the belly skins scrapping away the spray foam, running new electrical lines to new junction points, ect.

Though not perfict, just a thought...
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Old 06-10-2008, 10:52 PM   #10
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If you tug on the wires where they disappear into the belly pan you can "feel" all that coiled up wire or at least I could. It makes a wonderful foundation for a King sized mouse bed. Even has "bumper" sides so the little ones don't fall out at night!
I used Marine wire, a pair, in a nice tough weather proof jacket. I ran my wires outside of the pan used nylon wire clamps every 8in. or so.
Make sure all wires to each brake are the same length, so they get equal voltage.
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