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Old 11-14-2015, 10:27 AM   #29
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Here is an update on my brake problem. I found that adequate power was getting to and actuating all of the magnets except 1. I found that electrical tape was all that was holding the wires together at one of the wheels. The wire had ripped out of the wire nut but from inspection looked fine. I then decided to get each wheel in there air one at a time, and check adjustment. they were all no where near where they should be. Before I started, when I would have a wheel in the air with the truck connected, none of the wheels would even slow down when I would apply the brakes while spinning the wheel with my hands. Now they lock up, after a 1-2 second delay. When I tested the electrical power before, I never accounted for a delay, so I gave up too early. Since then, I have been working every weekend, so I have not been able to pull the trailer out and give it a test. I am going to try and take it out tomorrow. I truly believe that I will discover that my truck has been doing all of the braking since I bought my trailer- mountains, freeways and all.
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Old 11-14-2015, 10:45 AM   #30
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Sounds much like one of the problem "Inland Andy diagnosed as being likely - i.e. simply bad adjustment of the brakes (apart from the one with no electrical connection).

My situation sounds much like yours and I too suspect my truck has been doing most of the braking since I bought the truck and trailer about 6 years ago.

Looking back, I never felt I was getting anywhere near the braking that I had experienced with previous trailers and trucks - I never really looked into it though and just figured it was due to the fact that the trailer I now pull was close to double the weight of previous ones I owned!

Now and then I would check the brakes - either by spinning wheels manually, or sometimes with a compass to detect the magnets being energized.

A couple of times doing that I discovered bad connections to a magnet (wires just twisted and then elec. tape, I guess by the previous owner.

The stranded copper wires were almost black with corrosion. I eventually went to all wheels and disconnected the magnets, scraped the wires to bright copper, soldered them and use shrink tube.

I think I have good connection now as the current draw whenI pu the breakaway switch is right on spec.

So I am thinking the prime suspects to my problem now is most likely either:

- bad adjustment of the brakes
- problem with the umbilical
- problem with the brake controller (Although GM say it is tested and working fine.)

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Quote:
Originally Posted by danjoe91 View Post
Here is an update on my brake problem. I found that adequate power was getting to and actuating all of the magnets except 1. I found that electrical tape was all that was holding the wires together at one of the wheels. The wire had ripped out of the wire nut but from inspection looked fine. I then decided to get each wheel in there air one at a time, and check adjustment. they were all no where near where they should be. Before I started, when I would have a wheel in the air with the truck connected, none of the wheels would even slow down when I would apply the brakes while spinning the wheel with my hands. Now they lock up, after a 1-2 second delay. When I tested the electrical power before, I never accounted for a delay, so I gave up too early. Since then, I have been working every weekend, so I have not been able to pull the trailer out and give it a test. I am going to try and take it out tomorrow. I truly believe that I will discover that my truck has been doing all of the braking since I bought my trailer- mountains, freeways and all.
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Old 11-16-2015, 09:51 AM   #31
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Ok progress, great. My .02& follows.

Now get that IR temp gun and go drive where you can give the brakes a good workout. Then safely pull off and check drum temps.

Braking makes heat, no heat means no braking. Look for uniform heat values drum to drum.
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Old 11-16-2015, 10:26 AM   #32
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If diagnosing 'tow vehicle' issue, pull your 'breakaway' switch.. all wheels should lock up.. they are at max power delivered.

My Breakaway was not sending FULL power to the brakes. Once I cleaned up the switch, it worked properly..

That will 'diagnose' the problem being either with truck brake control/wiring or isolated to the AS electrical and mechanical.

if you test on 'gravel' all wheels should be 'lockable'...and skid soon after full voltage applied.
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Old 11-17-2015, 08:58 PM   #33
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Well, some progress with my trailer brakes that appeared not to be working!

Because I had had problems and warning messages from the integrated trailer brake controller in our GMC truck (even with no trailer attached!) I was not sure if the problem was with the truck or the trailer.

After three visits to our GM dealer and over $700 spent - mostly labour to diagnose, but also updating the software and changing a relay, the dealer "thought," but was not sure, that it was fixed.

I tried towing the trailer and still did not seem to be getting any braking, so this is what I did ....


I had a set of new brake magnets that I had never installed, I wired them up in parallel, as they are normally wired in use, and plugged them into the truck together with an ammeter. (No trailer)

The truck recognised the magnets and flashed up the dash message "Trailer attached."

When I pushed the truck brake pedal, the ammeter climbed to 15 amps with the dummy load - an indication that the integrated trailer brake system in the truck was working fine.


So now I turned to the trailer !

I measured the resistance of the brake circuit at about one ohm which is pretty much what it should be.

But when I hooked up the truck and fed the brakes via an ammeter, I was getting next to no current flowing - less than an amp - not good - should be about 15 amps as I got with my dummy load.

I have encountered this sort of situation before, but not with brakes, but wth my power tongue jack, a bad ground can cause this.

Under the front of the trailer were two solid copper ground wires bolted to the trailer frame and very corroded.

I had limited tools with me, and could not manage to undo them to clean the connections even after applying penetrating fluid.

So...... in order to to something, I left the questionable ground connectors in place, drilled new holes in the frame, cleaned the surrounding area well to bare metal with a dremel tool and carbide burr, then soldered heavy gauge copper wires to the old coppe ground wires after scraping them clean and secured the new wires with new bolts to the trailer frame.

I re-checked current flowing in the brake line and I now have 15 amps flowing - good!


I took the trailer for a short tour around the storage yard and can certainly tell that I now have brakes where I dd not before. But they are still not as strong as I think they should be. l was not able to lock up the trailer wheels on gravel despite full current flow.

So I suspect the brakes still need mechanical adjusting - as suggested by "Inland Andy," and that is next on my list. I think I'm winning!

Brian.
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Old 11-17-2015, 09:37 PM   #34
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ahh.. #2 on my list!

I replaced my 'grounds'...
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Old 11-17-2015, 10:42 PM   #35
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When I adjust the brakes, after each wheel I pull the breakaway switch then try to rotate the wheel. If it won't rotate I know things are working.
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Old 11-18-2015, 07:21 AM   #36
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This thread has been a gold mine of ideas to check when brake problems do come up. Thanks.
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Old 11-18-2015, 08:10 AM   #37
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This thread has been a gold mine of ideas to check when brake problems do come up. Thanks.
Airstreams, motorcycles, airplanes, etc, do not "wear out" overnight.

Learn to do "functional/pre-flight" checks!!! That way you might discover a simple problem before it becomes serious.

For brakes, find some "loose gravel"...
Drive there with a friend.
Have friend operate tow vehicle while you observe wheels.
Instruct friend to start moving trailer then "apply" the brakes.
As the power "comes up" to the brakes, you should notice the trailer "decelerates" then there should come a point the wheels "lock/stop" then skid on the gravel.
Observe that the wheels "lock" simultaneously. If there is a "delay" in one or one locks too early, there could be a problem.

The problem might be the ground is inconsistent or unlevel.
The wheel bearings might be binding...
The electric it may not be getting to each wheel magnet equally.
And the tests before remain effective

Remember, when you assume maintenance/upkeep duties, it is all your responsibility to "keep up" with these items. The "good side"'of this... You can be more diligent and aware than an RV tech.. Because he won't be as familiar with YOUR Airstream. That is just how things work.

When I was a technician with a big blue company, I knew how each machine was "designed" to work..once I made the machine "work to specification" I then "tuned" it to meet customer request based upon their experiences. That is where "knowing" your Airstream is key.
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Old 11-18-2015, 12:16 PM   #38
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I ran an additional ground from the Jack bolt via an actual length of 3 conductor SJ extension cord grouped all 3 wires in one connection. It attaches to a stud on the hitch with a wing nut. Cable is flexible. Cable stays with trailer.

Belt and suspenders approach.
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Old 11-19-2015, 07:04 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwf View Post
ahh.. #2 on my list!

I replaced my 'grounds'...
Yes, those are the same ones I just had to work on. As mentioned, the old ones were so badly corroded (Canadian winter salt maybe) that I could not even loosen the slotted wire clamp screws, let alone the bolts in order to clean things up.

I was working on the trailer in the storage yard 10 miles from my house so I had limited tools with me and had to make a temporary repair. I left the original defective grounds in place, cleaned the bare copper ground wires and soldered a couple of #12 wires that I had with me onto each one. I drilled 2 new holes adjacent to the original ground bol holes, cleaned the frame to bright metal and secured these wires to the frame with new bolts and lots of dielectric grease applied.

Are those ground lugs you have used readily availabe from electrical supply houses? I probably cut the old ones off with an angle grinder and apply new ones


It just occurs to me that If memory serves me, my trailer has at least one more ground wire located on the frame near the back of the trailer - Id better check that one out too!


Thanks ................ Brian.
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Old 11-19-2015, 10:29 AM   #40
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Correct. I purchased the 'ground lugs' at my local 'electrical supply house'. They are readily available. I could not locate easily at my local 'home store' in their 'electrical' section.. when I did, they were nearly 3 times the cost as the 'supply' house.

Of course, Canada may be different in sourcing and purchase.

There is another near the stern...so, certainly clean it up, too. In Theory... one ground is 'sufficient' if it can carry the 'load'...

My grounds were totally corroded.. the lights are now 'brighter' in the AS... things are better!

I just need to break in my new brakes..

On my first outing, I guess they were not adjusted..although I did a series of 20 forward and reverse actions with brakes released and applied..

The 'brake magnets' got really warm and you could smell the 'breaking ... but it is not braking properly...

So, we crawled under and manually adjusted the brakes.

I have not been able to make a 'long pull' since, but, checking in the driveway, the brakes are better.. but not up to the original capacity of the 'old' ones..

I will try to test by using the 'breakaway' switch this afternoon.... the purpose, to see if there is a problem with the Tow Vehicle brake power, umbilical, etc...

Anyone have a 2012 Chevy OEM brake controller fail? (all battery power is good on the TV).. all connections clean and good to go..
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Old 11-20-2015, 07:59 AM   #41
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Thanks for the added info!

Sounds as though we have several similarities!

Apart from the trailer braking problems due to ground issues on the trailer, I also have had problems with the ITBC (integrated trailer brake controller) built into my 2008 GMC 2500HD.

This has been going on for a year or so and the truck has been back to the dealer multiple times for them to try to sort it out. I think they have it fixed now but not really certain.

It is a fairly complicated system and has its on "brake control module" mounted on the frame near the left rear wheel as well as a trailer brake relay located in the same location. There are also other components such as a pressure sensor at the brake master cylinder.

I was getting repeated "Service trailer brake system" warning messages on the truck and I would get this message at times with the trailer attached and many times with no trailer both with and without the trailer attached.

This means an issue on the truck itself - there is a different message that you may get if a problem on the trailer itself is detected. I think it then reads
"Check trailer brakes."

Things had got to the point where I was getting the "Service trailer brake system"
almost every time we used the truck!

I took it to the dealer - they could not find any issue and basically told me to ignore the messages and that "they thought" the braking on my trailer would still be ok - didn't inspire great confidence!

Things seem to be getting worse and I took the truck back to them a few weeks later to ask them to contact GM techs if they could not fix it.

Ths time, they "re-flashed" the trailer brake control module with the latest software. My understanding is that GM felt some of the parameters in the control unit were set to tight and too many warning messages were being sent so they loosened the parameters in the latest software.

For a while I thought that had fixed things ........ but no, I got more warnings!

I was getting pretty frustrated and started asking about disabling the system and installing an aftermarket controller.

I was told by the dealer that although this might be possible, the dash would continue giving warning messages as it was all tied into the truck's "body computer and it would sense a problem! I'm not really sure if this is true or not, I think it may be from other comments I have read.

Anyway, I gave them another chance to try to diagnose things. This time, they replaced the trailer brake control relay - a solid state relay mounted on the truck frame at the driver's side rear wheel.

That was maybe a month ago and so far, no warning messages, so I'm hopeful that was the problem! The parts guy at the dealer said that they sell a lot of those relays!

I have spent about $750 so far on this nonsense - could have bought several aftermarket brake controllers for that!

I get less and less enthusiastic about all the complex electronics built into today's vehicles!


I think everything is working ok electrically with truck and trailer brakes now, but there is one thing I am still a bit curious about.

When I recently monitored the brake current flowing from the truck, first to a dummy load I made up using a set of new brake magnets I had on hand, and then with my actual trailer, the current did rise to around 15 amps which is correct.

However, when I was watching the ammeter with my wife applying the truck brakes, there was a noticeable lag in the current build up to 15 amps from the truck.

That surprised me, as I asked my wife to hit the brakes hard and hold them down - like emergency braking.

I would have thought I would see the full 15 amps almost immediately but it seemed to take a couple of seconds for the current to build to the maximum.

Perhaps that is normal, I don't know.

Anyway, that is my story to date! Research on the internet on different forums revealed I was far from alone in my experience with GM's ITBC.

If I ever had to buy another tow vehicle - not likely - I would sure be looking to buy one without the integrated controller if I could, but I image that if you want the factory tow package, there is no choice.

If I have further problems with what I have, I will be looking deeper into the possibility of bypassing it and using an aftermarket controller that I can deal
with or replace at little expense if it acts up!

I've only ever had aftermarket controllers before, and they have been fine!

Brian.











Quote:
Originally Posted by cwf View Post
Correct. I purchased the 'ground lugs' at my local 'electrical supply house'. They are readily available. I could not locate easily at my local 'home store' in their 'electrical' section.. when I did, they were nearly 3 times the cost as the 'supply' house.

Of course, Canada may be different in sourcing and purchase.

There is another near the stern...so, certainly clean it up, too. In Theory... one ground is 'sufficient' if it can carry the 'load'...

My grounds were totally corroded.. the lights are now 'brighter' in the AS... things are better!

I just need to break in my new brakes..

On my first outing, I guess they were not adjusted..although I did a series of 20 forward and reverse actions with brakes released and applied..

The 'brake magnets' got really warm and you could smell the 'breaking ... but it is not braking properly...

So, we crawled under and manually adjusted the brakes.

I have not been able to make a 'long pull' since, but, checking in the driveway, the brakes are better.. but not up to the original capacity of the 'old' ones..

I will try to test by using the 'breakaway' switch this afternoon.... the purpose, to see if there is a problem with the Tow Vehicle brake power, umbilical, etc...

Anyone have a 2012 Chevy OEM brake controller fail? (all battery power is good on the TV).. all connections clean and good to go..
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Old 11-20-2015, 08:21 AM   #42
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Thanks for the added info!

Sounds as though we have several similarities!

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

If I have further problems with what I have, I will be looking deeper into the possibility of bypassing it and using an aftermarket controller that I can deal
with or replace at little expense if it acts up!

I've only ever had aftermarket controllers before, and they have been fine!

Brian.
Wow! That is far more than I...brakes were "good-excellent" before all the recent work. I am hoping there is no "truck" issue.. Once brakes get a chance to "break in"...
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