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Old 03-15-2012, 12:21 PM   #1
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1980 25' International
Lorton , Virginia
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 62
Smile Brakes, How tight is too tight?


Thanks again to all the helpful comments that are posted in response to this and other questions, as these have been extremely helpful in my quest to bring back to life our 1980 international. We just recently purchased our 1980 International and upon trying to get it declared street legal in Virginia, I took it for its safety inspection. It failed due to the fact that the electric brake magnets were shot, worn down well past seeing wire. After some helpful suggestions on this post, I ordered all new brakes, magnets, drums and such from a popular online supplier. I put the NevR Adjust Brakes on exactly as per the dealers instructions, tightening until the wheel cannot turn and then backing it off 10 clicks. Trailered them for a while testing them out and they seemed to be much improved from what the trailer came with. Upon taking the trailer to the same inspector, his first statement was these won't pass, because when I spin the wheel with the trailer jacked up and the brakes not applied the wheel should only turn 2 or 3 turns before coming to a stop. I thought "Wow" are you serious? What about the drag that you are suggesting I should always be putting on my AS wheels having the brakes so tight? After I told him I would pay for him to tighten the brakes a couple more clicks until they would pass, he told me he would pass me if I promised to do such when I returned home... Thanks I said. So here I am and my question is just this: Should the brakes be so tight that upon spinning the wheel as hard as I can it stops after only 2 or 3 turns without the brakes being applied? This seems counter intuitive. Any help is appreciated.

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Old 03-15-2012, 12:37 PM   #2
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2010 30' Classic
Vintage Kin Owner
South of the river , Minnesota
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 4,129
Since you have self-adjusting brakes they should do so themselves, if needed, if you apply the brakes lightly and release them several times. You may have to do it while driving in reverse.

With brakes that are not self-adjusting there is a range of settings that different mechanics will use. As long as the brakes don't drag enough to heat up it shouldn't matter much.

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Old 03-15-2012, 12:38 PM   #3
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2005 19' Safari
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 2,450
In the old days when all cars had drum brakes, we used to spin a wheel and tighten the adjuster until the wheel stopped. Then, while turning it again, we'd back off the adjuster a couple of clicks until the wheel would turn relatively freely with very slight audible drag (one or two revolutions). This slight drag is insignificant to the amount of rolling and wind resistance when underway; and after a couple of stops in traffic, the high spots will have worn off.

This method insured that the minimum brake shoe-to-drum clearance was achieved, and all brakes had approximately the same (contact) gap.

Not sure if this method is specified for Airstreams, but I don't think drum brake technology has changed much in the past few decades.
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Old 03-15-2012, 12:43 PM   #4
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1980 25' International
Lorton , Virginia
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 62

Thanks for the reponse. I think it was you that also gave me some good advise after I took a look at my shot magnets. My idea of how the NevRadjust brakes should work is the same as you have suggested. I was just so surprised by the mechanic who suggested that the brakes were not proper until he could not spin the wheel more then 2 or 3 times. Really?! That just seems like a lot more drag when I don't want it.

Thanks again,

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Old 03-15-2012, 12:44 PM   #5
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1986 25' Sovereign
Plant City , Florida
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 225
I have just done the same replacement of brakes on my 86. I also relplaced with neveradjust brakes as well as new hubs as my old ones were warped. I did not want to over adjust my brakes so I just turned them a few clicks and then towed the trailer around the property including backing up for several hundred feet stoping every few feet using only the trailer brakes. This seemed to help adjust the brakes perfectly. Before replacement I had to leave the controller turned all the way up to even feel the brakes working. Now I usually turn them down to avoid snapping my neck.
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Old 03-15-2012, 12:48 PM   #6
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1980 25' International
Lorton , Virginia
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 62

Man you guys are good. I appreciate all your comments as they put it all in perspective for me!


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