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Old 02-17-2009, 08:34 AM   #1
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1970 31' Sovereign
Dallas , Texas
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Question Brakes working? Getting close to moving trailer...

Gang,
1970 31' Land Yacht:
This trailer hasn't moved in about 2.5 years but I'm going to move it about 120 miles in a month or two. I plugged in the 7 pin to my TV and verified all lights are functioning properly.
I have verified that the wiring harness colors are in the correct location on the 7 pin connector for modern day TVs. I don't have a brake controller yet, so I thought I'd put a 12v source on the yellow wire on the trailer to see if I could hear the electrical brake solenoids engage. I used a battery charger claiming to have an output of 6 amps and used the tongue as ground. I would bump the positive power on and off the yellow wire while my buddy was near the wheels. We never heard a click.
I did put my ohmmeter on the yellow wire and the other connector on the same tongue ground and it read about 3.9 ohms.

Isn't the ohm reading about right from what I've read on other threads?
Is the battery charger an OK item to test the engaging of the solenoids?
Shouldn't one be able to hear them engage, disengage?
When I return to move the trailer, I will have the time to remove each wheel/drum and visually inspect the mechanisms - hints, suggestions?

Thanks for your input.
Charles Rahm, Dallas, Texas
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Old 02-17-2009, 08:47 AM   #2
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Quote:
Isn't the ohm reading about right from what I've read on other threads?
Is the battery charger an OK item to test the engaging of the solenoids?
Shouldn't one be able to hear them engage, disengage?
When I return to move the trailer, I will have the time to remove each wheel/drum and visually inspect the mechanisms - hints, suggestions?
The meter reading sounds about right, although I've never done that. The battery charger is not the best way to do the test because it is not filtered DC, and may not be able to put out the current needed....won't hurt anything, but the results may not be good. You may not be able to hear the magnets ingage, and the brake mechanisms very well may be rusted to the point where they may not move at all...depends on the environment in which the trailer was stored. I would definately inspect the brakes and bearing and TIRES before I moved the trailer any distance. Have you seen the damage a blown tire can do to an Airstream?

At a minimum, I would inspect the brakes and bearings adding grease if they are smooth (installing new if they are not), and inspect the tires for any weather cracking (replacing them if they are or if they are over 5 years old) and insure they are properly inflated.
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Old 02-17-2009, 09:12 AM   #3
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Raise the wheel of the ground, give it a spin to make sure it turns. Then apply 12v to the brake wire. you won't be able to turn the wheel if the brakes are working. I strongly advise pulling the wheels and look/ pack bearings. On my 1967 Tradewind some enterprising soul had removed all the brake guts. One axle had no backing plates, the other axle the backing plate was clean as my dogs food bowl . I purchased loaded backing plates at my local parts house , seems like they cost about $180 for all 4. Adios, John
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Old 02-17-2009, 09:17 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chasrahm View Post
Gang,
1970 31' Land Yacht:
This trailer hasn't moved in about 2.5 years but I'm going to move it about 120 miles in a month or two. I plugged in the 7 pin to my TV and verified all lights are functioning properly.
I have verified that the wiring harness colors are in the correct location on the 7 pin connector for modern day TVs. I don't have a brake controller yet, so I thought I'd put a 12v source on the yellow wire on the trailer to see if I could hear the electrical brake solenoids engage. I used a battery charger claiming to have an output of 6 amps and used the tongue as ground. I would bump the positive power on and off the yellow wire while my buddy was near the wheels. We never heard a click.
I did put my ohmmeter on the yellow wire and the other connector on the same tongue ground and it read about 3.9 ohms.

Isn't the ohm reading about right from what I've read on other threads?
Is the battery charger an OK item to test the engaging of the solenoids?
Shouldn't one be able to hear them engage, disengage?
When I return to move the trailer, I will have the time to remove each wheel/drum and visually inspect the mechanisms - hints, suggestions?

Thanks for your input.
Charles Rahm, Dallas, Texas
THe battery charger is not the best test instrument. Chargers are meant for a More capacitive load. A battey not a electro magnet which is an inductive load. A fully charged battery charged battey is your best bet.

Depending on how much "stuff" has accumlated in the braking system you may not hear anything. Then again they could be adjusted properly and there will be little noise.
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Old 02-17-2009, 09:21 AM   #5
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Thanks for the input. The tires were new 2.5 years ago and have been covered with UV protective covers for about 8 months. I do plan to bring my grease gun.
I added the photo, and you can see the trailer has been in the very dry climate of west Texas.
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Old 02-17-2009, 11:44 AM   #6
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Nice oil rig in the back ground!

The current flow means you have good wiring and the magnets are passing current. Good first step.

You may or may not hear the brake shoe magnet movement when you applied power. The shoes will not brake the drum until the drum is moving. It is the drum moving that will drag the magnet to move the shoes. At best you will hear the magnets kiss the drum with power applied. Otherwise when the unit was parked, the brakes were applied and the magnets are up against the drum when it was parked the last time.

As suggested above I would pull wheels and hubs to inspect bearings, magnets and brakes.

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Old 02-17-2009, 11:55 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chasrahm View Post
Gang,
1970 31' Land Yacht:
This trailer hasn't moved in about 2.5 years but I'm going to move it about 120 miles in a month or two.

Thanks for your input.
Charles Rahm, Dallas, Texas
1974 and older Airstream axles used rubber rods that have failed.

Parking for an extended period of time also ruins the rubber rods.

Check out your axles, so that down the road, you can be prepared.

Traveling the 120 miles now, should not cause any additional problems.


You might also check the trailer for rear end separation.

Andy
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