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Old 03-20-2015, 11:55 AM   #1
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Braking Issue - Broken Magnets

Last year, we had an issue with the trailer pulling to the right when I applied brakes. I took it to the dealer, where they discovered a broken magnet on the curb side front axle. Both left and right backing plates were replaced, and the problem was resolved.

This year, we took the trailer on a winter trip, and on the return from the desert, discovered that trailer braking was very weak. Again, into the dealer where they said the magnet on the curb side rear axle was broken. The dealer is now talking to Dexter, as they say this is a first for them. When trying to diagnose the second issue, I did note that the technician was repeatedly hitting the brake controller while going both backwards and forwards, but one would think that the brakes were designed to be used, and to stand up to use of the controller. To take the TV out of the equation (maybe?), the trips were taken with different trucks.

Has anyone else experienced anything like this? If so, was there a cause attributed? The trailer was a demo (per dealer, used by an Airstream exec for a trip), but we have had the trailer since new.
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Old 03-20-2015, 12:06 PM   #2
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Are you calibrating the voltage being sent to the magnets. Operating them at 100% might make them fail sooner. Usually, you manually actuate the brakes using the controller lever and then find the point where they lock up at 25 MPH then back off a little so they don't lock all the time. Do you have a proportional brake controller?

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Old 03-20-2015, 12:17 PM   #3
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Perry, if calibrating is setting the controller to the lock up point at 25 MPH, yes. The truck is a 2014 F350, so yes it is proportional. The old truck also had a proportional controller.
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Old 03-20-2015, 07:45 PM   #4
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Go to Etrailer.com and order a set of them. It might be just as cheap to order complete backing plates. Dexter might take care of you as well. I expect $200 will get you there.

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Old 03-20-2015, 09:52 PM   #5
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If your trailer has "self adjusting" brakes, backing then pulling forward and applying brakes should allow the brakes to engage at their optimum.

By"broken", do you mean the electromagnet wasn't activating?
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Old 03-20-2015, 11:22 PM   #6
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Good call CWF, I had envisioned in my mind a magnet broken in half...

I couldn't figure out at all how that could ever happen...

I am thinking failed magnet?


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Old 03-20-2015, 11:30 PM   #7
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Since right side failed, if electrically I would check the "ground" side of the braking circuit. Too many amps through a bad connection can cause "failure".
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Old 03-21-2015, 06:42 PM   #8
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Broken means broken loose, not failed. Dexter is sending replacements. I still don't know the cause.

Thanks to all who replied.
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Old 03-21-2015, 07:42 PM   #9
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Well that is a new one for me.

In over thirty years of dealing with electric brakes I don't recall seeing a broken magnet.

I have seen them worn lopsided, but never broken.


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Old 03-21-2015, 07:44 PM   #10
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Braking Issue - Broken Magnets

After the first failure did they replace left and right on BOTH axles or only the front?

I am reading you as if they replaced all four backing plates, but the interpretation of "both" in the lead comment is not certain.


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