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Old 05-26-2006, 11:07 AM   #1
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breakaway switch is not working

just tested it by pulling the pin, and nothing is happening.

so I disconnected the wires...2 wires from the trailer tongue area, one has 12v on it; the other should go to the brake circuit, correct?

no continuity across the wires from the switch, so I assume that it is bad. But I'm not sure if things are otherwise wired properly, because I can't seem to get the brakes to activate, even when connecting the 2 chassis wires together. no hum/no buz...no compass needle swing toward the wheels. (although, I can hear them work when the tow vehicle is connected...and they work fine, hooked up to the truck.

anyone know a likely route for this brake wire...it just disappears into the trailer frame...wondering where it does, or at least, "is supposed to" connect into the trailer's brake circuit.

I had the 7way connector out a couple of weeks ago, and I see where the umbilical connects, and where the brakes are grounded to the chassis; but I didn't see any other splice into the + wire for the brakes in there....
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Old 05-26-2006, 12:24 PM   #2
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Hi Chuck, I had a similar problem on my 64 Safari. Breakaway switch didn't work, otherwise brakes worked fine. Not sure if your year model is wired the same.

I removed the switch, disassembled it and cleaned the contacts, they needed it. Then I followed the wires back into the frame to a junction where the umbilical cord for the trailer plug connects and the circuit breaker for the light circuit is located. They are under a 6”x8” removable panel on the belly panel about 3 feet back from the front of the trailer.

The wires were corroded and insulation cracked. A 12vDC wire from the battery and connection to the wires to each of the wheels. I ran new wires for the breakaway switch forward and connected them to the switch and ground. Reriveted the switch and tried it out.

Now you pull the pin and BINGO 12vDC, brakes lock up tight.

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Old 05-31-2006, 02:41 AM   #3
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What if it doesn't STOP!??????

That was the refrain I had in my brain as I worked on the Breakaway switch... Accidents spinning through my brain as I slept.... fitfully.

Then I got real.

It would work (if I wired it correctly) - Yikes!!!!! Of course it would all go well, if there was no kinks in wires, no corrosion on ANY wires and the batteries were at full level.... and I wired it all correctly!!!!

All went so well, SO well in fact, that you got home. You took the time to assess the situatuiation and then react properly now.

All should be well from this point going forth!

Axel
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Old 05-31-2006, 06:18 AM   #4
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"just tested it by pulling the pin, and nothing is happening. ... no hum/no buz...no compass needle swing toward the wheels. (although, I can hear them work when the tow vehicle is connected...and they work fine, hooked up to the truck."

"no continuity across the wires from the switch, so I assume that it is bad. But I'm not sure if things are otherwise wired properly, because I can't seem to get the brakes to activate, even when connecting the 2 chassis wires together."

In the second quote you state that nothing happens even when you connect the two wires together, right? That would suggest it is not the breakaway switch (which are inexpensive to replace in any case). My '76 Argosy brakes don't make a lot of noise. For me the compass test worked only when I had the compass right where the axle meets the brake drum. Of course the wheel has to be off. I placed the compass on an upside down 7 gallon pail and I seem to recall using a mirror. The amount of needle swing was quite small (about 10 degrees) but very specific to engaging the breakaway switch.

"anyone know a likely route for this brake wire...it just disappears into the trailer frame...wondering where it does, or at least, "is supposed to" connect into the trailer's brake circuit."

I had to remove belly wrap and replace the front floor on my Argosy. The breakaway wires exited the frame roadside at about the location of the 1st rib, near where the frame changes from parallel and is bent to go forward to the A-frame. Now that may be unique to the Argosy because the main wiring junction board is under the roadside pano window (battery and Univolt are roadside aft corner).
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Old 05-31-2006, 08:44 AM   #5
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My teachers always said that there are no stupid questions, so here goes:

Your battery isolator switch is not in the off position, is it?

Pat
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Old 05-31-2006, 09:15 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canoe stream
In the second quote you state that nothing happens even when you connect the two wires together, right? That would suggest it is not the breakaway switch (which are inexpensive to replace in any case).
it suggests that there are 2 problems, not just one. no continuity across those wires with the pin pulled = broken switch. So I will replace that either way....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Canoe stream
My '76 Argosy brakes don't make a lot of noise.


mine do. they are clearly audible.

I haven't had a chance to check it out yet, but I suspect that the hot wire from the breakaway switch should go to the 7-way receptical in the front wall of the trailer. there is an access panel inside the trailer, behind the couch. I was in there several weeks ago (a-HA! right? ) looking for a leak. while I was in there, I took apart the connector and cleaned up all the contacts, etc, as I was also getting some funky readings on my volt meter. (turns out, there was alot of corrosion on the umbilical cord contact that carries the 12v from the tow vehicle to the trailer...but I digress).

Anyway, I found the brake wire cable in this cavity...(looks kind of like a piece of "romex"...except its 2-wire cable). the hot wire connects to the umbilical plug-recepticle, and the ground connects to the bolt that secures the receptical housing to the trailer skin. I'm thinking that the breakaway hot wire should also connect to the same lug on the recepticle. I don't recall seeing an "extra" wire in there, but if I should find it, would it be allright to attach it there?

after I made my last post to this thread, I crawled under the front of the trailer and found the brake cable. it was run from the front panel down through the floor and belly pan, and runs back to the wheels along the belly pan, attached outside of the trailer with cable clips. I'm thinking that this has to be a "retro-fit"...the factory would have probably run that wire inside the frame channel, wouldn't they? anyhow, its possible that when this was done, they didn't re-wire up the breakaway switch properly at all, or, the other end of that breakaway wire is in that access panel somewhere, and became disconnected, either my me, , or by some other mishap. As I can see the 99% of the brake wiring on the outside of the trailer, I know there is no other connection to it, until it meets with the wheels.

So...am I in the ball-park? maybe I should draw a picture of the way I "envision" the wiring....
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Old 05-31-2006, 09:22 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmclemore
My teachers always said that there are no stupid questions, so here goes:

Your battery isolator switch is not in the off position, is it?

Pat
What "battery isolator switch"????




no...there isn't one in this trailer.
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Old 05-31-2006, 10:24 AM   #8
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Ah - oh,well. I always try the cheap stuff first. Good luck with chasing down your problem.

You probably know all this, so I hope you don't mind. The reason I asked, is that if the battery is disconnected from the coach, then the breakaway switch won't work. That indicates to me that there is a hot link to the battery, independent from the 7-way plug from the tv (has to be - because when you are separated from the tv, then the vehicle battery won't help you). So - are you sure you have a direct link to your battery?

Pat
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Old 05-31-2006, 11:00 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmclemore
Ah - oh,well. I always try the cheap stuff first. Good luck with chasing down your problem.

You probably know all this, so I hope you don't mind. The reason I asked, is that if the battery is disconnected from the coach, then the breakaway switch won't work. That indicates to me that there is a hot link to the battery, independent from the 7-way plug from the tv (has to be - because when you are separated from the tv, then the vehicle battery won't help you). So - are you sure you have a direct link to your battery?

Pat
yup. I understand that.

there is +12v coming from the battery. the +12v line also ties to my power-jack. the jack works. (with the tow vehicle disconnected). my volt meter shows +12v on that wire. it is, most definately, "hot".

when I apply the 12v to the wire that is supposed to go to the brakes, nothing happens. this wire is therefore not connected to the brake circuit as it should be.

I need to find the other end of that wire, and connect it to the brake circuit...(or run a new one.) the question is, "where should that connection be?".
I'm thinking that it can go to the same lug on the 7-way recepticle that the brakes are already connected to. either that, or the hot wire in the brake circuit needs to be cut and spliced with the breakaway wire.

can I do this?
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Old 05-31-2006, 07:54 PM   #10
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Looks good to me. That's what I'm doing. 12+ from TV to 12+stud to 12+ battery making the charging circuit. Then 12+ Stud to switch and back to the box to the brake stud. So even with no TV there is 12+ to the switch. I'm also putting a small siren in the circuit in case the switch is pulled by a passerby.
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Old 05-31-2006, 08:44 PM   #11
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Chuck - The wire diagram for my 75 TW shows the wire from the switch going to the 7 way connector on the trailer. It is tied to the same line that activates the brakes from the TV. It is my understanding that pulling the pin with the TV attached can fry the break controller in the TV.
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Old 05-31-2006, 09:13 PM   #12
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Brakeaway switch not working

Quote:
Originally Posted by chuck
just tested it by pulling the pin, and nothing is happening.

so I disconnected the wires...2 wires from the trailer tongue area, one has 12v on it; the other should go to the brake circuit, correct?

no continuity across the wires from the switch, so I assume that it is bad. But I'm not sure if things are otherwise wired properly, because I can't seem to get the brakes to activate, even when connecting the 2 chassis wires together. no hum/no buz...no compass needle swing toward the wheels. (although, I can hear them work when the tow vehicle is connected...and they work fine, hooked up to the truck.
My brakeaway switch had been working OK, then quit. I discovered the brakeaway switch mounting bolt was loose. After tightening that, it worked OK again.
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Old 06-01-2006, 10:11 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azflycaster
Chuck - The wire diagram for my 75 TW shows the wire from the switch going to the 7 way connector on the trailer. It is tied to the same line that activates the brakes from the TV. It is my understanding that pulling the pin with the TV attached can fry the break controller in the TV.
...and that's what I tried to draw in my little diagram above. So I guess I got it right.

I found wiring instructions for a tekonsha breakaway switch online. their diagram just shows the 12v from the battery being spliced somewhere on the brake's hot wire...not specifically at the receptical, but it really doesn't matter. if the switch is activated, there's gonna be 12v on that line no matter where you attach it, and it'll head up to the brake controller in the tow vehicle "the wrong way" if the umbilical is connected. So they give the same warning: don't try this w/ the tow vehicle attached!
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Old 07-10-2006, 01:14 PM   #14
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Finally got a chance to re-visit the issue yesterday. I took the connector out of the front of the trailer to re-inspect all the connections. There was a lug on the 7-way connector with 2 lines attached; one was the +12v to the brakes. I took the other off, and tested for continuity to the wire at the hitch, and that is the one.

So I put it all back together, and tested again with the compass. I touched the 12v wire that powers the jack to the breakaway switch wire...get a spark, but I still can't hear anything back at the brakes. I tested with the compass again, and from the north side of the trailer, the needle definately swings south when I place it right next to the hub (this is through the hubcap, too, so its a few inches away from the actual brake magnet). So its definately doing SOMEthing. I could've sworn that I could normally "hear" the brakes from the drivers seat of my truck, but maybe not. (windows open, turning sharply to the left, walking speed...just preparing to pull out of the driveway; not when bombing down the highway!). I'll have to try that again next time we go out somewhere. Maybe the brake controller/truck sends more juice to the magnets (?)...I suppose it wouldn't be good in the event of a tv/trailer separation for the trailer wheels to instantly lock; With my brake controller set any higher than half way, the wheels on the trailer lock up easily. But maybe with just the trailer's battery supplying power, there's less amperage(?). I suppose the only way to find out is to jack up one side of the trailer, engage the breakaway system, and see if I can spin one of the tires. I thought I read somewhere (probably whatever it was that said I should test the switch) that you should be able to hear the buzzing from the magnets.

any more thoughts?
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