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Old 10-01-2013, 07:12 PM   #1
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2005 19' International CCD
Belmont , California
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Cannot find the brake adjuster

I have looked on the back plate and there are two oval holes. I removed the plugs from both of them and all I can see is a spring oriented horizontal.
I cannot see the star wheel at all. I must be missing something here and wonder if I need a special tool as it may be off at an angle that prevents me from just using a screwdriver. Why two slots? I really do not want to pull the wheel bearing off to see what it all looks like. Again this is a 2005 International 19' Bambi.
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Old 10-01-2013, 08:01 PM   #2
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It helps to remove the drum so you can see where the adjuster is and which way to turn it. Not a bad idea to mark on the inside plate where the wheel is and which way is tighten.

Perry
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Old 10-08-2013, 06:17 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by djpierce View Post
I have looked on the back plate and there are two oval holes. I removed the plugs from both of them and all I can see is a spring oriented horizontal. I cannot see the star wheel at all. I must be missing something here and wonder if I need a special tool as it may be off at an angle that prevents me from just using a screwdriver. Why two slots? I really do not want to pull the wheel bearing off to see what it all looks like. Again this is a 2005 International 19' Bambi.
There is a tool made for adjusting brakes. I'm sure they are still available but a flat screwdriver usually works. The star wheel is usually just below the spring you saw. Reach in with the tool and rotate the wheel up or down a few clicks while rotating the wheel by hand. You will feel the brakes start to grab and when they grab you back off a few clicks. A slight rubbing is ok but the wheel should rotate freely. Do this at each wheel but make sure you back off the same at each. Visual inspection is very important but you can only adjust with the wheel on. While traveling I frequently check each wheel using my hand. This will easily give you a heads up if any wheel is getting hot. Warm to the touch is normal and ok. Hot is not and is a indication of wheel bearing problems or brakes out of adjustment.
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Old 10-08-2013, 06:50 PM   #4
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Star Adjust Wheel

The adjust tool is still made. Mine, made by Blue Point, is bent at about 45 deg. on one end and 60 deg. on the other. Your local auto store probably has them. Not expensive about 4 bucks. As mentioned a broad blade screwdriver works to.

On my classic the adjustment wheel is at the very end of the access hole and hard to see. Just stick your tool in the opening and feel around and you will find it. I am not sure why you have 2 ports.
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Old 10-08-2013, 07:02 PM   #5
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LOL, I spent almost all afternoon yesterday under our Airstream adjusting the brakes and splicing a wire that got torn loose running over a branch on a road.

Take a trip down to O'Reilly's and buy a brake adjusting tool. they are cheap and stick in that slot on the backing plate where you took out hte rubber piece.

One side of the tool works better for tightening, the other side of the tool works better for loosening.

Don't spray silicone or WD 40 in that hole think it will loosen up the star adjuster. It will. But it will also get it on the brake shoes and since brakes work off of friction and silicone reduces friction.... well you get the drift..... (believe me, I know)

It works easier if you run the trailer up on a block or jack it up.

Here is scan from my Service Manual (1978 Sovereign):
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Old 10-09-2013, 11:36 AM   #6
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Thanks. On a trip right now. Guess I will make a trip to the store and get the tool and check it all out when we get home.
Yes I have that same instruction sheet but why two holes is not clear. I will pull the wheel off and have look and report back on the mystery.
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Old 10-09-2013, 11:53 AM   #7
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IF and when you pull the wheel (hub), if you've never done it before, be careful NOT to drop the bearings in the dirt.

If you do, clean them very well with gas-- or solvent--, re-grease them, and put them back in-- not backwards. If you tear the grease seal, replace that as well.

VOE --- voice of experience
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Old 10-15-2013, 12:42 PM   #8
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Yes I have that same instruction sheet but why two holes is not clear.
The reason for the two holes???? Cost savings in manufacturing. These backing plates (the metal with the holes) can be used for right or left installations on the trailer. It is cheaper to make a backing plate that will work for both sides than to make a right side application and a left side application. Then stick a plug into both holes.

You will discover one hole works for the left side of the trailer and the other hole will work for the opposite side.

Also it is best to adjust with tire off the ground so you do not adjust too far. (too tight)

Good luck!

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Old 10-15-2013, 02:08 PM   #9
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Left side..... star wheel to the front.

Right side....star wheel to the rear.


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Old 10-15-2013, 02:35 PM   #10
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star wheel location

If you have self-adjust brakes your star wheel will be to the back side hole on both sides. The self-adjust brakes have a cable mechanism that is toward the back of the backing plate assembly which is where you the star wheel will be facing.
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Old 10-15-2013, 04:37 PM   #11
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Here is a picture of my right side brake assembly that shows the self adjust cable mechanism and the orientation of the brake adjustment star wheel.The left side is a mirror image with cable and star adjuster also on back side.Click image for larger version

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Old 10-16-2013, 10:29 AM   #12
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Thanks for the info. How does the self adjuster work? I recall on older vehicles you needed to go in reverse to have it do the self adjustment. Not sure on an Airstream.
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Old 10-16-2013, 09:40 PM   #13
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I can't explain the process but somehow they have managed to make it work while going forward. Maybe there is a brake system whizz here that can explain.
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Old 10-17-2013, 01:53 AM   #14
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Self adjusting brakes

The self adjust brake set-up is pretty simple. The upper part of the front shoe is connected to the cable. The cable cable runs from the fixed point on the front shoe to a pulley on the bottom part of the rear shoe. The cable then runs from the pulley to a ratchet pawl (basically a lever) that engages the teeth of the star wheel. When the brakes engage (expand) the top of the front shoe pulls on the cable. When the brakes are properly adjusted the brakes expanding does'nt pull far enough on the cable to move the pawl (lever) to grab the next tooth on the star wheel. As the brakes wear the cable can be pulled farther which moves the pawl to the point that it is able to grab onto the next tooth of the star wheel that then in turn tightens up the brakes to maintain proper adjustment.

I found that on the initial brake adjustment I could use the back hole on the backing plate to tighten the brakes but if I needed to back off a little that I had to reach through the front hole with a small screwdriver to hold the ratchet pawl off the teeth of the star wheel to loosen the brakes.

If you look at the picture of my previous post you can see the cable running to the pivot points of the lower part (back side) of the rear shoe. (The front shoe just has empty holes at these pivot points.) You then can see the shiny metal pawl behind the teeth of the star wheel.

I imagine since the brakes are mirror images of each other the star wheels would be threaded right handed on one side and left hand on the other but I am not sure which would go on what side because my new brakes came pre-assembled from Dexter.
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