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Old 02-02-2018, 10:02 AM   #1
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2002 30' Classic S/O
Melbourne Beach , Florida
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Disc Brake Conversion SUCCESS!

Wednesday I had my axles replaced and, in the process, converted to disc brakes. Wow! What a difference. I haven't driven it much yet, but I did take some data points before and after by stopping the truck/trailer combination with just the trailer brakes. All tests run with the integrated brake controller in my 2013 Ram 2500 set at Heavy Electric and Gain of 10. I forgot to change it to hydraulic, Duh.

2002 Classic 30 Slideout, GVWR 9100#

OEM 12x2 drum brakes, properly adjusted
25mph to 0mph - 12 seconds
45 mph to 0 mph - 30 seconds

Kodiak integral rotor disc brakes with Carlisle Hydrastar 1600 psi actuator
25mph to 0 mph - 6 seconds
45mph to 0mph - 11 seconds

These test were run right after installation, the brakes probably had not bedded in well yet.

When I tried the 25 mph test the next day, the brakes actually locked. I had been unable to lock them with the drums. I am now running with the gain set at 8.5 to eliminate lockups. I switched to Heavy Hydraulic and discovered that the brakes come on earlier and harder at first. That should improve the lag I felt when driving home from the shop with them set on Heavy Electric by accident.

So far I am extremely pleased with the conversion. I'll report after our rally trip this weekend and next.

Al
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Old 02-02-2018, 10:20 AM   #2
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Good for you. I've anecdotally known what you state ever since I sold my SOB with drums
and bought my 07 Classic with discs. First trailer I've ever towed with which behaves close...but only close, to automotive feel and predictability. They have their quirks, due to the electric interface at the actuator, but they are far superior.
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Old 02-02-2018, 10:24 AM   #3
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1992 29' Excella
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We had disc brakes installed on our 29' Classic about 12 years ago. They are wonderful! Anyone who says drum trailer brakes (when properly adjusted) work as well as discs hasn't towed/stopped with disc brakes. Ours have been working well for nearly 100,000 miles with only one set of new pads installed and the discs are original.

Hope you get many miles from your setup and the brakes give you more confidence when traveling.
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Old 02-02-2018, 10:25 AM   #4
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Al,

Maybe we need those bumper stickers I frequently see on Canadian trailers, warning that the trailer is disc brake equipped and stops on a dime.

Now just enjoy and get to know your new stopping system.

Congrats.

Gary
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Old 02-02-2018, 02:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nvestysly View Post
We had disc brakes installed on our 29' Classic about 12 years ago. They are wonderful! Anyone who says drum trailer brakes (when properly adjusted) work as well as discs hasn't towed/stopped with disc brakes. Ours have been working well for nearly 100,000 miles with only one set of new pads installed and the discs are original.

Hope you get many miles from your setup and the brakes give you more confidence when traveling.
I was totally satisfied with the drum brakes on my 25' Safari with a GVWR of 6300#. The truck/trailer combo stopped as well as the truck alone. I had to set my P3 controller to about 7 to avoid locking the brakes.

When I got my Classic 30 Slideout I was unable to get the brakes to lock at full gain on the integral controller. I bought a used P3 to see if that made any difference. It pointed out that my umbilical cable had high resistance; I was only getting about 8 amps to the brakes while the breakaway switch had over 11. With the new umbilical I got up to about 10.5, and braking improved slightly, but still no lockup. The kicker is that the 9100# Classic had exactly the same brakes as did the Safari - 12x2 drums. Seems odd that a 50% increase in GVWR didn't result in bigger brakes in the design of the Classic.

Al
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Old 02-02-2018, 02:21 PM   #6
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Great information. Seems to be an important modification, especially for longer/heavier trailers.

This would also be useful for those that have gone up on tire/wheel size. Either from 15" to 16" wheels, or increasing tire size from 225/75/15 to 235/75/15, or anything that increases tire diameter really, where brake torque is lost.
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Old 02-02-2018, 02:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pteck View Post
Great information. Seems to be an important modification, especially for longer/heavier trailers.

This would also be useful for those that have gone up on tire/wheel size. Either from 15" to 16" wheels, or increasing tire size from 225/75/15 to 235/75/15, or anything that increases tire diameter really, where brake torque is lost.
Good point about the wheel size. I did replace the 15" tires and wheels on the trailer when I bought it with the ones I had on my 25. So the comparison between the two trailers is still valid, but a stock Classic 30 Slideout might perform differently.

That said, I seem to have gotten 2-3 X more braking with the discs.

Al


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Old 02-02-2018, 08:11 PM   #8
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Very good report. I like the experiments you did and the data you collected. Wow, what a difference. And I'm sure the disc brakes will perform very well on long downhill desents.

I'm installing new axles on my 75 Overlander. Dexter supplies 10x2 1/4 drums on all axles rated less than 3500 pounds. It is a industry standard so I'm told. The old axles had 12v2 drums that are typical on 5000 pound rated axles. I'm having some heartburn about losing braking force, especially here in Colorado and especially towing the 5500 pound trailer with a SUV.

Maybe I can start a disc brake project after the fact on my new axles if I am unhappy with the 10" drums. TouringDan put disc brakes on his Trade Wind with good results.

David
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Old 02-03-2018, 09:23 AM   #9
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We had disc brakes added to our 2004 Classic Slide Out several years ago and they are just awesome! Like adding the Hensley, it took me a while to decide to spend the money but what a difference adding both. The peace of mind was worth the expense.
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Old 02-03-2018, 09:26 AM   #10
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I'm trying to get a feel for this..... do you have any idea what that works out to in stopping DISTANCE? To my uneducated mind 12 seconds sounds like forever!
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Old 02-03-2018, 09:33 AM   #11
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Too many variables my friend. Our rig with the slide and fully loaded weighs in at four plus tons and with disc brakes added I can tell you that at times I can feel the trailer breaking the truck. The disc brakes at least help substantially. At one point we were considering trading for a newer model Airstream when I was shocked to learn the disc brakes were not an option as I thought they once were. We decided to keep our well maintained and periodically upgraded 2004. I'd be hard pressed to purchase any heavy trailer without them.
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Old 02-03-2018, 09:50 AM   #12
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Discs

My orig 79 had em and I spend a bucket of cash to keep them operating.

It Was worth it for the smooth braking
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Old 02-03-2018, 09:54 AM   #13
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Hi Al & Missy.

Our 2009 30 Classic has dexter disc brakes and actuator. Way better stopping than our 2010 27 International that was 1,000+ pounds lighter.

I would not want a trailer this heavy without discs. No new one for us either.

Paul &. Holly
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Old 02-03-2018, 09:54 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manning G View Post
I'm trying to get a feel for this..... do you have any idea what that works out to in stopping DISTANCE? To my uneducated mind 12 seconds sounds like forever!
Note that his tests were done with actuating only the trailer brakes, which removes the variable of brake gain with the tow vehicle.
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