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Old 07-09-2015, 09:02 AM   #15
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Did you use a bleed pump?
Last rebuild, I had my son pull the breakaway plug to pressurize/bleed.
Discovered, those little things don't like being dis/connected repeatedly... it melted. (maybe a bad switch?)

I know what you're saying about servicing yourself.
I won't have J/C touch my A/S, after the last few "service" experiences down there....
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Old 07-09-2015, 09:07 AM   #16
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I too have gone thru all the gyrations with the brakes that Gary has, save the pressure gage and the addition of the steel line at the calipers. By the way, just my opinion here, but I would not use the steel line, and there is a reason that in all brake installations, rubber lines are run to the caliper/wheel cylinders, and that is metal fatigue may eventually brake the steel line.

I have bled the brakes so many times I've lost count. Actually made a test cable with a 7 pin socket and a push button switch so I can bleed them by myself without the inevitable shouting match with my DW.

My Actibrake also tested good at an "Airstream Certified Service Center", (quotations because I don't believe it), and then less than a year later, the Actibrake failed. Replaced it with a Dexter actuator, and in less than six months it failed in the on mode. Dexter did give me a replacement and it has been working well so far.

The last thing I did to the system was add a 2lb pressure residual valve just after the actuator, and after our latest trip to Nova Scotia and back, I do believe it has helped reduce the delay.

However, the Dexter techs actually told me I would never get all of the delay out of the system. I agree with Kelvin, wish I had electrics.
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Old 07-09-2015, 09:18 AM   #17
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Yes JC does brake work. We talk a lot about the shortcomings of the disc system, but they really aren't any more repair/maintenance demanding than any electrics I have had in the past. My Actibrake wasn't in the recall population and is original (jinx). There is no adjusting, and I have never had to replace pads, nor any other components than the hoses mentioned above. I did work with Dexter on field testing some anti-rattle clips for the pads (which I believe are on all production units). The performance of discs, IMO and experience, is far superior to the drum setups.


As for bleeding, it would be great if one made up a controller with long leads so you could slowly ramp up pressure. I haven't spent any time with this. I simply pull the pin for the breakaway switch. Full apply pressure does aerate the fluid more than a slight application with a controller. The Actibrake, with the pin pulled will run for 20 seconds or so and shut off, holding full line pressure. This repeats about every 30 seconds.

1) Start with bleeding the outer caliper through the bleeder, just like any automotive application. Continue until clear new fluid comes out into your clear bleeding hose. Close the bleeder when no more large bubbles appear in the stream.

2) while system is under full pressure, barely crack the line fitting on the inboard caliper half so that it is a bit above a weep and not loose. Watch and listen carefully. You will see small bubbles in the "puddle" around the fitting. You will hear the pop and snap of air escaping through the fitting threads. In addition, the fluid that runs down the caliper into your catch pan will appear foggy, or cloudy, as it is full of tiny aeration bubbles. Tighten the line fitting when you see clear drips coming off the caliper and lack of cloudy fluid in the pan where fresh fluid is dripping and you hear/see no more aerated fluid at the loose fitting.

3) repeat steps 1 and 2 for the rest of the calipers.

4) Replace the breakaway pin and let the system rest for 10 minutes while all stratified aeration comes to the top of all caliper halves and coalesces into a single larger bubble.

5) Repeat all steps 3 more times.

6) as a final bleed, start with loosening the line fitting about 3/4 - 1 turn BEFORE pulling the breakaway pin. HOPEFULLY, this will purge most or all of the inboard caliper air without aerating it too much under actuator pressure. Tighten the line fitting and repeat with other 3 calipers.

7) Finally bleed all outboard caliper halves and ensure that clear, new fluid is in your bleed cup or pan.

This process took a bit over a quart of new fluid for me, but, as noted above, I had new hoses and empty(ish) calipers after my hose replacement.
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Old 07-09-2015, 09:56 AM   #18
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BTW, When I finished, my crystal ball said I had all the air out. Then I got out my "8 ball" and it said "maybe". We'll see when I take the AS out Monday.
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Old 07-09-2015, 11:02 AM   #19
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This thread exemplifies the value of this forum! Thanks Gray for all your hard work in getting it started and almost three years later still catalyzing more great discussion and info building into the thread. Thanks to all.
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Old 07-09-2015, 11:28 AM   #20
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Briefly.

I have a combination steel loop and traditional brake hose. All standard brake line components. You must have a length of rubber hose to allow for axle movement. The steel line is supported by a steel bracket I added and the line is secured by a rubber lined clamp.

I don't have any leads on substitute Dexter parts.

I tried to cover the bleeding .02$ in the pressure vs time thread. I assure you that this caliper design can and easily creates an air trap on the inboard caliper.

The Dexter dust piston seal should be carefully monitored for condition. Any cuts or tears can allow water in and a steel piston in a cast iron caliper will easily rust.

I did install Dexter caliper seals and new dust boots in one of my axle sets. Working just fine.

At work so just wanted to hit a high point or two.

We have the most powerful brakes, give them some inspections and enjoy the trip.

Got more reading to do when I get home.

Rich, good luck on the trip.

Gary
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Old 07-09-2015, 11:56 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boondockdad View Post
Did you use a bleed pump?
Last rebuild, I had my son pull the breakaway plug to pressurize/bleed.
Discovered, those little things don't like being dis/connected repeatedly... it melted. (maybe a bad switch?)

I know what you're saying about servicing yourself.
I won't have J/C touch my A/S, after the last few "service" experiences down there....
Don't have a bleed pump. Tried the MightyVac, but there was too much leakage around the bleeder threads....and I had a lot of air in the calipers....wore my hand out.

You must have had some switch issue, I've used my actuator many times while bleeding, testing, etc, and never even had a hint of warmth to the touch on the switch. They can corrode and have high resistance...that's what I would suspect.
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Old 07-09-2015, 02:25 PM   #22
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Rich,

For general use the vacuum pump is a good tool. One way to improve its efficiency is prior to use remove the bleed screw and apply 2-3 turns of Teflon tape on just the threads. Not on the seat. The tape helps seal up the threads a lot and really improves efficiency of the tool.

But it doesn't stand a chance of pulling a bubble down from the inboard casting, just like I think you mentioned previously.

If you come back with a frown after this trip I'll loan you my pressure gage setup if you want to static test and see delay vs psi on a video and it's not hard to add the steel lines and create an inboard bleed.
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Old 07-09-2015, 03:10 PM   #23
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Thanks, Gary.....duh, teflon tape....well, it wouldn't help much anyway, as you say the inboard half is the bugger.

Yeah, this was a bit of a rush repair so I can go soon. I'll fiddle with an in-line bleeder later, but I really don't think it would offer any advantage over the cracking the line method.

I won't have a frown either...just a bit more work. I had all the air out prior to this repair, and I am sure I can get there again.
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Old 07-10-2015, 06:46 PM   #24
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Rich,

Don't see why your method of cracking the inboard hose wouldn't work. You're giving the bubbles an escape path.

The one down side to cracking the inboard hose, hose position or twist when you finally get it tightened. And the hose flare is rotated and compressed to the adapter seat each time you crack it and tighten it. The adapted setup Im using has a steel line and nut at the connection to the caliper. So you're loosening the nut, bleed, tighten nut, returns to correct line position and the nut is just acting as a clamp to the line, no scrunch, loosen, scrunch etc.

OK, lets say I get real bored some winter and redo the whole chassis to axles connection system. Here's my wish list.

1. Route down the axle arm from the front, not from the rear like current setup. Compare this to a motorcycle rear wheel swing-arm, they come off of the frame and down the swing-arm, minimal flexing.

2. Connection to the caliper. I like the banjo bolt type connection with the copper washer seal top and bottom. I think you might even be able to find this combo with a bleed screw built in to the bolt. IIRC, somebody rigged this up already, quite a parts list.

Rich, have a safe trip.

Gary
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Old 07-08-2017, 08:24 AM   #25
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How'd that boredom thing work out?
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Old 07-08-2017, 08:59 AM   #26
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Something about a sleeping Rottweiler and if it ain't broke don't touch it comes to mind.

Brakes are AOK ready for next trip. Just need to be able to do more trips.
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Old 07-08-2017, 09:57 AM   #27
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Planning a conversion

Guys,
I am not happy with the performance of the 12x2 drum brakes on my trailer so I'm seriously considering a disc brake conversion. After some reading of several threads on here I have sort of settled on the Kodiac integral rotor with their single piston caliper coupled with the Carlisle actuator. Until reading this thread I was going with the Dacromet coated caliper. The gist of this thread seems to be that the different metals of the piston and caliper are perhaps the leading cause of corrosion, which has me thinking about paying the premium for the stainless calipers.

I'm aware of the advantages (and disadvantages) of the 4-piston caliper and have settled in favor of the single piston for ease of bleeding.

I know that most on here have the Airstream-fitted disc brakes (Dexter) but I wonder if anyone has any information that might indicate my choices are not optimum.

Kodiak publishes some dyno test data for their brakes. Is similar data available for the Dexters?

Thanks,

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Old 07-08-2017, 10:19 AM   #28
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Al,

No experience with Kodiac.

I can't prove this but my theory on MY situation started with axle replacements. The reason alone is a different story.

Axles ordered (AS paid the tab to boot!) Dealer calls, Gary you axle arrived. Huh, 1 axle, my 30' uses two axles. Call back to AS sorted that out.

Now the theory kicks in. The 1st axle was left outside and got rained on. Yes, we hope boots would have prevented rain getting in and NO I cannot prove my theory. That rainwater started corrosion between steel piston and cast iron caliper. Corrosion prevented pistons from returning and not creating brake drag. Brake drag overheated ONE axle only. That is the source of my theory.

Fast forward. Now I take full owner control of brakes, its now personal and one of us is gonna win.

My 9-5 job gave me a chance to go in deeper along with several decades of DIY skills. I setup a caliper rebuilding, new Dexter parts, lots of TLC and an actual DOT 3 based pressurization test on my bench to test leaking. Estimated max about 400 PSI.

OK, now MY secret sauce.

It took some searching but before I began reassembling the calipers I found grease that was used for caliper INTERNAL lubricating purposes. Remember it was me vs. calipers. I included a liberal amount of grease under dust boots to ward off corrosion.

The proof has been the miles and years of powerful 4 piston brake service.

The only update to this recommends possible annually inspecting the pad anchors for corrosion and applying external caliper grease to the pad anchors.

And as an aside this was a terrible typing experience due to lag as my PC says waiting for a litany of ads, ssp, n8, k stream, v.lqd and other junk at the bottom of my screen.

Disc brakes are good.
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