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Old 08-01-2005, 10:51 AM   #29
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If you have average mechanical skills, you can do it yourself. If you pack your own wheel bearings, you can probably do it. The routing of the brake lines is the time consuming part. The retail parts run around $1200 for a triple axle.

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Old 08-01-2005, 01:05 PM   #30
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I agree – running the brake line is the most time consuming part . We converted our shop trailer to Kodiak disc’s a year or so back. I love my maintenance man but I would have to consider him average in the “mechanical ability” area . Two axles plus the complete install took around 6 hours. Our driver said he needs an extra hand so that he can give it the much deserved “three thumbs up” !



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Old 08-27-2005, 03:59 PM   #31
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A/S and disc brakes

A/S uses the Kodiak brakes and the ActiBrake acutator. Kodiak IS the manufacturer of the brakes. They use widely available GM disc pads and are a very robust design. A/S uses the e-coated brakes, while we install the silver cadmium plate for better corrosion protection, but all the internal moving parts of the Kodiak system are stainless steel.

A/S made disc brakes standard on ALL classic starting in February of 2005. A/S will retrofit virtually any trailer with the disc system at the repair center, BUT they will NOT install them as a factory option on the Safari or International models at ANY price. I talked to A/S just yesterday on the matter as I was ordering a unit for a customer and he wanted the disc brakes. A/S is simply not offering them except as a retrofit. So if you want them on a new Safari or International, either your dealer will have to do it (there is more to it than meets the eye and quite a few places to make mistakes that can come back to bite) or you will have to haul your A/S back to JC and have them do it. I asked it could be done after production but while it was still in JC and the answer was NO. A/S has no way to bill a dealer for work done in the repair shop which is where the retrofits are accomplished, only end customers. I know it sounds silly, but that it they way it is.

I will also warn anyone thinking about a DIY project that the actuator is a pretty touchy beast. It requires rigor be maintained regarding the wiring and especially the ground, including that in the tow vehicle. If a person is knowledgable and understands what is required and ensures that everything is upto snuff, then he/she should be okay, but UNDERSTAND that the result of not having the wiring absolutely perfect in all respects can result in intermittent brakes or no brakes. Disc brakes while excellent (yes I have them on my personal A/S), are more complicated as you are dealing with high pressure hydraulics and a sensitive microprocessor-based actuator. At this point in the rollout, I would advise that this job is best left to A/S or a qualified dealer.

David R Tidmore
GM Roger Williams Airstream
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Old 08-10-2007, 11:18 PM   #32
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Actibrake system

Do A/S dealers always use the Actibrake system on their retro fit of drum to disk brake systems?
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Old 08-10-2007, 11:47 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Uflyups
Do A/S dealers always use the Actibrake system on their retro fit of drum to disk brake systems?
hi uflyups

welcome to the forums!

the a/s assembly line uses dexters gear on new builds now.

while the factory service center uses kodiac with actibrake for retro fits...

most dealers that do this conversion get the bits from the factory and use the same stuff.

there are other options,

dexters can be retro fit too.

there are all full stainless steel setups (used on boat trailers) that will work.

actibrake makes the controller board/fluid reservoir and so on, but there are other vendors for this gear too.

what do you have in mind?
diy or dealer? which one?

tell us more!

also there are more recent threads on this topic. (but david tidmore's posts are very very informative)

all of the true things that i am about to tell you are shameless lies. l.b.j.

we are here on earth to fart around. don't let anybody tell you any different. k.v.
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Old 08-11-2007, 03:39 AM   #34
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The general feel of this thread has been very supportive of the use of disc brakes on our Airstreams. This sort of conversion would, initially, be very attractive to me. I admire skilled engineering, I believe in "you'll remember the quality long after you've forgotten the cost", and I can afford the conversion. However, (you just knew that word was coming.....) I have a couple of doubts:

1. Complexity generally leads to unreliability. Trailers are often left for long periods in damp corrosive atmospheres. Microprocessors and sensitive grounds can be troublesome in such conditions.

2. As I spend half the year in the USA, and half in the UK, I leave a motor vehicle unused in each continent for about 6 months. This is a typical period of non-use for many trailers during the winter. The greatest problem I have with leaving motor vehicles unused is seizing up of the hydraulic brake slave cylinders through lack of use, even with regular changes of brake fluid. I also leave unset the emergency (parking) brake. I do not wish to create similar problems with my Airstream.

3. For the past 7 years the electric brakes have performed normally after having been left for 8 months.

4. Discs create extra maintenance in changing brake fluid, and checking fluid level, and having to carry spare brake fluid.

5. Discs can create extra maintenance through leaks in seals in hydraulic cylinders.

These considerations lead me to avoid the disc conversion, but, on the other hand, I have only ever towed in the east, and I want the ability to cross the mountains with minimum brake fade in future years. Furthermore, I would appreciate the ability to adjust the my Jordan brake controller so that the brakes lock on braking, and then re-adjust to avoid this. That procedure would reassure me that I had adequate braking. I am unable to lock the brakes on my Excella, but Walt, of Walt's RV, Ocala, assured me that this was normal with a two axle Excella.

So, I'm still pondering the issue.

Nick Crowhurst, Excella 25 1988, Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins Diesel. England in summer, USA in winter.
"The price of freedom is eternal maintenance."
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Old 08-11-2007, 06:07 AM   #35
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I agree with Nick. For the simplicity and economy of electric drum brakes, they cannot be beat. Those disc brake systems can be really complicated to maintain and troubleshoot if there is a problem.

After seeing what "catsandi" went through with her disc brakes, I want no part of them.
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Old 08-11-2007, 09:40 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by uwe
I installed disc brakes on my 1963 Overlander, and the stock steel wheels from my 1971 Airstream fit fine, no rubbing. I am, however, running Dexter's disc brake setup, not Kodiak. I am not sure if the interference is the same Dexter vs. Kodiak.
I have no practical experience yet, since I have not towed the beast yet. Can't wait to give it a test, though.
Wow, how time flies...
Having towed my 5200lb Overlander now for many many miles, I must say that I would NEVER go back to electric drums. Not while sober or in control of my actions, anyways. The maintenance is very easy - just pump some fresh brake fluid through the lines once a year, and flashlight all the junctions while you're at it. It takes about 2 hours, start to finish. My system is self installed, with new axles at the time. The brake sensitivity, and lack of fade or any other sign of brake trouble is simply stunning. This is especially true once one tows with a tow vehicle that has little reserves in capacity, such as my Suburban 1500.
I can descent very long and steep grades with applying the trailer brakes only, never even touch the truck's brake pedal and there simply is NO FADE, whatsoever.
The concerns of electrical problems possibly disabling the brakes applies the same as it would to electric drums, btw. The actuator lives in the interior space, well protected from moisture and atmospheric influences. Much like my TV, amp, radio etc.
Yes, trailers need maintenance, and yes, the hydraulic discs add a little to that. But, having towed similar trailers ( one with electric drums, one with hydraulic discs) the end result is just so much better that the little bit of extra cost and maintenance in the long run does not bother me.
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Old 08-11-2007, 10:41 AM   #37
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I did have some troubles with my brakes after the having my trailer repaired at the factory. THey had the batteries disconnected for several weeks. The brake computer in the actibrake unit reset. Unknown to me the purchasing dealer synced the brakes for me. I was un-aware of this process until Sanders finally figured it out.
That has been my only problem with my brakes and I LOVE the discs stopping power. This is good because I spend a lot of time in the mountains out west.
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Old 08-11-2007, 10:44 AM   #38
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Ah yes stopping is a great feature in brakes and the disc brakes shorten stopping distances considerably! That I like.

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Old 08-11-2007, 11:36 AM   #39
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Rosie update ??

Hey Carol: Has Rosie been updated, like Betty Crocker is every decade or two?
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Old 08-11-2007, 12:19 PM   #40
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LOL! Wish i could get that update!!!! The beauty of internet.


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