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Old 01-26-2010, 06:39 PM   #15
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Actuators

Actibrake had a good product, then apparently modified it, then it went south, along with the company.

Carlisle has an excellent actuator, that so far, seems to be trouble free. We have not experienced any failures, so far.

Andy
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Old 01-27-2010, 04:25 PM   #16
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I look forward to discs on the next trailer and much appreciate this and other threads/posts on the experience. And I may keep posting that. I had a few cars with drum brakes all around and, well, no matter how much careful adjustment -- especially on the fronts -- there was always that question of would the vehicle would stop in a straight line when it counted? In the rain, etc. I don't think drums are worth trusting and adjusting when there is a far better alternative. Thanks all.
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Old 01-27-2010, 07:01 PM   #17
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I had trouble with my Actibrake actuator on the drive home from picking up my new Airstream. I had to park it until a new actuator was sent from the manufacturer' It was their larger actuator and I had to modify the front compartment to make it fit and wire it myself, with direction from Actibrake. So far no problems with the actuator but my factory controller in my F350 just failed and was replace at a cost of nearly $800.00. I just hope it wasn't the actuator that cause some electrical probllem that fried my controller.
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Old 01-27-2010, 07:02 PM   #18
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The real fundamental technical advantage of disk brakes is better heat dissipation; important for high performance vehicles, but this is typically not the problem with trailer braking. If you're heating the trailer brakes badly, you need to gear down the tow vehicle. The big advantage of electrically actuated trailer disks is that they deliver consistent results. Why is this so?

The energy provided to the trailer brakes by the tow vehicles electric brake circuit is relatively small; to compensate, trailer drum brakes use a lot of "self servoing" - the pivots for the shoes are designed so that a small amount of force pressing the shoes into the drums is multiplied many times, much as couple of wraps of rope on a spinning windlass allows a small amount of force on the tail of the rope to control a large pull at the other end.

However, a small reduction in the coefficient of friction between the rope and the windlass (or the brake shoe and the drum) results in a large reduction in the amount of force multiplication that occurs. This is what was responsible for the severe brake fade experienced w/ drum brakes back in the 60s, particularly w/ those vehicles w/o power brakes. This also happens when the brakes get wet, a common problem on trailers.

Disks brakes have no mechanism to allow "self-servoing", so power brakes are essential on cars w/ disk brakes, and disk controllers drawing 40 or 50 amps are needed to make electrically actuated trailer disks work. As a result, neither cars or trailer equipped w/ disks experience severe brake fade, since the exponential reduction in braking effort due to loss of self-servoing doesn't occur.

Disk brakes are desirable for a variety of reasons - but hydraulic drum brakes w/o self-servoing and with a brake controller would also work much better than the existing electric trailer brake designs.

- Bart
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Old 01-27-2010, 08:26 PM   #19
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The real fundamental technical advantage of disk brakes is better heat dissipation; important for high performance vehicles, but this is typically not the problem with trailer braking. If you're heating the trailer brakes badly, you need to gear down the tow vehicle...
yeah, gear down, learn to drive better, they're not NEEDed on trailers and so on...

and i agree it is NOT typically about...

runaway trailers flying wildly downhill on 2 lane mountain roads behind OLD cars n trucks in these modern times.

however...

the REAL FUNDAMENTAL practical ACTUAL advantage of disc brakes is...

SHORTER STOPPING DISTANCES and TIMES...

the tests/trials and reports ALL show that a trailer equipped with disc brakes...

SHORTENS the stopping distance and time significantly...

in fact stopping distance is SHORTER than for JUST the TOW VEHICLE alone in some cases (like a big ford truck)...
___________

i have been in SEVERAL situations on flat roads going the same speed as those around me OR going the speed limit...

and ALWAYS maintaining lots of distance between me and the driver ahead...

where THAT DRIVER decides to come to a FULL STOP (like a U turn on the interstate) without warning...

or some1 changes lanes DIRECTLY in front of me and stops/turns or has NO brake lights...

and evasive maneuvers are not available (cars on both sides)...

so that my ONLY option was to stand on the truck brakes with trailer in tow...

in those situations having 10 disc brakes saved my arse, truck and stream ...

even though everything in the trailer (and in my shorts) was REarranged.
_________

stopping distance matters even without hills or heat or gearing options...

discs=shorter stopping distance/time and discs >>> drums, even (or especially) on trailers
_________

another more complicated but no less REAL issue is towing with drums BEHIND modern vehicles...

that have BIG POWERFUL disc brakes (cayenne, armanda, x5, m/g class merc')...

because the MISMATCH between the trailer brake performance/characteristics and the TV...

can and does cause problems.

i've seen this firsthand and talked with several 'streamers...

who had issues when the trailer wasn't UP TO the TV in terms of braking performance...

cheers
2air'
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Old 01-27-2010, 08:42 PM   #20
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2air

So..... you had an anecdotal arse saving because of dix breaks.
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Old 01-27-2010, 08:46 PM   #21
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Have you seen 2airs arse? NO WAY it's anecdotal!
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Old 01-27-2010, 08:51 PM   #22
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as we say in the turtle club...

"you bet your sweet arse" i did !



actually this has happened several times...

and the locations have VERY special mile markers now...

cheers
2air'
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Old 01-27-2010, 10:19 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman View Post
in fact stopping distance is SHORTER than for JUST the TOW VEHICLE alone in some cases (like a big ford truck)...
If the above is true, the brakes on the tow vehicle are badly in need of work, or the tow vehicle tires are poor compared to the trailer tires...
or perhaps the truck's rear suspension (or lack thereof) gets in the way of hard braking when empty....

Disks are great. But right now the reason they're great has more to do
with the design (and cost!) trade-offs rather than physics.

BTW, electro-hydraulic controllers are available for drum brakes as well; this is a nice way of converting hydraulic surge brake systems to electric control.

- Bart
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Old 01-27-2010, 10:28 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman View Post
as we say in the turtle club...

"you bet your sweet arse"

cheers
2air'
2...... they would insist on the proper spelling, you bet your donkey.
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Old 01-27-2010, 10:32 PM   #25
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I have the Carlisle actuator, which has worked well for me for seven years now. I do notice some lag time (a rather significant two seconds or so) while the pump pressures up. I recently mentioned this to the hitch shop where I bought it from. The customer rep said that Carlisle has rectified the issue with newer models which now have a two stream electrical process--full amperage goes to the actuator to build pressure fast, while a solenoid valve reacts to the degree of braking called for by the controller.

I haven't confirmed for myself that this is accurate, but if it is, I wish it had been available when I shelled out the many sheckles for the previous model....
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Old 01-27-2010, 10:34 PM   #26
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If the above is true, the brakes on the tow vehicle are...
this reads like u may be at a disadvantage in this exchange apparently having NOT read the trailer life article (or the others) on this issue.

or seen the test results and distances.

one could argue the tires/maintenance/load balance issues but none of those apply (imv) to the published info...

and in the case of these LARGE trucks (like mine) ...

a 7-10,000 lb truck with 4 discs brakes =< stopping power than 7-10,000 trailer with SIX disc brakes...

yes there may b differences in pincher size to consider.

but with older truck (that have DRUMS at the rear) even with properly maintained brakes...

adding a 4-7,000 lb trailer with 4 MORE discs=more pinchers=>stopping power...

folks towing with 'big red' type brakes (cayenne) have had to UPgrade their bambis to disc...

because the trailer could NOT be controlled in panic stops...

this was shown/demonstrated and CORRECTED (with discs) while running the porsche/bambi combo on the closed course track near j/c...

more pinchers is good!

cheers
2air'
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Old 01-27-2010, 10:36 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by 2airishuman View Post
i have been in SEVERAL situations on flat roads going the same speed as those around me OR going the speed limit...

and ALWAYS maintaining lots of distance between me and the driver ahead...

where THAT DRIVER decides to come to a FULL STOP (like a U turn on the interstate) without warning...

or some1 changes lanes DIRECTLY in front of me and stops/turns or has NO brake lights...

and evasive maneuvers are not available (cars on both sides)...

so that my ONLY option was to stand on the truck brakes with trailer in tow...

in those situations having 10 disc brakes saved my arse, truck and stream ...

even though everything in the trailer (and in my shorts) was REarranged.
_________

2air'
Me too! A teenie bopper cut me off and slowed down and I had to hit the brakes hard, everything went flying in the truck and Airstream and she looked back just in time to speed up with only a heartbeat between us. Without disc brakes I know we would have contacted each other.

Never had any trouble with them. I think they are well worth it. There have been some other hard stops and I have considered myself very fortunate to have the shorter stopping distance. How about this one...two lane highway, late night, driver passing another but cannot complete the pass, nor does the driver fall back, I get forced onto the shoulder.
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Old 01-27-2010, 10:39 PM   #28
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2...... they would insist on the proper spelling, you bet your donkey.
that would be a diabetic donkey, right?

proud member since ~1979

cheers
2air'
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