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Old 05-17-2011, 05:42 PM   #1
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Down Hill Brake Shudder

On our way back from Morro Bay this weekend, we took Highway 154 past Lake Cachuma. When descending on the 7% grade towards Santa Barbara, I noticed a shudder when the brakes were applied, an approximate ľ inch left/right movement to the steering wheel and a very slight stutter through the brake pedal. This hasnít happened before on other hills or on the flats. Once we were at the base of the grade, all was back to normal. We will be going up to Huntington Lake on the West side of the High Sierraís early in June. The route will be through the Grape Vine (the 5 Freeway) with steep grades and up to Huntington Lake at 7,000 feet elevation and some steep grades on the return trip. The PO had the axels and breaks inspected a couple of months prior to our purchase of the AS and he assured me that everything was in great shape (he also showed me the paperwork from the inspection). By the way, I am using a P2 break controller in a 2010 Tundra 5.7L CrewMax 4x4. SoÖ here are my questions. 1) Is it normal for the breaks to shudder/studder going down a steep grade (donít think so)? 2) Is this a problem with how the P2 break controller is adjusted? 3) Do the breaks need servicing again (less than 600 miles since they were last inspected)? Thanks in advance for your comments and suggestions.
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Old 05-17-2011, 05:54 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Scott J-24 View Post
On our way back from Morro Bay this weekend, we took Highway 154 past Lake Cachuma. When descending on the 7% grade towards Santa Barbara, I noticed a shudder when the brakes were applied, an approximate ľ inch left/right movement to the steering wheel and a very slight stutter through the brake pedal. This hasnít happened before on other hills or on the flats. Once we were at the base of the grade, all was back to normal. We will be going up to Huntington Lake on the West side of the High Sierraís early in June. The route will be through the Grape Vine (the 5 Freeway) with steep grades and up to Huntington Lake at 7,000 feet elevation and some steep grades on the return trip. The PO had the axels and breaks inspected a couple of months prior to our purchase of the AS and he assured me that everything was in great shape (he also showed me the paperwork from the inspection). By the way, I am using a P2 break controller in a 2010 Tundra 5.7L CrewMax 4x4. SoÖ here are my questions. 1) Is it normal for the breaks to shudder/studder going down a steep grade (donít think so)? 2) Is this a problem with how the P2 break controller is adjusted? 3) Do the breaks need servicing again (less than 600 miles since they were last inspected)? Thanks in advance for your comments and suggestions.
Sounds like the brakes are over heating the drums and have warped them.

You might want to have a machine shop turn them so they are true again.

Andy
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Old 05-17-2011, 06:13 PM   #3
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Hi Scott,

I have an '07 Tundra and I had the same issue with rotor warpage.
I ended up replacing the rotors with new drilled and slotted types
that have a lifetime warranty against warpage. I wouldn't bother
getting yours turned--they will warp again. Happy so far with the new ones.
BTW, make sure the gain on your controller is high enough to make the trailer
brakes do their share of the work.

Terry
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Old 05-17-2011, 06:23 PM   #4
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Andy,

Thanks for your quick response to my question. So does that mean that the break controller was out of adjustment and adding so much breaking force that it overheated the drums? I don't think I was 'riding the brakes' since I was in third gear using the engine to help brake, but who knows? Since I am new to pulling an AS that could be a possibility. Also being new to pulling a TT, where would I go to get this type of work done? I certainly don't have the tools, location or experience to pull the wheels and brake drums at home. Our next trip is into the Sierra Mountains, and I donít want to do that with questionable brakes nor do I want to repeat the problem after I get the drums turned.
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Old 05-17-2011, 06:35 PM   #5
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Terry,

I donít think the rotors on the Tundra are warped. They donít exhibit any shuttering or pulsing when the trailer isnít attached. I have had warped disks in the past with in a passenger car and every time you touched the brakes you could feel the problem. What is confusing to me is that on a Ďnormalí downhill grades (i.e., no warning signs on the side of the road) or flat terrain the truck/trailer combination doesnít exhibit the problem, only on steep grades.
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Old 05-17-2011, 06:35 PM   #6
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Since you are feeling movement in your steering wheel, my bet is it is most likely the front rotors of the Tow Vehicle. If you are feeling it in the brake pedal, it could be both front and rear. Could be that they are heating up on downhill, warping slightly from heat expansion. Then back to normal when they cool.
I have learned the best thing that helps reduce heating up the Tow Vehicle and/or trailer brakes is shifting down gears at the top of the grade before starting down, so the motor helps slow down the rig. I start down slow and continue slow in second or third gear on steep downhills. I heated up my brakes a few years ago on my previous TV and had to have the rotors turned.
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Old 05-17-2011, 06:38 PM   #7
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Is it just me, or does there seem to be a little confusion as to whether it is the trailer brakes or the tow vehicle brakes that are causing the problem? You need to get that sorted out first. Just my 2 cents worth.
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Old 05-17-2011, 06:44 PM   #8
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Wayne,
Good suggestion... chicken or egg... Seams to be the trailer to me, but the bulk of the other responses belive it is the truck. If it is the truck, I should know more when I drive home from work (without the trailer).
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Old 05-17-2011, 07:03 PM   #9
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Scott,

The fact that you are feeling shake in the steering wheel probably means the front brakes are warping with heat. The fact that they don't shake when cool is good, but on mine it wasn't long before they were shaking on off ramps under light braking. I've been over 154 many times with the trailer, and once my wife came down the East side after a women's rally and really heated 'em up.
On long down grades I often set the controller as high as 9 and the gain all the way up at 3. Sometimes it takes being in second gear, which holds at 45 mph or so. I tried to to baby the Tundra's OEM brakes because the rotors are not that great.

Terry
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Old 05-17-2011, 07:13 PM   #10
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got to be the tv

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott J-24 View Post
I noticed a shudder when the brakes were applied, an approximate ľ inch left/right movement to the steering wheel and a very slight stutter through the brake pedal. .
Warped brakes on the trailer will not move the TV steering wheel 1/4" left/right. This movement is caused by the brake calipers being forced apart by the warpped rotor then clamping back on when the warpped area passes by.
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Old 05-17-2011, 07:15 PM   #11
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Clean inspect all eight then (adj trlr if needed), try applying just the trailer brakes and see what happens.

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Old 05-17-2011, 07:25 PM   #12
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I'm with A W Warn on this one...trailer brakes will not translate to TV steering wheel shake. You might want to rule out rotor warpage on the TV first and DO NOT rule out a faulty caliper. I went rounds with my HD 150 for a year with composite pads vs kevlar, slotted vs drilled vs standard rotors... Turned out to be a hot spot on 1 piston of the three piston caliper. Replaced the entire caliper assembly using old kevlar pads and non slotted or drilled rotors and the shakes went away! Viola.
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Old 05-17-2011, 08:25 PM   #13
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All,

Thank for your comments and suggestions. Ride home from work was normal, no shudder felt in the steering wheel or brake peddle. But as Terry implied, no shudder with cool brakes doesn't necessarily mean that the rotors aren't warped. I will definitely get both the TV and TT brakes (and calipers) checked out before our next trip in June. Good brakes are not an option, they are a necessity and need to be maintained in proper working condition at all times.
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Old 05-17-2011, 08:53 PM   #14
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Shakey Brakey

My rig did the same thing... until I realized my brake controller was not properly adjusted, and due to mis adjustment, was activating the Anti-lock braking system on my tow vehicle... front wheel shudder and all. After adjusting the controller upwards, the shudder disappeared. Seems to be a rather sensitive adjustment... depending on temperature, downward slope, et cetera. Just a perspective.
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