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Old 08-22-2007, 02:48 PM   #1
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1958 22' Flying Cloud
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Electric Brakes - Are they working?

I'm new to this towing thing (58 Flying Cloud). I tried the adjustment/test on the new Tekonsha brake controller where you get a straight flat road and dial the thing up to get the brakes to lock up at low speed. Never happened. When I slide the switch all the way, I only get a slight pull-back from the trailer. Is this right? If not, how do you check the brakes to see if they are working properly?

I was told, when I bought the trailer (AS dealer) and they installed the controller, that everything had passed the safety check (for which I paid). I'm just not confident that the brakes are fully functional.
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Old 08-22-2007, 03:29 PM   #2
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No. You should be able to lock the wheels at low speed.

Considering the age of the trailer the first think I would do is Jack one wheel off the ground. While you spin that wheel have someone manualy hit the brakes. The wheel should Slam to a stop. If not I would remove that brake drum and see if greese has leaked on the shoes. If there is no sign of greese look at the face of the magnet. You should see a pattern of small whole in the face of the magnet. These are ware indicaters. If they are worn away and the magnet has worn into the magnet coil, wires showning, the magnets need replacing.

If all is well inside the brakes do some voltage drop test along the brake wire, at the controller output, the truck plug, and at the magnet, while the brakes are applied. If you show 12 volts at the output of the controller you should only see a volt or 2 drop by the time you test at the magnet. Small wire size or poor connections are common reasons for voltage drop along this circuit. Any voltage drop will reduce the effectiveness of the brakes.
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Old 08-22-2007, 03:41 PM   #3
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I've noticed with the older round brake magnets that the wheels won't lock up. You will feel the trailer drag, and slow you to a stop. Adjustment of the trailer brakes is important also, if they are seriously out of adjustment no amount of magnetism in the world will make the wheels lock up. The shoes will only go out so far, and if they don't firmly contact the drum, they will not stop the drum.
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Old 08-22-2007, 09:27 PM   #4
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Magnet Photo

I took off one of the drums. The magnet has brakeshoe material inside a metal "cup", but it is flush with the metal surround. That doesn't look right, does it? Are the magnets easy to get/replace?
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Old 08-22-2007, 11:45 PM   #5
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Smile Hi bevman

It easier to replace the whole brake assembly and it is cheaper than buying individual parts. The round magnets are hard to find and expencive. The brake asembly from Dexter Corp. used to be about $50 per wheel. Look up Dexter Corp. Distributor in your area. Inland RV also sels them.
Regards Russell in hot Tucson Az.
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Old 08-23-2007, 05:07 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bevman
I'm new to this towing thing (58 Flying Cloud). I tried the adjustment/test on the new Tekonsha brake controller where you get a straight flat road and dial the thing up to get the brakes to lock up at low speed. Never happened. When I slide the switch all the way, I only get a slight pull-back from the trailer. Is this right? If not, how do you check the brakes to see if they are working properly?

I was told, when I bought the trailer (AS dealer) and they installed the controller, that everything had passed the safety check (for which I paid). I'm just not confident that the brakes are fully functional.
Electric brakes must also be properly adjusted by using the star washer.

If they are out of adjustment, poor braking will be the result.

On the other hand, you should replace the backing plates, as some of the parts to the original round magnet type electric brakes are no longer available.

Andy
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Old 08-23-2007, 08:04 AM   #7
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Yes, it is easier and cheaper to replace the complete brake assembly than buy any 2 of the parts. However before you do that lets find out why the current brakes were weak. The brake assembly looks perty good, no grease, magnets don't look bad. Take a voltage reading at the wire leading to the magnet. Use a straight pin to stab into the wire for contact. Note only one of the wires will show a voltage as the other is the Ground Side.

Assuming you did not move the star adjuster, and they are in the original position, while taking the brake drum off put it back on. Note the thread direction on the star adjuster so you will know which why to thighten it when the drum is on. Mount the tire. Once on, and while truning the wheel by hand, run the star adjuster out all the way up against the drum, until you can't turn it, counting the clicks as you do. If you count more than 5 clicks to lock the drum the brakes may just have been out of adjustment all along.
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Old 08-23-2007, 04:09 PM   #8
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Thanks team. I'll try the adjusting thing. I think that I can dredge up the process out of the depths of my memory. In 1972 I was vagabonding in Europe and my buddy and I bought a '64 VW bus in Amsterdam ($400). Using the book "Volkswagen Repair for the Complete Idiot" we dropped the engine and replaced the cylinder heads with rebuilts and adjusting the brakes. Neither of us had EVER worked on a car before. The fact that it fired up on the first attempt was both a miracle and testimonial to the complete-ness of the manual that we used. I'm forever in the debt of Mr. Muir.
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Old 08-23-2007, 07:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bevman
Using the book "Volkswagen Repair for the Complete Idiot" we dropped the engine and replaced the cylinder heads with rebuilts and adjusting the brakes. Neither of us had EVER worked on a car before. The fact that it fired up on the first attempt was both a miracle and testimonial to the complete-ness of the manual that we used. I'm forever in the debt of Mr. Muir.
That book taught many of us to not be afraid of vehicle repairs. My daily driver (since 1976) is a 1967 VW westfalia camper...I too am forever in debt to Mr. Muir. I talk to his son every now and again via email.
Tom
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Old 08-24-2007, 08:56 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlavergne
That book taught many of us to not be afraid of vehicle repairs. My daily driver (since 1976) is a 1967 VW westfalia camper...I too am forever in debt to Mr. Muir. I talk to his son every now and again via email.
Tom
Memories, When I read this I just had to go out to the garage and touch my copy. Its been on the shelf for the past 30 years but it one I will never get rid of. His discription of a torque wrench substitute is a classic.
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Old 08-25-2007, 10:49 AM   #11
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Well, I had to go out and purchase a brake adjusting "spoon." At the Autozone, the guy said "sold out. Why don't you just use a screwdriver?" It's a clearance thing. Kragen, sold out, too. I had to go to the Imported Parts place in town and pay $8 for a $4 tool. Oh well. It worked like a charm.

Question: How tight should the axel bolt be? Too tight and it seems to force the Timkin bearings causing drag, which I can only assume to be bad.
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Old 08-25-2007, 11:11 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bevman
Well, I had to go out and purchase a brake adjusting "spoon." At the Autozone, the guy said "sold out. Why don't you just use a screwdriver?" It's a clearance thing. Kragen, sold out, too. I had to go to the Imported Parts place in town and pay $8 for a $4 tool. Oh well. It worked like a charm.

Question: How tight should the axel bolt be? Too tight and it seems to force the Timkin bearings causing drag, which I can only assume to be bad.
Take a look at this thread:
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f437...ent-23576.html
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Old 08-25-2007, 03:47 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bevman
Well, I had to go out and purchase a brake adjusting "spoon." At the Autozone, the guy said "sold out. Why don't you just use a screwdriver?" It's a clearance thing. Kragen, sold out, too. I had to go to the Imported Parts place in town and pay $8 for a $4 tool. Oh well. It worked like a charm.

Question: How tight should the axel bolt be? Too tight and it seems to force the Timkin bearings causing drag, which I can only assume to be bad.

To learn about your bearings, brakes and ajustments, visit our web site

Airstream Innovations at Inland RV Center, Inc. and click on the manual photo or click on articles.

Andy
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