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Old 05-18-2009, 06:41 PM   #15
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1991 34' Excella
Princeton , New Jersey
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The first place I would look for an electrical problem as the one you are describing would be the blue wire connection at the brake controller, them that wires connection inside the truck plug at the rear. You have a loose wire.

If you pulled the safety brake away pin and the trailer brakes LOCKED, and I me LOCKED to the point the tires would drag, the problem is forward of the trailer.

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Old 05-18-2009, 07:08 PM   #16
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I would check the connector on your TV and the plug going into it for corrosion. It is the most likely place for a bad connection.



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Old 05-18-2009, 09:38 PM   #17

2003 25' Classic
Zanadude Nebula , WNY
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Originally Posted by paddler3d View Post
Occasionally we'd hit a bump in the road and the control would show we have breaks.

Tap test the brake controller. Intermittant open circuit is a possibility. Inspect the red and blue connections at the unit, solder or good crimp is in order.
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Old 05-18-2009, 10:17 PM   #18
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The toughest part of this is intermittent. We have folks come into the dealership everyday with intermittent somethings.. Until you can actually get the component to fail its an educated guess. We use the wiggle test as much as possible under load conditions but even then sometimes it just has to fail. Keep messin with things and you will find it. Usually its something that the local guy did when he was hooking something up rather than the manufactured installed item.

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Old 05-21-2009, 08:04 AM   #19
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Baltimore , Maryland
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Problem resolved!

In the end it was not an electrical problem!

When I pulled the breakaway switch and it engaged, it had just barely engaged. I hadn't tested it hard enough.

What I found was the breaks were sereverly underadjusted. The intermitent issue was because I would be able to engage the breaks, but the break controler was really telling me 'I had no breaks' and not 'they are not hooked up'. That was why I could hear them, but they weren't doing anything.

I now have a real good understanding of how the electronic breaks work and I know the wiring is good in the tow vehicle and the trailer.

I have very specific concerns about the actual breaks.

The break shoes have maybe 1/8 - 3/16" left on them. I can't find out there what the thickness of the actual break shoes should be. What should they be?

To get the breaks to have functional stopping effectiveness, the controller is set to 8.7v. Is that good or bad?

The breaks themselves are functional but look pretty rough. One of the plastic plugs where you adjust the spring tension was missing and the adjuster spring and adjuster assembly were pretty heavily rusted. I'm simply leaning towards replacing the breaks and the drums and just not messing with them any more, except for regular maintenance.

Who makes the better breaks out there?

Where are the breaks marked with their size?

Any tips or suggestions from folks that have replaced their breaks?

You guys have been helpful!

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Old 05-21-2009, 08:33 AM   #20
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If you are satisfied the electrical system is working just adjust the brakes and try again.

Your shoes are OK with those thicknesses. If you hear the magnets they are working. Missing the adjuster cap is nothing. Rust on the adjuster is nothing as long as the adjuster can be turned.

Jack up one side of the trailer. While turning a wheel adjust the brake until you can not turn the wheel. Now back off on the adjuster 3 or 4 points on the star wheel of the adjuster. The wheel should turn freely with little or no scrapping. Adjust the others and go for a ride. A test while the trailer is up is to spin the wheel and have someone short the 12 volt and the brake terminal on the trailer cord. The wheel should slam to a stop. If you do this use at least a #12 or larger wire. A smaller wire will melt in you hands.

8 amps applied manually on adjusted brakes should cause the wheels to lock at about 25 mph. Your controller should be set just below what ever setting causes the wheel to lock at 25 mph when fully applied manually.
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Old 05-23-2009, 04:12 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by paddler3d View Post
The new season is here and I'm getting the trailer ready to rock and hopefully roll, and stop.

On our 2nd to last trip last season, I noticed once in a while that I would loose my electronic breaks. Hit a bounce in the road and they would come back.

On our final trip last season, they just went out and wouldn't come back with a bump in the road.

We have a 2005 19' Bambi and it is pulled by a 2005 Chevy 2500HD. The electronic break control is a Tekonsha P3.

The display on the controler would litterally turn red and say 'No Electronic Brakes'.

Last season I went through and tried to find a short somewhere in the wiring.

I elimnated a short existing on the truck.

I cleaned the contacts of the 7-way plug.

When the trailer is all hooked up, everything functions (brake lights, turn lights, hazards) on the trailer.

When I tested the hook up to the truck with a DMM, I was getting voltage on all 6 leads.

As the season progressed last year, I noticed that I had to continue to increase the amount of juice going to the electronic breaks to get any sort of breaking power.

Access to the wiring in the electronic breaks is not easy to get to. So I haven't been able to test for a short from the plug in to the truck to the breaks.

Also to be frank, the manual that came with the trailer isn't super clear. It looks like it is a photo copy of a photo copy of a photo copy.

Any help or suggestions on where to hunt down my lack of breaks would be most appreciative.


I would work your way back from the trailer and I would check the wires from the wheels forward. If your increasing voltage through the season to get breaks to grab I bet you have a small short I am betting from the wires to the wheels near the wheel itself.I noticed on my trailer the wires feed through the back side of the wheels through a groment to protect wires. This gromet I had to change because it was falling apart. The metal of the wheel was rubbing against the wires. Also check all ground wires even though the lights all work the connection may be not enough to give the brakes the connection they need.

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