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Old 04-29-2009, 11:05 AM   #1
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Electronic Brakes Not Working So Well...

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.

Thanks,

Chris
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Old 04-29-2009, 02:43 PM   #2
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Hi Chris and welcome to the forums..

I know you said you cleaned the 7way plug but is it possible you still have a connection problem at this specific terminal? Just by design this connection is poor so if there is resistence between the contacts or the terminals on the trailer are spread apart enough to lose connection on bumps you will end up with no brakes. The controller will see this too and tell you when the circuit is open. Before you start probing around everywhere else I would look at this area once again. There is an update bullett style that i have thought about converting to. I know Andy swears by this update and could probably supply you with the parts necessary to switch over.
Good luck

Vinnie
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Old 04-29-2009, 02:48 PM   #3
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put a long cord on the breakaway switch and pull it on a slow roll. if you now have brakes, i'd recheck the brake wire connections as mentioned.

ps, dont leave that breakaway switch unplugged more than a few minutes it will harm the magnets in the brakes.
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Old 04-29-2009, 03:04 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richinny View Post
put a long cord on the breakaway switch and pull it on a slow roll. if you now have brakes, i'd recheck the brake wire connections as mentioned.

ps, dont leave that breakaway switch unplugged more than a few minutes it will harm the magnets in the brakes.
Isn't the breakaway switch all or nothing? If those point contacts come together you will supply the drums with 12 volts and an abrupt stop right?

Just trying to visualize your test..

Thanks Vinnie
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Old 04-29-2009, 03:14 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by vlamica View Post
Hi Chris and welcome to the forums..

I know you said you cleaned the 7way plug but is it possible you still have a connection problem at this specific terminal? Just by design this connection is poor so if there is resistence between the contacts or the terminals on the trailer are spread apart enough to lose connection on bumps you will end up with no brakes. The controller will see this too and tell you when the circuit is open. Before you start probing around everywhere else I would look at this area once again. There is an update bullett style that i have thought about converting to. I know Andy swears by this update and could probably supply you with the parts necessary to switch over.
Good luck

Vinnie


I agree.

On my last trailer (non-AS) I was having break problems and cleaned the plug with no change.

In looking more closely at the plug however, I found loose clamp screws where the wires connect into the back of the plug housing, as well as corrosion. Cleaning the connectors & wires, applying dielectric grease and tightening teh connectors properly solved the problem.


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Old 04-29-2009, 03:21 PM   #6
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Isn't the breakaway switch all or nothing? If those point contacts come together you will supply the drums with 12 volts and an abrupt stop right?

Just trying to visualize your test..

Thanks Vinnie

this will test the hard to get to wiring from the b/a switch to the brakes. it also tests the b/a switch. yes, it will be a full application of the brakes as if you hit the button on the controller.
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Old 04-29-2009, 03:47 PM   #7
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Years ago i had a fifth wheel trailer and we pulled off into a rest stop parking lot near coo's bay oregon. While eating lunch i removed my folding chair from the back of the truck to enjoy the views.The truck was turned a bit to the left while parked. Once we left I tucked the chair back under the fifth wheel hitch area.We pulled out of there making a sweeping left turn. As the truck straightened out i bet i was doing 15 - 20 mph and all of a sudden everything came to a screaching halt.. noise.. bang and some very surprised looks on our faces. Once i got out to inspect what the heck just happened i realized that the break away cable was pulled out when we straightened up. Wow.. that was a great test. Heres the problem. The rear axle didnt survive the event. Both tires on the rear axle were towed our severely! We actually had to stay there with the trailer and find a supplier for the axle so i could replace it and get home. What an ordeal..
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Old 04-29-2009, 04:15 PM   #8
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Everyone really seems to be leaning towards the plug.

I definately see the potential problems of engaging the breakaway will in tow, but this actually seems to be a 'go or no go' test for the breaks.

To keep from busting any axles and tearing any tires if I put the truck and tailer on a slight decline, engaged the breakaway, put the truck into neutral, the trailer should be able to hold the truck?

My plug is a Bargman. Assuming it is the plug, where can I get a replacement? Is this something I can pick up at my local RV supplier?

Keep the thoughts coming!
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Old 04-29-2009, 04:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paddler3d View Post
Everyone really seems to be leaning towards the plug.

I definately see the potential problems of engaging the breakaway will in tow, but this actually seems to be a 'go or no go' test for the breaks.

To keep from busting any axles and tearing any tires if I put the truck and tailer on a slight decline, engaged the breakaway, put the truck into neutral, the trailer should be able to hold the truck?

My plug is a Bargman. Assuming it is the plug, where can I get a replacement? Is this something I can pick up at my local RV supplier?

Keep the thoughts coming!
The plug should be available at any auto parts store. It is not an uncommon item.

Bill
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Old 04-29-2009, 04:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paddler3d View Post
Everyone really seems to be leaning towards the plug.

I definately see the potential problems of engaging the breakaway will in tow, but this actually seems to be a 'go or no go' test for the breaks.

To keep from busting any axles and tearing any tires if I put the truck and tailer on a slight decline, engaged the breakaway, put the truck into neutral, the trailer should be able to hold the truck?

My plug is a Bargman. Assuming it is the plug, where can I get a replacement? Is this something I can pick up at my local RV supplier?

Keep the thoughts coming!


Any RV dealer should have it - but don't forget, the problem could be the socket side on your two vehicle as well.

Brian
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Old 05-18-2009, 08:31 AM   #11
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Update here...

I replaced the 7-way connection to the trailer.
I pulled the break away switch, as mentioned in the above posts, and the breaks engaged and held the trailer.
I repacked the bearing and cleaned out and inspected the actual breaks. All appeared fine.
I applied dielectric grease to the truck and trailer connections.

On Friday I hooked up the trailer and backed it into the alley and we started to pull away. Breaks were working.

No more than 200yards away from the house, the break control turns red and shows 'no electronic breaks'. Occasionally we'd hit a bump in the road and the control would show we have breaks.

Here is the kicker. We could drive slowly, open windows, tap on the breaks and hear them engage! They weren't applying as much breaking force as I would like, but they were engaging.

We're on the road again this weekend. Any thoughts on where to trouble shoot next would be great!

Cheers,

Chris
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Old 05-18-2009, 09:16 AM   #12
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Hello Chris,

Sorry to hear that didnt fix the problem. Now your going to have to trace that brake wire on the trailer side all the way back to the wheels. If the controller is not recognizing the brakes and its seeing an open then you probably have a poor connection in that blue wire. If you have an ohm meter with some long leads you might connect at the trailer plug for the brake wire and go all the way back to a wheel and tap into the brake wire back there. With the ohm meter reading normal 0-2 ohms wiggle the wiring if you can see it or get to it and see if it goes open or loses a connection. Somewhere you will find an open. The brake controller shouldnt lie so its losing a signal somewhere. The umbilical is the usual suspect.

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Old 05-18-2009, 09:37 AM   #13
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Thank you Vinnie for the response!

Here is my question. The umbilcal runs along under the front a frame and then disappears, through a massive glob of caulk, into the trailer. I'm guessing it shows up in the trailer in the area where the fresh tank is and the water pump is.

We have the sofa option, and not the dinnette. It isn't easy to get into this area, that I know of.

Your sugesting that I check the continutiy between the trailer plug and the connection somewhere behind the sofa and then check the continuity between the spot behind the sofa and the connection near the magnet in the brakes themselves?

In theory I would think that the electronic brake cable would come into the trailer and then terminate in some sort of junction box where the break feeds are spliced together. Am I right?

Thank you!
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Old 05-18-2009, 05:06 PM   #14
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Hi Paddler3d,

Somebody with more experience than I on the specifics of your rig will have to step in. That might be it right there. If it has a junction block it might be nothing more that a loose screw. I was just thinking that if continuity is monitored while performing some kind of wiggle test (maybe in the area of the juction if its equipped that way) might shed light on the problem area. Im curious about the ground to the tow vehicle too? Does the brake controller look at just the voltage going out or does it feed back through the ground circuit too? I would think that if you had a bad ground you would have dimming running lights and brake lamps. You should have got a wiring diagram in your manual. Maybe you can trace the circuit that way.

Good luck

Vinnie


Quote:
Originally Posted by paddler3d View Post
Thank you Vinnie for the response!

Here is my question. The umbilcal runs along under the front a frame and then disappears, through a massive glob of caulk, into the trailer. I'm guessing it shows up in the trailer in the area where the fresh tank is and the water pump is.

We have the sofa option, and not the dinnette. It isn't easy to get into this area, that I know of.

Your sugesting that I check the continutiy between the trailer plug and the connection somewhere behind the sofa and then check the continuity between the spot behind the sofa and the connection near the magnet in the brakes themselves?

In theory I would think that the electronic brake cable would come into the trailer and then terminate in some sort of junction box where the break feeds are spliced together. Am I right?

Thank you!
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