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Old 12-23-2003, 11:28 AM   #1
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2001 27' Safari
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Unhappy Grease on brake magnets

My 2001 Safari 27-ft TT is at the dealer for routine maintenance. The trailer is less than 3 years old and has been towed a total of 10,000 miles. The dealer reports that the grease seals on the wheels have failed and grease has leaked on the brake magnets. So what was supposed to be a simple, routine wheel bearing repack job has become a more expensive clean-up with the brake magnets all having to be replaced. Should this be necessary at only 10,000 miles? Should I chalk this unforeseen expense up to the cost of ownership, or is there an issue here that I should be discussing with a customer service rep at the factory in Jackson Center, even though the trailer has been out of warranty for 9 months?

Lew Brodsky, Springfield, VA
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Old 12-23-2003, 11:50 AM   #2
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Grease seal failing after 10K miles in 3 years. That's reasonable service. I would recomend annual inspection of the wheel bearings and a by product of that is replacement of the seals.

As to the repair, if it were me I would not replace the magnets. I would clean the magnets with a chemical brake cleaner. (Not a carb cleaner product) This is cause I do my own work. If I were paying someone, it may be cheaper to replace than clean. At 50.00 an hour it may take an hour to clean and to replace the magnets be less than that. BTW you are entitled to the old parts, (after all you own them) and with some cleaning they might be able to be reused.

Another concern I would have is where else is the grease? If it got to the magnets, how about the brake shoes? Are they replacing shoes too? The shoes are much more likely to absorb grease than the magnets. The magnets are iron. The shoe material is not usually metal and will absorb grease. Liberal application of a brake cleaner is recommended.

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Old 12-23-2003, 11:50 AM   #3
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You said you have not had your bearings checked?

Doesn't Airstream suggest having this checked and repacked every 10,000 miles or 6 months what ever occurs first.

With this it sounds as if it could be a maintenance issue.
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Old 12-23-2003, 11:58 AM   #4
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Leaky grease seals

Lew.

If the grease seals leaked, the question should be why? Did someone repack the bearings and use the old seals? Actually once a year or every 10,000 miles is a good measuring stick for bearing repacks.

More importantly, once grease gets on the magnets, you can never completely remove all the traces of that grease. BUT ALSO, if grease got on the magnets it must have also been on the brake shoes. Shoes are also like a magnet, in that once grease gets on them, they cannot be properly cleaned up. That requires replacement.

I would suspect that your brakes shoes should also have been replaced, at the same time as the magnets.

If you have put some miles on the coach since the brake work, pull one hub and drum and inspect the linings. I think you will find that the lining will show signs of grease, and if thats the case, you will also find grease back on the magnets.

I would also suggest that you call Airstreams customer service department and report your brake problem.

Andy
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Old 11-18-2006, 11:17 AM   #5
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1967 26' Overlander
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looking for a brake magnet

I have a 1967, airstream trailer 21 or 26 feet (sorry, it's been in the shop since i bought it and i never did find out what exact model it is because i brought it to the shop right away).
We need a brake magnet for one of the wheels. The shop was unable to find one. It is a square with a symetrical cross in the middle. If anyone knows any resources for this sort of stuff, I would appreciate it greatly.
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Old 11-18-2006, 11:37 AM   #6
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Replace the shoes and seal,
Keep the (cleaned) magnets.
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Old 11-18-2006, 12:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ren walker
I have a 1967, airstream trailer 21 or 26 feet (sorry, it's been in the shop since i bought it and i never did find out what exact model it is because i brought it to the shop right away).
We need a brake magnet for one of the wheels. The shop was unable to find one. It is a square with a symetrical cross in the middle. If anyone knows any resources for this sort of stuff, I would appreciate it greatly.
That's odd, as most magnets I have seen have been round or oval. In order to get the correct magnets, you will need to know if you have 10 inch brakes, or 12 inch brakes, and if your magnets are round or oval. Napa or any boat trailer or RV supply store should have them. If you have any doubt, take off a magnet and take it with you for them to match up.
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Old 11-18-2006, 03:59 PM   #8
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Gimme a brake a magnet is metal, metal can't be cleaned.
That is the worst advice I've heard in long time.

If a mechanic can't clean up a magnet in 10 minutes he should turn in his tools.


Brake shoes are another story they can absorb oil etc., metal can't.
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Old 11-18-2006, 04:13 PM   #9
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Electric brake magnets

Part of the surface of electric brake magnets, contains a friction material, similiar to the brake shoes.

Once they have absorbed oil or grease, they are done.

Cleaning them all you like will seemingly degrease them.

However, the first time they have a voltage applied to them, they will become warm or hot, and the oil or grease will come back to the surface of the magnets friction material.

Oil or grease saturated electric brake magnets must be replaced to insure proper braking.

It's been that way during my 40 plus years of Airstream servicing.

Andy
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Old 11-18-2006, 04:14 PM   #10
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Not my magnets

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lipets
...If a mechanic can't clean up a magnet in 10 minutes he should turn in his tools...Brake shoes are another story they can absorb oil etc., metal can't.


My magnets' first layer is the same stuff brake shoes are made of. The ease of cleaning is the same as the shoes.

But I don't clean either anymore - For peace of mind it's better to replace either if grease is involved.

Tom
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Old 11-18-2006, 10:02 PM   #11
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Andy is correct ,the brake shoe material in the magnet will absorb the grease and the shoes also .Remember that it is forced in to both by the application of the brakes under pressure . Ive used brakleen for many years and it was
very good at getting the grease cleaned up .todays low VOC "volatile organic
compounds" are poor in there ability to clean ,somtimes really worthless . You cannot get the grease out completely ,just wont happen .The heat and friction does cause the grease inside the pores of the shoes and the magnet material to come up to the surface and ooze out and contaminate the surfaces .In the good old days they use to pour coleman white gasoline
from coleman stoves ,onto brakes and light them on fire to cause the grease to burn off !! Not a good safety procedure ,but then it was purely asbestos
linings .still not safe,probabl;y caused some good fires too. I myself had tried
to clean brakes in the past(not that way) and they looked great ,pulled the drum later on
and surprise ,contaminated by residual grease from the shoes .now finger prints and slight contamination by grease can be removed with brakleen
from handling the shoes with dirty hands or whatever ,but no on heavily
greasy linings or magnets .ren walker ,I think it is cherokee rv salvage in
colorado (possibly) had many styles of new magnets (New Old Stock )
many many variations on the racks in their photos on the website.I might
be incorrect on who ,but one of the RV places had these in stock .you
could reference the travel trailer link library online site.

Scott of scottanlily
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Old 11-19-2006, 05:21 AM   #12
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Not sure of the year of those magnets in the picture, but mine don't look like that that appear to be all steel.

I'm going to contact Dexter to see what they say.

I know guys that work on big rigs and if they get grease or oil on brake shoes they also use steam to clean them.

When you take the brake shoes out of the box, cover the friction material surface with masking tape. Go ahead and replace the shoes and reinstall all hardware. Just before you reinstall the drums remove the tape. It will keep any oil, grease, or dirty hand-prints off the friction surfaces. This will go a long way to preventing noisy or grabbing brakes.

My opinon as of now, for my type of magnet is they can be cleaned.
Moreover, even with the type in the picture after cleaning I think residual oil would burn off from the heat very fast, you will probable not notice the differance if you clean them good.
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Old 11-19-2006, 02:37 PM   #13
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Soiled magnets?
Junk the whole TT,
Get a new one.
If TT was hooked up to yout TV when this happened, its already infected,
Get a new one.

Or just clean them maggies and drive.
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Old 11-19-2006, 03:22 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lipets
Not sure of the year of those magnets in the picture, but mine don't look like that that appear to be all steel.
The round magnets have been used since the late 50's.

The oval magnets have been used since the 80's.

Andy
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