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Old 11-12-2011, 03:04 PM   #1
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How can you tell the brakes are...?

Ok so we plan for a test run tomorrow and will be plugging the AS to the truck...so it is only a eight mile test run/pull.
How or what is a good way to tell if the brakes on the Airstream are working?
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Old 11-12-2011, 03:28 PM   #2
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AB,

Will you be using a controller? If so turn the gain up, have someone stand next to the wheels, step on the brakes and listen for the magnet hum.
Re-set gain and test again in vacant parking lot using slide actuator on the brake controller.

Bob
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Old 11-12-2011, 04:46 PM   #3
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If at all possible, go to a gravel or dirt road, or a grassy area, have someone beside the AS to watch the two wheels on one side. Fully apply the trailer brakes only with the controller and see if both the wheels lock up. Repeat on the other side.

That will tell you that all 4 brakes are functional. I had, in my younger and stupider days, an AS with only one brake working out of the four total (I found out later). What a shock when I had a real emergency stop. I almost pushed a little car in front of me under a tractor trailer rig. It was a very frightening experience. Don't be me
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Old 11-12-2011, 05:10 PM   #4
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They can work, but not be adjusted correctly. To test that you need to get each wheel off the ground, have someone apply the brakes in the tow vehicle while you spin each wheel and see how well they stop. If they hardly stop, then you have to adjust the brakes and there are plenty of brake threads on how to do that. In the past few years, self adjusting brakes have been available for Airstreams, and that is a worthwhile upgrade.

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Old 11-12-2011, 06:43 PM   #5
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I haven't tried it, but I have read that you can place a regular magnetic compass near each wheel and you will see the needle jump when the brakes are applied.

Maybe others can confirm if this works or not ! Seems reasonable


Of course even if it does work, this would only confirm that the magnets are energizing - I suppose there still could be some mechanical issues.

Must try it myself some time !

Brian
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Old 11-12-2011, 07:54 PM   #6
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We will be pulling it in the middle of the afternoon. The highway is straight and level and there is an Ag building about four miles down it with a fair sized parking lot that will be empty and I can loop around back north- back here to the same place. The plan is to re-position the AS with the hitch pointing south as in winterizing. So I figured a little trip down the road might be available also while we do that adjustment. I will add to my list for tomorrow to listen for the hum first. I will also blow out the plug slots also with my blower. I will report back when we make the mini test trip and even take pictures along the way. No speeding or trying to be cool the first time. I have one of those brake boxes in the floor board of the truck and it has a sliding handle on it. Also has some small lights on it. I could use a little more input on the brake box and how it works.
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Old 11-13-2011, 07:28 AM   #7
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Thumbs up

AB,

Here are some links that may help...
Trailer Brake Controller Information | etrailer.com

Brake Controller Review, Installation, and Help Information | etrailer.com

Good luck on your first run.

Bob
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Old 11-17-2011, 01:45 PM   #8
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In general you should have a pretty good idea just by pressing the manual apply button or level or whatever on the controller when you're moving along at low speed. There should be considerable braking action.

If the braking seems insufficient or the trailer pulls to one side you can perform further tests to figure out which wheels are braking and which are not. I force a skid a short distance on gravel and then look back at the marks on the road and it's obvious which wheels locked up and which didn't.
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Old 11-18-2011, 08:38 AM   #9
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I check the brakes periodically by moving the lever on the brake controller, but one time when I got home I found one brake disconnected, even thought the brakes felt ok. The splice on the wires had failed.

You have to check each one individually.

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Old 11-22-2011, 10:15 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wingeezer View Post
I haven't tried it, but I have read that you can place a regular magnetic compass near each wheel and you will see the needle jump when the brakes are applied.

Maybe others can confirm if this works or not ! Seems reasonable


Of course even if it does work, this would only confirm that the magnets are energizing - I suppose there still could be some mechanical issues.

Must try it myself some time !

Brian
Ooh this could be fun. I propose we paint a parking lot white and then coat it in iron filings. We could turn on our brakes at different times to create cool patterns in the filings.

Too nerdy? Ah, well- I gave it a shot. Also, I don't have $5000 worth of iron filings on hand.
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Old 11-25-2011, 02:09 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by worldinchaos View Post
Ooh this could be fun. I propose we paint a parking lot white and then coat it in iron filings. We could turn on our brakes at different times to create cool patterns in the filings.

Too nerdy? Ah, well- I gave it a shot. Also, I don't have $5000 worth of iron filings on hand.
I like the way you think. Get out a file and some scrap iron and you can make your own.

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Old 02-22-2012, 08:20 AM   #12
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Yesterday we installed the seven pin connector to the bumper of the truck...now the running lights work great, and blinkers also. NOW - Up under the dash is a connector plug for the brake controller box.
There are two blue wires (not hooked up yet) going to the seven pin, and I figure these are the brake wires.
As you know we have since gotten a newer truck Ford F250 1996 model. I will check the RV place north of here and start asking what to do.
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