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Old 02-27-2009, 03:26 PM   #15
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Just in case you did not know the brake away switch is the one that acts as an emergency brake in case your trailer should come loose from the tow vehicle and will lock up the trailer brakes anytime it is activated.
It is separate from the controller and gets its power from the trailer battery.
"IF" this switch is bad it could very well cause your problems.

The brake away switch is connected by a wire cable from the tow vehicle to the trailer. If the trailer breaks away the cable will pull a pin (switch) and that allows battery voltage to the brakes.

You need to test the pin as suggested above but 1st just pull lightly on the cable and verify the pin is in the slot very tight, you can pull it out then slide it back in just to check how it feels and it should be tight when seated properly.

Garry
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Old 03-18-2009, 03:25 PM   #16
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Sorry I took so long to get back to you, but internet service out here in the middle of the Chihuahuan Desert is spotty to say the least.

I checked the plug and can't see anything wrong there. Just to be sure I checked for shorts and there weren't any. This trailer may have had a breakaway switch at some time, but I'll be darned if I can find it now. The TV cable is a 300 ohm twin lead that screws onto a fitting on the front. Nothing else appears to be attached.

However, when I was coming down here to Alpine I happened to notice an NC error message that popped up on the controller once when I was going around a curve. So I'm pretty sure that something is intermittent in the wiring. I just don't know where

I also noticed that since the last repair/rewire job the refrigerator 12 Vdc supply isn't there unless the tow vehicle is connected and the porch light is on! How weird is that?

I know there were no diagrams published at this time, and I did find a 1964 Overlander diagram, but unless I know how the wiring is physically routed it doesn't really do me any good. I suppose I could buy an RF generator and field strength meter and prey to the Overlander gods that the signal can be detected through aluminum, but that's expensive. Otherwise, I must just be out of luck.

If anyone has a layout diagram for the electricity I'd love to have it. A connection diagram for the vehicle plug would also help.

In the meantime, I'm lovin' living in this thing. Airstreams forever!
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Old 03-18-2009, 04:42 PM   #17
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So far you still have not said how this problem resolves itself. Is it just Time, do you do something, like back up, turn the truck off, what.

Does this lock up All Brakes or just One?

Has anyone looked at the brake backer plate to see if one of the return springs is not broken.

Are you saying you do not have a brake away switch cable on the tongue of your trailer that you attach to the truck each time you hook up?
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Old 03-18-2009, 07:48 PM   #18
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At the VAC site they have a few manuals from that era on line.
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Old 03-19-2009, 03:30 PM   #19
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Hi HowieE,

Thanks for your reply. I thought I'd already reached the end, but ...

How it resolves itself? Stay under 55mph.

Brake backer plate? Never heard of it, but I'm taking it down to Lajitas next week and I'll ask them to take a look.

Brakeaway cable attached to pickup? I didn't know that either. There isn't one. I haven't noticed any unplugged openings in the skin through which such a device might be connected, but I'll get out later and take a closer look. Actually, I'd never heard of such a thing until I started this thread. I know, ignorance is no excuse but ...

Can these things be retrofit? What do they look like?

TIA
Gary Nored
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Old 03-19-2009, 03:42 PM   #20
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Gary,
The break away switch is mounted on the tongue near the hitch. It is a safety device in the event that the trailer becomes unhitched while it is being towed. There is a thin cable that connects to the tow vehicle (not the hitch) and the other end is attached to a plunger that is inserted into the break away switch. If the trailer becomes unhitched the plunger is pulled and as a result the trailer brakes are actuated using the 12 volts from the trailer batteries. The switch is wired to the brakes. The idea being that between the safety chains and the break away switch you should be able to safely get your tow vehicle / trailer combo under control and pulled over to the side of the road. Also remember to cross your safety chains under the hitch to make a sort of craddle for the hitch to fall into if it does come unhitched. The safety chains also need to be a proper length to not allow the hitch to fall and make contact with the road surface. So if they are too long you need to have links removed to make them a safe length.

If you don't have one of these you had better get one. It looks something like the attached picture...

It is sort of like a "dead man" switch found on personal watercraft, snow mobiles, atvs, etc...
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Old 03-19-2009, 04:33 PM   #21
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Quote:
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Brake backer plate? Never heard of it.

Gary Nored
When you remove the brake drum, there's a round plate mounted on the axle with things like brake shoes, springs and such. That, I believe, is the backer plate. I could be wrong, but that's what I recall it to be called.

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Old 03-19-2009, 04:52 PM   #22
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This is a shot of the backer plate of the brake assembly. The 2 springs at the top are the return springs. If the forward spring, as you look at the trailer with the brake drum removed, is weak, broken, or the wrong one the brakes will be able to lock up on their own. This is because as the forward shoe comes in contact with the brake drum, turning forward as you drive, it forces the rear brake shoe against the anchor pin, at the top where the 2 springs are hooked on, and with nothing, the spring to overcome this action, the brakes will lock.

Deitz645 beat me to it with the picture of the breakaway switch. Every trailer ever made with electrical brakes had one. If yours is not there someone as bastardized the trailer. I am sup prized that you have had the trailer to shops and they have not picked up on this problem.
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Old 03-19-2009, 07:55 PM   #23
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Howie,

I haven't worked on drum brakes for a long, long time. How often do you replace the springs?

Gene
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Old 03-19-2009, 08:30 PM   #24
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You real should HAVE to replace the springs. The reason I mentioned them is if they were to fail a possible reaction could be brake lock up as I discribed above.

You clearly do not have a common problem so we may have to look for the uncommon that would result in your problem.
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Old 03-19-2009, 09:52 PM   #25
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Howie,

I don't have any problems, Gary does.

I just wanted to know what you recommend regarding spring replacement. As my memory returns, I think it used to be recommended to replace the springs when the shoes are replaced, but shoes are made so much better now, they may outlast springs.

It appears the electric brakes are not self adjusting. Does that have something to do with being electric, or is it an example of ancient technology living on in Jackson Center?

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Old 03-19-2009, 10:51 PM   #26
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Ancient technology... drum brakes & no self adjust.
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Old 03-20-2009, 01:17 AM   #27
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Howie,

I don't have any problems, Gary does.

I just wanted to know what you recommend regarding spring replacement. As my memory returns, I think it used to be recommended to replace the springs when the shoes are replaced, but shoes are made so much better now, they may outlast springs.

It appears the electric brakes are not self adjusting. Does that have something to do with being electric, or is it an example of ancient technology living on in Jackson Center?

Gene
Hi, Gene. As for replaceing the brake springs, it would be the same as with a car with drum brakes.

(1.) Replace the springs when the brake system was at one or more times extremely overheated. [or shoes worn down to the metal] This weakens the springs.

(2.) Replace the springs when they become rusty. Rusty springs get weak and will break. Not real common in this area of the country, but very common in other areas.

(3.) Springs break; From flexing and not being of top quality. Millions of springs are made and a few are going to fail.

(4.) When your trailer brake shoes and magnets are worn out, sometimes it is cheaper the replace them with complete backing plate assemblies instead of piece by piece. [springs included]

An old test we did ages ago was to drop the brake springs on the cement. the good ones would have a little Twang to them and the bad ones would thud, like a piece of lead.
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Old 03-20-2009, 10:25 AM   #28
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Thanks for all the suggestions. I'm going to beg a rapairman south of here to take a fresh look at these issues, so maybe something good will come of it.

Regards,
Gary
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