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Old 08-12-2006, 11:30 PM   #1
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Just Bought 1978 31' with hydraulic brakes, how do I get it home?

I just purchased a very nice 1978 31' International. I have a Nissan Titan all wired up with hitch and noticed that the Airstream has a hydraulic disc brake system, which I've never seen before. I've read on this forum about converting to systems such as actibrake, which I will do. But for now, how do I get this home? If I just hook up the 7 pin wiring harness, will the brakes work at all? Any quick fix so I can tow this home.

I'll be towing about 150 miles but there is a sharp downgrade (6% I think) which I'm a little worried about.

Thanks
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Old 08-13-2006, 02:25 AM   #2
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It's suppose to work the same...
In case you want really to bee sure hooked up your AS and try, with a strong set up, you will notice pretty fast if it works... you'll feel that the car is being "grabed" by something..
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Old 08-13-2006, 04:59 AM   #3
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If it is the original hydraulic system, you need a vacuum line from the TV to the trailer. Without it, no brakes.
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Old 08-13-2006, 09:06 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kramynot2000
I just purchased a very nice 1978 31' International. I have a Nissan Titan all wired up with hitch and noticed that the Airstream has a hydraulic disc brake system, which I've never seen before. I've read on this forum about converting to systems such as actibrake, which I will do. But for now, how do I get this home? If I just hook up the 7 pin wiring harness, will the brakes work at all? Any quick fix so I can tow this home.

I'll be towing about 150 miles but there is a sharp downgrade (6% I think) which I'm a little worried about.

Thanks
The vacuum source can be taken off manifold vacuum from your engine. Find a full time manifold vacuum port (usually a plug in the manifold, make sure it is not a water port) get a male brass fitting and fit a brass barb. Hook up about a foot of airbrake hose and put in a check valve. On the other side of the check valve (screw in brass barbs both side of valve to hook up to hose) attach the length of airbrake hose you will need to get to your back bumper. You can thread the hose through and alongside your truck frame. At the bumper, attach a barb and a 1/2" female industrial quick coupling which will allow you to connect the male coupling from your trailer. You may have to remove the male coupling from the trailer tongue hose and replace it with a male coupling that mates with the female coupling you mount under your bumper. This should give you the vacuum you need for the booster on the tongue. You might also remove the cover over the brake booster unit on the trailer and check it for proper fluid level just like you do on older cars. As soon as you plug the unit up you should hear hissing which will stop in a few seconds. If not, you might have a leak in one of the hoses or the booster diaphram.

If you do a forum search or check my posts regarding the Hydravac unit you will see some of the pictures I posted of how I set up my system.
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Old 08-13-2006, 11:28 AM   #5
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I converted my hydra/vac to the dexter unit, this was a quick and painless conversion. When I brought my unit home I opted to go without brakes since the old system had not been used in some time and it would have taken days to get parts or rebuild parts to get the system working. I would ask the PO when the system got used the last time. If you or he has the service manual, read up on the system and perform the necessary checks. If you opt to pull home without brakes put the TV in a lower gear to help slowing you down on steep grades.
Congrats on your new purchase and read up on Davidz71. He got his system working and seems happy with it.
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Old 08-13-2006, 11:51 AM   #6
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I'd listen to the advice that Craig has listed. You may find that this setup will work fine permanently, if the trailer hydravac-brake system is working properly. You indicated a 6% grade between you and the current location of the trailer. My best guess is you would be pulling the trailer west on I-80, which has some long 6% grades. If this is the case, be prepared to replace the brakes on the Nissan when you get home, if you survive the trip. I have an independent vacuum source mounted in our trailer with the same brakes, due to our tow rig being a diesel. This set up could be done on a temporary basis. (we have run it this way for 4 years, but some feel not DOT. compliant) Send me a PM or an e-mail, and I'll explain with photos. Jeff
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Old 08-13-2006, 07:56 PM   #7
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Sent you PM and email.... I think

Coastalview,

Sent you a PM and email. Hopefully it worked!

Thanks
Tony
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Old 08-13-2006, 09:43 PM   #8
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There is about a 6-8 gallon vacuum storage reservior under the front floor, so if you can rig some sort of a 12v vacuum pump you'll have some sort of braking. The system operates with the same brake controller as electrics but uses less current, only enough to open the sync valve.

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Old 08-14-2006, 08:36 PM   #9
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Kramy,

I agree with Zoom Zoom. I'd rig up a temporary vacuum source; some kind of reservoir with a 12v pump. I'd test it before I moved the trailer.

I towed my 31' home with no brakes of any kind, through the mountains of WV, which were easily 6% as well, but probably not as long as you'll encounter. I only went about 40 miles, and I had a much larger, longer, and heavier tow vehicle than your Titan.

If you can't get the old brakes to work with a temporary vacuum system, you might consider just renting a larger tow vehicle and bringing it home with no brakes. Get a U-Haul 26 foot box truck or something similar. Super long wheelbase, dualie, and heavy. Just take it easy.
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Old 08-14-2006, 08:46 PM   #10
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Thanks guys

I am trying to rig something to get a vacuum and Coastalview is giving me a hand.

Good idea though about renting a bigger TV if I need too. I've also rechecked my route and found one path that will avoid all significant downgrades.
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Old 08-15-2006, 07:07 PM   #11
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Just go slow. Take a weekend day that the traffice will be less and take it easy.

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