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Old 02-27-2012, 06:46 PM   #1
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OEM brake actuator? 1958 Traveler

Unfamiliar with hydraulic brake systems, and the first time dealing with it. While in the process of ordering a new axle, the question came up if I wanted hydraulic or electric brakes. Hmm... Gee... I am not sure.

1. Is this a brake actuator on the tongue?
2. Is this an OEM for a 1958 Traveler?
3. Should I go with an electric brake, or stick with the hydraulic on a new axle order?
4. If hydraulic is preferred, what does everyone recommend for a replacement?
5. Do I need a different brake controller on the tow vehicle?



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Old 02-28-2012, 10:27 AM   #2
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Never seen anything like that. It sort of looks like a surge brake. I'd replace old hydro brakes with new electric.
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Old 02-28-2012, 10:40 AM   #3
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I had a neighbor who had a 50's Boles Aero with a similar hydraulic setup. No parts available, no way to connect it to modern brake systems as the original used a direct connection to the tow vehicle hydraulic brakes.

So, just go with a new electric system when ordering your new axels and brakes. It will work just fine.
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Old 02-28-2012, 10:44 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cuyeda View Post
Unfamiliar with hydraulic brake systems, and the first time dealing with it. While in the process of ordering a new axle, the question came up if I wanted hydraulic or electric brakes. Hmm... Gee... I am not sure.

1. Is this a brake actuator on the tongue?
Yes.

Quote:
2. Is this an OEM for a 1958 Traveler?
I don't believe so. Airstream's two periods of experimentation with hydraulic brakes were in the 1970s and between 2005-2009. It appears to me that what you have is a breakaway brake, only, with no provisions for actuating the hydraulic system when the tow vehicle's service brake is applied. Perhaps those components were separate and are now missing.

Quote:
Should I go with an electric brake, or stick with the hydraulic on a new axle order?
I would suggest that you use electric brakes since none of the hydraulic components you have are suitable for re-use. While some forum members have had good results with electric-over-hydraulic disk brakes, they are fiddly to install and service and much more costly. I would not recommend a surge brake (common with boat trailers because of corrosion problems with electric brakes and with rental trailers because they don't require a brake controller) because the braking performance is poor.

Quote:
4. If hydraulic is preferred, what does everyone recommend for a replacement?
Most people who put on electric-over-hydraulic disc brakes seem to be happiest with the Carlisle actuator and the Dexter brakes.

Quote:
5. Do I need a different brake controller on the tow vehicle?
Depends what you have now. If you have a good electric brake controller, you can use it with either electric brakes or the Carlisle actuator.
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Old 02-28-2012, 01:27 PM   #5
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Thank you for the replys, especially Jammer for the time spent. That is all I need for reassurance to make the right choice! New axle will be on order with electric brakes, as soon as I can procure the wheels I want to replace the split rims. The wheel selection will finalize measurements for axle. Hopefully to avoid surprises tying it all together. This thread definitely helps.

Can,t wait to remove that old stuff off the tounge!
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Old 02-28-2012, 07:47 PM   #6
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Just curious- are you going to stay old school with the leaf spring set up or go more modern with a dexter, etc. Straight or dropped axle?
the originals are easily rebuildable with modern electric brake backing plates and parts if you are so inclined.
Enquiring minds want to know!
Tim
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Old 02-29-2012, 12:40 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by rumrunner View Post
Just curious- are you going to stay old school with the leaf spring set up or go more modern with a dexter, etc. Straight or dropped axle?
the originals are easily rebuildable with modern electric brake backing plates and parts if you are so inclined.
Enquiring minds want to know!
Tim
Eowww! My brain hurts now. haha. Is there a better alternative... I was going with the "When in doubt, replace the whole thing." theme. I have a standing order with a local trailer shop for a Dexter axle replacement, same dropped axle measurement, electric brakes, six lugs. I had planned to go to Inland RV for my first visit, and for various other reasons. Perhaps I should have just gone there for advice. It may not be to late, and could cancel the order due to the shop waiting for my wheel selection before actually placing the order.

I once replaced Haddco drums on another trailer, and ended up having a new axle fabricated with modern parts. This time around I thought to just order a new axle with the Dexter brake assembly.

The springs would eventually get replaced, but I want it rolling on a new axle before new leaf springs are installed. Trailer is up on stands at the moment, and will need to be rolling to get it from point A to B again.

I am told that there are not any stock replacements these days for the exact size needed, and will have to relocate the mounting hardware. For that I want someone with more welding experience than myself.

Should I consider a torsion axle instead?
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Old 02-29-2012, 06:12 PM   #8
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Some have changed out to the modern style torsion axles for the advantage gain of independent suspension and a perceived ride improvement, others have simply refurbished the existing springs- again a fairly simple and inexpensive option. I very much doubt you will find anyone here who would recommend changing out your original long spring set for the much shorter currently available sets. this change would concentrate stress on a shorter portion of an already understrength frame.
Go with a torsion axle or rebuild your original, you decide which is best for your uses.
Tim
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Old 03-15-2012, 05:53 PM   #9
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Did you every figure out what the brake controller or whatever is in the first picture is. Just brought home a 1957 26' with the same contraption on it. I don't think this unit every had any (12 volt) system installed. thanks terry
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Old 03-15-2012, 06:26 PM   #10
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OEM brake actuator? 1958 Traveler

I never had the opportunity to actually see the components, but my aunt described the system to me shortly after I purchased my Overlander in 1995. The couple who had purchased my Overlander in 1964 had been Airstreaming since the 1950s, and they traded in their 195? Airstream on the Overlander, and it had hydralic brakes that tapped into the tow vehicles brakes (The Overlander had 4-wheel electric drum brakes standard as had all Airstreams for several years). There was a fixture mounted next to the Reese hitch on the rear bumper of the tow vehicle where a flexible rubber brake hose connected the Airstream and their 1955 Mercury Monterey - - and it often meant that the brakes had to be bled on both the Mercury and trailer if everything wasn't done precisely according to directions.

I can't say whether the hydraulic brakes were standard, an option, or special order, but I do know that they have been present on a number of Vintage Airstreams pre-dating 1965(?). I don't know when the electric drum brakes becam standard but I believe that it was probably 1960 or before). My 1964 Overlander was a special order for its original owners (who were long-time friends of my family) and it was equipped with one axle having electric brakes and the second axle having hydraulic brakes. The purpose behind this configuration was that they didn't want to make any changes to their 1955 Mercury so that they could tow the Overlander with the Monterey. They had a new 1965 Mercury Monterey on order, but they knew that they would continue to use both tow vehicles.

I believe what is on the front hitch in the first photo is the hydraulic breakaway device. The lever that is partially out of the photo at the top is raised until it "latches over the bi-level knot on the base of the device --- then a wire cable would attach the lever to the rear of the tow vehicle (just as on our current electric breakaway devices) --- in the event of a breakaway --- the lever is pulled down and the eye-bolt presses the plunger in to trigger the hydraulic brakes on the trailer. I believe that the plumbing to attach the tow vehicle's brake system to the trailer's brake system is missing, and even if it were there, it wouldn't be functional with the plumbing on a modern tow vehicle.

Kevin
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Old 03-15-2012, 07:16 PM   #11
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We have a 58 World Traveler...what that is on the tongue is part of the break system...it actually connected to the cars hydraulic brakes! Yikes. When we restore ours, Im planning on leaving the appearance, but replacing the hydraulics with electric brakes.
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Old 03-16-2012, 12:41 AM   #12
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Thanks Kevin (overlander64) for the explanation. You did a great job describing it, much better than I could have done. I was just going to say "emergency surge brakes".

Just got the new tires so that I can tow it safely. I decided to go with the torsion axles with electric brakes due to everyone's comments. Thank you. The axle has been mounted back into position to take to Inland RV for the install. I did not want to trust my own welding skills on a chassis component.

The front surge brakes have been unbolted and long gone with recycle trash! I couldn't get it off fast enough, and feel that it was a weight lifted off the tongue.

My next decision is the size drum? 10" or 12". I think 10" should be fine, but it has 12" drums currently. Would 12" with a modern axle be over kill?
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Old 03-16-2012, 06:11 AM   #13
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Id venture to think that the 10" would be sufficient...as your trailer is rather short...
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Old 03-16-2012, 05:26 PM   #14
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Thanks, for the info. I figured it was some type of hydralic brake, since this 1957 never had any 12 Volt system. It will be removed soon, but previous owner didn't have a clue. Tried to insert picture but my pictures usually don't work. Terry

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