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Old 05-18-2008, 06:29 PM   #1
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1978 Argosy 24
Scottsville , Virginia
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Question Older style trailer brakes lock up in reverse

Help! My husband and I just purchased a 1971 Overlander and as soon as we pulled it out of its storage location and headed home, we developed brake problems. When we put our truck in reverese to back the trailer up, the trailer brakes lock up. The bottom line- we cannot back up. We looked at the brakes and they APPEAR to be ok- ie no loose parts, rust or wear, although the trailer hads been sitting for a year and a half. Has anyone ever encountered this and/or has a possible solution? We removed the wheels and all 4 wheels spin freely in forward and reverse when the trailer is jacked up. (If we end up having to throw money at the problem, we might as well upgrade to disc brakes (?). I see many threads on that subject I will read up on...)
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Old 05-18-2008, 06:34 PM   #2
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Wellllll, I'm going on the basis of the (interesting) brakes on my old tractor, but when this happens (lock up on reverse), it's because the return springs aren't causing the shoes to back away from the drum when you release the brakes. Could be corrosion, dirt, weak springs.

But, then, not everybody has 60 year old tractor brakes.


Lynn
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Old 05-18-2008, 06:42 PM   #3
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are the reverse lights wired to the electric brakes?

are they surge brakes that get activated when backing up?
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Old 05-18-2008, 07:11 PM   #4
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Hi Whitefawn,

I have a 1968 24' Airstream Tradewind that we purchased from a family friend. When I first purchased the Airstream I took my tow vehicle to a nearby highend horse trailer dealer to have the braking system device and lighting systems connector installed.

I had the exact same problem as you are experiencing. I later found out the tech. had wired the tow vehicle backup lights to activate the Airstream's electric brakes.

When I tried to back into a camping space my trailer brakes locked up and I could not move.

As a quick fix, I disconnected the wiring plug from the tow vehicle. I stress that this is a quick fix because I learned that I had been towing the Airstream without trailer brakes because of the mis-wiring. That is not good.

As soon as I returned home I downloaded the proper wiring diagram from this site and fixed the problem myself.

I think richinny gave you some sage advise, check to see if the reverse lights were mis-wired to the trailer brakes.

It's a cheap fix, but a must fix as soon as possible. Towing a trailer without trailer brakes is bad news waiting to happen.

If you need more help private message me, I would be happy to help in any way I can.
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Old 05-18-2008, 07:16 PM   #5
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Almost certainly the backup light feed is mis-connected to the brake power feed. The easy way to check is to just pull the plug on the trailer electric connector and try backing up.

But as KeithC notes, IF that works, it means you've got no trailer brakes going forward ... a scary proposition at best.

Let us know how this work out. Inquiring minds want to know.
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Old 05-18-2008, 07:25 PM   #6
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Smile brakes lock in reverse

Thanks sooo much. After I posted my dilemna, I found a thread addressing the problem which (for some reason) I could not find when I searched the topic pre-post. I ran outside and had my husband disconnect the Prodigy brake controller and voila we have reverse. My husband worked much harder last night searching for a solution, removing wheels, etc, until 2am trying to get us home safely. So it is a blessed relief to get a solution here on the Forum, and to be able to back the trailer into its new home. Now he can trace the wires and hook up the brake controller properly at his leisure. I am so happy we are new members of the Airstream family, and to have found this forum!
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Old 05-18-2008, 07:37 PM   #7
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Good for you!!!

And good luck with your new treasure. But just think: you towed her home with no brakes. And survived! Yikes!

Glad it went o.k. Hope to hear from you more on the Forums, and to see you on the road.
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Old 05-18-2008, 07:37 PM   #8
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Same thing happened to me when I wired my new to me umbilical to the new standard flat 7 pin on the the burb. With the help of this forum I found out the wiring diagram on the new flat pin on the TV side was wrong. I plugged it in and the brakes locked up in reverse. Switched the wires and all was good. One good thing ---I found out how well the brakes work! As you will see color to color is NOT the way to go!
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Old 05-18-2008, 07:57 PM   #9
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Most controllers have an additional hookup that de-activates brakes when in reverse. (back up lights)
That way you can still override by hand control if brakes are needed while backing up.
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Old 05-18-2008, 08:08 PM   #10
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Yes, we drove 500+ miles home with no trailer brakes, but luckily we had new brakes and tires on our Ford F250. Where can I find the wiring diagram that is mentioned here for older AS for the brake controller?

Kathy
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Old 05-18-2008, 08:08 PM   #11
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Old 05-18-2008, 08:35 PM   #12
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I Recently Bought A New 7 Way Pig Tail And Junction Box To Wire My Spartanette,i Thought I Had Everything Figured Out,even Had A Wiring Diagram. Nothing Worked Right,it Ended Up Being The Pig Tail Was Miscolor Coded,my Tail Lights Were Even On The #10 Wire,another Great Ebay Deal.hope You Can Get Your Brakes Figured Out. Dave
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Old 07-21-2012, 01:36 AM   #13
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I have a 1970 Land Yacht Globetrotter 21'. I am having the same problem with going into reverse and the brakes lock up. Does anyone have the "correct" diagram, from what i have found my seems right.
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Old 07-22-2012, 10:06 AM   #14
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back up lights

It appears your backup lights are tied into your brakes,your back-up is yellow,your brakes are blue.
For a good wiring diagram google [7 pin wiring diagram] it will show you what is what if your pigtail is color coded correctly.
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