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Old 10-21-2006, 06:18 PM   #1
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Setup of Actibrake with Kodiak disks on Bambi

Does anyone have direct experience making an installation of the Actibrake electrohydraulic actuator with the Kodiak disk brakes? I purchased the single axle Kodiak disk/Actibrake EH upgrade kit from Andy R at InlandRV in July but have not had the time to get to this step until now.

I'm now to the stage of re-installing the axle on my 19-ft Bambi, so I can move it to protected workspace to continue on the frame cleanup and belly reinstallation. While the axle install seems straightforward, the Actibrake is new to me. I've read all the instructions, have the recommended tools (including tubing bender), and plan to install the Actibrake inside the Bambi's closet, running the hydraulic line down through the floor and out to the new disk brakes.

It appears that all parts required for the installation are included, and I simply need to add DOT-3 brake fluid and follow the purge instructions, then setup the controller for the Actibrake and test drive.

Any specific experience, especially what to look out for or setup tips, would be greatly appreciated. I am using the Actibrake with a Tekonsha Prodigy controller.
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Old 10-22-2006, 09:41 AM   #2
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Hi,
Sorry, I have no input - except to say I have similar questions. Oh, and why do you need a new axle for a '01??
We have a '68 with electric brakes that we converted to the same as yours (axles & brakes)... and now we don't know what to do. We have the tubing run, poking up throught the floor in the closet. How does the new unit get power (what to do with the wiring from the old electric brakes?)?

I am clueless in the electrical/axle/brakes/uh lots of stuff - - ANYONE _ brave enough to explain in lame- (wo)mans- terms??
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Old 10-22-2006, 10:28 AM   #3
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I had my disc brakes installed by David Tidmore, the A/S dealer in Wetherford, TX. I took it there because they had a lot of experience with the conversion: mine was something like the 25th conversion they had done. I carefully watched every step of the process.

My actuator is installed in the left-hand triangle of the A-frame, close to the umbilical cord and power source under the front couch. There was a bracket with the actuator that made installation easy and the actuator is well protected by the A-frame. If you can mount yours on the A-frame, I see no reason to use up closet space.

Use plenty of clips to secure the tubing. The tech, Denver, did a fine job of routing the tubing and flaring the connections. There were no leaks found during the startup. Denver went around the trailer several times, bleeding each wheel in turn.

Denver also carefully taped and tied back the electric brake wires so that I could use them in the future should I want to mount something electrical in the wheel well area. I am thinking of installing 12v outlets for my compressor in the wheel wells using those wires.

A very important thing to do is to properly break in the new disks. David Tidmore towed my trailer for close to 1/2 hour at slow speed around the back streets of Weatherford. We made many hard stops and David used the panic lever on the controller to drag the brakes until we could smell them. He said that this sort of break in is necessary to get smooth brake response. It worked: the brakes were butter smooth from the first time I pulled the trailer. I never had the grabbing that some others have reported. I had to reduce the gain slightly after 100 miles and I have never touched the Prodigy controls since.

The disc brake conversion is well worth the cost.
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Old 10-22-2006, 11:45 AM   #4
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Sequoia,
I am keeping my original axle, but am installing the Kodiak disks.
As for the questions you posed, do you have the installation manual from Actibrake?

You may take a look at:
http://www.activetech1.com/actibrake...tall-man04.pdf
for the Actibrake installation manual. Then if you still have questions, pose the subsequent questions on the forums.

Pahaska,
Thank you for the fast reply. I have heard of breaking in the disk brakes, although causing them to heat to the point of smelling them sounds extreme. Granted, there will be times they may be used that way. I wouldn't want to warp a disk, however.

I hear Dave Tidmore has done several of these conversions and that they place the Actibrake on the tongue. Do you have the earlier version with the side reservoir cap, or the newer version with the fully enclosed case (see the pictures below)?

I have the earlier version which easily installs in my closet, and given that the tongue on my Bambi is a bit crowded, it works well.

Thanks, Marshall
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Old 10-22-2006, 12:16 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mswartz
Pahaska,
Thank you for the fast reply. I have heard of breaking in the disk brakes, although causing them to heat to the point of smelling them sounds extreme. Granted, there will be times they may be used that way. I wouldn't want to warp a disk, however.

I hear Dave Tidmore has done several of these conversions and that they place the Actibrake on the tongue. Do you have the earlier version with the side reservoir cap, or the newer version with the fully enclosed case (see the pictures below)?

I have the earlier version which easily installs in my closet, and given that the tongue on my Bambi is a bit crowded, it works well.

Thanks, Marshall
I have the later Actibrake. I understand installing the earlier version inside the trailer. David installed Rich Luhr's actuator in a closet. Space may not have been available on Rich's A-frame.

For brand new discs, you don't have to abuse the brakes to get them to smell a bit. The shipping coatings on the pads and discs are what causes the initial smell. I have since descended some very steep mountains where I used far more brake and I didn't have a trace of brake smell.
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Old 10-22-2006, 12:42 PM   #6
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MORON needs clarification:

Sorry, I am a little confused as to how the actuator communicates with the TV's braking system (controller). I see that it needs battery/breakaway(?), POWER, but where does this come from. Is there a new wire that needs to be run?

The old brake wiring is not used?

Thank you!
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Old 10-22-2006, 02:28 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sequoiacoast
Sorry, I am a little confused as to how the actuator communicates with the TV's braking system (controller). I see that it needs battery/breakaway(?), POWER, but where does this come from. Is there a new wire that needs to be run?

The old brake wiring is not used?

Thank you!
The actuator has 4 principal inputs:
  • 12v
  • Gnd
  • Signal from TV controller
  • Breakaway switch
These signals were all accessable under the couch of my trailer and run to the actuator through a new hole drilled in the floor. The tech made up a new cable for this purpose.

The old brake wiring from under the couch to the brakes themselves is no longer used. That wiring has been taped back on my trailer and is available for whatever purpose I might wish to make of it.
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Old 02-10-2007, 12:27 PM   #8
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I have a Chevy Duramax 2500 '04, Kodiak discs and an actibrake. I also have a Draw-tite activator II brake controller.

Is there any conflict in this brake controller/ disc/ TV arrangement, that anyone sees?
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Old 02-10-2007, 03:25 PM   #9
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Draw tite brake controller...

I'm not familiar with this brake controller - but as long as it's an inertia type and not a time ramp controller, you should be fine. That said, there is a lot a difference between a cheap inertia controller and something like a Prodigy. I used to have a kelsy Hayes controller - it would lock the (drum) brakes up over bumps when slowing, and was inconsistant on the hills. I had no such problems with the Prodigy. I didn't think it would make a difference, but it sure did!
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Old 02-10-2007, 03:58 PM   #10
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What is an inertia vs. time ramp--- how would I know the difference?
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Old 02-10-2007, 04:43 PM   #11
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Another thought about tubing benders. If you have a lot of contorted bends in a piece of tubing, one method is to smash one end closed, fill the tubing with fine sand, smash the other end, and then bend to your heart's content. The sand wont let the tubing collapse so get nice even bends. When you have the piece shaped, cut off the ends and form for whatever connections you are using. This is also a good emergency method when a tubing bender isn't available.
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Old 02-10-2007, 06:15 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sequoiacoast
What is an inertia vs. time ramp--- how would I know the difference?
Tanya,

Your brake controller is of the inertia type. I checked for you.
You should be good to go.

A ramp up controller will simply start a process of more and more brakes, independent of tow vehicle deceleration.
A inertia controller will apply the brakes proportinal to the tow vehicle's deceleration. So, if you slam on the brakes, the inertia controller will also slam on the trailer brakes, in accordance with the truck's stopping power.
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Old 02-10-2007, 06:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Excella CM
Another thought about tubing benders. If you have a lot of contorted bends in a piece of tubing, one method is to smash one end closed, fill the tubing with fine sand, smash the other end, and then bend to your heart's content. The sand wont let the tubing collapse so get nice even bends. When you have the piece shaped, cut off the ends and form for whatever connections you are using. This is also a good emergency method when a tubing bender isn't available.
I am not so sure I would want all that sand inside my brake lines. There's bound to be residual material, even if you flush the lines.
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Old 02-10-2007, 06:49 PM   #14
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still, it's probably preferable to the air we have in L.A.
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