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Old 12-12-2012, 12:53 AM   #15
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Thank you HowieE. I will be towing it a short distance in a few days, I'll play with the controller voltage settings and see what I can find. I think that if the brakes were engaging at all on my last two drives, the rust should have at least partially come off and I would have felt a change, but no such luck.
I am not really equipped for raising the trailer or getting underneath it to do any work myself. But I do feel more informed now, and am also thinking I have more options now than to drive a great distance without brakes to an Airstream dealer, since it's brakes and not, for example, sneaky leaks or a rotted floor.
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Old 12-12-2012, 06:36 AM   #16
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If you controller has a manual override lever engage it fully when you start out. You should be able to feel the trailer brakes come on. I engage mine a couple times to get the rust off. After a few miles and 5 engagements I can really feel the difference. Then adjust my controller sensitivity for the rest of the trip. It is not only the rust on the braking diameter but the light rust on the flat surface the magnets engage that has a major effect. It is not hard to build a small ramp or use some leveling planks to pull one wheel off the ground and likely safer than jacking the whole side of the trailer.
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Old 12-12-2012, 03:36 PM   #17
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dwightdi is right easy to do 1 wheel or even 1 axle at a time using blocks or a ramp like this one.
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:48 PM   #18
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The way I test mine is to hook up the trailer put it in drive get up to 5mph and using the slider manual push it all the way to one side this should lock up the brakes and stop you.

If the brakes fail to stop you then the controller could be bad (not supplying sufficient voltage) or corroded wiring most likely on the ground side.
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Old 12-13-2012, 01:10 AM   #19
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dwightdi, I did exactly that on two trips (to and from the dealer) but got nothing. Testing shows the voltage is reaching and activating the magnets. I think I need a brake mechanic.
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Old 12-13-2012, 09:24 AM   #20
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Rust on drums can cause a lot of wear on brake linings. It's possible that the brakes need adjusting to compensate for this. Maybe new brake shoes if the wear is excessive.
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Old 12-13-2012, 09:57 AM   #21
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The normal rust on the drums that occurs during storage will smooth off in the first few stops and have no effect on the overall ware on the shoes but will give the appearance of less braking on the first or 2.
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Old 12-13-2012, 11:24 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HowieE View Post
The normal rust on the drums that occurs during storage will smooth off in the first few stops and have no effect on the overall ware on the shoes but will give the appearance of less braking on the first or 2.
From my experience that is not always the case, A trailer I had would get some rust in as little as 2 days and the first couple stops the wheels would lock up unless going more then 20mph AND on pavement or concrete. This would cause ruts in many campgrounds if I didn't wait to plug in the trailer or turn down the brakes.
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