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Old 05-17-2010, 09:45 PM   #1
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single wheel brake issue

Last time I put Ophelia in the garage, following a camping trip, I noticed the brakes *locking* on a single wheel (dual axle). I don't notice any drag while driving but as soon as I tap the vehicle brakes, the single rear, road side wheel locks completely. I noticed this when backing into the garage and it did not subside when pulling forward. I left good skid marks on the driveway! I was told that the *self adjustment* occurrs during backing and that it should free up when I begin my next trip. Hummmmmm, this doesn't seem quite right. I have about 300 miles on the new brakes (came with new Henschen axles) and have not performed the suggested adjustment So, I'm going to attempt to inspect and adjust brakes on all four wheel using the directions included with the axles. Anyone have any other suggestions/advice? I know I can do this, but I am not looking forward to the work.

Laura
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Old 05-17-2010, 09:53 PM   #2
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The brakes are not self adjusting, even if you could back up fast enough to adjust them. There is no self-adjusting mechanism. you probably have a spring broken in that one wheel's brakes.
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Old 05-17-2010, 09:56 PM   #3
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Laura,

If you have self adjusting brakes—they have been out about a year for Airstreams—this should not be happening. I don't have an answer for that, but maybe you'll have to take a look at the brakes and see if something is wrong. The self adusting brakes have 2 access holes at the bottom of the brake plate—there's a rubber oval part in that hole and you have to pry it out to look inside. The non-self adjusting brakes have one oval rubber part in the brake plate and behind it is a star wheel to adjust. I haven't looked inside the self adjusting brakes so I don't know what's in there.

With the old fashioned brakes, the difference between a locked wheel and the brakes not doing anything much is very slight. Finding the sweet spot is not easy; I just adjusted the brakes on one axle and it's a pain. My other axle has self adjusting brakes.

I wouldn't be looking forward to it either. I'm going to change to self adjusting brakes on the other axle sometime this year. Besides not having to adjust them, it means they should be working properly. The old fashioned type seem to go out of adjustment pretty quickly.

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Old 05-17-2010, 09:57 PM   #4
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The brakes are not self adjusting, even if you could back up fast enough to adjust them. There is no self-adjusting mechanism. you probably have a spring broken in that one wheel's brakes.

My backing is painfully slow Broken spring? OMG - that adds a new element of fear. I'll search it and look over the axle instructions to see what I can find.

Thanks for the info - good to have info before I start the job!!!

Laura
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Old 05-17-2010, 09:59 PM   #5
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A broken spring is pretty easy to replace and not the end of the world.

I'm unsure if Terry is saying you don't have self adjusting brakes or no one does.

Gene
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Old 05-17-2010, 10:00 PM   #6
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Laura,

If you have self adjusting brakes—they have been out about a year for Airstreams—this should not be happening. I don't have an answer for that, but maybe you'll have to take a look at the brakes and see if something is wrong. The self adusting brakes have 2 access holes at the bottom of the brake plate—there's a rubber oval part in that hole and you have to pry it out to look inside. The non-self adjusting brakes have one oval rubber part in the brake plate and behind it is a star wheel to adjust. I haven't looked inside the self adjusting brakes so I don't know what's in there.

With the old fashioned brakes, the difference between a locked wheel and the brakes not doing anything much is very slight. Finding the sweet spot is not easy; I just adjusted the brakes on one axle and it's a pain. My other axle has self adjusting brakes.

I wouldn't be looking forward to it either. I'm going to change to self adjusting brakes on the other axle sometime this year. Besides not having to adjust them, it means they should be working properly. The old fashioned type seem to go out of adjustment pretty quickly.

Gene
Maybe a quick call to Andy in the morning will clarify if I have self adjusting or not. Thanks for the info Gene. Much appreciated.
Laura
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Old 05-17-2010, 10:01 PM   #7
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A broken spring is pretty easy to replace and not the end of the world.

I'm unsure if Terry is saying you don't have self adjusting brakes or no one does.

Gene
A broken spring is pretty much a broken spring, though it does need to be taken care of soon. No, the brakes she has shouldn't be self-adjusting, but self adjusting brakes are available from Redneck Trailers and others.
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Old 05-17-2010, 10:04 PM   #8
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If I sometimes have rednecks in my trailer, could the brakes be self-adjusting?

I'll dive into this tomorrow after work and see what is there. Thanks guys, I'll provide details of what I find!

Laura
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Old 05-27-2010, 09:48 PM   #9
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Cripes --- what a friggin mess I am! It took me trying 4 jacks (and two trips to the auto store to buy a 12 ton can hydro jack) to finally get Ophelia off the ground. I started on the curb side because it was on the easiest side to access. The offending wheel/brake is on the road side....

Luckily I remembered to loosen the lug nuts before jacking her up. Lucky - why? Who the hell knows why... then I screwed around trying to remove the cotter pin securing the spindle nut to get the drum off. Now ---- why again. What the crap - why was I convinced that the whole friggin drum needed to come off to adjust the brakes????

Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Yes, the four letter words were a flying - along with a lot of yelping because, for some unknown reason, both my feet continued to cramp. I think they were trying to tell me to stop. But noooooooo, I just kept at it.

Tightened the lug nuts on the curb side and crawled underneath to perform the adjustment the correct way, through the access hole. Now, I turned that starwheel up and down about 30 times and could hardly tell the difference --- except from the extreem loose spin of the wheel to a pretty difficult turn. Every adjustment between seemed pretty similar --- I don't think I can finess the adjusment - I think those two are at same place as where I started.

SO, I proceed to the other side. Jack her up and remove the entire assembly from the offending wheel (the one that locks and drags immediately when I brake). I'm presuming there is a missing or broken spring. Not. I did notice that the actuating arm swings kinda free. I didn't notice this on the other wheel that I removed but I wasn't really paying attention to that. Is it suppose to be like that??? And I also found some sand in the grease at the spindle nut. Guess that means I need to regrease the bearings -n-stuff now??? I finally called it quits. Ophelia is securely resting on jack stands for me to attack on Saturday.

No job is simple. Oh, and I'm covered in jack hydraulic fluid - along with the usual grime. Sweet!

Laura
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Old 05-27-2010, 10:09 PM   #10
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Laura, 4 letter words are appropriate and necessary for days like this.

Yes, the adjustments are tricky to get right and will hopefully get easier as you get used to it.

Yes, sand in the grease is a bad thing and means cleaning off the old grease and using new grease.

It should come easier when you return to the scene of the crime and aren't so exasperated.

It's another damn learning experience, but it gets better after a while.

Good luck on Saturday.

Gene
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Old 05-28-2010, 06:22 AM   #11
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Thanks Gene ---- I shoulda called it quits after the second jack failed and the hydraulic fluid came shooting out like geyser, catching me in the chest. And I should have gone straight to bed after showering instead of posting here --- way before my exhaustion wore off. Wish I could erase my late night post.

Still one outstanding question: should the actuating arm swing a little free? I only saw one fastener - at the top - and the magnet hangs off of the bottom - letting it swin to-and-fro.

Laura
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Old 05-28-2010, 01:18 PM   #12
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Finally

A friend from work who has experience with cars came by this afternoon to assist..... he readjusted all my brakes, saying that I had them adjusted way too loose. As I pulled Ophelia out of the garage, that same dang wheel was dragging - even without engaging the brakes. I unhooked the umbillical and continued to move forward - wheel still drug. I moved it back and forth, reconnected the umbillical and she rolled along. I went around the block a few times, braking harshly, backing up and then I headed back home. I don't notice anything out of the ordinary now. I have Noooooo idea what the problem was (is)... but I'm going to go with it for now. Will repack my bearings next week after finding sand in one and noticing the grease is not as thick as when I first assembled the wheels/axles last year.

Laura
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Old 05-28-2010, 01:46 PM   #13
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Will repack my bearings next week after finding sand in one and noticing the grease is not as thick as when I first assembled the wheels/axles last year.

Laura
Where did you see sand? If on the outside, nothing unusual but if actually is in the wheel bearing would mean a complete flushing out. And if in one is it in the rest.
Thickness of grease would change with use and time of year, temp big factor, but on looking at my grease gun tub have noticed new greases do separate where I remember when you could leave a grease gun hang for a couple of years and it would look the same, now it drips oil.
Your finesse of checking brake action would be easier if all wheels had same amount of grease and you could feel the drag of the shoe and back off one turn of star adjuster, if the drum is round it would work, a bent drum would change the feel and make it impossible to set.
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Old 05-28-2010, 06:18 PM   #14
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Question. Did you get the brake drums off? If the lining on the brake shoes are worn down excessively. Adjusting the won't help. The shoe will cam over and lock the wheel. I have a '74 Argosy that I just completed installing new shocks, packing the wheel bearings and adjusted the brakes, It has an ample amount of lining on all four brakes.
Once I installed the shock on a particular axle, I repacked the wheel bearings and installed a new seal. I installed the drum onto the axle then disconnected the brake wires near the back plate. I used my battery charger to activate the brake as I spun the drum, I did this on all four wheels one at a time to make sure each wheel had brakes. I had one that needed adjustment, it happened to be the first one I tackled. While I had the drum off, I took my adjusting tool, stuck it thru the access hole in the back plate and turned the adjusting wheel just far enough to know which way to turn it once the drum was back in place.
In the days when most cars had drum brakes, the rear shoe would always wear down quicker than the front shoe. Don't know if this is true one trailers with electric brakes.
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