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Old 02-18-2013, 12:20 PM   #1
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Smelly brakes

We've recently noticed that, especially when applying the brakes a lot, that the AS brakes are smelly.

Our brake controller is set to 7.5, which is the setting where, while testing the controller, the AS actually slows the car down while holding the brake controller on manually.

Our brakes on the AS were checked a few months ago and found to be OK.

Any idea if this is normal or something we should have checked out?
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Old 02-18-2013, 01:34 PM   #2
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We've recently noticed that, especially when applying the brakes a lot, that the AS brakes are smelly.

Our brake controller is set to 7.5, which is the setting where, while testing the controller, the AS actually slows the car down while holding the brake controller on manually.

Our brakes on the AS were checked a few months ago and found to be OK.

Any idea if this is normal or something we should have checked out?
The brakes smell because they are "hot".

It would be wise to have the shoes checked for cracking, which can happen when the shoes get hot many times over.

Andy
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Old 02-18-2013, 03:41 PM   #3
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Your brake controller may be more aggressive than it needs to be. If you can stop the TV with the trailer brakes. In my opinion the controller is set too high.
Using the manual lever on the controller, you should feel a slight tug on the TV.
The trailer brakes are intended to assist in stopping the rig. Not to stop the trailer and the TV. IMHO
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Old 02-18-2013, 03:43 PM   #4
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It is likely the brake controller gain is set to high. You did not mention the brand, so this is only an educated guess.

Most modern controllers apply power at progressively more aggressive rates, meaning the more quickly the tow vehicle is slowing down, the more power the controller will send to the trailer brakes.

It takes a little practice to get this set correctly, and my guess is the gain is to high and is sending too much current to the brakes. Your trailer is stopping your entire rig with very little help from the tow vehicle brakes.

Look over then manual for the brake controller, find a good level gravel road or parking lot and set the controller. Doing this on a gravel road will let the locked tires slide and not make flat spots on your tires.

Regards,

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Old 02-23-2013, 07:12 AM   #5
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Consider buying an infrared thermometer. Point, shoot, get temp of object. Very useful for walk around inspections while in route. You can shoot brakes, hubs, tires to look for differences in temp. Very handy tool.
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Old 02-23-2013, 08:15 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TG Twinkie View Post
Your brake controller may be more aggressive than it needs to be. If you can stop the TV with the trailer brakes. In my opinion the controller is set too high.
Using the manual lever on the controller, you should feel a slight tug on the TV.
The trailer brakes are intended to assist in stopping the rig. Not to stop the trailer and the TV. IMHO
Yep...I have always set the controller to just hold the rig still in gear at idle using the manual override.

As Andy mentioned ck the shoes for cracking and bonding failure, excess heat causes problems.
Dexter replaced these after 6k under warranty...




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Old 02-23-2013, 10:14 AM   #7
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Might be one or two are out of adjustment and grabbing.
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Old 02-24-2013, 12:06 PM   #8
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Consider buying an infrared thermometer. Point, shoot, get temp of object. Very useful for walk around inspections while in route. You can shoot brakes, hubs, tires to look for differences in temp. Very handy tool.
That is a very handy tool.

I use one almost every day in the shop.

I recently checked the temperture rise of the torsion axle shaft after welding on a shock absorber bracket.

Dexter claims that will ruin the rubber rods. ABSOLUTE NONSENSE!!!!!

The temperature rose by 16 degrees F. Wow, if that ruins it, then what happens when the trailer is in the desert in the middle of a summer day?????

Also, it's a handy tool for someone that likes to argue.

They point the beam at the other person's forehead, to see if they are a "hot head too".

Seriously, checking trailer tire temperatures, as you travel is a great thing to do, along with the hub temperatures. Of course the hub caps must be left off, but the knowledge obtained is a great peace of mind when towing.

Andy
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Old 03-30-2013, 07:34 PM   #9
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The brakes smell because they are "hot".

It would be wise to have the shoes checked for cracking, which can happen when the shoes get hot many times over.

Andy
Andy, Just finished up swapping axles between two AS. I had traded out my new axles w/ electric brakes onto my Ambassador with hydraulic discs. (New axles, old drums, calipers)

Today I took the Ambassdor out for a short test run. It took ever thing my old 7.3 powerstroke could muster to maintain 55 mph. It felt like I was towing a tank. When I stopped, two of the wheels were hot to the touch and I could smell that the brake pads were engaged.
So, I am going to have to break down the wheels again to try to find the problem. My interest here is with your comment about the cracked pad? Because, I noticed that two pads on different assemblies were cracked. I did not change the pads out because they looked to have plenty of life left in them. Would the cracked pads cause the dragging and heat?
Also one other comment, the manual override on the Kelsey controller seems to work the brake fine, but I am not sure the brake pedal is really doing the job as well as it should?
Thanks for any suggestions.
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Old 03-31-2013, 05:47 AM   #10
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Andy, Just finished up swapping axles between two AS. I had traded out my new axles w/ electric brakes onto my Ambassador with hydraulic discs. (New axles, old drums, calipers)

Today I took the Ambassdor out for a short test run. It took ever thing my old 7.3 powerstroke could muster to maintain 55 mph. It felt like I was towing a tank. When I stopped, two of the wheels were hot to the touch and I could smell that the brake pads were engaged.
So, I am going to have to break down the wheels again to try to find the problem. My interest here is with your comment about the cracked pad? Because, I noticed that two pads on different assemblies were cracked. I did not change the pads out because they looked to have plenty of life left in them. Would the cracked pads cause the dragging and heat?
Also one other comment, the manual override on the Kelsey controller seems to work the brake fine, but I am not sure the brake pedal is really doing the job as well as it should?
Thanks for any suggestions.
No, the cracked pads would not be the issue regarding the heat.

Andy
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Old 03-31-2013, 10:46 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by litlgeezer View Post
Andy, Just finished up swapping axles between two AS. I had traded out my new axles w/ electric brakes onto my Ambassador with hydraulic discs. (New axles, old drums, calipers)

Today I took the Ambassdor out for a short test run. It took ever thing my old 7.3 powerstroke could muster to maintain 55 mph. It felt like I was towing a tank. When I stopped, two of the wheels were hot to the touch and I could smell that the brake pads were engaged.
So, I am going to have to break down the wheels again to try to find the problem. My interest here is with your comment about the cracked pad? Because, I noticed that two pads on different assemblies were cracked. I did not change the pads out because they looked to have plenty of life left in them. Would the cracked pads cause the dragging and heat?
Also one other comment, the manual override on the Kelsey controller seems to work the brake fine, but I am not sure the brake pedal is really doing the job as well as it should?
Thanks for any suggestions.
I'm interested but a bit confused. Is your question about drum electrics or electric over hydraulic disc brakes?

If it's hydraulic discs, might have more to offer, if its electric drums, I'll just watch.
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Old 03-31-2013, 12:11 PM   #12
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It sounds like the brakes are adjusted just a little too tight on the one axle. Either that or the weight is significantly higher on that axle. Does your coach set level when hitched? Are the tires on the other axle skidding?
I tend to lean toward brake adjustment.
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Old 03-31-2013, 02:38 PM   #13
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I'm interested but a bit confused. Is your question about drum electrics or electric over hydraulic disc brakes?

If it's hydraulic discs, might have more to offer, if its electric drums, I'll just watch.
Dexter actuator over hydraulic discs. I removed one of the two wheels that was a little hot and noticed that the outer pad was about 1/3 thicker than the inner one (from previous wear). The outer pad was tight against the drum, while the inner pad appeared to be relaxed and not tight against the drum. Could my problem be in the boots? The boot was in a non-engaged position. The spacers should allow enough room for both pads to relax away from the drum, when the brake is not engaged? This time I will buy new pads asap, before putting all the wheels back together. Thanks for your assistance.
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Old 03-31-2013, 02:39 PM   #14
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We had brakes that kept "cracking" the shoes. Smelled "hot" too.

I told my Dad,"I bet the drums are too big after "turning". He laughed.

Turns out I was right. If you take a "shoe" and check if it is touching all the way across when touching/engaged, on our brakes the upper pin was worn to the point that the adjuster was cranked way out. Still very little contact surface. So, shoes heated unevenly expanded and cracked.
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