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Old 07-25-2008, 06:21 AM   #1
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Trailer brake problems

Being a newcomer to the forum, this is my first thread.
We are John & Carole Stephenson, retired, in our sixties and have been full
timing in the UK for the past 11 years. Our tow vehicle is a 2008 Ford F350 Super Duty, long bed/ext cab, 4x4 towing a 2007 25' Classic Limited-hydraulic disc brakes on Dexter axles.
Problems started 3-400 miles after taking delivery of our outfit. When operating truck brakes, trailer brakes would come on as normal, but would not release for 100-200 yards after releasing truck brakes, causing drag and the trailer brakes to heat up. Had to reduce in-cab controller gain to zero from 5.1/2 to reach destination. Phone calls to USA (Ford truck dealer and Actibrake) advised us to disconnect Ford's in-cab controller as not suitable for electric/hydraulic brakes. We purchased and fitted Hayes Genesis and wiring harness (14 pin connector), bleeding all four brake lines at same time and re-synchronizing controller. All went well for a further 3-400 miles-smooth braking with no tugging or pushing. Then brakes started dragging and overheating again (all 4 wheels). Too hot to touch hubs and burning smell-it seemed there was still pressure in brake lines even after releasing truck brakes.
More phone calls to States. After carrying out various tests on advice of Actibrake, they have sent us a new actuator. Although a different style from original (metal case and taller than oblong plastic original-will have to make modifications to actuator box on hitch), have fitted this and again bled all brake lines. Howver front roadside (your kerbside) would not bleed when pulling breakaway switch pin. On inspection the flexible brake pipe from chassis to caliper was kinked and tight. Either pipe is too short or bracket on chassis welded on too far from caliper. Made temporary repair and Airstream are sending a pair of longer (hopefully) flexible hoses-we have yeat to receive them. On next trip of l70 miles, all satisfactory apart from front kerbside (your roadside) wheel still overheating. Any suggestions.
Everyone at Airstream, Active Technology and Hayes Brake Controllers have been most helpful, its a pity we have this worrying brake problem. That said, we love our outfit and would never change.
John & Carole Stephenson
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Old 07-25-2008, 09:45 AM   #2
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I am wondering if the brake inspection under the trailer is being done with the brakes applied. eYou have had a few controllers and same problem , that tells me its a issue at trailer. I had a issue like that with air brakes (drag after release) it turned out to be a kink in one main line only visible when not under preassure. also I am wondering about the residule valve of trailer and its function. hope this helps
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Old 07-25-2008, 01:20 PM   #3
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hi j & c and welcome to the forums...

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephenson View Post
... Phone calls to USA (Ford truck dealer and Actibrake) advised us to disconnect Ford's in-cab controller as not suitable for electric/hydraulic brakes...
too bad u got this advice, because it's WRONG.

reads like YOUR trailer problem was the crimped brake line and fluid movement....

the ford itbc works GREAT with the actibrake/dexter or actibrake/kodiac set ups...

u can find many threads here where this topic is covered.

there have been issues with calibration, 2 versions of the actibrake reservoir, and the occasional wiring problem...

and a couple of reports related to trailer brake line leaks...

this is the first report of a kinked/crimped line and is good info for anyone having problems...

but once this hydraulic line issue is corrected, consider hooking the ford itbc back up...

it really does work well this the system.

brakes are such an important safety issue and the trailer is STILL UNDER WARRANTY...

i would expect and demand that a dealer address this issue or the factory service center...

they KNOW the ford itbc works with the setup and if the lines are short and kinked OR the caliper isn't releasing properly...

that is CLEARLY a warranty issue.

it seems u are un necessarily spending MONEY and time on a problem the dealer should correct....

taking your trailer to the factory service center might be a really LONG trip, however...

cheers
2air'

please tell us more about full timing in the UK with a 'stream and big ol' ford truck...
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Old 07-25-2008, 01:40 PM   #4
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Many thanks for reply Mustand and 2airishuman. Don't understand what residule valve is or where it is. Yes, I prefer the Ford in cab brake controller and it worked fine for a few hundred miles. New longer brake hoses due any day - will post results. Our problem seems to be pressure in the brake lines that wont release.

Thanks
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Old 07-25-2008, 02:29 PM   #5
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are ALL the brakes dragging and getting hot? if so, the kinked hose on one wheel may not be the issue. if they all get hot the pressure is being held on somewhere before the lines split to each wheel.
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Old 07-25-2008, 03:28 PM   #6
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trailer brake problems

Appreciate your reply Richinny.

Yes, all brakes were getting hot, but after fitting new brake actuator
some improvement - just one wheel overheating.
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Old 07-25-2008, 04:44 PM   #7
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...and the one wheel is the one that has the kinked hose, i hope!
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Old 07-25-2008, 04:47 PM   #8
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Had that problem before when the batteries in the trailer were dead or not fully charged. Once the batteries were charged from the shore line the trailer brakes acted normal.
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Old 07-26-2008, 01:38 PM   #9
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Thanks for response NeatAirstrem - yes I wish it was a battery issue but solar panels look after them. I am convinced it was a malfuntion of the brake actuator causing the drag after release as Mustang mentioned. Although we still have a problem with one caliper overheating - this could have been damaged (burnt seals, etc) by all 4 axle ends overheating. Working on this now. The replacement brake actuator we have seems to be a new model with a different set of rules. Actibrake owners manual, page 10, reads :
Which in-cab controller is best:
The actibrake will operate in conjunction with any state-of-the-art in-cab controller. A controller that obtains its signal directly from the towing vehicle's braking system is preferred. A high quality nertia based controller using accelerometer technology is second preference. Third preference is a high quality inertia based controller using a pendulum to sense deceleration.
First Actibrake recommendation sounds like Ford ICBC to me - which we disconnected.
Second recommenation possibly Hayes Genesis - which we have installed/

Thanks to all.

John & Carole
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Old 09-20-2008, 12:12 AM   #10
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Any resolution to this issue? I just dropped our new 25' Classic off at the dealer with the exact same issue, the brakes fail to release for about 2-3 seconds after the brake pedal is released. The brakes worked great for about 300 miles and then this. I'm using a Prodigy controller, but the trailer did the same thing with the dealers personal rig and a different controller, even after "rebooting" the actibrake. He's stumped and so am I.

Terry
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Old 09-21-2008, 02:16 PM   #11
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Trailer brake problems

Hi Terry - sorry to hear you've had the same problems as us. We are still having difficulties and are now on our third Actibrake actuator fitted by importing dealer.
After contacting Mike, Technical Services at Actibrake (on the advise of Airstream and because of our initial problem of dragging brakes and actuator over-running) he shipped out to us a new actuator. When this arrived it was a different style to the one fitted by Airstream. We fitted this ourselves as dealer was other end of country. It worked perfectly for 150 miles and then packed in completelly, not even working when operating breakaway. Travelled to dealer, who installed another new brake actuator, which worked perfectly on test run. Four days later, hitched up and nothing!! Dealer's mechanic checked all wiring connections and soldered a suspect earth connection in the box housing the actuator. Since then everying seems OK but only done 60 miles.
Were using Hayes Genesis which is OK, problem is on trailer. You have verified this with your dealer using his tow vehicle and different controller.

Hope this helps-let us know how you get on.

Still love the Airstream, John & Carole Stephenson
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Old 09-21-2008, 04:41 PM   #12
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Stephenson

You say the batteries are supported by solar panels. That does not mean the batteries are fully charged when this problem occurs. Take a voltage reading at the trailer batteries before start and as soon after the problem occurs as possible while the brakes are applied. Also take a voltage reading at the actuator under the same conditions. When trouble shooting do not assume anything. Always test because a good rule of thumb is the bigger the problem the simpler the fault.

Do you have a battery feed line from the truck to the trailer or are you relying just on the solar panels to supply the trailer batteries?
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Old 09-22-2008, 02:52 AM   #13
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Trailer Brake Problems

HowieE

The trailer batteries are always fully charged - as full timers I constantly monitor them.
The trailer batteries only operate the breakaway switch, the actibrake is operated from the charge line of the 7 pin plug, i.e. from tow vehicle alternator. This charge line goes direct to brake actuator and not to trailer batteries as has been the practice in the past.
Airstream are aware of this drag after release problem as are Active Technology.

John
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Old 09-22-2008, 08:17 AM   #14
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I will restate my comments. Check the voltages before and after the problem.

The newer trucks are using grossly undersized wiring to save money. I had my headlight wiring burn up because of this. Just too many lights on a 34 fter. My GPS would stop working once the alternator charged the batteries. The voltage at the plug was only 9 volts at that point while the batteries were at 13+. Number 18 wire was feeding the plug.

What is the current draw on the actuator rated at and what size wire is feeding the TV connector and from that to the actuator.

The #7 pin on most connectors is commonly used for the back up lights and is the smallest wire size in the harness. Pulling heavy current through such a wire may result in the wire melting and fire.
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