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Old 10-25-2003, 03:38 PM   #1
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1993 34' Excella
1962 16' Bambi
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trailer side brake wiring diagram?

okay, i did this time. i removed the old hydraulic brake housing from the front of my 78 excella 500. with that, i hacked away at some of the wiring i though was of no use since the trailer has been retrofitted with electric brakes.

anyway, i chopped one or two wires too many. i don't get the green light on my controller in the tow vehicle anymore.

does i diagram exist anywhere for trailer side brake wiring to and from the fuse panel? that would be a huge help in getting this thing wired correctly.

i cut the ground from the neg post at the fuse panel. now i don't know what the cut end should attach to. i hope hooking that up properly will give me a closed circuit and a green light again.

i've been to tekonsha and dexters sites and could not find wiring diagrams at either.

it seems like the answer should be so simple but I can't get it!

thanks in advance,
dave

http://www.micsupply.com/airstream.htm
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Old 10-26-2003, 04:30 AM   #2
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Dave, http://www.airforums.com/forum...&threadid=5424 is a thread which contains some information on fixing butchered brake wiring. I will describe the system on my Excella, in the hope that yours is similar. My Airstream manual has diagrams which explain the wiring, but I'm 4000 miles from the trailer. Basically, the brakes operate when a 12 volt power supply connects to the wheel magnets by one blue wire in parallel to each wheel. Fortunately, for ease of maintenance, these wires do not go direct along the frame to the 7-way connector, but are routed up to the fuse panel behind the gaucho. There they are joined by the blue wire from the breakaway switch, as described in the thread 5424, giving the coach battery as a source of 12v in the event of an uncoupling. The blue wires from the magnets are linked at the fuse panel to the brake wire (blue?) from the 7-way connector. The other wires from the magnets, and the ground from the 7-way are all connected together at the ground post on the fuse panel behind the gaucho. The 2 wires from each magnet are interchangeable.I hope this helps. Nick.
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Old 10-26-2003, 06:29 PM   #3
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i now have a sync light

as a follow-up. spent the day checking all connections at the wheels. cleaned up the wiring and made new splices to the hot and ground wires.

went back the the tow vehicle - still no light. i still had the dangling wire coming off the fuse panel ground side. i touched that to the hot wire going back to the brakes and the light at the controller lit up!

however, still no brakes. still looking for help on this. one would think a trailer side wiring diagram would be out there. i hit a few hundred links on google last night with no luck. you can be assured that once i figure out the logic of trailer side brake wiring I will post a wiring diagram.

i guess the thing that adds a hick-up to this is the break-away switch. AAARRRGGGHHHH!
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Old 10-27-2003, 04:31 AM   #4
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Dave, the breakaway switch is pretty much irrelevant. It is a parallel source of 12v power, so the wires to the breakaway switch can be disconnected by the switch, and you can fault trace the brake circuit independently. Another thread that fault finds the brake circuit is http://www.tompatterson.com/Airstrea.../msg00436.html
A wiring diagram is not going to be of much more help. You only have to test one wire coming from the tow vehicle, through the 9 way connector, up to the fuse box, dividing then in parallel to one wire per wheel magnet, and returning from each magnet to the ground at the fuse box. Test it out, starting at the tow vehicle, as in the above thread, and, using a digital voltmeter, you will trace the problem. When you have fixed it, you can re-connect the breakaway wires, and see if there is a fault there as well. (There was in mine.)Good luck.
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Old 10-27-2003, 07:25 AM   #5
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brake wiring

nick,

thanks for hanging with me here. when i bought the trailer, the curb side brakes were working. i could see from visual inspection that the wiring on the street side had come apart. i have since made those connections in and around the brakes.

the wiring looks like this - one hot lead going from the 7-way plug back to the forward curb side wheel. from there, the wiring hops to the back wheel, the a hot and ground lead cut acrross to the street side wheels.

you are saying a ground lead need to come back to the fuse panel. makes total sense to me, however, the trailer brakes were functioning with grounds from the brakes to the frame of the trailer.

if i am to run a ground wire back to the fuse panel, should that come from the last wheel in the chain?

--dave
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Old 10-27-2003, 11:38 AM   #6
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Dave, it sounds to me as if the conversion to electric braking was done inefficiently. There are a couple of issues here:-
First is the issue of using the frame as the ground return. This is standard practice on automobiles, but when you have dissimilar metals in contact (aluminium skin and an iron-based steel frame on an Airstream), and spray them with an electrolyte (salt and other chemicals to prevent icy roads in the winter), you have a good set up for electrolytic corrosion. If you also make the frame part of an electrical circuit, things are just perfect. That's why my Land Rover Discovery corrodes wherever the aluminium skin touches the steel frame. I suspect some Airstreams use the frame as ground, but I also suspect they will suffer from leaks due to the aluminium crumbling to powder in places, especially near rivets. A non-conducting gasket, or zinc chromate paste, between the two metals does help, but the fastenings are still a problem. In short, I wouldn't use the frame as ground on my trailer. It's often done just because it's easy.
A second issue is the layout of the wiring. If the brakes are ever to balance, each of the 4 parallel circuits should have the same electrical resistance (and therefore the same length of the same diameter wire), so the same current flows through each magnet. I would disconnect all the existing wiring to the wheel magnets, and discard it. I would then go to the point on the fuse box where the brake wire from the 9-way connector is attached. From the other side of this fuse I would attach 4 blue insulated wires of equal length (about 20 foot, of the size specified in the Dexter website, or thicker). These can be taped together, and run down through the floor and along the bottom, or inside the curved edge of the bottom, through conduit to near the axles. One wire now goes to each magnet, tucked away or again in conduit. (It doesn't matter which wire on the magnet). Do the wheel furthest away first, and then cut the other 3 wires to the same length. Now connect the other 3 wires, and coil away any spare wire in the conduiting. Connect another 4 similar gauge 20 foot lengths of wire (a different color, perhaps white) to the other wire coming from the magnets. Tape these together, and run them in another piece of conduit, and up through the floor, to the ground post on the fuse box behind the gaucho. Once that is all working and tested, the breakaway circuit can be added. Take a 12 volt battery supply from the + side of the fuse box, using a blue wire of the same gauge as the brake wire through the 9-way, and route this through the A-frame to one wire at the breakaway switch. Now connect another wire of a different color to the other wire from the breakaway switch, and lead this back to the post in the fuse box where the brake wire from the 9-way is attached. The important thing about the breakawy switch is that it is "normally open". Unlike most switches, this circuit is COMPLETED when the pin is pulled out, not broken. It simply provides a 12 volt battery supply to enable the brakes when the trailer breaks away from the tow vehicle.

It will take a day or two of work, but at least you will know it's safe. If the existing live wire from the fuse box to the first wheel is of sufficient gauge, you may be able to use this, and split into the 4 equal wires from near the axles, saving some work, but I wouldn't recommend it, as the joints would be hidden under the trailer. I don't claim to be particularly knowledgeable about these matters, but I can pass on my practical experiences. Good luck. Nick
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Old 03-24-2017, 10:10 AM   #7
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Hi Nick, We picked up our 88/25'Excella in Phoenix Az. On that day pulling down the highway to home our camper lurched like a Marlin fish. I looked at my wife, she said "Bump?". A lurch again I pulled off to a ramp. As I did, total lock up. She directed traffic and I rushed to cut two wheel wires roadside front axel. Easing some I drag-rolled off and pulled to safety. Wife quickly googled and got help. Disconnect camper battery and pull break away. Mechanic reconnected wires. We got breaks to work from truck after he pulled and arranged exposed wires connected to hitch lift. I ordered a new Tecomseh break away. Now I am looking for my wiring to hook back up and check if solved. Does the blue wire run inside the frame? I have a access hole on the road side inside frame near the hitch jack. Is that where my wire is supposed to go? Please can you tell me how to begin to get straightened out? Fuse panel also kept snapping. I removed the wire to the break away described on panel label. It stopped snapping when hooked to AC electric.
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Old 03-24-2017, 11:59 AM   #8
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Pariscope, did you notice that my post is 14 years old? I'll try to drag the memories of that repair out of my skull.
Yes, that live blue wire goes through the hole in the frame and makes its way to the brake current supply post on the breaker board behind the couch. As the trailer moves and bumps along the highway the wire can (and did) break inside the frame. The breakaway switch will not function, but the damaged bare wire can short out inside the frame. You need to disconnect and remove the damaged wiring, and then the remedy is described in my earlier post:

Once that is all working and tested, the breakaway circuit can be added. Take a 12 volt battery supply from the + side of the fuse box, using a blue wire of the same gauge as the brake wire through the 9-way, and route this through the A-frame to one wire at the breakaway switch. Now connect another wire of a different color to the other wire from the breakaway switch, and lead this back to the post in the fuse box where the brake wire from the 9-way is attached. The important thing about the breakaway switch is that it is "normally open". Unlike most switches, this circuit is COMPLETED when the pin is pulled out, not broken. It simply provides a 12 volt battery supply to enable the brakes when the trailer breaks away from the tow vehicle.

I found it easier to run the new blue and white wires from the breakaway switch alongside the seven way cable, and drilled a new hole in the floor of the trailer to access the area behind the coach with the breaker box.
That's the best my memory can do. Best wishes for a successful repair, from Nick (at home in Cornwall, England>)
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Old 03-26-2017, 10:27 AM   #9
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OMG! I didn't even think to look at the date on your post. I am glad that those valuable posts of yours and others are kept in the forum.
Thank you for taking your time to help instruct me on my electrical problem.
My brain will and has in the past searched out help as a natural response. That is human I believe.
Forging ahead with no fear other than mucking up something else during my exploring etc. I did the incredibly brave thing.
I pulled with a slight tug on each of the wires described on my Airstream wiring diagram. One small gauge red (came from the break-away)
and one larger gauge blue wire. Imagine my shock when I discovered the small read pulled easily up and to the fuse block. The blue wire in question was located near the flooring 1 ft. below the fuse block factory access hole 4"X 6". There, I could see where the seven way cable entered from the exterior. My thinking was that,like in the diagram "THE" blue wire connected to all 4 blues going to each wheel. WRONG. We noticed back up at the fuse box (shroud removed of course) was 3 blues capped together. I discovered a main blue of the three (must be the hot one). I separated the other two and tested one at a time to my main blue. After testing, I jacked up wheels curb side, with cable to truck in, key on, and on board battery connected and "boom" both wheels locked up! Now I tested the other one of the two coupled to the hot and nothing happened. No action at all. That was the dead wire I pulled through under the floor. That wire was frayed badly where broken years ago - I figured.
Now, I knew that one blue nutted to that hot blue worked the breaks on curb side. I jacked up the road side next. Did not alter the working blue connection that was working. Tested again. This time
only the rear axle worked with stopping. Not so good. Front axle did nothing at all. Testing the power coming out of the one white and one blue to that wheel I got a reading of 9-10 volts when brake control was pulled as it would be when pulling. The wires from the OEM wiring cable at the brake had been worked on before showing two plastic connectors taped up to the two green wires leading inside the brake housing.
Today I will remove the brake drum and check to see if either of the green wires had been pulled away causing the malfunction. That might have happened when I panicked at the Highway exit ramp when the wheels locked up.
UPDATE: I removed front axle break drum. My magnet was flopping loose inside. Broken magnet keeper. I ordered 4 all new brake assembly's from Humphrey's Brake in Pensacola (Hayes/Alko 10"X 2-1/4"OEM to trailer $43.95 ea.) Back axle had noticeable extreme wear on the back of the magnet cross hole. At that price why mess with saving a couple of dollars by doing a parts repair. Bearings looked fine. Loose blue wire I now think goes to the other side of the Break-away since both red and blue looked equally frayed.
Thanks!
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Old 03-26-2017, 10:53 AM   #10
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Pariscope, well done! You'll now be able to advise others with this problem in the future. We hand the knowledge down, and we get a warm fuzzy feeling when someone says "thank you."
Best wishes, from Nick.
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