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Old 10-20-2009, 05:06 PM   #1
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Troubleshooting New Brake Installation

I have just installed four new Dexter NEV-R-ADJUST brake assemblies on my 2005 Classic 31. After completing installation, I left one side on jacks to check that the new brakes were operating correctly. After connecting the umbilical cord, I discovered that my Prodigy brake controller (about two years old) indicated that it was not connected to the trailer. The Prodigy trouble shooting guide indicated four possible issues:
1 Trailer not connected to tow vehicle
2 Trailer connected with open circuit on brake line
3 Trailer connector disconnected or corroded
4 Loss of trailer brake magnet ground

Has anyone experienced this issue and what tests can be done to identify the cause? All my lights on the AS are working properly so I'm assuming I have a good connection there. The two wires to each brake were carefully connected and sealed to prevent corrosion. Your ideas and suggested would be appreciated.
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Old 10-20-2009, 07:21 PM   #2
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With the trailer still jacked up on the one side. Looking at the face of the umbilical plug. Take a piece of #12 wire and while someone spins one of the wheels momentarily touch the wire to 1 o'clock, 12 volts, and 5 o'clock, brakes. The brakes should slam to a stop. Do it again on the other wheel. If the wheels stopped your wiring on that side is good. You can jack the other side and check it but if one side is connected that should not be the source of the Open Indication you are getting on the controller. If the wheels did not stop you have a wiring problem in the brakes.

Do not leave that wire connected for more than a second. It could get real hot in your hand because 4 brakes will draw 12+ amps when Fully Applied with a hard wire.

I am assuming you have done an initial adjusted the brakes. Not have done that may effect the stopping rate when a wheel is spun but it would not be a reason for the controller indication.
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Old 10-20-2009, 07:24 PM   #3
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The problem is most likely in the trailer brake wiring. From the plug while disconnected from the tow vehicle, you could use an ohm meter to check for continuity. Don't know exactly what the magnets should read, but four of them in parallel should be pretty low resistance. If you don't see the continuity, check your wiring again, and check that one wire from each magnet goes to ground.
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Old 10-20-2009, 10:08 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HowieE View Post
With the trailer still jacked up on the one side. Looking at the face of the umbilical plug. Take a piece of #12 wire and while someone spins one of the wheels momentarily touch the wire to 1 o'clock, 12 volts, and 5 o'clock, brakes. The brakes should slam to a stop. Do it again on the other wheel. If the wheels stopped your wiring on that side is good. You can jack the other side and check it but if one side is connected that should not be the source of the Open Indication you are getting on the controller. If the wheels did not stop you have a wiring problem in the brakes.

Do not leave that wire connected for more than a second. It could get real hot in your hand because 4 brakes will draw 12+ amps when Fully Applied with a hard wire.

I am assuming you have done an initial adjusted the brakes. Not have done that may effect the stopping rate when a wheel is spun but it would not be a reason for the controller indication.

Howie:

Thanks for the suggestion--I will use it in the morning to see if that works. I called Dexter before installing the new brake assemblies and they cautioned me not to adjust the brakes as they are self adjusting when they are driven.

Will let you know after I check it to let you know if I found the problem.

From your comments, it sounds like if one brake works some other issue must be causing the brake controller indication
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Old 10-21-2009, 08:50 AM   #5
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By adjusting I ment adjusting the brakes to an initial position.

The brakes shoes have to be retracted enough to get the hub over them when assembling. That position may be a tight fit in which case no adjustment is necessary or it may be a very sloppy fit in which case the brakes would need some adjusting.

Self adjusting brakes do nothing more than continue the original adjustment as the shoes ware down. If they are not adjusted correctly when installed you will have reduced braking on the trailer until the self adjusters can bring the adjustment up to standards. This will take dozens of activations and if you really needed the brakes before that you might be buying a new truck.

I would go back to Dexter and try and talk to someone who can spell Brakes. You probably got someone in India who drags his feet to stop his bike.
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Old 10-21-2009, 02:06 PM   #6
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After testing the newly installed brake assemblies by pulling the emergency brake switch, I determined that the brakes are working correctly. Also checked the signal received at the connection mounted to my TV and determined that the correct power was indicated there as well. Cleaned the connectors on both the TV and the umbilical cord and everything appears to be working just fine.

Thanks to HowieE and SteveH for your suggestions in helping me resolve this issue. Howie, I did check the initial brake settings and determined that they are very close to being correct (just a very slight drag) The Dexter technician told me that the new linings need to burnish during the first few miles and after that the NEV-r-Adjust should take care of any fine tuning. Thanks again for your help.
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Old 10-21-2009, 03:13 PM   #7
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I'm glad it was so simple, and it's working for you.
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Old 10-21-2009, 04:08 PM   #8
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On your first trip lightly hit the manual control several time. This will burnish the high spots off and hasten the time before you are getting good brake responce when you really need it.

In the old days we used to grind the shoe surface to match the inside of the drums. Someone said that was a back idea what with all the asbestos dust while grinding.
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Old 10-21-2009, 04:41 PM   #9
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Thanks again, Howie. I appreciate your followup suggestions for maximizing the performance of my new brakes.
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