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Old 05-13-2009, 11:25 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by dwightdi View Post
Andy is right, he is the only person in the World that has brake parts for the old disk brake system. The question is: Do you want to be anywhere but parked next to his shop when the brakes fail? I had the old disks on my 77 for 7 years and got stuck for days on the road a number of times trying to get parts. The electric brakes I put on the trailer cost under $300 for all the parts in two hours of my own time. They worked more reliably and gave better stopping characteristics than the old Disks. The old disks caliper holders have a fatal design defect and can fail catastrophically with no warning. The welds fail due to fatigue factures. I had one scatter parts and oil all over the road and I when I took the other ones off I found two others had the start of the same fatigue crack. The new disk brake systems are designed and made by a different manufacturer.

If you insist on Disk brakes, buy a whole new system. Be aware, that Airstream also made an error on assembling this system also and worn through and crippled brake lines have been reported. Most other trailer manufacturers use the standard electric brakes and they are easily maintained or repaired anywhere in the country.
I have never heard of any owner having that many problems with the original Excella-Vac disc brakes.

They are really OK, but at this point old and out dated. But the rotors and calipers have always been out standing. Can't say the same for the Actuator, but at this point, the Actuators can be replaced.

Typically however, a set of 4 brakes and 4 hub and drums with new bearings, would cost about $600.00, or more, plus shipping.

That's close to the cost of a new actuator, which given a choice, disc brakes are indeed far superior to electric brakes, hands down, any day, any time, any where.

Down grading from disc to electric brakes, is a huge step backwards, for a travel trailer braking system.

Andy
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Old 05-14-2009, 07:33 AM   #16
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If it were me I think the logical thing to do is replace the actuator (if it is bad) and bring the calipers, pads and rotors up to speed with some new parts from Andy. I wouldn't think the calipers, rotors or pads would have to be replaced that often to be a problem.
Since the system is old I would be more concerned with the seals around the pistons and the hydraulic brake lines since they typically corrode from the inside out.
I would never go back to electric brakes if I had the choice.
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Old 05-14-2009, 06:47 PM   #17
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1977 29' Ambassador
Coudersport , Pennsylvania
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In response to Ambassador 34's question. I decided to go to electric when I did the axle test. See InlandRV's test for the torsion axles, my axles needed to be replaced. I would have liked to stay with the hydraulic system, but I could not use the original setup with the vacuum source from my particular engine, Chevy FI 5.7 litre, without making modifications, that were consistent with the original design. I therefore chose to go the route of the electric brakes. I have never used them, guess I am going to learn about them.

Hope this helps.
Steve
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Old 05-14-2009, 06:51 PM   #18
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If anyone is interested I still have the complete vacuum unit that was on the front of the trailer.
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Old 05-14-2009, 11:53 PM   #19
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1978 31' Excella 500
Genoa , Nevada
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I put my electric hydraulic activator under that vacuum unit cover. No vacuum port on my '97 Chevy3500. I too have all the vacuum boost parts, back in the shed.
I still can't understand why someone would go backwards to drum brakes from disc brakes. Doesn't every car and truck made today have disc brakes- They aren't going back to drum brakes on trucks while I'm not looking are they?
Good luck on the hills around "little grand canyon" of the east. Does my science teacher still drive that 2 cycle Saab?
Where did dwightD get all that oil all over the road from hydraulic brake system?


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Old 05-15-2009, 07:14 AM   #20
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1977 31' Sovereign
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The oil I am referring to is the hydraulic brake fluid, which left me with no brakes at all. I have no objection to disk brakes in general. I have them on all my cars and my 3500 truck. From my personal experiences, I find the old style Airstream disk brakes system was poorly designed and unreliable. When they worked, they worked fine but frequently they did not work and left me stranded on the side of the road with no access to people who could fix them or replacement parts for days. I have burned through a number of brake shoes on my electric brakes in all the miles I put on my trailers, but they always work and I can get service or replacement parts the same day in most cities. If they offered a reliable well designed disk brake system for trailers, I would buy one, if the price were reasonable and most RV dealerships would service them.
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Old 09-03-2009, 04:44 PM   #21
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hi was wondering where you purchased your electric brakes for 300.00.
thx
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Old 09-03-2009, 05:35 PM   #22
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1977 31' Sovereign
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1989 34' Excella
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I bought my first set of electrics backing plates with the new drums required from Kelys Hayes. There were good. I used a distributor of theirs but still had to pay freight on the drums which were pretty heavy. My second set of backing plates I bought from Dexter at the factory. There is another place that sells backing plates fairly cheap Trailer Parts Superstore - Recreational & Commercial Trailer Parts Dealer Since 1981 which I have not used but several people in our unit say they are good.
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Old 09-03-2009, 11:22 PM   #23
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thank you for the help i will check them out.
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