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Old 07-14-2006, 12:31 AM   #1
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1958 18' "Footer"
Sebastopol , California
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 27
What type of brakes?

This will be the first of many questions from a newbie about my 1958 Traveler (orginal). First order of business new wheels and tires to replace the split rims. While I'm at it I'll be checking brakes & wheel bearings. Question 1. I know it has electric brakes because of the emergency activion pin. If I install a controler in my 06 Tahoe (with tow package). Should the brakes be activated by that or will I have to do additional wiring to the trailer? Also if the braking system needs work should I go with new assembilies or a whole new axle? I have learned from restoring old cars it is cheaper just to do it once right. But then again I don't need to waste money that can be spent elsewhere on the trailer!
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Old 07-14-2006, 06:31 AM   #2
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1993 21' Sovereign
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Your electric brakes should be actuated by your brake controller in your tow vehicle. Before replacing parts, make sure you are getting power to the magnets, and that they are good. You can get new magnets, shoes, hardware, etc, for your coach, but usually if you are going to replace several worn out parts on your brakes, it is cheaper to replace the entire assembly.
Your coach should have a solid axle, as opposed to a torsion axle, as found on 1961 and newer Airstream products, so you don't have to replace the axle, unless it is damaged, or you are modifying your coach, and it will be significantly heavier when you are done. Springs can be replaced, or rehabbed, very reasonably.
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Old 07-14-2006, 07:45 AM   #3
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1958 18' "Footer"
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Thanks overlander 63! Which leads me to 2 more questions. Where do I find parts? R/V center, Vintage trailer store or Auto parts store? And now for the one that is making my face turn red. Since it has a belly pan where do I jack it up from and support it? Can I use the rear bumper ? I'd like the weight off the axle to get the tires as far out of the wheel well as possible. It does have the solid axle.
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Old 07-14-2006, 08:42 AM   #4
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1953 21' Flying Cloud
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Replacing solid axle brakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by 60's Iron
Thanks overlander 63! Which leads me to 2 more questions. Where do I find parts? R/V center, Vintage trailer store or Auto parts store? And now for the one that is making my face turn red. Since it has a belly pan where do I jack it up from and support it? Can I use the rear bumper ? I'd like the weight off the axle to get the tires as far out of the wheel well as possible. It does have the solid axle.
Hi 60s Iron:

You want to jack up your trailer on the longitudinal frame rail just to the rear of and just inside the inner edge of the wheel well. Airstream ususally rivets a small squarish thin plate there to mark the spot. If there is no plate, feel for the presence of the frame rail above the belly pan skin and place the jack directly under the frame rail. Chock the opposite wheel, loosen the lug nuts while the tire is stilll on the ground, etc., etc., and be sure to follow all safety precautions when jacking up your trailer.

Trailer supply stores, horse trailer stores, and perhaps large auto supply chains sell a "loaded backing plate" that bolts onto your axle with 4 or 5 bolts, nuts and lock washers. This loaded backing plate is all new parts: brakes shows, magnetic pucks, wires, adjusters, etc., and just bolts on in place of the old assembly. Of course the mounting holes and overall size and diameter must match, so I suggest you remove the old backing plates, make sure they are the same each side, and take one with you when buying two new loaded backing plates. Also take along one of your identical brake drums to let the counter person confirm the new loaded backing plates are compatible with your brake drums.

Check the wheel bearings and races, and if there is any wear or pitting, replace them all. In fact, while everything is disassembled, I'd just replace them anyway and retire the old ones to the spare used parts bin.

Finally, if your trailer still has the old two piece wheels (often called split rims), you might consider buying three (one for the spare) new one piece trailer wheels at the same time, as many places that change tires no longer have the skill, knowledge, personel or technology [tire iron and hammer] to change tires mounted on old two piece wheels. Take an old wheel and tire with you so the counter peson can match the size and offset. Dexter brand backing plates and trailer wheels are a good bet. If your trailer uses 14.5" diameter wheels and tubeless tires, I suggest you move up to the more common 15" diameter ones, but first do a search here for 14.5 wheels or 1958 trailers or 1958 wheels to learn other people's experiences with that upgrade. I am aware of the issue but not the various outcomes, so I'll just raise that issue for you to research. Dexter brand loaded backing plates and trailer wheels are a good bet.

By new tires for the new wheels. There are many opinions on tires, just search for them here. I like bias ply 700-15 highway tires myself for 1950's trailers, but then again I'm an crusty old luddite. Good luck!
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Old 07-14-2006, 10:07 PM   #5
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1958 18' "Footer"
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Thanks WeeWind, I have alot of time working on cars, but this trailer stuff is all so new. Only one way to learn, dig in, get dirty and ask some questions along the way! Thanks for the help!!!
Greg
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Old 07-14-2006, 10:47 PM   #6
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Helpful wheel removal hint

Greg:

Before you take the wheel off the trailer, first remove the grease cap from the end of the axle. That small extra space with the grease cap removed makes the task so much easier, as it is very tight to begin with. Some grease caps screw on a thread, others just pop on with pressure, so you'll have to check it out first. Screw on ones usually have a hex pattern somewhere on the cap for a large wrench or socket. Happy wrenching!
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