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Old 09-30-2016, 03:42 PM   #1
Rivet Master
Ray Eklund's Avatar

2014 25' International
2006 23' Safari SE
Currently Looking...
Boulder City , Nevada
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 2,450
Braking & Controllers... is variable upon road conditons

Drum Brakes are so... 20th Century, unless you are the owner of a Travel Trailer. And some of these trailers are expensive 20th Century systems with 21st Century LED lights and... well, that may be it for the 21st Century technology.

- Drum Brakes are difficult mechanical devices to maintain properly, if not impossible, to keep 'drum brakes' adjusted exactly identical. Define... 'properly', 'identical' or 'correctly'.

- Drum brakes are not the easiest to replace, when needed... and then adjusted to compliment the other brakes. At least a single axle has only TWO sets of brakes to maintain. A triple axle... you may as well make it your life's ambition to get all your brakes to cooperate at the... same time.

- Setting your Brake Controller? Asphalt. Concrete. Gravel. Dirt. Mud. Sleet. Wet. Hot. Cold. Snow. ICE. Prairie Grass. No cargo. Maxed out cargo. Marathon tires. Michelin tires. New tires and thick tread. Worn out tire tread. Over inflated. Under inflated. Undersized as to width. Oversized as to width. Uphill. Downhill. Rolling surfaces. Flat surfaces. Washboard roads of any materials or lack off... You get the idea? Just set your Brake Controller the best you can and just give it the 20th Century 'hope it works'.

- Rocky Mountain Passes... Going UP is SAFE. Going DOWN is where Hell is bound to be discovered, sooner than later. Gives the family a new meaning to "hell of a drive... Dad"!!!

- Smelling hot, smoking brakes is NOT acceptable when your Airstream is the source. This should be someone ahead of you attempting to Set their Brake Controller. Your job is to slow down and avoid this 'novice'. Something bad could be happening soon. This ties in with Properly, Identical and Correctly as mentioned earlier. Much earlier on this Thread.

- When on slick roads and your trailer is sliding to the left or right... APPLY your controller's manual braking to get the trailer to fall back into cooperating. (This is from a friend pulling a 25 foot Arctic Fox with a 2000 4.7L Tundra. If it worked for that small tow vehicle and honker of a trailer... who knows?) I sometimes found him rather full of feces, but his wife said... 'it is true'. True as to 'feces' or 'works'? I am a troubled individual in these situations of trust.

- HOW do you set your Brake Controller that you screw under your dashboard or use what appears to be 'standard overpriced equipment' on New Trucks with a factory installed hitch? Your insights cannot be any worse that my LACK of INSIGHT. I sold my 23 foot Safari to a guy who had his Brake Controller laying on the floor mat of this Tundra. I suggested that he do something, maybe I should have offered Duct Tape, to attach his new unit onto the dash board... Any comments from the Peanut Gallery?

- ... or is Braking Up Hard to Do? It is so stinking variable that even the instructions that come with the controller are vague, intended to be vague... because Sometimes it Works... and sometimes it... does not(?).

... and Sometimes you just do the best you can.

What is YOUR experience with Brake Controllers? Or... admit, you have no better idea of what you are doing than the majority driving alongside you along the Interstate or at a RV Park.

Why do you think Service Stations protect their fuel pumps with massive concrete pillars? Bad eyesight? Poor turning judgment? ... or just none of our business?

Human Bean
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Old 09-30-2016, 04:45 PM   #2
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Fort Worth , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2006
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The advent of antilock TV brakes (and increased computer vehicle control) circa 1998 kept us from any longer using the magnificent Kelsey-Hayes brake controller. Dead simple effective.

For a given combination rig one should know the setting to lock the brakes on a dry surface at a low speed. And record it. Then, another note to see what setting locks it on gravel.

This is done with an observer. One brake will probably lock sooner than the others (brand new trailer; an otherwise new TV). So it will take several tires to observe both port & starboard. Brake mechanical adjustments may ensue.

Would be good to also do same for a wet surface.

Locked brakes will cause the TT to travel even faster in some instances, so knowing the point of lockup is the reason for testing. Maximum application of force short of locking is the ideal.

Hitch lash up is critical. Assuming full propane, fresh water and normal load aboard, maximum transfer of TW to TT axles is beneficial. As is care to get bearing preset correct, etc. As 90% or more of rigs as do not exhibit best possible lash up, it behooves one to be painstaking.

A greater braking load is present in the leading TT axle of a tandem or tridem, so scale work should also try to uncover any gross discrepancies side to side, as well as front to rear. One weighs the TT individual wheel positions on a segmented scale.

For purposes of testing, those who do not run full pressure on trailer tires otherwise should start any tests with full pressure, IMO.

Even new TT may not be receiving full amperage at the electric drum brake. Re-wiring in a "star" pattern using ANCOR wiring, terminations, fuses, junction box, etc is an upgrade. Test equipment measurements are needed.

The older the TT, the more likely corrosion and undersized wiring, etc, may degrade performance. The system may work, but not work as well as it could. Overkill in componentry is just right.

Electric over hydraulic disc is a substantial upgrade (see comparison test on TUSON website between new electric drum and hydraulic disc as conducted by reviewer "Mr Truck"); and where antilock is also installed another step up. State of the art.

It wasn't always easy to accomplish, but a well sorted rig could stop faster than the TV solo, traditionally. This may not be so easy today due to overriding computerization, but tire technology is so far advanced over 1966 that -- given best brakes -- it should be close in 2016.

And the heavier the TV (past what is necessary) the worse the braking, overall. Longer stopping distance. Thus making TT brakes even more important.
1990 35' Silver Streak Sterling; 9k GVWR.
2004 DODGE Cummins 305/555; 6-manual; 9k GVWR.
Hensley Arrow. 9-cpm solo, 15-cpm towing
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