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Old 10-15-2009, 01:17 PM   #1
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Disc brakes

NOTICE NOTICE

Airstream, according to Larry Huttle, will no longer install disc brakes on any production model trailers.

If you need to or wish to add the disc brakes, to any new or older trailer, we carry complete disc brake kits in stock, that include brackets, steel tubing, Carlisle actuators, Kodiak caliper and rotor kits, along with the proper grease.

Andy
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Old 10-15-2009, 02:20 PM   #2
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I strongly recommend doing this upgrade. I came within literal inches of an accident towing my trailer with it's old drum brakes. I can't describe the feelings of helplessness and dread I had while standing on the brakes and the unit just not stopping. Still get the shivers thinking about it.

That was the moment I decided to do the upgrade.

My brake kit was ordered from Andy by another trailer restorer. Myself and a friend had it done in a day.

My kit had everything and it is a simple procedure requiring a few common tools.

The upsides are that now not only can the trailer stop the truck easily the whole unit stops in about the same distance as the truck alone. Trailer brake fade is a thing of the past too.

Another plus is that the disc hubs are balanced unlike the drum hubs so after you install the disc brakes you can balance your wheels and give your trailer a nice vibration free ride.

The main reason I would urge you to do this if you are on the fence is that if you can stop your rig instead of hitting some fool who blindly pulls out in front of you like happened to me. You will save thousands and thousands in repairs or worse injury to you or a family member.

This is money well spent.
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Old 10-15-2009, 02:57 PM   #3
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I strongly recommend doing this upgrade. I came within literal inches of an accident towing my trailer with it's old drum brakes. I can't describe the feelings of helplessness and dread I had while standing on the brakes and the unit just not stopping. Still get the shivers thinking about it.
The same situation, or worse, we predict, will happen to owners who down grade the 12 inch electric brakes, to 10 inch electric brakes.

Safety should never be compromized, or it's margin decreased, for the sake of a few dollars savings.

Life is far more precious than a few dollars.

Andy
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Old 10-15-2009, 03:09 PM   #4
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new axles with disc's?

say, Andy, can new axles be purchased with disc brake systems on them? and the discs-are they hydraulic? or electric? do the disc's require a surge type of master cylinder?
thanks
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Old 10-15-2009, 03:45 PM   #5
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say, Andy, can new axles be purchased with disc brake systems on them? and the discs-are they hydraulic? or electric? do the disc's require a surge type of master cylinder?
thanks
New axles are shipped bare from Ohio, and we ship the disc brake kit from California.

Or, we ship the bare axles and the disc brake kit from California.

It depends on what state someone lives in, so as to minimize freight costs.

Shipping axles with rotors mounted on them, is a no no, since the rotors are exposed and could be damaged. Freight lines can be very rough with some items.

We ship the axles on a pallet, with the disc brake parts in boxes, that are fastened to the pallet as well.

Disc brakes for an Airstream trailer, operate from a "brake controller" that's mounted in the tow vehicle.

Disc brakes are controlled by an "actuator" that applies the hydraulic pressure to the calipers. The actuator is powered by 12 volts DC, and is told what to do, and when, by the controller that's in the tow vehicle. The brake controller is activated when you apply pressure to the brake pedal, or manually, any time you may choose.

Surge brakes are an extreme HAZARD for travel trialers, since you cannot apply the brakes "at your command".

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Old 10-15-2009, 06:20 PM   #6
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Airstream (if this is true) should be installing disk breaks as standard! The fact that they are now not even doing it as a option is not good ;( The product line keeps gaining in weight so why would not want the best in safety? Airstream is more worried in west coast coppers (which by the way came with disk breaks) than travel trailers....
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Old 10-15-2009, 06:24 PM   #7
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hi Andy, did Airstream ( through Larry Huttle) say why they are no longer installing disc brakes at the factory?
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Old 10-15-2009, 06:28 PM   #8
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hi Andy, did Airstream ( through Larry Huttle) say why they are no longer installing disc brakes at the factory?
No he did not.

But I happen to know that they had way too much trouble with whatever they were doing with the disc's along with wrong wheels, when disc's were installed.

Maybe in time, when more info surfaces, they will do it again.

The kits are easy to install, as many have already done.

But, any owner can do it without Airstream's assistance.

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Old 10-15-2009, 07:45 PM   #9
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Andy,

Is there something inherently wrong with the disc brakes and wheels that came installed the previous models?

Mark
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Old 10-15-2009, 08:14 PM   #10
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I find the superior braking performance of disc-brake system attractive...

That having said, I see 2 (minor) disadvantages.

1) I have to make space for the actuator, meaning I need to give up some storage space from interior (probably under the front gaucho?)

2) I need to change and bleed the brake fluid (nasty!) every few years. I have to find a way to pump out the old fluid and also bleed out from all (2/4/6) calipers.

With regular elecro-magnetic drum brakes, the maintenance is much easier and quicker: 1. wirebrush off crud/dirt, 2. check/adjust shoe clearance, 3. check/swap return springs.
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Old 10-15-2009, 08:17 PM   #11
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Andy,

Is there something inherently wrong with the disc brakes and wheels that came installed the previous models?

Mark
No.

It was a matter of that didn't work with this, and this didn't work with that, and that didn't work with that, and this didn't work with this.

Frustrating and costly.

Perhaps more part to part matching should have been done from the get go.

Oh well, it's not the first time that Airstream discarded a project.

Maybe again someday, but in the meantime, I am going to see if we can come up with perhaps a better deal.

Andy
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Old 10-15-2009, 08:52 PM   #12
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Andy,

I haven't had any brake or wheel problems on my 2006 25' Classic WBBCI 50th Anniversary Edition. My AS came with the gold custom wheels(Products) I bought the trailer new in 07 and have about 6000 miles. I had the brake fluid flushed and whole system checked in May '09. Wheels aligned at JC, OH in June 09. All five of my original Goodyear Marathons were replaced under warranty by Goodyear. I haven't had any braking or towing problems.
What should I be looking to happen in the future?

mark
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Old 10-15-2009, 08:57 PM   #13
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Andy,

I haven't had any brake or wheel problems on my 2006 25' Classic WBBCI 50th Anniversary Edition. My AS came with the gold custom wheels(Products) I bought the trailer new in 07 and have about 6000 miles. I had the brake fluid flushed and whole system checked in May '09. Wheels aligned at JC, OH in June 09. All five of my original Goodyear Marathons were replaced under warranty by Goodyear. I haven't had any braking or towing problems.
What should I be looking to happen in the future?

mark
Enjoying your Airstream, and forget about the brakes.

What was produced is ok, with the exception of the Actibrake actuator. When they work, their fine, but if they fail, you will have to chose another brand as the Actibrake company is history.

We researched the Carlisle, and are very pleased with it's performance.

Andy
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Old 10-15-2009, 09:04 PM   #14
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I find the superior braking performance of disc-brake system attractive...

That having said, I see 2 (minor) disadvantages.

1) I have to make space for the actuator, meaning I need to give up some storage space from interior (probably under the front gaucho?)
Surely you could afford to give up the space of a loaf of bread.

We encourage owners to install the actuator in one of the access compartments, and not under the front window, whenever possible. And there are other places as well, such as under the closet false floor, under the galley cabinet, under a bed, etc.

The actuator can be placed in many different places, and the closer to the axles, the better, as the amount of steel tubing is then minimized.

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Old 10-15-2009, 09:23 PM   #15
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DON'T bee confused..

unfortunately THIS sort of info is miss-inform-ing.

the factory service center STILL installs and services disc brakes

they have packages for 1 or 2 or 3 axle trailers.

with or withOUT axle upgrades.

your current wheels may or may NOT fit over discs, nothing about this issue has changed.
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discs were OPTIONAL on classic models in early 2005,

then became STANDARD on classics from late 05 through last year.

MOST of the classic models have been DISCONTINUED, so

the LINE was only using discs on 1-5 trailers per month, or LESS.
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there is NO evidence that one cannot still order this as an OPTION on a new classic...

and even IF that's not possible ANY a/s dealer can do the disc upgrade...

along with the FACTORY SERVICE CENTER in jackson center...

no need to panic folks.

and try to understand the difference between adverts and info.

cheers
2air'
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Old 10-15-2009, 09:45 PM   #16
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Wonder why so many "vendors" quit posting?

Could it maybe be that their intended informative post was hijacked?

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Old 10-15-2009, 10:14 PM   #17
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The subject matter is not wandering. I personally don't see the hijack.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman View Post
the factory service center STILL installs and services disc brakes

they have packages for 1 or 2 or 3 axle trailers.

with or withOUT axle upgrades.

your current wheels may or may NOT fit over discs, nothing about this issue has changed.
Inland has a wide service area. But 2air's post goes to the point -- that for the broad 50 states (and more), check your nearby Airstream dealer too.
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Old 10-15-2009, 10:36 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Astroboy View Post
I find the superior braking performance of disc-brake system attractive...

That having said, I see 2 (minor) disadvantages.

1) I have to make space for the actuator, meaning I need to give up some storage space from interior (probably under the front gaucho?)

2) I need to change and bleed the brake fluid (nasty!) every few years. I have to find a way to pump out the old fluid and also bleed out from all (2/4/6) calipers...
imo these 2 issues are WORTH it IF u tow much or drive in the mountains.

-i got 50,000 miles on the first set of brake pads and even then they were at 90% of the oem depth when changed.

-the actuator on my 34 is UP FRONT and works great in that location.

the tongue of a 34 is about as LONG as any line running and again works fine.

-i think OUTSIDE is a better location for the fluid reservoir because of maintenance issues.

do any cars have the master cylinder IN the passenger compartment?

-and bleeding is EASY because the reservoir is SO BIG...

one may attach a (lisle) FUNNEL designed for brake fluid changes on TOP as well.

with a vacuum gauge or "power bleeder" it becomes a one person job to do the fluid.

just use a DIFFERENT COLOR fluid every other time, and watch for the color change at the bleeder nut.

-and it is SO MUCH easier to inspect the pads and brake parts WITHOUT needing to pop open a hub.
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still LOTS of folks love their drum brakes and do fine with them.

but i really really like the discs.
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honestly with a/s production a ONE (or 2) classics a month, i'm not sure the guys on the line get enough practice now.

MY preference would be to roll the trailer over to the service shop and have dave's boys to the work...
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the wheel compatibility issue was SOLVED in 2006, that's old news.
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yes actibrake is OUT OF BUSINESS but other actuators are available.

and while I LIKE the kodiak stuff on my unit DEXTER also makes disc components...

in fact the ASSEMBLY LINE has been using dexter since 06, while the SERVICE center uses kodiak stuff.
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with the calls about "oh my oh my actibrake" and the PRESSURE TO PRICE them better,

it's no surprise the disc trial only lasted 4 years.
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the BIG question is this...

IS a/s gonna LOWER the price on classics NOW????

the disc upgrade was 4-5k originally, so it would seem PRICES should come down to refect that...

wanna bet they don't??

always keep yer eYe on the ball and cups and shify fast hands (or keyboard)

cheers
2air'
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Old 10-15-2009, 11:34 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Astroboy View Post
I find the superior braking performance of disc-brake system attractive...

That having said, I see 2 (minor) disadvantages.

1) I have to make space for the actuator, meaning I need to give up some storage space from interior (probably under the front gaucho?)

2) I need to change and bleed the brake fluid (nasty!) every few years. I have to find a way to pump out the old fluid and also bleed out from all (2/4/6) calipers.

With regular elecro-magnetic drum brakes, the maintenance is much easier and quicker: 1. wirebrush off crud/dirt, 2. check/adjust shoe clearance, 3. check/swap return springs.
I stuck the brake unit in one of my Airstreams misshaped not very useful anyway cabinets that happened to be over a wheel well. Simple, easy and out of the way.

Replacing brake fluid is so easy with the hand vacuum pump system. Just hook it up to the bleeder and drain away and refill.
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Old 10-16-2009, 02:43 AM   #20
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I found a nice bracket, which would possibly let me mount the actuator below the floor-board level (perhaps under the closet in mid-corridor, or perhaps perhaps maybe under the shower pan?).

- Mounts easily on the side of frame rails with U-bolts
- Dimensions: 15.15” x 6.0” x 4.0”
(http://www.carlislebrake.com/pdfs/bracketsheet.pdf)


BTW & FYI, the testing shows of typical 1-second delay for the disc brake to pressurize and engage..., is it possible electro-magnetic drums do engage quicker (almost at the speed of light?)

Say, I notice something in front of me. Say, it takes typically 0.2 sec for me to step-on the pedal. Another additional 1-sec delay for the actuator to pressurize means the total of 1.2 sec; it seems awfully too long (?!)

Response Time Test Results::Carlisle Industrial Brake and Friction
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