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Old 08-10-2013, 05:20 PM   #1
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1972 21' Globetrotter
Sandy Mush , North Carolina
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First-timer.. about to set out!

Hello! I have been gifted a 1972 AS Globetrotter Land Yacht. It is in adequate shape, but has some rough spots. I haven't had a chance to plug it in anywhere and the battery is dead, but have been assured that "everything works". Well, I got a brake controller installed on my truck (Tekonsha Voyager) and it glows green, but I haven't been able to make the trailer wheels skid with the brake controller on full power. The trailer lights and signals work, though. Do I need to have some charge on the AS battery to get the brakes working? I read that this is true for the breakaway controller.. but I assumed basic braking functions would be powered from the TV. As you can see, I am a total novice with trailers.. any help is appreciated. Hopefully it is ok to jump right in and start asking questions in my introductory post! I am hoping to hit the road tomorrow, driving it 1,200 miles from Austin TX to Asheville NC.

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Old 08-10-2013, 05:24 PM   #2
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The rolling topography of I-40 going through Tennessee and the Smokies will definitely require operational brakes on the trailer. I would strongly suggest making sure they work by trying a local gravel road and seeing if you can lock any wheels on gravel. If not, there may not be much brake capacity at all for pavement.

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Old 08-10-2013, 05:50 PM   #3
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1972 21' Globetrotter
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Thanks for the help, braking on gravel is a good idea! We are driving through New Orleans and then up from there, which bypasses TN and the Smokies, at least. If there is no braking power, what might be causing the problem and how can I go about fixing it?
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Old 08-16-2014, 09:25 PM   #4
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1996 25' Excella
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First Time out with a trailer, you need to know the brakes are OK....Get them checked or take the hubs off and check the brake shoe linings and Magnets. A trailer that old may have seriously worn Magnets. My original Tekonsha had instructions to set up enough power to lock the wheels at 20MPH when applying the manual override. Not sure what they say today...We have a Jordan Controller on our TV, so I can set up enough voltage to make sure the brakes will come on full force in a panic.
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Old 08-16-2014, 09:41 PM   #5
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Ditto that, if you don't much about drum brakes take it to a shop. It totally worth the $ to get new backing plates and have the drums turned. Then you will know that you pretty much have new brakes.

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Old 08-17-2014, 07:26 AM   #6
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Crawl under the coach and make sure the wires are connected to the coach wiring where they come out of the backplates. Good clean connections.
If you have a compass you can check each wheel while operating the brake controller manually.
You can also raise each tire and spin it. Then apply the brakes manually to see if the wheel stops.
If you here a clicking sound and the wheel does not stop. The brakes may need adjustment.
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Old 08-17-2014, 08:51 PM   #7
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If you will encounter no one else on the road go ahead, pull trailer without brakes.

However, we would like you to live long and prosper.... Just like we hope to do.

Please, make SURE your running gear works PROPERLY.
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Old 08-18-2014, 09:09 AM   #8
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First-timer.. about to set out!

Originally Posted by sinthome View Post
... Do I need to have some charge on the AS battery to get the brakes working? I read that this is true for the breakaway controller.. but I assumed basic braking functions would be powered from the TV. ...

As I read this you may already be safely at your destination. Welcome to the forum and congrats on your new acquisition. Your assumption is correct. A charged house battery is needed for the breakaway switch to set the brakes. Power for normal braking action comes from the TV via the brake controller and is generally 2-6 volts depending on how hard the brakes are applied while moving. Manually operating the the controller fully may produce a higher output. A cautionary note: Some newer electronic controllers can be damaged if the umbilical is connected and the user operates the breakaway switch as it sends 12v back on the line to the output of the controller.

The brake lights are independent of the controller, they are powered by the TV light circuits regardless of the functionality of the brakes. As part of my departure routine, I turn on the parking lights and 4-way flashers then walk back to verify all the lights are working (the 4-way operates the turn/brake lamps). I then manually operate the brake controller and attempt to pull forward. The brakes should set and hold the vehicle much like trying to drive off with the hand brake fully set.

As previously mentioned, worn parts or poorly adjusted brakes are expected with use and age. It is easy to clean and visually inspect the brake parts when doing the annual bearing service. Expect the magnets to eventually wear down to the wire coil inside rendering them useless. Proactive replacement of the magnets when worn may avoid a bigger problem later. Also noted were the wire connections. They are generally exposed to everything under there and corrosion at the connections or broken connections are not uncommon. An inherent problem with electric brakes is that one or more may stop working and go unnoticed. Some of the smarter controllers may display this condition. The gravel road is useful once again for a quick check. With your helper positioned to observe the wheels on each side, slowly drive forward then manually operate the controller. They should see that all wheels stop turning. (Some 3-axle trailers may have brakes on only 2 but I think AS installed brakes on all.)

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Old 08-19-2014, 08:05 AM   #9
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Great input from Silver Goose...I would mention however that not all TVs use the same supply circuit for 4-ways and brakes even though the same lamps on the TV and trailer are used for 4-way and brakes. Some years ago I always checked the brake lights on the trailer using the 4-way flasher. While traveling to Texas a couple of years ago I got rear-ended on a snowy night...just a bump, and no damage so forgot about the incident until I noticed the brake lights did not shine on my shed when backing into the parking spot at night. I found a blown fuse in the brake light circuit yet the 4-ways and turn signals all worked fine. (2003 Dakota) I likely had been traveling for at least a year without brake lights because that's the last time I worked on the trailer plug and receptacle. Now I look for brake lights shining on the trailer and then use 4-ways to check the trailer circuit.

By the way, new back plates for 12-inch drum brakes are only about $70 each from UAP or one of the automotive parts suppliers here in Ontario. 4 bolts off and on and two wires connceted to the magnet...a lot simpler than struggling with brake shoes...and cheaper by far if you need to replace the magnet too

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