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Old 04-05-2020, 09:03 PM   #1
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1974 Argosy 26
West Des Moines , IA
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74 Argosy brake job and grease bearing

Im thinking about trying to take this job myself. I have swapped pads on my disc brakes for years with adequate results. Any tips of things to do or avoid? Should I hire this done? I've never packed bearings before either.

Thoughts?

Other things that I've done before to demonstrate my mechanical ability.

Swapped out alternator, spark plugs, and starter F150
Brakes on multiple vehicles
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Old 04-05-2020, 09:33 PM   #2
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Bearing repack is pretty straight forward. Can of grease and new grease seal is all you need. There are plenty of instructional videos online. There are tools to help pack, but I prefer to use the grease in the palm of the hand method.

Brakes on a 74 most likely need shoes, magnets and maybe springs. I would suggest replacing the entire unit by installing new backing plates. Yours should be 2" x 12", but I am not positive. ETrailer is a good place for parts.
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Old 04-06-2020, 04:56 AM   #3
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Make sure you don't forget the gloves, it gets quite messy and do one wheel at a time (so you have one to reference to).
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Old 04-06-2020, 07:04 AM   #4
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I've installed the self adjusting brake assemblies with good results. However, I recently had new axels installed and, of course, new brake assemblies were included. I had the choice of manual or self-adjusting. I went with manual because there have been a rash of failures of the self-adjusting brakes. I know several that have had problems with them on new Airstreams. I've been very happy with the self-adjusting assemblies that I had installed but that was 5-8 years ago. So, check around and see if they are continuing to have failures and avoid them if they are. The failures are internal parts breakage and the wheel locking up.
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Old 04-06-2020, 10:42 AM   #5
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Check out Eastern Marine for your brake assemblies. They have very competitive prices and sell Dexter OEM brakes not Chinese. They carry several thousand in stock.
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Old 04-06-2020, 11:35 AM   #6
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I bought an inexpensive bearing packing tool, works quite well, you can just pump the fresh grease in. I had trouble with the self adjusting breaks, so I switched them back to manual they get checked and adjusted once a year when I repack my bearings. I do carry the adjuster tool with me, but haven’t ever needed it, on the road.
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Old 04-06-2020, 11:47 AM   #7
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I do it myself. But..... it is a pretty dirty job. And I am getting too old for it. So I have been thinking. If you could find a local shop that would do it that would be a real luxury. Pretty easy job for a real mechanic. Maybe a mobile service to do it in your driveway? The potential to save a good bit of money is there if you do it yourself. The 2 lockups I personally heard about and saw were actually Dexter brakes instead of the e trailer brakes. From the brakes falling apart. Not from over adjusting.

The last time I put on the assemblies from e-trailer. I dumped the bearings they sent and used timken USA bearing ordered from Amazon. I expect that was not really necessary. To my slight surprise the self adjusting worked just fine all summer.

The trouble I had and still have is in the connections of the brake wire. The trailer wire is big. The brake wire is small. I think you either have to special order connectors for a large wire on one end and a small one on the other or to use an intermediate sized wire in between and 2 connectors. That problem is going to be there whoever does the brakes though. Over the years I have had Airstream shops reconnect the brakes and those came loose eventually too. Those who think the TV stops the TV and the trailer stops the trailer better not pull and old Airstream.

I thought I did a good careful job on the wires and 3 out of the 4 came loose or lost connection before the summer was out. I will redo the wiring again before we head out. Maybe someone will give us some pointers on this thread.
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Old 04-06-2020, 11:54 AM   #8
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It may not be a glamorous repair but if you can jack and support the trailer and make it a DIY project you will learn a lot and you can check off trailer brakes as a been there can do it task.
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Old 04-06-2020, 03:12 PM   #9
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Ditto with replacing the entire assembly. Price wise it works out very close to buying magnets and shoes, and then everything is new. 4 bolts off, connect wires, 4 bolts on. Done. Bearing wise, not hard. Messy yes.Be sure to get new seals.
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Old 04-06-2020, 04:47 PM   #10
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Got er done, a friend of mine had done it before and it took about 3 hours of work and an hour driving to part stores.Thanks all. I did learn a lot, I assume next time will be when an axle fails.
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Old 04-06-2020, 05:26 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gkiesel View Post
Ditto with replacing the entire assembly. Price wise it works out very close to buying magnets and shoes, and then everything is new. 4 bolts off, connect wires, 4 bolts on. Done. Bearing wise, not hard. Messy yes.Be sure to get new seals.
I think 5 bolts is correct.

These could be the proper brakes. Please verify...
https://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Bra...3-180-181.html
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Old 04-06-2020, 11:00 PM   #12
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When connecting the smaller wire into a larger connector, simply strip off one inch of insulation from the thinner wire, and fold it back on itself, then insert and crimp. Always try to pull the connection apart when done. Then you know it’s good.
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Old 04-07-2020, 07:05 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Bill M. View Post
I thought I did a good careful job on the wires and 3 out of the 4 came loose or lost connection before the summer was out. I will redo the wiring again before we head out. Maybe someone will give us some pointers on this thread.
I use a simple barrel crimp connector and heavy duty waterproof heat shrink over it extending an inch or two on each side. Keeps them from coming loose and corroding.
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Old 04-07-2020, 07:59 AM   #14
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I would add to the suggestion list to get the self-adjusting type of brake back plates. A few bucks more but well worth it in my opinion. Its a fairly easy job to replace them.

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Old 04-07-2020, 08:46 AM   #15
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My vote is for manual adjusted brakes.
I have a 5 year old SOB that had self adjusting brakes. Nothing but trouble.
Just installed manual adjust brake assemblies.
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Old 04-07-2020, 06:35 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by natedogg7 View Post
Im thinking about trying to take this job myself. I have swapped pads on my disc brakes for years with adequate results. Any tips of things to do or avoid? Should I hire this done? I've never packed bearings before either.

Thoughts?

Other things that I've done before to demonstrate my mechanical ability.

Swapped out alternator, spark plugs, and starter F150
Brakes on multiple vehicles
Assuming you have Dexter axles and want to replace worn brake shoes, google Dexter and find the nearest Dexter dealer. Purchase new backing plate assemblies complete with new magnets, shoes, springs, etc. at about the same cost as buying the components and doing all that yourself. Repacking bearings is simple with a cheap tool from Harbor Freight or almost any automotive store. I usually clean my bearings in a good solvent without turning them, blow dry and pack with any good quality bearing grease. Then turn the bearings by hand to make sure all bearing components have some grease on them and there are no rough spots. Do not fill the hub space between bearings with grease as some do because too much grease is the greatest cause of bearing failure from the heat generated by churning.
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Old 04-08-2020, 01:42 PM   #17
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A good crimped connection should not come loose under any situation. Again I say try to pull it apart, give it a good tug! Then heat shrink seal it
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Old 04-24-2020, 08:23 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by azflycaster View Post
Bearing repack is pretty straight forward. Can of grease and new grease seal is all you need. There are plenty of instructional videos online. There are tools to help pack, but I prefer to use the grease in the palm of the hand method.

Brakes on a 74 most likely need shoes, magnets and maybe springs. I would suggest replacing the entire unit by installing new backing plates. Yours should be 2" x 12", but I am not positive. ETrailer is a good place for parts.

Totally agree azfly: replace the entire backing plate, it is about the same cost as the shoes alone and you get all new springs, adjusters, and shoes. Then you also have some spare parts for future minor repairs. Also agree with the palm-pack method. Additionally, fill the hub as full of grease (I use the Airstream-recommended Valvoline Red). Then install Bearing Buddies, and add grease untill the spring-loaded cap inside the Buddy moves outward. I carry a grease gun with me, and add a few pumps every thousand miles or so. Don't forget the Bearing Buddy Bra vinyl caps, as they keep dirt out. I also wrap the Bra with black electrical tape to the Buddy so it doesn't get lost. Also, drive those Buddies on there with a big hammer and a block of wood so you don't lose them. When they get lost, you get a greased-up side of the Airstream.....ask me how I know.
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