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Old 11-11-2006, 05:52 PM   #1
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Brake delay on new 31' Classic

I've just bought a new 31' Classic, and tow with a 1500 Suburban and use a Masterbrake controller. The brake actuator is "Actibrake". There is a 1+ second delay between hitting the brakes in the TV and brakes activating on the trailer. Is this typical? and if so, seems quite dangerous. Anyone have any solution?

trvler
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Old 11-11-2006, 11:19 PM   #2
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Hi Trvler, congratulations on your new Airstream.

I'd call Masterbrake and Actibrake and speak directly to them. Then perhaps your dealer, as a practical choice, but not necessarily the definitive answer unless they are knowledgable of your particular set-up, afterall they did send you out that way.

If it were Prodigy controller I would try setting the boost up to apply more trailer brake at the onset.

Do you think the heavier trailer is pushing the truck before slowing? Do you have to change your brake controller settings from your previous (lighter?) trailer?
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Old 11-11-2006, 11:31 PM   #3
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No, this is not right.
You need to set the gain or boost so the trialer brake activate at the same time or just before the TV brakes.
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Old 11-12-2006, 07:09 AM   #4
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trvler,

1. Did you do the 'Brake Synchronization' procedure?
2. Have you bled the brakes?

If neither of those helps, then I think you are experiencing the .6 sec delay as the brake actuator spools up and builds pressure in the brake line.

Unfortunate, but it is a feature of electric/hyraulic actuators.
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Old 11-12-2006, 08:21 AM   #5
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Brake delay

I did talk to Actibrake, and bled the brakes as they suggested. No difference. So have also come to the conclusion that this is just the inherent delay that the actuator needs to build up pressure.
The smartbrake controller doesn't seem to need to "synchronize" as it did with my old 25' Safari with drum electric brakes - not sure why, and I can't seem to find a number which works for Masterbrake (or a webpage for that matter - www.masterbrake.com no longer works, for me anyways). When the brakes do kick in, it's beautiful.

If this is inherent to the device, I'm surprised no one has been in an accident yet - in one second you travel about 90 ft at 60mph. But what I really notice is the healthy shove I get on the rear end when braking on a corner - might also have something to do with the Hensley.

trvler
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Old 11-12-2006, 11:04 AM   #6
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Trvler,
You will want to look at the service bullitens on the Active Technologies website. Your controller may no longer be compatable with your new brake system. Prodigy is the one AS used to recommend and many have used it with sucess. I did until my new truck came with built in controller. AS is now recommeding the Jordan controller.
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Old 11-12-2006, 12:19 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trvler
. . . The smartbrake controller doesn't seem to need to "synchronize" as it did with my old 25' Safari with drum electric brakes - not sure why. . .
trvler
My comment about schronizing came from the Actibrake manual. I think you need to hold down the manual actuator for 10 seconds each time you plug it in.

Kind of like waiting for air pressure to build up when you fire up the ol' Peterbilt.
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Old 11-12-2006, 01:53 PM   #8
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If mark's right...

Quote:
Originally Posted by markdoane
My comment about schronizing came from the Actibrake manual...
Geez, it would annoy me if I had to symphonize my brake controller every time it was switched between tow vehicles.

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Old 11-12-2006, 02:27 PM   #9
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Brake delay

Thanks for your comments. Michelle - do you experience any brake delay with your 2006 Classic? Perhaps I will need to try out a Prodigy controller, although I hate to give up the Brakesmart.

The alternative would be to try a different actuator - I've read that Sensabrake develops full pressure in 1/3 second, whereas Actibrake takes about 1 sec to develop full pressure.

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Old 11-12-2006, 03:23 PM   #10
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No problem here

My Classic 28 was modified from drums to discs last summer. While it is true that the Actibrake synchronizes each time the brakes are applied, but I have found the delay to be unnoticeable. The synchronization time, as I understand it, is in the range of milliseconds.

I find that the disc brakes are very effective and I can never sense the trailer is even back there when I brake.

I do have the Prodigy set to give the initial boost at level 1. For heavy trailers, the initial boost is required.
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Old 11-12-2006, 03:26 PM   #11
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One more thought

The dealer in Weatherford, TX, that did my conversion drove my truck/trailer for about 20 minutes breaking in the discs and pads. He dragged the brakes until we could smell them. He said that sort of break in is necessary on new discs and pads.

It must have worked ... in the last 6 months, I have touched the controller only once and that was to reduce braking slightly after about 100 miles.
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Old 11-12-2006, 03:50 PM   #12
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Hi all,
I just got back from a 4 plus week USA trip in our Excella classic which included disc brake installation by Airstream at Jackson Center along with some other work (great experience which I will post later). Airstream just recently started using/suggested ( via the service guys and the Engineers) the Hayes/Lemmerz "Genesis" controller which solved my controller incompatibility issues I had with my existing Omnibrake controller on my tow vehicle which I had used with three different trailers with drum brakes for sme time, abit with different setting needed for each. The Genesis worked really well once I got it adjusted correctly on dry pavement (it was pouring rain when we were road testing near Jackson Center), and it has multiple modes that can be easily (for me anyway) set up for different trailers with magnetic (usually drum) or power hydraulic (usually disc) brake combinations. The secret is to keep a cheat sheet of the settings for each combination. It is also recommended by Acti-brake (Kodiak)for the new Active Technologies large power hydraulic controller that was part of the package for the heavy 2 axle setup.

Remember Airstream dealers do most of the brake controller installations, not the factory, and not all dealers ask the factory for advice or open the wallets to send the techs to JAckson Center for training; and things are changing a lot in this area too.
Keep on trailering....
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Old 11-12-2006, 04:00 PM   #13
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Same for Airstream

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pahaska
The dealer in Weatherford, TX, that did my conversion drove my truck/trailer for about 20 minutes breaking in the discs and pads. He dragged the brakes until we could smell them. He said that sort of break in is necessary on new discs and pads.

It must have worked ... in the last 6 months, I have touched the controller only once and that was to reduce braking slightly after about 100 miles.
Airstream mechanic and I followed a similar procedure for seating the linings (hot but no smoke) as was done for Pahaska, and we looked at them to verify at least 70% area contact was made, and re-bleed a couple of times to get the response time where it should be. Airstream does not allow vacuum bleading in their shop (an insurance issue I was told); we do this vacuum procedure on the race cars in our shop with good success on hard bleed jobs but it takes lots of experience and practice to do correctly. My brakes have absolutely no delay that I can feel following the installation of the new controller.
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Old 11-12-2006, 04:39 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trvler
I've just bought a new 31' Classic, and tow with a 1500 Suburban and use a Masterbrake controller. The brake actuator is "Actibrake". There is a 1+ second delay between hitting the brakes in the TV and brakes activating on the trailer. Is this typical? and if so, seems quite dangerous. Anyone have any solution?

trvler
hello trvler and welcome to airstream'n

i've got a superduty with the integrated brake controller...
and 6 discs on the airstream.

i experienced a slight delay (1-2sec) in trailer braking one time on a cold morning just after hitching up and rolling down a small incline to the first stop of the day.

i think the pads/rotors/fluid were cold. the truck had been driven for a while so it was warmed up.

otherwise i've got 32,000 miles on the discs with excellent performance...


some issues...
-early factory discs systems were actibrake/kodiac;
-this is the combo most dealers use for the retro fit, as does the factory service center.
-your unit has actibrake/dexter and some folks feel the dexters are too complicated (4 piston, floating rotors?) and the kodiac is a better product.
-the actibrake brains/reservoir is different for the 2 systems. a larger one is used with the dexters and more fluid, and different software/mapping.

i know nothing about your brake controller so you really must determine compatibility issues...

contact actibrake and they should be able to help you...

it has already been mentioned but proper bedding of the pads and rotors is essential and takes time.

i spend an hour or so doing progressive slowdowns. smoked the pads, drug the tires using the manual activation and
took 10-12 high speed '70 to 30' decelerations before i felt mine were properly bedded and the controller adjusted.
these are 2 separate issues, i'm sure you realize.

to be clearer...bedding pads/rotors must be done BEFORE finalizing the brake controller adjustment

no need to bleed or mess with the brake fluid for my setup.

factory service advised me my pads were "60% gone" at about 20,000 miles so i intended to replace the pads with ceramics last week after the 31,000 mark...

on first hand inspection and compared to brand new pads i've actually still got 90%+ left and the rotors are nearly perfect....and thats with 5 trips over the rockies...

so i might get 50-60K miles from these pads...unless i get hyper2change...

back to your situation. since you are using a haha it is absolutely critical that you get the brakes sorted out...
trailer pushing tv is the one situation that we hensley users do NOT want...
ever.

keep us updated...

cheers
2air'
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Old 11-12-2006, 10:36 PM   #15
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I set the prodigy on a gain of about 2.5 and the first boost setting. The trailer brakes activate as soon as I step on the truck pedal.
The tow command in the new truck is still getting fine tuned. Fortunately the truck brakes are very good and can stop both the truck and trialer if necessary (it has at slow speed). If I get all the bugs worked out I will have an extra prodigy, crash tested if you are interested.
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Old 11-13-2006, 06:36 AM   #16
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Brake delay

Thanks for the offer (and the information) - I will try rebleeding the brakes (perhaps I'll get a professional to do it this time - vacuum assisted?), and will let you know how that works out.
thanks again to all who've given me some advice,
trvler
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Old 03-05-2007, 09:27 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trvler
Thanks for the offer (and the information) - I will try rebleeding the brakes (perhaps I'll get a professional to do it this time - vacuum assisted?), and will let you know how that works out.
So how did it work out...did bleeding the brakes fix the problem?

I had a similar problem with my system and reinitializing the Actibrake reduced (though not eliminated) the delay. As others noted, to do this you need to disconnect the Actibrake from the battery for a couple of minutes then reconnect the power, reconnect your tow vehicle, set the gain on your brake controller to max then push the manual brake control on full for 10 seconds. (I am not 100% certain, but I think you need to do this every time your Actibrake is disconnected to power).

Also, I did notice that you have a Masterbrake and that Actibrake only 'supports' Prodigy and Hayes controllers. This may also be your problem.
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Old 03-05-2007, 10:32 AM   #18
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I can't find this information in the manual. I see the calibration part, but do you really have to disconnect the AB from power? Do you mean to the brake-away or TV-or both? And do you mean every time you take a trip? Your AB is disconnected from power every time you un-hitch, no?


What does this do? I'm wondering if this could help my situation, if I ever get close to figuring out what's wrong....
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Old 03-05-2007, 02:06 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sequoiacoast
I can't find this information in the manual. I see the calibration part, but do you really have to disconnect the AB from power?
What the manual says is...

....Actibrake Wiring Installation
Step 6: When the installation is complete, with the towing vehicle ignition switch on, operate the unit from the tow vehicle using the MANUAL OVERRIDE on the in-cab brake controller. The ActiBrake's operation should follow that of the controller's manual override.

thecatsandi put



Do you mean to the brake-away or TV-or both? And do you mean every time you take a trip? Your AB is disconnected from power every time you un-hitch, no?[/quote]


What does this do? I'm wondering if this could help my situation, if I ever get close to figuring out what's wrong....[/quote]
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Old 03-05-2007, 02:23 PM   #20
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real post (re: oops)

Quote:
Originally Posted by sequoiacoast
I can't find this information in the manual. I see the calibration part, but do you really have to disconnect the AB from power?
What the manual says is...

Actibrake Wiring Installation
Step 6: When the installation is complete, with the towing vehicle ignition switch on, operate the unit from the tow vehicle using the MANUAL OVERRIDE on the in-cab brake controller. The ActiBrake's operation should follow that of the controller's manual override.

It doesn't say why you have to do this or explain anything else really. Thecatsandi put me onto this as a possible solution to my delay problem and told me about the '10 sec' rule. I think disconnecting the power either wipes out the old setting or tells the actibrake to expect a calibration signal to be coming - I don't know for certain.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sequoiacoast
Do you mean to the brake-away or TV-or both? And do you mean every time you take a trip? Your AB is disconnected from power every time you un-hitch, no?
The Actibrake draws its power straight from the trailer's battery. It only uses the signal coming from the TV (the blue wire) as a braking signal - not as a source of power to activate the disc brakes. On my trailer the Actibrake draws its 12 volts even with the trailer main power switch in 'store' position. So I have to reinitialize the Actibrake only if my battery goes dead - your mileage may vary

Quote:
Originally Posted by sequoiacoast
What does this do? I'm wondering if this could help my situation, if I ever get close to figuring out what's wrong....
It tells the Actibrake the range of possible voltages coming down the blue wire from the brake controller so it knows how strongly to interpret the brake signal - and thus how firmly to send fluid to the disc brakes. I haven't been able to figure out any of the hows or whys...but it does seem to be important.

I certainly hope this will help your situation.
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