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Old 04-14-2019, 03:03 PM   #1
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Dexter Nev-R-Adjust Brake Inspection and R&R

As the result of helping a friend, Alan, check out his 2017 Airstream brakes, well I learned a bunch.

Wheels on inspection, side under the trailer (safety first) and look for a couple things.

1. At roughly the 3 and 9 O’clock positions on the backside of the brakes, the backing plate a brake shoe retaining pin head should be visible. The head is about 5/16” or so and really looks a lot like a nail head. If you see a small hole w/o the head suggest pulling that drum and inspecting that brake.
2. At the bottom of the backing plate are two slots, these may have a dust plug covering them. Use a small screwdriver and pry off the plugs. Use a penlight and look thru the slots. You should see the self-adjusting lever arm and the self-adjusting star wheel and assembly. The lever is plated and lighter color, the star wheel a dark metal. See them? Good. Don’t see them, that’s bad news. You need to pull that drum and inspect. Replace dust plugs.
3. At the bottom of the backing plate there is a notch, carefully look here. See any pieces poking out, again a bad sign pull drum and inspect.
Self-adjusting brakes can be adjusted when new and if you need to adjust them to get that correct shoe to drum slight drag it can be done but that might suggest pulling a drum for detailed inspection as to possible causes for the adjuster not keeping things adjusted. Look for sticking parts and the condition of the star wheel notches as starting points.

Non self-adjusting brakes use a different star wheel design and an old school drum brake adjusting tool works just fine. That same tool does not work on the self-adjusting star wheel due to limited access. The self-adjusting lever blocks access using the big tool. But a small straight screwdriver can be positioned at the bottom of the star wheel and push IN to rotate the star wheel and it should make an audible click as it advances. It was easy to get one click and reposition. Also look carefully and make sure the adjusting lever is resting IN a notch when finished.

This trailer had parts sticking out of the slot at the bottom and made a real nasty sound as you rolled the wheel checking for the appropriate brake drum rub sound, this one was metal to metal parts rolling around sound.

Safety first. Raise trailer, jack stands and pull wheels. This axle has Nev-R-Lube bearings and hubs. Special tools required, an external snap ring pliers with small tips and a ½” drive 1 7/16” socket for the Nev-R-Lube bearing nut.

Do not confuse service procedures for traditional tapered bearings and Nev-R-Lube procedures and torque specs. THEY ARE DIFFERENT.

Drum removal, caution a bit heavy. Inspect drums friction and magnet contact surfaces.

Circumstances and the owner’s choice were to replace all four brake assemblies with complete loaded backing plates and drums.

Backing plate removal, cut magnet wires very close to butt connectors, remove five nuts. New nuts were provided with new Dexter brakes.

Clean axle brake mounting flange and install new brakes, left and right hand are different.

Replace drum. These Nev-R-Lube bearings require 145-155 lb-ft on the nut and my ½” torque wrench handled that. Replace the torque spec label and snap ring.

This is where I used the small screwdriver to advance the adjustment process and get the brakes into let’s do some braking mode.

I also checked the resistance of each magnet lead all the way back to the 7 way connector and each magnet ground wire, no issues found. And prior to installing the new brakes I checked the resistance of each magnet. All about 3-3.2 ohms.

Take your time on crimping the butt connectors. We used heat shrink butt connectors and I added an additional sleeve of heat shrink tubing on the wire before crimping.

We did a brief wheel spin and test with the tires on and still off of the ground, encouraging start.

Now a new chapter, the test drive.

My rig has disc brakes and I had never been in or driven a rig with electric magnetic brakes, so no baseline.

Alan drove the rig and we did repeat stops as Dexter has in the instructions. BTW, the Toyota controller was on 10, the max. We also checked drum temps with IR temp gun and kept records. At one point the rig was on gravel and we tried the gravel skid test, I’ll call it anemic skidding at best. We did see some heat but I wasn’t really impressed, yet.

Several times I have posted on brake troubleshooting threads can you test with a different TV and see what happens?

My Dodge was right there and has a completely different controller, a MaxBrake.

Several test runs and whoa we’re starting to feel brakes. A gravel test locked up the RH side brakes for maybe 20’ or so but what I felt via changes in gain settings was a clear contribution in braking. We have brakes. It was feeling comfortable to drive.

At campfire the evening before the Dodge test drives, I searched for 2017 Tundra integrated brake controller problems and a TSB (Technical Service Bulletin) popped up and a Toyota demo video.

The bulletin TSB 0231-17 describes customers who have expressed dissatisfaction with the braking feel and revised software has been developed. Alan has been in discussion with Toyota, issue still open.

Inspecting self-adjusting brakes with the wheels on while it doesn’t let you see the linings on the shoes or things that can only be seen with the drums off it still could find a oh snap, look at that and maybe save some real aggravation on the road.

Replacing a fully built brake backing plate assy, not too difficult and all new parts. But a bit of adding some of this to periodic inspections might be of benefit for happy camping.

This became a real interesting project and we got to know Alan a good bit and had a good time and I learned a lot.

Gary
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Old 04-14-2019, 03:35 PM   #2
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I'm saving your write up. Fantastic.

FWIIW I have the same M.Y. Tundra. The factory controller AND the factory software fix are no good. I tried to go factory, honest. Get the TEKONSHA P3 and their adapter cable. It is a 5 min. job. Great brake controller. Now I can jack the boost to exactly where it should be.

Thanks for your detailed write up.
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Old 04-30-2019, 06:14 PM   #3
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Excellent notes! Thanks to you, found out my right front brakes are probably buggared up on 2017 International. On the wheel that my wife keeps telling me is "making a funny sound", I spotted part of a spring hanging out of one of the two holes in bottom (no dust covers spotted?). Call Holiday World of Katy (TX) and tried to set up an appointment to see if they can tear into it and assess the problem....they're making me call Airstream Customer Support tomorrow because "gee, they've never heard of any Airstream Nev-R-Adjust problems". Here we go, typical runaround. I sent a note to Customer Service after hours today, telling them I had no clue why the service center nearest me would have me call them first, but will see what they say. Again, thanks for the write-up....if they refuse to do the work, guess I'll tear into it myself .
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Old 04-30-2019, 06:28 PM   #4
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kellycox7,

Sorry to hear you have a likely problem but you made my day by checking and with your report and hopefully a fairly simple but annoying bump in the road.

Good luck,

Gary
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Old 04-30-2019, 07:04 PM   #5
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Gary, great write up, many thanks. It helps me understand my situation better.
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f439...ml#post2236362

I was going to call tekanosha (p3) as I'm at 7.6 power and still no lock up...not sure if i'm in the just short of position or not. The manual says start at 6.0. At my point of failure ( i think) I did have the boost set 2 and have now reset it at 0. Not sure if the 7.2 power and (inadvertent 2 boost..usually at 1) emergency hard stop caused the spring to fail ... or it was simple metal fatigue for the spring, but it was longer than the dexter replacement and the adjuster had fallen out tumbling in the drum. Made it from the keys and carolinas back to OR with braking defeciencies not decernable.
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Old 04-30-2019, 08:17 PM   #6
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Visit your Dexter Distributor

KellyCox: I took my AS to Southwest Wheel in San Antonio, an authorized Dexter Dealer. They corrected a similar problem on my 5 yr old trailer and were helpful in working with Dexter who covered some of the costs.

Husky Trailer parts with several locations in in Houston is an authorized Dexter dealer near you.
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Old 05-01-2019, 05:56 AM   #7
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Thanks for the write up, I’m currently trying to figure out some brake issues where the DRiver side brakes are grabbing way less than the Passenger side. We readjusted the initial brake drag so we have slight drag (there was virtually none). Hopefully this solves the problem.
I need to buy the 1 7/16 socket and the snap ring pliers to go any further.
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Old 08-01-2019, 08:50 PM   #8
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Great write up by GC. This Is of current interest as I like to be prepared as leaving for trip to the Rockies in 2 weeks. I have 3800# axles in my ‘16 FC25. Anyone know if these are are 10” Or 12” braked? The manual seems to indicate 10. Emailed AS but no reply yet. Would like to have the complete drum brake assembly numbers but the manual only gives brake shoe kits# and bearing#.

Thanks

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Old 08-02-2019, 05:20 AM   #9
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Dave,

I bet if you can get a pic of the axle ID label it would help research what parts numbers you're looking for. Dexter has a good website and the owner of this rig got his from etrailer.

Part numbers from the backing plates on the rig in this thread 023-458-00 for left hand 023-459-00 right hand
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Old 08-04-2019, 12:09 AM   #10
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Thanks Gary. I checked Dexter’s site as suggested and I think the 3.5k NevRAdjust are the ones for my 25FC. The numbers you referenced are 6k. Is your friend’s AS a larger, heavier unit? It’s a little confusing because my unit says the axles are 3800# yet the brake charts indicate 3.5k (3500#)
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