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Old 06-08-2006, 09:05 PM   #21
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I am using the Dexter disc brake system, together with the Dexter EH actuator, and all I can say is that it's a beautiful thing!
I had brand new axles and electric brakes on my previous trailer, and there's simply no comparison.
If there's a choice, I would invest a little and keep the discs, using an EH actuator by Dexter and a Jordan brake controller.
The less capable your tow vehicle's brakes are, the more you will appreciate the discs.
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Old 06-09-2006, 02:31 PM   #22
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Brakes

JIMGOLDEN
I think Brakesmart or something like that makes a system that ties into the brake system on the tow vehicle.
It is legal.
They are very proud of it.
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Old 06-09-2006, 03:33 PM   #23
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Brakesmart

BrakeSmart was one that Hensley was selling, but backe-out because the supplier couldn't deliver-so they told me. BrakeSmart had a web site during most of 2004, not before and not since. Their last rendition of a web page said they were still having trouble getting the unit from its manufacturer. Looks like they went bust. You can see their last web page by looking for www.Brakesmart.net on the internet archive pages. Too bad. It looked like a good idea.
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Old 06-09-2006, 08:43 PM   #24
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JIM GOLDEN You said I will likely need to replace my axles.Why?
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Old 06-09-2006, 09:42 PM   #25
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richnritab

Take some pictures of your unit from the side and post them in your gallery so we can see the position of the wheels in the fenders.
Go to my gallery and you can see what I am talking about.
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Old 06-09-2006, 10:42 PM   #26
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Hydra?

Never read this thread till tonight, though I saw it several times.

Dealt with hydrovacs in an old Diamond T truck so I know that coupling all that vacum/hydraulic power to disc brakes is like the best of the new and the old. You could always find your self a vintage tow vehicle you know. I think I still have one of the old tap in hydraulic actuators somewhere around here. The dual circuit "balancing" systems are what did them in. That was a generation Before the antilocks came out.
But that's not why I posted actually. When you start talking about Hydra I cant help thinking how appropriate it is to be talking about a multi faceted (or is it headed?) issue and I envision Heracles and Lake Lema and Iolaus burning the open wounds... http://www.pantheon.org/articles/h/hydra.html

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Old 06-11-2006, 12:18 PM   #27
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RichnRitab,

The axles on your '78 are just like the ones on my '77; they are not leaf springs but rather use rubber inserts for their springing medium. Rubber tends to take a permanent set over time. It also breaks down and gets weaker with age.

What tends to happen is that the travel trailers sit more than they're used. So the rubber rods inside the axle tend to take a "set" because they're not being exercised much. Further, a travel trailer (as opposed to a cargo trailer) has about 80-85% of its weight sitting on the axles all the time. So, you've got all this weight pressing down on the rubber rods all the time. As the rubber ages and weakens, the trailer settles down into a lower ride height, and the rubber gets hard.

Take a look at your axles from underneath. The swingarms of the axles should angle downward to the center of the wheel at about a 15 degree angle. In otherwords, the center of the wheel end of the swingarm should be lower than the part of the swingarm that fits into the axle mounting tube. They came from the factory with about a 22.5 degree down angle. Under load, they'd deflect upward some but you should still have a 10-15 degree down angle.

If you look at my trailer, the swing arms are pretty much parallel to the frame; that is, they have no down angle at all and are parallel. I also jacked my trailer up and the wheel did not come down any at all. The rubber is totally rigid. My axles are worn out.

I've looked at a bunch of 31' Airstreams of this vintage, and everyone I looked at had this same problem. My grandfather's '73 25' has this problem too.

So, not to alarm you. But odds are that your axles will be in the same boat as mine. If they are, and you need new ones, you could go several routes:

Dexter will sell you a set of axles with their brakes already installed and ready to go.

I believe you can buy the Henschen axles with Kodiak disks on them.

You can buy any of the axles bare, and then install either the Dexter or Kodiak brake setups on them.

You could also put your Ausco's onto a new axle. They all use the same size spindle.

Personally, if I could swing it, I'd put new brakes on new axles; unless your Auscos are in really good shape. To my knowledge, you cannot get new hubs to fit the old brake systems. So if you're on the road and you break a hub for whatever reason, you're done for. Well, not entirely, I do know that Inland RV has some of the old hubs that they've cleaned up and refinished. But you're still buying a 30 year old hub, and they're not cheap.

You can get the Kodiak setup for something like $350 per axle. So for $700 or so, you've got brand new disk brakes. The Kodiaks use a GM brake pad to so you can get pads at the local auto parts store.

Dexter, however, might cut you a good deal buying their disk brake setup on their axles new.

I've heard good things about both setups.

Hope that helps. Good luck with your project.
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Old 06-12-2006, 06:22 PM   #28
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Damn this is fun.I can't wait to get start this project.Jim I will check those axles first thing.So far I've purchased the dexter electric actuator and the
prodigy.I did read more about the jordan after I bought the prodigy.However,
after looking at the install Im not sure that cable system will last on a daily
driver.Besides if I don't like it I'll change it. Im going to get started some time this week.I'll be in touch and I can't thank you enough!
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Old 06-12-2006, 07:25 PM   #29
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Good move!

Quote:
Originally Posted by richnritab
Damn this is fun.I can't wait to get start this project.Jim I will check those axles first thing.So far I've purchased the dexter electric actuator and the
prodigy.I did read more about the jordan after I bought the prodigy.However,
after looking at the install Im not sure that cable system will last on a daily
driver.Besides if I don't like it I'll change it. Im going to get started some time this week.I'll be in touch and I can't thank you enough!
You will be very happy with the disc brake set-up. I am far more in the know about the Kodiak system but have heard great things about Dexter's system as well. I look forward to seeing your progress. Dexter is the largest producer of trailer axles in the U.S.A. Additionally, they have over 300 dealers nation wide.

Great attitude partner!

Regards,
Henry
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Old 07-15-2006, 05:39 PM   #30
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Great thread,
I'm getting ready to install the dexter actuator on my 78 Excella, looking to hear from some who have done this and what I should look out for. Discs, pads, calibers and axels look to be in good shape.
Thanks in advance for any input.
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Old 07-16-2006, 12:44 PM   #31
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I just wired up my actuator yesterday and greased the bearings.My brakes look like thier in good shape too,the pistons moved easily and my pads look brand new.I bought a 20" brake line with an 3/16 adapter(trailer is 1/4 dexter is 3/16)and bent it to fit.I bought a prodigy controller however,the instuctions say its not for electric-hydraulic brakes.I talked to dexter and they say it will work.I think that its not for the original power booster type system that we have.I'll let you know what happens.
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Old 07-17-2006, 06:02 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richnritab
Thanks for the reply.If I go with an electric actuator( if I decide to keep the
hydralic system) which one is the best.Are there after market brake parts
that will work within this system.Im trying to set this up with the best brake
controller to the best actuator.Im mean the best working combination.Im
brand new at this.I don't know were to by parts.I've been to three places
here in las vegas and it seems they have to order parts.No one has been
very helpful.I can't wait to get on the road but I want to do it right.thanks
again.

We have and have had, parts for the original disc brake system as installed by Airstream.

Should you however have a major failure with the booster assembly, you can change it out to a new style actuator and still keep all of the original disc brake parts.

Contrary to some opinions, disc brakes are far superior not only to hydraulic brakes, but extremely so to electric brakes.

Changing from disc back to electric brakes, is like taking a walk around town, backwards.

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Old 07-17-2006, 07:23 PM   #33
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I'd be interested to know if you get the Prodigy working with the vacuum over hydralic set up. When I tried it, the controller thought it was disconnected although it would activate the brake. Tekonsha says that the contoller pages the brake system every three seconds looking for the correct current draw. The little solenoid in the hydravac doesn't give the right answer and so the Prodigy assumes a disconnect condition. I'm saving my pennies for a Brakesmart.
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Old 07-18-2006, 08:32 PM   #34
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My question is;
I ordered the Dexter unit to convert to electric/hydraulic brakes, since the trailer has batteries do I still need a seperate battery for the brake away switch?
My thinking is that it is not needed, I'm looking for input from others.
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Old 07-18-2006, 09:19 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Holzarbeiter
My question is;
I ordered the Dexter unit to convert to electric/hydraulic brakes, since the trailer has batteries do I still need a seperate battery for the brake away switch?
My thinking is that it is not needed, I'm looking for input from others.
No, I powered mine up from the trailer batteries. As the batteries are charged by the vehicle during transport they are alyways fresh and ready to serve the load. Make sure you pull a large enough conductor to your actuator and you will be good to go.
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Old 07-19-2006, 04:17 PM   #36
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Thanks Buttercup, thays what I thought.
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Old 07-19-2006, 05:16 PM   #37
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Excella Gm I got rid of the hydra-vac system and put in the dexter 1600 and my ? was about the compatibility of the prodigy.I read a little more about the actuator and from what I understand it will work with about any brake controller.I still have'nt contacted dexter again but I will.Im pretty sure it will work.I also connected my brakeaway to the trailer batteries.I used a tekonsa brakeaway switch.Just in front of my jack there is a 5/16 inch post about 4 inches tall so I put a 5/8 socket over the post then I enlarged the hole in the switch,trimmed the tab in back so it would swivel then set it down the post to the socket.Then drilled a 1/8 hole right above the tab through the post and put a 1/8 cotter pin in it.Make sure you drill from front to back that seems to be more stable.Worked great.Just an idea.Good luck!
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