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Old 12-03-2021, 05:40 PM   #1
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Life Expectancy of new brakes & drums

Hi all,

Iíve been on the greatest American Roadtrip since January, 25,000+ miles so far in a brand new 2021 27F Globetrotter.

I dropped it off for a service at Airstream Las Vegas and I was told I need an entire new set of brake pads and drums. One wheel was down to metal on metal.
We debated if this could be a warranty issue or if that is normal wear and tear for that amount of miles (incl two months of mountain passes in Colorado and Utah)

S
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Old 12-03-2021, 07:09 PM   #2
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just my opinion but I doubt if it will be a warranty issue. 25,000 miles is a lot of pulling and in the mountains the brakes get used a lot. I would get the brakes replaced and trailer on.

Review your setup of the braking system and use. Feel the wheels often for a while to develop a sense of what is happening. Maybe the brakes are not releasing all the way. A slightly warped drum can make the automatic adjusters stay too tight. Maybe you are dialed in a little high on the controller.

Electric drum railer brakes are really not very good brakes and need a lot of checking and care in use.
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Old 12-03-2021, 08:31 PM   #3
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I think the more important question you should be asking is whether the amount they are quoting you for this job is reasonable.

I had four brake assemblies replaced last spring for about $640 including parts & labor. The drums on mine were still serviceable and were turned, so obviously you'll have to add a bit more to your quote for new drums.

Brakes on our trailers are not really that expensive. Especially not as compared to what can happen if they fail. Get them fixed and move on.
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Old 12-03-2021, 09:59 PM   #4
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The drums come off no matter what so there should be no additional labor for new drums.

Terms: Drum brakes have shoes not pads. Pads are for disc brakes.
  1. Are you a left-footed-braker? If yes, you could be braking too much.
  2. Do you anticipate the need to brake and, therefore, do it less when towing?
  3. Is the brake gain set correctly? If not, the trailer could be doing too much of the braking for the TV.
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Old 12-04-2021, 08:51 AM   #5
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Hi all, thanks for your comments:

1) I always had issues with these brakes to be honest, when I first bought the trailer two brakes would not immediately release, always causing a violent pull in city traffic. This was twice adjusted.

2) I use the Curt Echo and even after 25k miles Iím still having a love/hate relationship. Although it might be that this brakes set is really to blame. I have to constantly adjust the gain when driving between city traffic (settings at 5), to freeways (30) to downhill mountain passes (35). I developed a habit of also liking to feel the brakes be a little stronger than the car when on freeways or mountain roads to be on the safe side.

3) I spoke to the mechanic, he quoted 4h labor plus parts. From my research it looks like the shoes are around $100 each and the drums $300 per axle, is that correct? So more or less $1500 for the whole job?
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Old 12-04-2021, 09:09 AM   #6
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I had one brake where the auto adjuster wasn't adjusted correctly itself and kept tightening the shoes against the drum. Wore out the shoes in 10,000 miles. Another auto adjuster wasn't doing anything so that brake eventually stopped helping. Only two of the four brakes operated properly.

Now I use a heat gun to check temps of drums regularly. As long as all four drums are within 20 degrees of each other things are probably okay.
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Old 12-04-2021, 09:33 AM   #7
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Have you thought about doing this yourself? It's not a difficult job at all and you can get the parts for much less than you're being quoted.

Out of Doors Mart is retailing the brake assemblies for $99 - $130/ea (depending on which you need), complete with new backing plate, magnet, shoes, and linings. The drums are less than $100/ea.

Only requires crimping two wires per wheel to reconnect the brakes, and the brake assemblies bolt on with only (I think) 5 bolts per wheel.
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Old 12-04-2021, 09:33 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CMHM View Post
Hi all, thanks for your comments:

1) I always had issues with these brakes to be honest, when I first bought the trailer two brakes would not immediately release, always causing a violent pull in city traffic. This was twice adjusted.

2) I use the Curt Echo and even after 25k miles Iím still having a love/hate relationship. Although it might be that this brakes set is really to blame. I have to constantly adjust the gain when driving between city traffic (settings at 5), to freeways (30) to downhill mountain passes (35). I developed a habit of also liking to feel the brakes be a little stronger than the car when on freeways or mountain roads to be on the safe side.

3) I spoke to the mechanic, he quoted 4h labor plus parts. From my research it looks like the shoes are around $100 each and the drums $300 per axle, is that correct? So more or less $1500 for the whole job?
IMHO...you need a more reliable brake controller, as in wired. Too many variables in trusting wireless.

I've been using a TruControl Gold since 2010. Set it once at the beginning of a trip and forget it.

For what it's worth your brake work is just a parts changing exercise and can be a DIY with a small investment in tools and studying on the utube.👍
Bob
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Old 12-04-2021, 10:24 AM   #9
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I’d love to do it myself but just called and they said they couldn’t release the trailer to me once the brake inspection showed that it would be unsafe to drive the trailer. Meaning they won’t put back together a worn out brake equipment.

Do Airstream dealerships charge much more for the parts?
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Old 12-04-2021, 10:33 AM   #10
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The prices I quoted you from Out of Doors Mart are from an Airstream dealer.

They're the ones that charged me $640 last spring for complete brakes on a twin axle. They had the drums turned rather than replaced, so figure a few hundred more for the new drums. Still a far cry from the $1500 you're talking about.
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Old 12-04-2021, 11:04 AM   #11
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Iíd love to do it myself but just called and they said they couldnít release the trailer to me once the brake inspection showed that it would be unsafe to drive the trailer. Meaning they wonít put back together a worn out brake equipment. ?
I wonder if they can legally do this. I believe that here in Texas, you don't have to have trailer brakes for this size trailer as long as you drive less than X mph, X being 30 or 40 IIRC. And you still have some braking.

Quote:
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Do Airstream dealerships charge much more for the parts?
Atlanta area AS dealer charged me double the Amazon price for a brake assembly. I installed it myself at a campground a week or so later. First time for me. Easy peasy. Although I had removed the old brake assembly at a GA campground because of grinding, so I was already familiar with the process.
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Old 12-04-2021, 11:06 AM   #12
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Ugh, well so I had them send me the exact prices and it looks a lot different, or they’re ordering different parts:

4 x Brake Hubs at $250 each, so $1,000
4 x Backing Plates at $220 each, so $880
4h labor at $179

He said he still wants to submit it for warranty but will obv take my money on Monday when I pick it up.
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Old 12-04-2021, 11:21 AM   #13
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You are traveling a lot. Good for you!!!!

Not sure what the current brake inspection schedule that Airstream recommends and older trailer was an annual inspection or 10,000 miles.

You are traveling a lot more than the typical RVer. That is a good thing in my opinion. However, with greater use means more frequent maintenance. At 25,000 miles it may be a little early for brake friction material to be worn out. (There are a lot of variables to that) However the "hubs" or the drums with hub were damaged because the brake friction material got so worn so far that there was none left. That is the purpose to brake friction material is to wear out. However, when the wear gets to a certain point the shoes should be replaced so the drums do not have to be replaced. Only regular inspection is going to find that.

The shoes may have worn out prematurely. (But only marginally) Shoes for automotive use are good for 25,000 to 40,000 miles depending on the operator. The drums on the other hand should still be good if the shoes were replaced before they got down to the metal. They do not last forever and periodic inspection is necessary. For most that is an annual inspection. For travelers doing tens of thousands of miles annually, that inspection needs to be more frequent. This should be outlined in your owners manual.

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Old 12-04-2021, 11:31 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CMHM View Post
Ugh, well so I had them send me the exact prices and it looks a lot different, or theyíre ordering different parts:

4 x Brake Hubs at $250 each, so $1,000
4 x Backing Plates at $220 each, so $880
4h labor at $179

He said he still wants to submit it for warranty but will obv take my money on Monday when I pick it up.
You should show him what other Airstream dealers are charging for the same thing, cause it sure looks like he's charging double what you could buy them for elsewhere. Guess it helps his cause when he holds your trailer hostage to his high prices. To me that's a crooked way of getting you to pay the extra charge.
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Old 12-04-2021, 11:50 AM   #15
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To actually get the right parts and get anything done in a reasonable time in this new age, who knows what the price will be. If you are picking it up Monday with new brakes from an Airstream dealer you are doing okay. With my Dodge truck parts at the dealer cost from 3 to 10 times as much as from Geno's garage.

I grew up in VA with inspection laws. If you failed inspection they would not put the old sticker back on and you were stuck with their fix or a tow job to another shop. So I believe that part of the story.
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Old 12-04-2021, 12:47 PM   #16
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Great points from everyone, thank you:

- I left Jackson Center in June and they inspected the brakes. But I spent the entire summer in Colorado and New Mexico and did a crazy amount of mountain passes and the past weeks in Utah weren’t any different.

- In their defence, I dropped off the trailer three days ago and said it was urgent as I could hear the metal on metal sound on the way down from Zion National Park. They squeezed me in, ordered the parts yesterday (Friday) and said a nearby retailer has them in stock. So I believe they are buying them from another service center and they offered to pay one night of my Vegas hotel as he was trying to get it done by today.

All in all I guess it’s an investment in safety, with more time things would’ve been different.
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Old 12-04-2021, 12:59 PM   #17
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Iíd love to do it myself but just called and they said they couldnít release the trailer to me once the brake inspection showed that it would be unsafe to drive the trailer. Meaning they wonít put back together a worn out brake equipment.

Do Airstream dealerships charge much more for the parts?
???????...they have no claim or liability in releasing the trailer.

I have given countless estimates for 'safety' items, customer refused, paid the inspect & advise labor and went on his way, with a signed receipt explaining what exactly was done.

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Old 12-04-2021, 01:32 PM   #18
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Bob: thatís what they repeated multiple times, even the service manager when I dropped the trailer off. If they need to order parts they might have to keep the trailer for a few days. He said once they open the brakes, they are not allowed to put back together a faulty brake set. Maybe a Nevada law?
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Old 12-04-2021, 02:01 PM   #19
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Quote:
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He said once they open the brakes, they are not allowed to put back together a faulty brake set. Maybe a Nevada law?
Pretty sure that is not law. Pretty sure it is shop policy.

Pretty sure is it your trailer and you can make decisions about it. And if push came to shove you could get an attorney to make sure you left with your trailer and no work done.

If you wanted to haul off your disassembled trailer on a flat bed, you have that right. You would still owe whatever (maybe unreasonable) charge that is owed to that point.
And it would be uncomfortable
Not prudent
And a few other things
If it were my shop you would be signing a waiver stating death or serious injury of you or others was possible in the current condition

And they could contact the law stating an unsafe vehicle was leaving their shop with the license plate of .....

But pretty sure you could do it and the act of leaving the shop is not illegal. Even if the brakes were not working at all

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Old 12-04-2021, 02:11 PM   #20
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Pretty sure that is not law. Pretty sure it is shop policy.

Pretty sure is it your trailer and you can make decisions about it. And if push came to shove you could get an attorney to make sure you left with your trailer and no work done.

If you wanted to haul off your disassembled trailer on a flat bed, you have that right. You would still owe whatever (maybe unreasonable) charge that is owed to that point.
And it would be uncomfortable
Not prudent
And a few other things
If it were my shop you would be signing a waiver stating death or serious injury of you or others was possible in the current condition

And they could contact the law stating an unsafe vehicle was leaving their shop with the license plate of .....

But pretty sure you could do it and the act of leaving the shop is not illegal. Even if the brakes were not working at all

Action
Exactly...they want to bogus you into the job.

Every work order I wrote had the declaration, I will call you with an estimate and there is a "labor charge should you refuse the repair.

Moot point now as the parts have been ordered.
But I would avoid that shop in the future.

Bob
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