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Old 05-28-2009, 10:24 PM   #1
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Lucy's Brakes Are Fading

We need some advice on a trailer brake issue. Lucy is an '05 25FB with electric trailer brakes. The TV brake controller is a Tekonsha P3. Lucy has been towed about 45,000 miles.

Setting 11 on the P3 would always lock the wheels, so I ran it at 10. Starting several days ago 10 was not cutting it. I have now set it at 13 (max), and getting only about 50% braking action by my estimate.

Do y'all think that we need an adjustment or are they worn out?

Is there an adjustment that we can do on the road using legos to lift one wheel at a time. We don't have a jack with us. We are pretty mechanically adept. Should we try this at a campground or take it to a dealer? The brake adjustment instructions in the Airstream Manual seem pretty straight forward. Are there any tricks we should know?

The hubs were serviced and the brakes inspected about 10,000 miles/6 months ago by the Airstream dealer in Alachua, Florida.

Tonight we are in Mount Shasta, California. We will be heading up to Eugene, Oregon on Saturday. We are planning to bring Lucy to the Airstream Dealer in Eugene on Monday if we can not resolve this issue ourselves. Does this dealer have a good reputation?

Brian
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Old 05-28-2009, 11:00 PM   #2
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You can adjust the mechanical star-wheel adjusters, per the instructions in the manual. This will help compensate for brake shoe wear (unless they are worn out).

You might also check to ensure that all electrical connections are clean and shiny - perhaps some corrosion is lowering the voltage on it's way back to the brakes.

It is also possible that you have one or more grease seals leaking - which will prevent the shoes from doing their job. You will need to remove the wheels and drums to check for this.
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Old 05-29-2009, 12:52 AM   #3
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Thanks for the guidance. We will give it a try in the morning.

Brian
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Old 05-29-2009, 01:12 AM   #4
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Hi, Brian. I bought my trailer from George Sutton and on one trip I made an un-announced visit to his service dept. and was well taken care of. If you don't get it fixed before then, I would recommend them. Good Luck. Note: on my P-3 my brakes will pass the lock up test at 25 MPH set on 8.5 so I set mine .3 lower.
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Old 05-29-2009, 08:23 AM   #5
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if the seals are leaking you might see evidence on the edges of the drums or even the wheels. with the miles you travel, a brake adjustment might well be due.

as dan mentioned, try to get a voltage reading at the drums. if it's low, start working back to the controller and don't forget to check the ground too.
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Old 05-29-2009, 05:01 PM   #6
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We did Lucy's brake adjustment earlier today. We adjusted the star wheels as tight in as they will go and the wheel still spins freely. I guess the brake shoe are just worn too thin. This can be accomplished using a legos ramp to lift one wheel off the ground at a time.

SuEllyn called Sutton Airstream in Eugene, Oregon. They said that they can take Lucy in for treatment first thing Monday Morning.

I guess 45,000 miles on a set of brake shoes is pretty good, especially since I frequently use the manual levr on the brake controller to slow down and even stop the whole rig.

Brian
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Old 05-29-2009, 05:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moosetags View Post
We need some advice on a trailer brake issue. Lucy is an '05 25FB with electric trailer brakes. The TV brake controller is a Tekonsha P3. Lucy has been towed about 45,000 miles.

Setting 11 on the P3 would always lock the wheels, so I ran it at 10. Starting several days ago 10 was not cutting it. I have now set it at 13 (max), and getting only about 50% braking action by my estimate.

Do y'all think that we need an adjustment or are they worn out?

Is there an adjustment that we can do on the road using legos to lift one wheel at a time. We don't have a jack with us. We are pretty mechanically adept. Should we try this at a campground or take it to a dealer? The brake adjustment instructions in the Airstream Manual seem pretty straight forward. Are there any tricks we should know?

The hubs were serviced and the brakes inspected about 10,000 miles/6 months ago by the Airstream dealer in Alachua, Florida.

Tonight we are in Mount Shasta, California. We will be heading up to Eugene, Oregon on Saturday. We are planning to bring Lucy to the Airstream Dealer in Eugene on Monday if we can not resolve this issue ourselves. Does this dealer have a good reputation?

Brian
Electric brake magnets are good for about 20,000 miles.

Electric brake shoes are good for about 35,000 to 40,000 miles.

Based on that, there shouldn't be much left to adjust, and the armature plate and/or the drum face portion of the hub and drums, could be badly scored.

Andy
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Old 05-29-2009, 07:40 PM   #8
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Tonight we are in Mount Shasta, California. We will be heading up to Eugene, Oregon on Saturday. We are planning to bring Lucy to the Airstream Dealer in Eugene on Monday if we can not resolve this issue ourselves. Does this dealer have a good reputation?

Brian
Brian,

My experience with them was not good.
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Old 05-29-2009, 08:47 PM   #9
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Brian,

My experience with them was not good.
Ditto with us from what we've heard.
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Old 05-29-2009, 09:51 PM   #10
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Brian,

My experience with them was not good.
Thanks for the heads up, Michelle.

I'm kind of between a rock and a hard place being this far from home with barely working trailer brakes. I guess that I am going to have to give Sutton a try and hope for the best.

Brian
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Old 05-29-2009, 09:53 PM   #11
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Thanks for the heads up, Michelle.

I'm kind of between a rock and a hard place being this far from home with barely working trailer brakes. I guess that I am going to have to give Sutton a try and hope for the best.

Brian
Maybe you could contact Lewster on the forums. He may still be in the area.
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Old 05-29-2009, 10:28 PM   #12
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Lew responds to PMs. Period.

My Safari is 6 months younger than yours. I'll watch this outcome with interest!
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Old 06-02-2009, 01:17 PM   #13
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I spent yesterday at Sutton Airstream in Eugene, Oregon attending to Lucy's brake repair.

The drums were badly scored as the brake shoes were totally worn out.

I decided to go with all new brake components.

Lucy got new backing plates with all of the attached mechanisms, shoes magnets, actuators, springs, etc. She also got all new drums.

I also decided to get her brand new wheel bearings while I was at it.

Lucy's running gear is now all brand new, even the tires which we replaced in Quartzsite a couple of weeks ago.

The total bill at Sutton was $1150.00. I know it's a bunch, but we decided that we were going to make her like new in the bake department. We do so much traveling that we feel this is a must.

The technicians at Sutton were professional and competent.

We appreciate Sutton Airstream getting Lucy in and out the same day.

Brian
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Old 06-02-2009, 01:45 PM   #14
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Glad to hear all went well, have wondered how Sutton was doing down the road. Did they let you in the shop while they were working on it? I sure appreciate that courtesy.
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Old 06-03-2009, 12:14 AM   #15
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Yes, I went in and looked at the old brake parts. The guys seemed really competent, so I left them at it.

Another good thing about having it done in Oregon is that there was no sales tax.

Brian
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Old 06-03-2009, 12:22 AM   #16
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Yes, I went in and looked at the old brake parts. The guys seemed really competent, so I left them at it.

Another good thing about having it done in Oregon is that there was no sales tax.

Brian
Hi, I'm glad my friend George and his crew took good care of you/Lucy. As for the sales tax, That was one of the reasons we bought our trailer from George Sutton. Have you crawled under Daisy lately? Maybe she is actually a he and should be renamed Desi. [Desi & Lucy]
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Old 06-03-2009, 10:01 AM   #17
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Yes, I went in and looked at the old brake parts. The guys seemed really competent, so I left them at it.

Another good thing about having it done in Oregon is that there was no sales tax.

Brian
Glad to hear you had a good experience with Sutton. I guess things may have changed over there.

You should switch to disk brakes. Mine are still fine after 65,000 miles. Another 10,000 miles and I am going to replace my 100,000 mile axles. They are sealed and I never let anything run until its limit.
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Old 06-03-2009, 10:12 AM   #18
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I was considering doing a disc conversion on Lucy, but I got caught up in a situation where I had to do it now. I didn't intend to run the old to the point of failure. I had the hubs serviced 10,000 miles ago, and was not told that the brake shoes were wearing thin. I will be more vigilant in the future. I will consider doing a disc conversion next time. If I do this, I would like to have it done at Jackson Center.

Brian
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