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Old 05-09-2018, 11:24 AM   #1
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1988 25' Excella
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Need help with brake work...

My trailer is a 1988 25' with 10" electric drum brakes.

I swapped out all 4 brake assemblies and installed self adjusting brakes from E-trailer. I put on 4 new drums from South west wheel. One by one I checked each wheel for function by raising the wheel and pulling the breakaway switch. Each wheel seemed to be function since I could turn it by hand. I then adjusted the brakes so that they were tight and then backed off a little. I have retested one wheel by jacking up the wheel so that the tire turns and then used the lever on the brake controller in the truck and the brake functioned and I could not turn the wheel by hand.

But, on test drives I have no braking. I push the lever to activate the brakes and I cannot even feel the rig slow. I have no braking from the trailer when I push the brake pedal. The controller light is going from green to full red. It all worked before I changed the brakes. (It all seems to work now except the brakes do not have any stopping power).

Any suggestions, please.

At this point I would hate to have to put the old ones back on and and take it to a shop for a brake job but that seems to be what is coming.
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Old 05-09-2018, 11:40 AM   #2
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Long shots but what the heck.

Any chance to substitute with a different tow vehicle? That’s a real quick controller check.

Brakes aren’t adjusted as you hoped they are. Dexter has a pdf on adjustment.

Oh poo any chance backing plates are swapped L for R ? Not even sure if it’s possible.

Good luck.

Gary
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Old 05-09-2018, 12:08 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. I have the brakes marked left on the driver side and the brakes marked right on the curb side. I was worried that maybe I ordered the wrong brakes so I took a drum back off. Could see some black marks where the solenoid was dragging and some gunk on the shoe. Size seems correct, 10" by 2 1/4 shoes just like the old ones.

I guess I am going to try taking both wheels off of one side and cleaning everything inside again and they try to adjust them to what I think is too tight and see what happens.
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Old 05-09-2018, 12:12 PM   #4
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When the brakes are adjusted correctly you should feel some drag when you rotate the tire. When the brake controller is not activated.
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Old 05-09-2018, 12:15 PM   #5
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It doesn't take much braking power to keep you from turning the wheel by hand. Stopping the trailer is another thing. Typically new brakes have to bed in before you get much stopping power. The classical way to do that is to drive at about 20 mph and engage the brakes while driving. Once they start to grab, continue, alternating braking and cooling until you don't get any improvement.

You say you adjusted them by tightening them up and then backing off. Presumably you know that you should back them off only until they drag slightly, not until they freely rotate.

The self adjusting mechanism is not immediate, if there is too much play it may take several stops to work. It works going forward, not backing as car brakes once did.

As Gary said, the brakes have a left and right side. Make sure you have them mounted properly. One shoe is longer than the other. I don't remember which one should be in the front.

What controller do you have? The Tekonsha P3 has a troubleshooting mode that will tell you how much current the brakes are drawing. You should see about 3 amps per brake, or a total of 12A for four. Is the full red a normal indication, or an alarm?

Al
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Old 05-09-2018, 12:21 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill M. View Post
Thanks for the reply. I have the brakes marked left on the driver side and the brakes marked right on the curb side. I was worried that maybe I ordered the wrong brakes so I took a drum back off. Could see some black marks where the solenoid was dragging and some gunk on the shoe. Size seems correct, 10" by 2 1/4 shoes just like the old ones.

I guess I am going to try taking both wheels off of one side and cleaning everything inside again and they try to adjust them to what I think is too tight and see what happens.
Shouldn't see any black marks on the solenoid or the surface of the drum. The face of the drum (where the lug bolts/studs go through) should be a smooth, turned surface. The magnet should be smoothly in contact with it when rotating.

Shouldn't be any gunk on the shoe. If very much you may need to replace the shoes. Once grease gets absorbed/pressed into the friction material it is worthless for stopping.

Al
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Old 05-09-2018, 03:48 PM   #7
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Thanks guys. I adjusted the brakes up to where there was drag turning the wheel by hand. I took it for a ride. At first there was little braking. I rode the hand controller on and off. After about 5 miles on the interstate with intermittent pushing of the controller it started to brake. Now it brakes pretty hard.

Can I assume that the self adjusting feature of the brakes will keep them set at whatever it keeps them set at in terms of adjustment. That is, if I back off a notch to 2 now will it probably just move back to what it is now?

The controller I have is a Tokendsa but not the P2 or P3. It just has a light that turns from green to red through stages of yellow to indicate it is controlling. It is a proportional controller but without the output meters. I am thinking about upgrading that also. I would like to see a meter or some numbers or something to build information on.
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Old 05-09-2018, 05:59 PM   #8
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Bill,

Sounds like some progress and I might sound like a broken record here but here goes.

Get an infrared thermometer and shoot the drums to read the temps. Nope, I don't know what temp they should be but braking makes heat, no heat, not braking. Big disparity in readings, also a concern. Very useful thermal troubleshooting tool and helps check griddle temp for great pancakes.

Gary
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Old 05-10-2018, 10:07 AM   #9
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Bill,

Sounds like some progress and I might sound like a broken record here but here goes.

Get an infrared thermometer and shoot the drums to read the temps. Nope, I don't know what temp they should be but braking makes heat, no heat, not braking. Big disparity in readings, also a concern. Very useful thermal troubleshooting tool and helps check griddle temp for great pancakes.

Gary
I bought a Ryobi infrared thermometer and use it to check and confirm approximately equal temperatures in all 4 AS wheels and tires periodically. Also check if brakes or tires are overheating. Inexpensive at about $25 or so at Home Depot. I like the griddle check idea, too!

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Ryobi-In...R002/205509667
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