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Old 09-08-2021, 04:24 PM   #1
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Replace all 4 hubs on 2018 27 FB Flying Cloud

This is a complicated story. I apologize for the length.

I have had our 27 FB Flying Cloud for 4 years. We have put approximately 40,000 miles on the trailer including trips to Alaska, Maritime Canada, and roads throughout the rest of the US. During last trip this summer, I had sense the brakes were not responding as strongly as earlier. When we returned home, I took trailer to Airstream dealer to fix several things and check brakes. First email concerning brakes was the following:

"Your brakes are in bad shape. One of the pads is broken and the rest are ~1/8" thick. We highly recommend replacing all 4 of them. The backing plate assemblies are $115.96 each and the job will take a total of 2 hours. That puts you at $784.94 before tax for this job."

In response, I asked what was the thickness of new brake pads?

Answer:

"I measured the thickness of the pads on the new backing plate assemblies, and they are also 1/8" thick. I asked my tech about this and he was unsure of the original thickness of the pads on the Dexter backing plates currently on your unit. The backing plate assemblies that we carry are from Lippert.

Also, there seems to have been a bit of miscommunication between the technician and I. I was under the impression that 1/8" was bad, but he was just reporting the thickness of the pads. He is recommended replacing all 4 backing plates and drums based on the damage to the passenger side, which is the only side he has inspected. Anything you do with brakes, you want to do on both sides so that the braking is symmetrical.

I'm attaching photos showing the condition on the passenger side backing plates assemblies as well as the Nev-r-lube drums. The rear passenger side backing plate has failed and caused significant scoring on the inside of the drum. The brakes and drums on the rear axle definitely need to be replaced. The Nev-r-Lube hub and drum kits are $482.77 each.

I am also attaching photos of your front passenger side backing plate and the inside of the drum. While the brake pads themselves seem to actually have plenty of life left on them, the magnet and drum have been scored. This means that the magnet cannot "grab" the drum as well as it should, and thus the brakes are not being applied as hard as they should. That is probably why there is so much pad left on it and why you felt that the brakes weren't doing much.

A set of 4 Nev-R-Lube drums will run you $1931.08 in addition to the 4 backing plate assemblies and the 2 hours of labor we discussed earlier. You definitely need to do the rear axle, and we recommend replacing the brakes and drums on the forward axle as well. "

I responded that this email was confusing to me. The next email:

"We recommend that you replace all 4 backing plate assemblies and all 4 Nev-R-Lube hub and drum kits. The backing plate assemblies are $115.96 each for a total of $463.84 and the Nev-R-Lube hub and drum kits are $482.77 each for a total of $1931.08. It will take 2 hours ($321.10) to complete the job. The grand total will be $2,716.02 before sales tax.

I'm attaching some photos showing a new backing plate assembly with the magnet(1) and brake pads(2) labeled, as well as a picture of your old passenger side rear drum for your reference. The concentric rings on the drum show where the grooves and ridges have been scored into the drum by the magnet. "

I am not throwing this company under the bus. I really appreciate the willingness to talk via email which makes possible the sharing here. Also, I have found this company to be straightforward and reliable. I confess I find the terminology hard to understand.

My current questions:

1. Is this beyond normal wear and tear? Like everyone who has driven a trailer for significant time, I have made hard stops when a car in front slowed unexpectedly and have had to rely on brakes on steep hillsides. At 40,000 miles, is this just to be expected?

2. Even if I do as recommended for the rear axle, does this description warrant doing the front axle as well?

3. Should I be concerned about move from Dexter to Lippert?

4. It is a lot of money. I can understand some degree of caution, but is what is being recommended overkill?

Thanks for any advice!
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Old 09-08-2021, 06:24 PM   #2
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1. Is this beyond normal wear and tear? Like everyone who has driven a trailer for significant time, I have made hard stops when a car in front slowed unexpectedly and have had to rely on brakes on steep hillsides. At 40,000 miles, is this just to be expected?

Well, 40,000 miles is getting up there. It seems like disc brakes used to last 75-100k, but nowadays, I only get about 50k out of them, so it isn't hard to imagine the brakes being well worn after 40k.
That being said, they didn't really say your brakes are worn out. The broken brake shoe is not normal wear and tear, and not being able to see any of the pictures, I can't really opine on the wear to the drums or magnets.


2. Even if I do as recommended for the rear axle, does this description warrant doing the front axle as well?

See the answer to #4.

3. Should I be concerned about move from Dexter to Lippert?

My concern is that because of the change, you are having to replace more stuff than is really damaged. It sounds like the damage includes drums, shoes, and maybe magnets. I am not understanding why the back plates and hubs need to be replaced, other than perhaps to enable this switch of vendors. Maybe this is just how the "kit" is sold.

4. It is a lot of money. I can understand some degree of caution, but is what is being recommended overkill?

This seems very expensive. I believe you could get the entire axles (with new drums and hubs, and all) replaced for that much or less at a trailer shop. Ask your dealer what a complete axle replacement would cost, just for fun. There is a recent thread discussing the crazy prices a dealer charges for an axle replacement : https://www.airforums.com/forums/f43...nt-226811.html

good luck!
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Old 09-09-2021, 10:31 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnm30327 View Post
I confess I find the terminology hard to understand.

My current questions:

1. Is this beyond normal wear and tear? Like everyone who has driven a trailer for significant time, I have made hard stops when a car in front slowed unexpectedly and have had to rely on brakes on steep hillsides. At 40,000 miles, is this just to be expected?

2. Even if I do as recommended for the rear axle, does this description warrant doing the front axle as well?

3. Should I be concerned about move from Dexter to Lippert?

4. It is a lot of money. I can understand some degree of caution, but is what is being recommended overkill?

Thanks for any advice!
Thanks for the post. (And it is being moved to Brakes from axles)

Terminology - You have drum brakes. Drum brakes use brake shoes as the wearing friction material part. You reference pads. Pads are only on disc brakes. While it is possible to have disc brakes on an AirStream you do not. Using the term pads confuses the reader as to what you do have and how to answer question as the answer is different for drum brakes than for disc brakes

1) At 40,000 miles it would be normal for brakes shoes to be worn out. Annual visual inspection of brakes would discover if brake shoes should be replaced before causing damage to the drums.

2) Axle replacement is not required. Inspecting brakes on all locations should be done before making a determining decision

3) Never heard of a Lippert

4) Yes it is and there may be some over repair happening

Questions - can you post the pictures?
have all drum brakes been inspected?

It can be less money to replaced a "loaded" backing plate than to just replace the shoes. Drum replacement which would be unusual would drive up the cost a lot! Typically the drums can be machined depending on damage. Posting pictures would help

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Old 09-09-2021, 04:03 PM   #4
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First it's rather unusual for a 'qualified' technician to continue to refer to brake 'shoes' as 'pads'...a red flag for this old nucklebuster.

Could it be north of the border thing? 🥴

We had a shoe lining failure when Cloudsplitter was only a few years old, the shoe bonding had failed, Dexter stood by the warrantee and replaced them.
At that time the thickness of the new shoes was considerably more than 1/8".

Posting the photo's they sent would be helpful.

As noted above the compleat brake assembly would be a normal repair. What reason was given for the hubs being done along with the one axle part...
I also think you may be being 'overfixed' specially the axle part.👎

Bob
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Old 09-09-2021, 04:25 PM   #5
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Hi

At this point (judging from the noises) we are about to head over to get the 4th brake assembly replaced on our 2017 Classic. Brake shoes wise and how fast they wear out? No idea in our case the entire assembly commits suicide before there is any significant wear. This started happening when the trailer was still in warranty (which for brakes is quite short) and (I'm guessing) continues to this day.

If from that you would guess that I'm not a big fan of Dexter brakes ... at this point, no, I'm not a big fan of Dexter brakes. If indeed it turns out to be a Never Lube bearing, I can't say that would make me super happy ...

Bob
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Old 09-09-2021, 04:37 PM   #6
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Lippert

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Old 09-09-2021, 05:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
Lippert

Bob
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That may be the answer. I've got an appointment with the repair shop coming up in a while. They will put in whatever I want. We had that discussion back a couple of years ago.

Bob
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Old 09-09-2021, 05:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
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Hi

That may be the answer. I've got an appointment with the repair shop coming up in a while. They will put in whatever I want. We had that discussion back a couple of years ago.

Bob
But not at "The backing plate assemblies are $115.96" I hope.

Bob
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Old 09-09-2021, 06:20 PM   #9
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The part of the shoe that contacts the hub (or drum) is a pad and I have heard the term used that way or even for the whole shoe and for the pads on disc brakes. Terminology varies by region and people do get it wrong.

We put more than 50,000 on our brakes and they still were the usual not so good electric brakes. We did have a bearing fail and that eventually led to replacing the hub, and then we replaced the brake assemblies so they were self adjusting. Perhaps we had better quality brakes in 2009 when that was done.

I can see replacing the brake assembly on both wheels of the same axles, but not both axles. And the materials prices seem very high. I haven’t had any work done in a shop for several years that I had to pay for, but the hourly rate seems high too.

Lippert is a company that has had many complaints over quality. They are also known as LCI. Our Nash jack failed fast and the company that had made it had been sold to Lippert. Lippert unilaterally and illegally changed the warranty terms from 3 years to one year.
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Old 09-09-2021, 08:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
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The part of the shoe that contacts the hub (or drum) is a pad and I have heard the term used that way or even for the whole shoe and for the pads on disc brakes. Terminology varies by region and people do get it wrong.

.
Technically not correct. The material on the brake shoe that contacts the drum is brake lining. In the bad old days (1950s or so) shoes had the lining replaced and there was a core charge on the shoes. The old shoes were sent back so they could be relined. That no longer happens.

You are correct in many people call brake shoe lining, pads. But brake pads are the thing that is used in disc brakes. No one puts brake pads on drum brakes. And not using the word brake in front of the word pad leads to the confusion.

Brakes shoes
Brake pads
Those are the industry terms.
Don't take my word for it. And don't pass on what non-industry people talk. And I could post many examples of names that are used incorrectly. It would be OK in a face to face situation. One can see what is being discussed. Or if pictures were posted.

And I do not bring it up to be punitive. More to be clear in the communication . Because that is all a forum is about. TO share thoughts & ideas.

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Old 09-10-2021, 07:50 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
But not at "The backing plate assemblies are $115.96" I hope.

Bob
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Hi

The gotcha here is "do you want to pull off all 4 wheels every 3 months just to see what's going on". I *know* I don't want to do that. (and re-torque all 4 wheels at three spaced out stops afterwords ... yuck ...). I also don't believe that with a reliable brake setup you should have to do that.

So was it back at this or that point? I can't really say ... don't have the data. For all I know a little green man jumps in there with a sledge hammer .....

Bob
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Old 09-10-2021, 10:19 AM   #12
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Hi

The gotcha here is "do you want to pull off all 4 wheels every 3 months just to see what's going on". I *know* I don't want to do that. (and re-torque all 4 wheels at three spaced out stops afterwords ... yuck ...). I also don't believe that with a reliable brake setup you should have to do that.

So was it back at this or that point? I can't really say ... don't have the data. For all I know a little green man jumps in there with a sledge hammer .....

Bob
I was 'told' by Dexter when the shoes failed not long after AS purchase that they were overseas sourced, and that is no longer is the case.
I never had a concern for 11 yrs

I do inspect regularly and adjust at every get ready.
I believe, but cannot prove, that the the auto-adj brakes don't auto enough and the sloppy cables may be the reason for the spring & cable failure some have experienced.
As I've said many times. 'Nothing is for never.

This has not been a hi-mi year and I haven't pulled the drums yet. That will be next Spring, clean out the old & re-pack with Amsoil HiTemp WB grease.

Bob
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Old 09-10-2021, 02:04 PM   #13
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And I do not bring it up to be punitive.

Action
Sure.
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Old 09-10-2021, 02:11 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
I was 'told' by Dexter when the shoes failed not long after AS purchase that they were overseas sourced, and that is no longer is the case.
I never had a concern for 11 yrs

I do inspect regularly and adjust at every get ready.
I believe, but cannot prove, that the the auto-adj brakes don't auto enough and the sloppy cables may be the reason for the spring & cable failure some have experienced.
As I've said many times. 'Nothing is for never.

This has not been a hi-mi year and I haven't pulled the drums yet. That will be next Spring, clean out the old & re-pack with Amsoil HiTemp WB grease.

Bob
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Hi

You could easily convince me that the original Dexter parts on my 2017 had some sort of latent defect. It wouldn't even take half a bottle of warm beer .... I'm not the only 2017 Classic owner with this "experience".

Since the OP has a 2018 that would suggest that if he has the same issues from the same source, this went on for at least a year.

For the record, my brakes are the auto adjusting Dexters and the hubs are the Never LUbe flavor. I *assume* the 2018 FC's got the same.

Bob
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Old 09-10-2021, 02:23 PM   #15
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When I was at JC with my '98 and needed brakes, the tech there advised to replace the whole brake and backing plate as a unit. This would be a savings on labor as the assembly is complete and quick to install. I think that was a good move.

Can't imagine the OP would need new hubs in any case.

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Old 09-10-2021, 02:41 PM   #16
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Let's just admit that electric trailer brakes are not very good, but discs cost a lot more and trailer manufacturers don't want to pay for them. I recall a fair number of complaints about the disc brake upgrade that some had installed years ago. Maybe the disc brake options are better now. We rely on our truck brakes to stop the rig and that wears them faster than otherwise. I rebuilt almost all of my truck brake system around 100,000 miles. Brake parts are pretty reasonable and I did most of it myself. I test trailer brakes every time we go out and they slow the rig, but stopping takes a lot of distance. With two different trailers, that result has always the same.

This is not to say to ignore the trailer brakes. I had a wire come apart on one Airstream brake. The connecter had not been crimped sufficiently, so I always checked the wires too. The OEM brakes were not self adjusting and adjusting them was a pain, but not long after we bought it, Dexter brought out self adjusting ones (about 50 years after cars got them) and we had them installed at Jackson Center since we were there anyway.

Wondering what the OP has done since his original post. It did look like the dealer was eager to make money.
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Old 09-10-2021, 04:31 PM   #17
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Comparing cars & trucks to RVs is a bit like comparing green apples to green peas. Cars, trucks and RVs have brakes, wheels & tires but .....

The car and light truck industry will manufacture 11 to 15 million units in the US market annually

The RV industry will make a half a million units annually on a good year.

Parts will always be expensive and technology will always be behind as compared to car versus what is on RVs as there is far fewer units made. And little to none of the parts on cars or light trucks have any application on an RV. Even though both have brakes. A motorhome maybe an exception when a truck chassis is used. Most most truck chassis used for motorhomes are low production vehicles from the heavy truck segment.

So RV parts will be harder to obtain, more expensive and for the most part the technology used on RVs will always be far behind the car and light truck industry. Not that it is a bad thing. It just is. And any manufacturer (especially one that builds in low unit numbers) has to build for the center of a target market. The market may move but the builder can not manufacturer too far outside of the target market.

Which is why non-adjustable drum brakes are still the RV trailer standard. And greater maintenance is needed in the form of annual brake inspections which means removing ALL drums each year. Which likely was not done above. That maintenance frequency can be found in the Airstream owner's manual.

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Old 09-10-2021, 05:39 PM   #18
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POI It will be interesting to see the drum assemblies that are on the new axles we had installed at JC last year, we'll be re-packing next spring to get rid of the cheep grease.

Bob
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Old 09-10-2021, 05:59 PM   #19
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To the OP. I recently replaced all brake assemblies and the four drums with neverlube bearings (2013 trailer). One of the bearings went bad and all four drums had significant scoring where the magnets rubbed. $2,500 or so for parts is about right. I replaced with Dexter brake assemblies because it was OEM. I see where Lippert makes brake assemblies that are supposed to be of the same spec, and are slightly cheaper. Get on etrailer.com to price parts. That's where I got my parts, and I did the work myself. It was easier than expected, and two hours labor for a pro seems about right. I also recommend doing all four wheels now. Once and done, peace of mind for the next few years.
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Old 09-11-2021, 09:52 AM   #20
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Pictures and more info

Sorry for the lack of response but was trying to understand better the information I have. There have been developments. I am attaching pictures. I made a visit to see for myself.

1. Hub/drum and brake assembly/pads are the names I will use. I am attaching a Dexter description of how brakes work.

2. Only wheels removed were on right side. Front and rear. I have not seen the left side.

3. Rear brake assembly has almost non-existent pads and severely damaged. Rear drum is scored.

4. Front brake assembly has what looks like new pads, but scoring on drum and magnet. You can feel the scoring by wiping a finger across the drum face.

5. It may be that the front assembly was not engaging as pads look like new. If so, then more strain on rear unit.

6. Advice is that whatever you do to one side, you have to do to the other.

7. Advice is to replace all 4 brake assemblies and hubs.

8. It is cheaper to replace entire brake assembly than attempt to replace pads due to more labor needed.

9. Brake assemblies to be Lippert. Hubs to be Dexter.

10. Dexter Hubs are on backorder with delivery date of January although a date so far away may mean they really don't know when hubs will be available.

11. Would it make sense to try to smooth out drums and reuse since replacement may mean a long delay?

Severely damaged rear brake assembly

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Scored drum

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Score magnet

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New Lippert Brake assembly

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Rear brake assembly and scored drum

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Interesting Dexter pamphlet on how brakes work.

Trailer Brakes.pdf

More scored drum

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