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Old 01-12-2007, 06:15 PM   #41
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Trailer size vs TV size may effect the price analysis for sure. I am towing a 77/31 with a 1500 Avalanche. I guess if you are towing a Quick Silver with a big dually 3500 they may not be as important. But if they do not modulate well the Bambi mi still end up in front of you.
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Old 01-12-2007, 06:23 PM   #42
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Garth Cane, technical adviser for RV Lifestyles magazine wrote a detailed report on the advantages of RV disc brakes. He summed up by saying...

After you installed your disc brakes, look for smother stopping distances, lower heat buildup, lower maintenance costs, reduced brake fade, and as much as 30% reduction in stopping distances.
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Old 01-12-2007, 08:32 PM   #43
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I have drums on my 60 trdwnd and there ok .they do have the issues that Phil has mentioned ,but not any real problems at all .I completely agree that
disc brakes are superior in every way .reduced fade (if any) and great
stopping ability .Travelall has discs on it now ,never kept drums on any vintage vehical Ive owned ,always converted to disc.On restorations ,
Ill install 4 wheel disc conversions if available ,the customers are amazed at the stopping ability and how smooth it all works .On any larger trailer I
definately would upgrade to disc brakes.Alot of weight to stop, so go with
the best setup you can .I agree with uwe as well, on the off ramps and other types of driving ,discs are just better .the travelall has the Fuller 5 speed and so downhills are no problem as excessive use of the brakes is not needed . I use the trans and gearing to control the speed ,just like the big trucks do .this is my own experience with my rig ,others will have different experiences.My goal is to not have to be on the brakes alot if I don't need to be .Discs can benefit all airstreams small or large .The trailer industry is now
starting to come around to the benefits of disc at last .

Scott
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Old 01-12-2007, 09:04 PM   #44
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Good!

Well said Scott!

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Old 01-12-2007, 10:33 PM   #45
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Hi, I don't disagree that disc brakes can be better, But if you don't need them why spend the time money and effort to change to disc? I have been through many western states and through lots of mountain roads with no fade problems. Matter of fact, on my last trip through Oregon, I was comeing down a long fairly steep grade, I was in third gear [manually down shifted] and only touched the brakes a few times all the way down hill. When I got to the bottom of the hill while coming to a complete stop I noticed that I needed more pressure on the tow vehicle's brake pedal. I also noticed the brake controller light was out. [no trailer brakes at all] Bottom line I found a bad connection at my 7 pin connector. [ground wire pin] Cleaned the connector and back to normal. Now that I've taken you through the scenic route, I will get to the point; And that is, if you are one of those drivers that drags your brakes all the way down hill you will overheat and burn up any brakes made on this planet. So a lot of brake problems are directly related to driveing skills. And of coarse improper mantainence and adjustment of the brakes and controllers. Going to disc brakes will eliminate one of these adjustments.
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Old 01-12-2007, 11:37 PM   #46
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Hello Bob ,

I agree with you there ,We towed from nebraska to Ca and took a long venture thru Arizona to prescott and south down into congress and
had no issues with the trailer brakes ,and going down off the high pass
(quite a drop down ) we were good ,what a view though ,and its like going from the trees one minute and desert the next .The gearing down and good driving skills do make the difference .I myself still have drums ,and will for
a while as they are working fine and do the job .Again ,the discs give you much more in the braking than drums, I don't disagree with your thoughts
on proper braking /operation of the TV and trailer.

Scott
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Old 01-13-2007, 08:52 AM   #47
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I needed them!!

It only took one panic stop when a woman overran the stop sign at a mall exit and stuck 3' of her hood out in my lane to convince me that I did the right thing in converting to disks. With drums, it would have been either hit her or head-on with the opposite lane. I stopped inches short of hitting her. This just happened last week. With drums, I would be processing insurance claims right now.

I have driven plenty of mountains with drums with no problems; drums will do the job under ordinary circumstances. Where disks shine is the exceptions.

A friend recently converted his 31 Limited to disks, largely on my recommendation. Both he and his wife separately came to me thanking me for being the final push that had them convert. The interesting thing is that the wife, who never has even driven the truck, let alone towed, raved about the smoothness of the disks. She said that she could always feel the drums, especially on wet surfaces, but has never felt the disks. That confirms my experience that towing with the disks is like driving the tow vehicle solo.

Best money I have ever spent on a trailer.
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Old 01-13-2007, 09:07 AM   #48
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I think discs are better, but I too have had at least 2 extreme braking situations simialr to John's and in both cases our drums worked flawlessly and smoothly. The Suburban and the trailer felt like one piece, working in unison. The brakes on the Safari are still fairly new (maybe near 7k on them), so I can't say how they will behave as they wear further.
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Old 01-13-2007, 09:17 AM   #49
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But ...

Disks have about 50% more stopping power than drums. Given that I stopped just a couple of inches short with full pedal, I'll guarantee that with drums, I would have hit her. That, to me, is the difference that makes discs worthwhile.

The bonus is the smoothness of the disks and no need to adjust for driving conditions or rusty drums after the trailer has sat for a while.

In my storage facility, I have to go down a sharp decline a few yards from where the trailer is stored. After the trailer has sat for a while, with drums, I had to fully back off the controller to keep the drums from locking up. I never have to touch the disks.
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Old 01-13-2007, 12:07 PM   #50
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Big Rigs

Any of you all have any experience with big rigs? I was looking at some of the trailers out in the yard where I work. They all have drum brakes, but they're massive. And the drums are totally open on the back to let heat and brake dust out. The drum linings are really really big with a lot of swept area. And, they use a mechanical lever arm hooked to a big air cylinder to actuate them, so they get lots of clamping force.

I know they stop OK. But I guess you couldn't do a system like that on something with wheels as "small" as what our travel trailers use. As well, if you lose air pressure, you just lost the brakes.

All systems are trade offs. I always heard drums stopped just fine on the first stop. But once they start warming up, that's pretty much it. But, my old '65 Plymouth Sport Fury had non power assisted drums. You had to put both feet on the pedal and really push, and that freight car still didn't want to stop. I took the spindles and vacuum booster off a '69 New Yorker and put on it and converted it to power disks. Made a big difference.

I've never towed out west. I have driven a 4-cylinder Cavalier over some 11,000 foot passes out there though. I'd want to have good brakes coming down the other side!!

I know with the new disk rigs you have the added complexity of the E over H unit, but I still think they're the way to go. I'm really partial to the setup that Towbrake makes, where it's just a big linear actuator. Very simple, not much to go wrong with it. There's no pump, just a giant servo that pushes the piston on a standard automotive type master cylinder. It's a big unit, but not so big you couldn't stick it under a gaucho or something. But I've not heard of any of the others failing on a guy either.

Anyway, to each their own. They'll all work well if you drive right. But I'm gonna go new disks to replace my old worn out disks.

Cheers!
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Old 01-13-2007, 12:55 PM   #51
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Just wanted to throw this out there. I won't sell the Actibrake controller( it's new) but if someone really is doing a self install disc brake conversion, they can have it for free for the cost of packing it up and shipping it. BUT... Mike Lewis has the first right of refusal because he contacted me first about it.He may or may not need it. Just PM me.
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Old 01-13-2007, 01:03 PM   #52
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What a deal.

At Axis we sold that part alone for $500.00.

What a deal for someone. You're a true sport.

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Old 01-13-2007, 04:31 PM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERTSUNRUS
Hi, I don't disagree that disc brakes can be better, But if you don't need them why spend the time money and effort to change to disc?
You don't need a parachute unless your going to jump out of the plane.

You don't need disc brakes, until you do.

But when you need them, and don't have them, then what?

Safety, Safety, Safety, is the name of the game.

Do all you can do, and more if possible.

There are far to many inconsiderate unsafe drivers out there. Be equipped the best that you can.

Insurance is a "HUGE" waste, until you need it. Brakes are a waste too, until you need them.

Disc brakes are not a waste, but it's the best that can be done by todays standards.

Andy
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Old 01-13-2007, 04:55 PM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimGolden
Any of you all have any experience with big rigs? I was looking at some of the trailers out in the yard where I work. They all have drum brakes, but they're massive. And the drums are totally open on the back to let heat and brake dust out. The drum linings are really really big with a lot of swept area. And, they use a mechanical lever arm hooked to a big air cylinder to actuate them, so they get lots of clamping force.

I know they stop OK. But I guess you couldn't do a system like that on something with wheels as "small" as what our travel trailers use. As well, if you lose air pressure, you just lost the brakes.
I drove tractor/trailer 30 years ago. The brakes may look big, but considering the weight involved (80,000 lbs) are marginal. It's very easy to fade them to the point of being worthless, it's even possible to catch them on fire!

As for "no air=no brakes", not so! Pure air brakes use what's called a spring brake. Air moves the mechanical rod in one direction to apply the brakes, unless air is present a spring will move the rod in the opposite direction. That's why you hear a loud wooshing sound whenever a truck parks, they dump the air from the system setting the spring brake which acts as a parking brake.

I hope my simple explaination made sense.
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Old 01-13-2007, 05:11 PM   #55
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Actuator is spoken for.
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Old 01-13-2007, 08:07 PM   #56
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I'm a long way from being an auto mechanic and know very little regarding what's best in brakes, but for me and my house, we had the A/S factory change out the brakes on our 04-25' Safari this summerl. It was to say the least , NOT CHEAP . Have driven 12,000 + miles since and really like the "feel". both in the stopping ability and mind set. That's what it's all about to me.
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Old 01-13-2007, 08:55 PM   #57
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If and when my '86 Sovereign needs new axles or entire brake replacement, I will definately go to disc brakes. My 4 electric drums can't compare to the 4 hydraulic/vacuum brakes on the 31' Excella I had.
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Old 01-13-2007, 09:33 PM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
You don't need a parachute unless your going to jump out of the plane.

You don't need disc brakes, until you do.

But when you need them, and don't have them, then what?

Safety, Safety, Safety, is the name of the game.

Do all you can do, and more if possible.

There are far to many inconsiderate unsafe drivers out there. Be equipped the best that you can.

Insurance is a "HUGE" waste, until you need it. Brakes are a waste too, until you need them.

Disc brakes are not a waste, but it's the best that can be done by todays standards.

Andy
Hi, I don't understand! Please explain to me how it is that Airstreams did quite well with drum brakes for 74 years and now all of a sudden in the 75th year drums are junk and your trailer manufactured by Airstream [with drum brakes] is not safe unless you convert a factory made trailer to disc brakes and even though you never towed with anything else, you are, or feel so much safer if you have a $3,000.00 hitch? And Prove to me and others the disc brakes stop 50% better than drums. I'm not from the Show Me state, but hear a lot of hot air! Please show me documented proof, or all said is hear-say.
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Old 01-13-2007, 10:05 PM   #59
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I think they are better, but as I said, I've had a few emerg braking situations and frankly with only 7k on my drums, I was able to avoid both without any issues. Would discs have done better in my case? Prob not and in John's case, I would bet that I'd have been able to do the same thing in avoiding that car with my drums in their current condition of new. Could I do it if my drums were well worn? Most likely not....but that's not a drum vs. disc issue, it's an overall maint issue. My unit sits for 5 months a year straight. Then can sit for a month before next use. Never have I had an issue with my drums as a result of storage....and it does get humid in Chicago.

I don't disagree discs would be better than drums, heck even GM when you get the premium cars, they use to be all 4 wheel disc as a selling point. I'm not interested in putting $2k into brakes right now, when mine work very well. Could they be better? Sure, but so could the QC of the trailers and some of the components (besides brakes). Airstream did offer brakes in it's 75 year history, and not just recently on the Classics.

Bottom line, if you got the $$, why not? Can't take the $$ with you. For me personally, when the time comes to replace or maint the drums, we'll see what the prices are at that point, vs a rebuild of the drums....but with so little use on my current drums, I'm not about to pitch/replace perfectly good/new drums while they are new and in great working condition. If money was no object, I'd trade in the Safari and get a Classic that has them.
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Old 01-13-2007, 11:31 PM   #60
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Its pretty clear that discs are exceptional in there stopping ability .I don't
think a mad rush to junk drum brakes are in order (not talking vehicals) only
trailers .The guys who have converted to them are pleased ,no surprise there, Ive not found a situation where I felt a need to go and add discs
except to my travelall (for good reason)so while Im in agreement that the discs are definately good ,Im not going to advocate all to ditch there drum
brakes .Im not going to agree that the drums are suddenly so inferior that
they are deemed unsafe ,thats really reaching there.You know ,you still can
overheat and warp rotors and burn pads with disc brakes too ,all depends
on the terraine ,driving style and conditions your in on the road .My previouse
posted thoughts remain the same ,but drums still work well .

Scott
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