brake failure in 2014 scamp 13 - Fiberglass RV



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Old 05-19-2019, 06:39 AM   #1
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brake failure in 2014 scamp 13

Getting the scamp (2014 13í) ready for this season I discovered a frustrating and un-expected problem. Both brakes are not functioning.

With the trailer on jack stands I spun the wheels while my wife manually engaged the brake controller. The brakes did not work - no braking action, no sound of any action (Iíve done it before so know what to expect for normal operation). Iíve checked the output from the brake controller at the 7 pin receptacle at rear of TV and it is working. I have unplugged the trailer from the TV and pulled the pin on the breakaway switch and still no brakes. I located the splice for the brake (blue) and ground wires just inside the scamp (beneath the front bunk) and applied a 12V source to the wiring and still no brake activity. I can find no breaks in the wiring where it is visible inside or beneath the floor. The wire connections at the brake drums seem intact from the exterior.

Is there anything Iím missing in the way of troubleshooting short of pulling the hubs and checking the interior wiring and magnets? I could see something happening to one, but am surprised that both brakes are dis-functional. Or are they wired in series so one problem will impact both wheels? Is this something one would expect to repair in a 5 year old trailer? This is my first experience with electric brakes so Iím not sure of most appropriate next steps.
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Old 05-19-2019, 08:01 AM   #2
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The brake w\have one wire attached to frame and other to the 7 pin connector. The one connected to the frame could have corroded and came loose. That what has happened to me.
The brakes are the only thing that run power through the frame.
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Old 05-19-2019, 08:05 AM   #3
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+1 bad ground
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Old 05-19-2019, 08:45 AM   #4
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My scamp wiring diagram shows the brake coil being grounded via white wire connected to the overall trailer ground wire network - not directly grounded to the frame. As all other 12v functions appear to be working I assume I have no problem with the general grounding system though there still may be an issue where the ground wire connects to the brake coil (internally I assume). Does this make sense?
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Old 05-19-2019, 08:57 AM   #5
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There was a short stretch recently where Scamp installed a "too short" ground wire to the frame. Most had visual breaks that could easily be seen on inspection, but it's also possible that the wire(s) on yours broke and the insulation just stretched making it look OK.
Another thought, are the brakes adjusted properly?
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Old 05-19-2019, 09:53 AM   #6
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Thanks for the comments.



Looks like I need to crawl under and study what is happening re ground wires or direct ground wire to frame I'm suited up for a memorial service at the moment but will get under and dirty later. If the brakes are grounded through the frame where does scamp make the connection between frame and the ground circuit from the battery?



The brakes were adjusted a year ago and though they may need a tweak I doubt that both would suddenly go so far out of adjustment as to not function at all. Besides, my experience is that they've made an audible buzz when activiaed and now I'm hearing nothing.
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Old 05-19-2019, 10:17 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WDavidG View Post
>snip< If the brakes are grounded through the frame where does scamp make the connection between frame and the ground circuit from the battery?
>snip<

This is a good question. I know that the ground wire on the 120 volt side in my Scamp connects the frame of the converter to frame of the camper via a bare #12 solid copper wire... but this isn't what we are concerned with here.

If there isn't a 12 volt negative bond to the frame it would explain the interesting behavior with my brakes. They seem to work better after I get down the road a few miles. I thought this was due to a light coating of rust on the inside surfaces of the brake drums. You've got me thinking this is not the case, and instead the issue is that the brakes are finding a ground back to the to tow vehicle thru the hitch ball. Once the rust on the hitch gets ground away due to the motion of driving they work better due to a better return path.

It's too bad it's raining here today. I'd go out and look under my camper.

Can anyone else tell us where the 12 volt negative line is bonded to the frame of the trailer?

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Old 05-19-2019, 10:30 AM   #8
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I just went outside and looked inside my trailer; the bare copper 120 volt system ground, the blue brake actuating wire and a white 12 volt ground wire all exit the camper just behind the left wheel well. I'm not gong to check further with the rain today, but I suspect the two grounds are bonded to the frame of the trailer near this area.



I hope this helps a bit. Keep us posted, and be safe!


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Old 05-19-2019, 11:48 AM   #9
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When we owned a Scamp we had brake issues on two occasions
One was caused by a corroded ground connection to the frame
The second was caused by a bad power connection to the brakes
Scamp used a wirenut to connect the brake wires together and the wire corroded and broke free from the wirenut
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Old 05-19-2019, 11:57 AM   #10
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As I understand the electric brakes on a trailer they use electro-magnets to apply pressure from the brake shoes to the drums and the friction created between the two results in the braking action. Increasing power to the electro-magnets increases the force the brake shoes apply to the drums and thus braking is regulated. Power to the brakes is usually applied from the tug.
The breakaway switch is a safety feature and functions should the trailer come uncoupled from the tug during travel. A small cable connects the breakaway switch to the tug. Should the trailer become uncoupled from the tug, the cable will pull the pin from the breakaway switch. The pin separates two contacts inside the breakaway switch. With the pin removed these contacts are no longer separated. Power is applied to the brakes from the trailer battery. The brakes lock on to stop the trailer wheels from turning thus stopping the runaway trailer.
Electric brakes usually make a slight noise when activated. Sometimes the electromagnets buzz. When the brakes engage there is often a click when the shoes move. These things should happen even if the shoes are worn.
As I understand your situation you have no brakes when activated by either your tug or through the breakaway switch?
It's unlikely that both activation systems would fail at the same time.

I've seen trailers that use a common wiring harness to the axle to activate the brakes with either the tug brake or the breakaway switch. I suspect yours may be this arrangement. I've also seen trailers that have two separate wiring harnesses to the axle, one activated by the tug and the other by the breakaway switch. Redundancy in the interests of safety.

I suggest you install a charged battery and pull the pin from the breakaway switch. If the brakes don't activate it's time to check the wiring. There's a number of ways to do this. A multimeter works well if you have one. Check continuity beginning at the axle as this is likely the easiest access. The ground seems to fail more often than the live.

You could also use wire of the same gauge as the original brake wire to run an independent ground from the axle to the negative post of the RV battery. If your brakes activate the ground is your problem. If not, use the same wire to connect the positive terminal of the battery to the live wire that activates the trailer brakes. This checks the function of the positive side of the brake wiring harness.

As previously mentioned, sometimes wires corrode inside their insulation jacket. Continuity is lost but the insulation on the wire hides the fault.
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Old 05-19-2019, 01:29 PM   #11
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Our 2000 Scamp 16 developed a dead brake on one side.
It turned out to be a broken wire right at the magnet inside the wheel.
Was lucky to find a new magnet and replace it on short order.
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Old 05-19-2019, 01:33 PM   #12
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brake wire grounded to frame

Just looked under our 2005 16' Scamp, and our brake ground wire terminated in a grounding block on the frame.
Attached Thumbnails
Brake wire ground point 1.jpg   Brake wire ground point 2.jpg  

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Old 05-19-2019, 03:34 PM   #13
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I’ve spent some time, along with a cluster of blackfly helpers, under the scamp. Contrary to the Scamp wiring diagram, those of you indicating a frame ground for the brakes are correct. There is a small grounding block screwed into the frame near each brake drum. Although they appeared to be fine, I removed and cleaned both blocks and the attached ground wires. Unfortunately this didn’t solve my problem.

Steve, while cleaning the grounds I noticed a factory installed plastic wire nut or plastic connector - taped up so I couldn’t see which - in the center of the axle and connecting the two power wires to the two brakes. Looks like what you reference. That will be my next point to check but for today the blackflies have won.

Mike, my scamp has common wiring to the brakes - no independent system for the break away. So if the problem is in the wiring neither system will activate (as is the case for me). Good point about a potentially hidden dis-continuity within the wire. Good idea to run a separate test wire. Testing the ground circuit will be easy as the ground block is accessible. I assume that to test the positive side I will have to remove a bit of insulation near where the wire enters the brake drum and then tape it. I’m not fond of removing insulation in a place that gets so much road spray but short of removing the hub is there another way to access the circuit near its entry point? Is there a reason you specified “same” gauge or is “same or larger” sufficient?
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Old 05-19-2019, 03:35 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Radar1 View Post
Just looked under our 2005 16' Scamp, and our brake ground wire terminated in a grounding block on the frame.

Radar, Thanks for the pics. I now find that mine is the same.
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