electric brakes - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-12-2012, 12:37 PM   #1
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electric brakes

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I removed the axle in my 13' Bigfoot, and had it straightened, bent by p.o.; did not know about it when purchased. I disconnected the wiring to the brakes, at the hubs and did not mark which wire went to which wire. The wires coming out of the brake drum are both the same color. Does this mean that there is no positive or negative? I am replacing the outside wiring between the two wheels. I have bought new backing plates, that come with shoes, and magnets, from Eastern marine.com. cost $105.00 including shipping! Perhaps there will be info with the plates when they come! I found one of the shoes coming free of the backing plate so I ordered new stuff. I was greasing the wheel bearing after reading the forum here, and found the brake problem. the axle was straightened with the brake drums still attached. The axle was removed in a campground at Watson Lake in the Yukon Territories Canada. I put on new tires here in Layton UT. USA. and the driver side was down to the core when we got to a city big enough to have a machine shop. I drove into Alaska and back to UT. with the brakes disconnected; it was very noticeable with and without, that is why I am hooking them back up. I really enjoy this Forum!

Later Kenny
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Old 04-12-2012, 12:54 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Kenny Strong View Post
HI ALL

I removed the axle in my 13' Bigfoot, and had it straightened, bent by p.o.; did not know about it when purchased. I disconnected the wiring to the brakes, at the hubs and did not mark which wire went to which wire. The wires coming out of the brake drum are both the same color. Does this mean that there is no positive or negative? I am replacing the outside wiring between the two wheels. I have bought new backing plates, that come with shoes, and magnets, from Eastern marine.com. cost $105.00 including shipping! Perhaps there will be info with the plates when they come! I found one of the shoes coming free of the backing plate so I ordered new stuff. I was greasing the wheel bearing after reading the forum here, and found the brake problem. the axle was straightened with the brake drums still attached. The axle was removed in a campground at Watson Lake in the Yukon Territories Canada. I put on new tires here in Layton UT. USA. and the driver side was down to the core when we got to a city big enough to have a machine shop. I drove into Alaska and back to UT. with the brakes disconnected; it was very noticeable with and without, that is why I am hooking them back up. I really enjoy this Forum!

Later Kenny
It does not matter which wire is connected to positive and which is connected to ground. Take your pick, you'll be correct either way!

Sounds like you've had an interesting experience with the brakes so far!

Spanke
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Old 04-12-2012, 04:33 PM   #3
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Hint: Don't ground the brakes to the frame, run a separate, soldered ground wire.
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Old 04-12-2012, 07:50 PM   #4
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Tom,

Each brake has 1 wire to the frame and the other wire is the hot wire and connects in Parallel to each drum and on to the plug to the tow vehicle.
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Old 04-12-2012, 08:20 PM   #5
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Tom,

Each brake has 1 wire to the frame and the other wire is the hot wire and connects in Parallel to each drum and on to the plug to the tow vehicle.
Tom is correct. The wires that you designate as ground for each brake should not connect to the frame but run in parallel under the trailer to the ground of the trailer that connects to the TV (which should also connect to the frame). This assures a good ground for your brakes. The other wire, usually blue runs to each brake and should connect to the TV control wire which is also usually blue. Hope that makes sense

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Old 04-12-2012, 08:32 PM   #6
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The ground discussion always creates controversy.

On every camper and utility trailer I have ever owned, all grounds went to the frame or in the case of a metal clad trailer it went to the skin. Tail lights for example on metal clad and utility trailers only have a 1 or 2 hot wires with the ground being the bolt to the skin or frame.

Both the trailer and tow vehicle have a white wire connected to the frame and also in the plug/jack. The trailer can get the ground through the white wire and also through the Ball and Hitch connection however the ball/hitch is not 100% reliable.

Because we're only dealing with 12VDC, you can not have to many grounds. Now if we were talking about communications especially in a Red / Black situation, that would be different and the grounds should represent a tree with all the grounds going to the trunk.

If you have not tampered with your wiring, crawl under and take a look at the brake connections.
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Old 04-13-2012, 08:41 AM   #7
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There really shouldn't be a controversy on running grounds to brakes. Not only is it good wiring practice to run a separate ground wire, it is also recommended by Dexter who supplies the electric brakes used on a whole bunch of trailer axles.

This is from the Dexter web site:

"The wires on a Dexter magnet do not have polarity. It works like a common resistor. One wire will connect to power and the other to a ground. It is Dexter's recommendation that a common ground be run from the trailer plug to the brake magnets. Do not ground each brake individually to the trailer frame or structure. Also note that the brakes should be wired in parallel, not in series."

Since the electric trailer brakes are part of your whole tow and trailer safety system and grounds can be finicky, it makes sense to have the most reliable connections to the brake system.

Spanke
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Old 04-13-2012, 09:11 AM   #8
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This is also from the Dexter resource,

AXLES - Why are some axles bent in the middle?
The upward bend in the axle is called "camber". Camber is the angular relationship of the wheel to the road surface in the vertical plane. Axles are typically built with a pre-determined bend in the tube that compensates for the expected deflection under load.
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Old 04-13-2012, 09:18 AM   #9
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Tom,

Each brake has 1 wire to the frame and the other wire is the hot wire and connects in Parallel to each drum and on to the plug to the tow vehicle.
My suggestion was to save you trouble in the future. 99% of wiring troubles seem to come back to "I had a bad ground". Using the chassis as a ground makes sense in a car where it saves dozens of extra grounding wires, but in a fiberglass camper, it is just asking for trouble. Buy a big roll of black wire 14 gauge off eBay and just run a separate soldered ground wire to brakes and each light. You won't regret it.
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Old 04-13-2012, 10:37 AM   #10
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I just got a quote from my local U-Haul for $330 to install their "Prodigy" controller on my Rav4. That sound in the ballpark?
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Old 04-13-2012, 11:22 AM   #11
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I just got a quote from my local U-Haul for $330 to install their "Prodigy" controller on my Rav4. That sound in the ballpark?
Only if it includes the price of the controller. It is a relatively easy job to install, especially if they can use a custom plug in made for your particular vehicle.
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Old 04-13-2012, 11:28 AM   #12
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Only if it includes the price of the controller. It is a relatively easy job to install, especially if they can use a custom plug in made for your particular vehicle.
Yup... includes the controller. I know I could do it myself, but I'm willing to pay to avoid "hassle" time.
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Old 04-13-2012, 12:38 PM   #13
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Fusedlight-check with Camping World. I think their Prodigy2 is still on sale for $99 and they sometimes have an installation 'sale' for $35. I just installed my own in my Explorer(did not have a factory harness conection).

Kenny-Hi from another Utahn!
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Old 04-13-2012, 01:53 PM   #14
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@Dennis - Just did. Still less expensive at U-Haul...even with the "Good Sam" discount.
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