problem with new brake installation - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-07-2013, 02:59 PM   #1
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Name: outdoorman
Trailer: Casita
Georgia
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problem with new brake installation

I decided to install brakes on my 16' Casita LD.
I received all new parts fro etrailer including: new hub assemblies and new backing plate/brake parts. Essentially everything from the spindle and flange forward is new out of the box.
The problem/question I have is that the Nev-R-Adjust brakes have uneven 'drag' felt when I hand spin the mounted hub. This is before any adjustment. It is on both sides.
I watched the on-line videos from etrailer that explain that I should adjust until I feel some drag but already some part of rotating the hub has drag while part of has no drag.
I called etrailer but of course the technicians are not working on weekends.
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Old 12-07-2013, 04:07 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by outdoorman View Post
I decided to install brakes on my 16' Casita LD.
I received all new parts fro etrailer including: new hub assemblies and new backing plate/brake parts. Essentially everything from the spindle and flange forward is new out of the box.
The problem/question I have is that the Nev-R-Adjust brakes have uneven 'drag' felt when I hand spin the mounted hub. This is before any adjustment. It is on both sides.
I watched the on-line videos from etrailer that explain that I should adjust until I feel some drag but already some part of rotating the hub has drag while part of has no drag.
I called etrailer but of course the technicians are not working on weekends.
That is a common problem with drum brakes since at least the 1930s. If you look at the shoes you will see that the friction material is squared off at the end of each shoe. Also the shoes are self-centering, but they take a few stops to break-in.
Despite the name... you should make an initial adjustment. Tighten them until they are hard to turn by hand, thn back off six or eight clicks.
Assuming the brake drums are round , the end of the shoe will wear off and make the shoes "round" to fit after a couple hundred miles...Then they will even out.
Years ago many mechanics would use a belt sander to taper the square end of the shoes then add a tablespoon of baking soda to the drum to hasten break-in and deglaze drums which didn't need turned.
Your brakes came preassembled so you would be better off just to wait for them to break-in. You may need to make a second "initial" adjustment after break-in, but probably not, since they are all new and start at the same level.
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Old 12-07-2013, 04:08 PM   #3
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Name: bob
Trailer: 1984 u-haul ct13; 1996 Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe; 1946 Modernistic teardrop
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possibly the shoes are not centered, or the drum is a little out of round. If you have all the electric done, try applying the brakes a couple times to center the shoes, then final adjust, or adjust the shoes to where you can't turn the wheel and then back them off if that is possible. Are the drums cast, or pressed steel.
EDIT; Floyd's got it, replied one minute ahead of me, I type slow!
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Old 12-07-2013, 04:15 PM   #4
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My brakes still do this after 6,000+ miles.
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Old 12-07-2013, 04:59 PM   #5
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Name: outdoorman
Trailer: Casita
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I planned to drive to a nearby trailer shop next week and have them install a brake controller in my 1996 Ford Bronco.
If I brought my Casita along for the trailer shop to check out my install would they do anything different than what you recommended in the initial adjustment? If not I just follow you instructions. Thanks.
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Old 12-07-2013, 06:20 PM   #6
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They may check the drums for out of round, or properly seated on the hubs if they are a separate piece from the hub.
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Old 12-07-2013, 06:49 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by mary and bob View Post
They may check the drums for out of round, or properly seated on the hubs if they are a separate piece from the hub.
Trailer electric brake assemblies incorporate the drum as part of the hub. The magnetic actuator works against the outer surface of the assembly, so it's wear surface is replaced as part of the drum/hub assembly.
On older rear drive American cars and light trucks with hydraulic drum brakes, the fronts were usually one piece drum/hub over spindle(sorta like trailer brakes) and the backs were usually separate drums over the axle flange.
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Old 12-07-2013, 07:20 PM   #8
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Name: bob
Trailer: 1984 u-haul ct13; 1996 Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe; 1946 Modernistic teardrop
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Floyd is correct. I recall, but possibly not right, that many years ago I did a trailer brake conversion that used a separate stamped steel drum that I didn't really like. But it was a long time ago so I don't remember exactly. Maybe it was a surge brake setup. I suppose we can assume that since the hub and drum are one piece, the shoe surface would not be out of round with the bearing surface? Too many years of big truck work has the separate drum feature stuck in my mind. I won't comment on this issue anymore as I haven't done any camper brake work in quite some time and am probably rusty on the specifics. Thanks for the correction Floyd.
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Old 12-08-2013, 04:32 PM   #9
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Name: outdoorman
Trailer: Casita
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the hubs and drum are a single unit/one piece. The backing plate has all the other components (shoes, magnet, etc) already mounted on it. All I had to do was mount the plate unit on the trailer flange with four bolts. Next was the hub unit which I lubed and placed bearings and inner seal, then outer seal and put on the hub onto the brakes/plate.
Do you think both left and right brand new hubs were out of round?
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Old 12-08-2013, 09:09 PM   #10
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Name: Jack L
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I would expect some out of round in any brake drum or rotor , even a new one, and also some "looseness" in the bearings. If my memory serves me correctly .003 and perhaps a little more is perfectly acceptable. I have checked drums in a brake drum lathe and turned them to true them but the brakes on our trailers have the hubs permanently attached so I don't think they can be measured this way or any other way. I would double check the bearing adjustment to make sure they are correct.

On a car or truck you can drive slowly on a smooth road and use only the parking brake to stop the car and if you feel some pulsation you have drums that are out of round. Perhaps you could pull the trailer slowly with someone inside or alongside and listen or feel for pulsation when the trailer brake controller is actuated but not using the vehicle brakes.

When the shoes are new only the ends are in contact with the drums but after some use and wear the entire surface starts making contact with the drum and you have more stopping ability.

I would take the trailer on a short trip and recheck the brakes but from everything I've seen in my personal experience with brakes,I really do not think what you have described is a problem.

A call to Dexter might give you additional peace of mind.
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Old 12-09-2013, 07:11 AM   #11
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If I wanted to check out-of-round, or trueness, I would remove the backing plate / shoe assembly, put the drum back on with the bearings adjusted for no play and use a dial indicator on a magnetic stand to measure. I would guess that most camper owners here don't have those tools like I do. An auto shop with a brake lathe should be able to check them.
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Old 12-09-2013, 11:58 AM   #12
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Do Nev-R-Adjust Brakes Need any Manual Adjustment | etrailer.com
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Old 12-09-2013, 02:33 PM   #13
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An old but simple way to check "true" on a wheel that might work well on a brake drum is to set a block or stand next to the wheel, hold a piece of chalk on the block/stand so it almost touches the wheel then you or someone turns the wheel.

This allows you to mark any "high" points in the rotation. Placing the chalk so that it just touches the wheel to be turned should leave a solid line except for gaps at any "low" points.

Not accurate enough to determine if within .003 from true round but by watching the gap between the chalk or a pencil braced on the stand in a fixed position you can see the amount of variance and get a rough idea if it's a lot or a little.

Of course checking a drum on a trailer you might have to work the stand and pencil / chalk arrangement to mark the inside edge from the back which might be easy or hard. Never tried it on a trailer.
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Old 12-09-2013, 06:30 PM   #14
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FYI, the "star" adjuster on the Nev-R-Adjust cannot be backed off ten clicks, as stated in the eTrailer shuck n jive. The adjuster is not a true star but rather a toothed wheel and pawl which allows rotation to take the shoes out to the drum but prevents counter rotation to pull the shoes away from the drum. To back off from the "just touching" adjustment requires an adjuster spoon to move the wheel and a second lever to hold the anti rotation pawl away from the toothed wheel. I found that there's barely room laterally in the adjustment slot for two small common screwdrivers so don't worry yourself to death trying to get your standard issue adjuster in there.

To add injury to insult, this two hand manipulation is even harder laying half under the trailer without benefit of a lift or pit. Make it easier on yourself and familiarize yourself with the operation of the adjuster mech right out of the box before it disappears inside the mounted hub. Remember, you can move the shoes toward the drum and hear a click as the pawl resets. When you back the shoes off you won't have clicks to count so your judgment of the proximity of shoe and drum has to be based on the point where the wheel begins to turn without resistance.

By the time you're done with this adjustment trick, your worries about out of roundness and eccentricity will no doubt diminish and you'll say good enuf and let em wear in.

jack
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