Question about Scamp brake problem - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-21-2014, 04:38 PM   #1
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Name: Morgan
Trailer: Scamp 16
Colorado
Posts: 55
Question about Scamp brake problem

So, I picked up the 16' Scamp in Backus in early January, after having the local Uhaul dealer install the 7 wire plug and a Prodigy P2 controller on my 2011 Ford Escape. They did a very nice installation for about 1/2 the price of other local installers, which made me very happy. The camper has been sitting mostly idle for awhile and when I took it out on the road recently I noticed that when I used the hand lever on the brake controller to actuate the trailer brakes, they would not grip smoothly. Instead, they kind of surge, especially when the voltage (or whatever increments the Prodigy display reads out) gets around 2.5 to 3 and greater. This surging is not subtle. It's very noticeable. The brakes are adjusted so that when the lever is deflected all the way, I get good braking but the brakes do not lock up, as specified in the operations manual. I think it's around 6.something or so. Now, I think the surging also takes place when using the foot brake, but the car brakes are smooth and I think they may be masking the surging in the trailer brakes. It's hard to tell for sure, but I think that's what is happening. I'm also pretty sure that this has been going on from the beginning. So much new stuff to deal with, I think I just didn't notice it before. I don't go around applying the hand lever brake that much.

I talked to a guy at Prodigy who asked me if the meter readings fluctuated with the surging, so I tested this and found that the readings stay constant when the lever is held steady and the brakes are surging. He said if the meter values did not fluctuate, he had no idea why this was happening.

I talked to someone at Scamp and they suggested that I take the car and camper back to Uhaul and see if the equipment or installation was not correct. I'm going to do that on Friday. If Uhaul gives the equipment and installation a passing grade, I guess I'll try to get a Scamp rep on the phone and see how they want to proceed from there. My gut feeling is that the equipment and installation are not to blame, and that I may end up paying money to get the Uhaul folks to confirm this. Being the cheapskate that I am, that's somewhat bothersome to me, but I guess I'll have to "bite the bull by the horns" and get over it if that turns out to be the case.

My question is, does anybody here have any comments about what might be going on here with these brakes?
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Old 05-21-2014, 05:11 PM   #2
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Is it possible that after sitting for a while there is rust or corrosion in the brakes? My trailer sat outside from late September to the middle of February and when I first started out heading south in February ,the brakes felt like they were sticking or grabbing. The problem seemed to clear up after using the brakes for awhile .
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Old 05-21-2014, 05:19 PM   #3
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Name: Dan
Trailer: Scamp
Minnesota
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On my Scamp, I had a similar problem. I finally found a wire going to the magnets was rubbing on the wheel hub inside the brake assembly.

-- Dan Meyer
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Old 05-21-2014, 05:22 PM   #4
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Scamp 13
California
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Do you have an amp or volt guage in your car? might want to look at that and see if it fluctuates as you apply brakes. Another thing I would check would be where your main charge line hooked to your Escape battery sometimes they use a self resetting circut breaker and if it is too low a value or faulty it could pulse your power line creating a voltage variance. On thing you could do is get the axle off the ground and rotate a tire feeling how the brakes are grabbing using the manual setting and applying very low brake value settings. check each tire and see if one grabs more than another. I would check the ground leads on each brake coil a weak ground could cause issues. On my 1986 13 foot Scamp they just clamped a ground lug to the brake coil wire right to the frame a very exposed and subpar connection for such an important connection. A loose or bad connection could easily cause issues. I don't know if Scamp still uses this practice.
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Old 05-21-2014, 05:33 PM   #5
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Brake Connection

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevebaz View Post
Do you have an amp or volt guage in your car? might want to look at that and see if it fluctuates as you apply brakes. Another thing I would check would be where your main charge line hooked to your Escape battery sometimes they use a self resetting circut breaker and if it is too low a value or faulty it could pulse your power line creating a voltage variance. On thing you could do is get the axle off the ground and rotate a tire feeling how the brakes are grabbing using the manual setting and applying very low brake value settings. check each tire and see if one grabs more than another. I would check the ground leads on each brake coil a weak ground could cause issues. On my 1986 13 foot Scamp they just clamped a ground lug to the brake coil wire right to the frame a very exposed and subpar connection for such an important connection. A loose or bad connection could easily cause issues. I don't know if Scamp still uses this practice.
I had a new axle with brakes installed on my Scamp at the factory in 2012
They attached one wire from each of the brakes to the frame with a standard self tapping screw .
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Old 05-21-2014, 05:38 PM   #6
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Name: Morgan
Trailer: Scamp 16
Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
Is it possible that after sitting for a while there is rust or corrosion in the brakes? My trailer sat outside from late September to the middle of February and when I first started out heading south in February ,the brakes felt like they were sticking or grabbing. The problem seemed to clear up after using the brakes for awhile .
I wouldn't rule this out. I'd think it wouldn't take long to clear up if this is the case. I'll probably get it out and run it tomorrow if the weather is not too bad. I just ran it up and down the street a few times today. Thanks.
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Old 05-21-2014, 05:40 PM   #7
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Name: Morgan
Trailer: Scamp 16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Meyer View Post
On my Scamp, I had a similar problem. I finally found a wire going to the magnets was rubbing on the wheel hub inside the brake assembly.

-- Dan Meyer
Wow, that's encouraging. I'll be looking into something like that. Thanks.

Morgan
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Old 05-21-2014, 05:47 PM   #8
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Name: Morgan
Trailer: Scamp 16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevebaz View Post
Do you have an amp or volt guage in your car? might want to look at that and see if it fluctuates as you apply brakes. Another thing I would check would be where your main charge line hooked to your Escape battery sometimes they use a self resetting circut breaker and if it is too low a value or faulty it could pulse your power line creating a voltage variance. On thing you could do is get the axle off the ground and rotate a tire feeling how the brakes are grabbing using the manual setting and applying very low brake value settings. check each tire and see if one grabs more than another. I would check the ground leads on each brake coil a weak ground could cause issues. On my 1986 13 foot Scamp they just clamped a ground lug to the brake coil wire right to the frame a very exposed and subpar connection for such an important connection. A loose or bad connection could easily cause issues. I don't know if Scamp still uses this practice.
No electric guages, just lights! I'll be sure to bring these other points to the attention of the Uhaul guy. I talked to a trusted auto mechanic who knows trailer brakes as well as everything else. I only used him once for an oil change, but I was impressed with his operation. He even knew where Backus MN is! He was leaning heavily toward some sort of grounding or other wiring issue too. He thought that a non-electrical issue with the brakes was highly unlikely. Thanks.
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Old 06-07-2014, 12:53 PM   #9
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Name: Morgan
Trailer: Scamp 16
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I had been told more than once that it is not unheard of for a new brake drum to need turning.These brakes have been in use for 1300 miles, but I'm sure the surging was present from the very beginning. I just never noticed it until I got to playing around with the brake controller actuator.
I finally had a mechanic turn the drums and now the surging has stopped.
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