Travel Trailer Brakes - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-12-2012, 10:05 AM   #1
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Name: Toni Montana
Trailer: 1986 Bigfoot 17 ft ('The Sea Glass')
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Travel Trailer Brakes

I have an '86 Bigfoot 17.5, and in 2007 I had the brake pads replaced when I had the wheel bearings repacked because they were getting worn and I figured you can't be too careful. Yesterday (5 years later) I took the trailer to a new place (about half the price) to get the wheel bearings re-packed, and I got the call that "the magnet" had fallen off the brakes and that the brake pads are "in terrible shape". I think in the past 5 years we have probably only put about 8,000 miles on the trailer, and other than Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks most of the drives have not been too steep. Is it normal for Travel Trailer brakes to wear out that fast? Do you think someone is putting one over on me (either the original RV service that said they did them, or this new place?) I am going down there this morning to see the "worn out brake pads" before I pay $300-600 to have them replaced, but I was wondering if any of you have any wisdom about travel trailer brakes or know of any reason they would wear out in under 10,000 miles of use?
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Old 07-12-2012, 10:24 AM   #2
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I don't know the specifics of your case, but trailer brakes are remarkably inexpensive and it is easy to replace the whole assembly by removing just 4 bolts. These name brand assemblies are just $30 a side.

10" x 2-1/4" Electric Brake Assy. - Right Hand / 3.5k #K23-027-00
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Old 07-12-2012, 02:48 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Toni M T View Post
...I got the call that "the magnet" had fallen off the brakes and that the brake pads are "in terrible shape".
...
I am going down there this morning to see the "worn out brake pads" before I pay $300-600 to have them replaced, but I was wondering if any of you have any wisdom about travel trailer brakes or know of any reason they would wear out in under 10,000 miles of use?
If the magnet "fell off", then it would be floating around the drum causing your problems.
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Old 07-12-2012, 06:41 PM   #4
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Name: Toni Montana
Trailer: 1986 Bigfoot 17 ft ('The Sea Glass')
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Thanks for the "head's up" about the cheap prices for the brake assembly. If we had more time I would order them online, but a big trip is planned in a few short days so don't have time for that. Sadly, I guess the parts around here were a lot more expensive (around $100/axle), and there was a lot of rust on the axles that had to be cleaned off, so the whole process plus the wheel bearings getting repacked cost around $500 (somehow the former brake pads got super rusty and started to fall apart-trying to figure out how to keep THAT from happening again-as it doesn't rain much around here and the camper never sits in pools of water).
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Old 07-12-2012, 06:49 PM   #5
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Trailer: Bigfoot 25 RB and Bigfoot 21RB
British Columbia
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Doing your own work has some advantages....

I was repacking the bearings on my Bigfoot 21 and found that whoever did it last was NOT someone I'd want to do repeat work for me.

One set of bearing had very little grease and the races were heat-discolored

One set had been installed a bit loose by my standards

The final one however (to stay on topic) woke me up! Pulled the drum and one of the linings hit the floor. ()

So now I am off to find some new shoes for a Dexter 10inch drum (2 1/4 width) for a 3500 axle.

Gotta pull the shoes out of that set and put the drum back on with no shoes in it, so I can move the trailer, so I can ......
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Old 07-12-2012, 07:49 PM   #6
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Name: Toni Montana
Trailer: 1986 Bigfoot 17 ft ('The Sea Glass')
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Red face

Yes-I think doing the work myself would have been a lot smarter. As it is, I kind of have my doubts that the guy who said he replaced the brakes 5 years ago actually did so. I am currently trying to track down the receipt (I have a book for these things and could have sworn it was in there-it had several different fixes on it because I had him overhaul the trailer right after I bought it)...when I find the receipt and confirm what was actually done, I might have to take those old rusty brake shoes over to show him. They look like they were the original set from 1986.....maybe his guy was really lazy and just "told" him that he replaced the brake shoes.

(PS. I am a woman and although I can do the work myself-and have replaced the disc brakes and alternator and fuel filters and done oil changes on my car back when I was in my 20's and too broke to pay the high fees-I don't really enjoy that kind of work or know my way around it too well and DH knows almost nothing about mechanical things....oh and I am the trailer nut-he would rather stay in hotels,LOL!).
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Old 07-12-2012, 08:05 PM   #7
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Some small mom and pop trailer fabrication places will give you an honest job for a reasonable price. The components are the same between travel trailers and utility trailers.
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Old 07-13-2012, 12:07 AM   #8
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Name: Dave
Trailer: Bigfoot 25 RB and Bigfoot 21RB
British Columbia
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There was a guy in Craigslist who had 3 sets of shoes for those brakes at $20.00 per set. Sadly he had sold 'em already.

So I called the RV $tealer$hip.

However, my local auto-supply place had 'em for $53.00 per set. Trailer is now back on the road!
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Old 07-13-2012, 01:24 PM   #9
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Name: RogerDat
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Some small mom and pop trailer fabrication places will give you an honest job for a reasonable price. The components are the same between travel trailers and utility trailers.
We are lucky to have a trailer shop in Howell, Mich. with people working there that are third generation trailer fabricators. Good work, honest prices, good information.

If they can't fix it, it's not broke or not a trailer
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Old 07-13-2012, 01:27 PM   #10
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We are lucky to have a trailer shop in Howell, Mich. with people working there that are third generation trailer fabricators. Good work, honest prices, good information.

If they can't fix it, it's not broke or not a trailer
Right. We have a similar shop in Livonia, MI. Super nice people running the place, with great fabrication skills and very helpful attitude.
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