Adding a Brake Flange - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-23-2013, 02:55 PM   #1
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Adding a Brake Flange

The topic comes up periodically as to whether brake flanges can be added to an axle that did not come with them. Don and I were noodling alternative UHaul brake solutions and he forwarded me this eTrailer article.
Parts Needed to Add Electric Over Hydraulic Disc Brakes to a Trailer | etrailer.com

The part that caught my eye was this:

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You can purchase brake flanges and have a qualified welder weld them to the axle. When a brake mounting flange is welded to an axle, it must be welded square and concentric. This usually requires a jig to hold both parts in position. A trailer shop should have the equipment and personnel to weld brake mounting flanges to your axle.
I'm not going to argue whether this is correct or not, but I thought that it was worth sharing.
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Old 01-23-2013, 03:30 PM   #2
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Looks like all the pictures show leaf spring axles not torsion in which case I would likely agree that you could weld in that area and not cause any problems. Wouldn't try it on a torsion axle with the potential of damaging the rubber.
My 2 cents.
Michael J.
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Old 01-23-2013, 03:40 PM   #3
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This sketch shows how near the area to be welded on the spindle is to the rubber.


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Old 01-23-2013, 04:04 PM   #4
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ok Tom where in your original link to e trailer does it direct one to the torsion picture?
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Old 01-23-2013, 04:11 PM   #5
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I pulled this sketch off Goggle images to show where the flange welding location is relative to the rubber. I've done a fair amount of oxy-acetelyne and arc welding. I would be confident that I could arc weld the flange onto the spindle without heating up the rubber components.

If you have different experience, that's fine.
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Old 01-23-2013, 04:29 PM   #6
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If I wanted to add brake flanges I would get or make some flanges and mount them to a complete backing plate brake set-up. get a hub with drum and bearings and install the backing plate in the drum and install the complete assembly onto the spindle and line it up. then activate the electric brake and rotate the hub to expand and center the brake shoes and tack the plate in place with a welder. then remove the whole assembly except the tacked in brake flange. then I would arc weld it in permanately. I would weld it in a couple of stitches at a time and let it cool between the stitches. Just let it cool naturally dont force cool it. It would be much easier if you had someone working with you as you dont want to energize the electric brake too long.
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Old 01-23-2013, 05:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevebaz View Post
It would be much easier if you had someone working with you as you dont want to energize the electric brake too long.
This can be done with a wire inserted between the +12VDC and the brake contacts on the trailer plug. This assumes that there is a battery in the trailer. Or you could just pull the break away switch.
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Old 01-23-2013, 05:46 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Thomas G. View Post
. I've done a fair amount of oxy-acetelyne and arc welding. I would be confident that I could arc weld the flange onto the spindle without heating up the rubber components.

.
Ditto, except I pretty much TIG everything now. I think for any experienced welder it's a non-issue. The arm itself is quite a heat sink. If I was doing it I'd wrap a wet rag around it to even further reduce any chance of damaging heat transfer.

As mentioned, mounting the plate so it's concentric is important, but again, not rocket science.

Ron
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Old 01-24-2013, 04:33 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Tilston

This can be done with a wire inserted between the +12VDC and the brake contacts on the trailer plug. This assumes that there is a battery in the trailer. Or you could just pull the break away switch.
Actually, one could adjust the brake star wheel until it was locked.
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Old 01-24-2013, 09:00 AM   #10
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The readily available brake flanges are sized to fix over the axle tube of a straight axle (not a rubber torsion independent unit, not a drop-beam axle). To add one to a Torflex, there is no such tube and the hole in the plate would not likely match the size of the base of the spindle (unless Dexter sells one for this purpose, or it is custom fabricated), so it would need to be welded to the face of the arm surrounding the spindle. The arm does not likely have a large and accurately machined surface; that face also seems unlikely to be at the correct axial position (place along the spindle axis) to place the brake backing plate so the shoes line up with the drum.

Even if everything miraculously lines up, a technique like that suggested by Steve would be necessary for alignment if a common flange for straight tube axles were used.

This is one reason to always buy axles with brakes or at least the brake flange, even if the brakes are not needed immediately.
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:38 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Thomas G. View Post
Actually, one could adjust the brake star wheel until it was locked.
Tom, do you mean the adjuster wheel on the brake controller? I was kinda assuming that the trailer was not connected to a tow vehicle.
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:51 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
The readily available brake flanges are sized to fix over the axle tube of a straight axle (not a rubber torsion independent unit, not a drop-beam axle). To add one to a Torflex, there is no such tube and the hole in the plate would not likely match the size of the base of the spindle (unless Dexter sells one for this purpose, or it is custom fabricated), so it would need to be welded to the face of the arm surrounding the spindle. The arm does not likely have a large and accurately machined surface; that face also seems unlikely to be at the correct axial position (place along the spindle axis) to place the brake backing plate so the shoes line up with the drum.

Even if everything miraculously lines up, a technique like that suggested by Steve would be necessary for alignment if a common flange for straight tube axles were used.

This is one reason to always buy axles with brakes or at least the brake flange, even if the brakes are not needed immediately.
This is an interesting point. I know that Dexter torsion axles, for example come with or without brake flanges and can be ordered with brake flanges and an idler hub. If I was designing the spindle, I'd make both types identical except for the brake flange either being welded on the spindle or not.

In my experience, accurately positioning something like this flange would not be difficult with some simple fixturing. YMMV

Edit to add: To clarify, I don't believe the brake flange is attached to the arm, but rather is attached to the spindle, just past the land that the grease seal rides on.
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:53 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by David Tilston View Post
Tom, do you mean the adjuster wheel on the brake controller? I was kinda assuming that the trailer was not connected to a tow vehicle.

No the adjuster that is at the bottom of the brake backing plate. (Hydraulic brake shown, but adjuster is the same)

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Old 01-24-2013, 10:01 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas G. View Post
I know that Dexter torsion axles, for example come with or without brake flanges and can be ordered with brake flanges and an idler hub. If I was designing the spindle, I'd make both types identical except for the brake flange either being welded on the spindle or not.
That makes sense, but UCF builds their Flexiride "rubber torsion" suspension arms with the brake mounting flange integrally cast as part of the arm... there are design choices here so assumptions are dangerous.
See UCF's Flexiride 3500 axle leaflet for an illustration.

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Originally Posted by Thomas G. View Post
To clarify, I don't believe the brake flange is attached to the arm, but rather is attached to the spindle, just past the land that the grease seal rides on.
Excellent info, Tom. : The normally informative Dexter Axle site doesn't clearly show a flange-equipped Torflex that I could find.

This means that a flange could be added to the spindle, but readily available flanges for adding to beam axles will still have the wrong size hole to fit the spindle (unless a Torflex spindle in our sizes has a huge diameter). Also, these axles come with regular and long spindles, so length should be checked for enough room to add the flange in the right position.
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