Brake Adjustment - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-19-2003, 07:12 AM   #1
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Brake Adjustment

Late in the spring, I had a new Dexter Torflex 3500 axle put on my trailer.

I have noticed (when in town and the windows on the car are down) that my brakes have a tendency to squeak (squeal is really too loud for what these are doing).

In the beginning, I thought it might be because they were new, so I just let it go. They now have about 4,000 miles on them and they are still doing it. I have adjusted the brake controller to every point I can imagine. From not applying all the way to grabbing. It does seem to me that when they are adjusted to grab and grab hard, they are not quite as bad.

Under normal circumstances, I don't notice them (i.e., on the highway, windows rolled up). It's really not that bad, but I don't think they should be doing that should they?

Any suggestions?
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Old 08-19-2003, 07:28 AM   #2
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Suz ... most trailer brakes are noisy.

With the tow vehicle windows open, at low speeds, you often hear a low electric hum when you apply the brakes ... maybe even an occasional clunk.

Also, after sitting overnight, the first time you apply the brakes in the morning, they may be a little louder while leaving the campground, because moisture built up overnight on your cooling brakes.

Don't worry about it .... unless you notice an obvious "pull" to one side or the other, or the brakes lock up despite your best efforts to adjust the brake controller.
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Old 08-19-2003, 07:31 AM   #3
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Most RV brake guys that I've been around actually "listen" for noise while you apply the brakes as a "quick and dirty" way to tell if the electrical connection is good.

I forget, however, who installed your new axle and brakes?

If you are really worried, you could run it by and have them take a check.

But it doesn't sound like you really have a problem to me.
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Old 08-19-2003, 07:43 AM   #4
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Trailer Brakes

I bought it and had a local welder put it on for me. He did a great job, but he's a welder, not a brake man.

I could take it by a local RV place if it became necessary.

My old one 'clunked' at times. Also, like a car, they will make a noise and grab harder when wet. I understand this as being normal. Since I have repeatedly tested them and they seem to stop fine, I wasn't really that concerned about it.

I had to take it out for a test run the other day (dirty job, but somebody has to do it) and I really began to wonder if something was going on. Thought, for safety's sake, I'd throw this out to see if someone might have an idea.

Whatever the brakes are or are not doing, they are stopping, albeit noisely at times. I cranked it down pretty tight, started going about 20 mph and engaged the trailer brakes. He nose dived pretty hard, but it tracked perfectly. I assumed that this meant that there was equal pressure being applied to both sides and everything was working as it should.

Thanks for the input. I know that ignorance can be bliss, but I don't like to ignore things that could result in a safety issue.
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Old 08-19-2003, 11:34 AM   #5
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Suz

Find a road or parking lot with a loose surface. Drive about 15 or 20 mph. Put the brakes on hard momentarily. Stop and see if both brakes grabbed at the same spot.

I would do it again with a gentle application and check again.
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Old 08-19-2003, 11:58 AM   #6
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brake squeal is normal

if they are new brakes, they stoped using asbestos brake pads a while back and have been useing various combiations of steel the only trouble is steel on steel squeals . Car manufacture have " solved " this by makeing drums and rotors out of a softer steel .
as you might notice in your car you might seem to be needing replacement more often you are!.
Another source of noise is junk ie rust dust swiss army knives inside the drum this is pretty easy to clean out just take off the wheel and then brake drum spay out the inside with brake cleaner.
this would be an ideal time to repak wheel bearing abd check grease seals. if the squeal is cyclic going up and down in volume the drum might be out of round . your local NAPPA type store should be able to turn them on a brake lathe to make em round again unless then have been turned once or twice before. but with new axels i assume you put new brakes and drums on
good luck
:cheers
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Old 08-19-2003, 12:06 PM   #7
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Brakes

If any doubt, i'd just adjust them, it takes about 15 minutes. If you're not familiar with how to do it, get a friend to show you. Simple and fast, plus ,you'll always know they are good to go.
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Old 08-19-2003, 04:19 PM   #8
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Brakes

Thank you all for the great comments.

Steel on steel, huh? :chin. That makes sense. The sound is not variable like auto brakes when they go out (chirping), it is low and steady for a short bit. I think what you are describing makes perfect sense. I do have some brake cleaner (Napa, as a matter of fact) so I might try that.

Nick. Great idea about the gravel road. That would be a better test than the one that I did.

Brakes and axle were brand new when I had them put on earlier this year. I have several thousand miles on them, but they have done it since day one. I have the EZ lube bearings, so I have made sure that the bearings have stayed lubed. Hadn't planned on repacking them quite yet.
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