Electric Brake Troubleshooting - Fiberglass RV



Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 09-24-2018, 03:40 PM   #1
Member
 
Name: Bryan
Trailer: Carefree
British Columbia
Posts: 72
Electric Brake Troubleshooting

Hi All,

Well I finally got my Primus HQ brake controller in my Nissan Frontier (mid-sized), but no obvious braking felt.

What I do know is this:
  1. The brake controller shows signs of all clear - everything functions as it should - no error codes
  2. Using the manual button on the controller (as in for trailer sway or other emergency situations) makes an electric motor sound at each of the wheels
  3. Using the brake pedal makes the same electric sound at each wheel
  4. I drove and would hit the gas and then feet off pedals I'd use the manual button to apply the trauiler brakes - di not seem to slow at all while coasting. I tried jacking the main setting up to 13 volts and used the highest boost option - nada. I would have expected the brakes to lock up under the full voltage/boost scenario.
  5. This trailer has not had the electric brakes used for at least 2-3 years
If I had to guess I'd say the brakes are frozen and the electric motor can't move them, but as I'm inexperienced with electric brakes I figured I'd see what the experienced have to say

I assume that the mechanical aspects of the drum brakes are the same as any other brakes, but hydraulics are replaced by an electric motor at each wheel. So I get brakes in general, but not sure how the electric vs hydraulic may change diagnosing no feeling of braking.


Thanks in advance

-Bryan
__________________

CarefreeLad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-24-2018, 03:54 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Name: Steve
Trailer: Scamp 13
California
Posts: 1,702
Put the trailer on jack stands and have someone hit the brake controller for you while turning the tire. The brakes may need adjusting. I once had the same problem. took the tire and drum off and the brake shoes were not there. I found out they were made from unobtanium. I had to replace the whole brake system with a set from another manufacturer.

If you have 7" diameter drums don't expect a whole lot of brake power on pavement they will slow you down but wont skid you to a stop unless the trailer is very light.
__________________

stevebaz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-24-2018, 04:06 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
Byron Kinnaman's Avatar
 
Name: Byron
Trailer: 2006 Scamp 13' towed with a 2005 Dodge Dakota 4.7l Magnum W/full tow package (over kill)
Oregon
Posts: 6,898
Registry
I don't believe there a "motor" involved but there is electro magnets. Do a google search on electric trailer brakes or go to https://www.dexteraxle.com/resources...lectric-brakes
and watch the video.
__________________
Byron & Anne enjoying the everyday Saturday thing.
Byron Kinnaman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-24-2018, 04:31 PM   #4
Member
 
Name: Bryan
Trailer: Carefree
British Columbia
Posts: 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevebaz View Post
Put the trailer on jack stands and have someone hit the brake controller for you while turning the tire. The brakes may need adjusting. I once had the same problem. took the tire and drum off and the brake shoes were not there. I found out they were made from unobtanium. I had to replace the whole brake system with a set from another manufacturer.

If you have 7" diameter drums don't expect a whole lot of brake power on pavement they will slow you down but wont skid you to a stop unless the trailer is very light.
Thank Steve - Nice Captain America/Avengers reference!

Interesting that you say they won't skid - so many brake controller sites and the instructions that came with them say that they should be able to lock up the tires on the trailer. My settings were for a trailer probably 3 times the weight of mine and couldn't feel anything when applied (of course due to whatever is up with the brakes). I know the truck won't skid, but everything I've read said the trailer wheels can lock up.

Jack stands and a looksee it shall be - like you said...maybe the shoes walked off


Thanks!
CarefreeLad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-24-2018, 04:32 PM   #5
Member
 
Name: Bryan
Trailer: Carefree
British Columbia
Posts: 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron Kinnaman View Post
I don't believe there a "motor" involved but there is electro magnets. Do a google search on electric trailer brakes or go to https://www.dexteraxle.com/resources...lectric-brakes
and watch the video.

Thanks Byron - I should have stuck with "electrical buzzing sound" "Motor" kind of felt wrong here - now I know!
CarefreeLad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-24-2018, 07:27 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
John in Michigan's Avatar
 
Name: John
Trailer: 1978 Trillium 4500, 1979 Boler 1700
Michigan
Posts: 1,249
Registry
Yes, I agree with stevebaz's recommendation to put the trailer up on jack stands, then have someone press the brake while you try rotating each wheel. Pressing the brake pedal should immediately stop the wheel FIRMLY so that you can't turn the wheel with any amount of strength.

- The fact that the vehicle did not slow down or stop when pressing the manual override braking button while coasting at very low speed suggests that either the brakes need to be adjusted or the shoes are worn out.

- The fact that you are hearing a sound at each brake when the brake pedal is pressed suggests that the brake magnets are working.
__________________
Trillium 4500 Journal
http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...nal-81345.html
John in Michigan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-24-2018, 07:33 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
Byron Kinnaman's Avatar
 
Name: Byron
Trailer: 2006 Scamp 13' towed with a 2005 Dodge Dakota 4.7l Magnum W/full tow package (over kill)
Oregon
Posts: 6,898
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by John in Michigan View Post
Yes, I agree with stevebaz's recommendation to put the trailer up on jack stands, then have someone press the brake while you try rotating each wheel. Pressing the brake pedal should immediately stop the wheel FIRMLY so that you can't turn the wheel with any amount of strength.

- The fact that the vehicle did not slow down or stop when pressing the manual override braking button while coasting at very low speed suggests that either the brakes need to be adjusted or the shoes are worn out.

- The fact that you are hearing a sound at each brake when the brake pedal is pressed suggests that the brake magnets are working.



With a prodigy brake controller it will do no good to press the brake pedal. You'll have use the manual over ride.

I suppose it's possible that the brakes need adjusting. Take it to a utility trailer shop and have them adjusted, while there you might have them repack the bearing.
__________________
Byron & Anne enjoying the everyday Saturday thing.
Byron Kinnaman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-24-2018, 08:04 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
Raspy's Avatar
 
Name: John
Trailer: 2019 Black Series HQ19
Smith Valley, Nevada
Posts: 1,463
As a first attempt, adjust the brakes to the point they are just starting to drag. This is a simple procedure that will help you troubleshoot with no cost. It may help, but I doubt it.

You may hear a faint humming with the brakes applied and the wheel not turning, but if the wheel is turning, there will be a scraping sound as the magnet rubs against the drum to energize the shoes. They will hold much better rolling forward than backward.

If you hear no obvious scraping when the brakes are applied, and no apparent braking force, it's time to pull the drums off and have a look. Beyond this point it could be a number of things and it might just be that the linkage is stuck. Knock it loose with light taps of a hammer, but use no oil. See if the shoes look good with about 1/4" of lining.

Brakes will gradually get stronger and stronger as they wear in. So they may not skid in the beginning, but they will later, after some use. Mine would not skid when new and now I have them turned down to about 1/2 power to keep them from skidding.

If you pull the drums and find an obvious problem, it is probably best to just replace the whole pre-assembled backing plates, and start fresh. Make sure the braking surface in the drums is not grooved and that the side of the drum, where the magnet rubs is smooth and undamaged. The drums can have surface rust and that is fine, just clean it up with sand paper or steel wool.

After you get to that point, it's time to inspect and pack the bearings and replace the inner seals. Clean the spindles including the area where the seals run. Tighten the spindle nuts as per specs and lock them in place with the cotter pins. Install the caps. Road test and go camping.
__________________
I only exaggerate enough to compensate for being taken with a grain of salt.
Raspy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-25-2018, 10:05 AM   #9
Member
 
Name: Bryan
Trailer: Carefree
British Columbia
Posts: 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by John in Michigan View Post
Yes, I agree with stevebaz's recommendation to put the trailer up on jack stands, then have someone press the brake while you try rotating each wheel. Pressing the brake pedal should immediately stop the wheel FIRMLY so that you can't turn the wheel with any amount of strength.

- The fact that the vehicle did not slow down or stop when pressing the manual override braking button while coasting at very low speed suggests that either the brakes need to be adjusted or the shoes are worn out.

- The fact that you are hearing a sound at each brake when the brake pedal is pressed suggests that the brake magnets are working.

Thanks John - I've come to the same conclusion - positive signs of life (magnets appear to be engaging), but some investigation needed (shoes need adjustment or replacement). Weather will be nice this week so off comes a wheel to see what's what!
CarefreeLad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-25-2018, 10:08 AM   #10
Member
 
Name: Bryan
Trailer: Carefree
British Columbia
Posts: 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Raspy View Post
As a first attempt, adjust the brakes to the point they are just starting to drag. This is a simple procedure that will help you troubleshoot with no cost. It may help, but I doubt it.

You may hear a faint humming with the brakes applied and the wheel not turning, but if the wheel is turning, there will be a scraping sound as the magnet rubs against the drum to energize the shoes. They will hold much better rolling forward than backward.

If you hear no obvious scraping when the brakes are applied, and no apparent braking force, it's time to pull the drums off and have a look. Beyond this point it could be a number of things and it might just be that the linkage is stuck. Knock it loose with light taps of a hammer, but use no oil. See if the shoes look good with about 1/4" of lining.

Brakes will gradually get stronger and stronger as they wear in. So they may not skid in the beginning, but they will later, after some use. Mine would not skid when new and now I have them turned down to about 1/2 power to keep them from skidding.

If you pull the drums and find an obvious problem, it is probably best to just replace the whole pre-assembled backing plates, and start fresh. Make sure the braking surface in the drums is not grooved and that the side of the drum, where the magnet rubs is smooth and undamaged. The drums can have surface rust and that is fine, just clean it up with sand paper or steel wool.

After you get to that point, it's time to inspect and pack the bearings and replace the inner seals. Clean the spindles including the area where the seals run. Tighten the spindle nuts as per specs and lock them in place with the cotter pins. Install the caps. Road test and go camping.

Thanks for the troubleshooting steps - a few things I forgot about since the last time I played with drum brakes....about 25 years ago I can finally use that spring releasing tool again after all these years!
CarefreeLad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2018, 04:17 PM   #11
Junior Member
 
Name: Stebe
Trailer: Casita
Colorado
Posts: 14
I did what stevebaz is recommending and had to adjust the brakes on my Casita. I received it new from the factory with the brakes completely loose such that they did not break at all. I adjusted the star wheel adjustment to the point where the brakes just made contact and then backed it of a couple turns. I did this with the wheel jacked up so I could spin it. You will need safety blocks if you do this because the adjustment requires one to get under the trailer. This worked well.
swhird is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2018, 12:08 PM   #12
Junior Member
 
Name: Jim
Trailer: 2011 Escape 19
California
Posts: 6
Hi John, My trailer brakes only lock up when stopping below 5mph, like when stopping at a stop sign. I tried to correct this problem by dialing down the aggressiveness of my brake controller but to no avail. I do not have any braking issues during regular driving...only when coming to a dead stop. Should I follow your suggestions in diagnosing my problem? Regards, Jim
jim hol is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2018, 05:39 PM   #13
Senior Member
 
Glenn Baglo's Avatar
 
Name: Glenn ( second 'n' is silent )
Trailer: 2009 Escape 17B '08 RAV4 SPORT V6
British Columbia
Posts: 6,046
What brake controller are you using?

If a Prodigy P2, the instruction pamphlet indicates to have "Boost" off for a trailer as light as Escape 19.
__________________
What happens to the hole when the cheese is gone?
- Bertolt Brecht
Glenn Baglo is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2018, 05:48 PM   #14
Junior Member
 
Name: Jim
Trailer: 2011 Escape 19
California
Posts: 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo View Post
What brake controller are you using?

If a Prodigy P2, the instruction pamphlet indicates to have "Boost" off for a trailer as light as Escape 19.
I'm using a CURT Discovery brake controller.
__________________

jim hol is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
brake-1999 casita 16" ft. electric brake koy Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 2 07-23-2018 05:47 PM
Troubleshooting electric brakes Roy in TO Towing, Hitching, Axles and Running Gear 4 08-05-2009 06:34 AM
LP Gas Troubleshooting Tool Pete Dumbleton Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 7 04-27-2007 04:51 PM
Electric Brake or Surge Brake? Bonnie Barge Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 28 08-28-2006 01:44 PM
Gel coat troubleshooting Legacy Posts Care and Feeding of Molded Fiberglass Trailers 1 01-20-2003 06:05 PM

» Upcoming Events
No events scheduled in
the next 465 days.
» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:20 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions Inc.