New brakes barely working - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-29-2016, 04:06 PM   #15
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Check the Ground wire on each side to make sure you have a good ground.
Check the Hot wire on each side to make sure you have adequate power.
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Old 03-29-2016, 08:43 PM   #16
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On two occasions, with two different trailers, I have encountered the issue of little braking action with new shoes. They really do have to wear in. After some use, they worked fine for a long time.
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Old 03-29-2016, 09:24 PM   #17
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Looks like a lot of "experience" out there.

On the electric side, do you have a hard wired ground from each brake back through to the TV? Do not rely on frame ground through the hitch ball.

When breaking in new brakes, be careful to not let them get too hot. Overheating will cause them to glaze and lose grip.
Drive at a moderate speed - away from traffic.
Apply trailer brakes hard, then release, a few times with a few minutes between for cooling. This is called burnishing.
It wears off the high spots so the entire surface of shoes makes contact with the drums. Then readjust for proper clearance.
I wonder if somehow you have one with the brake installed backwards. In the forward direction drum brakes will self energize. In reverse they don't.
Try that weak one in reverse... ???
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Old 03-30-2016, 11:28 AM   #18
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Until the brakes "wear in" only the outside ends of the shoes make contact with the brake drums. After the wear in, the entire shoe makes contact with the drum.
In doing truck brakes, the brake shoes are ground by the installer to match or be a slightly shorter radius than the drums.
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Old 03-30-2016, 12:54 PM   #19
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In doing truck brakes, the brake shoes are ground by the installer to match or be a slightly shorter radius than the drums.
I remember doing this to automobile brakes in the 60's. We had a special machine just for this purpose. I have not seen this done in any auto shop in many years. It makes perfect sense because until the shoes make full contact with the drum, braking is reduced substantially. I was told that the reason this practice was not used much anymore was because of environmental concerns regarding brake dust. Interesting to see that this is still done in truck shops.
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Old 03-30-2016, 01:43 PM   #20
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You bring a good point Jack. The big question there is "IF" both sides are adjusted properly...

I learned from Dexter's docs on how to adjust their brakes: Run the brake shoes out until it "locks" the wheel and you cant or barely can spin the wheel. Then back it off until- Dexter says: "You feel the shoes slightly dragging." But you HAVE to make sure the shoes are releasing properly!

Dexter also describes on how to "seat" the shoes. They say drive 40 mph and apply the trailer brakes 20-30 times slowing to 20 mph each time. They recommend letting the brakes cool between applications.
Good info. I never thought to run them in before adjusting them. here is a link to the dexter axle brake adjustments.

http://www.dexteraxle.com/i/u/614960...ric_Brakes.pdf
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Old 03-30-2016, 08:31 PM   #21
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I wonder if somehow you have one with the brake installed backwards. In the forward direction drum brakes will self energize. In reverse they don't.
Try that weak one in reverse... ???
I overlooked that. The self energizing issue is totally appropriate. If you cannot see which direction of rotation they self energize take it to a mechanic. Perhaps a truck mechanic might best.
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Old 03-30-2016, 10:10 PM   #22
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If they are locking up on one side and not on the other, after several adjustments, you may need to check and see if you don't have two rights or two lefts on that axle.
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Old 03-30-2016, 10:40 PM   #23
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Grinding the linings to match the arc of the drums was the accepted method for brake jobs in the past. The asbestos dust that was generated by that process was found to be harmful to the health of workers. Grinding became a nono. Technicians then began matching the arcs by bending the linings by striking a sharp blow to the shoe using a wood block to cushion the concentrated loads provided by the hammer face. No dust that way. I have used this method, and it does work. The matching of the arcs is just judged by eye, so some road time is still required to achieve maximum friction. (bedding the shoes). I would imagine most techs omit the arcing step, and just expect the normal driving to do the job. This isn't ideal. The shoes high spots are the only contact area. They get hot and glaze, while the low spots are not touching. The outcome will be poor, and slow to develop. Expect to be underwhelmed.
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Old 03-30-2016, 11:56 PM   #24
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Wow Russ. Thanks for the info. Although there's no less dust in the end, mechanics always were a somewhat independent bunch and probably didn't connect or turn on the vacuum when they ground the shoes.

Who knows. Now that I have no grinder at my disposal I may try that myself.
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Old 03-31-2016, 07:03 AM   #25
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Arching the brake shoes was common back when shops actually relined the shoes. Most shoes today are arched at the factory. There will be a bit of mis-match on these if the drums are turned, but normally, burnishing the shoes, as mentioned several places above, will mate everythng properly. Bending the end of the shoes will only effect the very tip ends, as the web will prevent any further bending. Also, you better hit that shoe dead center or you're likely to have one side making greater contact than the other.
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Old 03-31-2016, 09:10 AM   #26
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Thanks again. I'm learning all kinds of good stuff.
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Old 04-07-2016, 08:04 AM   #27
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With NEW brakes on a new axle it would include ALL brake parts and there should be a near perfect match between shoes and drums.

After the drums are turned you should expect a difference, not on new parts.

Brake jobs were done at the service station I worked at in HS many years ago and when drums went to a then typical parts place after turning the drums they ground the shoes to match the drums.

The procedure of tightening the shoes until they locked was to perfectly seat/align them on the backing plates then back them off a certain number of "clicks".

Having to apply brakes 40-50 times from 40-20 mph sounds hazardous to me. Yes they need to seat in but not to the extent mentioned here.
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Old 04-07-2016, 08:20 AM   #28
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Not sure why Lippert suggests that. But the method Dexter recommends sounds reasonable to me: 20-30 times slowing to 20 mph each time

I would say this is to keep someone from leaving on a trip with new brakes and let's say doing a 1K round trip. The brakes seat and are going to possibly become less effective. The trip includes a busy interstate or back roads going down steep hills/mts. I think this scenario is self-explanatory.

Then I have to ask which sounds the most hazardous?

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Having to apply brakes 40-50 times from 40-20 mph sounds hazardous to me. Yes they need to seat in but not to the extent mentioned here.
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