No Current to Brakes on Our New 2013 Casita - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-15-2016, 07:28 PM   #1
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Name: Lynn
Trailer: 2013 Casita Spirit Deluxe 17, purchased from original owners May, 2016
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No Current to Brakes on Our New 2013 Casita

I described our happy acquisition of a 2013 Casita Spirit Deluxe 17 after fruitless looking, in this thread:

Howdy—Still Looking in the New England Desert!

As I mentioned there, the previous owner had not used the electric brakes; he had not installed a controller in his V6 pickup, and apparently the folks at Casita had neglected to tell him he needed one.

My first worry was that the drums might be badly rusted from disuse, so I towed it home with the gain set at -0-, i.e. without brakes. It's light enough that stopping was really not a problem for my 2013 Ford Expedition.

Today I jacked up the right wheel, and had my wife hit the brake pedal in the Expy with the ignition on, increasing the OEM controller gain, while I spun the wheel. Nothing happened. So I pulled off the wheel, and tried adjusting the brake; got it so I couldn't turn the drum, and backed off a little. But still no effect from pushing the brake pedal in the Expy.

At that point I realized that I would have to make sure the brakes were getting current, so I started back at the 7-wire connector. Lo and behold! There was no current to the no. 2 terminal, where it's supposed to be, according to the Casita and Dexter manuals, and according to the diagram on the connector cover. Nor was there any current when I probed the blue wire from the controller to the connector.

I am not getting an error message on the Information Display, which the Expy manual says I should if there is an interrupt or short. I checked the 30A fuse for the line and it looks OK, as does the fuse for the controller. I tried the manual activator; no brake lights (it's supposed to flash them).

So what's the problem? A defective controller? An incompatible one?

I'm stuck. Any ideas? Aside from taking the Expy in to Ford Service, I can't think of any.

/Mr Lynn
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Old 05-15-2016, 07:46 PM   #2
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Trailer: casita 17 SD
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Brakes

Post on the Casita forum! Not the club.
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Old 05-15-2016, 07:53 PM   #3
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I would pull the break away switch. If the brakes engage then the problem is in the umbilical or the tow. If they don't engage then look for a bad ground on the trailer side. Raz
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Old 05-15-2016, 08:05 PM   #4
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Trailer: 1984 u-haul ct13; 1996 Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe; 1946 Modernistic teardrop
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I read it as he has tested at the plug on the car and has no power to that point. Not sure if tested for power in to the controller, at the controller itself. Does the car have a factory installed wiring harness or was it added later
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Old 05-15-2016, 08:11 PM   #5
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The factory brake controller on my vehicle requires you to program the vehicles computer to the proper brake setting. There is a setting for light electric , heavy electric and electric /air . It's possible your on board computer does not recognize that your trailer is connected . My vehicle when running gives you a prompt saying the brakes are connected and to set the gain to the proper level.
If the brakes then become disconnected while towing you get a warning icon.
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Old 05-15-2016, 08:26 PM   #6
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Trailer: 2013 Casita Spirit Deluxe 17, purchased from original owners May, 2016
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Hmm. . . Not sure I did it right; I think I probed the blue wire to the connector with the trailer plug connected, but I may have not. Will try again tomorrow and report back. When the trailer is connected, the OEM (factory) controller does report 'Trailer connected' in the Information Display, and gives me the option to adjust the gain.

I was getting tired. I'll redo the test tomorrow, and report back.

/Mr Lynn
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Old 05-15-2016, 08:47 PM   #7
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Another thought . Your factory brake controller is proportional and increases the braking power based on speed and forward momentum. Since you are parked and not moving the brake controller will sense this and send little power to the trailer brakes when the brake pedal is pushed..
On my factory controller there is a manual override which when activated applies power to the brakes . Set the controller to the highest gain setting and activate the manual override , the brakes should lock up.
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Old 05-15-2016, 08:55 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
Another thought . Your factory brake controller is proportional and increases the braking power based on speed and forward momentum. Since you are parked and not moving the brake controller will sense this and send little power to the trailer brakes when the brake pedal is pushed..
On my factory controller there is a manual override which when activated applies power to the brakes . Set the controller to the highest gain setting and activate the manual override , the brakes should lock up.
Actually, I did try the manual override, but we were still parked. I think the truck manual indicated it would work if parked, but it wasn't completely clear.

I'll repeat tests tomorrow. And then if necessary try the breakaway switch, as Raz suggested. How do I reset that switch?

/Mr Lynn
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Old 05-15-2016, 09:00 PM   #9
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Actually, I did try the manual override, but we were still parked. I think the truck manual indicated it would work if parked, but it wasn't completely clear.

I'll repeat tests tomorrow. And then if necessary try the breakaway switch, as Raz suggested. How do I reset that switch?

/Mr Lynn
To activate the run away switch pull hard on the safety cable and the front part of the switch pulls out . To reset the switch put the part that came out back in the switch housing making sure it is fully inserted. Do not leave the switch activated for an extended period , the magnet in the brakes can overheat especially if the moving parts are rusted
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Old 05-15-2016, 09:11 PM   #10
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Your brakes may be just fine. Let me TRY to explain. When you energize the brake circuit, a magnet "grabs" the drum on the drum face surface. Then the magnet holding onto the drum engages the brake shoes. The forward rotation of the drum is what puts pressure on the shoes. For the brakes to work, the wheels have to be turning. I know you said you spun them, but maybe not enough. If you are getting power to the magnet, hitch the trailer up and drive forward. When moving slowly, you should be able to feel the brakes working as well as hear the noise of the shoes contacting the drum. Hope this explains it and helps .
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Old 05-15-2016, 09:27 PM   #11
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How long has the plug been on the vehicle side. A tiny bit of corrosion at the back of the plug can cause things to stop working - I once had a charge line fail after just a year on the vehicle for that reason.

As does corrosion on the blades of the plugs themselves.... take a bit of sandpaper to clean off the connection on trailer and vehicle side.
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Old 05-15-2016, 09:34 PM   #12
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Emory board ( file ) is perfect size to clean up the trailer contacts, or can be easily trimmed to fit in the slots.
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Old 05-16-2016, 05:15 AM   #13
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.... take a bit of sandpaper to clean off the connection on trailer and vehicle side.
Quote:
Emory board ( file ) is perfect size to clean up the trailer contacts, or can be easily trimmed to fit in the slots.
Unfortunately the contacts are plated and any kind of abrasive will remove the plating leaving bare steel. Contact cleaner is a better choice.
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Old 05-16-2016, 06:09 AM   #14
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Hmm. . . Not sure I did it right; I think I probed the blue wire to the connector with the trailer plug connected, but I may have not.

/Mr Lynn
To measure current requires that the current flow through the meter. Sounds like you were doing voltage measurements ??

Pulling the break away switch will power the trailer brakes with the trailer battery. If the brakes engage then you have eliminated the trailer brake wiring as an issue.

To test the brake controller you can look for a voltage at the brake pin on the 7 pin plug at the rear of the tow vehicle while a helper manually activates the controller. If after adjustment you can't get a voltage there you may need to call the Ford dealer.
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