13ft Scamp Deluxe Brake Problem - Fiberglass RV
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Old 08-31-2006, 07:52 PM   #1
Trailer: 1997 13 ft Scamp Deluxe and 2006 Airstream 75th Anniversary International Bambi Prototype
Posts: 57
Hello everyone...

I'm about 1000 miles into my trip with my Scamp and SSR. Difficulty towing is GREATLY reduced. BUT...

I never have adjusted my trailer brakes since new, because the other vehicles I used to tow the trailer were adequate to stop it (except the Neon, and the electric brakes were uneventful and fine back then).

Anyway, I noticed the SSR has difficulty stopping the trailer; perhaps this is because the front of the trailer is higher than the rear (the SSR has a high hitch in the rear that can't be adjusted). It's maybe an inch or two high in the front.

Anyway, I decided to adjust the brakes since it was never done, combined with the fact that I redid the hubs, installed lug bolts, new bearings/races/seals, new aluminum rims, and new tires. I have a Prodigy controller which works properly, and I have full voltage to each wire going to each brake. Also both grounds are very solid.

The driver's side wheel required alot of adjustment to get the required slight brake pad dragging noise. I jacked up that side of the trailer, applied full voltage, and the wheels stop. BUT, if I grab the wheel hard enough in either direction, I can break the brakes loose in that I can spin the wheel slightly if I grab hard enough. IS THIS NORMAL???? I don't want to tighten the brakes anymore since I don't want to add drag after everything I went through to get rid of any drag.

Anyhoo....here is the problem. The passenger's side at first was uneventful. Jacked up the wheel, adjusted the brakes so that I had slight noisy drag (following proper adjustment procedure of adjusting with too much brake then backing off). Went to spin the wheel by hand with the brakes applied at full voltage, and they seemed to be pretty stiff, so I tried to break them free like the driver's side exhibited. Well, I broke it free, but now the brakes won't engage going forward. If I spin the wheels backward, they will grab. But, then sometimes they won't. All during this time I have full voltage and good ground at the magnet. I took the wheel/hub off twice, made sure everything was totally clean, totally lubed where it belonged, cleaned the pads and magnet with brake parts cleaner, cleaned the inside of the hub again, and reassembled...same thing. Sometimes they will try to grab, but they will "jump" up and down and I can hear a clicking type noise. The hub will bounce up and down slightly when this happens. What's going on here?

Do electric brakes have to be "spinning" for a bit to build up a good magnetic field? They are adjusted to the point to where I don't want anymore drag...but the passenger's side doesn't really do anything. When I dismantled the hub I couldn't see anything wrong or binding, and I can move the break parts back and forth either way by hand with little resistance (everything is lubed well and there seems to be no restriction).

Any chance this will "fix itself" while driving? How on earth could I have broken something by forcing the wheel to turn while applying full brake voltage? I find that hard to believe, but I apparently did something. It makes no sense that they work in reverse but not forward. If it didnt' do this, I would think its a wiring or ground problem, but that all checks out fine.

More strange unsolvable "quest" problems with this Scamp. I think it might be time to retire the old thing off a cliff. Its taking all my time and nothing sensible fixes anything. There is NO reason for this wheel to be doing this. When I neglected the brakes for 9 years they always worked fine in the rare event that I hooked them up. Now I clean and lube them, with careful attention to detail, and I break them by turning the wheel with my hand????? Absurd.

Please someone help, and if you know specifically about trailer brakes (if they need forward momentum to adequately engage the magnet properly) please let me know. I find it difficult to believe that my magnets could have gone bad to the point that the passenger wheel grabs intermittently (when it does grab it grabs strong). Its not that they are weak, just the passenger wheel hardly ever engages. Haven't towed it yet like this, just got done putting the hub back together for the 3rd time. Nothing major under there, I have no clue what could be wrong.

Please contact me if you have a clue. Thanks again!

Jeff Koon
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Old 08-31-2006, 09:13 PM   #2
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Trailer: 1996 13 ft Scamp
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My suggestion would be to have a professional check and adjust your brakes.

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Old 08-31-2006, 09:52 PM   #3
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Trailer: Scamp
Posts: 7,056
I don't think you can verify electric brake operations that way. I believe the wheel has to be turning to apply the brakes. Here's what Dexter has to say about the operation of electric brakes.


Maybe this will help.
Byron & Anne enjoying the everyday Saturday thing.
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