brake failure in 2014 scamp 13 - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-20-2019, 04:50 PM   #21
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Name: David
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Originally Posted by Mike_L View Post
David, you are correct about the wire gauge, same or heavier will do. If you use a lighter gauge you may burn your fingers.

Electric brakes usually fail in one of three areas, the ground portion of the wiring harness (most common), the live (positive) portion of the harness or the electromagnets that activate the brakes themselves, especially where the live wire connects to these electromagnets. Checking out these three sections of your system allows you to identify where the problem is and saves time and work.

I share your concern about removing insulation from a wire that may remain in service. Electric tape is useful to prevent shorts but doesn't do much to keep out moisture/prevent corrosion where water may be present. I've had better success with a "brush on electrical tape" product that seals to the original insulation on the wire.

I've never owned a Scamp but the electric brakes I have seen appear to be quite similar. You are looking for access to the positive wire that activates the electromagnet. There may be an access point inside the drum so you don't have to remove any insulation. This is also a good location to check for continuity if the brakes activate with the jumper wire in place. Good luck!

Thanks Mike. I've now determined that 1) the brake controller is sending a signal and 2) the ground is solid and 3) the positive wiring up to the brake drums is functioning and 4) applying a 12v potential just outside the drums does not activate the brakes. Next step appears to be to open it up and check the internal wiring and coils.



I'm still curious if any scamp owners know where scamp ties the frame (since the brakes use the frame as ground) back to the system ground wiring. I'm not an electrician, but it seems to me they have to be tied together somewhere. Scamp's wiring diagram is inadequate to answer this question. Or maybe I'm just confused?
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Old 05-20-2019, 07:08 PM   #22
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You might find this tutorial on etrailer.com useful for testing your brakes. I had one magnet fail due to being ground so much by contact with the side of the drum that the magnet was worn and shorting, giving me unusual readings from my dashboard brake controller. I ended up buying compete self adjusting brake assemblies from etrailer.com which work great.
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Old 05-20-2019, 07:09 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by WDavidG View Post
>snip<
I'm still curious if any scamp owners know where scamp ties the frame (since the brakes use the frame as ground) back to the system ground wiring. I'm not an electrician, but it seems to me they have to be tied together somewhere. Scamp's wiring diagram is inadequate to answer this question. Or maybe I'm just confused?
Since it isn't raining here this evening, I went out and checked where the 12 volt negative line is connected to the frame. As I indicated in an earlier post, the blue brake line, the bare copper 120 volt ground line and the white 12 volt negative line exit the inside of the camper behind the left wheelwell. When I looked under the camper today I found both the bare 120 volt ground and the white 12 volt ground bonded to the frame just behind the left rear wheel.

--Dan Meyer
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Old 05-21-2019, 04:53 AM   #24
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Since it isn't raining here this evening, I went out and checked where the 12 volt negative line is connected to the frame. As I indicated in an earlier post, the blue brake line, the bare copper 120 volt ground line and the white 12 volt negative line exit the inside of the camper behind the left wheelwell. When I looked under the camper today I found both the bare 120 volt ground and the white 12 volt ground bonded to the frame just behind the left rear wheel.

--Dan Meyer
Thank you Dan. Sorry I missed the information in your earlier post and appreciate you re-posting it.
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Old 05-21-2019, 07:02 AM   #25
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If you have an ohmmeter then a quick check from the brake pin on the connector Pin #__ to ground will tell the tale.


Each coil has a resistance of about 4 ohms so two in parallel would measure about 2 ohms.
You can check at the plug and at the splice at the brake to understand what is happening.
Digital meters are cheap at Harbor Freight and handy to have as well.
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Old 05-21-2019, 12:23 PM   #26
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Good news David, it appears you're making progress!
If I understand correctly you have 12 volt power, positive and negative, to the wheels but no brake action on either wheel?
Again, I'm not familiar with the electrical system on your trailer but if you have ground to the hub (axle) and apply live (positive) to the coils, you have bypassed all the components of your braking system except the coils which you are now testing.
Do I understand correctly that the brakes don't work on either wheel?
These coils do fail but not usually both at the same time.
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Old 05-21-2019, 03:38 PM   #27
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Thank you Dan. Sorry I missed the information in your earlier post and appreciate you re-posting it.

My apologies for not being very clear; There was new information in my last posting. I confirmed the bonding to the frame yesterday; since it was raining a few days ago I didn't want to lay on the wet ground to check.



Best of luck, and keep us posted with your progress!


--Dan Meyer
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Old 05-22-2019, 01:21 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by redbarron55 View Post
If you have an ohmmeter then a quick check from the brake pin on the connector Pin #__ to ground will tell the tale.


Each coil has a resistance of about 4 ohms so two in parallel would measure about 2 ohms.
You can check at the plug and at the splice at the brake to understand what is happening.
Digital meters are cheap at Harbor Freight and handy to have as well.
My 2003 16' Scamp had a similar problem. Using a digital meter like redbarron55 I found that I had continuity between the brake pin (2) and the frame, but none to the trailer ground pin (1). I ended up bonding the frame to the trailer ground and all was well. Not sure if the original trailer ground to frame bond broke or if it never existed. In either case - easy diagnostic, easy fix.
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Old 06-01-2019, 07:22 PM   #29
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Thanks to all of you I received many tips on troubleshooting my brake problem and in the process have learned a lot about how they are wired and grounded. I'm a bit embarrassed about how simple the problem turned out to be.



I finally determined that everything from the brake controller to the receptacle at the rear of the TV was working properly and that everything from the trailer electrical plug back to and including the brakes was functioning (my earlier post about 12 V applied at the brakes and failing to activate them was obviously a testing error). Hmmm... what is left in the circuit? The mating of the plug and receptacle! I cleaned the contacts and the brakes are now working.



Thanks to all of you for your patience and advice. The scamp is now ready to travel.
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Old 09-17-2021, 08:37 PM   #30
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Hmmm... what is left in the circuit? The mating of the plug and receptacle! I cleaned the contacts and the brakes are now working.
Hi David, I hope you see this. Thanks for being so thorough with your comments and troubleshooting. Iím having similar issues, or I should actually say this Scamp has had similar issues since it was purchased from the factory in 2013. I bought it this summer, and the previous owner said the brakes never worked for him. Even funnier, he towed the thing with a Subaru Forester. Burned through a lot of brake pads. He cared so little about brakes that he didnít even install a breakaway switch lol! It worked out for him.

Anyways... I obviously want functional brakes on my Scamp. Iíve made sure my brake controller works, and nothing happens. Iím working my way through all of your trouble shooting, and so far, nothing. The earliest a shop could see it is in November.

Would you please be able to outline your final solution a bit more? Iím not as technical or handy as you, so Iím a bit confused how you rectified your dead brakes. Pictures, if possible, would be amazing as well. I hope the scamp has been treating you well! I canít wait to hit the road... once I have working brakes.

Thanks!
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Old 09-18-2021, 12:11 AM   #31
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the plug he's talking about cleaning is the contacts in the 7 blade RV plug between the trailer and tow vehicle. they are brass and can get quite corroded. I will use a thin emery board, like you might use to finish your fingernails, to clean the contacts on both sides. if you use something metallic and conductive be very careful not to touch more than one blade at a time. also be careful not to 'spread' the fingers on the trailer side plug.
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Old 09-18-2021, 12:39 AM   #32
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ok, first some tests I would do to shake out a trailer brake system...

you will need a digital multimeter, set for DC Volts, and also a few inches of medium gage wire, like maybe 4 inches of one half of a piece of lamp cord, with both ends stripped back 1/2 inch, we will use this as a jumper...



note the left side there is the connector on the back of your truck or car, and the right side there is its mirror image, the plug from the trailer... these tests will all be done with the trailer NOT plugged into the car.

first, on the trailer side, measure the voltage from ground to charge (1 to 4), you should see around 12.x volts, this is the voltage of your trailer's battery. if its much below 12.5V, you should get a battery charger, and charge the trailer battery overnight before proceeding. once the battery has a full charge on it, take that jumper wire, and on the TRAILER side, connect pin 4 (12V) to pin 2 (brakes). don't be surprised if it sparks, you should hear the trailer brakes make a CLACK on both sides as they engage, remove the jumper, and you might hear a click as they release.

now, start the car, and with it running, measure the voltage from 1 to 4 on the car side, you should see the cars alternator voltage, which likely will be 13.x to 14.x volts. if you do not, then the car will not be charging your trailer battery while you are driving.

with the car still running, have someone sit in the drivers seat and manually engage the brake controller by sliding the spring loaded lever.... while they do this, measure on the car side from pin 2 to pin 1, the trailer brake signal, you should see voltage here. if they release the brake lever, it should revert to zero. this indicates the trailer brake controller is properly wired. go ahead and shut off the car.

now, if you have an overly smart trailer bbrake controller, or a modern 'smart' vehicle with factory tow, its possible its trying to sense the trailer is plugged in, and the car/truck side measurements won't work this way.
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Old 09-18-2021, 05:22 AM   #33
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Would you please be able to outline your final solution a bit more?

Thanks!
Max,
John is exactly right about my final solution being cleaning the contacts at the 7 pin interface between tug and trailer. I took a long and tortuous troubleshooting route getting there (described in the thread if you want the details) but in the end it was a simple and easy-to-fix issue. John's post above provides an excellent testing tutorial. Good luck - brakes definitely important even on the 13.
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Old 09-18-2021, 12:26 PM   #34
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jumper wire questions

Thanks, John. I'm going to go through these steps. Quick question:

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Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post
... once the battery has a full charge on it, take that jumper wire, and on the TRAILER side, connect pin 4 (12V) to pin 2 (brakes). don't be surprised if it sparks, you should hear the trailer brakes make a CLACK on both sides as they engage, remove the jumper, and you might hear a click as they release.
When I use a jumper wire to connect pin 4 to 2, what gauge wire should I use? Should that wire have a 15a fuse?

Assuming I don't hear the CLACK when jumping, how should I proceed? Keep testing the circuit until I reach the axles like WDavidG?
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Old 09-18-2021, 12:37 PM   #35
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Thanks David for outlining everything you've done. I hope my solution ends up being as simple as yours... without putting in all the troubleshooting time. I just wanna hit the road! I'll let you know if I have questions about any of these steps. Thanks again.
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Old 09-18-2021, 12:47 PM   #36
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Divide and conquer

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Originally Posted by WDavidG View Post
Max,
John is exactly right about my final solution being cleaning the contacts at the 7 pin interface between tug and trailer. I took a long and tortuous troubleshooting route getting there (described in the thread if you want the details) but in the end it was a simple and easy-to-fix issue. John's post above provides an excellent testing tutorial. Good luck - brakes definitely important even on the 13.
To test the trailer only, get out the meter and check current.
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Old 09-18-2021, 02:09 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by Scampa View Post
Thanks, John. I'm going to go through these steps. Quick question:



When I use a jumper wire to connect pin 4 to 2, what gauge wire should I use? Should that wire have a 15a fuse?

Assuming I don't hear the CLACK when jumping, how should I proceed? Keep testing the circuit until I reach the axles like WDavidG?
a single axle brake system draws maybe 4-6 amps, so a piece of 14-18 gauge lamp cord (one half of the 2 conductor zip cord) should do fine.
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Old 09-18-2021, 07:19 PM   #38
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To test the trailer only, get out the meter and check current.

yeah, to clarify this process. you need a multimeter that has a 10 amp scale, and I wouldn't neccessarily do this on a double axle trailer, as 4 brakes could exceed 10 amps. you put the meter in 10A mode, and usually you have to move the red (+) lead to a different jack on the meter specifically for this. you then plug the meter into the #2 and #4 pins, and not only should the brakes CLANK, but you should see the amperage on the meter. BE VERY CAREFUL WITH A METER IN THIS MODE, it can only be used in series with a load, if you connect it directly to a voltage, its a short circuit, and you'll blow a 10A fuse inside the meter.

As soon as you are done measuring current, be SURE to switch the meter back to a normal Volts mode, and move the red probe back to the normal multi-mode positive input. I'm not going to admit how many of those 10A fuses I've blown over the last 20 or 30 years... not a lot but more than a few.
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Old 09-19-2021, 06:57 AM   #39
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I'm not going to admit how many of those 10A fuses I've blown over the last 20 or 30 years.
Well then I'M not going to admit blowing one of those fuses, wrapping it in tinfoil, putting it back into the meter and forgetting about it until next time I do something dumb!

EXCITING!
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Old 09-19-2021, 07:16 AM   #40
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Thanks for the reminder

Quote:
Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post
yeah, to clarify this process. you need a multimeter that has a 10 amp scale, and I wouldn't neccessarily do this on a double axle trailer, as 4 brakes could exceed 10 amps. you put the meter in 10A mode, and usually you have to move the red (+) lead to a different jack on the meter specifically for this. you then plug the meter into the #2 and #4 pins,
As soon as you are done measuring current, be SURE to switch the meter back to a normal Volts mode, .
Thankyou. Yes, good reminder. I did that picture for some one working on a Scamp and I know of only one Scamp tandem axle unit. Also, that final step of switching back to volts is especially important on the cheap Harbor Freight meters. They are not protected and will be destroyed, also the test leads are undersized and will get hot.
Below is the new JPG.
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