New electrical brakes heat on one side - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-28-2021, 09:19 AM   #1
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Name: Sylvio
Trailer: 1975 Boler
Quebec
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New electrical brakes heat on one side

(I feel the need to mention that I don't own my Boler anymore and that I now have a "non-fiberglass" camper. I post here because I haven't found the same level of help and collaboration elsewhere. A big THANK YOU beforehand for your help.)

I replaced the electrical brakes on my 2000lbs 14-foot trailer. I got professionals to instal the 7-pin wiring and controler on my car. I followed instructions to adjust the brakes on the trailer.***

No matter how low I set the trailer's brakes, I get back home with a hot wheel. I mean so hot that I can't keep my hand on it. We checked the bearings and all is good. The heat really seems to be coming from the brake on the passenger side.

The closest I came to something on internet is this, but I can't find the link to the video: https://www.etrailer.com/question-321710.html

Any thoughts? I'll be leaving in a few days and I am a little preoccupied...

*** The instructions to adjust the brakes were to find the "gain" level to stop the trailer without it shaking or skipping. I initially set them at 6.0. Now, I brought the gain down to 3.0 and it does the job, but it still generate quite a bit of heat on the one side. The responsiveness is set at 4o, if that helps.
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Old 07-28-2021, 09:29 AM   #2
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I had a similar problem on new dexter axle with pre-installed brakes a couple of years ago. The passenger side brake overheated (very hot). After many adjustments and much testing, I determined the problem was that brake magnet retaining clip on the DRIVER SIDE was broken, resulting in the DRIVER SIDE brake not functioning at all. This caused the passenger side brake to overheat because it was doing all the work (the drum would overheat significantly more than the hub).

When I replaced the driver side brake magnet retaining clip, the problem went away.

Another symptom of this problem was that the driver side brake would squeak and squeal when braking at low speeds.
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Old 07-28-2021, 09:40 AM   #3
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Electric brakes need to be manually adjusted at axle using the star wheel inside the hub before making the adjustment to the electric controller. When you jack up the passenger side, does the wheel turn freely with only a slight bit of "stickiness." If not then either the manual adjustment inside the hub is too tight (most likely) or the new brakes were defective form the start (less likely). Of course going too far with brakes adjusted too tight to start with can also wear or damage them.
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Old 07-28-2021, 09:46 AM   #4
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Name: You can't call me Al
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My new brakes also were hotter on one side than the other, so I adjusted the mechanical part of the brakes until they spun with equal resistance and they now both work well and have a similar amount of heat after driving and braking.

And they don't get too hot.

There are several videos you can watch to learn more.
Here are just two:

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Old 07-28-2021, 09:48 AM   #5
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Name: Sylvio
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John, no squeaking. Interesting though. I wouldn't know how to check that...

Gordon, the wheel does turn freely.
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Old 07-28-2021, 10:14 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Uncle Cereal View Post
J..

Gordon, the wheel does turn freely.
Well, here is one idea.. not the easiest thing to do but its time to physically inspect the bad brake anyway...

Pull the hub off, check the voltage a the magnet while someone manually activates the brake controller. Compare to voltage on the other side with the same brake controller setting.
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Old 07-28-2021, 10:23 AM   #7
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Name: Sylvio
Trailer: 1975 Boler
Quebec
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I'll try to manually adjust the brakes on each side. Maybe it has to do with them being adjusted differently (more or less like Jon's problem). If that doesn't bear fruit, I'll have to do the dirty job that Gordon suggests. Thanks guys, you prove me right: this was the best place to come to!

I'll keep you posted.
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Old 07-28-2021, 10:24 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John in Michigan View Post
I had a similar problem on new dexter axle with pre-installed brakes a couple of years ago. The passenger side brake overheated (very hot). After many adjustments and much testing, I determined the problem was that brake magnet retaining clip on the DRIVER SIDE was broken, resulting in the DRIVER SIDE brake not functioning at all. This caused the passenger side brake to overheat because it was doing all the work (the drum would overheat significantly more than the hub).

When I replaced the driver side brake magnet retaining clip, the problem went away.

Another symptom of this problem was that the driver side brake would squeak and squeal when braking at low speeds.

Only way to check for this problem (broken brake magnet retaining clip) is to remove the wheel hub. This can be done in a few minutes by raising the wheel off the ground, removing the hub center cap, unscrewing the retaining bolt (secured by either a cotter pin or snap on retainer) and then pulling off the entire wheel and hub together. Then you can inspect the brake components.

FYI I found this problem after trying many things including checking amperage draw while braking (normal draw), manually adjusting the brakes, etc.
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Old 07-28-2021, 12:22 PM   #9
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Man, the holes for manual adjustment are situated in a bad spot!!! I can barely access them. No straight way to the adjustment screw that I can't see... I'll have to find a way to make a tool: I would need a 90 degree elbow in my screwdriver!

Alan, I don't want to abuse your kindness and generosity, but is there a way for you to find an image of what a magnet clip is? I tried... unsuccessfully...

Jacking my wheels shows that they don't turn freely, neither one. Hmmm.
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Old 07-28-2021, 12:29 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Uncle Cereal View Post
Man, the holes for manual adjustment are situated in a bad spot!!! I can barely access them. No straight way to the adjustment screw that I can't see... I'll have to find a way to make a tool: I would need a 90 degree elbow in my screwdriver!

Alan, I don't want to abuse your kindness and generosity, but is there a way for you to find an image of what a magnet clip is? I tried... unsuccessfully...

Jacking my wheels shows that they don't turn freely, neither one. Hmmm.
Sylvio,
Go to a NAPA or another good auto parts store and get a Brake Spoon. This is the tool needed for adjusting drum brakes. Not as screw driver. It is a bit tricky, but take your time and you'll get it Gordon is absolutely right about needing to adjust them manually at the wheels. Get both sides the same and try driving it again.
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Old 07-28-2021, 12:49 PM   #11
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Actually I posted the problem with the broken brake magnet retainer clip. For 10" brakes, it looks like this:

https://www.etrailer.com/Accessories...hoCmGUQAvD_BwE

For 7" brakes, it looks like this:

https://www.standardaxle.ca/product/...tainer-7-elec/
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Old 07-28-2021, 12:56 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Uncle Cereal View Post
..

Jacking my wheels shows that they don't turn freely, neither one. Hmmm.
OK thats different from what was said.. and it points very strongly to out of adjustment star wheel. But of course make sure the tow vehicle is not electrically connected at all just to be 100% sure there is no trailer brake activation at all. (Leaving it hitched will make it safer to jack up the wheels). I agree.. a brake spoon makes it easier but a screw driver does work. By the way.. if you can find a shop thats not too busy thy might very well do the adjustment for you for $20-25.. it should take them under 10-15 minutes using a floor jack and jack stand. But for DIYer first time figure an hour maybe.
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Old 07-28-2021, 12:59 PM   #13
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Name: Sylvio
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Originally Posted by Raspy View Post
Go to a NAPA or another good auto parts store and get a Brake Spoon. This is the tool needed for adjusting drum brakes.
Got the tool! Still can't reach very well. It seems like the elbow should allow me to get in sideways instead... Here's a pic. (As usual, the pic needs to be turned 90 degrees clock-wise. Seems to be a problem between this forum and my iPhone that I never was able to figure out. But that's for another conversation.)
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Old 07-28-2021, 01:12 PM   #14
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... if you can find a shop thats not too busy thy might very well do the adjustment for you for $20-25.. it should take them under ten minutes using a floor jack and jack stand.
Wisdom is to know when to let go. Good idea, Gordon. I have an appointment with an old mechanic tomorrow. At this point, it seems like the best way to go. I'll watch and learn for next time.
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Old 07-29-2021, 09:10 AM   #15
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Name: Sylvio
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My mechanic couldn't reach the adjustment screws either, he had to remove the whole wheel to expose the braking system and make the adjustment. I took the camper for a spin and... ALL IS WELL! Just reasonable heat, no unbearable heat! GREAT! Thanks guys, you're experience and comments were super helpful! Happy trails to you!
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Old 07-29-2021, 09:51 AM   #16
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Thanks for the update, that's good news!
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Old 07-29-2021, 09:55 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Uncle Cereal View Post
My mechanic couldn't reach the adjustment screws either, he had to remove the whole wheel to expose the braking system and make the adjustment. ..
On the plus side, that means he also got a look at them and (hopefully) made sure nothing was broken or excessively worn.

As the brake pads normally wear over time, the brake controller can compensate to some extent with more aggressive settings. But eventually you will need adjust the starwheel in the hubs again (and then readjust the controller). For the future, if the brakes are ten inch size then you can get self-adjusting brakes that will eliminate most manual adjustments after the initial installation adjustment. Last I knew they were not available in seven inch brakes.
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Old 07-29-2021, 10:29 AM   #18
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Name: Sylvio
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Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
On the plus side, that means he also got a look at them and (hopefully) made sure nothing was broken or excessively worn.
Everything was brand spanking new. That's why it didn't make sense. But all is well now. He added a little bit of bearing grease. And I now have the peace of mind that comes with having a pro look at it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
For the future, if the brakes are ten inch size then you can get self-adjusting brakes that will eliminate most manual adjustments after the initial installation adjustment.
Good to know! Thanks!
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Old 07-29-2021, 11:17 AM   #19
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Name: You can't call me Al
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I must admit I don't understand this Boler suspension at all.

Is it so worn out that the suspension arm is vertical pointing up?
If so, that's the most broke-down worn-out suspension I've ever seen! :-)

Or does the thing have leaf springs or something?
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Old 07-29-2021, 11:23 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by AlanKilian View Post
I must admit I don't understand this Boler suspension at all. [...] Or does the thing have leaf springs or something?
Alan,
1) Thanks for turning my picture the right way!
2) The explanation to your confusion rest in the first sentence of my original post (in short, no, it's not a Boler camper).
3) Thanks for caring!
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