Trailer Brakes Anyone ?

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  #1  
Old 01-25-07, 11:35 AM
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Trailer Brakes Anyone ?

To anyone with experience on the matter :
I have a tandem axle dump trailer with electric brakes, lately , I've been having trouble with the trailer brakes, they come and go as I'm driving around, electric brake controller displays " connected " and " not connected " on screen as they do that.
I know i'ts not the controller because they do the same on my other truck too, all connections on the truck are ok no fuses blown.
7 pin connector on trailer was replaced but it didn't fix the problem, obviously I thought of a faulty wire on trailer but checked them and they're ok.
Basically my question is : Could it be that the magnets are shot ? is there any chance that the breakaway unit is causing this ?

Thank You
 
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  #2  
Old 01-25-07, 04:03 PM
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Have you try this website?.

http://www.championtrailers.com/brkart.html#trouble_shooting_elec_brakes.

You can also call them and ask them too.
 
  #3  
Old 01-25-07, 06:47 PM
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I did OEM sales and block work on those things for eight years. Prior to that I worked for trailer manufacturers for couple of years.

Electric brakes can be finicky. The connect/not connected usually indicates a grounding problem. The system is essentially a two wire DC system - hot wire through the windings of the magnet to ground. The controller is essentially a current amperage regulator that lets more amps through the system and allows the magnets to have a stronger field to apply more brake pressure.

Since the magnets are in the circuit, they can wear out and cause this type of grounding problem, but that usually isn't the case. What typically happens is the ground gets faulty and relies on the trailer ball hookup to the truck for its grounding connection. As this grounding is compromised by the movement of the hitch against the ball, the brakes flicker on and off.

The better designed systems ground the entire brake system back through the trailer connecting plug to a good ground on the truck. The systems that aren't as good run only the hot wire through the trailer plug and ground the brake system on the trailer in the vicinity of the brakes. The latter gives the most problems.

Electric trailer brakes have a service interval of about 5,000 to 8,000 miles. Generally speaking the higher capacity brakes (Werner 10K and Dexter 10K+ mainly) have longer service intervals.

As far as the breakaway causing a problem, it would be least suspect. That's only a circuit break/connect on the hot wire with a battery on the opposite side of the switch from the brakes.

Hope this helps,

Bob
 
  #4  
Old 01-25-07, 07:37 PM
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Thank you for the response, Ground problem sounds about right, I'll check the wires again . I do think I have a ground going all the way from truck 7 pin receiver to trailer brakes since I see 2 wires coming out of there , but will double check.
 
  #5  
Old 01-26-07, 06:55 AM
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A number of the lesser systems would have a ground through the plug, but would terminate it on the trailer frame, then ground everything on the trailer (lights, brakes, etc.) to the frame. Consequently every grounding point became a potential problem. They always work well for a time, then problems would surface.

In terms of the brakes, grounding problems were reduced significantly with the ground wire from the brakes returning to the truck. Often that ground wire was hooked to the battery itself.

Electric brakes have met requirements to have brakes (and done so economically), but you would never see that design of brake in the automotive industry. A lot of problems come from the flexing of the wires at the back of the brakes as well as from the jarring of the components inside the drum.

Depending on how heavy you use the trailer and the capacity of the axles, there may be other options that would suit your application better.

Hope this helps,

Bob
 
  #6  
Old 01-26-07, 05:17 PM
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Yes I guess you could say I use it a lot ( 6 days a week ) , rarely at max cap., trailer is rated at 7K # GVW, payload is about 4500 # since the trailer itself weighs around 2500# , usually we put a lot of trimmings,branches, leaves, some dirt, etc.
It's somewhat a light duty trailer compared to the big 10K with the 8 lugs axles.
I doubled checked the wires between brakes today, next step will be to take drums off and check magnets and all brake parts.

Thank you for your help , it gave me a new perspective.
 
  #7  
Old 01-27-07, 04:03 AM
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Just a thought (and I agree about the grounding)..

Trailers, unlike vehicles, are usually rated for their load and the rating doesn't include the weight of the trailer itself. So your 10k lb trailer is rated to really hold 10k lbs.

Loaded, that would mean total weight of 12.5k lbs. Which probably exceeds the rated capacity of your tow vehicle unless you've got a dually.
 
  #8  
Old 01-27-07, 06:30 AM
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Usually a trailer manufacturer will start with the axles to establish the GVW (Gross Vehicular Weight) of the trailer. If they want to push it to the max they will take the rated capacity of the axles and add 10% to 12 % for the weight transfer to the towing vehicle. The transfer is necessary for towability issues. This is a common transfer for "bumper pull trailers" while 20% to 22% is fairly common for the gooseneck trailers. This all gives them a range of GVW to assign to the design of the trailer they put together.

In regards to Lou's trailer: At a 7k GVW, if you have tandem axles, you likely have 5 bolt 3500 axles. That type of trailer is often built with one brake and one idler axle, although some go to the extra expense of both braking axles. The brake available for that axle typically is the Hayes (bought out by Alco) 10 X 2 1/4 and the Dexter of same size.

Considering your useage of the trailer, which considered more of a commercial application, as opposed to homeowner (occassional), I have to say you'll spend a lot of time keeping those brakes working. They just aren't made for that application.

I know when they sell you the trailer you hear a different story, but that brake just will not take it. There is a surge hydraulic system that would retro-fit that trailer. It gets rid of the electric brakes and would work with your current drums/axle, although you may have to reposition the brake flange. I would have to admit, though that system isn't without its problems.

Good luck,

Hope this helps,

Bob
 
  #9  
Old 01-27-07, 07:02 PM
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Pendragon : Trailer GVW is 7 K # that means you have to substract weight of actual trailer ( curb weight ) to get the payload, which is about 4500 # , trailer actually has a sticker from manufacturer that establishes max cargo.
( 4000 pounds recommended but we go the other extra 500 based on axles cap. )

Marb : Yes trailer has 2 3500 # axles, but they're 6 lugs not 5., brakes have been working properly since I bought it a over a year ago, but I agree with you is somewhat light duty, although is really well built.

I tried to paste I pic but couldn't do it.

Thank you both.
 
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