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Old 07-04-2017, 08:09 PM   #1 (permalink)
SHIR LUK
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Cannot get trailer breaks to "lock up" during controller adjustment

We Purchased a used 33' 5th wheel at the end of the year. It's about 10K LBS empty. It was located out of state, so wasn't able to dig too deep when inspecting it. After the drive home I pulled the tires and hubs to inspect, clean and adjust the brakes. I found sufficient brake material on the shoes, but the magnets showed they were down to the end of their wear indicators. The brakes are working both by manually applying the controller as well as in conjunction with the truck brakes. However, I've tried raising the voltage setting all the way up yet cannot get the brakes to lock during the 20 mph test.
Could the worn magnets be the cause?
I have ordered new magnets as they are relatively cheap to purchase. Until I can get them installed, looking for some of your experience.

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Old 07-04-2017, 09:13 PM   #2 (permalink)
rdminter
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Maybe check your shoe adjustment, should be just barely touching with no brake pressure. The drum should just spin a little then stop from the friction.

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Last edited by rdminter; 07-04-2017 at 09:15 PM.
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Old 07-04-2017, 09:54 PM   #3 (permalink)
dmax3500
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just go buy loaded backing plates[for 6-8 lug they run $45-55 each,make sure they are right and lefts],they come with shoes/magnets,springs,everything,,then sand down the drums and where the magnets work,,go get new bearings and seals,repack everything,and adjust-up the shoes [try to get a slight drag],then drag the trailer around,use the trailer brakes and adjust the controller to just slow the truck/trailer with the truck brakes ''NOT'' being used


that's a big trailer,it might not lock-up the brakes
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Old 07-05-2017, 01:43 AM   #4 (permalink)
SHIR LUK
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Yes, i did adjust the brakes as part of my cleaning and inspection. Having taught a little high school auto shop in my first life, this went pretty smoothly. Even after the adjustment I could not lock the wheel per the controller instructions. That's why I asked about the magnets. Anyway, the new ones should arrive tomorrow and maybe I'll answer my own question.
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Old 07-05-2017, 09:25 AM   #5 (permalink)
RDS
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SHIR LUK View Post
Yes, i did adjust the brakes as part of my cleaning and inspection. Having taught a little high school auto shop in my first life, this went pretty smoothly. Even after the adjustment I could not lock the wheel per the controller instructions. That's why I asked about the magnets. Anyway, the new ones should arrive tomorrow and maybe I'll answer my own question.

The 2 5th wheels I've had neither of them would lock up the wheels even when new, despite adjusting the brakes multiple times, and neither of them had what I considered adequate braking capabilities at highway speeds. The 1st one I replaced all the wiring with 10 ga. wire, soldered all the connectons, replaced brake shoes, and magnets to no avail. The current 5th wheel, which is heavier, had the same poor braking performance from the electric brakes. If I adjusted the gain up on the controller the brakes would fade when descending hills on the highways and slow speed braking was grabby. Solved all my braking problems by installing disc brakes and now have brakes that work great in all situations.


Rich
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Old 07-05-2017, 09:50 PM   #6 (permalink)
SHIR LUK
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Thanks Rich....thats good input.
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04 2500HD LB7, CC/SB, 2WD, De-badged Summit White, Banks Exhaust, Banks Exhaust Brake, Trans built by Mike L. Nictane adapter w/ CAT UHE filter. Baldwin water separator, boost and egt gauges in PPE overhead console mount, BD Exhaust Manifold, Weld Stone Crushers w/ LT265/75R-16s, N-Fab Nerf Bars, Line-X, Mike L. tranny cooler, Mag-Hytec diff cover. Snow Performance water/methanol injection. Kennedy lift pump filter combo.
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Old 07-06-2017, 09:32 AM   #7 (permalink)
dwrat
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I just redid all my brake on my 33' Weekend Warrior.
They will NOT lock up but they do work very well and you can really feel it slow down the truck when applying just the trailer brakes.
Make sure when you grease your axles to not over grease like I did, it will get all over your brakes...
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Old 07-06-2017, 09:57 AM   #8 (permalink)
diesail
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Do the magnets have a good ground? I have ready plenty of stories about trailers using the frame for ground and not having a good ground at the magnet.
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Old 07-06-2017, 10:37 AM   #9 (permalink)
lavarock
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I have found after adjusting brakes that required a lot of adjustment require about 500 miles of operation before you get full braking.

The shoes have to wear in in order to have full contact with the drum.

Also found shoes that have been contaminated with grease will never give full performance. They need to be replaced.
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Old 07-06-2017, 11:01 PM   #10 (permalink)
Ron Nielson
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Are you aware that electric brake magnets come in different 'strengths' ? For instance, my 5th wheel came with 6000 lb axles, and correspondingly '6000 lb' brake magnets. Dexter makes an almost identical 7000 axle with yet stronger brake magnets. If you install the 'upgrade' magnets, you can get stronger braking for a song. Usually shops that sell lots of utility trailers, lawn mower trailers, etc have many magnets on hand and can tell you if they might have something a little stronger for your trailer. Also, if you can use Dexter's NevR-Adjust loaded backing plates, they may have a stronger setup that will bolt into your trailer and almost exactly same price as original. And then since they're self adjusting, it really reduces maintenance.

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