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Old 11-29-2021, 03:39 PM   #1
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electric drum or hydraulic disc brakes?

Hey guys and gals.
I have a question regarding the brakes on our 2020 Pinnacle 32RLTS fifth wheel.
Currently it has the factory installed 2 7000 lb. Dexter axles with factory electric drum brakes. System works just Okay.
I am looking into installing electric over Hydraulic Disc brakes. This will be a DYI project as I know what I'm doing.
I went to the neighborhood RV Supply to get their opinion on which to use and surprisingly, they strongly suggested against installing. He listed many issues such as pump failures, lack of support and parts to name a few.
He suggested installing larger electric brakes IE 3" shoes instead of the current 2" along with the appropriate drums etc. of course.
What are your thoughts and suggestions?
Thanks
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Old 11-29-2021, 03:57 PM   #2
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There are a number of folks that have done the disc brake conversion. The concensus is never would go back to drums. Brake fade, greased drum from seal leak.... etc. disc just do a way better job of stopping you. We did the conversion last spring on our Eagle 321rsts. Night and day difference. If you get the right kit the calipers and pads are available at most auto parts stores. Rotors are a little tougher to source.
The pump we purchased was the dexter brakrite type. Most trailer places can source it.
You have options
Think this way If you grease one drum you lost almost 1/4 of your braking. With disc if a rear seal leaked its 1/8th of your braking.
Brake controller setting went from 8 out of 10 to 2.5 out of 10.
Others will chime in but we will never run a trailer with drums again! NEVER EVER!

Its just safer

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Old 11-29-2021, 07:48 PM   #3
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Another disk brake converter that will never be without them! I think Roadrunner spelled it out very well above.
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Old 11-29-2021, 08:39 PM   #4
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Let me tell you something right now, your neighborhood RV supply guy is full of bull.
I did this conversion spring of 2020 and it should be a federal law trailers over 10k should have disc brakes.
The pump I got is a Dexter pump, the pads and rotors are for a GM truck and in stock in nearly every auto parts store out there. The rotors are also very easily sourced by Dexter. What else is there?? Some wiring, brake fluid, some brake line, brake hose and fittings that can be found at ANY auto parts store out there.
Dont think, just do it! Pull the trigger and never look back. Best mod ever done!

Heres the link to my thread mod:

https://www.jaycoowners.com/forums/f...mod-73495.html

Yeah, I went a little overboard, but... lol!
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Old 11-30-2021, 06:59 AM   #5
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My first panic stop with the drum brakes on our Pinnacle was almost a disaster. Our previous fifth wheel came with discs so I knew the difference in stopping ability. Not being well versed in things like installing a new brake system I went with Performance Trailer Braking and the difference is night and day, like I knew it would be. Instead of needing to set my controller at the max 10 setting I now am at 6.5.

As already stated the rv guy has a bad case of full of it. If discs are so bad why is Jayco now offering them as an option? When we bought our Pinnacle last year I asked our dealer about converting them as part of the deal. He said he used to do many conversions but had recently lost their expert tech and he wasn't comfortable allowing anyone else to do it.
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Old 11-30-2021, 07:26 AM   #6
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The drum brake installations are just part of the problem with the US RV manufacturers. Most of them are stuck in their old ways, installing the same systems that were used up to 50 years ago! "We've always done it that way" is not a recipe for innovation.
Good to see that some of them are finally stepping into the 21st century.
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Old 11-30-2021, 08:09 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by deepsea5 View Post
The drum brake installations are just part of the problem with the US RV manufacturers. Most of them are stuck in their old ways, installing the same systems that were used up to 50 years ago! "We've always done it that way" is not a recipe for innovation.
Good to see that some of them are finally stepping into the 21st century.
Cheap, keep materials and installation costs down, more profitable. That's why trailer suspension hasn't changed in a 100 years. Installing disc brakes is labor intensive compared to electric. But some manufacturers are offering it as options now.


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Old 11-30-2021, 08:17 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by F350guy View Post
My first panic stop with the drum brakes on our Pinnacle was almost a disaster. Our previous fifth wheel came with discs so I knew the difference in stopping ability. Not being well versed in things like installing a new brake system I went with Performance Trailer Braking and the difference is night and day, like I knew it would be. Instead of needing to set my controller at the max 10 setting I now am at 6.5.

As already stated the rv guy has a bad case of full of it. If discs are so bad why is Jayco now offering them as an option? When we bought our Pinnacle last year I asked our dealer about converting them as part of the deal. He said he used to do many conversions but had recently lost their expert tech and he wasn't comfortable allowing anyone else to do it.
What he said. We converted ours to the same system because of your recommendation and very pleased so far with it. I saw the installer literally almost stop the truck/trailer combo with the paddles inside the truck alone.
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Old 11-30-2021, 10:51 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Lake Huron View Post
Let me tell you something right now, your neighborhood RV supply guy is full of bull$hit.
I did this conversion spring of 2020 and it should be a federal law trailers over 10k should have disc brakes.

https://www.jaycoowners.com/forums/f...mod-73495.html

Yeah, I went a little overboard, but... lol!
Just curious, what was your total investment $$$ for your brake project????
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Old 11-30-2021, 03:47 PM   #10
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My rig is 11 years old and not worth the investment but If I ever own another towable, disc brakes will be on the top of options I would want.

Just curious of anyone who has them a while. What routine maintenance is required on disc brake systems other than inspection?
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Old 12-01-2021, 08:48 AM   #11
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We ordered ours with disc brakes and are glad we did. They stop so much better and smoother. Not the tug you got when the drum brakes engaged. We have great confidence in stopping with the combination of 8 wheel disc brakes.
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Old 12-01-2021, 09:03 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by kirkelli View Post
Just curious, what was your total investment $$$ for your brake project????
+/- say $100, it came to around $3200.
The kit was $1950 and that included the $85 module for the Ford/GM truck application. I had another $150 into it for tubes of grease, wire, brake fluid, and some minor miscellaneous things. That would bring it to $2100, DIY labor=free.
The other $1100 was in my own upgrades and customizations. Better line clamps, roll of Niccop brake line, Timken bearings/races, powdercoat, custom brake hoses and a couple spares, etc..
It was a fun project and I loved doing it, also best mod I've done to the trailer hands down! Worth every bit.
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Old 12-01-2021, 02:56 PM   #13
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snip..

Just curious of anyone who has them a while. What routine maintenance is required on disc brake systems other than inspection?
For me that's about it, inspection really. If you have to top off brake fluid, you got a leak. If you got a leak your brakes wont work or wont work very well, you'll notice it. Lol!
Caliper maintenance, there really isn't any. Kinda like a vehicle. Inspect them about once a year, greasing bearings is a good time, and if you have even pad wear you're all good.
If you have to repair anything, very simple and quick unlike the drum setup.
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Old 12-01-2021, 06:13 PM   #14
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For me that's about it, inspection really. If you have to top off brake fluid, you got a leak. If you got a leak your brakes wont work or wont work very well, you'll notice it. Lol!
Caliper maintenance, there really isn't any. Kinda like a vehicle. Inspect them about once a year, greasing bearings is a good time, and if you have even pad wear you're all good.
If you have to repair anything, very simple and quick unlike the drum setup.
As the pads wear, it's normal for the fluid level to drop. Typically you don't top it off as when you push the pistons back in during pad replacement, the fluid will be too high or overflow.


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Old 12-01-2021, 06:18 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by norty1 View Post
My rig is 11 years old and not worth the investment but If I ever own another towable, disc brakes will be on the top of options I would want.

Just curious of anyone who has them a while. What routine maintenance is required on disc brake systems other than inspection?
Go for it unless you're planning to sell/trade it. The investment is in braking, safety and accident avoidance. Second trip out, mine kept me from having to ditch it at 70 mph.

Disc brakes are very low maintenance. Once pads wear out, replace pads, the caliper hardware, and lube per manufacturer. So much simpler than drum brakes.


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Old 12-03-2021, 11:17 PM   #16
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okay my fellow members
I have ordered the Dexter Disc Brake System
4 to 6 weeks for delivery
It a dyi project
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Old 12-04-2021, 01:43 AM   #17
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okay my fellow members
I have ordered the Dexter Disc Brake System
4 to 6 weeks for delivery
It a dyi project
Where did you order the kit? I went to the Dexter site, and it's kind of sketchy.
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Old 12-04-2021, 07:51 AM   #18
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The greased drum seal leak mentioned above is a result of the Dexter EZ Lube axle. If hand greasing bearings, you would not end up with this problem. Even if rotating the wheel while pumping grease into the EZ Lube, there is no way that seal can hold up to the pressure of the grease gun, that’s why so many complain. That explains why my grease zerks were not installed when I packed my bearings the first time.
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Old 12-04-2021, 07:57 AM   #19
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The greased drum seal leak mentioned above is a result of the Dexter EZ Lube axle. If hand greasing bearings, you would not end up with this problem. Even if rotating the wheel while pumping grease into the EZ Lube, there is no way that seal can hold up to the pressure of the grease gun, thatís why so many complain. That explains why my grease zerks were not installed when I packed my bearings the first time.
Never used the easy lube and had grease all over the inside of drum. The cheap rear seals used by manufacturers hidden by the drum leaked on their own. The hub was not over greased either. Part of the reason we went to discs. If rear seal leaks its visible easily. No disassembly required. Yes it costs some money but from a pure safety aspect I sleep better at night
just my 1/2 cent
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Old 12-04-2021, 08:08 AM   #20
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While I put my own set together, would have used these prople if I had known about their services instead: https://performancetrailerbraking.com/. The first hard or panic stop will convince you that the mod was worth the bucks

As far as actuators failing - possible but have never seen or heard of it happening.


Dexter owns Kodiak now

A few things to consider:

= E or zinc cooated rotors
= Better pads then Kodiak supplies. I put semi metallics on this year and they are much bette. Kodiak uses mid size GM pads, which one depends on the caliper
= Rubber or hard brake lines. Rubber are simple while making up hard lines can be tough unless you use steel/copper/mick;e tubing (US or European made only)
= Research if your truck has an integrated brake system Tou may need an adapter and this is all three major manufacyurers depending on the year.
= Make sure the bracket bolts are Grade 8 with at least 3 exposed threads. I used race car quality ARP

= Cost - as a DIY project a 5,2/6 K axle will run about $1500, a 7K will be $2-300 more. It may be a bit more in this strange world today though. A plus if you have 5.2 axles, a 6K outer bearing will raise the axle only to that rating. Add 6K springs and it's even better but unfortunately wont change the sticker GVWR but will give some peace of mind.
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