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Old 06-14-2018, 05:12 PM   #1
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Braking - how to check effectiveness

Hello,

I just picked up the trailer from a shop where I had the bearings packed. I asked them before to check the brakes when working on the bearings.

The guy said that the brakes look like new, which is a subjective assessment, but anyway I have over 10k towing miles already logged so I was expecting some wear.

After hitching up I used the manual lever (Prodigy P2) to engage the trailer brakes only when towing slowly. The trailer definitely slowed down, but not as much as I expected. I thought that the wheels would almost block (this was on asphalt, I did not have a chance to test it on gravel).

Question: is there any way to check how effective the brakes are?

Thanks!
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Old 06-14-2018, 05:18 PM   #2
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I probably can't answer your exact question, but when I first bought my trailer I asked the same question to the dealer. They had me get in, activate the manual trailer brake lever and put it in gear and take my foot off the brakes. Then they had me adjust the trailer brake power up until the trailer stopped the truck. I wasn't really moving, just slightly idling in the parking lot.



I have never really had to adjust them since. I have over 10k like you and when I go down a hill or have to make a quick stop, they stop me pretty good.
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Old 06-14-2018, 05:44 PM   #3
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OK, so the trailer should stop the towing vehicle (when moving slowly). I do not think this is possible with my brakes.

If this is not how my brakes are working, what I can do about it? Is this electrical problem or mechanical? They just did the bearings, so they would notice that there is something mechanically wrong.
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Old 06-14-2018, 05:52 PM   #4
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How did the brakes work before the repacking? Did they remove the bearings and hand pack or did they use the ez lube? Did the check every brake assembly?

I had breaking issues that I thought was a bad electrical connection. I fixed the corroded connection with no real change. Then, I checked shoes (only one wheel on each side). Turns out I should’ve check both wheels on each side as the ones I didn’t check were covered with grease. I ended up getting all 4 brake assemblies replaced and new grease seals.

If going less than 10-15 mph, manually applying the trailer brakes should stop you.
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Old 06-14-2018, 05:55 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnolia Tom View Post
How did the brakes work before the repacking? Did they remove the bearings and hand pack or did they use the ez lube? Did the check every brake assembly?

I had breaking issues that I thought was a bad electrical connection. I fixed the corroded connection with no real change. Then, I checked shoes (only one wheel on each side). Turns out I should’ve check both wheels on each side as the ones I didn’t check were covered with grease. I ended up getting all 4 brake assemblies replaced and new grease seals.

If going less than 10-15 mph, manually applying the trailer brakes should stop you.
I agree!

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Old 06-14-2018, 06:03 PM   #6
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I did not notice any difference with braking between before and after. My driving style generally does not involve a lot of braking.

The bearings were hand packed.

Another thing that I recall - when it rains (which is not that often here in CA), I feel that the brakes are more grabby. Maybe this is electrical problem and moisture helps with getting the signal to the trailer brakes? I do not know, if this makes any sense.
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Old 06-14-2018, 06:36 PM   #7
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. . . Question: is there any way to check how effective the brakes are?

Thanks!
We've dealt with various braking issues on our last 3 travel trailers. After working through these issues and experiencing "proper" braking, we've come to the conclusion, that at a minimum, you should be able to immediately lock up, at will, all (2/4/6) wheels on gravel or dirt---at 20-25 mph. IMO, if you can't (with the brake controller adjusted to max), you've got a problem. The problem could be low voltage (less than 12 vdc) to your brakes (brake controller or wiring issues), grease contaminated brake shoes, or brake mechanicals (magnets, adjustment, etc.).

Be careful if you try locking up your brakes on pavement. Doesn't take much to flat spot the tires.
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Old 06-14-2018, 06:43 PM   #8
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Bono, I would start by personally removing each wheel and check for grease contamination. If not, then you could start checking your electrical connections. I would eliminate the grease possibility first though. I've heard of it happening even with new trailers. And not doubting the shop you use, but something like this is best to confirm for yourself.
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Old 06-14-2018, 06:43 PM   #9
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Drum brakes when wet will be "grabby", just the nature of the beast. Try and anticipate braking situations and prepare by applying the brakes to "dry" the brake drums/shoes so they will hopefully work better BEFORE you really need them.
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Old 06-14-2018, 11:19 PM   #10
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Thanks Guys! I will start the investigation.
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