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Old 03-20-2013, 07:31 PM   #1
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Any idea about these trailer brakes?

So I'm new to owning a trailer and of course trailer brakes. I got this older 1993 Pace American 6x10 single axle trailer for a pretty good price. The guy that sold it to me said there were no trailer brakes, however I noticed a thick red wire running to the back of each hub. I believed him simply because 1) its old, and 2) it is a single axle 3000lb GVWR trailer. I took apart the hub to clean and re-pack the bearings. Thankfully they were pretty solid, but SURPRISE I have trailer brakes!



They had plenty of spider webs and looked like they hadn't been touched/used/serviced in ages. I'm pretty familiar with drum brakes and how they operate but this one has me a little stumped since there is no brake master cylinder. Does anyone have any experience with something like this? How do they operate? How would I go about checking to see if they are even still functioning/able to function properly?



I'm pushing on the piece that seems to ride along the inside of the drum. What I'm assuming happens is when the piece my hand is on presses against the inside of the drum hard enough (some electrical mechanism?), the arm rotates the square nut at the top and results in the shoes contacting the drum. What causes the initial pressure? There is a spring (rusted to shit) on the opposite side of the contact piece that is supposed to press it outwards but not enough to cause the arm to move. It does take considerable force to move it.
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Old 03-20-2013, 07:40 PM   #2
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Old 03-20-2013, 08:08 PM   #3
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they are electric brakes. You need to wire them using a 7-pin and an electric brake controller.
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Old 03-20-2013, 08:22 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TDubber View Post
So I'm new to owning a trailer and of course trailer brakes. I got this older 1993 Pace American 6x10 single axle trailer for a pretty good price. The guy that sold it to me said there were no trailer brakes, however I noticed a thick red wire running to the back of each hub. I believed him simply because 1) its old, and 2) it is a single axle 3000lb GVWR trailer. I took apart the hub to clean and re-pack the bearings. Thankfully they were pretty solid, but SURPRISE I have trailer brakes!



They had plenty of spider webs and looked like they hadn't been touched/used/serviced in ages. I'm pretty familiar with drum brakes and how they operate but this one has me a little stumped since there is no brake master cylinder. Does anyone have any experience with something like this? How do they operate? How would I go about checking to see if they are even still functioning/able to function properly?



I'm pushing on the piece that seems to ride along the inside of the drum. What I'm assuming happens is when the piece my hand is on presses against the inside of the drum hard enough (some electrical mechanism?), the arm rotates the square nut at the top and results in the shoes contacting the drum. What causes the initial pressure? There is a spring (rusted to shit) on the opposite side of the contact piece that is supposed to press it outwards but not enough to cause the arm to move. It does take considerable force to move it.
What your pushing on is the electric magnet which engauges the brakes. With the drum on and the trailer tire on, jack the trailer up, apply 12volts to the wires on the back side of the drum,the magnet should engage stopping tire from spinning. You will need a brake controller to operate the trailer brakes. With the age of the trailer, I would replace them. Most RV supply houses sell these. They come fully assemble with backer plate, shoes,springs and magnets.About $50. per tire. Easy replacement, just unbolt the backer plate and take it the unit with you to the RV supply house to match up to a new one.
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Old 03-21-2013, 05:00 AM   #6
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you can get new magnets and shoes separately, but much easier to replace them as a unit like previously stated.
should get the brake assembly, drum, and misc nuts, bearings, seals.

and don't forget the cotter pin.
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Old 03-21-2013, 05:33 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by campthewestcoast View Post
What your pushing on is the electric magnet which engauges the brakes. With the drum on and the trailer tire on, jack the trailer up, apply 12volts to the wires on the back side of the drum,the magnet should engage stopping tire from spinning.
You not only need 12 volt power, the other wire from the magnet runs back to a ground ... Make sure those wires are routed in such a way as when the springs flex the wires are free to move without rubbing - in these pics it appears some wire re-routing is in order.

Personally I would test them out before just replacing out of hand - clean the drum so the magnet has a good metal surface. Operate the hand controller a few times with a test light/voltmeter checking for 12v juice, test your ground and then take it for a drive. Operate the hand controller a few times and cycle the brakes: at first they will either lock-up on contact or be very weak, but after cycling they may start to engage smoothly. I've seen them look worse!
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Old 03-21-2013, 10:31 AM   #8
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Your electric brakes look to be in pretty good shape really, well maybe that oil or whatever you sprayed on those springs may get on your pads and ruin them. Don't get any oil or grease or anything on the pads. I would put everything back together, hook them up to a brake controller, and try them out first before thinking about replacing them. Have a look at mine below. I was pleasantly suprised at how well these crappy looking old brakes worked on my 1974 Golden Falcon camper trailer. Same deal with me, I got the trailer from my brother-in-law and the wires had been cut and taped to the axle. He said it had no brakes but when I re-wired the brakes and connected them to my Tekonsha P3 brake controller I was supprised that not only did they work, the worked great.
Give them a try, you might be supprised too.











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Old 03-22-2013, 06:24 AM   #9
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Yep... The guys pretty much have it nailed. I'll see if I can add anything since I just finished adding electric brakes
to my single-axle 6x12 that previously had none.

They appear to be 10" electric brake assemblies, standard for 3,500lbs. axles, not required by law in most states
for a 3K lbs. GVWR SA trailer. As mentioned, replacement cost of the brake assembly itself is ~ $40 - $50 per brake assembly
(assuming the integrated hub/drum assemblies are fine and do not need replacing as well).

http://www.etrailer.com/dept-pg-Trailer_Brakes.aspx

What type of trailer plug is currently on the trailer? If it's a 4 pin, you know the brakes are not wired up.
If 7 pin, they could be wired. Here is a guide on how to test the brakes:

http://www.etrailer.com/faq-testing-...-function.aspx

Here's a couple of videos on adding brakes to a trailer. The first one (get past how to pack the bearings) shows you how to adjust the brakes. There are other good how-to videos on the etrailer.com site. I followed them step-by-step and whole project was quite easy.

http://www.etrailer.com/tv-Install-E...s-Trailer.aspx

http://www.etrailer.com/tv-demo_trai...nd_wiring.aspx

http://www.etrailer.com/tv-install-t...trbk10e01.aspx

http://www.etrailer.com/tv-demo_trai...placement.aspx


Finally, most states (if not all) now require that a trailer with brakes also have a Breakaway Kit installed, which automatically
locks up the brakes to stop the trailer if it disengages from the TV while traveling.

http://www.etrailer.com/tv-demo-breakaway-kit-faq.aspx

Good Luck!
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Old 03-22-2013, 08:25 PM   #10
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Thanks everyone for the info, very helpful!

huntndog, you the man! I snagged a prodigy P2 controller off CL for $50 and it already had the tacoma plug connected to it (lucked out with the seller).

I'll adjust the brakes per the video and test it out this weekend in a big open parking lot.

Thanks so much, I have a feeling these new found brakes will come in handy when I need to tow my entire life across the Appalachians, Rockies and Sierra Nevadas next week!
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Old 03-22-2013, 08:35 PM   #11
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Ditto with huntndog.

Ditto Huntndog. Go out and get loaded backing plate drum bearing and seals. New electrical harness. Job done. Quote Mike Holmes: do the job right the first time!
Quote:
Originally Posted by huntndog View Post
Yep... The guys pretty much have it nailed. I'll see if I can add anything since I just finished adding electric brakes
to my single-axle 6x12 that previously had none.

They appear to be 10" electric brake assemblies, standard for 3,500lbs. axles, not required by law in most states
for a 3K lbs. GVWR SA trailer. As mentioned, replacement cost of the brake assembly itself is ~ $40 - $50 per brake assembly
(assuming the integrated hub/drum assemblies are fine and do not need replacing as well).

http://www.etrailer.com/dept-pg-Trailer_Brakes.aspx

What type of trailer plug is currently on the trailer? If it's a 4 pin, you know the brakes are not wired up.
If 7 pin, they could be wired. Here is a guide on how to test the brakes:

http://www.etrailer.com/faq-testing-...-function.aspx

Here's a couple of videos on adding brakes to a trailer. The first one (get past how to pack the bearings) shows you how to adjust the brakes. There are other good how-to videos on the etrailer.com site. I followed them step-by-step and whole project was quite easy.

http://www.etrailer.com/tv-Install-E...s-Trailer.aspx

http://www.etrailer.com/tv-demo_trai...nd_wiring.aspx

http://www.etrailer.com/tv-install-t...trbk10e01.aspx

http://www.etrailer.com/tv-demo_trai...placement.aspx


Finally, most states (if not all) now require that a trailer with brakes also have a Breakaway Kit installed, which automatically
locks up the brakes to stop the trailer if it disengages from the TV while traveling.

http://www.etrailer.com/tv-demo-breakaway-kit-faq.aspx

Good Luck!
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Old 03-23-2013, 10:46 AM   #12
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Brilliant!! Thanks for the links. I adjusted the brakes properly and hooked up the Prodigy P2 controller I got and WHAM! Trailer brakes! Granted the trailer was empty, but man it stopped lickety split! Just needed some adjustment and I am good to go, just need a place to mount it where I'm not smacking my knees while shifting...

Sprocket - I would normally tend to agree with you, but we are moving this Friday. I have way too many other things to do before then, work, pack, see family, etc. Since they seem to work fine, I'll take my chances. I don't think I really really need them, but they will definitely come in handy.

Thanks everyone all for all the info and help. I love this forum!
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Old 03-24-2013, 08:14 AM   #14
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I felt exactly the same way... True, the law didn't require brakes, but I definitely feel better having them. And as we both know, there are plenty of idiots on the road who seem hell-bent on ruining our day, and you never know when your path will cross!

I too will be towing my life cross-country in a couple of weeks... From the GA coast to the SF Bay Area. Here's to a smooth and uneventful trip and getting there safe and sound!
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Old 03-25-2013, 11:07 AM   #15
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Nice huntndog! Well I owe you a beer when you get out there! (Leaving this Friday!)
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