Caravan handbrake

Submitted: Monday, Aug 25, 2014 at 17:15
ThreadID: 109279 Views:5190 Replies:10 FollowUps:16
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The other day when i pulled into a caravan park i backed up onto the chocks,dont know why i did this normally i drive onto them,anyway got out of the car disconnected everything put the handbrake on moved the car forward and the van ran forward off the chocks.
Now i thought handbrake on means it doesnt move,spoke to some people who said the handbrake will only stop the van from going backwards is this correct.
Cheers
Humpback
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Reply By: Member - Broodie H3 - Monday, Aug 25, 2014 at 17:32

Monday, Aug 25, 2014 at 17:32
Gidday Humpback,
Don't know about only working in reverse but my Hydraulic hand braking system used to stop me rolling anywhere then some one told me I should set the van up with electric brakes and they and several others told me how wonderful they are, admittedly they work far better than the hydraulic system when the van is connected to the vehicle but as soon as you disconnect the van from the vehicles power supply they don't work at all, either forward or back ward so to solve the problem I just choc the wheels every time I stop. Maybe some one out there can tell me what my problem is as I haven't got a clue.
Broodie H3
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Follow Up By: Member - Frank P (NSW) - Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014 at 16:10

Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014 at 16:10
G'day Broodie H3,

From what you have written, I suspect your original hydraulic brakes were either over-run type or poorly set-up electric over hydraulic. The latter unlikely in my opinion, but anything's possible.

The handbrake on over-run hydraulic brakes is usually very effective because you can apply high brake pressure with the lever.

As others have already said in this thread, the handbrake on electric drum brakes can be virtually ineffective if either the brakes or the handbrake cable or both are poorly adjusted. That sounds to me to be your problem.

Cheers

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Reply By: Ross M - Monday, Aug 25, 2014 at 17:58

Monday, Aug 25, 2014 at 17:58
It would appear the tension you create by applying the handbrake lever isn't being transferred to the brake shoes. They should work exactly the same as the magnets do because they are operating exactly the same components.
In your case it isn't operating the system.
Something may be incorrectly assembled or the levers operated by the cables are seized or hitting stops and not able to apply the shoes to the drums.

Are the shoes correctly adjusted??? If not the handbrake system will move a long way and possibly not apply the brakes at all.
AnswerID: 538158

Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Monday, Aug 25, 2014 at 18:12

Monday, Aug 25, 2014 at 18:12
Also possible the cables have stretched a bit and need adjusting.

The "some people" gave you incorrect advise. With a correctly adjusted handbrake, the shoes should lock onto the internal drum surface and stop movement in either direction.

Bill


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AnswerID: 538160

Reply By: Gronk - Monday, Aug 25, 2014 at 20:12

Monday, Aug 25, 2014 at 20:12
What sort of chocks did you use ?

If they were the wedge shape ones, then the wheels were on a hill, and the force needed to stop the van rolling down the hill would be a lot greater than if the chock was the type with indentations in them..

You should not rely just on the brakes.....think what would happen if the handbrake cable broke while you were asleep ??
AnswerID: 538171

Follow Up By: Ross M - Monday, Aug 25, 2014 at 21:03

Monday, Aug 25, 2014 at 21:03
The "earth" did move after all!!!
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FollowupID: 822482

Reply By: Dennis Ellery - Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014 at 11:19

Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014 at 11:19
The hand brake on my caravan is a very inefficient piece of equipment.
If I forget and leave it on, my vehicle will move it in either direction, without a grunt.
I never rely on it and always chock the wheels if on unlevelled ground.
AnswerID: 538190

Follow Up By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014 at 18:32

Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014 at 18:32
Ditto - our handbrake pulls the shoes on the two front wheels only ...... not to be trusted.. no matter how hard I apply the lever, those brakes only hold the van on the mildest slope....chocks are a safety must when it is unhitched. The van manufacturer did warn me on this issue - fair enough, but it doesn't say much for the brake design. That said, the functioning of the electric brakes (Dexter- US) is good while mobile.
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Reply By: Member - reggy 2 (VIC) - Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014 at 12:27

Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014 at 12:27
Hi jack one wheel up at the time pull the brake on then check if you can turn the wheel,maybe only one is adjusted or none are right.
As far as brakes working better one way or the other is they work better in the forward motion not the rear.
Cheers hope this helps
AnswerID: 538192

Reply By: Krooznalong - Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014 at 13:27

Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014 at 13:27
"some people" are full of BS!
AnswerID: 538197

Follow Up By: Member - Frank P (NSW) - Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014 at 20:13

Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014 at 20:13
If you think someone is wrong why not write a Follow-up stating your version of the facts.

Otherwise, you are self-assessing.
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Reply By: humpback - Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014 at 14:50

Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014 at 14:50
Thankyou to everybody who replied very much appreciated.
Hey Krooznalong do you want to finish off your statement or thats all you got.
Cheers
Humpback


AnswerID: 538199

Follow Up By: Krooznalong - Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014 at 15:31

Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014 at 15:31
What more is there? - you obviously spoke to some idiots. The other responses on here have covered it.
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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014 at 19:50

Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014 at 19:50
Hi Krooznalong, you have us all in suspense – which of us are the idiots?
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Follow Up By: Krooznalong - Wednesday, Aug 27, 2014 at 07:39

Wednesday, Aug 27, 2014 at 07:39
Did I note quote his original "some people" comment as being the idiots - buggered if I know who he originally spoke to. You have obviously misunderstood what I wrote. Apologies if any respondents thought I was referring to them.
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Follow Up By: Krooznalong - Wednesday, Aug 27, 2014 at 13:18

Wednesday, Aug 27, 2014 at 13:18
That should be "Did I NOT quote..." Spell check of no use in this instance.
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FollowupID: 822562

Reply By: Freshstart - Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014 at 15:47

Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014 at 15:47
The hand brakes on our old Chesney wind up worked both ways. And the same wit the hand brake on the Tvan we tried out recently. They worked well both ways.
AnswerID: 538201

Follow Up By: disco driver - Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014 at 18:30

Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014 at 18:30
Same as my old Viscount Grand Tourer.
Override brakes generally have much better handbrakes than the more modern electric ones.

Disco.
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Follow Up By: Freshstart - Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014 at 21:07

Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014 at 21:07
Old vans hey! When it wasn't loaded up with all the usual camping stuff and food etc, you could lock the wheels with the handbrake and they would slip on bitumen.

They were really great brakes.

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FollowupID: 822548

Reply By: The Bantam - Wednesday, Aug 27, 2014 at 20:40

Wednesday, Aug 27, 2014 at 20:40
Its a sad intitement on the trailer business that a simple hand brake can not be trusted.

Some you would wonder why they would even bother to put a lever there they are soo piss B&@#y poor.

But hand brakes on some full and complete vehicles subject to rigorous regulation and testing work poorly......some landcrusers are famous for being poor.

Tell me.......how many of you would trust your hand brake alone to hold your car on a steep hill.....don't they teach us in driving school to put the vehicle in gear or in park and face the wheels into the curb.

Never trust your hand brake unless it has proven to be effective and reliable.

As for some reasons and some things to be aware of.

Hydraulic hand brakes can be very efective......that is why they are used on rally cars...they can be made to lock down hard with little pressure.......but there is the issue of leaking down......if the seals are getting a bit sad, it is a very real expectation that the fluid can leak past the seals and slowly release the brakes.

Hydraulic brake seals where never designed to have continuous pressure on them.



Cable brakes on trailers generally are very poorly installed in deed.
They are typically mechanically crude in every way.
Chief amoneg the short commings are both the cheap and nasty cable used and the single cheap wire rope grips.

If you read any of the rigging texts, you will note that wire rope grips should never be used singly....because they are prone to slip.....and the smaller the cable the more grips the more required to get an effective grip......on small cables the mininum recomendation may be as many as 5 rope grips per joint..and this is proper rated rope grips and not cheap crappy hardware shop grips.

Anybody who has used these pieces of rubbish under load will know they slip.

Then there is that wire rope, that I would not consider adequate to string my clothes line.
It stretches and because it is hard and coarse stranded, it gives the cheap rope grips no help.

A very few of us, bother to get some decent load rated wire rope and swage the eyes......even less bother to fit thimbles in the eyes and shackles at the brake levers.

Then there is the matter of adjustment......

AHH and there is a little trap.....because the brake wires do not follow the same path of the springs, the brake tension typically varies with suspension travel.
Often, as the suspension travels down the braking pressure is increased as the suspenion rises the breaking pressure is reduced.

so here is one trap......so you snug up your cable hand brake......then you wind the jacks up on the van.....the suspension rises and the hand brake lets go.



Then there are some weirdo brake shoe arrangements......many trailer brakes are twin leading shoe arrangements, that use mechanical advantage from forward motion to force the shoes harder into the drums......they are far less effective in reverse than forward and untill there is motion..or at least a tendancy for motion there is no advantge and poor braking.

Oh and if you have brakes off certain passenger cars fitted to your trailer or van ( as was common in the 50's, 60;s and 70's......there where a few vehicles that only operated one of the two brake shoes as a hand brake.


Yes I could go on......but you get the idea.....DON"T trust your hand brake unless it has proven effecive.....AND...then only long enough for you to get some properly adequate wheel chocks front and rear of the wheels.

cheers
AnswerID: 538234

Follow Up By: Slow one - Thursday, Aug 28, 2014 at 16:47

Thursday, Aug 28, 2014 at 16:47
Bantam,
stabilises can't be used to jack a van up and change anything to do with the handbrake. They are stabiliser not jacks.

Most problems with wire rope clamps are they are put on the wrong way and damage the cable or the plastic sheath is not bared back. Installed properly they are fine.

I do agree with thimbles being fitted.
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FollowupID: 822662

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Thursday, Aug 28, 2014 at 17:38

Thursday, Aug 28, 2014 at 17:38
There is a difference betwen stabalisers and jacks....some people do still genuinely jack their vans up..to the extent that they take significant weight off the suspension.

If the hand brake is barely holding...and that is all some can do.....even a small amount of tension off the cable and the van or trailer is off for a ride on its own.


Most problems with wire rope grips are that people WILL NOT believe that the rigging industry knows what they are talking about and that they do slip....and they should be used in multiples if they cant be avoided.

as for being put on the wrong way....if they did not know they should be used in multiples they probably have no clue there is a right and wrong way arround.

As far as plastic coated cable.....hell up market are we....most trailer hand brake cables I see are bare wire.

OH and if it is plastic coated it probably came from a hardware store and is probaly not a fit material for a braking system

There is simply no way arround it a single wire rope grip will slip a long time before the cable reaches it breaking strain or even its working load.

what a lot of people do to ...get arround the rope grips slipping is wrap a couple of turns thru the brake arm holes.
This of course significantly reduces the strength of the wire.


There simply is no substitute for a good quality rated cable and a properly fitted swage..preferably with an thimble or hard eye in the loop.

with a little effort and not much expense the performance of cable brakes can be significantly improved.

cheers



cheers
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FollowupID: 822664

Follow Up By: Slow one - Thursday, Aug 28, 2014 at 19:18

Thursday, Aug 28, 2014 at 19:18
Never have seen anybody jack up their vans unless they are changing a tyre. They run them up on ramps when parked to level them, so the suspension to brake thingy doesn't change one bit.

Plastic coated wire rope does not mean it is cheap. Quality catenary wire has been around for a long time and my van is fitted with it.

Yes, multiple clamps are the go but that all depends on the applied load. Considering the subject is about brakes not working and not about the failure of a wire rope clamps I don't know where you are coming from.

Bet I can put one clamp on a 4mm rope and you won't be able to make it fail when used in a manually applied handbrake situation, that is unless you are big Arnold Schwarzenegger. Then again you might be. Ha. Ha.

Also the wire rope clamp will not damage the cable if installed correctly.
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FollowupID: 822679

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Thursday, Aug 28, 2014 at 22:21

Thursday, Aug 28, 2014 at 22:21
lots of people use jack stands and remember we are not talking about lifting the wheels off the ground..just raising the suspension a little.

I won't argue any further about the wire except to say....is it rated.

If the whole braking system, as in over riders or just the hand brake depends on a rope clamp that makes it an issue.

and the butchery that is cheap wire a rope grips, is an indicator of the roughness that is trailer hand brakes.

people often claim it is the rope that is stretching...and it may well do so...but very often it is the rope clamps slipping.

If it is an over riding brake system there is a great deal more force available than pulling on by hand.

once a clamp slips it will continue to slip.

I bet you I can put a swage on a 4mm rope and the rope will break before the swage slips.

any single rope clamp on any wire rope will slip a very long way before the rope breaks....no iffs buts or maybees....

the fact remaons that even with multiple rope clamps, full breaking strain will never be realised.

If you took a motor vehicle to get a roadworthy and the hand brake cable had a wire rope clamp in it...it would be defected...so why do we put up with them on trailers.


we have a caravan even a small one with over riding brakes...its worth several thousand dollars.
surely its worth getting some decent rated cable and having the eyes swaged.
The swages probably cost less than the rope clamps any way...from memory I get 4mm swages for about 60 cents.

cheers
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FollowupID: 822697

Follow Up By: Slow one - Friday, Aug 29, 2014 at 06:07

Friday, Aug 29, 2014 at 06:07
The only time people use jack stands is when they want to work under the van or they have damaged their stabilisers, even then they don't jack the van up, just stabilise it.

Never had a the wire break rope slip on my van or break and that is 5 vans all up.

How you come up with roadworthy on a vehicle I don't know, if the handbrake cable had a wire rope clamp on it someone has modified the braking system and that then becomes illegal. They are legal on vans and pass roadworthy's all the time, so you best write to someone who cares and get the rules changed.
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FollowupID: 822702

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Friday, Aug 29, 2014 at 20:08

Friday, Aug 29, 2014 at 20:08
Getting back to the main point.

Brakes on trailers are for the most part crap.....they are cheap, crude a butcherous in comparison to those required on motor vehicles...like most trailer parts.

The hand brakes simply can not be trusted.

If it is not considered appropriate to have a wire rop grip in a hand brake cable on a motor vehicle..why should it be allowable on a trailer.

Whay should we tolerate this lower standard for light trailers than for motor vehicles.

In heavy vehicles the same standards apply to the trailer that apply to the tow vehicle..and for the most part the components are the same on the trailer as on the tow vehicle.


cheers
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FollowupID: 822744

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