Help! Caravan Brakes

Submitted: Wednesday, Nov 04, 2015 at 20:53
ThreadID: 130791 Views:2069 Replies:8 FollowUps:12
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Hi everyone,

We have just picked up our new caravan and the brakes are very poor. The dealership said that the brakes need to be bedded in and to do this by driving for a few k's and apply the caravan brakes manually every few 100 meters. Is this correct?

Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

Sn00py2
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Reply By: Member - Bigred13 - Wednesday, Nov 04, 2015 at 21:21

Wednesday, Nov 04, 2015 at 21:21
Hi Snoopy2, Brakes will take a while to bed in ,and doing what they suggest is one way of doing that .Because when the drums are made they are very smooth and the linings are the same ,so some Km's are needed to bed in properly ,once they get roughed up a bit they work better .The other thing to check is your brake controller settings ,I have a Tekonsha Prodigy and they have settings for light trailers medium trailers and heavy trailers ,you could try adjusting the voltage up for a few kms ,that will give you more braking power .It should not take many applications to get them right ,maybe do it where there is little or no traffic eh??
Happy travels
John
AnswerID: 592348

Follow Up By: Member - Sn00py2 (NSW) - Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 09:56

Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 09:56
Hi John,

Thanks for this. I thought they were pulling my leg. I also read somewhere where you can rough up the brake shoes and drum with some fine sandpaper.

I'll give holding the controller on while driving (on and off that is) and see how that goes first.

Regards,

Sn00py2
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FollowupID: 860537

Reply By: Notso - Wednesday, Nov 04, 2015 at 21:49

Wednesday, Nov 04, 2015 at 21:49
Just bear in mind that the brakes on your van will never be as effective as your vehicle brakes. But yes, they will improve slightly over time.
AnswerID: 592350

Follow Up By: Member - Sn00py2 (NSW) - Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 09:56

Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 09:56
Thanks Notso.
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FollowupID: 860538

Reply By: B1B2 - Wednesday, Nov 04, 2015 at 22:50

Wednesday, Nov 04, 2015 at 22:50
Snoopy,
Which brake controller do you have? I think it needs adjusting. My Tekonsha has the 3 settings B1 B2 B3, This boosts the starting current to the brakes. When you plug in the van 'C' should appear on the controller. Press the button to change it through B1 to B2 and try it. There is a quick start manual for this and I keep a copy in the car.
I don't believe the bedding in story, but it will improve the stopping in time.
Don't forget to practice using the manual override to apply the brakes to the van only, which you may want to use if the van gets a sway up, usually can happen when a semi passes you.

Good Luck,

AnswerID: 592352

Follow Up By: Member - Sn00py2 (NSW) - Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 09:59

Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 09:59
Hi B1B2,

I have the same controller as you. I have it set at the B3 setting with the adjusting wheel fully would up.

I'll try as they suggest and see how that goes.

Good point on using the manual override to stop sway induced by semi's. I also have ESC on the Van so hopefully that will help also.

Thanks for your reply,

Sn00py2
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FollowupID: 860539

Follow Up By: B1B2 - Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 10:15

Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 10:15
Snoopy,
B3 should knock your socks off.
I would now be looking at the adjustment on the drum.
If you jack it up and check the hand brake as well. See how far you need to pull the handbrake on before you can't turn it.
A matter of eliminating potential problems.
I couldn't drive mine on B3 for long it is SO aggressive.
Do you notice a difference between the 3 settings? If not I would be looking at (or eliminating) a wiring problem.

Good Luck

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FollowupID: 860542

Follow Up By: Member - Sn00py2 (NSW) - Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 14:57

Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 14:57
Hi B1B2,

On the old van I used to use B1 setting and it would hold the van and car on a slope. Lock the Van wheels on grass. With the new van I get nothing on B1, only just noticeable on B2 and B3 is a little better but not much.

I got the dealer to adjust the brakes. He jacked up each side, tightened until the wheels locked then backed off 8 clicks. He says that this is the correct number to back off. I will try as they suggested first, drive and brake every few 100 meters to see if that makes a difference. If that does not improve the braking, I will move to Plan B, take the wheels/drums off and give the shoes/drums a light sand and try again. Plan C is to adjust the brakes myself.

I always thought the correct way to adjust drum brakes was to (1) jack up the wheel, (2) turn the adjuster until the wheel won't turn and than (3) back off until the wheel is free again.

I'll let you know the result. Let's hope the weather is fine for the weekend so I can make the adjustments without getting wet.

Cheers,

Sn00py2
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FollowupID: 860555

Follow Up By: TomH - Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 16:46

Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 16:46
According to the Tekonsha instructions B2 is for Vans approx same size as tug and B3 is for vans 40% heavier than tug
Im with B1B2 with this and look at the wiring or somewhere other than the controller.

I had mine set on B1 on 2 different vans and the controller adjustment on 6.5 and it would smoke the tyres on dry tarseal in a panic stop.

B3 would have ripped the wheels off it I had my adjusters a little closer than 8 clicks.

The way the brakes work they need a certain amount of free play to allow the magnets to move and pull the shoes onto the drums. The boost is actually only a way of starting off at a higher voltage and thus applying the brake harder sooner
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FollowupID: 860558

Follow Up By: Member - Sn00py2 (NSW) - Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 18:08

Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 18:08
Thanks TomH,

I'll see how I go first with bedding in the brakes. The controller worked fine on the old van and it is only the van that has changed.

Cheers,

Sn00py2
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FollowupID: 860563

Reply By: Member - tazbaz - Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 07:01

Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 07:01
I had exactly the same issue this time last year when we picked up our new van. It turned out to be inadequate wiring of the brake controller. Others told me that they had same problem and switched to a redarc towpro - which I did too. I bought it from ARB and they had to improve the brake controller wiring, which was evident.
AnswerID: 592356

Follow Up By: Member - Sn00py2 (NSW) - Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 10:01

Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 10:01
Hi tazbaz,

Thanks for this. If "bedding in" does not improve the brakes, then I will look at the controller and wiring.

Regards,

Sn00py2
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FollowupID: 860540

Reply By: Member - DOZER - Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 07:29

Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 07:29
I previously had low performing brakes, and after considerable lengths, found the connections from caravan wiring to each brake at the axle had corroded with moisture and thats where the resistance was....it was like give the controller full manual, and you could just feel a retardation that would stop you in 1 km...if thats you and the van is secondhand, try looking at these first. If you have a new van, i would be looking at the voltage at your plug on the vehicle...should be 13 with controller on full.and engine running. The controller should be powered straight from the battery with a circuit breaker inline.
AnswerID: 592358

Follow Up By: Member - Sn00py2 (NSW) - Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 10:03

Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 10:03
Hi Dozer,

It's a new Van. I had the voltage checked with the engine running and it was 13.3 volts. Also, it is powered directly from the battery and it has a circuit breaker installed.

Regards,

Sn00py2
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FollowupID: 860541

Follow Up By: B1B2 - Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 17:45

Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 17:45
Snoopy,
The Circuit breaker must be an automatic resetting type. When the auto elec fitted mine he put it through a blade fuse and of course it blew while driving around the hills. I took it back to him and he rectified this. Not part of your current problem but worth knowing.

Cheers,
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FollowupID: 860561

Follow Up By: Member - Sn00py2 (NSW) - Saturday, Nov 07, 2015 at 09:06

Saturday, Nov 07, 2015 at 09:06
Hi B1B2, Yes, there is a Circuit Breaker installed and it is auto resetting.

Thanks for the input.

Sn00py2
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FollowupID: 860613

Reply By: swampy - Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 15:47

Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 15:47
hi
Emery tape /sanding the linnings and drum surface /disc,pads . All this is done during service .
Reduces brake grab ,can prevent cure squeal ,encourages progressive smooth application .
Together with this wash the linnings afterwards ,removes dust/debris etc
On a small vehicle braking system eg vehicle /van wind the adjusters up till u have moderated linning drag. The back off system is better for trucks and used by apprentices . 8 clicks would be borderering on out of adjustment .

In some cases the bonding of the the linning is off [not the same size as the drum ]
To rectify this there is whats called a radius grinder which matches the linning the drum perfectly

If the van is new this rules out wear and tare

Have van and vehicle wiring checked

swampy
AnswerID: 592370

Reply By: Marty D2 - Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 18:07

Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 18:07
Hi,
I had the same issue when I picked up a new van with a new Prodigy P2 controller fitted, had zero brakes on the van.
The dealer checked the 12 pin plug on the car and van - no problem found. They then plugged a power pack into the 12 pin plug on the van and a meter on the power pack looked good. They then plugged into car again and all suddenly working fine. I reckon the magnets needed a good first up jolt to start working. Hope it helps, marty
AnswerID: 592376

Follow Up By: Member - Sn00py2 (NSW) - Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 18:10

Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 18:10
Hi Marty,

Interesting. I'll add this to me list of thinks to try.

Cheers, Sn00py2
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FollowupID: 860564

Reply By: garthyguts - Tuesday, Nov 10, 2015 at 20:29

Tuesday, Nov 10, 2015 at 20:29
do not adjust caravan brakes like a car, tighten up then 10 clicks off thats how we made the brakes to be done. the magnets need that much movement in them
AnswerID: 592568

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