Trailer electric brake problem

Submitted: Tuesday, Jan 15, 2008 at 00:24
ThreadID: 53503 Views:6873 Replies:7 FollowUps:10
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My trailer electric brakes barely seem to work, the controller overide can't stop my vehicle rolling down a hill, yet I could easily lock the wheels on my previous caravan.

The cable handbrake on the trailer works fine (will lock the wheels) and all looks fine when I have checked inside the drum (magnets not worn, plenty of brake lining etc...). The magnets can be heard clicking away when using the controller and in generall all seems fine except for the fact it doesn't work!

The wiring all appears fine (good clean connections, big earth wire etc...) Any ideas on what the problem is? What should the brake voltage be at the plug when manually on 100%?

Thanks for any help.

Cheers

Captain
Its not what you drive, but how you drive it!
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Reply By: Member - Bucky (VIC) - Tuesday, Jan 15, 2008 at 06:44

Tuesday, Jan 15, 2008 at 06:44
Check out these ThreadID: 40396 ( in archives )
ThreadID: 51495 ( in archives )

Yoou may find your answer there

Cheers

Bucky
AnswerID: 281686

Follow Up By: Member - Captain (WA) - Tuesday, Jan 15, 2008 at 19:55

Tuesday, Jan 15, 2008 at 19:55
Hi Bucky,

Checked out the threads and they are more about lockup problems, mine is the opposite. Thanks anyway.

Cheers

Captain
Its not what you drive, but how you drive it!
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Reply By: Grungle - Tuesday, Jan 15, 2008 at 08:33

Tuesday, Jan 15, 2008 at 08:33
Kids haven't been playing around with the gain control have they?

Apply 12V to the electric brake wire on the plug when the camper is jacked up and wheels off the ground. This should lock up both brakes so you can't spin the wheels.

Alternatively measure the voltage on the vehicles trailer plug when moving the manual control on the brake trailer and check the voltage. Not sure if yours has a gain control but with my gain set to max and manual lever activated, I get around 12V. The gain alters this voltage which determines how much stopping power there is to the trailer.

I would suspect a fuse, bad connection or earth or worn magnets.

Regards
David
AnswerID: 281703

Follow Up By: Member - Captain (WA) - Tuesday, Jan 15, 2008 at 20:07

Tuesday, Jan 15, 2008 at 20:07
Hi David,

I have tried all gain settings with no difference in braking performance. Haven't jacked the trailer up yet but am pretty certain i could spin the wheel by hand.

I have checked the output voltage and it varies from 2.6V (min)to 12.2V (max) via the hand controller - all seems fine.

Have previously checked the magnets and all seemed fine. I think i have narrowed it down to a bad connection somewhere on the brake wiring as the rest seems fine.

Cheers

Captain
Its not what you drive, but how you drive it!
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Reply By: Gronk - Tuesday, Jan 15, 2008 at 09:09

Tuesday, Jan 15, 2008 at 09:09
As for a different problem, a friend has the opposite problem on his van.......have to set the prodigy down to setting 3 to stop the brakes locking up ???

Works fine at this setting ( actually only 2 volts at the magnets )

Very strange??????
AnswerID: 281710

Follow Up By: David from David and Justine Olsen's 4WD Tag-Along - Tuesday, Jan 15, 2008 at 09:18

Tuesday, Jan 15, 2008 at 09:18
What angle is the unit mounted at? If it exceeds (from memory) 7 degrees you may get this response.
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FollowupID: 546025

Follow Up By: Member - Poppy (QLD) - Tuesday, Jan 15, 2008 at 10:45

Tuesday, Jan 15, 2008 at 10:45
David
I think you will find it is 70 degrees, at least it is with the prodigy
Chers Ray
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FollowupID: 546041

Follow Up By: David from David and Justine Olsen's 4WD Tag-Along - Tuesday, Jan 15, 2008 at 11:53

Tuesday, Jan 15, 2008 at 11:53
sorry, typo, didn't proof read
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FollowupID: 546065

Follow Up By: Gronk - Tuesday, Jan 15, 2008 at 13:58

Tuesday, Jan 15, 2008 at 13:58
It looks to be approx 15 - 20 deg.......
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FollowupID: 546083

Reply By: Rosco - Qld - Tuesday, Jan 15, 2008 at 11:19

Tuesday, Jan 15, 2008 at 11:19
Have you tried adjusting them through the backing plate?
It may be that the shoes are too far off the drums.
The hand brake, which usually works separately may be pushing the shoes out sufficiently extra for them to work that way.

Cheers
AnswerID: 281737

Follow Up By: Member - Captain (WA) - Tuesday, Jan 15, 2008 at 20:09

Tuesday, Jan 15, 2008 at 20:09
Hi Rosco,

Yep, adjusted the brakes till they lock then back off a few turns. From a few other things I have since tried, most likely a bad electrical connection somewhere as the voltage at the plug is fine and magnets look good.

Cheers

Captain
Its not what you drive, but how you drive it!
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Reply By: Steve Ellis - Tuesday, Jan 15, 2008 at 12:11

Tuesday, Jan 15, 2008 at 12:11
What brand & model of controller do you have captain? That is probably the first thing to know otherwise it is just guesswork.
AnswerID: 281745

Follow Up By: Member - Captain (WA) - Tuesday, Jan 15, 2008 at 20:15

Tuesday, Jan 15, 2008 at 20:15
Hi Steve,

Its a Hayes Lemmerz III and has given many years of faithful service. Plus I have now checked the voltage range at the plug varies from 2.6V to 12.2V when using the hand controller.

Will followup the wiring side on the trailer as all appears fine on the brakes themselves (magnets good, brakes adjusted etc...) and the voltage on the vehicle plug is OK.

Given both wheels perform poorly, I suspect the issue is somewhere in the wiring before it splits to the individual brake wires.

Cheers

Captain
Its not what you drive, but how you drive it!
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Reply By: Alan H - Tuesday, Jan 15, 2008 at 13:31

Tuesday, Jan 15, 2008 at 13:31
Hi Captain.
I had this problem recently with the braking on our Pioneer Camper.
Checked every wire connection including the extension I'd made to take the strain when going round corners as the plug pulled out once.
Went to a sparky and he checked it out as all OK. It's at quite an angle under the dash but he said it didn't make any difference as long as the power was going through.
I then sprayed the connections with ....(oops I've forgotten the name of it!!!) like WD40 and the problem was solved, braking back to normal.
Hope this helps.
Alan.
AnswerID: 281756

Follow Up By: Member - Captain (WA) - Tuesday, Jan 15, 2008 at 20:17

Tuesday, Jan 15, 2008 at 20:17
Hi Alan,

Have tried the WD40 trick with no success - but it has worked previously for my garden trailer when the lights wouldn't work.

Cheers

Captain
Its not what you drive, but how you drive it!
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Reply By: Keith_A (Qld) - Wednesday, Jan 16, 2008 at 07:22

Wednesday, Jan 16, 2008 at 07:22
Captain - many car installations have a thick positive wire for the brakes, but leave the earth unchanged. Often the earth on the vehicle does not run back to the battery, but just screws to the chassis.
Also the thickness of the earth wire is not upgraded either.
Now if the new magnets draw more power, it may be the earth wire - from the car plug to the car earth - is unable to supply the current. (Whatever current flows down the positive wire must return via the negative.)
Perhaps run a new earth from the trailer plug to the battery and test.
.............................Keith
AnswerID: 281877

Follow Up By: Member - Captain (WA) - Wednesday, Jan 16, 2008 at 10:02

Wednesday, Jan 16, 2008 at 10:02
Hi Keith,

The earth on my vehicle is very large to enable the trailer battery to be charged. However, I have not checked the trailer earth from the battery to the chassis and this will now be my next thing to eliminate.

Cheers

Captain
Its not what you drive, but how you drive it!
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