DISC Brakes? Work Well? - Dutchmen Owners

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Old 12-17-2016, 07:50 PM   #1
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DISC Brakes? Work Well?

Got a '16 V2951 with two 7k lippert axles with the OEM 12x2 drum brakes, Definitely not happy with the braking since new--especially considering this is a smaller rig that only weighs 11k with no toys. I've adjusted the brakes several times. I've measured 2.8 - 3.0 amps of currrent with a clamp-on ammeter at each brake (with brake controller and breakaway switch), so I know I don't have any wiring issues. Brake controller is set to max. and working properly. Did pull one drum to verify wear or a possible seal leak. Looked good.

So, gotta put safety first, so I'm seriously considering the purchase of a set of Kodiak disc brakes. I've priced out two pairs of 8-bolt, 1/2" stud, 13" Kodiak disc brakes, a Hydrastar 1600 actuator, and combination of steel and flexible brake lines and fittings. Looks like I can get it all for a little less than $1500 with free shipping from etrailer.com. Very reasonable price IMO. Plan on installing it myself.

Two questions:

1. For those who installed (or had someone install) disc brakes on their trailer, how much did it improve the braking vs. the drum brakes? I'm certainly hoping it's dramatic.

2. Did you have any fitment issues in regards to the 7k Lippert axles? Especially curious about any potential alignment/fitment issues with the caliper bracket.

Thanks!
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Old 12-17-2016, 08:40 PM   #2
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Assuming your trailer is still under warranty and before spending some huge bucks on disc brakes, I'd be taking the trailer back to the dealer and tell them to make it right. Your OEM brakes should be more than sufficient to aid in stopping. Or maybe there's an issue with your truck. You should be able to skid your tires with no load if all is working.

Disc brakes would be great in that you'd never have to adjust them.
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Old 12-18-2016, 12:00 AM   #3
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Appreciate the reply, azdryheat. Thanks. Yes, it's still under warranty.

I took it down to the dealer a few months ago to have them check it out. Went for a test drive with their brake tech. He said it was braking "normal". Unfortunately, braking performance is very subjective. Doubt I get anywhere trying to argue the point.

FWIW, I'm using a Tekonsha P3 brake controller with it adjusted to 14 (max). There's no wiring problems or any issues with the brake controller based on the fact I'm getting 2.8 - 3.0 amps to each brake using the breakaway switch and the brake controller. It's possible there could be an issue with the brake magnets I suppose, but I'm not aware of any way to test those.

Anyhow, I don't mind spending the $1500 for disc brakes as long as it results in a dramatic improvement in braking. Everyone I've talked to says they wished they would have switched sooner. Supposedly the improvement is pretty remarkable.
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Old 12-18-2016, 01:01 AM   #4
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We have had at least one member on here that has done a disc brake conversion. I will see if I can find the thread. For some reason I think it was one of the Canadian members. Probably already frozen in for the winter.

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Old 12-19-2016, 01:17 AM   #5
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Hey OTR, as you know I have the same trailer. I also have the same brake controller as well. On my old triple axle 40' trailer, I had the brake booster setting at 2. With this trailer, I had to turn that feature off completely since the brakes grab so hard. The brake performance is much better than my old trailer ever was. As you said, the brake performance is subjective but I sure have no complaints with mine.

I know this isn't answering your questions but wanted to give you some feedback on the same trailer. I can do all of my normal breaking with just the trailer brakes if I wanted to.
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Old 12-19-2016, 04:45 AM   #6
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One test that I do is raise the tires off the ground and then pull the break-away cable to activate emergency breaking. I then go to each tire and try to turn it. If working properly, the tire will move slightly and then the brakes will grab and stop the rotation.
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Old 12-20-2016, 12:35 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Chipworkz View Post
Hey OTR, as you know I have the same trailer. I also have the same brake controller as well. On my old triple axle 40' trailer, I had the brake booster setting at 2. With this trailer, I had to turn that feature off completely since the brakes grab so hard. The brake performance is much better than my old trailer ever was. As you said, the brake performance is subjective but I sure have no complaints with mine.

I know this isn't answering your questions but wanted to give you some feedback on the same trailer. I can do all of my normal breaking with just the trailer brakes if I wanted to.
Chipworkz, appreciate the reply. Curious, does your 2951 use Axletek 12GG brakes? On mine the data stamp is on the bottom of the brake assembly backing plate---just below where the axle mounts to the backing plate.
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Old 12-20-2016, 01:52 AM   #8
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Chipworkz, appreciate the reply. Curious, does your 2951 use Axletek 12GG brakes? On mine the data stamp is on the bottom of the brake assembly backing plate---just below where the axle mounts to the backing plate.
I will take a look and let you know tomorrow. I have a 2017 that was made in September of this year. I know they are Lippert Axles as I saw those stickers on the axles while I was doing some other work but I didn't look that close at the backing plates.
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Old 12-20-2016, 11:51 PM   #9
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Appreciate everybody's input!

Update:

We store our toy hauler at a secure, well-managed facility. Really not supposed to do any maintenance there. I did pull one brake drum very quickly to check the shoes, seal, and magnets a few weeks ago. Obviously not a very definitive check. Talked to management yesterday and they agreed to let me check the remaining three drums as long as everything was put back together and clean by the close of business today. Well, lo and behold, when I checked the remaining three today, all three had blown seals which allowed grease to fly all over the brake shoes and the magnet contact surfaces. Really surprised we had as much braking as we had with all that contamination. Fortunately, our dealer agreed to submit a warranty claim using pictures we took of all the drums. Kudos to them.

Anyhowser, got a few weeks to think about whether we want to have these MIC brakes replaced with another set of MIC brakes under warranty or just install a set of Kodiak disc brakes DIY. I'm beginning to think $1500 may not be a bad investment in terms of safety. My research has shown these Kodiak disc brakes are a significant improvement in terms of stopping distance, fade, longevity, and lower maintenance costs and intervals. If nothing else, if a seal starts to leak on a trailer disc brake rotor, it's easy to see before it gets too out of hand

Got some thinkin' to do.

Merry Christmas Everybody! Maybe Santa will surprise me with some trailer parts
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Old 12-21-2016, 02:21 AM   #10
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One test that I do is raise the tires off the ground and then pull the break-away cable to activate emergency breaking. I then go to each tire and try to turn it. If working properly, the tire will move slightly and then the brakes will grab and stop the rotation.
azdryheat, thanks. I've pulled the breakaway switch on all 4 wheels before---they all stopped immediately when the tires are off the ground. However, during normal driving, braking was less than stellar. If you read my previous post, now I know why
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Old 01-09-2017, 10:55 AM   #11
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Update:

Got all the backing plates and drums replaced by Lippert under warranty. Decided not to do any disc brake upgrades until after our warranty expires in early spring just to rule out any potential axle issues in terms of the seals.

Brakes work dramatically better. Can actually lock up some of the brakes on pavement with only 7-8 volts. Can lock up all four on dirt with 4-5 volts.

Thanks again for all the replies.
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Old 01-10-2017, 08:14 PM   #12
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otr_pwc, contact Seventhfire, he did a Disc Brake change over....
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Old 01-11-2017, 07:20 PM   #13
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otr_pwc, contact Seventhfire, he did a Disc Brake change over....
Thanks! Checked out Seventhfire's thread. Looks like he's very pleased with his new disc brakes.
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Old 01-11-2017, 10:38 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by otr_pwc View Post
Got a '16 V2951 with two 7k lippert axles with the OEM 12x2 drum brakes, Definitely not happy with the braking since new--especially considering this is a smaller rig that only weighs 11k with no toys. I've adjusted the brakes several times. I've measured 2.8 - 3.0 amps of currrent with a clamp-on ammeter at each brake (with brake controller and breakaway switch), so I know I don't have any wiring issues. Brake controller is set to max. and working properly. Did pull one drum to verify wear or a possible seal leak. Looked good.

So, gotta put safety first, so I'm seriously considering the purchase of a set of Kodiak disc brakes. I've priced out two pairs of 8-bolt, 1/2" stud, 13" Kodiak disc brakes, a Hydrastar 1600 actuator, and combination of steel and flexible brake lines and fittings. Looks like I can get it all for a little less than $1500 with free shipping from etrailer.com. Very reasonable price IMO. Plan on installing it myself.

Two questions:

1. For those who installed (or had someone install) disc brakes on their trailer, how much did it improve the braking vs. the drum brakes? I'm certainly hoping it's dramatic.

2. Did you have any fitment issues in regards to the 7k Lippert axles? Especially curious about any potential alignment/fitment issues with the caliper bracket.

Thanks!


I changed out mine with the same components you are talking about and the result was Night and Day! Not only is there plenty of stopping power at a medium setting. They are just smoother and never jump or bump as they are engaged or released. Well worth the investment. Did it myself on a three axle 3905 Voltage toy hauler.


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Old 01-11-2017, 11:36 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Rob C View Post
I changed out mine with the same components you are talking about and the result was Night and Day! Not only is there plenty of stopping power at a medium setting. They are just smoother and never jump or bump as they are engaged or released. Well worth the investment. Did it myself on a three axle 3905 Voltage toy hauler.


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Rob C, thanks for taking the time to reply about your disc brake installation. Your comment about how your disc brakes are much smoother at engaging and releasing was especially good to hear. Drum brakes are so darn inconsistent---especially once they heat-up---they start to grab and jerk more. I guess it makes sense, since drum brakes are much more prone to fading than disc brakes.

BTW, how much flexible vs. steel brake line did you use? I'm only in the planning stages, but my plan is to only use flexible brake lines in the immediate area of the calipers, axles, and around the actuator. I've heard braking can get a little spongy with longer runs of flexible brake line.
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