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Old 08-27-2015, 02:05 AM   #1
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Trailer Brakes

I've adjusted my brakes several times on my Voltage and it still doesn't seem like they have the stopping power they should. My brake controller is set to 9.5! I'm beginning to think this factory built in controller on my 2014 Ram 3500 is junk. Anyone else experiencing similar lousy braking? I had a 02 Ram with a add on brake controller and it would lock the wheels up on my loaded 24' car hauler if I set in on 8?. Or is it that these trailers are just too heavy for this system?

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Old 08-27-2015, 02:21 AM   #2
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I've adjusted my brakes several times on my Voltage and it still doesn't seem like they have the stopping power they should. My brake controller is set to 9.5! I'm beginning to think this factory built in controller on my 2014 Ram 3500 is junk. Anyone else experiencing similar lousy braking? I had a 02 Ram with a add on brake controller and it would lock the wheels up on my loaded 24' car hauler if I set in on 8?. Or is it that these trailers are just too heavy for this system?

Thanks
Have you driven 20 mph and tried locking the brakes up manually? Using the lever on the brake controller? Mine is not built in but it is progressive, I can set it on 11 and it generally only applies about 5-7 unless I hit the brakes hard.

The brakes do wear down quick and need to be adjusted more often than I thought would need. My mechanic suggested turning the controller off when backing up to see if maybe it is going out of adjustment when backing up.
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Old 08-27-2015, 02:31 AM   #3
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I think you're on to something regarding the brakes being inadequate for the camper. I had a 30' TT toyhauler at 9K lbs that I could lock up the wheels on with the integrated brake controller in my F-350 DRW set to 4. I have my brake controller set to 10 when towing my 3895, and couldn't hope to lock the wheels. That's with brand new drum brake assemblies, set and broken in. I will say, however, I did recently have an emergency stop on the interstate, and was blown away by my relatively short stopping distance (in the rain, no less!). I'm not sure if the truck did most of the braking, but the combo stayed straight and controllable as we rolled to a stop. That event gave me more confidence in my set-up, but I'd still feel better with more camper braking. I don't think it's the integrated controllers. Anyone done a disc brake conversion on one of these monsters?
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Old 08-27-2015, 02:45 AM   #4
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I've adjusted my brakes several times on my Voltage and it still doesn't seem like they have the stopping power they should. My brake controller is set to 9.5! I'm beginning to think this factory built in controller on my 2014 Ram 3500 is junk. Anyone else experiencing similar lousy braking? I had a 02 Ram with a add on brake controller and it would lock the wheels up on my loaded 24' car hauler if I set in on 8?. Or is it that these trailers are just too heavy for this system?

Thanks
On my F350 I set the controller at 10. The braking is progress so looking at the brake controller on the display I only see braking at about 3 to 5 unless I really have to mash the pedal. I have used the controller and manually stopped the rig from around 20 mph. It does great. Going down the highway I have tested the trailer brakes at 55 mph and feel them working.

I am going to have to pull a couple of drums off this winter and see what it looks line in there. I have abused trailer brakes in the past and just replaced everything. It is easier for me than doing the linings. And I feel better about the job. Getting them adjust just right is a PITA. Had to replace drums on one that I let get to bad. These were smaller trailers.

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Old 08-27-2015, 02:50 AM   #5
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Anyone done a disc brake conversion on one of these monsters?[/QUOTE]

I looked in to it and the cost to buy all the components was about the same as buying a complete axle with disc brakes. It was just under $1500 to buy the parts for one axle through LCI. They sell a complete axle with disc brakes for $1504. Three axles $4500 just to go to disc brakes is crazy! I will be replacing the brakes with self adjusting drum brakes during the winter.
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Old 08-27-2015, 02:56 AM   #6
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I had originally (based on the RV Dealer recommendation) set my 2013 F-250 controller on 6.5, but after asking others I went to 8.5. I did an emergency stop from 55mph when I had the controller at 6.5 and was shocked at how quick I got stopped. I am more pleased though at how everything works now that I am using 8.5.
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Old 08-27-2015, 03:15 AM   #7
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Have 2012 ram 2500 controller 4.0 had a guy pull in front of me on hwy 680 in Pleasanton California as soon as he pulled in front me hit the binders. I was complete panic hit the brakes fully. Truck stopped straight and the trailer while locking the brakes did too. Had roughly 15 thousand miles on trailer brakes still work great no adjustment
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Old 08-27-2015, 03:17 AM   #8
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Have you driven 20 mph and tried locking the brakes up manually? .
Yes, but they dont lock up. They bring my truck to a very slow non aggressive stop.. not impressed at all compared to others I've had.
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Old 08-27-2015, 03:21 AM   #9
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On my F350 I set the controller at 10. The braking is progress so looking at the brake controller on the display I only see braking at about 3 to 5 unless I really have to mash the pedal. I have used the controller and manually stopped the rig from around 20 mph. It does great. Going down the highway I have tested the trailer brakes at 55 mph and feel them working.

I am going to have to pull a couple of drums off this winter and see what it looks line in there. I have abused trailer brakes in the past and just replaced everything. It is easier for me than doing the linings. And I feel better about the job. Getting them adjust just right is a PITA. Had to replace drums on one that I let get to bad. These were smaller trailers.

Arlan
Maybe I'm expecting too much but theyre not wht they should be.. im positive
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Old 08-27-2015, 03:22 AM   #10
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Maybe check the voltage at the brakes when the controller is applied. Maybe you are loosing power before it gets to the actual brakes? Not sure if you would be looking for the amp draw or voltage, maybe someone can chime in but could be a start.
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Old 08-27-2015, 03:44 AM   #11
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Yes, but they dont lock up. They bring my truck to a very slow non aggressive stop.. not impressed at all compared to others I've had.
I don't think they should Lock Up with the weight we have. I have to be careful with my car hauler and the controller adjustment as I will lock up with no load, and that is hell on tires.

The brakes on my 3905 will stop the whole mess from 20 mph. Not on a dime but they work well.

Yours is a 3200 with two axles if I am correct? I don't know that the second set of brakes on the 3 axle make a bunch of difference. Perhaps that is it. I would look into it if you have someone or somewhere to have it checked.

At 20 mph you should be able to stop with your controller only in not to many feet.

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Old 08-27-2015, 11:33 AM   #12
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I have a 3950 and I can get mine to lock up at 20 mph with the controller, but I have the Prodigy 3 which will go up to 12 or higher. I did notice a difference of control and how the brakes are applied just moving up to the Prodigy 3.

How did you adjust them? I have seen some instructions say to adjust to contact then back off 7 or 8 turns. I adjust mine to contact then back off until I get full rotation just before there is any drag, which is one or two turns with the adjustment tool. You can hear the drag and any further than that, it is not going to make contact quick enough.

Might also want to pull a drum and verify you are not leaking grease in to the brakes, this will affect the ability to stop as well.
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Old 08-27-2015, 09:59 PM   #13
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Thanks everyone for the responses. Yes I have pulled wheels and drums all dry no noticeable problems. Adjusted brakes individually until drag achieved backed off slightly. Still not sure whats happening ... my other controller on my other truck had two adjustments this one only has one.

At 20 mph I can feel brakes grabbing but not very good.. could be a power thing on the controller. In Melbourne Florida will get into further when I get back to Nashville in a couple of weeks.
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Old 08-27-2015, 10:39 PM   #14
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Don't feel bad mine does the samething. Did the same thing on my Teton also. Only way to help it out was to tighten them tighter then "by the book". That is don't back them off once you feel drag. Will that cause them to wear out faster, not really. Was a mechanic and then Fleet Manager & now a Service Manager. Done that to all kinds of trailers we had.
Only good way to make them stop better is switch to electric over hyd. disc brakes.
When I speced a new trailer to haul tractors here at work. I ordered it with 17.5" tires & electric over hydraulic brakes. Can have it loaded to the max 26k and stops with no problem.
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Old 08-28-2015, 02:19 AM   #15
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Thanks Mike, I agree electric over hydraulic would be nice... but we have what we have. Ill try and tighten them up some more and see how that does. May never be what I expect, at least my truck has an exhaust brake which helps tremendously.
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Old 10-08-2015, 04:42 AM   #16
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I am in total agreement with the brakes not locking up as they should. I had at dealer as one of those items to fix on my 2015 3950. The odd thing is the brakes seem to work great when cold weather but in the summer time - you can tell they they are on but I think it is just 4 guys putting their shoes down on the road to stop it. The dealer jacked up my camper and adjusted each brake. We did a parking lot test - apply brake controller when stopped and give it some gas - did the trailer move no - so it is working they say. I insisted a tech ride with me around the block. He agreed they were not grabbing as they should. Took it back and another tech got in and we went around the block. He too agreed it is not grabbing like it should. And a sign should be the trailer front should dip down when applying brakes. In my case the trailer raises in the air meaning the truck is doing all the stopping with it set at 10. They theorized there might be some grease on the drum and to drive it for a 100 miles. Did that and still not good. Also have 2015 GMC Denali.

So if the colder temperature triggers any other ideas to the cause I would appreciate it. I emailed the dealer tonight advising and seeing that others are experiencing the same thing is comforting that there really is a problem. I have not tried the break away - that might be interesting to pull at 5 mph to see if it grabs.

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Old 10-08-2015, 04:35 PM   #17
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Ive come to the conclusion these brakes are never going to be what they should be. They're just not up to doing the job. Again, it's just another cheap system installed by the manufacturer. This system works great on smaller trailers, car haulers and such but not on these heavyweight toy haulers and alike. The only thing to do thats been discussed already is to change to another more reliable braking system $$$.. at your expense of course.
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Old 10-08-2015, 08:58 PM   #18
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The idea of pulling the breakaway cord is most interesting.

If it can really lock up at 5 mph then we know it has the capability.
But if - God for bid - the trailer did come off my at 60 mph my tailer might keep going another 1/4 mile before stopping if that is the most these brakes can grab.

I am thinking there really is some issue that can be solved - it is in the wiring is my bet. Something with the cold temperature is making it work better.

So can pull this cable and it can go right back in without issue?
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Old 10-08-2015, 09:50 PM   #19
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If the trailer came loose at 60 it's not going to stay upright. No need to worry about the brakes. Just make sure you have good insurance.
Yes you can pull the brake switch cord out & the contact will go back in with no problem.
Electric drum brakes work fine on smaller lighter trailers. Once you start getting over about 12-13,000 lbs GVWR electric over hyd. disc is the way to go.
My 2 axle 2002 Montana at 12.5k GVWR was fine with drums. My 2 axle 2003 Teton at 15k GVWR is so so. Same with my 2 axle Voltage at 16.k GVWR.
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Old 10-09-2015, 02:01 AM   #20
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Anyone done a disc brake conversion on one of these monsters?
I looked in to it and the cost to buy all the components was about the same as buying a complete axle with disc brakes. It was just under $1500 to buy the parts for one axle through LCI. They sell a complete axle with disc brakes for $1504. Three axles $4500 just to go to disc brakes is crazy! I will be replacing the brakes with self adjusting drum brakes during the winter.[/QUOTE]

Did disk brake conversion this summer. I also replaced the axles with 6000# and did the Morryde wet bolt kit. I would do it all over again. Cost me just under $2500 Canadian, the piece of mind priceless. Like the saying I first heard when I was a kid, I can stop on a dime and give you twenty five cents change.

Try etralier they had the best prices on the disk brake kits and free shipping.
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