Lurching trailer brakes grabbing - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 08-08-2017, 02:26 AM   #1
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Lurching trailer brakes grabbing

I have an Escape 19 and when towing intermittently the trailer feels like it is lurching back as if the brakes on the trailer were applied and then release immediately.

I thought at first it was account water in the tank sloshing back and forth, the fresh water tank was about half full, but I emptied it and the behavior continued.

My tow vehicle is a 2016 F150 with the 3.5 turbo engine trailer towing package and payload package a towing capacity of 11,700 pounds there should be no lack of power to tow an Escape 19.

The other factor is wet road conditions, I am thinking this may effect the electrical connection to the brakes, although I need to bring myself up to speed on how trailer brakes work exactly.

What about the emergency trailer brakes with the cable release, could that cause this problem?

Thanks.

T.N.
Doug ......
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Old 08-08-2017, 06:16 AM   #2
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Could the trailer be bouncing? if so you might check the tongue weight.

I take it you have the integrated brake controller?
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Old 08-08-2017, 08:33 AM   #3
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Doug, have you towed lots before? Is this happening as you hit rough spots on the road? I ask because there are certain nuances to towing that first time trailer users need to get used to.

Like Bob alluded to, this effect could also be amplified by a less than ideal trailer tongue weight, where 10-12% is ideal, but 8-15% is safe and allowable too.

But, your thought of the wetness of the road could possibly be a factor if the connection is damp, and there is some tracking of current from positive to the brake wire. Maybe a poor connection of the breakaway switch? Just thoughts, but if electrical, I bet a hitch/trailer shop could sort it out.
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Old 08-08-2017, 08:38 AM   #4
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I do have the integrated brake controller and I have tried setting the gain to zero. Thinking that may be causing a problem but the lurching still persisted.

How do you determine tongue weight? I am certainly willing to try that.
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Old 08-08-2017, 08:45 AM   #5
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Quote:
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How do you determine tongue weight? I am certainly willing to try that.
http://www.etrailer.com/faq-how-to-d...ue-weight.aspx
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Old 08-08-2017, 08:48 AM   #6
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Jim ....

I have towed a fair amount, I have a class 1 license and pulled many a trailer with equipment behind bobcat small hoes trenchers that sort of thing. I regularly pull a medium sized utility trailer loaded with motorcycles or quads. Towed a tent trailer for lots of years.

This however is my first travel trailer, but I have never experienced the lurching (maybe bouncing) this trailer causes.

T.N.
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Old 08-08-2017, 09:11 AM   #7
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Rubicon ....

Perfect, there is a commercial scale a few miles away I will go determine my tongue weight this evening. All the weights as a matter of fact.

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Old 08-08-2017, 09:12 AM   #8
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Another thought is to tow the trailer with another vehicle if possible. This would tell you if it is something going on with the trailer or your particular truck/trailer combination.

The breakaway switch is a simple device with a plastic pin that separates two contacts. When pulled it completes the circuit and engages the trailer brakes using the on board trailer battery. I suppose it is possible that a defective switch or even water intrusion could cause the switch to intermittently make and cause a quick grabbing of the brakes, but this is unlikely.

We tow straight on the ball...no WDH. We have experienced some light bouncing at higher speeds when the highway has expansion joints at certain intervals. This has a lot to do with the dynamics of the particular truck/trailer combination...overall length, weight distribution, suspension, etc. This feels quite different than brakes grabbing though. If the lurching is happening on smooth roads and at lower speeds something else is going on.
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Old 08-08-2017, 09:45 AM   #9
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Quote:
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Jim ....

I have towed a fair amount, I have a class 1 license and pulled many a trailer with equipment behind bobcat small hoes trenchers that sort of thing. I regularly pull a medium sized utility trailer loaded with motorcycles or quads. Towed a tent trailer for lots of years.

This however is my first travel trailer, but I have never experienced the lurching (maybe bouncing) this trailer causes.

T.N.
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Well, that rules out not having experience.
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Another thought is to tow the trailer with another vehicle if possible. This would tell you if it is something going on with the trailer or your particular truck/trailer combination.
Another good idea, which will help eliminate variables.
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Old 08-08-2017, 09:48 AM   #10
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The only thing is Doug says it's intermittent.
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Old 08-08-2017, 10:05 AM   #11
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The only thing is Doug says it's intermittent.
True, but what is intermittent? Maybe Doug can tell us if this is happening every couple of minutes, once an hour, on certain types of roads and/or certain speeds, etc. Certainly more detail will help.
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Old 08-08-2017, 10:35 AM   #12
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I would contact C.Massie@dexteraxle.com. Since this is a potential safety issue they would want to know and advise.
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Old 08-08-2017, 11:31 AM   #13
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I have an Escape 19 and when towing intermittently the trailer feels like it is lurching back as if the brakes on the trailer were applied and then release immediately.
Doug ......
Doug, is this with the weight distribution hitch?

I'm asking because when I first got my trailer I went to great lengths to tighten the weight distribution hitch spring bars. I found a similar thing that any bump or undulation in the road surface, when the trailer wheels hit it, transferred back into the truck and a herky jerky movement. Like a push pull.
I now have the spring bars snug but not really cranked down and this sensation only seems to happen crossing train tracks.

The brakes are electric, you could try unplugging the trailer electric cord and the battery positive, so the brakes couldn't get any power if there was a pinched cable or not and take a test drive.
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Old 08-08-2017, 11:51 AM   #14
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What exactly are we talking about here; lurching or bouncing? Two different situations entirely with different probable causes.

Going with the lurching situation, I have that sometimes. My situation is speed and brake application force based. I often have a "lurch" if I stab the brakes at a slow speed. At highway speeds, with a moderate application of brake, I can feel the brakes work but I wouldn't say that the trailer lurches in that situation.

I'm presuming that the OP has done the basic slow speed, nail the brakes, observe and listen to the trailer wheels lockup routine.

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Old 08-08-2017, 11:52 AM   #15
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Tom have you already adjusted each brake shoe? You might also jack up the axles and test that each brake is individually working when power is applied. It is also always possible that a seal has leaked grease onto a shoe or like mine, Dexter made a wire too long that rubbed on the drum and eventually broke. Lots of possibilities so if none of the suggestions already made here help, I would recommend pulling off the brake drums and inspecting everything.


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Old 08-08-2017, 01:39 PM   #16
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Quote:
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I have an Escape 19 and when towing intermittently the trailer feels like it is lurching back as if the brakes on the trailer were applied and then release immediately.

The other factor is wet road conditions, I am thinking this may effect the electrical connection to the brakes, although I need to bring myself up to speed on how trailer brakes work exactly.

What about the emergency trailer brakes with the cable release, could that cause this problem?
Just to be clear, this lurching is happening while rolling along without applying the brakes? What speeds? If it happens while braking, that can sometimes happen with the first few brake applications in damp conditions. That's only a temporary thing until the brakes warm up.

Can you monitor your brake current while driving? It should be zero until applying brakes.

The emergency trailer brakes probably don't figure into this. After they're once activated, they stay on until physically pushing the pin back into the switch.

I doubt that you have brake wiring problems on the trailer itself. Again, if you can monitor the current, you should see 14-16 amps when you manually apply full braking power with the controller (while parked). If it's much less than that, it would indicate one of the magnets not working..... but we don't know whether you're talking about this lurching while driving along or while braking, so this whole line of discussion is possibly moot.

Do you hear any hitch noise during the lurching?
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Old 08-08-2017, 01:46 PM   #17
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"we don't know whether you're talking about this while driving along or while braking, so this whole line of discussion is possibly moot." Or after releasing the brakes.
Yes, more details describing the circumstances when the alleged problem occurs.
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Old 08-08-2017, 02:17 PM   #18
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Trailer set for "light" in the brake controller?
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Old 08-08-2017, 04:39 PM   #19
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Is your brake controller set for electric and not electric over hydraulic?
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Old 08-08-2017, 04:54 PM   #20
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Good one!
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