Testing Emergency Break-Away Switch - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 04-13-2010, 10:21 PM   #1
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Testing Emergency Break-Away Switch



The other day I decided to see if my brakes needed adjusting and to test the emergency break-away switch on our trailer. I didn't have any reason to think it would not operate properly, but I figured knowing it would work would be better than finding out the hard way that it didn't. The trailer was not connected to the tow vehicle. It was plugged in to external power. I lowered the jacks on both sides until each tire could spin freely and pulled the switch pin. I then tried each tire and, to my surprise, they both still spun freely. No clicking, humming, no sound at all. My first thought was that, for some reason, it needed to be unplugged from the external power. No change. Next, I figured the switch or the wiring of said switch was somehow bad. I replaced the switch pin and checked the wires coming out of the switch. One wire showed 12 volts (this one apparently coming from the batteries) the other one was "dead" until the switch pin was pulled and then it too showed 12 volts. That proved that the switch itself was functional. I then found the blue wire inside the trailer that exits to the outside to attach to the brake drum on the street side. This wire tested hot when the switch pin was pulled, so I knew the wiring was good to that point. I then checked it outside the trailer at the drum and that tested hot also. Meanwhile, the wheels still spun.

So, what am I overlooking? Am I incorrect in my expectations? Could it be that the brakes only need adjusting? To the best of my knowledge the brakes have always worked properly thru the tow vehicle.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks...
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Old 04-14-2010, 08:23 AM   #2
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Re: Testing Emergency Break-Away Switch

When using your brake controller alone, do the trailer brakes engage? If not, it would prove that the brakes need adjusting. That would seem like the obvious problem given you have proven power to them.

This is a good reminder to others to check the operation of the breakaway switch, and the adjustment of their brakes.
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Old 04-15-2010, 09:43 PM   #3
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Re: Testing Emergency Break-Away Switch

The brake problem is solved. It was simply that the ground wire attached to the brake system had lost its connection. We had an axle upgrade last fall and maybe it occured then. At any rate, I ran a new ground wire to the brakes and that solved the problem. Now everything works as it should. The brakes had always worked fine under tow because the ground was being supplied by the vehicle. It was only when I tested the system unhooked from the Tahoe that I discovered the problem. At first I thought it was not getting power from the on-board batterys or that the switch was bad, but all that tested OK. The only thing left to be wrong was the ground, and so it was.

Thanks everybody for your input and advice.

Steve
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Old 04-16-2010, 09:26 AM   #4
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Re: Testing Emergency Break-Away Switch

Hi: scubarx... I tested ours by accident. First night out with the 5.0 and backing into a camp site when I couldn't move the rig!!! Thought I'd hit a tree so jumped out to look and noticed a plastic pin with a wire att. laying in the box of the truck. What's this Then the light went on. The brakes held fast...till I pluged the pin back in. Alf
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