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Old 09-01-2013, 05:58 PM   #1
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tire drag?

Yesterday, during return from an overnight, I noticed that the right rim felt quite warm - left was cooler. I jacked up both sides today; both have rubbing sounds, but the right is more significant. When I spin the tires with moderate force, the right stops in 2 rotations, the left in 5 or so. I'm suspecting brake drag - but not sure. For anyone more experienced with these trailers than me, is this something that needs the attention of a repair shop ($$), or is it somewhat common? Is there anything I might check or do myself? Thanks for any insight...Glenn.
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Old 09-01-2013, 06:16 PM   #2
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I'm cheap. Although the brakes work via electrics, they're still standard shoe brakes. Pull the wheel and hub off and check the springs. I'd start there (old hotrodder info).
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Old 09-01-2013, 07:02 PM   #3
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What you are hearing is brake drag. It's hard to say which one is to tight or loose because don't know how hard you are spinning the wheel. They both should be the same and if you not comfortable with checking and adjusting brakes and checking wheel bearings take it to someone that is. Tires, brakes, and bearings are the main things that will leave you sitting broken down on the side of the road.
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Old 09-01-2013, 08:28 PM   #4
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The difference in tire rotations is likely not significant unless you notice the trailer pulling to one side and the bearings are still tight. Unless you're superman if one side completes two rotations then it's likely OK, the other side is just a little more "free" at this point. I haven't actually looked but since we just finished a fairly long trip and I haven't had to adjust the brakes there are automatic adjusters on them. Differences in how the adjusters work, corrosion/dust in the drum etc. can make the difference.

Warm is OK, hot is not (unless you've just come down a mountain pass). If the hub or tire is so hot* you can't really touch it then you have an issue you need to rectify.

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Old 09-02-2013, 09:18 AM   #5
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What is your service record on the 2008? Has it been serviced for brakes or bearings in the past, perhaps you may be overdue for service.
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Old 09-02-2013, 10:27 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
What is your service record on the 2008? Has it been serviced for brakes or bearings in the past, perhaps you may be overdue for service.
The trailer was purchased through Escape in April 2012, and I believe it was completely serviced by them. We have logged 2600 miles since, and I was planning wheel bearing service after this season or before the next. Re Dave's comment, I can hold my hand on the rim, but it is quite warm. I have noticed right side tire skid marks on gravel, where I have pressed the brake peddle and the right side possibly engages sooner or more than the left. But no skid marks when not braking or softly braking. Thanks to all for comments so far...Glenn.
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Old 09-02-2013, 12:33 PM   #7
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It dawned on me that we usually back these trailers up very slowly unlike cars/trucks. If I am correct in assuming that there are automatic adjusters on your trailer brakes find an open area without traffic/obstructions and try driving backward at about 5 mph a few times and with the brake controller dialed up hit the brakes fairly hard. This will give the adjusters a chance to work which might solve the problem. Then try the brakes driving forward on gravel like you did before to see if the braking is more equal. If the trailer stops in a straight line on a hard brake on gravel then likely all is well.

Automatic adjusters are great but I've seen them stuck so they don't work and have even seen them installed backwards. If you still have a problem you can try the following:
1. Manually adjust the drum that spins more freely to see if that works. You don't have to take the wheel off, just pull the adjustment plug and adjust the star wheel until it drags like the other wheel.
2. If #1 doesn't work pull the brake drums to check and adjust the brakes.

Again I doubt much if anything is wrong, it should be an easy fix/adjustment. If you can check it yourself or have a buddy check it as that would be best. Unless you have a good mechanic something like this is a money making oportunity for all the wrong reasons for an unscupulous mechanic.

The other thing to try since you have the wheel raised is to put your hand at the 3:00 and 9:00 o'clock positions and check for movement (e.g. loose bearings), there should be no perceptible movement. You can also spin the wheel slowly with one hand to see if it spins smoothly (aside from brake drag). If there are small jerks then you have bearing issues (too tight or a bad bearing). As per usual safety use jackstands or wood blocks before going under a raised vehicle, never trust the jack alone. In an emergency if you don't have any blocks put the spare under the axel/frame and carefully swap it the flat tire/rim when you install the spare. Never put a hand at the 6:00 o'clock position as you can get injured/your hand pinned if the trailer does fall.

Good luck,

Dave
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Old 09-02-2013, 12:55 PM   #8
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You didn't mention your brake controller. I have the Prodigy and on the last trip, the 'boost' function got turned on somehow. It's not to be used on trailers as light as ours, according to the manual.
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Old 09-02-2013, 03:10 PM   #9
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I have owned electric brakes (Dexter) on three campers now. They do not have automatic adjusters. They use 1959 Volkswagen technology....manual adjusters, which are little star-shaped wheels you adjust through the backing plate. Very basic and effective.

I suggest getting in there to see what's going on, either yourself or have an RV shop do it. You're assuming there is something wrong on the hot side, when it may simply be overworking since the left is not doing its job. Perhaps the left needs tightening or has some other issue. If you have a brake controller that reads current, you might check the current (not voltage in this case). You want to see about 2.5 amps per wheel. If you don't see 5 amps total for your 17, the left may have a wire broken that's causing it not to actuate. But since it's spinning so freely, it is likely just out of adjustment. You may be able to tighten it up, and then back off on the total braking power required after things are evened up.

I wouldn't go too far before getting this checked out. Non uniform braking on a wet road could be sporty. Please let us know what you find.
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Old 09-02-2013, 04:18 PM   #10
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One more quick thought about diagnosing this. Since you have had it jacked up once already, you could do that again with it plugged into the TV and have someone manually engage the trailer brakes at the controller so you can be sure both are working. Or pull the emergency brake lanyard so the Escape battery works the brakes (and then reset the switch).
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