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Old 03-08-2022, 09:22 AM   #1
DT6
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Cost and Mileage for Brakes

Hi,
I just had the bearing repacked on our 2019 Escape (original owner). This was the first time we have done the repack, and the local RV repair center here in Salem, OR called and said we needed brakes. So I have two questions (and a third which is separate really):
1. Our trailer tow mileage in our truck says we have towed the Escape about 10,000 miles. Although we have had some travels down steep mountains, we also have an engine brake on the truck so I've never felt like I have had to ride the brakes a lot. 10,000 miles (even 20,000 or 30,000) seems like an awfully low number of miles to get out of a set of brakes. Is this normal?
2. The RV repair center wants almost $1,000 to do the brakes. Is that normal? I think the split was about $700 labor and $300 for parts (give or take a bit), but that also seems high.

Afterthought question - Is it really necessary to have the bearings repacked every 12 months or is it a mileage thing?

Thanks!!
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Old 03-08-2022, 09:54 AM   #2
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Doesn't sound right....is your tow vehicle a Mercedes? I replaced the brakes with new backing plates(auto adjust), drums with new bearings for $400. Would be about the same labor as just repacking the bearings. Sounds fishy they would tell you this after doing the bearing repack.

Btw, my brakes were 7 years and some 40K miles and they still had brake lining on the shoes.
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Old 03-08-2022, 10:15 AM   #3
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I would get another estimate, seems high and too soon. Ten thousand miles should not wear out trailer brakes. Also the cost should be about 50% of that estimate....my .$02 worth of advice.
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Old 03-08-2022, 10:22 AM   #4
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I am currently headed home from Indiana. I have a new set of brakes in the boxes that I’m going to install in our E21 in the next couple weeks if it ever warms up. They are not self adjusters. I would be most willing to pull a set out of the boxes and measure the shoe thickness and post it. Then, if you feel comfortable you could pull one of your drums and measure your remaining thickness to get an idea of how much is worn away. The brakes looked very good when we got the trailer in 2017. Since then I have pulled it about 38,000 miles! Over a lot mountain passes so 10,000 miles don’t sound right to me.
Give me a day or two and I will post some pictures of the new assemblies. Remember, you might drive a hundred miles or more without touching the brakes. I’ve pull though Chicago at 60 miles an hour many times and without toll booths now and paying attention to the job at hand, not touched the brakes. I’m a trailer draggin SOB.
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Old 03-08-2022, 10:23 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DT6 View Post
Hi,
I just had the bearing repacked on our 2019 Escape (original owner). This was the first time we have done the repack, and the local RV repair center here in Salem, OR called and said we needed brakes. So I have two questions (and a third which is separate really):
1. Our trailer tow mileage in our truck says we have towed the Escape about 10,000 miles. Although we have had some travels down steep mountains, we also have an engine brake on the truck so I've never felt like I have had to ride the brakes a lot. 10,000 miles (even 20,000 or 30,000) seems like an awfully low number of miles to get out of a set of brakes. Is this normal?
2. The RV repair center wants almost $1,000 to do the brakes. Is that normal? I think the split was about $700 labor and $300 for parts (give or take a bit), but that also seems high.

Afterthought question - Is it really necessary to have the bearings repacked every 12 months or is it a mileage thing?

Thanks!!
Hi: DT6... How much would a second opinion cost. I'd go get one anyhow!!! Our 2014 5.0TA is still original but the rears on my tug have been replaced. Alf
escape artist N.S. of Lake Erie.
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Old 03-08-2022, 10:48 AM   #6
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Since I do my own work, I get sticker when I look at labor and quoted rates for service. My local RV shop is asking $325 to repack bearings on two axles. Back in the day it took me about < 4 hours to clean and repack bearings on twin axles, now it takes me twice as long. Material cost, for 4 seals and grease is about $30 for the repack. Amazon price for 4 Dexter backing plates is about $375 with tax. In a real repair shop bearings and brakes should take 4-6 hours. Bottom line I would say $1000 is in the ballpark with new backer plate brakes for an in-shop repair.
I usually wash and pack the bearings about every 10K mi. or every two years (garage kept trailer). The first thing I do with any trailer (new or used) I buy is to repack the bearings and adjust the brakes. That is just what I do. Dexter has maintenance recommendations in their manuals and on their website.
I just replaced a Toyota Tundra water pump, lower and upper hoses, idler and tensioner pulleys and did an antifreeze flush for just over $200. The dealer wanted $1K just to replace the pump. Convivence costs.
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Old 03-08-2022, 10:52 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DT6 View Post
Hi,
I just had the bearing repacked on our 2019 Escape (original owner). This was the first time we have done the repack, and the local RV repair center here in Salem, OR called and said we needed brakes. So I have two questions (and a third which is separate really):
1. Our trailer tow mileage in our truck says we have towed the Escape about 10,000 miles. Although we have had some travels down steep mountains, we also have an engine brake on the truck so I've never felt like I have had to ride the brakes a lot. 10,000 miles (even 20,000 or 30,000) seems like an awfully low number of miles to get out of a set of brakes. Is this normal?
2. The RV repair center wants almost $1,000 to do the brakes. Is that normal? I think the split was about $700 labor and $300 for parts (give or take a bit), but that also seems high.

Afterthought question - Is it really necessary to have the bearings repacked every 12 months or is it a mileage thing?

Thanks!!
I would get another quote - but from a trailer shop. RV repair centers are notorious for bad service, high prices, and long delays in getting things done.

Changing the brake backing plate is about a 30 minute job max once the hub is off and they had to remove the hub to pack the bearings. Five bolts and two wire crimps and it's done. $700?

https://www.amazon.com/Dexter-Traile.../dp/B007Z0S9YM

Oh, unless the brake system was badly out of adjustment and dragging - 10,000 miles should have only about broke in the brake shoes. No way would they need to be replaced.
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Old 03-08-2022, 11:01 AM   #8
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Just yesterday, I was speaking about my trailer brakes with one of the owners of our local RV repair center. I was surprised they said mine were fine, and more surprised when he said how rare it is that they find wear suggesting time to replace the brakes on travel trailers. He said HORSE trailers are a different story, and they are more often cracked (I think he said r/t overheating) than worn.

(We're in Idaho...not generally known for flatlands.)
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Old 03-08-2022, 11:01 AM   #9
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Pretty conclusive advice. Run, don't walk away from this place. I'd be really surprised if a second place said it required that work.

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Old 03-08-2022, 11:22 AM   #10
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Thanks Iowa Dave and Everyone! No rush on the brake pad measurements as the consensus seems to be that I need a second opinion and I intend to get it. If these really need to be done, and I can't find a better quote, I will do it myself. One good suggestion was to find a trailer shop, which I'll try to do. I have done brakes before, both drum and rotor, but it has been 15 years or so. BTW, I have a Ford F150 and the brake controller is a slider and set about in the middle which is where Trevor at Escape Trailers set it when we picked it up.
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Old 03-09-2022, 03:52 PM   #11
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I checked with Apache RV in Portland OR, as I had a good experience shopping there (even though we did not buy from them, and went direct to Escape). The RV service manager was very nice when I called and took a few minutes to give me a "Worst Case" estimate at $695. Now keep in mind that is worst case and, assuming our trailer actually does need brakes, it would probably be a little less. Even if it ended up being a bit more in the event they found something that needed to be fixed that was not typical, this is a much more realistic starting point. I'm going to pull one of the wheels over the next few weeks when it finally stops raining around here and take a look for myself. I'll post an update at that time. Thanks everyone.
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Old 03-09-2022, 03:54 PM   #12
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Take and post photos please.
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Old 03-10-2022, 11:16 AM   #13
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Brakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
Take and post photos please.
Whoa Nelly, and greetings to all Escape owners who ever stepped on the brakes.
As promised I have inspected a brand new brake set that I plan to install on our E21. I planned to do this two years ago but the Pandemic got in my way. I didn’t think I absolutely needed new brakes but then again I had towed 34,000 miles the previous 2 1/2 years and had plans to roll well over 10,000 more in 2020 so I bought the new sets. Instead we only towed about 4,000 total in the two years since then. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

When you buy brand new Dexter brakes ( manual adjustment models) from the dealer they come with a pigtail pair of wires, coming off the magnet. Also included are 2 dust covers for the adjusting slots and 4 new nuts that hold the brake assy. to the axle. And a good set of instructions.

I brought a set inside my house for measurement and illustration ( remember, left and right are different parts numbers) and left and right are as you stand behind the equipment in every case but one in American manufacturing standards. The exception is when describing a manure spreader, as nobody wants to stand behind one of those. (Rimshot please).

The photos below show that a brand new set of brakes comes with wearable shoes that are 3/16 of an inch thick. They are bonded not riveted so the old term “down to the rivets”
Is not appropriate for describing “worn out”. Glazing, grease, running out of adjustment, warping the drums from riding the brakes coming down the mountain are all operator caused maladies.

So, if you want to know how much wearable brake surface you have used buy yourself a little steel ruler at a big box store or ask for a digital readout inside or outside reading Digital Caliper ( mine is a General brand ultra tech no. 1433 from Sandy Claws and measure away. Other than pulling the drum for access no additional disassembly is required. Measure, do the math and make the judgement on how much has been used in the miles you’ve pulled , your assessment of the overall condition and decide whether or not it’s time for new ones.

If you think this is a long post, don’t get around me at a rally, I never shut up. But I love you all. Even people who disagree with me and don’t have the same politics I do.
Hope this helps
Iowa Dave
Attached Thumbnails
E49841CF-8B46-4C52-B321-4B3EFA0FC5A1.jpg   B186C3B5-B48A-4DBC-B164-94970D4B9E5A.jpg   18F7A448-F982-41CC-B2EE-2F7095BAF72A.jpg   C8DC2FF5-B38B-4FA7-9B06-2079B74D8E1E.jpg  
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Old 03-10-2022, 11:26 AM   #14
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"Whoa Nelly".
Great post Dave, but I'd still like to know the condition of OP's brakes and which RV centre to avoid.
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Old 03-10-2022, 11:48 AM   #15
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Thanks Glenn.
No fooling. Just can’t believe they would need replacing so soon.
When I was a kid working in the gas station I loaned out a gas can without a deposit. It did not come back.
My dad asked if I had asked for a deposit and I said no, the guy said he’d bring it back.
I never forgot my dad’s words “People will lie to you”. Saved me enough to get drunk on, several times in my life.

Here’s three more photos.
One of the brake adjuster that goes sproing sproing sproing when the star wheel is flipped with an adjusting tool.
One of the measurement on new brake linings.
One of two future brake mechanics eating “circle cheese” while watching cartoons with rapt attention.
Iowa Dave
Attached Thumbnails
5CAD9728-A714-401A-8B66-5CDBD94054C6.jpg   E9CDAFBB-C576-4E16-BA1D-11719A422D6C.jpg   A465745B-1386-4F05-AB3B-ADBA7BDE7E74.jpg  
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Old 03-10-2022, 04:08 PM   #16
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Hey Dave - so to clarify, you have about 38,000 miles (give or take) and when you pulled the tire and drum you could see you needed new brake shoes? I just picked mine up and will hopefully have a chance to pull one of the drums this weekend. Is there one particular wheel that the brakes will wear faster than another, or perhaps the brakes on one axle wear faster than the other axle? Thanks!
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Old 03-10-2022, 04:30 PM   #17
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If you keep them adjusted up close to the same so they are All working “coming on” at the same time, wear is usually pretty even. We’re pretty well experienced in balancing the load from to back and side to side, more for tire wear than anything. I’m not sure what the standard is for when brakes are supposed to be replaced and I haven’t accurately measured mine since two years ago but owing to the fact we haven’t traveled much. I figured I’d change them before the 2020 season and be set for quite a while. When we cut way back due to Covid, I was confident I could get a little more “goody” out of them without messing up the drums. So I ran them. I’d guess there’s probably a solid 1/16 or 3/32 inch left on them. Point is they have at least 38,000 on them .

I don’t know how far the original owner towed this trailer or whether or not he ever changed the brakes. When we brought it home the first thing I did was check the bearings, the brake shoes looked real good.
I put new Endurance tires on the trailer and adjusted the brakes out till they were perfect and on gravel I could lock them up and get out and see 4 skid marks all about the same length. For me it’s only a quarter mile to a nice smooth gravel road.

Hope this answers your question. 38,000 miles on a five tire rotation so mid thirties on each of the tires and I am at 4/32 on 4 of them with one at 5/32. I have new ones ordered. They start at 9/32 I think I remember. I have a utility trailer that I haul a ton of rock or sand on so I change out the tires with the used Escape tires to keep them on the “not aged out” side of things.
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Old 03-11-2022, 09:48 AM   #18
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I'm 90-percent sure that the first step is to remove the rubber cap from the end of the hub? Then that exposes the cotter pin, retaining washer, etc. so you can them remove the drum?

I've learned over the years that the remaining 10-percent I'm not sure of often causes 90-percent of my "unexpected" expenses!
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Old 03-11-2022, 12:08 PM   #19
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I'm 90% sure that there's no cotter pin. I think they went the way of the dodo bird.

The rubber cap is for access to the grease nipple.

Knock the cap off, pull the clip off that stops the nut from undoing and remove nut.

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Old 03-11-2022, 12:39 PM   #20
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As Ron indicated, no real reason to mess with the rubber cover, the clip on the king nut is kind of a puzzle but it does snap on flush and nice and tight when you’ve got the king nut back on to your satisfied torque. Then carefully and evenly seat the hub cap. Easy does
It . Use a SMF Hammer.
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