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Old 05-02-2023, 07:04 PM   #1
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Broken Brake Ground

So it was time to check the front axle brakes and bearings. For some reason the 2" thick block that I usually use to raise the wheel enough just didn't work. Sloping area, not flat and no WDH so the tongue was down a bit. Would have been OK for the rear but not the front.

No worries, I just cobbled together more lift to get it well off the ground.

Break wear was minimal, even on the side that was connected. Haven't done the bearings since new and never pumped grease into them. They definitely had been overfilled and grease had oozed out past the seal. Added to the cleaning.

When I went under to adjust the brakes I noticed the DS front brake ground was a little on the deficient side. 3 of the brake grounds attach to the frame with a nearby clamp, limiting their ability to move and fatigue and break. Repaired the ground, typically the machine screw snapped off. I added strain relief to the wire to limit fatigue.

Had broken brake grounds on the 19. I wonder how many folks are driving around with less than the full number of brakes working.

Ron
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Old 05-02-2023, 07:32 PM   #2
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This problem isn't unique to Escape. My ATC had overfilled bearings and leaked grease onto three brakes. The fourth brake had a broken wire. It is a bit scary trying to stop a 9,000 lb trailer with weak brakes!
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Old 05-02-2023, 08:20 PM   #3
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Which is why the first annual inspection is so important.
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Old 05-02-2023, 08:48 PM   #4
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Which is why the first annual inspection is so important.
That got my attention!
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Old 05-03-2023, 06:19 AM   #5
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Well said Ron,

I also had a non-functioning brake due to the wire separating at the crimp connection. It's not enough to adjust the brakes from time to time at the wheel. It is best to see if the brake is being activated electrically.

Unfortunately the gravel skidding test only tells if some of the brakes are working, not that all four are working.
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Old 05-03-2023, 07:56 AM   #6
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Early in our ownership of our 2020 21C I discovered two separated brake ground wires and reported it here, as have others. I also reported it to the factory with no response from the factory. The design is such that the brake ground wires serve a secondary function of suspending the wire bundles going to the wheels. This design is made to break ground wires. Friends of ours with a newer model have a different and safe design on their newer trailer. There is no doubt in my mind that this is a wider yet undiscovered problem in the fleet, likely with some trailers operating with less than optimal or even no trailer brakes. This should be a NHSTA recall.
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Old 05-03-2023, 08:17 AM   #7
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This goes back to at least 2017. I Ckd our 21 right after we picked it up an found the crimps half way done and one wire pulled out. Only had wire nuts with me and once we got home redid all the connections underneath the trailer with heat shrink solder crimps covered with heat shrink tubbing
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Old 05-03-2023, 08:29 AM   #8
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Tires slide

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Originally Posted by Bill and Earline View Post
Well said Ron,

I also had a non-functioning brake due to the wire separating at the crimp connection. It's not enough to adjust the brakes from time to time at the wheel. It is best to see if the brake is being activated electrically.

Unfortunately the gravel skidding test only tells if some of the brakes are working, not that all four are working.
Hi Bill
Last weekend I went to a state park in Southern Iowa. I used the manual override on the brake controller on the drive at home, worked fine. I towed with my setting on 4.0 all the way at highway speed and didnít use the brakes much all the way to the CG. As I turned off the paving at the entry of the campground I used the brakes. They skidded the tires pretty good as I turned into my drive through site. When I got parked and got out and looked, I was pleased to see the double wide skid marks in the gravel from the turn. Thought to myself ďLooks like all four are working right.Ē Wasnít surprised as Iíd checked them as I rotated the tires in March.

Had to do some maintenance on the Escape on site. Three loose screws. Used my trusty Reace screwdriver and made a note I needed a new cupboard ďroller keeper thingy.Ē

Hope you and Earline are having a good spring. Pollination will be in full swing here shortly. Two Robin nests on the house, garden about to get going and two small buckeye trees to plant. Burned the prairie last week. Iíve been replaced as a conversationalist. Be safe
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Old 05-03-2023, 10:44 AM   #9
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This goes back to at least 2017.
Yup, was a problem before that.

Ron
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Old 05-03-2023, 03:35 PM   #10
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Had a broken brake wire on my 2017 21
It was discovered on the second service of wheel bearings
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Old 05-29-2023, 10:51 AM   #11
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Iím really glad I checked on my brakes before heading out. A previously repaired brake ďby a shopĒ wasnít working, Iím becoming a fan of simple wire nuts.
It did give me a chance to try out my Trailer Aid, works great.
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Old 06-11-2023, 12:36 AM   #12
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Yup, was a problem before that.

Ron
Discovered the disconnected wire when I arrived home, just after picking up our trailer. Inadequate crimps, sheathing was unraveling too. Some of the grounds appear to be buried under the foam insulation.
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Old 06-11-2023, 11:58 AM   #13
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Poor workmanship

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Discovered the disconnected wire when I arrived home, just after picking up our trailer. Inadequate crimps, sheathing was unraveling too. Some of the grounds appear to be buried under the foam insulation.
After having our 5.0 for 2 years we find a lot of things that were poorly installed. Our brake line was disconnected on a rear wheel, wiring inside the trailer that was not screwed into the trim & our refrigerator wiring came loose, never crimped. We are happy overall with the trailer but the workmanship is 3rd rate. Too bad.
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Old 06-12-2023, 08:41 AM   #14
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After having our 5.0 for 2 years we find a lot of things that were poorly installed. Our brake line was disconnected on a rear wheel, wiring inside the trailer that was not screwed into the trim & our refrigerator wiring came loose, never crimped. We are happy overall with the trailer but the workmanship is 3rd rate. Too bad.
Same year, same problem with my electrical work, Iíve repaired them, but who knows what will turn up. During the build I expressed my concerns due to the many complaints on here, didnít help.
Just before this trip I found a broken ground on a wheel, Iíll be checking them all again mainly due to the New Mexico hwy 40 road conditions. Itís beyond pothole problems.
I hit Texas and it was night and day road conditions. Arizona and Oklahoma were also in good condition.

I will say Missouri hwy 44 east bound just before hwy 63 is a road construction death trap, itís in the area of the city of Rolla Missouri. The hwy is split there with signs saying thru traffic stay left, trucks and others getting off at exits stay right. Stay right, the left lane puts you in the west bound lanes with nothing but orange markers between you and the west bound traffic, a steep drop off to your right. Of course no one is doing the construction speed limit, including trucks. This goes on for miles, stay right.
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Old 06-15-2023, 05:51 AM   #15
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Late in last year end of the season I had 2/4 brake not having electricity. Decided to change all brake system. Discovered 2 snap ground wire. All the crimping connection were good but cutting those to replace the brake reveled a very small amount of wire left that had to be lenghted. New connection to the frame is done with a couch down piece of 1/2 inch copper tubing welded to the ground wire. All connection are welded and protected by tow layer of 2 ply heat shrink tube with glue inside. Future will tell
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Old 06-18-2023, 05:33 PM   #16
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Never gave this issue a thought but - it has been 10 years of trouble-free ownership. After reading this thread had to go out there, get on my back, check if I had this problem. As my pictures show, from the brakes - see not a single ground wire. What am I missing?
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Old 06-19-2023, 08:17 AM   #17
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Look inside the plastic wiring harness Myron. You might be one of the lucky ones that the connections were done correctly.
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Old 06-19-2023, 08:30 AM   #18
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?Why bother to do that? The question is where does a ground wire emerge to be grounded? The next question would be (when) has the Escape assembly since become so half-ass?
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Old 06-19-2023, 10:22 AM   #19
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?Why bother to do that? The question is where does a ground wire emerge to be grounded? The next question would be (when) has the Escape assembly since become so half-ass?
Being that itís a common occurrence and with the lack of quality electrical workmanship during the build I believe itís important for all owners to periodically test their trailer brakes.

They each need to be tested independently, jack it up and give it a spin.
I found one of mine not working before leaving on a trip, itís the third one. The last one had no obvious break in the connection so I had to test the line before and after each connection.
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Old 06-20-2023, 10:36 AM   #20
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Never gave this issue a thought but - it has been 10 years of trouble-free ownership. After reading this thread had to go out there, get on my back, check if I had this problem. As my pictures show, from the brakes - see not a single ground wire. What am I missing?
In my 2010 single axle the ground wire is not easy to spot. There is a single ground serving both wheels attached to the frame cross member just forward of the axle. The ground comes out of the conduit about 6" from the point where the conduit comes through the floor. The ground itself is encased in its own short length of plastic conduit for the few inches between the main conduit and the cross frame, and the wire is grounded to the top side so it is not really visible and is best identified by feel.

This installation gives the wire good protection but it is not easily inspected. It it ever broke I think I would attach it to the back of the cross member.

Myron, I don't know if this will apply to your double axle trailer, but I suggest starting at the point where the wires (conduit) come through the floor and look for a short length of conduit branching off from it to a frame member.
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