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Old 07-21-2021, 12:14 PM   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Nanaimo, British Columbia
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Trailer brakes locking

I have a 2021 E19 and towing with a frontier and a tekonsha p3 brake controller. First 5 trips no problems but last 2 trips trailer brakes are locking up when reversing onto driveway. Also on last trip trailer brakes locked up coming to a stop at a light. I turned off the boost on the brake controller and it didnít seem to help. Any ideas on what is going on and how to fix? Thanks!!
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Old 07-21-2021, 12:30 PM   #2
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Have the brakes been adjusted? Per Dexter's instructions they should be done at 300 miles then every 3,000 thereafter. What can happen is with too much distance between the shoe and drum the shoe slaps against the drum and can lock up.
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Old 07-21-2021, 12:49 PM   #3
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Thanks Rossue, I've been having the same issue. Didn't know about the slap effect.
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Old 07-21-2021, 01:21 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Rossue View Post
Have the brakes been adjusted? Per Dexter's instructions they should be done at 300 miles then every 3,000 thereafter. What can happen is with too much distance between the shoe and drum the shoe slaps against the drum and can lock up.
Thanks for the info Rossue! I havenít yet adjusted the brakes but will now before the next trip
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Old 07-21-2021, 06:46 PM   #5
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You may find the Dexter Service Manual helpful especially the section on brakes. Adjustment instructions on page 13.
http://www.dexterpartsonline.com/fil...e%20Manual.pdf
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Old 07-21-2021, 11:34 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Clkr View Post
Thanks for the info Rossue! I havenít yet adjusted the brakes but will now before the next trip
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Hendrickson View Post
Thanks Rossue, I've been having the same issue. Didn't know about the slap effect.
Speaking from experience and a ruined right front tire from Maiden trip home. After being very accommodating Dexter asked me the same question. That cleared up the issue for me.
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Old 07-22-2021, 07:52 AM   #7
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I had to get my brakes adjusted, after I ruined a tire. Then I changed them all out for Goodyear Endurance.

It seems a brake adjustment is mandatory after purchase. I had no idea I damaged the tire until I looked down and noticed it.
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Old 07-22-2021, 08:04 AM   #8
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I had to get my brakes adjusted, after I ruined a tire. Then I changed them all out for Goodyear Endurance.

It seems a brake adjustment is mandatory after purchase. I had no idea I damaged the tire until I looked down and noticed it.
Did that happen right after factory pick up? We have 3000 miles to travel after pick up before any adjustment can be done at home.
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Old 07-22-2021, 08:30 AM   #9
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Poorly adjusted brakes can eat of tires quickly.

After numerous campers we learned to immediately take the camper to a gravel road and see how easy the brakes lockup. Then take it to a parking lot and have your wife brake the trailer while you first watch one side and then the other. Are you comfortable with the braking you witness?

Don't overset your brake controller till you get home.

Yes, we've created bald spots with two different campers in the first month of ownership, but those were in the last century. We have the running gear checked every fall by a trailer expert (notice I said trailer, not RV).

After immediately checking, the brakes on our newl 5.0 were set decently upon pickup in Sumas, so we waited till we returned for our trailer guy to inspect the running gear. If it failed the tests on gravel or parking lot I would immediately do it myself (but no longer adjust brakes at my age) or find a trailer repair guy and give them an extra $100 for an immediate adjustment.

Enjoy,

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Old 07-22-2021, 08:43 AM   #10
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Here is how Dexter says to adjust your brake controller:

"Make several hard stops from 20 m.p.h. on a dry paved road free of sand and gravel. If the trailer brakes lock and slide, decrease the gain setting on the controller. If they do not slide, slightly increase the gain setting. Adjust the controller just to the point of impending brake lockup and wheel skid.
Note: Not all trailer brakes are capable of wheel lockup. Loading conditions, brake type, wheel and tire size can all affect whether a brake can lock. It is not generally considered desirable to lock up the brakes and slide the tires. This can cause unwanted flat spotting of the tires and could also result in a loss of control.
If the controller is applying the trailer brakes before the tow vehicle brakes, then the controller adjustments should be made so the trailer brakes come on in synchronization with the tow vehicle brakes. For proper braking performance,
it is recommended that the controller be adjusted to allow the trailer brakes
to come on just slightly ahead of the tow vehicle brakes. When proper synchronization is achieved there will be no sensation of the trailer “jerking” or “pushing” the tow vehicle during braking."
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Old 07-22-2021, 10:08 AM   #11
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Did that happen right after factory pick up? We have 3000 miles to travel after pick up before any adjustment can be done at home.
I would be interested to know the answer to this question as well. We may just have the trailer delivered rather than risk the tire wear, possible blowout on a brand new trailer. Delivery would be less $$ anyway.
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Old 07-22-2021, 03:09 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
Did that happen right after factory pick up? We have 3000 miles to travel after pick up before any adjustment can be done at home.
I cannot say for sure since I noticed it shorty after I got it home, but there were about 600 more miles on it since getting home. That's when I noticed. Definitely within the first 2,000 miles.

I thought I was driving very carefully too!

When I got the brake job done, I made sure my wife watched me talk to the mechanic and pick it up and pay for it. Now she knows I did not do it myself and now she can enjoy herself too. I've never done a brake job.

Perry's ideas sound like good ideas. In hindsight, I would put the required mileage on it and find a good brake repair shop along the way if possible.
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Old Yesterday, 10:49 AM   #13
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New trailer

I picked up new 21 in sumas couple of weeks ago. Did the gravel road test and thought brakes not working or barely working. I turned the output on breaker controller to High and gain to 10 on my F150, and started feeling some breaking. Couple days later got into Ford dealer and they put a trailer simulator on the controller and said controller working correctly. About same time (approximately 200 miles of driving) I noticed brakes starting to grab more so I turned down output of controller to medium. I am now down to output setting of Low and gain at 5.0 (out of 10). A long winded way of saying that I think what I experienced was the "burn in" that Drexel manual recommends before adjusting brake controller. If I remember correctly, the manual mentioned a procedure of going 20mph on pavement and stopping hard, then letting brakes cool, and repeat 10-20 times. (Please read manual rather than trusting my memory for exact procedure). I think my trailer brakes are working well and brake controller set right but I stayed tuned to listening and feeling for brakes locking up. For me, the lesson has been that I probably would have been better off having the trailer delivered nearby home and worked out kinks taking a few trips near home rather than experiencing the stress of solving problems a long way from home.
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Old Yesterday, 11:06 AM   #14
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When I change brake sets on a trailer I am fortunate to be living on a county blacktop with minimal travel.
I make a 15 mile loop all on paving. This gives me adequate distance to work the brakes in. A mile from home I cut off the paving and onto a gravel road, even less traffic. And I adjust the controller and get out and look at the skid marks. They need to indicate straight stopping with no pulling. I mentally catalog the setting for gravel that I use driving slowly through a campsite. On the Tekonsha P-3 that’s about 1.5 for me. I then turn the gain up for “road speed” somewhere around 3.0 to 3.7. A couple manual override brake actuations without the use of the tow vehicle brakes tells me if the trailer is “doing its job” and “holding its own”. Then I feel like I’m ready to hit the road and put “The modern combination, she’s the Wabash cannonball” on the road to camping. YMMV
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Old Yesterday, 11:27 AM   #15
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For me, the lesson has been that I probably would have been better off having the trailer delivered nearby home and worked out kinks taking a few trips near home rather than experiencing the stress of solving problems a long way from home.
The very reason we will be having our trailer delivered; as well it is less expensive than driving from AZ to Sumas, WA, when you figure in the expense of gas and hotels, and the husband taking off of work for 10 days.
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