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Open Roads Forum  >  Tech Issues

 > Question on 5th wheel brakes

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ford truck guy

Pennsylvania

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Posted: 09/20/21 06:18am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I ALWAYS chock my fiver wheels before pulling the lever to disconnect..


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valhalla360

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Posted: 09/20/21 07:28am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Terryallan wrote:

Truthfully. the trailer brakes should engage as soon as you pull the lever.


That's actually not how they work.
- For trailer drum brakes, once the magnet is energized, the tire needs to roll a bit before the brakes actually engage. Going down the road at 60mph, it's a tiny fraction of a second. It's beyond the ability of the average human to detect the lag. Backing at 1mph, it's not instantaneous and as the driver, you can recognize it.
- Brake controllers are designed primarily around road driving conditions. They don't want to lock up the trailer brakes at the first light tap of the brake pedal during high speed maneuvers. But at 5mph, the truck brakes are typically sufficient to stop even fairly large trailers, so it's not critical to design them for maneuvering in a campground.

But as others have said, if you chock the wheels, it's a non-issue for the OP's question.


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campinghut

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Posted: 09/20/21 08:17am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Do the brakes work going forward? If not you definitely have a brake problem


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BB_TX

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Posted: 09/20/21 08:17am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

valhalla360 wrote:

Terryallan wrote:

Truthfully. the trailer brakes should engage as soon as you pull the lever.


That's actually not how they work.
- For trailer drum brakes, once the magnet is energized, the tire needs to roll a bit before the brakes actually engage. Going down the road at 60mph, it's a tiny fraction of a second. It's beyond the ability of the average human to detect the lag. Backing at 1mph, it's not instantaneous and as the driver, you can recognize it.
- Brake controllers are designed primarily around road driving conditions. They don't want to lock up the trailer brakes at the first light tap of the brake pedal during high speed maneuvers. But at 5mph, the truck brakes are typically sufficient to stop even fairly large trailers, so it's not critical to design them for maneuvering in a campground.

But as others have said, if you chock the wheels, it's a non-issue for the OP's question.

Part of my procedure when pulling out of storage is to manually activate my trailer brakes when I am slowly rolling to test them. And those brakes almost immediately activate and yank back on the trailer. That is with my F350. May work differently on other trucks and trailers. Never tried them manually in reverse.

Gdetrailer

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Posted: 09/20/21 08:58am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BB_TX wrote:

valhalla360 wrote:

Terryallan wrote:

Truthfully. the trailer brakes should engage as soon as you pull the lever.


That's actually not how they work.
- For trailer drum brakes, once the magnet is energized, the tire needs to roll a bit before the brakes actually engage. Going down the road at 60mph, it's a tiny fraction of a second. It's beyond the ability of the average human to detect the lag. Backing at 1mph, it's not instantaneous and as the driver, you can recognize it.
- Brake controllers are designed primarily around road driving conditions. They don't want to lock up the trailer brakes at the first light tap of the brake pedal during high speed maneuvers. But at 5mph, the truck brakes are typically sufficient to stop even fairly large trailers, so it's not critical to design them for maneuvering in a campground.

But as others have said, if you chock the wheels, it's a non-issue for the OP's question.

Part of my procedure when pulling out of storage is to manually activate my trailer brakes when I am slowly rolling to test them. And those brakes almost immediately activate and yank back on the trailer. That is with my F350. May work differently on other trucks and trailers. Never tried them manually in reverse.


As BB_TX states, trailer drum brakes work almost immediately, if I was to guess I would say within 1" of movement.

Jack one of the tires up and pull your breakaway pin and then try to rotate the tire by hand. When the brakes are correctly adjusted the brakes will grab and stop the wheel from turning within less than one inch of wheel turn. Once brakes have engaged, there is almost no movement either direction until you put the switch pin back in.

I always test my breakaway system each time I hitch, just makes good sense to know your system is working before moving. If not working, then it is time to troubleshoot and repair before moving trailer.

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Posted: 09/20/21 09:12am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

OP, if this is a changed condition then something is amiss. Even if it’s not, rakes should work in fwd and reverse.
How to diagnose the issue depends on whether they’re electric or e over h brakes.


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JIMNLIN

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Posted: 09/20/21 09:19am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

However, the trailer does not seem to offer any resistance. I am finding that I have to put a block under one of the tires on the cyclone to relieve the pressure. Is there something wrong with my braking system?

i have a 2013 Chevy 3500 with a built-in brake controller

Yeah...you truck controller or the trailers brakes have a problem.

I've never had a trailer (rv trailers/commercial trailers ) from the factory that the brakes worked like they should.
Part of the problems was the use of small dia wiring for the brakes. The biggest culprits was the clam shell type connectors that rv and some low cost flatdeck trailer mfg were using. After time and miles of use clamshell connectors can get corroded from salt water spray. This can cut amps to the brakes even tho they check 12v.

What I did with every trailer before I put it in service was cut and remove all crimp connectors and solder all connections. You also need to address the wiring where it goes into a drilled hole in the axle tube ends. AS the wire is pulled through that hole it can strip the wiring insulation off causing one or more brakes not to work 100 percent or not at all.

The 2015 trailer is old enough for those clamshells to possibly have some corrosion ...depending on how its been used.

I would run a amp meter check at each brake and see if your getting the right amount of amps. Then R&R from there till you find a weak link in the system. The axle mfg websites usually have info on amps for brakes on each size axle.

Every trailer I've owned or leased from employees with 12v electric/magnetic brakes and good 12v controllers the brakes worked forward and backward after a 1/2 wheel revolution. Granted in reverse as another poster mentioned the trailers brakes has less clamping force but reverse means backing speeds.

Like a dot officer said at my first new entrant audit before going into service was if the trailers brakes don't stop and hold the trailer going forward or backward then get them fixed.


"good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment" ............ Will Rogers

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valhalla360

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Posted: 09/20/21 09:27am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BB_TX wrote:


Part of my procedure when pulling out of storage is to manually activate my trailer brakes when I am slowly rolling to test them. And those brakes almost immediately activate and yank back on the trailer. That is with my F350. May work differently on other trucks and trailers. Never tried them manually in reverse.


I do similarly and even at 10mph, it's hard to differentiate when they engage from when you hit the brake pedal.

But slowly creeping back into place, I can tell the difference.

ktmrfs

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Posted: 09/20/21 10:32am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

at least on my two trailers the drum brakes are a leading shoe design just like cars with drum brakes. The design is such that going forward as the front shoe starts to hit the drum it applies leverage to the pivot point giving "positive feedback" through the leverage to help increase force on the shoes against the drum. going backwards you don't get the leverage due to the rotation direction. so braking action in reverse takes more force for the same shoe force on the drum. Brake will work in reverse but may take more distance to apply force and may not be able to get the same total force.

Ever notice on cars with drum brakes for e brake that it is easy to apply the brake to keep the vehicle from going forward, but reverse takes more force or it may roll a short distance before the brakes take hold?

BTW lots of vehicles today with 4 wheel disk brakes still use a pair of drum brakes for the e brake.


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time2roll

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Posted: 09/20/21 11:06am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

In an open and clear area moving at 25 mph... manually apply the trailer brakes. If they work or fail you will know.

I would not expect electric trailer brakes to work well as a parking brake. Chock the wheels to secure the trailer and remove tension from the pin for release.

And yes if you have not adjusted the brakes in the past year or six it would not be too soon. Some are self adjusting and still good to check if adjusters are operating correctly.


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