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DavePhelps

Brake Setup Revisited

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Well here I am again asking the same question, trying to establish some kind of consensus.

 

This is regarding the set-up of the brake controller and whether or not I should be able to lock up my brakes during this set-up.

 

Dexter Axle says that the brakes should never be able to lock up by design. Jason said something similar. Others say that yes, the brakes do need to lock up during set up, including the tech support at Tekonsha, who makes my p3 controller. I have not ever been able to lock up my brakes even at the highest voltage setting. I have tested voltages with my multi meter at the TV plug and at the magnets. TV plug registers exactly the same as my controller. The magnets just a hair less, which I would expect due to voltage drop. The problem I have is that I do feel like I'm being pushed around a bit on steep descents. If there is no lock up voltage to create a baseline during the setup phase, where to set the voltage? My trailer brakes respond the same at all voltages as far as I can tell. There is some braking, but I feel it is not quite what it should be. I readjusted my brakes again the other day and will take the trailer out again today to check and see if there is any difference. My trailer was built in 2015 and the brakes are not self adjusting.

 

Thanks for any advise on this matter.

 

Dave


2015 Oliver Elite, Hull 107


1998 Ford E-250, 5.4 liter

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When my trailer was new and I was using  the P3 I could not get my brakes to lock. I just set the controller fairly high to where the trailer brakes would slow the truck down when applied by themselves. I used the P3 and Tacoma for about 5K miles. It seems like once I got the Ram and the brakes were more broken in, there was more grab. Now with about 20K miles locking the brakes is no problem. I have my Ram integrated brake controller set on 6.

 

mike

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Mike and Carol | Fair Oaks Ranch, TX | 2016 Elite II #135 | 2020 Ram Rebel 4X4 5.7L Hemi

ALAZARCACOFLGAIDILKSKYLAMDMSMOMTNENVNMNYNCNDOHOKSCSDTNTXUTVAWVWYsm.jpg

 

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Dave,

 

I want my brakes to be able to lock, even if I keep them set below that point.  In the beginning, they would not lock at the max setting of "10".  For a while I wanted the larger 5200 lb axles because of the larger brakes that come with them.  Mine have gotten gradually more aggressive as the miles add up.  I first ran at a setting of "10", then "7" for a while.   Now, after about 4,000 miles, they are set at "5.5".

 

I like them to be a bit more aggressive than the truck brakes so I can feel them come on.  And I can at this setting when I touch the brakes.  I don't really want the truck stopping the trailer, but want them working together with the trailer pulling back just a bit.  This theory also will help if the trailer ever begins to sway.  Just touch the brakes and it should straighten right out if it is trying to pull back.  And, of course the proper way to deal with that is to apply the trailer brakes manually.  Fortunately, Ollie is extremely stable.

 

I test them on every outing to make sure where I stand with them.  On my dirt drive I can see if they are all willing to lock up at about the same amount of brake pressure by watching them in the side mirrors.  Then a hard stop on pavement without quite skidding is what I'm looking for, while being strong enough to really help on a downgrade or an emergency stop.  On our last trip I began noticing they were skidding sometimes as I stopped and that is when I went from "7" to "5.5".  This position will skid easily in the dirt, so sometimes I'll back off a bit off road, but not generally.  I don't really care if it skids at 5 or 10 MPH going downhill in the dirt.  It just takes some load off the truck.

 

The rain or snow is a different story and  I wish the trailer brakes were antilock.  There is no good compromise in poor traction conditions, so I just reduce the setting to where the trailer won't push me too hard, and yet won't lock up and slide sideways on a curve.  That is a tricky balance that will never be right.  The trailer could easily jackknife the truck in that situation.

 

I also have engine braking and that gets the majority of the highway descent duty.  It too, must be used cautiously as it can generate about 128 Horsepower in braking force at the rear wheels only (in 2WD) and in slippery conditions on a winding road, especially pulling a trailer, can jacknife the truck.  This is because the trailer brakes are not on at the time the engine brake is and the trailer is pushing hard.

 

I find it comforting to feel the trailer pulling back and I don't mind those brakes working hard.   I don't even mind the additional tire wear from occasional skidding, as I think the tires will time out before they wear out.  My truck brakes get a lot more miles overall than the trailer brakes too, so using the trailer brakes aggressively is fine.

 

I have a couple of downgrades where I used to be able to make the brakes fade on another trailer I have with the same brakes Ollie has.  With my newer Ram, with engine braking, it never happens, but I sort of have a feel for how much they can take before getting weak.

 

I'm perfectly happy to use Ollie's brakes to their full capacity.   Safety is the most important to me and rebuilding trailer brakes is no big deal.  I am surprised at how long they took to break-in.  Seems like a strange situation where they are constantly changing for 4,000 miles.  But overall I'm pleased with them now that they are working like I expected them too.

 

 

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John


"I only exaggerate enough to compensate for being taken with a grain of salt."


LE2 #92 (sold),   Black Series HQ19   

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Raspy,

 

Yes!  Your brakes are set up just as I would like mine to be. But this is not the case for me. Just came back from a test drive and still the brakes are anemic. Reading an article at E-Trailer, they mentioned a current check (amperage) to test the magnets. My P3 controller has this test function. It came out at 6.7 amps which is below the range they gave for 12" drums, which is between 7.5 and 8.2 Amps. So maybe I have bad magnets....  I think I'm heading to the mechanics shop as this is getting beyond my knowledge. We'll see where this goes.

 

Dave

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2015 Oliver Elite, Hull 107


1998 Ford E-250, 5.4 liter

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Dave,

 

I don't know if it makes a difference, but do you have the 12" brakes or the normal 10" brakes?  There were only a few trailers, as I understand it, that came with the 5200 lb axles and the 12" brakes.  Either way, not al lthe magnets would be equally bad at the same time.  How many miles do you have on yours?


John


"I only exaggerate enough to compensate for being taken with a grain of salt."


LE2 #92 (sold),   Black Series HQ19   

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I have the 5200# axle with the 12"x2" brakes. Mileage is around 5-6000 so far. I'm in the smaller Elite.


2015 Oliver Elite, Hull 107


1998 Ford E-250, 5.4 liter

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I really feel something is not right here. Bad magnets, bad ground, bad something. Hopefully I'll find out something on Tuesday when I take it in to the mechanic.

 

Dave


2015 Oliver Elite, Hull 107


1998 Ford E-250, 5.4 liter

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Dave,

 

I hope you get it straightened out.  The 5200 lb axles are my favorite axle.  They are tough and have excellent brakes.  How many miles are on it now?

 

BTW, have you been following the water tank saga?


John


"I only exaggerate enough to compensate for being taken with a grain of salt."


LE2 #92 (sold),   Black Series HQ19   

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Yes, thanks John. I hope these guys can figure this out. Really good RV mechanics are hard to find, so I hope this outfit is good. I have just over 5000 miles on this axle, so not a whole lot yet. Looking forward to putting a lot more on for sure!

 

I also have been following the water tank saga. I haven't posted on it for a while as I have been up to my eyeballs with other projects. Oliver's (and others- thanks to all who really pushed for this upgrade....) solution seems pretty good. It won't work on the Elite however as there is no room to spin weld a fitting on top of the rear of the tank since the hot water tank hangs over it. I hope Oliver is coming up with a solution for the Elite as well, because for me, the design is a big hassle that does not enhance my camping experience at all! We'll see about that soon I hope. OK it's past happy hour, signing off!

 

Dave


2015 Oliver Elite, Hull 107


1998 Ford E-250, 5.4 liter

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Dave,

 

Call Dexter with your axle serial number stamped on the axle barrel, ask them which brake shoes you have. They should be able to help.

 

They have more aggressive 12X2 brake shoe linings available:

 

http://www.dexteraxle.com/resources/references/frequently-asked-questions/brakes/lists/frequently-asked-questions/brakes---how-can-i-increase-the-aggressiveness-of-the-12-x2-brake

 

 


Bill

LE2 Tundra

 

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Check your p3 settings... On ours we had to switch it from electric to electric over hydraulic to get it to work on the Oliver. It seemed strange because I had it set up perfectly for the Casita and figured that it would be plug and play... I had almost no brakes and as soon as we changed the settings type, everything worked fine and we haven't had a problem since. I do use the manual override quite often when braking on hills and have it set up so that my hand rests on it comfortably when needed. Try changing that setting before taking it in because that sounds all to familiar.

 

Reed


Happy Camping,


null


Reed & Karen Lukens with Riffles our Miniature Poodle


2017 Oliver Legacy Elite II  Standard, Hull #200 / 2017 Silverado High Country 1500 Short Bed 4x4


Past TV - 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML350 4Matic BlueTEC Diesel


Click on our avatar pic above to find the videos on our Oliver Legacy Elite II


 

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Reed,

 

My p3 controller only has electric or hydraulic settings. There is no "electric over hydraulic". Did you mean that you set it on the hydraulic setting??

 

My mechanic called in sick today so I have another week to try and figure this out on my own....

 

Dave


2015 Oliver Elite, Hull 107


1998 Ford E-250, 5.4 liter

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Nope, that's a setting on my P3 and it's from 2015. I will look at it again day after tomorrow and make sure but it's in my owners manual that way also. My problem was with the P3 settings and it came right on after we changed the settings.


Happy Camping,


null


Reed & Karen Lukens with Riffles our Miniature Poodle


2017 Oliver Legacy Elite II  Standard, Hull #200 / 2017 Silverado High Country 1500 Short Bed 4x4


Past TV - 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML350 4Matic BlueTEC Diesel


Click on our avatar pic above to find the videos on our Oliver Legacy Elite II


 

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