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Brakes - Auto-adjust vs Manual-adjust, what are the differences?


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I have been chasing a grabby brake problem, and my Auto-adjust brakes never did self adjust correctly, regardless of how many brake applications there were... I learned about some important differences. I thought that I could remove the self-adjusting hardware and install an adjuster and spring from a manual adjust brake, and then all would be well. It is not so simple.

 

Auto vs Manual:

 

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The shoes are shaped and drilled differently, and the spring for the adjuster rides outside the screw, not around it. This is critical since you can't just swap them.

 

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I tried... here is the manual spring and its adjuster attached to the Auto shoes:

 

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When the adjuster is turned, the teeth drag the spring up and bang it hard into the magnet. Ooops.

 

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So.... if you are having issues with the Auto adjusters not, uhmmm, auto adjusting, as I was having, can you just manually adjust these brakes? Yes, you can. MAYBE. You can simply reach in through the oval hole with a small screwdriver and lift the adjuster arm up and let it drop repeatedly until it no longer turns the screw. It's easy and quick. But there is a problem. Here is the adjuster cable, looped over the pulley, under spring pressure:

 

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Here it is with the arm lifted up:

 

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The cable raises up out of the pulley groove (there is no retainer). I was not able to get it to fall out, but the possibility is high if your cable and pulley is not well lubricated and moving freely. Which is a common problem. Mine were dry and dragging before I serviced them. If the cable falls out of the groove, you will have problems and have to disassemble the brake. Here is a look at the entire Auto-adjust mechanism:

 

[attachment file=IMG_5121 copy.jpg]

 

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The top of the cable hooks to a sheet metal arm that sits under the magnet bearing. This area must be well lubricated or it will bind.

 

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These brakes are a real pain to keep operating correctly. Here is a tip to make removing the hold down springs simple, for either version:

 

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Make sure the slot in the spring cap is aligned with the jaws, so it will be easier to “stab” it over the matching tab of the hold down pin... you can’t easily see how things are aligned.

 

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The Auto adjusting mechanism is problematic, adds a lot of extra drag to the system (three additional pivot points), requiring heavier and more springs for the shoes to function. The Auto brakes are much MUCH more difficult to reassemble after they are taken apart for a repair or service. I swapped out my goofy front brakes for a pair of Dexter Manual Adjust ones, cost was $110 from eTrailer. Generic ones are a little cheaper.

 

In this particular case, simpler is way better. Disc brakes are still in my future.

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA

 

 

 

 

 

 

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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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Thanks for documenting this potential problem.  I'm monitoring wheel temperatures with the type of infrared thermometer that you recommended and so far (8000 miles) have only had one unrelated problem.  I'll be thoroughly going over the brake adjusters when I repack the wheel bearings in another 2000 miles, likely in October.

 

Bob G.

Bob G

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  • 2 years later...

John,

I put disk brakes on my last two trailers and what a difference. I ask Olive if they would put disk brakes on my new Oliver without success, engineering had too many other projects. I'm going to do the modification myself (again) when I'm out in CA and can get my son to help. For me, the most difficult part is running the hydraulic lines from the pump to the brakes. Also, where to put the pump has not been determined. I don't remember if the pump can be mounted in the elements and that will be a mounting factor. 

Here are the desk brakes I mounted on my Arctic  Fox. This was the easy part, next were the hydraulic lines.

Bob396512F9-32B0-44F4-9D90-2E5E4BA5866F_1_105_c.thumb.jpeg.94c71cecd0c052d1f9305c6fbe24ab3b.jpeg

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Bob, I would love it if you would do the disc brake mod. At least one other owner has done it, but I would like to see lots of pics with a list of materials and recommendations. The axles Oliver uses on the LE2 are bastards, pardon my language. They have the small bearings and drum brakes of a 3500 pound axle with the bigger six hole lug pattern of a 5000 pound axle. Oliver must order these axle assemblies special from Dexter so they can use a common wheel on both models. It really does screw up an owner who wants a bolt on kit that will allow him to retain those pretty wheels. None of the disk kits will match both the bearings and the hole pattern.

If I ever do this, for sure I would upgrade the axles to regular 5000 pound units. Ideally pick a drop axle type so I could under-sling the springs, to give frame clearance and room for rubber bump stops without getting the frame too high off the ground. I am also very interested in the Timbren independent suspension kit, it is close to “plug and play”, and it could be very cool and would eliminate most drivetrain maintenance if you combined it with hydraulic disks.... The Timbren would be possible in your garage, if you are willing to spend hours grinding off shackle brackets to make room, while lying upside down on the floor. A hoist would make it really easy.

 There have been suspension discussions in the past, do a search and ask if you can’t find them. Here is the Timben one:

https://olivertraveltrailers.com/forums/topic/4265-timbren-independent-rubber-suspension/?tab=comments#comment-42548

John Davies

Spokane WA

 

Edited by John E Davies

"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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@ScubaRx’s post on his disk brake swap 

I also have disk brakes, but Steve’s post is more relevant and his choice of components is better IMO than what Oliver used on mine. I’m sure that he’d be willing to give you more info if you send him a pm.

fwiw, my pump is located below the propane tanks mostly within the space of the frame. It has a bash plate protecting it and has so far gone unharmed.

I’d recommend taking a look at the Centerpoint suspension while you’re at it. It’s an easy mod on its own but especially so if you’ve already got everything off.

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The word on the street is that the 2022 models will come with 5200 pound axles (de-rated to 3500 pounds due to the smaller 4 leaf spring pack.) Disc brakes will either be standard or an option (I'm unclear.) They will have 6 bolt patterns and 12 inch brakes. They will also have never-lube hubs.

Edited by ScubaRx
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Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher, Lucy and Rocky plus our beloved Storm and Maggie (both waiting at the Rainbow Bridge)

2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #026 | 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #050 | 2022 Silverado High Country 3500HD Diesel 4x4 

 

             801469912_StatesVisitedTaliandSteve08-23-2021-I.jpg.26814499292ab76ee55b889b69ad3ef0.jpg1226003278_StatesVisitedTaliandSteve08-23-2021-H.jpg.dc46129cb4967a7fd2531b16699e9e45.jpg

 

 

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I just received the 2022 brochure and build sheets.  

In the brochure, under "NEW 2022 STANDARD FEATURES"

- Tandem 3,500 lb. Nev-R-Lube axles with Dexter E-Z Flex

Nothing about disc brakes?

Andrew

Andrew, Carianne and Buffy | San Diego, CA


2019 Legacy Elite II Hull #468 "California Burrito" | 2018 BMW x5 35d 

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12 hours ago, ScubaRx said:

The word on the street is that the 2022 models will come with 5200 pound axles (de-rated to 3500 pounds due to the smaller 4 leaf spring pack.) Disc brakes will either be standard or an option (I'm unclear.) They will have 6 bolt patterns and 12 inch brakes. They will also have never-lube hubs.

That would all make sense - it sounds like the exact setup that they gave me, at least in terms of brakes and axles.  I hope that they use the Hydrastar actuator though.  

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Ok - you guys just kill me - never satisfied - I like it.

But if your gonna change to a new braking system  - seems a regenerative - lets charge the batteries every time I slow - system. 

I'm sure some one is thinking about this as I type - Yeah - pull the brake/motors off this wrecked Tesla - they will fit just so, install a discombobulater recombiner thingie -  and presto - My home built LI system is fully charged every time I come down the other side of the  mountain..... 

RB

 

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Cindy,  Russell and  "Harley dog" . Home is our little farm near Winchester TN

2018 Oliver Legacy Elite II - 2018 GMC 2500 Duramax 

"Die young - As late as possible"
ALAZARCACOFLIDMTNVNMOKORTNTXUTWAWYd56201

 

 

 

 

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6 minutes ago, BackofBeyond said:

But if your gonna change to a new braking system  - seems a regenerative - lets charge the batteries every time I slow - system. 

I'm sure some one is thinking about this as I type - Yeah - pull the brake/motors off this wrecked Tesla - they will fit just so, install a discombobulater recombiner thingie -  and presto - My home built LI system is fully charged every time I come down the other side of the  mountain..... 

RB

Easier to retrofit the whole axle assembly.  Make a new subframe, bolt on two axles, add a converter and done.  

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