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disk brakes on 3500# axle


JCD
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I sent a pm to John E Davies and in his reply he asked that I post this as a topic.

My PM said:

I am considering a Legacy Elite II and want disc brakes.  Oliver service no longer installs disc brakes, so I would have to get that work done locally.

I read your old posts on it using disk brake as a search term, but did not see where you said you actually did a conversion, but I may have missed it.

Did you get a conversion to disc brakes done on the 3500# axle with a 6 by 5.5 hub and collar?

I was considering getting a hub with 6 by 5.5"  for the 3500# axle and the 5200# axle kodiac 12" collar/caliper kit, which would leave me with the caliper attachment plate problem of the 4 bolt plate used on the 3500# axle versus the 5 bolt plate needed for the 12" collar/caliper kit.

I looked at the kodiak site description for the 5 bolt caliper attachment plate, and it seemed to use the same calipers as the 10" calipers for the 3500# kit.

I thought it might be feasible to drill the 4 bolt plate on the 3500# axle to the 5 bolt caliper attachment plate pattern or drill the 5 bolt caliper attachment plate to the 4 bolt pattern on the 3500# axle.

 

John H Davies responded:

I never installed disks. I considered modifying the Kodiak caliper brackets to allow them to bolt up to the 4 hole mount. It would certainly be one easy way to solve the problem. I decided against it:

A custom brake part complicates future repairs for the next owner. Admittedly this is minor for a bracket. I don’t know if the center hole is different. I suspect not.

Putting disks on the existing axles does zilch to correct a glaring fault, there is hardly any upward suspension travel. On mine with an average towing load it is just 1.5”. To fix that you would have to do a spring over axle mod, install longer shocks  and rubber bump stops. That would lift the frame about 5”, way too high, so you would need to swap the axles for ones with 4” offset spindles to bring it back down most of the way. If you are going to swap axles, then you might as well buy the bigger ones and have the much stouter bearings and spindles. It is a vicious circle, like building an expedition vehicle. One mod begets three more, which beget six more. Before you know it,  you have spent $20k, you are not yet done, and you have made it very hard to resell the truck without taking a huge financial loss. I have been down that rabbit hole before, it taught me a big lesson.

The Elite 2 has a GVWR of 7000 pounds and axles are rated at 7000 pounds. I think there is not enough load reserve (strength) in the axles, and with the lack of travel there is a real risk of bending them. OTH I am not aware of any reported bent ones. You might try contacting Service to see what they say.

The two owners I am aware of who have disk brakes also have bigger axles, (one was factory installed - member “overland”) but no spring-over conversion. I am waiting for somebody to install the Timbren independent  suspension, to do all the R&D, head scratching, measuring, swearing, fabricating and final road testing; I am not prepared to possibly waste countless hours, create an unsafe trailer and scrap a very expensive Oliver subframe, and then have to put it back to where I started.

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

It is more than a little discouraging..... especially since Oliver could so easily have started installed the bigger axles as standard equipment fifteen years ago. They use them for the Elite, so it would actually reduce their parts inventory. I really don’t understand their reasoning.

Please post your Kodiak question as a new thread in Mods. You will get some good feedback, I am sure. I bet there are more than a few owners who would like to be able to add better brakes, and don’t care at all about the axles. If you could find a local machine shop that would do the drilling (a one near me quoted $50 per bracket!) you could have a bunch modified and sell them here. Maybe. It would be a risk.

John

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  • 3 weeks later...
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There is quite possibly a solution for this situation coming soon...

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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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Yes, supposedly disks are in the works.  

But if not, and for those who might want to upgrade or don’t care for whichever components Oliver chooses, I think Steve’s own post in his Outlaw Oliver thread is worth a read.  As far as the heavier axles go, I think Oliver used them on mine because that was what Dexter offered.  They also came with the never lube bearings, which was unusual for Oliver at the time.  In other words, I don’t think that heavier axles are required.  Disks do come in different sizes, and I suppose that the larger ones could generate enough torque differential from side to side to twist an axle, say if one disk was wet and the other not.  At least I assume that’s the reason.  But then I can’t see any tire providing enough traction to make that an issue.  I’d prefer less unsprung weight myself, but I’m ok with what I’ve got.  My experience with the larger size disks is that it’s hard to find a good brake controller setting that keeps them from locking up - smaller may be the better choice.  Remember that brake performance begins on the ground and if you can’t maintain good adhesion then whatever you do otherwise is irrelevant.

Personally, I think that the Kodiak brakes and hydrastar controller are the way to go - I’m not a fan of the Dexter controller - it’s huge and slow to react, and if I find myself with ample spare time and money some day, I just may swap it out. It also requires so much brake fluid that you’d have to carry a case to replenish it if you ever had a problem.  IMO, if your choice from Oliver is between Dexter disks or Dexter drums, take the drums and save your money.  Of course, it’s not like I can do back to back comparisons of different brakes and controllers, so I could be wrong - but as it is, that’s my opinion.

The timbren upgrade is interesting, but there are easier options.  I’ve installed the Lippert Centerpoint suspension and it was extremely easy and does what it’s supposed to do.  

Edited by Overland
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Am I missing something?  Isn’t the ideal solution disc brakes coupled with the Dexter EZ-lube spindle?  Then you can keep the bearings lubricated without the risk of blowing a seal and getting grease on the brake pads & drums.  Whether it should be 3500 lb or 5000 lb axles I don’t know.  Doesn’t cure John Davies desire for more throw in the suspension, but for those of us who explore more on the interstate than off-road it would seem to be just right.  If Dexter offered a disc-brake-and-EZ-lube replacement axle package, that might be a useful way forward.

John Shkor
SailorsAshore

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9 hours ago, ScubaRx said:

There is quite possibly a solution for this situation coming soon...

I have not had a reason to go back to Hohenwald, but if they would offer a disk axle upgrade with some extra travel, that could be retrofitted easily, I would probably hit the road ASAP. Any idea on when there will be an announcement? I have been waiting anxiously for five years...!

Thanks.

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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Disc brakes have been on my wishlist for a while as well. I have an Elite with the 5200lb axle, which I would want to swap out for the same size axle but with E-Z Lube spindles and idler hubs, plus the Kodiak disc brakes and Hydrastar electric-over-hydraulic controller. I have previously swapped surge drum brakes on a boat trailer for Kodiak disks... they performed wonderfully but it was an easier task than changing over the Oliver.

I am uncertain where I would locate the Hydrastar controller... I mocked up a cardboard Hydrastar and there is definitely not enough clearance in the Elite-I propane shroud for it to be located there, along with 2 tanks and the box/wiring for the rear stabilizer jacks. I could put it on the tongue, but I would rather not as it might invite mischief being so visible. Maybe slung underneath and partially between the frame members so that the fluid fill and bleed fittings are accessible behind the propane tanks from above, although it would hang lower than the rest of the frame in that area. It would be technically possible but more challenging and less desirable to locate it on the floor in the front closet (with a waterproof penetration through the hull for the wires and brake line... plus some potential risk of a brake fluid leak in the closet).

Another concern with this mod... there's not enough capacity in the my tow vehicle's 12V charge line (fused at 40A, but I doubt the actual wire is sized for that... will have to look) to power both the Hydrastar controller (maybe 18A-25A draw in warmer climes, 40A draw below 0 degrees) and any kind of dc-dc charging of the Ollie's battery. I could make a more complicated solenoid interlock somewhere so that only one was actively drawing current at a time, *or* perhaps just dedicate the 12V charge line to charge the Ollie battery (e.g. Redarc or Victron Orion isolated dc-dc charger) and run a separate 12V feed back from the Ollie battery to the Hydrastar (or maybe share the existing feed to the hot side of the breakaway switch with the Hydrastar 12V input... replacing it with a larger gauge... I tried to determine if that was allowed but could not find any relevant reference with a sufficient level of detail to answer the question).

Tom

Tom

2018 Oliver Legacy Elite #409 - 2017 Silverado 1500, 5.3L, 4x4 Z71, Dbl Cab, Std Bed

2020-12-18 Oliver Camped States (small).jpg

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10 hours ago, ADKCamper said:

 

Another concern with this mod... there's not enough capacity in the my tow vehicle's 12V charge line (fused at 40A, but I doubt the actual wire is sized for that... will have to look) to power both the Hydrastar controller (maybe 18A-25A draw in warmer climes, 40A draw below 0 degrees) and any kind of dc-dc charging of the Ollie's battery. I could make a more complicated solenoid interlock somewhere so that only one was actively drawing current at a time, *or* perhaps just dedicate the 12V charge line to charge the Ollie battery (e.g. Redarc or Victron Orion isolated dc-dc charger) and run a separate 12V feed back from the Ollie battery to the Hydrastar (or maybe share the existing feed to the hot side of the breakaway switch with the Hydrastar 12V input... replacing it with a larger gauge... I tried to determine if that was allowed but could not find any relevant reference with a sufficient level of detail to answer the question).

Those high numbers are the fuse and wire ratings, not the operating ones, to account for the initial start up surge as the motor gets going. That is a VERY brief surge.

80CC7E61-06D0-461E-BBE0-CB535B4912DC.thumb.jpeg.9102b47c160f7512cbeeb0c5c0415ed4.jpeg

5C9D05C9-037F-4646-9ABB-30EA515BC2F7.thumb.png.e2cc5ab9c9be52eaf58a30adc9d9801c.png

And that current is momentary and it varies with the time and load (brake hydraulic pressure), so in normal driving you will have intermittent pulses of much lower current. The no load current should be close to zero. There is probably a published figure for “stopped and waiting for a red light” current, it should not be very high, the amount probably varies with the brand of brake controller you have.

FYI my Land Cruiser 200 Aux (charge) circuit is protected by a 40 amp fuse, I have no clue about the wire gauge but it should be appropriate for that rating. That does not apply to your Ollie 7 wire harness - you should definitely inspect them to make sure those wires are big enough. Trust, but verify!

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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So it might be worth a try electrically, without major modifications, if I get that far :)

Max PSI is 1600 for disc brakes, so that draws more current than at 1000 PSI as shown on the chart, but unsure how often/for how long full pressure is actually reached. Some experiments would be in order with a clamp-on dc ammeter and a handful of fuses. I hope not to be driving with the trailer in below-zero (deg-F) temps, so that helps. If necessary I could also try a slow-blow 40A fuse in the tow vehicle 12V charge line. And... maybe if the Hydrastar sucks too much current the voltage at the trailer will drop enough that the dc-dc charger will shut itself down temporarily, thinking the engine is off.

Tom

2018 Oliver Legacy Elite #409 - 2017 Silverado 1500, 5.3L, 4x4 Z71, Dbl Cab, Std Bed

2020-12-18 Oliver Camped States (small).jpg

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