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Old 10-03-2015, 10:47 AM   #1
rickyict
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trailer brakes erratic

We recently went on a short 4 day weekend trip. Going to the campsite was business as usual - no problems. When leaving to head back home the trailer started to brake very erratic. No adjustments had been made to the controller so I knew that wasn't the problem. Every time I would stop, the brakes would apply normally and then as the truck and trailer got down to 20-25 mph or so its like the trailer brakes would just about lock up and literally jerk the truck back, then let up a little and jerk it again. (basically like you applied the manual override and let up) Sure is not a smooth stop at all. I looked at the connection from the trailer to the truck and seemed clean/fine. However this continued all the way home. I called our dealer and described it to their service advisor and he said that we should be adjusting the controller to "match the elements we were driving in". This didn't sit well with me. But he said they could schedule an appointment (4 weeks out) to look at it. I checked the output from the controller at the hitch connector and it was putting out a consistent voltage every time. Would adjust the controller and measure again and still was consistent so I would have to rule out the controller I would think. The trailer is a 2012 so it is not that old. I would think that the trailer wiring would be in good condition still. There were 2 occasions where the controller showed a short circuit error after coming to a complete stop. My manual for the controller doesn't go into detail about the error but does that mean if there is a short in the wiring it would lock up the brakes like that? The issue had somewhat of a pattern so I thought that a short would not be a cause. (intermittent usually doesn't follow patterns). Has any one seen an issue like that on a Keystone trailer? I just find it odd that it acted fine going but showed up going back.
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Old 10-03-2015, 11:09 AM   #2
chuckster57
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A couple of questions come to mind. What brand and model of controller are you using? Was the 7 way connection factory installed or added by dealer?

What was the error message code #?
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Old 10-03-2015, 12:07 PM   #3
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I didn't see where you said what maintenance has been done to the brakes in the past, but what you are describing sounds like the shoes are glazed, or even possibly grease contaminated, which would cause the lockup when coming to a stop. I would at least be checking the condition of the brakes before getting too involved with wiring and the controller, especially if you aren't getting any trouble codes.
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Old 10-03-2015, 01:44 PM   #4
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Ricky, I'm with Chuck and Bob. I believe if you pull the drums you will find a shoe or grease problem somewhere. Only one way to find out.....
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Old 10-03-2015, 07:07 PM   #5
Big Boy w/ Big Toys
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When this happened did you have your turn signal activated?

Also check your ground.
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Old 10-04-2015, 04:15 AM   #6
Barbell
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I have had something similar happen; once in stop and go traffic on I-81 in Virginia and once coming down into Denver on I-70. Both times I had been using the brakes a lot and I assumed they got hot because as soon as we got back to normal speed, no more grabbing. These two times are the only times it has happened in well over 25,000 miles. Had the wheel bearings and brakes checked this summer and all was well.
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Old 10-04-2015, 04:58 AM   #7
rjsurfer
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As others have posted chances are some of the shoes are probably greased soaked or glazed, neither can be restored 100%.

Even when working properly my drum brakes always had to be adjusted to conditions. Basically one setting for highway one for stop and go and load also effected the setting.

That is why I sent with disc brakes, set it an forget it as they say.

Best thing imhave done for the trailer.

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Old 10-04-2015, 06:03 AM   #8
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Pull the drums and check the magnets and wires. I'll bet you have one shorted out. The circuit breaker in the controller is tripping and resetting which is causing the grab and release your experiencing.
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Old 10-04-2015, 10:18 AM   #9
rickyict
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Thank you all for your suggestions. Looks like I will check the shoes and magnets. The controller is a Hayes Engage and the truck was equipped with the hitch and wiring from the factory. Just had to add the controller. I did have the service center look at one of the brakes because of a squeak when applied and it would get considerably hotter than the other 3. They said they just adjusted the one but said there was no other concerns that they could see. Still squeaks a little but does not get as hot.
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Old 10-06-2015, 05:46 PM   #10
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I would promptly ditch that controller and get a proportional unit. Yours is time based and will not give you smooth braking with any kind of larger trailer. If you set it up for firm braking at highway speeds it will be grabby around town, and if you set it up for around town it will be weak at higher speeds.
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Old 10-06-2015, 07:41 PM   #11
bigbadbob17
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I had the exact thing happen to my rig, changed out the controller and it was still acting the same. It ended up being that the brake magnets were worn out and shorting when applied causing the trailer to jerk hard ,suddenly and randomly chosenespecially at low speed. I replaced all 4 magnets and it has worked great since...
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Old 10-06-2015, 07:54 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PerryB View Post
I would promptly ditch that controller and get a proportional unit. Yours is time based and will not give you smooth braking with any kind of larger trailer. If you set it up for firm braking at highway speeds it will be grabby around town, and if you set it up for around town it will be weak at higher speeds.
Sounds like two possible issues: problems with the brakes or problems with the controller. My bet is with PerryB--the behavior you describe sounds exactly like the issues with a time based controller. There is no way for your controller to adapt to varying situations. Get something like the Prodigy and I'll bet your issues will disappear.
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Old 10-09-2015, 04:59 PM   #13
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Erratic brakes

Gee it seems , And I may be wrong, i any one mention adjusting?
That is one of the biggest causes of situations I have had over 25,000 on different units.

Get to a safe spot, jack up right at the axle and spring and use a large screw driver or brake adjuster tool from an auto store. READ up on how to.
IT works set them as tight as possible then back off till you can hear the shoe just rub, try it on all wheels.
Then go for a ride, if they are too tight, re adjust a bit lighter. BUT evenly all around.

Good luck.
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