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Rick & Janet

Weak brakes on 5th wheel

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I have adjusted the brakes and have the brake controller maxed out and still have very weak brakes on the trailer. Looking for any suggestions on what to look for or test to get better brakes. TIA

Rick

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If all electric, check your grounds and the plug and socket for poor connections, I have seen the inside of sockets and plugs turn green from water and moisture intrusion, this would also affect the hydraulic brakes as the hydraulic controller would see a weaker signal and weaker output would be the end result.

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I have all electric brakes. 

I looked into my ground wires and I think I found part of the problem. If the trailer is not hooked to the truck and I pull the breakaway the brakes don't activate. I think the brakes are only grounded through the truck, shouldn't there be a ground for the brakes to the trailer?

TIA

Rick

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4 hours ago, Rick & Janet said:

I have all electric brakes. 

I looked into my ground wires and I think I found part of the problem. If the trailer is not hooked to the truck and I pull the breakaway the brakes don't activate. I think the brakes are only grounded through the truck, shouldn't there be a ground for the brakes to the trailer?

TIA

Rick

The break-away system grounds through the trailer onboard wiring.  Poor/inadequate brake wiring is by far the most common cause of poor braking. Many trailer mfgrs IMO use too-small wire gauge and inadequate connectors. Keep in mind over 80% of all 12V issues are the result of a poor/missing ground.  Rather than duplicate, I refer you to this website for proper wiring and wire size.

All the above assumes your magnets are in good working order, if they are worn beyond limits, or fail electrical testing, replace them before digging into brake wiring.

Edited by Ray,IN

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Ray beat me to the wiring diagrams. If your magnets are weak, or the brake shoes are worn, don't piecemeal it. It is far cheaper to buy complete backer plated and magnet, shoes, springs etc. About $90 each. Don't forget to check if they have adjuster screws to manually adjust them. Here are examples of all new assemblies:

https://www.pplmotorhomes.com/parts/towing-hitches-jacks-chassis/wheels-brakes/electric-trailer-brake_96-7002

https://www.bing.com/search?q=troubleshootung+ele%3Atric+fifth+wheel+brakes&pc=MOZI&form=MOZLBR

 

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Sorry Derek, I somehow had 2 tabs open for this thread, I was editing one in tab while you replied on the other, my bad.

I agree with you, spend $35 for a magnet when the entire backing plate assy is $90 is a no-brainer for me too.

Edited by Ray,IN

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 Another thought would be to use a dc ampmeter to test each wheel assembly to test what is happening at each wheel. If you have a hub off you can test the magnet operation with the ampmeter.to make sure it is working before you install the wheel agin. I think the amp draw with controller should be about half what it will be with emergency system in operation. I think the amp draw is about 1.7 amps with controller. I think.

 

 Just a thought,.  Vern

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IF you decide to replace your brake assemblies, or just replace your pads, have your drums turned also.  Cheap insurance, I think I paid $7 per drum.  I did mine and found out they were slightly out of round, happens when they get too hot at one time or another.  It will also cause brakes to not operate correctly.  I did not look at the links above but if I may, get the assemblies with self adjusting.  Like mentioned, I would also do a very good check on your brake wiring.  Corrosion from salt air, salt on winter roads, age, all possible.

Edited by NDBirdman

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