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Old 03-10-2014, 11:15 AM   #1
Montana Master
Join Date: May 2010
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Brake Problem need ideas

I was doing a spring time get ready test on the Montana today. The last time I was on the road, just prior to storing it for a few months, I noticed I had to run the brake controller up from about 5.5/6.5 to 8.5/9.0 to get effective braking. I decided to see if there was anything wrong.

Today I jacked up one side at a time and did a brake test. First pulling the breakaway switch and seeing if the tires would stop. The front axle on the curb side locked solid. The rear axle spun freely. So next I hooked up the truck and put the brakes on using the controller paddles and holding them closed with a clothespin,(I was by myself). Same results, brakes on the front, nothing on the rear.

Next I jacked up the street side, performed the same tests with the same results. So I figured it was electrical. No power to the rear axle. Not so.

I peeled back a small portion of the insulation from the wire protruding from the underbelly that fed the rear axle wires. Pulled the pin on the break-away switch, checked with my meter and found 12+ volts feeding the axle wires on the street side. The feed wire to the curb side was in excellent condition, no chafe where it enters or exits the axle.

I suspected at that point, a bad splice in the bundle on the curb side, so I cut off the factory splices and redid them. Retested, same results. Not believing in coincidence, I mean both the curbside and streetside magnets bad at the same time. I have no idea how long this condition has existed as I tend to put the 5er on a site for months at a time, mostly in the flatlands here in Florida. Now I am getting ready for Georgia/North Carolina in the mountains. Brakes on all four would be nice.

Any ideas.
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Old 03-10-2014, 11:57 AM   #2
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Did you adjust the Brake Shoes??
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Old 03-10-2014, 11:57 AM   #3
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the magnets not grabbing at all on rears? if they are rubbing could the shoes be so far out of adjustment they don't hit the drum. did you pull the rear tire and drums?

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Old 03-10-2014, 12:09 PM   #4
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I have not adjusted the brakes as they are forward self adjusting. I did not pull the drums. Adjusting the forward self adjust brakes is a lot of fun as there is a spring in the way and the star wheel is not like your typical star wheel. It has very tiny grooves to grab hold of with a screwdriver or brake tool. It is an idea I will try as a last resort, followed by pulling drum. Again just can't imaging both rears need adjusting, but it is possible. In fact, the slight noise of the shoes as you spin the rear wheels sounds the same as the front wheels, that's why I tend to think they are adjusted.
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Old 03-10-2014, 12:09 PM   #5
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I would suggest retesting the voltage at each wheel, wiggling the wires as I test. If they test good then manually check the adjustment on each wheel, if this does not cure the problem then I would be inclined to pull each hub and inspect internally. When I replaced all of the brakes on mine the rear voltage only read 8volts. I pulled all the wire out from behind the underbelly cover and redid all of the splices and sealed with heat shrink including the connections at each wheel to ensure they are water tight. I replaced all brakes because of 2 blown seals and coated brakes with grease. You should hear a slight hum at each wheel if brakes are working properly when engaged. Tim
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Old 03-10-2014, 01:40 PM   #6
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Use a small compass to see if there is a magnetic field being generated at each wheel location, if not, it is possibly the wire inside the brake assembly that is chafed and shorted out, or even severed.

If the magnetic field is the same as the other working brake locations, then there is some other mechanical problem (malfunctioning or broken linkage inside and not auto-adjusting or actuating, failed seal and grease contaminated shoes, etc.)
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Old 03-10-2014, 01:45 PM   #7
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Had not thought about the compass. I've got one around here somewhere left over from aiming Sat dish. Another good idea.
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Old 03-10-2014, 02:32 PM   #8
Tom S.
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Just because you have forward adjusting brakes doesn't mean they are working properly. More than one person has reported problems with them here, including one whose whole brake assembly was backward (i.e., right assembly on the left side). Maybe you got two?
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Old 03-10-2014, 02:57 PM   #9
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I don't care if you have self adjusting or never-lube, IMHO you should pull off the hubs at least every two years to check and make sure all is good.
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Old 03-10-2014, 06:11 PM   #10
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X2 Tom & Mark. Self adjusting forward or back still can get messed up by shoe dust. There's also the possibility that grease got into the rear drums from either blown seals or just too much being pumped in.
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Old 03-10-2014, 07:19 PM   #11
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The compass idea is great! I wish I had thought of it. Check the grounding wires on the magnets. Pulling the wheels is the best alternative you have. You can also check the resistance of the magnets. Disconnect the power wire from one at a time and check with an ohm meter. Check the wire from the magnet that connects to power and the other meter lead to ground. The magnets should read about the same at all four wheels. Good luck!
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Old 03-11-2014, 06:41 AM   #12
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This why I had disc brakes installed. Improved braking and fewer problems.
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Old 03-26-2014, 10:37 AM   #13
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An update for inquiring minds. Finally pulled all wheels. On the front axle, the brakes worked, but one seal had leaked forcing grease into the hub and onto the brake lining. The opposite side was fine. The rear axle with the original brake problem had two bad magnets, and one leaking seal. I might add that I never used the EZ Lube to force any grease into the bearings. It was as delivered from the factory.

Anyhow, this is the first time since new in 2010 that the wheels have been off. All bearings cleaned and repacked, all four brakes are now working. Ready for my trip to the mountains in late April.
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