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Old 06-07-2021, 11:46 AM   #1
Al D.
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Do brake drums need to be turned

I have a 2018 HC 345RL. It failed the brake check when I was checking things out. As you guessed, grease blew out the seals and got all in the drum and shoes. I repacked the bearings and cleaned everything up with brake cleaner. I still have poor braking. Should I go ahead and just replace the back plate assembly and should the drums be turned. Is there anything else I should be checking.
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Old 06-07-2021, 12:06 PM   #2
DutchmenSport
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As I remember from the days when I was 15 years old working in my uncles gas station / garage for a $1 an hour pumping gas and learning some stuff about auto mechanics, the only time drum brakes need to be turned is when they wear and end up with grooves because the shoe pads wore down and metal was rubbing against metal. If there are no grooves or worn uneven then clean up the oil and grease as you have done and the drums are fine.

If the breaks are still not working well, then it's possible they are not getting enough electric voltage to activate them correctly (which actually happened and was the root cause of my failure on a previous travel trailer, the wires were too thin carrying the DC electricity). Or, the pads are simply worn down and not making good contact when the brakes are applied.
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Old 06-07-2021, 12:09 PM   #3
Carl n Susan
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You did replace the brake shoes? I was never successful removing grease from them.
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Old 06-07-2021, 07:26 PM   #4
dieselguy
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I'm with Carl ... never had much luck cleaning greased up shoes. I've never worked for $1/hr, but if you have the standard 14 gage wire going to your brakes, it will carry the current. During trial and error testing, I've upped to 12 gage wire a couple of times on customers units with no noticeable improvement. Now bad electrical connections are another story. Question to be answered is ... before the shoes got greased up, did it stop adequately. If so, what has changed other than greased up shoes?
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Old 06-07-2021, 07:38 PM   #5
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The one and only time I had greased shoes from failed seals, the greased brake shoes caused very strange wear to the brake drum surface and also the armature surfaces were damaged from the magnets that were greased, which all needed to be resurfaced. I also installed all new backing plate assemblies. It is impossible to remove grease from the brake shoe material.
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Old 06-08-2021, 05:13 AM   #6
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Another who has never successfully removed all of the grease (or brake fluid) on a fouled brake shoe. I did auto mechanical work full and part time for 40 years and have a fair number of instances under my belt with this situation.



Then testing - most newer pickup tow vehicles have a proportioning brake system that really doesn't become effective until in excess of 25 mph though the manual override should lock up those brakes,.


Might be time to look into a disc system. As a DIY project, the cost is $1500-$2000 or thereabouts, depending on the axle rating.
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Old 06-08-2021, 05:47 AM   #7
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Might be time to look into a disc system. As a DIY project, the cost is $1500-$2000 or thereabouts, depending on the axle rating.
I agree. Wouldn't throw more good money at a bad system. Invest it in an electric over hydraulic disc system instead. Easy DIY project if you can hold a wrench. etrailer.com is your disc brake friend.
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Old 06-08-2021, 08:22 AM   #8
Al D.
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DutchmenSport,
I'll check the voltage out this week sometime.
Thanks

dieselguy
It did stop adequately prior to me discovering the grease. I must say some of the grease looked pretty old. I did replace the battery
Thanks
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Old 06-08-2021, 08:24 AM   #9
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Carl and Susan
I have not replaced the shoes yet. I read on here or somewhere to just go ahead and replace the backing plate.
Not sure.
Thanks
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Old 06-08-2021, 09:20 AM   #10
mhs4771
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In some cases a complete backing plate assembly is only a little more than the cost of replacement shoes and much simpler repair.
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Old 06-09-2021, 09:08 AM   #11
Al D.
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I checked the voltage at the camper battery and was 12.57. I checked the voltage at one wheel going to magnet and it was 8.53. Is this telling me I might have a bad connection or ground somewhere?
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Old 06-09-2021, 11:37 AM   #12
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I have always been told, anytime new shoes or pads go on, you need to turn the rotors or drums. This came from a auto mechanics teacher many years ago.
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Old 06-09-2021, 12:27 PM   #13
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Drums can be turned if grooved or worn down. The problem is they'd rather sell you the entire assembly, and if you have the Dexter Never-Adjust, they are the most expensive replacements known to mankind.
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Old 06-13-2021, 09:08 PM   #14
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I haven’t turned a brake rotor since the early 90’s. Never turned a drum, ever. If the surface is smooth, run it. If it has excessive grooving, replace it. 8.53v is definitely a sign of a bad connection. I’d replace the complete backing plate assembly, then check the voltage at each wheel. Could be a magnet that is shorting internally, also. Once you have correct voltage at all wheels, there is a brake shoe burnishing procedure in the Dexter Axle manual that should be performed. That alone made a huge difference in braking performance on our old 2015 MHC 305RL. Have the disc brakes on our 2019 3811MS & it is a HUGE improvement over the drums. Definitely a must on a rig this big.
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Old 06-14-2021, 05:48 AM   #15
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The 8.53 volts at the magnet may be totally normal. Instead of comparing the voltage against measured battery voltage, compare magnet voltage against voltage measured on the blue wire coming from your brake controller. Or you could pull the break away switch and measure magnet voltage and that should be close to battery voltage. If it isn't, measure voltage from break away switch and ground.
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Old 06-14-2021, 09:27 AM   #16
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I agree with the switch to disc brakes. We had them installed on our 2015 3160 and the response was so much quicker in traffic it was surprising. Lower maintenance/easy pad replacement. Long-term it isn't worth the hassle of drum brakes.
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Old 06-14-2021, 10:24 AM   #17
Al D.
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Thanks for all the inputs. I went ahead and ordered new back plate assemblies this morning and will go through all the wiring when I install them. I would of loved to have gone with disc brakes but I didn't want to sink in the extra money on a unit that I may not keep.
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Old 06-14-2021, 11:40 AM   #18
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Thanks for all the inputs. I went ahead and ordered new back plate assemblies this morning and will go through all the wiring when I install them. I would of loved to have gone with disc brakes but I didn't want to sink in the extra money on a unit that I may not keep.
Be sure to check the wiring that runs through the axles as they have been problematic in the past for others.
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Old 06-15-2021, 05:01 AM   #19
Al D.
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Thanks WeBeFulltime, I will definitely take a good look at that.
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