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Old 06-01-2015, 07:04 AM   #1
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5th wheel only one brake working properly

I purchased a new 5th, Forest River Work and Play, 2007. When pulling home I felt the brakes were soft. The previous owner had some brake problems because he said they may need adjusted. So when I got home I have been checking bearings and adjusting the brakes (the brakes were not far out of adjustment) on each tire.

One brake drum showed that it may have had some heat at one time. After adjusting the test drive was about the same, so I jacked up each wheel and applied the brakes on the truck. Only one wheel, the one that showed heat worked properly. The other three brakes only worked on the manual brake controller.
So all of the brakes worked on manual showing the wiring was probably okay on the trailer.

There are not any good trailer repair shops in our area, any ideas where to go from here.
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Old 06-01-2015, 09:11 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Playmor View Post
One brake drum showed that it may have had some heat at one time. After adjusting the test drive was about the same, so I jacked up each wheel and applied the brakes on the truck. Only one wheel, the one that showed heat worked properly. The other three brakes only worked on the manual brake controller.
So all of the brakes worked on manual showing the wiring was probably okay on the trailer.
The signal only comes through on that one wire, so it's got to be something in the controller.

Is it possible that you've got the adjustment turned down on the controller? I don't have a travel trailer or 5th wheel, but I do have an equipment trailer. If I forget to turn down the braking on the trailer after unloading equipment, all four brakes on the trailer lock up as soon as I apply brakes on the truck.

If the controller is turned down and that one wheel is working a bit better than the others, it will brake and the others won't. When using the manual brake controller, all brakes are applied hard so the others come on.
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Old 06-01-2015, 10:54 AM   #3
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The controller is stock in a f250, 2011. I tried different setting on gain, but did not affect the fact that only that wheel is pulling in. The wiring is a two conductor wire and is in parallel so both of the wheels on one side is getting the same power in the wire.
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Old 06-01-2015, 11:10 AM   #4
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[QUOTE=Playmor;2582294].

The other three brakes only worked on the manual brake controller.
So all of the brakes worked on manual showing the wiring was probably okay on the trailer.

QUOTE]

I think your wrong here, the manual operation of the controller would put max voltage into the wiring, and overcome any resistance in the wiring.
JMHO: you have a bad splice some where in the trailer, the wire runs from the plug to the front axle , splits to the left and right and to the rear axle, where it splits left to right again.
A poor connection at that first splice, could be your issue with the power distribution.
Voltage in the brake system from the truck is constant on one wire , so for your problem you have to look at distribution.
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Old 06-01-2015, 11:14 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Playmor View Post
The controller is stock in a f250, 2011. I tried different setting on gain, but did not affect the fact that only that wheel is pulling in. The wiring is a two conductor wire and is in parallel so both of the wheels on one side is getting the same power in the wire.
Sorry , I was typing my other reply when you posted this , the two wires to each magnet are power and ground, so you have to check each ground wire for resistance to the trailer frame as well.
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Old 06-01-2015, 01:06 PM   #6
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I agree with Skip, I think you've got a wiring/ground issue. If your wires are connected with Scotchlok™ type wire splices, I'd remove them and solder the wires and coat with liquid tape. The wire splices are quick, but allow water to corrode and degrade the connections. Use a multimeter to test the voltage at each brake magnet. I think you'll find inconsistent voltages due to bad connections or dirty ground connections.
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Old 06-01-2015, 04:30 PM   #7
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I would agree with the others, I would guess that the wheel that is working is the first one in line with the incoming wires. And it is taking all the power and not passing any on the the other wheels, so I would check the power connection at that wheel first.
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Old 06-17-2015, 09:38 PM   #8
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Thanks for all of the help. I did get everything going and had a great two weeks and over 1500 miles, some through the mountains which tested the brakes and all was well.The brake which I thought was the only one working properly actually was the brake which had the problem. The clip which held the magnet to the spring was gone and the brake magnet was riding against the inside of the hub. I think this is why this hub showed some heat damage. I made some inquiries and found out that the newer trucks have "too much computer" to jack up a trailer wheel and push the brake to find out if it is working as we did with the older vehicles. When the gain is set at different pressure, it puts a varied voltage to the magnet to press the brakes out harder or softer. The newer trucks take into account the speed of the truck, pressure on foot brake, ect. to determine the amount of voltage on the brake magents. If it is going to be tested at different voltages a bench testing tool is needed.The brake in question was the only one stopping because the truck was only supplying a vary small amout of voltage and with the magnet already touching the hub it would stop the wheel when hand turning. The trailer brake assembly had only to remove four 3/8" nuts and cut the wires to the old assembly and install the new one. I did follow the advice and soldered the connections on the replacement. I think I will remove the other compression wire connectors and solder them as I get time. The brake assembly and new grease seal was just under 80.00 dollars. Thanks again for the replies.
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