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Old 11-30-2013, 09:50 PM   #1
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Upgraded brakes

Considering upgrading my brakes as a precaution. I have an 05 Silverado 3500 DRW 4wd, currently have 24" wheels (big rig package) changing them to 20". I have been looking at the Wilwood 16" rotor package but they are $$$$$, are they worth the dollars? I also came across the 1-click extreme rotor and pad upgrade. Has anyone upgraded their brakes or felt they needed to?

I will be pulling a 2014 Voltage 3950 TH empty weight is about 14,500 loaded 18,800.
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Old 12-02-2013, 10:16 AM   #2
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Exhaust brakes really save on service brakes, if your rig is a diesel. Good luck.
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Old 12-04-2013, 06:26 PM   #3
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From my experience with a similar setup, I would upgrade in the following order,

#1 Exhaust/Turbo Brake. I have one via EFI live and it's been great.
#2 Trailer Brakes. Disc upgrade preferred.
#3 Truck Brakes. With #1 & #2, really not necessary, other than proper OE equipment and fresh fluid.
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Old 12-04-2013, 06:37 PM   #4
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From my experience with a similar setup, I would upgrade in the following order, #1 Exhaust/Turbo Brake. I have one via EFI live and it's been great. #2 Trailer Brakes. Disc upgrade preferred. #3 Truck Brakes. With #1 & #2, really not necessary, other than proper OE equipment and fresh fluid.
Wow, like I didn't already have enough to research! I had no idea that you could upgrade the trailer brakes to disk....How expensive is that?
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Old 12-04-2013, 07:56 PM   #5
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Wow, like I didn't already have enough to research! I had no idea that you could upgrade the trailer brakes to disk....How expensive is that?
Probably $2-2.5k in parts for a triple axle if you use Kodiak parts.
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Old 12-04-2013, 09:34 PM   #6
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I used the brake performance slotted and dimpled rotors and heavy duty semi -metalic pads with NAPA reman calipers and Russell braided stainless lines in place of the hoses. Have between 10,000 and 15,000 miles on this set up, pulling my 16,000# 5er over half those miles. Have the Dexter electric/hydraulic disk brakes on the 5er. This set up works great with 0 problems. You have to make sure the truck pads slide freely on the mounting hardware and that the brake fluid is fresh, these are the biggest causes of poor brake performance on these trucks.
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Old 12-05-2013, 09:34 PM   #7
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Thanks for the replies! I think I am going to look into the exhaust brake. I have seen several YouTube videos showing tests with the new Chevy's using the exhaust brake. I think I am going to upgrade the front brakes to the 14.5" SSBC brake kit in the front and just SSBC calipers and stock size rotors in the rear....Of coarse flush the brake system with new fluid.

Reason I decided to go ahead with the truck brakes is because it is the weakest link with towing capabilities. The brakes were not designed to stop over 22k combined tow weight. Hoping the trailer is built with adequate brakes for its max weight at 19,000 lbs. With upgraded calipers and newly installed system and an exhaust brake we should be good.

Also adding Firestone air bags in the rear an an on board air system to control air bags and maintain or fix any tire in need. Oh yea also too control the MASSIVE air horn! Lol.
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Old 12-06-2013, 08:38 AM   #8
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Thanks for the replies! I think I am going to look into the exhaust brake. I have seen several YouTube videos showing tests with the new Chevy's using the exhaust brake. I think I am going to upgrade the front brakes to the 14.5" SSBC brake kit in the front and just SSBC calipers and stock size rotors in the rear....Of coarse flush the brake system with new fluid.

Reason I decided to go ahead with the truck brakes is because it is the weakest link with towing capabilities. The brakes were not designed to stop over 22k combined tow weight. Hoping the trailer is built with adequate brakes for its max weight at 19,000 lbs. With upgraded calipers and newly installed system and an exhaust brake we should be good.

Also adding Firestone air bags in the rear an an on board air system to control air bags and maintain or fix any tire in need. Oh yea also too control the MASSIVE air horn! Lol.
Having almost an almost identical truck/trailer, I'll tell you that the trailer brakes are 100% the weakest link, and would be the best place to put the money.

Regarding the truck brakes, you are correct, they are not designed to stop 22k (more like 27k+) lbs but that is not the case. They are responsible for the truck weight + pin, which should be somewhere around the GVWR rating of your truck (10-12k?), which they handle just fine. The problem lies with the inadequate electric drums that don't "handle" the trailer weight and shift burden to the truck brakes.

If you don't replace the drum brakes, make sure you upgrade the trailer brake wiring. Comes stock with 14 gauge wiring which is absurdly inadequate for the ~24 amp load of 6 magnets, resulting in a massive voltage drop. I measured something around 7 volts to the rear axle stock, when they should be 12v!

Also be sure to keep the drums are adjusted. My Voltage did not come with the self adjusting drums, which is absurd. Adjustment isn't rocket science but it is a hassle.

Additionally, be careful with the easy lube hubs (or whatever lippert calls them). I use them between hand packing the bearings, and suspect the rear seal leaks grease into the brakes.
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Old 12-07-2013, 06:15 AM   #9
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Thanks for the info Spencer! I emailed the dealer yesterday to see which brakes are going to be on my unit and he sent me a link to LCI, they are showing the self adjusting on forward movement. They did not say that is what is on there. I have also asked if I can have them upgraded to disk while they are building the unit. No answer as of yet. Hope to talk to them today.

I would have a hard time justifying a new brake system on the trailer after it just rolled off the assemblies line. If I can not get them upgraded then may consider changing on first maintenance cycle.

That is really the only thing we have been unhappy with thus far, lack of details to what actually comes with or on your unit. It's like the leave the door open so they can change on the fly.

How long have you had your voltage and besides brakes anything you would change or do differently?
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Old 12-07-2013, 08:23 AM   #10
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My .02. I have a 2005 f250 4 dr 4x4 6.0 diesel. I have completely bullet proofed the motor wasn't cheap but cheaper than new truck. I tow horse trailers about 12 to 15 k loaded with it and looked into upgrading brakes and my local trusted shop said to get better exhaust brake and improve trailer brake set up. The upgraded rotors and calipers and booster are not worth the money. With this advice he was taking money out of his pocket. Anyways followed his advice and that was 5 years ago and all has worked well. I did stay with stock rims on the truck. I am considering rear lockers bc I do use truck in NC mountains and they would help on steep drives w the trailer. Best of luck!
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Old 12-07-2013, 08:53 AM   #11
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brakes

I just put a BD Exhaust brake on my 2002 Silverado 3500. I haven't tested in the hills yet, but it seems to operate as promised. I was very impressed with the kit. It is designed for owner install and included all the parts I needed.
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Old 12-07-2013, 09:49 AM   #12
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I had a BD on my 94 Cummins. Flawless for the 14 years I owned the truck. I wouldn't own a diesel pickup without an exhaust brake.
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Old 12-07-2013, 07:33 PM   #13
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Thanks for the info Spencer! I emailed the dealer yesterday to see which brakes are going to be on my unit and he sent me a link to LCI, they are showing the self adjusting on forward movement. They did not say that is what is on there. I have also asked if I can have them upgraded to disk while they are building the unit. No answer as of yet. Hope to talk to them today.

I would have a hard time justifying a new brake system on the trailer after it just rolled off the assemblies line. If I can not get them upgraded then may consider changing on first maintenance cycle.

That is really the only thing we have been unhappy with thus far, lack of details to what actually comes with or on your unit. It's like the leave the door open so they can change on the fly.

How long have you had your voltage and besides brakes anything you would change or do differently?
Hopefully you'll get the self adjusting drums. I *thought* my 2011 had them until I was having issues with the brakes and found the adjustment holes!

I doubt Dutchman will do any custom items like discs but please keep us posted. If you do get the drums, I would highly advise checking the voltage at the 3rd axle drums to see how much voltage drop you are getting. Unless they've upgraded the wiring, the stock brakes only see about 50-60% full voltage. Adding a 2nd wire to supplement the stock 14ga is what I did and was quite easy. Few hours of labor and you'll have 95%+ of full voltage. If you replace the stock wiring, look into the STAR wiring method on this site (or rv.net), which is the proper way to wire multi-axle electric brake setups. This may be sufficient for your needs. Just don't expect to be locking up the brakes!

I've owned my unit for about 18 months, and we've been full timing for 14. We've been happy with it but there are plenty of fixes and upgrades I've done that is pretty standard for 5er's in this price range. Suspension bushings, and shackles should be upgraded ASAP. Both failed on mine in short order. I went with the Dexter HD kit. Additionally, the stock tires are absolute junk. Upgraded to E rated LT tires after half the stock tires had bubbles in them after a few thousand miles. Otherwise, pretty solid trailer.
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