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Old 11-29-2015, 09:38 AM   #1
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Melted breakaway switch? what gives

I just purchased a 1996 Prowler 3 weeks ago and am learning the operations of it since I am a newbie. When I purchased it the breakaway was melted but was so far out in the country that I couldn't go purchase one and put it on there. My question is what caused the switch to melt? (The pin was gone so that could've been the reason) and Will this cause the brakes to need to be replaced? I have not opened up the brakes yet since I have been working on the inside with mods and it has been cold here so I figured I would do that when it warms up a little. What concerns should I be looking for? Thanks in advance for the help.
Mike
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Old 11-29-2015, 09:50 AM   #2
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Current caused the switch to melt. And if your pin was gone (missing), your brakes should have been on unless ther was some other electrical problem such as a short to ground prior to the brake assembly,

Indeed check your brakes, Need to check for resistance to ground on the load side and determine why a fuse did not pop. Every circuit should be fused based on the wire size and other component ratings.

But the current may not have increased beyond circuit limits if you merely had a bad connection in the switch or anywhere else. A bad connection would cause a voltage drop across it to increase, thus causing heat at the bad connection or it could have been continious activation of the brake circuit caused by not having the pin in place.

The PIN is the likely source of the problem that likely destroyed your trailer brakes and with continious current flow it overheated the switch,

Good luck.
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Old 11-29-2015, 06:16 PM   #3
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Did you tow it home? If so, what happened with the brakes?
Or, are you saying you bought it, but haven't towed it home?

When the e-brake pin is pulled, the entire amperage available from the battery(s) is applied to the brakes. It is meant to apply the brakes when/if the trailer breaks loose from the tow vehicle. Most of the e-brakes units won't stand the heat from continuous use of the system--it is meant for momentary testing, or total application of the brakes if the trailer is loose--in which case, melting of the unit is the least of your worries.

Replace the brake unit with another one and splice the wires, then test it--hope the entire wiring hasn't been fried.

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Old 11-30-2015, 11:23 AM   #4
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If you have a short somewhere in one of the brake magnets, or one of the magnets has been wired incorrectly if may cause or contribute to your problem. Don't ask me how I know, it is too embarrassing.

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Old 11-30-2015, 06:47 PM   #5
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Wingnut, I did tow it home and was surprised it would without the breakaway switch. I did follow some wires along the chassis when I got home and noticed under the wheel well that there are some wires that have been spliced in with some electrical tape so don't know what that is about. I have a friend that owns a rv repair shop so I am going to have him look at the brakes and repack the bearings. I will have peace of mind knowing someone that knows about trailer brakes will check it out. I have had boats all my life but never any with trailer brakes so this is a learning experience for me.
Mike
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Old 11-30-2015, 09:30 PM   #6
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Once it fried the switch, the continuity of the wiring was broken, stopping the flow to the brakes. So, if nothing else is wrong, you just did not have a e-brake on the way home. Getting a good tech to look everything over will be worth every penny it costs--intermittent brake problems will drive you batty.
Good luck with it.
Joe
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Old 12-01-2015, 07:40 PM   #7
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Joe,
Thank you for all your help on this. I really appreciate it.
Mike
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Old 12-01-2015, 09:28 PM   #8
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It isn't like I haven't learned some of this accidentally--several times I have hooked the breakaway cable on my fiver on sharp turns and set the brakes, sometimes at the worst possible moment. And the simplicity of my process may be way off--as I said, brake problems can be a real headache and expensive/time-consuming to trace.
I do hope you have a competent tech and a friendly one.
Joe
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Old 12-02-2015, 07:45 PM   #9
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Normal braking voltage to the magnets is 5 to 7 volts. The breakaway switch applies a full 12 volts from your trailer battery directly to the brake magnets. Under this condition, the switch or the magnets will get extremely hot sometimes actually burning up. There is no fuse like indicated above. It is designed to be a one time thing in case of a breakaway.

Replace the switch, check all wiring for overheat damage, and check rack brake magnet for continuity. The actual wiring is simply and posted numerous places online. Start with the description at etrailer https://www.etrailer.com/faq-wiring.aspx


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Old 12-02-2015, 08:01 PM   #10
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shiggs68,
Thank you. Much better explained than what I said.
Joe
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