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Old 03-18-2016, 09:01 PM   #1
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New TT on the road. Help needed

Hi everyone. We are on the road with a brand new TT, a Crossroads Z1 328SB. TV is a F150 3.5 ecoboost, 11700 towing capacity, 1700 lbs cargo capacity.

Before the weight police chime in. We've weighed the TV loaded for camping. We are at the upper limits of our towing capacity, not over.

The reason I'm posting is I think the trailer brakes may be slightly on.

Gas mileage has gone from 20.8 mpg to 7.3 mpg. When we are going down hills with a decent downgrade the TV and rig are slowing. In the truck alone on such grades, it would speed up.

I'm pulled over now. Rear brake drums on the TV are cool. Rear brake drums on the TT are warm to the touch, but not hot, after driving about 60 miles. After sitting for about 10 minutes, the TT's brake drums are cool.

So is this normal, or do I make a trip to a service center Pronto?
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Old 03-18-2016, 09:14 PM   #2
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Oh boy, Keen family... sounds like there is a problem. You might see if you can find a service center in the morning. I'm no expert on Travel trailers or RV's for that matter, but listen to your gut there....
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Old 03-18-2016, 09:16 PM   #3
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As you have done temperature is your best indicator that things are OK or not. See if you can find an infrared temperature gauge. They cost about $20 at Harbor Freight and while they may not be perfectly accurate they will give you a good indication.

After you drive for a time just pull in and check all wheels rotors if you can see them and bearing hubs on drum brakes. If you have been driving on level ground then the temps for all wheels would be about the same unless a brake is dragging.

What to look for?? Are all vehicle and TT wheels about the same ?? You know your TV is OK because you have been driving it before you hooked up the TT. They will be hotter because you are now stopping a TT also.

Are the wheels close to the same from side to side?? If there's much difference then a brake may be either dragging or the cool one is not working. It will take some time to determine what is normal and what is not normal.

The biggest diagnostic temp is if there's a big difference from side to side Or maybe one axle on the TT is hotter than the other.

Also keep in mind that once brake shoes or pads are overheated to the point of smoking a lot then they are not ever going to work as designed. The glue that binds the brake material together has crystallized and is ruined. The brake material has been glazed and they will not stop well after than.

TeJay
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Old 03-18-2016, 09:24 PM   #4
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All TT drums are the same. All warmer than the TV
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Old 03-18-2016, 09:39 PM   #5
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It's possible you have one or more of the TT brakes that are adjusted just a little to tight. Usually they are adjusted, wheel off the ground, and while spinning the wheel by hand adjust the brake shoes until they start dragging the wheel and then back off just enough to stop the drag or barely, just barely against the drum. Do all of them so they are all equal. Getting the brake controller adjusted to the "sweet" spot also takes a little playing around in a big parking lot, etc. If they are getting warm I'm thinking just a tad to tight on the drums. Good luck with it.
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Old 03-18-2016, 09:52 PM   #6
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The gas mileage doesn't surprise me as the 3.5 Ecoboost is a great engine for the truck alone, is known for getting terrible gas mileage like you are experiencing while towing. All wheels/drums are going to be warm to the touch when driven at highway speeds with normal braking, even warmer to hot if you are just coming off a downhill. My guess is that the brakes on the truck are bigger than the TT, thus the difference in temp you are feeling by hand. So if the big thing that is making you think you have a brake issue is the gas mileage change, I think you are worrying for nothing, especially if you don't smell the brakes burning. Just go to the Ford f-150 forum much like the IRV2 forum, and you will see all the discussions about the dramatic drop in gas mileage while towing, and seeing as you are pushing the upper limits weight wise, the gas mileage difference will be even worse.
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Old 03-18-2016, 10:08 PM   #7
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Keen Family, are you running with the "Tow/Haul" selector on?
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Old 03-18-2016, 10:13 PM   #8
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As far a slowing down on the grade, that can depend on the grade and the "rolling resistance" (how hard it is to just roll the vehicle without brakes on.) I've had a vehicle just maintain speed going downhill without the brakes on...if the grade isn't too steep. Things like amount of air in the tires, the "drag" from the driveline, etc. all affect rolling resistance.

Just some added thought (I agree with the posting about it possibly just being normal) and low gas mileage is what you get towing with that engine.

My two cents
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Old 03-18-2016, 11:29 PM   #9
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Hubs get warm when rolling down the highway. This is not unusual. You probably have nothing to worry about if they are not so hot that you cannot touch them.

Travel trailers have a lot of wind resistance. That alone could keep you from accelerating depending on loading and grade.

Is the 20ish MPG figure while not towing?

Depending on how you like to accelerate and your preferred highway speeds, the 7ish MPG figure is not outside of any realm of possibility.

How are your tire pressures?
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Old 03-19-2016, 12:23 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TeJay View Post

The biggest diagnostic temp is if there's a big difference from side to side Or maybe one axle on the TT is hotter than the other.

Also keep in mind that once brake shoes or pads are overheated to the point of smoking a lot then they are not ever going to work as designed. The glue that binds the brake material together has crystallized and is ruined. The brake material has been glazed and they will not stop well after than.

TeJay
Ok. We've arrived at our destination tonight (450km trip), safe and sound. Temperature (to my unscientific hand) was the same on all four trailer brake drums. No major danger signs: no burning smell or smoke. Not even that tell tale smell of hot metal.
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Old 03-19-2016, 12:25 AM   #11
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It's possible you have one or more of the TT brakes that are adjusted just a little to tight.
That's my suspicion too. It's either this or nothing. No sign of any major prowler.
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Old 03-19-2016, 12:27 AM   #12
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The gas mileage doesn't surprise me as the 3.5 Ecoboost is a great engine for the truck alone, is known for getting terrible gas mileage like you are experiencing while towing. All wheels/drums are going to be warm to the touch when driven at highway speeds with normal braking, even warmer to hot if you are just coming off a downhill. My guess is that the brakes on the truck are bigger than the TT, thus the difference in temp you are feeling by hand. So if the big thing that is making you think you have a brake issue is the gas mileage change, I think you are worrying for nothing, especially if you don't smell the brakes burning. Just go to the Ford f-150 forum much like the IRV2 forum, and you will see all the discussions about the dramatic drop in gas mileage while towing, and seeing as you are pushing the upper limits weight wise, the gas mileage difference will be even worse.
All this makes sense. It's either nothing to worry about, or a minor brake adjustment.
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Old 03-19-2016, 12:29 AM   #13
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Keen Family, are you running with the "Tow/Haul" selector on?
Yup. It really bogs down when I had it off (and when off, there was no noticeable improvement in gas mileage). TV is much happier in tow/haul.
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Old 03-19-2016, 12:29 AM   #14
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Ok. We've arrived at our destination tonight (450km trip), safe and sound. Temperature (to my unscientific hand) was the same on all four trailer brake drums. No major danger signs: no burning smell or smoke. Not even that tell tale smell of hot metal.
Glad to hear, I really think that in that length of trip you would have had more problems and it would be more evident if you had the brakes adjusted too tight or they were sticking. I think your good to go and wouldn't worry about it, enjoy your trip and have fun.
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