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Old 03-26-2012, 07:39 PM   #1
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Trailer Brake troubleshooting

Hello, I bought a used 97 Fleetwood Prowler that has been sitting at a park for at least 10 years. I managed to tow it home and have had it in storage for a few months. When I brought it home the 12 volt battery was completely dead and shorted to a point that it will not take a charge. I cleaned the Plug for the trailering lights and brakes and the lights all seem to be working but I am getting no response from the trailer brake controller. It seems the controller is not seeing the trailer is connected. The controller works fine when connected to my other trailer.

I see the wires from the connector all run inside the camper and it seems two wires drop back down from inside the camper by the right front wheel and the magnets are all connected to it.

I am assuming if the wiring is good I should be able to measure voltage at these wires when the brakes are supposed to be on. Would this be true?

I do not have a 12 volt battery connected at the time. Would this cause an issue?

I habve researched this some and have not found much information so far.

Thanks in advance for any help you may be able to provide.

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Old 03-26-2012, 07:44 PM   #2
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After sitting for that long I bet the breaks are seized open.

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Old 03-26-2012, 08:01 PM   #3
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Wouldnt my brake controller recognize the camper is connected to the truck even if they were siezed? At this point it seems that it may be a wiring issue unless I must have the battery connected for the brakes to work
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Old 03-26-2012, 08:30 PM   #4
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Sounds like you will need to get the volt-ohm meter out and start some old fashion trouble shooting of the trailer wiring. See what is shorted and what is open.

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Old 03-27-2012, 10:35 AM   #5
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Ken - Yes I think that is what I will need to do. I noticed that both wires leading from the sealed off interior are spliced near the left front axle. There is apretty big opening that would allow mice and small animals to enter there. Perhaps one of them made a meal or nest of the wiring inside.

If I may ask, if I were to connect smaller lead acid 12 volt battery to these two wires that are connected in series to the electro magnets of all 4 brakes will that activate the brakes. This would be an easy way to test their operation and rule them out of the issue.

I almost think at this time it is a bad connection or open wire.
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Old 03-27-2012, 11:38 AM   #6
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A remote 12 volt battery source should work fine for testing. A continuity check from the trailer plug to each wheel for both pos and ground would be helpful. A brake wiring replacement/ upgrade should be considered since factory wiring is at best minimal. Replacement brake components including new backing plates with all the parts can be had at easternmarine.com for a reasonable price over linings alone if needed.
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Old 03-30-2012, 07:48 PM   #7
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You will need to be servicing the wheel bearings and a very simple test while you are doing that is to see if the magnets work, piece of steel. You as others have suggested will need to do a continuity check on the elecrical.
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Old 03-30-2012, 08:45 PM   #8
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If the brake magnets are rusted and not making any contact with the drums, there won't be a complete circuit for your brake controller to see. That would explain why the trailer doesn't show up on the controller.

As the others said... Maintenance and parts cleaning would probably get you where you need to be..

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Old 03-30-2012, 09:41 PM   #9
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Okay I think I understand, the magnets rub on the drums and that could be the issue. I will start on this this weekend and that seems like the place to start. I have a meter and will check the magnets and do a thorough cleaning. Thank you again for all of the help I appreciate it.
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Old 04-01-2012, 07:19 PM   #10
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I pulled the wheels and drums yesterday and repacked the bearing and did a general cleaning of everything. The drums where rusty where the magnets and the shoes run but they cleaned up easily with a wire wheel on my angle grinder. I checked the magnets and they all seem to be magnetizing when I connected the lead acid battery I have. The right front didnt magnetize at first so I clipped the wires and brought it home and now it works (go figure). I will have to check the wires that lead to it, perhaps they have a open or ground. I will say that I was surprised at how strong the magnets are, or should say they are not. I thought they would be more powerful. Once I get them back together and verify they are working I will need to check the wiring from the axles to the 7 pole connector
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Old 04-19-2012, 07:02 PM   #11
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Just wanted to give an update. The brakes are repaired and in good working order, I found one magnet was bad. I found several documents when I googled the magnets that describe what to look for and how to check with my meter. Working like a charm now.
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Old 04-21-2012, 10:40 PM   #12
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Good job! The brake systems are easy to maintain and make a world of difference.

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