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Old 09-17-2020, 07:36 AM   #1
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Poor disc brake action

I added disc brakes to our 5er about 4 years ago. They worked well until this year. With the COVID issues, we haven't done much travel so the RV sits in a seasonal site. It has to come home in a few weeks and I would prefer to have good brakes.

- Before I knew there was a problem, I did a system bleed as I have every spring since installation JIC - there is no air in the lines since there are no leaks.

2 - Over the weekend, I pulled and checked each caliper slide pin to make sure they didn't stick. I also 'exercised' the actuator to check caliper operation - they do.

3- The actuator puts out some pressure but don't know what that is but will add a pressure gauge too see if it is really putting out 1600 psig. The 3/8 brake line to 1/4" NPT adapers are not common NAPA parts!!!

4 - Yes, the truck is set at electric over hydraulic, all wiring is good, truck and trailer and made up with 10 and 12AWG.

The actuator is a 1600 psig Carlisle Hydrastar and is my suspect. Has anyone had a problem with these actuators? Any help from the manufacturer? Their FAQ suggests a 'proportional' valve may be bad with the fix a new actuator at about $6-700.

A note to others - our 5er has 6K assemblies. The brake pads are about 50% used up at 20K miles with ~1/4" of the tops of each pad not contacting the rotors. The pads will be replaced with premium semi
metallic pads from Rock Auto. Yes, these pads are '90s GMs and are interchangeable and yes, I'm aware of added wear, possible noise and pad dust.
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Old 09-17-2020, 09:55 PM   #2
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1/4 top area of pads NOT making contact with rotors.....
20,000 miles and 50% of pads gone

Pads are NOT moving straight when piston applies pressure
Also sounds like trailer brakes are coming on sooner then tow vehicles braking ---lower the gain on brake controller

Unfortunately the 'proportional valve' is NOT a repair/serviceable part
New actuator $540 at Dexter Parts On Line
Hydrastar - 1600 PSI, Carlisle Hydrastar-1600 Elec/Hydraulic - disc brake
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Old 09-18-2020, 04:24 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old-Biscuit View Post
1/4 top area of pads NOT making contact with rotors.....
20,000 miles and 50% of pads gone

Pads are NOT moving straight when piston applies pressure
Also sounds like trailer brakes are coming on sooner then tow vehicles braking ---lower the gain on brake controller

Unfortunately the 'proportional valve' is NOT a repair/serviceable part
New actuator $540 at Dexter Parts On Line
Hydrastar - 1600 PSI, Carlisle Hydrastar-1600 Elec/Hydraulic - disc brake
You are reading what I said incorrectly. The pads are not in contact with the rotors by about 1/4" which means that one of a possible several items in the Kodiak design is incorrect:

1 - the rotor diameter is too narrow for the application
2 - the brackets were incorrectly forged
3 - the brackets were incorrectly machined
4 - the GM metric design calipers wer forged or machined incorrectly

Other then that 1/4" at the top radius of those pads, they are wearing absolutely perfectly but a bit faster then expected. The wear can most likely be attributed to the significant difference in ~2600 pound weight of a GM Buick Skylark which the brakes are adapted and use those pads and caliper design vs the approximate 12,000 pound CAT scale weight of our Montana HC. A note - the 7-8K axles use the full size '90s GM caliper design and ceramic pads.
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Old 09-18-2020, 05:39 AM   #4
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Ref , 1/4" non contact , I would investigate a mismatch of brake caliper assembly before pressure problem search. Mounting brackets, rotor diameter , 6K v/s 7K axel brake dimensions. I doubt there was a incorrect manufacturing dimension issue but rather an application problem.

CLIFFORD
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Old 09-18-2020, 07:55 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by clifford j View Post
Ref , 1/4" non contact , I would investigate a mismatch of brake caliper assembly before pressure problem search. Mounting brackets, rotor diameter , 6K v/s 7K axel brake dimensions. I doubt there was a incorrect manufacturing dimension issue but rather an application problem.

CLIFFORD
There is NO mismatch as far as Kodiak disc brake parts are concerned for my 6K axles. If Kodiak is using an incorrect application of materials, then many others will have the identical parts. Possibly brake pads for that 10.2" Buick rotor wont work quite as well on a 12" dia Kodiak rotor.

6 k axles generally use a 6 lug rotor, 7-8K axles are 8 lug rotor and both 12" in diameter. All parts were verified by part number before I, no one else, installed them. When you dig deeper, 5.2K through 7K Dexter axles are identical with M42 spindles, qith the exception of outer bearings and hubs.

The Hydrastar actuator pressure output will be checked, probably next week. If that pressure isn't close to 1600 psig, then I have an expensive part to replace or return to Carlisle for repair

As noted in my OP, these brakes worked just fine for 20K miles until this year.
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Old 09-19-2020, 12:10 PM   #6
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I have the 8K axles and did my install early this year and they work fine. Some one mentioned gain, I run at 6.5 with the equipment in my signature.
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Old 09-19-2020, 12:29 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Edd505 View Post
I have the 8K axles and did my install early this year and they work fine. Some one mentioned gain, I run at 6.5 with the equipment in my signature.
Yep, a 6 to 6.5 setting on the Ford controller is what I ran until this year. Ten barely seemed to work - and why I have a bad (costly!)feeling about that Hydrastar actuator.
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Old 09-19-2020, 01:30 PM   #8
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IC2…
I have read your posts and have a few comments to consider. Aside from the facts that you have stated, i.e., brakes designed for a much smaller load, Kodiak design spec’s don’t allow full pad contact with the rotor, and actuator wire at 10-12 gauge. You also stated that the brakes originally worked well after the install. So…

Brake bleeding and aeration…
You stated that your brakes have been bled every spring. I believe that most mechanics who bleed brakes do it poorly. I don’t know your procedure or level of expertise but this is worth mentioning. I buy only ATE Dot 4 fluid and let it sit undisturbed on the shelf for several weeks prior to this exercise. When you purchase fluid there is no way to know how long it has been sitting on the shelf. It may have just shipped and been thoroughly aerated during transport and stocking, not to mention the ride home. During that time there is probably millions of tiny bubbles in suspension that may be entering the hydraulic system.
How were the brakes bled? I use a vacuum bleeder, I never use the actuator to pump the fluid through. I am also very careful when I bring the fluid and pour the fluid into the reservoir. I do not want to introduce fluid with tiny bubbles into the system.

Brake lines and hoses…
The more linear footage of rubber hoses used in a brake system the more opportunity for degradation of the hoses. No matter what, there is growth of rubber hoses under pressure, the best designed braking systems have the least amount of flexible hose. Additionally, I have seen many instances of the rubber brake line turning spongy and weeping, this will reduce brake effectiveness dramatically.

Brake Pads…
Brake pads can glaze and become less effective. There is a lot of info on the web in regards to this.

Wiring…
10 gauge wire would be my minimum consideration with all connections soldered. There are no crimp or spade connections in any work I have performed. My brake system uses 8 gauge wire from the controller connections to the actuator. My vehicle is 2013 and the in-dash controller does not have the capability to switch from electric brakes to elec/hydraulic so I installed a Prodigy aftermarket controller. I chose to not try and fool the factory controller with a few magnets installed in the wiring loop as I read others have done. Finally, I had a custom umbilical cord manufactured using the largest brake wire I could request. This wire is 10 gauge and I consider it to be the weak link in my system.

Brakes are in my opinion the least considered aspect of RV construction but by far the most important. I spent a lot of careful thought in the design and execution of my braking system and to date have had very good performance considering the drawbacks of electronic actuation of a hydraulic system.

I have my own poorly designed web site with a pretty thorough write up of my brake conversion and many other mods I have performed. Take a look if you feel like it.
checkmybuild.com
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Old 09-19-2020, 02:53 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by lunge motors View Post
IC2… I have read your posts and have a few comments to consider. Aside from the facts that you have stated, i.e., brakes designed for a much smaller load, Kodiak design spec’s don’t allow full pad contact with the rotor, and actuator wire at 10-12 gauge. You also stated that the brakes originally worked well after the install. So… Brake bleeding and aeration… You stated that your brakes have been bled every spring. I believe that most mechanics who bleed brakes do it poorly. I don’t know your procedure or level of expertise but this is worth mentioning. I buy only ATE Dot 4 fluid and let it sit undisturbed on the shelf for several weeks prior to this exercise. When you purchase fluid there is no way to know how long it has been sitting on the shelf. It may have just shipped and been thoroughly aerated during transport and stocking, not to mention the ride home. During that time there is probably millions of tiny bubbles in suspension that may be entering the hydraulic system. How were the brakes bled? I use a vacuum bleeder, I never use the actuator to pump the fluid through. I am also very careful when I bring the fluid and pour the fluid into the reservoir. I do not want to introduce fluid with tiny bubbles into the system. Brake lines and hoses… The more linear footage of rubber hoses used in a brake system the more opportunity for degradation of the hoses. No matter what, there is growth of rubber hoses under pressure, the best designed braking systems have the least amount of flexible hose. Additionally, I have seen many instances of the rubber brake line turning spongy and weeping, this will reduce brake effectiveness dramatically. Brake Pads… Brake pads can glaze and become less effective. There is a lot of info on the web in regards to this. Wiring… 10 gauge wire would be my minimum consideration with all connections soldered. There are no crimp or spade connections in any work I have performed. My brake system uses 8 gauge wire from the controller connections to the actuator. My vehicle is 2013 and the in-dash controller does not have the capability to switch from electric brakes to elec/hydraulic so I installed a Prodigy aftermarket controller. I chose to not try and fool the factory controller with a few magnets installed in the wiring loop as I read others have done. Finally, I had a custom umbilical cord manufactured using the largest brake wire I could request. This wire is 10 gauge and I consider it to be the weak link in my system. Brakes are in my opinion the least considered aspect of RV construction but by far the most important. I spent a lot of careful thought in the design and execution of my braking system and to date have had very good performance considering the drawbacks of electronic actuation of a hydraulic system. I have my own poorly designed web site with a pretty thorough write up of my brake conversion and many other mods I have performed. Take a look if you feel like it. checkmybuild.com
Thanks for the positive input.

I have questioned some items with this Hydrastar actuator. The first being that they recommend that 12AWG wiring for the power circuit as a minimum. The fact that their input wiring is no larger then 12 AWG settled my decision to use that grade wiring. I may change the ground wire to something heavier though. Also, they recommend 12ga minimum wiring for the breakaway. Why? That switch and trailer wiring is probably less then 12 and maybe as light as 16 and a straight connection, no relay.

Brake fluid is DOT 4 Valvoline Synthetic and what I have used for years in all or vehicles but my street rod which has a DOT 4 high temp blue racing fluid for the 4 wheel Wilwood disc system. Any brake fluid I buy usually sits for days if not much longer and only in unopened cans Bleeding - witout knowing the internal 'plumbing' of the actuator, am a bit reluctant to use a vacuum bleeder. Instead of the actuator I've installed Russel Speed Bleeders and use the actuator. I've used Speed Bleeders on personal and performance vehicles with no problem for years. Rubber brake hoses - had almost all hard lines until a tube failure and in an emergency before a trip, installed some Kodiak rubber lines between the calipers. I am considering remaking those again with hard lines. I was surprised that Hydrastar recommended 1/4" tubing. Yes, you will get some added volume but at the potential cost of some pressure plus the added cost of caliper and even the actuator fittings that are sized for 3/16". If I were to do that, I would add some more bucks and just use 37 degree AN fittings and stainless line

Brake pads - which, incidentally were not contaminated or glazed though I did scuff them with 180 grit sandpaper. These pads will be replaced shortly

My Ford has an integrated controller and is set for electric over hydraulic. I looked at using a Prodigy but since Tecumseh for all intent, designed Ford's system, felt that there was no gain.

I guess you can say that if I installed a disc brake system on our 5er, that safety is very important to me. I've also added way better aftermarket brakes on my truck - from hoses, calipers, pads and rotors.

I took a peek at your web site. Great read. It looks like your Cougar is a constat work in progress. Our Montana is too but not at your level since we can't do the long trips any longer with my wife having a degenerative back problem that limits her seat time to only a couple hours at a time.
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Old 09-20-2020, 12:01 PM   #10
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IC2


Thanks for your thoughtful reply to my post and for the kind words about my website.



A few more thoughts...


About wire


My father was a pretty sharp guy and without much education he understood mechanical and electrical concepts far beyond almost anyone I have met. He explained the similarities between water and electricity as far as flow is concerned. Bigger pipe/wire has less resistance to flow given a certain value. If you increase the diameter of a length of pipe at 100psi of pressure it will flow more volume and have less pressure loss at the end of the run. The same hold true for wire...bigger wire less resistance. This is why even though I could only obtain an umbilical cord with 10 gauge wire for the brakes, I still used 8 gauge wire everywhere else. And even though my breakaway switch has smaller wire, I have 8 gauge wire to it as well. This concept is not the same in a closed hydraulic system.


Now in regard to hydraulic lines...


There is very little movement of fluid in a vehicle hydraulic brake system. It is not a open system that flows a high volume of liquid, it is designed to build pressure.
So...

There is no volume change in the rigid steel piping of a closed hydraulic system. That means that no matter what size piping you use it will not change pedal travel, feel, or pressure. Pedal movement corresponds to master cylinder diameter and slave cylinder or caliper piston diameter and that is where the volume of the cylinders change as the piston/s move through their respective bores. If the pistons were frozen in the bores, there would be no pedal travel regardless of the size of the piping between the two. There is however growth of rubber hoses but this is negligible. There is a slight loss of pressure as the rubber line grows but typically only during actuation. Once it achieve maximum deformation, that will be all of it and pressure in the system will build.


Cheers!
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Old 09-20-2020, 12:59 PM   #11
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Ahh yes, those good ol' engineering theories. I do recall many of them though not as many as I should.

In a brake line, as you noted, there is very little movement of any component including the fluid as moved by the actuator or a master cylinder assuming you are using conventional brake fluid. DOT 5 silicone will actually compress a wee bit and is seldom a good idea in automotive uses outside of racing. And that's not always the best of ideas either when the brake pedal feels spongy. Yes, I tried it one time in a long past street rod. Expensive mistake as I had to replace everything but the brake pads and lines to change to conventional glycol based fluid.

Wiring - except for a heavier ground will stay with my 12 AWG. I'm guessing that the 'pro' installers might not even use that and so far, have not heard of a problem

Question for you now, Looking at some of your photos and the braided flex brake lines, were you able to find DOT with a 45 degree flare or are you using 37 degree AN style lines? I have Russel DOT certified braided steel flex lines on my '31 Ford street rod, That car has all AN fittings and stainless tubing so is a bit unique
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Old 09-21-2020, 08:30 AM   #12
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Dave, I did 6k Kodiak disc, with the Hydrastar, and have been very satisfied. I agree that the premium semi is the pad to get, and will replace mine with those.
I did not know there was a proportioning valve since there is no difference in pressure sent to each axle, but I doubt that it is the problem.
The only thing I have noticed is a slight delay in the braking, but it will lock up the tires pretty quick in a panic stop. I have the Kodiak rubber line kit, and agree the steel lines are a better option.
I'll also try to check my pads today, and see if I'm having the same issue.
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Old 09-21-2020, 09:35 AM   #13
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Mine look ok, and I don't see how the pad could run above the rotor.

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Old 09-21-2020, 11:23 AM   #14
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Dave, I did 6k Kodiak disc, with the Hydrastar, and have been very satisfied. I agree that the premium semi is the pad to get, and will replace mine with those.
I did not know there was a proportioning valve since there is no difference in pressure sent to each axle, but I doubt that it is the problem.
The only thing I have noticed is a slight delay in the braking, but it will lock up the tires pretty quick in a panic stop. I have the Kodiak rubber line kit, and agree the steel lines are a better option.
I'll also try to check my pads today, and see if I'm having the same issue.

I have no clue what that proportioning valve does except in the Hydrastar FAQs they mention that if there is a problem with pressure, that may be the problem and to replace the actuator at a substansial cost to the user as it is not repairable. HUH!!. My history with proportioning valves is that it modulates front vs back braking on an automobile and is mounted separately and some after market devices can be manually adjusted to balance braking. Hydrastar calls it a 'proportional' valve and may be an internal item. I have a gauge set up ready to install, possibly this week and will have a better idea of where to go.

These are the pads that will be going on my Kodiak 225 series calipers - CENTRIC 10602890, purchased from Rock Auto Parts


Quote:
Originally Posted by Garyp4951 View Post
Mine look ok, and I don't see how the pad could run above the rotor.
Your setup on 5200 pound axles, if using a Kodiak assembly should be identical to my 6K assemblies. There may be a caliper mounting bracet redesign or tightening of machine tolerances. I should take some photos the next time I pull a wheel. The only reason I could come up with is that these calipers were designed for 10" rotors, not 12" which changes the mounting radius. Regardless, the braking has been great until it wasn't this spring. That small tab didn't lose much if any clamping force
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