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Monday, September 21, 2009


While not really conversant with "texting" language, I'll try my best:

"OMG!!!! Howard took Linda to a W****house!!!"

Now that experience should really get you "ribbed" at the rally. Wish I could be there to do it.

Otherwise, it is good to see that things look to be working out on the wheel and tire. Thanks again for being so honest in all things.

Howard, you will want to be careful with your test drive not to drive too hard and too far on the tire with the flat spot. It will cause vibrations throughout the 5th wheel and maybe cause other things to come loose. You are wise to just replace the drum as you can never get them entirely back to being "round". Gene S.

Howard, I only know slightly more than you on the subject :) But from what I've read and been told, its fairly common, at least for the upper end heavier 5th wheels, to have 7000 lb axles with 8000 lb brakes. My 3 axle Teton was mfg the same way. Good luck with the fix.

I am concerned about what I see in the "rest of the brake" in your smug pics.

I have the same 7000lb axle / 8000lb brake combo. From the damage I can see it looks like something foreign may have gotten into the brake drum and wedged into the edge of the rear brake shoe when you were backing up. Once that happened it could have warped the drum.

What I find hard to explain are the scratches on the face of the top wiring retaining clip on the actuator arm. Those don't go with the flow of anything except the actuator movement (forward/rearward).

Also, the severe galling on the face of the drum suggests that the brake magnet was wedged in there. This is especially true of the intense heat damage to the edges of the magnet. The fact that the face of the magnet is not worn flat but has a "rocker" surface also suggests that the magnet was not operating properly.

Sometimes this can be due to something jammed in or on the tab that the magnet sits on and prevents it from moving towards/away from the mating surface of the brake drum.

I would certainly opt to have the brake mechanism removed and either replaced or at least trued to be sure that there is not undue play in it. There should be no way for the top edge of the brake shoe (the rearward one) to have gotten scraped like that against the drum unless it has too much outward play in it.

Are you sure that nothing fell out on the ground when the drum was first removed?

One other thing I saw that concerns me is that grease up on the spindle behind the rear seal trough. That grease had to get there somehow and though the inner seal could have been leaking it is very unlikely as new as it is unless it was misinstalled originally. The only other possible explanation of all this that I can think of is that the wheel bearing retaining nut was too loose and allowed the drum to drift in and out on the spindle (and possibly wobble).

I had a similar appearing failure on DakotR when I was bringing it home from purchasing it. This turned out to be due to a poor brake controller that did not completely deenergize the brake magnets when my foot was off the brake. This happened if the gain was set too high on that controller. It kept enough current flowing that a brake magnet that might already be worn unevenly would drag on the drum face. The more the drum heated up the greater the wear on the magnet became and the more of a "wedge" shape it took on until it would jam lock against the drum.

I found that I had to back off on the brake controller's gain to get it to release and not get wedged again.

I think that controller was a DrawTite Activator II. It was a progressive stepped brake controller which had no clue about braking pressures or loads.

Anyway, I feel your pain and frustration but it sounds like it got you into the "know" about brakes and the only thing more important than those.. are tires.

Btw, I hope you have an infrared thermometer to aim at tires, hubs and other stuff to ck for overheating components. Mine has saved us on several occasions and also gives Merrily a really accurate reading of the oven temperature when she is baking.

Be on your way with safe fun.

Now how many guys take their wife along when they go to a brothel,er, a ranch?

I am no expert, but from the looks of the magnet surface and the discoloration of the steel surrounding the magnet itself, I would want that assembly replaced. Since you have a new drum, I would not want it galled by the old actuator magnet. A rather safe than sorry type of decision.


For some reason my 05 Montana Big Sky (Oct 04 Build date) has Dexter axles that are clearly stamped "8000 lb Capacity". I wonder if they build these trailers with what's on hand as with a just shy of 15Klbs max weight, 7000 lb should have sufficed. I'm not complaining though!

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