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  1. #1
    Veteran Member gerard's Avatar
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    Kubota L2500DT w/FEL

    Default trailer brakes frozen

    I was going to private message Bird due to his extensive trailering experieince, but figured I'd throw it out to the whole board. Have a horse trailer w/ electric brakes. Infrequent use, extensive salt in Central NY and yup, went to move it today and one of the brakes was frozen. Kind of broke free and then grabbed intermittently for awhile. I drove around for a bit, cycling the brakes and now it seems ok. I pulled the wheel but wasn't sure how to pull the drum. Did see four bolts on the backside that seemed kind of hard to get at. Are these what have to come off to access the works? If so what should I be using to lube them and what am I lubing? Any maintenance tips appreciated.

  2. #2
    Epic Contributor Bird's Avatar
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    Default Re: trailer brakes frozen

    Gerard, it sounds to me as if you simply had corrosion that locked up the brakes and you've broken it loose so they'll at least work for now. However, you're right; need to pull the drum and clean things up a bit. Bolts on the backside will be for the backing plate, I'm sure, and you do not want to remove them. I think you'll find the brake drum and hub are one piece (remember when cars had drum and shoe instead of disk on the front?). You have to remove the grease retaining cup, castle nut, and wheel bearings and pull the entire hub off. It might help to look at the pictures of electric brakes.

    Keep in mind that I've only worked on Dexter axles on travel trailers, so I'm assuming your brakes are about the same.

  3. #3

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    2001 TN65, 1951 8N Ford

    Default Re: trailer brakes frozen

    It sounds like you have a broken spring. To pull the drum you have to undo the spindle nut, like Bird said, and yank the hub off the spindle. You're probably going to have to fight it. On my little trailer the backing plate is open so if I had to deal with something like this I could pry the shoes up off of the drum to get it off. I think my big trailer has full backing plates so it would be strictly a twist and cuss operation. If worse came to worse you could torch a couple of holes in the backing plate. You can try to back off the adjusters but they are probably frozen, too. If you live in the boonies with nothing to hit on your road you could always drag it around in circles with the spindle nut off and let it fly off. I've used this method successfully a couple of times. Never on purpose, though. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif[/img]

  4. #4
    Epic Contributor Bird's Avatar
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    Default Re: trailer brakes frozen

    A broken spring is certainly a possibility. I based my guess on corrosion instead because he said after it broke free, grabbed intermittently, and then worked right, and I wouldn't think it would have gone back to working OK if the spring were broken, would it?

  5. #5
    Veteran Member gerard's Avatar
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    Default Re: trailer brakes frozen

    Thanks for the replies - I'm guessing it's corrosion cause they seem to be working fine now after I drove it around awhile. Still plan on pulling the drums off and taking a look at what I can clean up in there. First time doing something like this is always a pain if you're not sure how to do it. I don't mind "bulling" something off if I KNOW that's how it comes off, just don't like doing it if that's not how it's supposed to come off!! [img]/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img]

  6. #6
    Epic Contributor Bird's Avatar
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    Default Re: trailer brakes frozen

    If one did that, the others probably need cleaning up, too, and it may be time to clean and repack wheel bearings anyway, so you can get it all at once. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif[/img]

  7. #7

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    2001 TN65, 1951 8N Ford

    Default Re: trailer brakes frozen

    A broken spring on a front shoe will lock 'em up when ever the trailer moves. Forward movement will kick the trailing shoe in but also give you the possibility of funny things happening. Now I have to go look at the parts breakdown of a trailer brake assembly, about the time I hit reply my mind went blank and I have to look at one to either explain my though or appologize for a brain fart. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif[/img]

  8. #8
    Veteran Member mikim's Avatar
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    Paige Texas
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    NH TC45

    Default Re: trailer brakes frozen

    I had a couple of hours set aside for that this past weekend -- on my 1 year old 18 ft lowboy -- pulled off the cap fully expecting to pull the cotter pin & nut, pop out the bearings and pack 'em like Dad taught me -- and I found a zert fitting! since time turned out to be short - I took full advantage and had those bearings greased in about 15 minutes! [img]/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif[/img] [img]/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif[/img]

  9. #9
    Veteran Member gerard's Avatar
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    Default Re: trailer brakes frozen

    You hit it right on the head bgott - pulled the hub and the bottom return spring was broken AND the barke lining had broken loose from the shoe and was free floating. Picked up the parts at NAPA and brought to a mechanic friend who had the shoes and return spring replaced in about 15 minutes. Since the brakes come in pairs we changed the other side too. Pulled that drum off and THAT brake lining had broken off too and was free floating!! Gonna go back to NAPA and but another set of shoes and change out the other axel just to be safe. My friend said brake shoes used to be riveted and they wouldn't brake free so easy but it must be easier to manufactur by gluing. I'm not impressed with the glue they use!!!!!!

  10. #10
    Epic Contributor Bird's Avatar
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    Default Re: trailer brakes frozen

    That's a new one to me; I've seen broken springs and only heard of linings coming loose, never seen it. And of course I'm surprised that they seemed to work OK after you broke them loose when the one was stuck. Bgott's a better brake mechanic than I am. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif[/img]

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