Electric brakes

Discussion in 'Tires / Brakes / Bearings / Axles' started by slgerber, Aug 26, 2016.

  1. slgerber

    slgerber New Member

    Jun 27, 2016
    The Colman Utah I purchased has the electric brakes unhooked. Pulling it home I couldn't tell that they weren't working. Should I try to get this corrected? Will it cause more problem than what it is worth? Are they high maintenance? I have no problems dealing with mechanical issues. Are parts available?
  2. silvermickey2002

    silvermickey2002 Morris County, NJ

    Sep 11, 2008
    Morris County, NJ
    What year Coleman do you have? Also, most brakes parts are readily available. Electric brakes are pretty simple to work on.

    By not being connected, do you mean they are not wired into the 7 pin connector?
  3. Dubbya

    Dubbya Wherever you go, there you are...

    Aug 2, 2011
    Steinbach, MB
    Unloaded, your '95 Utah may not be big and heavy enough (under 3,000 lbs) to legally require brakes or a breakaway switch in OH, but check your loaded weight. Usually, if a trailer comes with brakes, the brakes must be operational and must be used.

    Quite honestly, they'll save you infinitely more time, money and trouble than they'll cost you to maintain. My camper didn't require them (under 2,006 lbs dry weight) but I installed them after a panic stop at highway speed which resulted in a costly brake job on the pickup. The first time this happened, I replaced the brake pads on the truck. The second time, I replaced the pads, the calipers and got the rotors cut. The last brake job on the truck cost me over $500. Adding brakes to the camper cost me about the same. Replacing the camper brakes would cost me about $100-$150 at the most.

    Having pulled the same camper with and without brakes, I'd never go back. They're so easy to maintain, inexpensive to replace and they make a huge difference both in terms of towing safety and the longevity of the TV brakes. Just hook 'em up. Once you get 'em dialed in, they'll last for ages.

    BTW, do us a favor and add the make, model and year of your camper and tow vehicle to your forum profile and signature. It's easier than folks having to ask for those details or read through your other posts to find them before they can answer your question. [;)]
  4. DiscoB75

    DiscoB75 Guest

    When I bought my pup in Ohio (l live in Worthington/Clintonville), I researched and any trailer over 2,000 lbs requires operational brakes.

    Do you have a brake controller in your TV? If so, it should have told you if the brakes were working or not. Follow the blue wire from the tongue to underneath to the axle. If no blue wire, most likely no break hookup.

    I have had no issue with my brakes once I hooked them up. I just adjust them whenever I lube the bearings. They're pretty low maintenance. I don't think the previous owner ever used them, as there was no breakaway switch and they had virtually no wear on them.
  5. tenttrailer

    tenttrailer Art & Joyce - Columbus, O

    Jul 18, 2013
    Thornville, OH
    Quick test. Push the lever on the electric brake controler in the TV when moving. You should feel the trailer brakes on the trailer.

    Yes get it fixed. You are a neighbor. I live next to worthington and would hate to meet you after you rear end me.
  6. slgerber

    slgerber New Member

    Jun 27, 2016
    Thanks for the replies. There is no controller on the TV. I had to install a new 7 pin connector though as the previous owner had removed the plug for some reason. I do believe I checked the brake wire when I installed the new plug and it was "hot" when the brakes were applied.
    The blue wire on the camper itself is unhooked and exposed on the tongue, I assume this is where the break-away switch connected. It has a plug connector on the end.
    The main reason I asked was that it bothers me when there are things that are there and not working but if they (brakes) are a nuisance I didn't want to make more problems.
    This camper hadn't been licensed since 2009 so I've been going over everything on it. I have a whole grocery list of repairs I've done but it is in surprisingly good condition.
    Is there a good thread on brake servicing and adjustment?
  7. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

    Oct 10, 2013
    Northern Virginia
    I have the Fleetwood Utah with electric brakes. When I first got the trailer there were signs the trailer sat for a long time. The brakes and everything around them was extremely rusted (didn't know this at the time of purchase). Still can't believe my unit passed the inspection when I bought it as bad as they were. I took my popup to a shop that was familiar with popups and they were able to fix everythink without issue with parts. Most popups with electric brakes use pretty much the same stuff. Now grant you, I'm still having some issues with the brakes, that I blame the shop that worked on them screwed something up. So until I get the unit back in I don't trust taking it out long distances. So in a way the electric brakes are a pain, however even hauling the unit a short distance without brakes are chewing my TV brakes up. I Also had a major brake job done on my TV after i first hauled it home from the place I bought it from. Stupidly I believed since it passed inspection everything was working as it should. Guess not.
  8. speckhunter80

    speckhunter80 Well-Known Member

    No brake controller...no brakes. Install a controller.
  9. Dubbya

    Dubbya Wherever you go, there you are...

    Aug 2, 2011
    Steinbach, MB
  10. slgerber

    slgerber New Member

    Jun 27, 2016
    Great thread, thanks.
  11. jjmac

    jjmac Member

    Jul 26, 2008
    I was in the same boat as you. Watch some YouTube videos and you will see they are super easy to work with and maintain. Just a hot and ground wire that operate a magnet. Higher voltage, more grip on the magnet, more push out on the shoes which equates to more stopping. The controller just simply sends some voltage to the hot wire based on different things. Some are time delayed, more time with your brake pressed, more power to the magnet. But most people prefer the ones that are pendulum activated, if it detects more stopping force it applies more power.

    Get them working, you will feel better and it will do nothing but improve your towing experience.
  12. nineoaks2004

    nineoaks2004 Every meal is a picnic and every Day is a holiday

    Oct 15, 2006
    Graceville, Florida
    One way tp check operation of the magnets (once you get the controller in) is to take a compass and have someone apply the brakes, if the magnets are working properly the compass needle will swing toward the wheels
  13. slgerber

    slgerber New Member

    Jun 27, 2016
    Ok, I am looking at picking up a controller. I found the blue wire under my Jeep dash and the hook up video on eTrailers looks pretty simple.
    So now I am replacing the wheel bearings. I cleaned up and freed the brakes. The electromagnet is loose on the post sliding in and out about 1/4", is this normal? Does the assembly go backplate-magnet-spring-clip? or backplate-spring-magnet-clip? Not sure it was assembled correctly. It does energize with 12v to the brake wires. Thanks.
  14. Dubbya

    Dubbya Wherever you go, there you are...

    Aug 2, 2011
    Steinbach, MB
  15. slgerber

    slgerber New Member

    Jun 27, 2016
    Excellent information. Thanks. Just what I was looking for.

    NEKPOPUP Member

    Sep 21, 2016
    First thing i did when i got our popup was put it on the lift, cleaned and repacked the bearings and ripped out the electronic brakes!! Shoes and all. don't need them don't want them to cause me trouble down the road somewhere.
  17. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

    Sep 1, 2012
    Northwestern New Jersey
    Hope they don't cause you or anyone else trouble by not being there.
  18. Customer

    Customer Well-Known Member

    Jun 5, 2014
    In a case of extreme oscillation or sway, the method of recovery is to manually activate the trailer brakes and hold steady throttle.

    Removing any safety device or feature is extremely foolish.

    BTW, they are electric brakes, not electronic brakes.
    durhamcamper likes this.
  19. ScoobyDoo

    ScoobyDoo New Member

    Aug 23, 2016
    IMHO, anybody that takes this kind of action should only be allowed to tow with their children mounted to the front of the TV if they are allowed to drive at all
    Anybody that has the tool and skill set to maintain the wheel bearings should have no trouble maintaining the brakes.
    As for "I don't need" I got bored waiting for spouse, got out the owners manual. Now this book covers Ram 1500, 2500, and 3500. States Trailer Brakes recommended for trailers over 1000lbs required for trailers over 2000lbs ...
  20. Rick Archer

    Rick Archer New Member

    Jun 14, 2018
    We have a 1993 Coleman Cedar Popup that weighs about 1,000 pounds and doesn't have brakes. We recently bought a 2018 Subaru Outbook. The owners manual says not to tow over 1,000 pounds without brakes, and up to 2,700 with them. I gather from this forum that brakes can be retrofitted to a trailer that doesn't have them. I called the dealer from whom we bought it and he was skeptical. Maybe he just wanted me to buy a new one. We don't use it enough to justify that. If anyone happens to know, please give me as many specifics as possible, including links to brakes one can purchase. Thanks.

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