Trailer Brakes

Discussion in 'Tires / Brakes / Bearings / Axles' started by PoPuP Pistol, Aug 25, 2018.

  1. PoPuP Pistol

    PoPuP Pistol New Member

    Aug 22, 2018
    Hi All,

    The person I bought my camper from told me they didn't think it had electric trailer brakes (2004 Fleetwood Tacoma). I think it does though, I see drums in the wheels and it has a big 7-way connector.

    How do I know for sure and is there any way to test if they're seized or anything without a brake controller?

    Thanks for any advice :)
  2. PopUpSteve

    PopUpSteve Administrator

    Dec 22, 2002
    Malvern, PA
    Ok, so you can see the drums, good.

    Do you have a battery on the camper?

    Does the camper use a 7-Pin connector to the tow vehicle?

    Do you have a Breakaway Switch on the tongue?

    Now just because the answer is YES to all of the above, doesn’t mean the breaks work. On my camper I can hear the breaks disengage after stopping and taking my foot off the break pedal.

    Just about all Fleetwood PopUp Campers came with electric breaks. Hell, my old Fleetwood Neon had them and it weighed less than 1000 pounds. But I can’t remember how far back that policy with Fleetwood goes. Most likely the Tacoma did have them.

    Whatever the case, you should get the road systems serviced (breaks, bearings, tires) by a professional, especially since the last owner didn’t even know if it had breaks or not.
  3. PoPuP Pistol

    PoPuP Pistol New Member

    Aug 22, 2018
    Thanks for the quick reply and pictures Steve!

    No battery (some cut & disconnected wires where it looks like it might go on the front frame.

    Yes to the breakaway switch

    Yes to the 7-way connector

    Would anyone happen to have wiring diagrams or a picture of the battery? Is the battery just for actuating the brakes if the breakaway switch is closed?

    Sorry for the newbie questions. We may have to go on our first trip (not too far) without the trailer brakes and get them working after. I'm going to get a controller installed along with my hitch next week but l'll leave the controller off so I don't cause any problems on the road with seized brakes.
  4. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

    Jul 30, 2008
    Yes, the battery activates the brakes if the break away switch is pulled.

    I would pull the wheels off, slide the drums off and inspect what's inside.
  5. Spridle

    Spridle Member

    Jun 6, 2011
    Pull and inspect the drums for sure. Take some pictures. Any trailer shop can do that work, does not have to be an RV place. If it were me I would probably just immediately put new drums and bearings, maybe all new. Brakes are too important. I had a panic stop on my last trip that if I had not added brakes to the trailer would absolutely have ended in tears.
  6. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

    Sep 1, 2012
    Northwestern New Jersey
    Without pulling the drums see if you have two wires coming through the back plate. If you do, you have electric brakes. Their condition is another story and you will be pulling the drums anyway.
  7. joet

    joet Well-Known Member

    Mar 16, 2011
    Elkins WV area
    The wheels need to come off for a bearing inspection/repack. With the wheels off you can then inspect the brakes
  8. davido

    davido Active Member

    Jul 17, 2014
    It sounds to me like you have electronic brakes, but they have probably been abandoned and it sounds like the wiring is not complete.

    Electronic brakes consist of the brake drums, pads, actuation magnets, wiring leading forward from the axle to the 7-way, plus the break-away switch, wiring for the break-away switch, and wiring into a house battery (trailer battery), or a dedicated brake battery.

    If you lack any of these parts or any of them are in a state of disrepair you should have them serviced at a shop that understands trailer brakes before your next trip. A few hundred in repairs to the brakes is worthwhile. Skimping on getting them working after buying the trailer is like buying the airline ticket but not working out transportation to the airport.
  9. PoPuP Pistol

    PoPuP Pistol New Member

    Aug 22, 2018
    I really wanted to tackle this myself since I enjoy doing this kind of thing in my spare time and learn as I go.

    But you guys are giving sound advice and I'm going to have to wait for another chance to get my hands dirty.

    I'll talk to the guys putting my hitch on to get the trailer in for a brake and wheel system inspection/overhaul this week before we hit the road.

    Thanks :)
  10. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

    May 31, 2018
    If you pull the drum and you have a magnate , you have electronic brakes.
  11. PoPuP Pistol

    PoPuP Pistol New Member

    Aug 22, 2018
    Just an update. I took the camper in to get the brakes done. Amazingly the brakes were okay. It needed bearings done, a breakaway box, new tires, and a new 7-way connector. About $700.

    Driving it to the shop and driving it home after repair was night and day.

    It was a smooth ride to our first camping trip and a great weekend! Thanks all :)
    kgesiako and Sjm9911 like this.

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