"Burning in brakes"

p

Super Active Member
Jun 9, 2014
803
Alberta
Background information - I had a magnet replaced on one of my pop up brakes and a new 12 gauge wire run on the axle between the brakes. When I drove home from the rv "fixer" place, I activated the manual over ride on my brake controller...and nothing happened. I checked the 7 pin controller with a LED checker...and the tow vehicle is fine. I brought it back to the repair place and they said all the wiring is fine and the brakes are good to go.

However...they said the brakes need to be "burnt in". I was advised to drive at 40 km/hr and hour and slow down to 20km/ hr repeatedly (20 times to be exact) while activating the over ride.

Does this make sense? Because when I press my brakes or activate the manual brake controller over ride switch..it produces zero effect on the trailer brakes.

Anyone have a video of this "burn in" process to share?
 

NLB

Active Member
Oct 10, 2021
507
West Palm Beach, Florida
I know brake pads/drums need to “marry” to each other in regards to position.
If you will set your controller to a mid level of intensity, ( so like 5 if your scale is 0-10), then travel 3-5mph on a dry paved surface, put the transmission in neutral, and increase the manual slide until the trailer begins to slow your tow vehicle. If setting 5 doesn’t work go to 7. If still nothing, then I think the brake shoes need to be adjusted closer to the drum. They should do that.
Basically the shoes need to be adjusted to the point of almost touching, but not dragging. If they drag, they will wear faster and create heat when braking is not applied. You don’t want that.
My controller has 9 settings. I keep it on 3. All setups are a little different based upon size/ weight of the trailer and size of the drums/shoes on the towing vehicle.
Find a quiet road away from all traffic and play with it. Let us know what results you get.
Take notes so you have good data.
 

Anthony Hitchings

Super Active Member
Silver Supporting Member
Mar 2, 2019
3,945
Oakland, California
Burning in is total B.S. for shoes and for pads.

If you drums are too worn get them replaced. In the old days we could machine brake shoes (arc) to match a resurfaced drum, but that became illegal.

I have never burnt in any of my shoes or pads on a trailer, motorbike or automobile.

My current Jeep's rotors and pads are non-burnt in and have the smoothest and most even braking ever.
 

xxxapache

Super Active Member
Jul 30, 2008
4,558
Many vendors, garages, and other experts recommend a process of bedding brakes. The last performance pads and rotors I bought came with instructions on the process.

I wouldn't worry about bedding brakes on a trailer.

p,

If you have zero braking when you apply the brakes manually, you either have a electrical/controller problem or your brakes need adjusted.
 

bondebond

Super Active Member
Aug 14, 2008
2,330
Seems like automotive, tire and brake industry folks say otherwise.
https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tiretech/techpage.jsp?techid=85
Wagner (brake manufacturer) https://www.wagnerbrake.com/technical/technical-tips/break-in.html
https://help.summitracing.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/5300/~/how-do-i-break-in-new-pads-and-rotors?
https://www.autozone.com/diy/brakes/bedding-brakes
https://parts.olathetoyota.com/blog/break-in-toyota-rotors
etc, etc, etc

I'm not saying you have to do it especially on trailer brakes, but to carte blanche say it's total BS is hard to swallow when industry says otherwise. And they don't earn any money from saying you should do it. There's no incentive for them to make it up.
 

Ladiesman

Super Active Member
Feb 6, 2018
840
Burning in is total B.S. for shoes and for pads.

If you drums are too worn get them replaced. In the old days we could machine brake shoes (arc) to match a resurfaced drum, but that became illegal.

I have never burnt in any of my shoes or pads on a trailer, motorbike or automobile.

My current Jeep's rotors and pads are non-burnt in and have the smoothest and most even braking ever.
Been a mechanic for close to 40 years never burnt in a set of brakes in my life. We do brakes on big rigs at my shop every week and we have never told anyone to do that. Had lots of bendix brake training with the heavy truck discs and entire brake system and they never once in all our traing said burn them in boys.
 

xxxapache

Super Active Member
Jul 30, 2008
4,558
Screenshot_20220629-194534_Samsung Internet.jpg


Bendix says to burnish here:

 

vetteyog

Member
Apr 27, 2022
16
Central PA
here is a video as requested

This is not a myth... I put all new brakes and drums on my popup this spring and had to burn mine in. After the install, they were not working . Did some research and found this video. I took my setup out on the highway and drove applying the brakes with the manual control on my controller. After about a mile or 2 they were working. I had them smoking pretty good but my brakes work really well now.
 

Anthony Hitchings

Super Active Member
Silver Supporting Member
Mar 2, 2019
3,945
Oakland, California
IF (and thats a big IF) your axle has self adjusting brakes, a burning in series of brak applications might lead to the brakes self adjusting - though the self adjuster usually does its magic on reverse motion, not forward. (speaking from decades ago on my Chevy Impala 327V8)
 

jeepster04

Active Member
Nov 23, 2010
298
Breaking in your brakes will not make them work. They need to be fixed first, then people can argue whether or not its needed.

They brakes will work fine new out of the box and will either lock up the trailer tires or stop the whole shee-bang when you manually apply them. May be time to find another shop, or figure it out yourself. Obviously the shop is comprised of idiots.

They were previously working, correct?
 

Michael J

Active Member
Aug 9, 2018
201
Michigan
Many vendors, garages, and other experts recommend a process of bedding brakes. The last performance pads and rotors I bought came with instructions on the process.

I wouldn't worry about bedding brakes on a trailer.

p,

If you have zero braking when you apply the brakes manually, you either have a electrical/controller problem or your brakes need adjusted.
Same here I put drilled and slotted w performance pads on the wife's Jeep GC man what a trip stops awesome but the rotors were cheap I guess as they rusted bad and in 3 years the rotors were rusted so bad it was horrible..... I did my Monty Carlo the same month used a different brand and they came colored black and still have almost no rust checked pads at tire rotation and I'd say I still have no less then another year on the pads still I bought the same style rotors for the wife's Jeep this summer as my car I am betting I won't have to touch them again before we decide to upgrade her vehicle....... Well that's up to her she really loves her Jeep :) and it pulls the pop up great with the V8 H.O. motor in it I just worry about the 200,000+ miles on it
 

ChiefHart

Member
Apr 2, 2020
86
Staunton, Virginia
Seems like automotive, tire and brake industry folks say otherwise.
https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tiretech/techpage.jsp?techid=85
Wagner (brake manufacturer) https://www.wagnerbrake.com/technical/technical-tips/break-in.html
https://help.summitracing.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/5300/~/how-do-i-break-in-new-pads-and-rotors?
https://www.autozone.com/diy/brakes/bedding-brakes
https://parts.olathetoyota.com/blog/break-in-toyota-rotors
etc, etc, etc

I'm not saying you have to do it especially on trailer brakes, but to carte blanche say it's total BS is hard to swallow when industry says otherwise. And they don't earn any money from saying you should do it. There's no incentive for them to make it up.
The tire Rack is talking about disc brakes. Most trailers have DRUM brakes.
So it still might be BS.
 

bupkis

Howdy!
Mar 3, 2006
7,954
N. TX
I used high boost at first till I did some of what the video I posted details.
Zero boost after for great trailer braking.
 

Raven

Member
Aug 7, 2022
18
I used to pull a big livestock trailer. I never once had to "burn them in." My mechanic was well-qualified, and the brakes were properly adjusted when I picked it up. Yes, you may have to fiddle with your controller to get the right amount of stopping power, but if your brakes don't work AT ALL no matter your controller setting, then you need a better mechanic. Your trailer brakes ought to be able to stop the whole rig from day one when you apply them manually through your controller. Sounds to me like your mechanic is trying to get the brakes to self-adjust from non-functional to functional rather than doing any of it himself.
 

Sabotsailfam

Member
Feb 24, 2021
48
San Diego, CA
When I was working on my brakes, I used the Dexter axle documents that came with the trailer when I bought it. I think most axles on these things are Dexter (not verified), so I would recommend referencing their info when talking to your mechanic.

"On an unloaded trailer, you may be able to lock up your brakes if your electric brake controller is supplying full amperage to the brakes. When loaded to capacity, you may not be able to lock your brakes as electric brakes are designed to slow the trailer at a controlled rate, and not designed to lock up the wheels on a fully loaded trailer. Our brakes are designed to meet all applicable safety standards. All of our brakes will perform better after numerous burnish stops to seat the brake linings to the drums."


If you aren't getting any reaction in the TV when manually applying the brakes, you could do a simple test of having someone stand by the trailer wheel and then press the brake. You'll probably hear the magnet kick in if it's at least trying.

I'm a little surprised that the mechanic didn't get you a bit more information. That's a concern. They should be concerned as well, because if they told you to drive off with zero brakes and also didn't tell you how to burnish/adjust them, etc. that's a potential liability.
 

Alan

Active Member
Mar 18, 2017
552
Reno, NV
Seems like automotive, tire and brake industry folks say otherwise.
https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tiretech/techpage.jsp?techid=85
Wagner (brake manufacturer) https://www.wagnerbrake.com/technical/technical-tips/break-in.html
https://help.summitracing.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/5300/~/how-do-i-break-in-new-pads-and-rotors?
https://www.autozone.com/diy/brakes/bedding-brakes
https://parts.olathetoyota.com/blog/break-in-toyota-rotors
etc, etc, etc

I'm not saying you have to do it especially on trailer brakes, but to carte blanche say it's total BS is hard to swallow when industry says otherwise. And they don't earn any money from saying you should do it. There's no incentive for them to make it up.
The "total BS" comment is what is wrong with on-line forums. There's way too much BS spewed by keyboard experts! The best thing anybody can do is their own research regarding whatever it is they're trying to find out.
 

Sabotsailfam

Member
Feb 24, 2021
48
San Diego, CA
The "total BS" comment is what is wrong with on-line forums. There's way too much BS spewed by keyboard experts! The best thing anybody can do is their own research regarding whatever it is they're trying to find out.
Yeah, I agree that's definitely a concern, Alan. I would like to think my response, or initial thought would be, "That's great to know. All these years, I didn't know I could have been improving the performance and lifespan of my brakes!"

I might be guilty of that occasionally too, but I'd like to think that at >50, I'm still ok with learning something new.

I'm not a professional mechanic, so when I'm working on the trailer or a car, I check in the manuals for the rig whenever possible. In this case, the instructions and benefits are pretty clear. And, when you look at some of the material that has been provided above and also online, you see why burnishing your brakes would be a requirement for best performance. The heating/cooling/bedding process is literally changing the composition of the pad, and rotor surface. When you're done it correctly, your drums/rotors have become red-hot and the brake assembly is literally smoking in many cases.

According to one source, police vehicles get an "even more intensive burnishing procedure" to accomplish the goals:

The burnishing process, if done correctly, does at least three things to the pads and/or rotor: • Physically and thermally converts the composition of the pad and/or rotor. • Smooths the asperities (roughness, unevenness) of the mating surfaces. • Heat cycles the entire pad structure

There’s really no question about whether or not it should be done. The evidence is overwhelming and the industry recommendations are basically universally the same. It’s more a matter of whether folks want their brakes to work the best they can with the longest life possible. But, as you say, do your research and live with your choices. Good luck, everybody.
 




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