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Old 09-04-2019, 12:29 PM   #1
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Less Trailer Braking Power w/New GMC Pickup

Hello all,

We parked our 2019 Minnie just over three months ago after a six week 7,000 mile road trip. While it was parked, I bought a new 2019 GMC pickup with integrated brake controller. I just took the trailer out for a short test-tow with the new truck and do not have as much stopping power from the trailer brakes as I had with the old truck and add-on brake controller.

Just to state the obvious, the truck does recognize that the trailer brakes are connected and I did end up setting the gain control to maximum. The truck does display power being applied to the brakes when using either the brake pedal or the manual lever. The trailer brakes do definitely work and will (eventually) stop the whole rig with no help from the truck's brakes.

This is our first trailer and there's at least a few things I'm wondering about. First, I'm assuming the loss of braking power is because of the new truck, but is it possible that the trailer brakes may be the problem? I know I could lock up the brakes before our 7,000 mile spring trip, and I didn't notice any braking problems during that trip, but it is possible the braking power gradually declined during the trip to where it is now and I didn't notice. Is there a trailer brake adjustment that is needed after the first few thousand miles? The manual doesn't cover this exact situation.

Second, do trailer brakes need more than a few short miles and a handful of manual brake applications to return to full power after being parked for a few months? I'm wondering about spider webs, etc, inside the brake drums.

Third, could I just hook up a multi-meter to the truck's electrical socket, apply the brake lever without a trailer connected, and get a voltage reading? If so, does anyone know what voltage should be output?

Last, has anyone else had a similar problem with a newer integrated GMC brake controller? I didn't find anything doing a Google search.


TIA

Jim
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Old 09-04-2019, 01:20 PM   #2
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If you've adjusted the gain, as you said, I'd start looking at the trailer brakes themselves. It's not unusual for all kind of issues to arise, especially after sitting for a long time. Some brakes are self-adjusting. Other's have a small hole on the back side with a star wheel adjuster.

When we owned a TT, a couple of times we had a brake shoe become dislodged - once from the actuator itself and another time the shoe material, which is held on with rivets, come loose from the shoe.

I wouldn't hurt to check them out.
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Old 09-05-2019, 01:08 PM   #3
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Just found a Lippert video on how to adjust their electric brakes. The Winnebago owner's manual was no help at all, but the Lippert manual that I found on the LCI1 support site clearly states the brakes need to be adjusted at 3,000 mile intervals.


It is very irritating that Winnebago did not bother to at least include a copy of the LCI manual with the trailer. I understand they can't be expected to change the Winnebago manual all the time, but including a copy of the relevant OEM manuals isn't too much to ask imo.


I'll be jacking it up and attempting to adjust the brakes in the next couple of days.


Thanks!
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Old 09-05-2019, 01:45 PM   #4
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Hi, I found this on page 28 of the Owners Manual for the 2019 Minnie towables:

Quote:

BRAKE INSPECTION & ADJUSTMENT
Complete the following inspections before using the travel trailer or fifth wheel:
•Inspect all external braking system components.
•Inspect all wiring connections and test the breakaway switch as outlined previously.
•Inspect the brake drums and internal components each time the wheel bearings are repacked. (See manufacturer’s Maintenance Schedule provided with your Owner’s Packet).
•The magnets and linings should not show excessive or uneven wear.
•The magnets should move freely on their mounts.
•After replacing the hubs on the axle, adjust the brakes as follows, using a standard automotive brake tool:

1. Remove the rubber plug from the adjustment hole at the base of the brake drum backing plate.

2. Raise the wheel off the ground. Place the jack under the axle only.

3. With the adjusting tool, turn the adjusting screw while spinning the wheel. When the wheel begins to drag heavily, back off the screw just enough for the wheel to spin freely.

4. Replace the adjustment hole plug. Lower the wheel, remove the jack and repeat the sequence for the other wheels
Hope this helps.
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Old 09-05-2019, 03:51 PM   #5
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Thanks for pointing this out. I stopped reading this section where it said, "After replacing the hubs on the axle..." because I didn't have to remove the hubs in order to grease the bearings.

Guess I should have kept reading. Oops.

I have since gone out and looked at the back of the hubs, and there are two -- not one -- but two little inspection pop outs. Hopefully I'll only find a star wheel adjuster behind one of them.

Thanks again.


Jim
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Old 09-11-2019, 07:52 PM   #6
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It's extremely doubtful that the new truck has anything to do with it. 12V is 12V pretty much, so the brake controller in your cab is what sends the commands to the trailer brakes. One possibility is that the trailer brakes got some condensation in them over the storage period, thus might be wet.
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Old 09-12-2019, 05:22 AM   #7
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Before you go to all the trouble checking out your trailer brakes I would hook up another truck and make sure it's not your new truck that's could be your problem! Good luck!
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Old 09-12-2019, 07:38 AM   #8
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The procedure I was taught to set the gain on electric trailer brakes is to find a not busy flat dirt or gravel country road and increase the gain until the trailer wheels begin to lock up with hard, but not panic stop hard, braking. Then back off that setting slightly until none of the trailer wheels lock up. On the TT I used to own with brakes set this way the voltage applied for hard braking was only around 6 volts, well under the max braking voltager possible. Good luck.
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