Troubleshooting Weak Braking After Installing Dexter 2K Trailer Brakes

Question:

Ive installed my new 7 1/4inch Dexter brakes and matching new hubs/drums on my 2000 lb axle popup trailer. Im having difficulty getting them to stop much. I have 12.5 volts @3.0 amps per brake going to the magnets, Ive done a bunch of driving and braking to wear them in, and still the trailer brakes barely hold my car stopped at idle in drive with the above noted voltage and amperage going to the brakes. Is this all they are supposed to do? Thanks.

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Expert Reply:

All new trailer brakes like Dexter 2K set # 23-47-48, including even the self-adjusting variety of brakes, will need an initial manual pressure adjustment using the star wheel adjuster. This adjuster is shown in both the linked photo and the video at about the :30 mark. If there is not enough brake shoe pressure it won't matter if your trailer brake controller is sending out full power to the brakes. Proper pressure will result in slight drag on the wheels as you try to rotate them; they should rotate when you apply force but they should not spin freely.

Another possible cause for the weak braking is grease contamination inside the drums. When installing new brakes and hubs a bit of excess grease may find its way onto the drum surface. This will permanently contaminate the brake shoes and they will need to be replaced since their porous surface cannot really be properly cleaned off once grease had found its way to that material.

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Adam R

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