adjusting camper trailer
Camper trailer brakes should be
1. after the first 500kms when
the brake shoes and drums have 'bedded in'
2. at 5000km intervals,
3. or as use and performance requires.
This is a chore that most people
with average mechanical skills should be able to handle.
following steps are a guide to properly adjust your trailers brakes by adjusting
the star wheel/hexagon nut, which in turn sets the brake shoe to brake drum
clearance. This adjustment is important as the brake shoes wear down, the
clearance increases. The actuating mechanism must travel further to effectively
apply the brakes and a point can be reached where the mechanism is no longer
able to so.
Please follow safe jacking procedure of your camper trailer at all times.
1. Park the trailer on firm level ground.
2. Block the trailer tires on the opposite side securely so that no forward or
rearward movement is possible.
3. Jack up the trailer following the manufacturers instructions.
4. Secure the trailer on jack stands of adequate capacity front and rear.
Adjusting mechanical over-rider brakes with a star wheel
1. At the back of the wheel on the brake backing plate there is a small rubber
plug near the bottom of the backing plate. Pry out this plug to give you access
to the star wheel adjuster.
Insert the brake adjuster tool and maneuver it so that the tool engages with the
teeth in the star wheel. The star wheel looks like a gear with exposed teeth on
the perimeter. On most trailers you would pull down on the tool handle which
levers on the bottom of the hole and turns the star wheel up (as you are looking
at it from the back of the wheel).
Turn the adjuster until the brake "locks up" i.e. you can no longer rotate the
wheel by hand. This centers the brake shoes on the brake drum so that they are
in the correct position.
Now back off the star wheel 8 to 10 clicks or as specified by the manufacturer.
The wheel should spin freely with no apparent drag to slow it down. A slight
scraping noise is normal as the wheel turns.
Repeat this procedure for the other wheel.
Adjusting hydraulic brakes with a hexagon nut adjuster
1. Apply service brakes 3 times to centralize shoes and release. Check that wheel and drum rotate freely.
2. If a handbrake is fitted this should be released to ensure that the brake is free to be adjusted. Any handbrake adjustment
should be carried out after the service brake has been adjusted.
3. Using a ring spanner, turn one of the two large hexagon bolts clockwise until the wheel becomes very difficult to turn.
Back off until the wheel turns freely with a slight lining drag. Repeat for the second shoe by adjusting the second hexagon bolt.
4. Apply the service brake a second time and repeat section 3.
5. Repeat the procedure on other wheel.
information provided by Rob
Futher to adjusting
mechanical brakes please be aware the adjustment of the over-rider cable needs
to be considered.
adjustment is too loose the car stops with the trailer as required, but is
then accompanied with a load bang on driving off as the slack is taken up.
the clearance is too tight, the suspension movement will trigger the brakes
over rough ground. You will have high brake wear and also have a trailer tugging
noticed with a load distribution hitch when it is too tightly tensioned the
over-ride piston can jam in the barrel if it gets a high lifting moment.
by Robert Burns