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Author Topic: Problem with trailer brakes locking up  (Read 974 times)


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Problem with trailer brakes locking up
« on: July 08, 2017, 04:45:44 PM »
First post from a  noob trailer owner. I purchased a 2000 Fleetwood Wilderness camper trailer in January. Last weekend while pulling it from its parking spot the driver's side front wheel locked up. It seemed to happen when one of my rear wheels on my Tahoe spun in a small mud patch. It stopped after I pulled it to some asphalt.  I towed it 25 miles with no problems. When I attempted to back it into a parking spot it happened again once again when one of my 2wd Tahoe's rear wheels spun in some mud. It happened in both forward and reverse and seemed to once again go away one i was on pavement.. I had no problems on the trip home 2 days later and no problems while backing it into its parking space (the ground had dried).

Can anyone help me out as to what is going on? I am not using any supplemental braking system.

Thanks for your help.

Steve Wooten
Oxford MS

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Problem with trailer brakes locking up
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2017, 05:45:47 PM »
Your Tahoe may have traction control (aka Stabiltrak) and probably applies the brakes to the wheel that spins. Maybe that is either triggering your trailer brake controller or backfeeding to the trailer brake wire? That still doesn't explain why only one trailer wheel gets braked, but it may simply be more sensitive than the others.

Please explain more about your trailer hook-up.  When you say "no supplemental braking system", do you mean you have no trailer brakes at all? No brake controller and no current applied to the brake wire that feeds thru the 7-pin connector to the trailer?
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Arch Hoagland

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Re: Problem with trailer brakes locking up
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2017, 07:01:49 PM »
I'd suggest getting an IR gun and checking the temperatures of all the trailer brakes.

I suspect you may only have brakes on one axle but don't know for sure.

Are the brakes applied through a factory built-in brake controller on the Tahoe?
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Re: Problem with trailer brakes locking up
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2017, 07:04:44 PM »
Welcome to the Forum!

Gary is right.  Does the trailer have its' own brakes, plugged into the Tahoe and going through a trailer brake controller (TBC)?  If so, this is the normal supplemental brakes for a TT.

I would suggest checking all of the brakes.
Hook up and go to the local big box parking lot with an assistant.  Go about 20 mph and use the TBC to lock the trailer brakes.  Do all tires lock up?

Check the adjustment on all brakes.  They adjust like any manual adjust drum brake.

Check the voltage on each wheel with brakes engaged.  There is an EXCELLENT recent thread on troubleshooting / rewiring trailer brakes.

Good Luck
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Re: Problem with trailer brakes locking up
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2017, 07:18:16 PM »
If you haven't done it, you need to pull each brake drum to inspect and service the brakes and wheel bearings.  We can guess all day but the only responsible action is to know what you have.


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Re: Problem with trailer brakes locking up
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2017, 10:19:45 AM »
I think there is only one brake activation wire on the tow vehicle side of the plug. It splits into 2 or 4 once on the trailer side. If only one wheel locked up, then I would suspect a fault in the trailer brakes system on the trailer itself.

As Lynnmor said, you have to know what you have. As a starting point, a simple compass will tell you which wheels are being actuated by deflecting of the needle when held near the wheel hubs when the tow vehicle requests brakes.
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Re: Problem with trailer brakes locking up
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2017, 02:07:56 PM »
gonna go with gary on this one. traction control is taking place if your TV has it factory installed ?. as to why only one wheel is locking up ?, if I had to guess, I would say probably because that is the only wheel left that still has good electric brakes ?!, and the other 3 wheels brakes are gone. as stated ^^^^, time to pull each hub off, do a brake inspection or adjustment if your shoes are still good ?, re-pack the bearings while your in there, and replace the seals after re-packing the bearings.
1992 22ft Fleetwood wilderness TT