Caravan Electric Controlled Drum Brakes
Caravanning is a lot of fun, a great escape into the real Australia! However, one of the most overlooked must-have components of a caravan are good brakes. The most practical and efficient braking systems is powered by the tow vehicle’s electrical system.
If you think you don’t need caravan brakes then think again and do the research yourself. Check with your motor vehicle registration department for the true facts. You will need to know the bare weight and the fully loaded weight, the latter being the important one.
If you are saying why do I need brakes on the van? To stop with the rig all in one piece and with the minimum bloodshed is an answer that comes to mind. Imagine slamming on the brakes and the caravan suddenly comes past your driver’s window. Yes, it’s called a Jack-knife and it will spoil your day that’s for sure.
If you have a smaller caravan and you do your research at the Rego Department and find that you’re not legally required to have brakes on that weight van. Do it, fit the brakes and have them adjusted properly and you will congratulate yourself the day you have to do an emergency stop and actually stop in time with a whisker to spare. You will have saved life and limb as well as many thousands of dollars in rebuilding costs.
We humans, particularly the ones with caravans manage to stuff all manner of things into the van and the tow vehicle. Consider this: You rely on constant tyre contact with the road surface for effective braking. Now, your tow vehicle has 4 wheel brakes and your tyre to road contact is equal to 4 adult male palm prints, not a lot of grab there. Add to that your caravan weight and it’s a big ask to be able to stop in any sort of emergency.
Do the braking test, find a clear road and pick a roadside marker, slam on the brakes and step out how many paces it takes to stop. Hook up the van and do a loaded and unloaded braking test. You can then figure out the benefits of having caravan brakes. Remember, the greater the gross weight the greater is the stopping distance, you will find 20 metres or more at highway speed a not unusual greater braking distance.
Fitting up Caravan Electric Drum Brakes
Your caravan electric brakes come in multiple parts: First there are the Drum or Disc brake units that bolt up to the caravan axle assembly, then the wiring to the towbar hitch. This wiring should be left to the professionals as the little money you might save DIY will almost certainly bring you grief down the track. Next is the caravan to vehicle electrical connecter I prefer an Anderson plug as opposed to stuffing it into the multi pin lighting connecter. I’m a do it once sort of fellow so this advice is directed at getting the best possible outcome. You don’t need brake fail on your next holiday.
The next part is the under vehicle wiring connecting the tow bar electrical connecter to the electric brake controller. It’s so important to have this done professionally so as to ensure no short circuits or burnt wiring etc.
Here’s how it all works: When you apply the vehicle brakes the electric brake controller is triggered and passes electric current to the caravan brakes.
Have a look at this YouTube video for an explanation of how electric activated drum brakes work.
Here is a link to view a demonstration of the Redarc Tow Pro Caravan Brake Controller.
If youre thinking caravan brakes then the two videos above are well worth a look!
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Caravan Brake Rotor and Caliper
Are you thinking Caravan Brakes? There is a choice either disc or drum brake systems however at this time disc brake aftermarket fitment is almost out of the question due to manufacturing costs and the absence of a suitable method of translating the electric brake controller output to activate a hydraulic pressure source to then operate the disc brake setup.
Drum brakes in the RV industry have been around since the 1970s and have proven to be a strong and reliable braking system that offers good performance for a relatively low cost. With a little occasional look see servicing to ensure the adjustment is right and the linings aren’t worn they generally deliver a good outcome and remain reliable.
You can trust the experienced professionals at Highway Auto Electrics to give you accurate honest, straight answers and advice.
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