Too many times a day, I peruse the Escape Forum. This is where Escape Trailer owners or owner-wannabes or former owners or people with a lot of time on their hands hang out to discuss, well, you know, Escape trailer stuff.
Maintenance is a favorite topic, because when you buy an RV, you’re buying a lifestyle, and that lifestyle is Doing Maintenance. There may also be some camping.
I was looking at the forum the other day and was reminded that one is supposed to adjust the trailer’s electric brakes after the first 300 miles. Apparently once these 300 miles have passed under the wheels, the brake shoes have settled into the drums. Onto the drums? Or is it the drums settling into (or onto) the shoes? I’m not sure, but the brakes must be adjusted. We are up over 400 miles already I think.
Did you know that the brake pads (shoes?) rest right on the drums all the time, even when the brakes aren’t being applied? I didn’t. But the do. They drag just a bit, if they’re adjusted correctly. I think this means that you could never engage the brakes and the pads could still wear out, at some point. I may be wrong about that. In any case, every time the brakes ARE engaged, the pads (shoes?) wear down a little. After a bunch of driving and breaking, these pads aren’t as thick as they used to be, and they’re no longer riding gently on the drum. Which seems fine to me… now the brakes won’t wear out so fast! But according my online, Google-directed studies, the problem here is that one must press farther down (harder?) on the brake pedal now, to get the pads down (up? over?) onto the drum for some stopping action. So if the brakes aren’t adjusted now and then, eventually you can stop as hard as you want on the pedal and things will not get slower.
And that would be bad. So I gotta adjust the brakes, okay. Two options here: learn how, and do it, or find some Trailer Service Emporium that will do it for money.
I’ve been looking into this. The nearest place to me involves driving through a perpetually congested area filled with drivers who, in my opinion, haven’t really got the knack of things behind the wheel. The next nearest place is 30 miles away. It’s a pretty drive, but… I’m betting it’s a whole day shot just to get these brakes adjusted.
So I am also looking into how it’s done… and it doesn’t sound all that difficult. I will require a jack for the trailer, which is something I need to have anyway, and some jack stands, which I don’t have and didn’t really want, but. And then I can choose between a specialized Brake Adjustment Tool (~$10) or a flat-bladed screwdriver to do the actual adjusting. Or instead of the jack I could get one of these ramp-looking gadgets made for tandem-axle trailers like mine–with these, you drive one axle up onto the ramp and it lifts the neighboring axle/wheel off the ground. It costs more than the jack, but it’s lighter and therefore easier to bring along on trips.
Jack stands. Who needs ’em? If you’re just changing a tire, you could probably get away without one, right? If the jack or jack-substitute fails, you’re not under the falling trailer, so you probably won’t get killed, though some maimage could occur.
But if you have to crawl under the trailer, seems like you better have jack stands, on account of the trailer weighing 4,000 pounds and all, and that might be uncomfortable if it fell on you.
While pondering all of this, Sooz has pointed out that she’s not anxious to cash in on my life insurance (and besides, she’d have to get up early with Wally to make his breakfast). Her helpful input on this task is You Are Not Crawling Under a Trailer, Ever.
The only thing I could think to do was go crawl under it (not jacked up, of course, so there’s not much risk). I wanted to see if I could locate the brake adjustment gadgets on the wheels, to help me decide if I can do it myself. The adjustment gadget is accessible through an oval-shaped hole in the inside cover of the brake, and the hole is supposed to have a rubber plug in it to protect it from, oh I don’t know, road grime.
But no plug. Not on any of the four wheels. A manufacturing flaw! A total of 8 missing plugs. I just sent a note off to Escape Trailer Industries to see if they can help (they are usually very good about these things). In the meantime, I will price jack stands and other tools and decide what to do.Sharing is caring!
Following is daring.