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Electric brakes weak on New Imagine 2600RB?

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  • AlexPeterson
    replied
    Worth repeating: It's been said elsewhere on this forum (and in the Dexter documentation), but these electric brakes really do need to be "broken" in before they work. Ours were essentially non-existent on our new 2500RL when we towed it home 60 miles from the dealer. I had the truck's gain at maximum, but still had to press the truck brakes much harder than normal. On our first longer trip, I was dialing down the gain as we added miles. After the 1000 mile round trip, they worked as they should, with the truck brake pressure feeling about par with no trailer. I also checked the adjustment after that first trip home - they needed a fair bit of adjustment, but that did not add much braking affect.

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  • Bob Davis2
    replied
    uwskier, that is a bunch of miles! Glad your brakes are good now. Good info!

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  • uwskier
    replied
    My brakes were dreadfully bad when new too. I had one whole brake assembly and hub eat itself. It took lots of adjusting and messing around, but I have solid braking performance now, though I notice a HUGE difference when the brakes are warm vs cool. When the brakes are good and warm, the trailer feels like it's tugging on the truck. When cool, I can barely feel them at all. I use the boost feature on my P3 to adjust for that as needed. I do find I need to run my gain at about 8.5 for best performance in the widest range of conditions.

    Just back from a 4300 mile round trip that included tons of mountains. Everything worked great!

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  • Bob Davis2
    replied
    Update 9/4/2022: 3rd trip out last week and the brakes still working great after the adjustment. I found that you can feel the difference when coming to a stop. If, in an open space, no traffic, you just barely let the tow vehicle roll and then squeeze the brake control levers together, you can feel the trailer drag you to a stop.

    It would be good perhaps if brake adjustment was on the dealer pre-flight checklist.

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  • Jlawles2
    replied
    So I crawled under the unit to check adjustment based on the many comments on the board about how out of adjustment people were finding their brakes.

    NO SURPRISE.... They were all a bit looser than I personally like (if it were not for surface rust, no contact) and again all 4 were at different adjustments.

    I remember the old automotive drum brake days. I always remember rotating the adjuster UP tightened the brakes and DOWN loosened. The Dexter axes are opposite. DOWN on the adjuster wheel is tighter and UP is looser. Also found it much easier to use the second slot to insert a screwdriver and hold the self adjuster arm up out of the way so I could spoon the wheel.

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  • Bob Davis2
    replied
    Got to pull the 2600RB today after adjusting the brakes. I adjusted the Gain from 8.5 down to 7.0 and it stops great. I can definitely tell the difference that the trailer brakes are now working as they should. What an improvement and I took the advice of not running the Gain so high. Planning to pull it later this week to a bluegrass jam/camp. Thanks for all the great info from everyone!

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  • howson
    replied
    Canyonlight and MidwestCamper -- moved all the great discussion about cars to https://gdrvowners.com/forum/gdrv4li...o-classic-cars

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  • Bob Davis2
    replied
    I adjusted the brakes on each of the 4 wheels today. Spinning the wheel and moving the adjuster wheel until I feel the wheel begin to "drag", then back off a click or two of the adjuster. There are a bunch of youtube videos on how to adjust trailer brakes, very helpful. It has been many, many years ago that I adjusted my drum brakes on cars before the advent of disk brakes (60 Chevy, 64 Chevelle, 55 Chevy, etc.). Yes I am an "old". So now I need to back off the gain as Midwest Camper suggested and will see if 6.5 or so will work. Going to take a 3 day trip with the trailer in a week or so and I will report back. Thanks again!

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  • familytruckster4
    replied
    I cant recall the exact number I used for gain on my Silverado/2600 combo but it was well under 5 after I serviced the brakes and degreasificated them.

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  • Bob Davis2
    replied

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  • MidwestCamper
    replied
    Bob,

    It's unlikely you will achieve brake lockup loaded up OR if you do it will be on the front axle only which you do not want to happen. The geometry of the suspension system will articulate the front axle on heavy braking which can cause the front wheels only to lock where this condition will reduce overall braking effectiveness. Hard to imaging heavy braking can result in less braking but this is the case if the wheels are able to lock on high traction surfaces.
    You will want to back the gain off so this does not occur on dry pavement for starters. Its also normal to lower the gain to prevent lockup on low traction surfaces as well. For instance, I use a gain of 6.5 ( I cannot achieve lock) but in rain I may lower the gain to 5.5 since traction on the truck is also reduced under those conditions and this will prevent front wheel lock on heavy application. The idea is to have the same brake pedal effort when towing as to when your not towing. You do not want the trailer pulling on the truck at higher speeds but rather have TV and Trailer operating in unison.

    Jim

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  • AZMike
    replied
    Originally posted by MidwestCamper View Post
    Bob,

    Nice that this worked out but a gain of 8.5 may still indicate a brake adjustment is needed. Ideal gain setting is where the brake effort on the truck stays about the same between towing the rig and running empty. While I have a different truck, the general consensus on brake gain is typically around 6.5. Brakes that have not been used will also need some re-seating each season where my brakes increasingly became more responsive after about 20 brake applications when taking out of storage.

    Jim
    Interesting that the typical brake gain setting is around 6.5. With my current and former trailer I always use a setting of between 2.5 and 3 depending on the day if my brakes are adjusted properly (any deviation is a clue that I need to adjust, even though I do adjust them every 4000 to 5000 miles). Maybe because I don't have an integrated controller? I use a Prodigy P2.

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  • Bob Davis2
    replied
    Originally posted by MidwestCamper View Post
    Bob,

    Nice that this worked out but a gain of 8.5 may still indicate a brake adjustment is needed. Ideal gain setting is where the brake effort on the truck stays about the same between towing the rig and running empty. While I have a different truck, the general consensus on brake gain is typically around 6.5. Brakes that have not been used will also need some re-seating each season where my brakes increasingly became more responsive after about 20 brake applications when taking out of storage.

    Jim

    Interesting info Jim, thank you! I will give it some more time on a few more trips to see if it gets better. If it gets to the point where pinching the levers on the brake control causes lockup, I will decrease my gain settings accordingly. I suppose I could schedule it for service to check the brake adjustment since it is only 4 months old, but what a PITA that is. I know how to do it, since I grew up working on cars and always DIY on brakes back before Disc brakes were invented, so I may do it myself. We'll see. At least I know they are working at this point. Next trip out soon, I may just pull a wheel to see.

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  • MidwestCamper
    replied
    Bob,

    Nice that this worked out but a gain of 8.5 may still indicate a brake adjustment is needed. Ideal gain setting is where the brake effort on the truck stays about the same between towing the rig and running empty. While I have a different truck, the general consensus on brake gain is typically around 6.5. Brakes that have not been used will also need some re-seating each season where my brakes increasingly became more responsive after about 20 brake applications when taking out of storage.

    Jim

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  • Bob Davis2
    replied
    Originally posted by familytruckster4 View Post
    I have never heard of a driver pulling someone elses trailer that did not use the trailers brakes. Drivers are known for trying to save their equipment. I think its illogical to expect that the delivery company got that trailer to the dealer without using the brakes. Whatever was done is done and the time to burnish brakes is when they are new, not after they have been used for hundreds of miles. I think that anything short of an inspection of the system is just wasting time.

    Curious if the O.P. has any new information to add ?
    Finally took our first trip this past weekend (4/1-4/3 2022). Prior to leaving out, I adjusted the Force Settings on my 2017 F150 Brake control to "High" from the previous Medium setting. In order to do this I had to delete my previously stored "Imagine" trailer setting and add a New one. This "walks" you through all of the settings on the truck dash. I could not find a way to just go the stored trailer configuration and "modify" the setting. Picked up the Imagine trailer and towed 5 miles to the house. I was able to feel a difference in that I could feel resistance using the Brake control squeeze levers in the truck while creeping to a stop. The gain setting 8.5. Towed it 90 miles out to a campsite and at each stop light/sign, I noticed I could feel drag from the trailer when my brakes were applied in the truck. So I feel that the brakes on the Imagine are working. Coming home from the campsite, again, I could tell the trailer brakes are working. With 180 miles on it, I plan to just pull it and see if they get better with some more mileage. Have two trips planned coming up.

    I pull in "Tow/Haul" mode with my truck and in this mode, it uses Engine braking also. I never felt that my Truck was straining to stop the trailer either. Thanks to all for the great advice and insight on braking systems.

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